Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New Approach To Fighting Poverty

I thought about writing about the historic 10% lead the Republicans have in Gallup’s generic poll (51% to 41%), but that’s hardly unexpected to Commentarama readers. I thought about writing about all the laughable racism allegations made against Glenn Beck’s rally, but that’s nothing new either. So instead, I thought I’d talk about an article that appeared on Drudge yesterday, an article that most people probably missed and which actually signals a significant change in world-wide thinking.

According to this article, a local charity in St. Louis is offering money to the parents of children whose kids have near-perfect attendance in school. What you probably don’t know is that this is part of a world-wide trend that is reforming the way charitable money (and welfare money) is being handed out, a trend that is showing remarkable success.

Prior to the 1960s, charity was largely handled by church and civic organizations. This system worked pretty well because these groups used the opportunity of the recipient’s need to try to instill new values that would set the person’s life right. Indeed, some groups required the recipients to give up alcohol. Others required them to attend church services or put them to work in soup kitchens or other charitable projects to learn a sense of responsibility and jumpstart a work ethic.

But in the 1960s, the government stepped into this “market” and became the dominant provider of charity. And once the government got its hands on this “market,” the left demanded that the government act in a “value-neutral” way. There were many reasons for this, but the main one frankly was that the left had been embarrassed by its embrace of eugenics, which was disgraced by Nazism, and it wanted to repudiate that. Thus, it swung to the polar opposite of what it had been advocating and it began to claim that society had no right to tell anyone how to live.

Consequently, an entire generation of people who had demonstrated a history of making poor choices was handed money with no responsibility and no requirements. Predictably poverty exploded, the inner cities imploded, and whole generations of kids ended up being “raised” by the state in conditions that were barely better than being tossed into the wild at birth.

Thirty years later, the black community was destroyed and a large chunk of the rural white community was following at full speed. But in the 1990s, things began to change. Forced by a Republican Congress, the Clinton Administration allowed the states to begin experimenting with limited changes to the system. Suddenly states were forcing those of its wards who could work to get jobs if they wanted to keep their benefits. Hundreds of thousands of people lifted themselves off the welfare roles. In fact, this was so successful that the left went from screaming that millions would die in the streets to claiming that they were responsible for this reform.

This led liberals worldwide to rethink the value-neutral approach. Soon programs began to appear all across the world where charity/welfare was handed out with conditions attached. For example, money was given to poor parents on condition that they vaccinate their kids or send them to school. Many on the left whined that this was unfair, but slowly it became clear that this was causing massive positive changes in these people’s lives. By providing an incentive to these people to make good choices, they actually began making good decisions and, in return, their lives began to improve. This has worked everywhere from Brazil to Africa to the Middle East, and now St. Louis, and has spawned many offshoots -- things like microloans to very small businesses and tying foreign aid to demonstrable numbers like the number of kids in school or the amount of clean drinking water provided to citizens.

I’m sure some of you are uncomfortable with this idea because you don’t like the government telling people how to live their lives. But I think this is heading in the right direction.

The sad truth is that 30 years of rampant liberalism has create an underclass that no longer has the tools to change their lives on their own. And they are raising new generations all the time with the same non-values, new generations that are fated to go straight to welfare. The only way to break this cycle and to undo the damage that has been done, i.e. to lift the underclass, is to give these people an incentive to start making good decisions instead of bad. These types of programs do that.

So I, for one, hope that this spreads.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Media Campaign Contributions

You may have heard the big liberal brouhaha about Fox News’ parent corporation giving one million dollars to the Republican Governors Association. Total outrage, right? Proof of right-wing bias at Fox, right? But then the outrage suddenly disappeared. In fact, the story vanished. Any guesses why? How about this. . .

When word hit the street that News Corp. had donated one million dollars to the RGA, everyone pounced. All the networks ran with the story, as did liberal bastions like the New York Times and every other liberal slag heap with journalistic pretensions. The Democrats pounced on this as well. Nathan Daschle, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, even called on Fox News to put a disclaimer on its coverage of gubernatorial campaigns.

Daschle, by the way, is the son of rich lobbyist and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who couldn’t get into the Obama Administration because he hadn’t paid his taxes and because he earned five million dollars from lobbying for health care groups. Despite this, Daschle eventually ended up being hired for behind the scenes work for the Democrats on the health care issue. And now his son is in the business. . . I guess the rotten apple doesn't roll far from the barrel.

In any event, this story didn’t last. Why? Because something went wrong on the way to Outrage Avenue. Indeed, the parade took a wrong turn and found itself on Hypocrite Street instead. See, it turns out that 88% of the contributions of the employees of ABC, CBS and NBC were made to the Democratic Party. Indeed 1,160 network employees -- executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, etc. -- gave a total of $1,020,816 to Democratic campaigns in the 2008 election cycle. By comparison, only 193 of their employees gave to Republicans ($142,863)

Hypocritical Democratic journalists? Wow, I never saw that one coming!

Also, it turns out that News Corp. gives to both parties.

So there's no story after all? Actually, there is, but it's not one they want to talk about. The real scandal here is that ANY journalist would donate to either political party. They call themselves the Fourth Estate and they claim a nearly official role as the watchdog of our government. They even have special protections under the law to allow them to perform that role, i.e. protections against slander and liable laws and the right to protect their sources. Yet, if they truly are to hold such a role, then they should be non-partisan. That means no political contributions. . . no journalists married to politicians or campaign directors for politicians (and recusals if you are). . . and no more revolving door where journalists move back and forth between the profession and Democratic campaigns and administrations.

The real story here is the scandal of the entire profession having interwoven itself with the political establishment.

And if they won’t unweave themselves, then maybe Daschle actually has a good idea (a first for his family). Maybe journalists should be required to put up a disclaimer that identifies how much money they, their producer, their writers, their editors, and anyone else who worked on the story gave to each side any time they do a political story. Journalists pushed to get such rules forced on corporations, and corporations don’t even claim to be unbiased. So if this is good for corporations, then I would say it’s more than good for journalist. In fact, I would call it necessary.

And that’s the way it is this August 30, 2010.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting Off On The Wrong Foot

I am concerned. It looks like the Republicans are going to win the House, which is a good thing. But winning power is only half the battle. The other half is what you do with it, once you get it. For months now, I’ve been saying that the Republicans were starting to get it. But I am concerned that they are about to blow it.

For some time now, I’ve been pointing out that the Democrats are staring at an historic loss in November. Although the MSM is openly talking about the Democrats losing 30-40 seats, and more knowledgeable people are suggesting closer to 70, the evidence is there for something in excess of 100 seats. Even now, more evidence is pouring in, such as the quiet announcement this weekend by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that they are about to cut off a large number of “under-performing candidates,” i.e. guys who look like they’re going to lose.

At the same time, I’ve been pointing out instances where the Republicans are getting it. They stood unified against almost everything Obama tried. Representatives like Paul Ryan have been doing some heavy thinking of conservative ideas. Senators like Jim DeMint have been doing some heavy funding of conservative candidates (much to the establishment’s chagrin). Bright, shiny new candidates like Christie in New Jersey and McConnell in Virginia have been showing how conservative ideas can be put in place despite the objections of the entrenched entitlement brigade. And even the MSM is starting to talk about moderate conservatives like Mitch Daniels as “attractive alternatives" to Obama -- so sayeth The Economist twice now.

So what’s the problem?

Well, as I’ve said before, the Republicans need a platform, and not some weirdo 1,000 page platform that caters to every fringe interest group in the party or that promises “conservatism” as defined by K Street along with neoconservative international nation building. What they need to promise is ultra simple: cancel Obama’s brand of soft-socialism, cronyism, and rule by unaccountable czars. Replace it with genuine free market reforms, genuine stimulus, a massive trimming of the federal government and its privileges and perks, deep spending cuts to control the deficit, entitlement reform, and repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

And if you want the top three to put into a sales pitch, (1) slash payroll taxes to encourage hiring and to make work more valuable for American workers, (2) repeal and replace ObamaCare with a system that lifts burdensome regulations, wipes out state-insurance monopolies, frees doctors to manage their own businesses, improves medical oversight, and gives patients incentives to cut their own costs, and (3) slash federal spending by cutting salaries, ending bailouts, canceling the porkulus, and cutting spending across the board to 2007 levels.

That’s what they should be promising. But here’s what is coming out of the mouths of several prominent Republicans. . .

“Woo boy, we is gonna hold hearings!”

Hearings into where the stimulus money went (i.e. which Obama cronies got the money). Hearings into the handling of GM. Hearings into Obama’s Afghanistan policy. Hearings into Jobgate (i.e. the offers to Sestak and Romanoff). Hearings into a dozen other matters the public doesn't remember. Said one staffer, they are salivating at the “opportunity of making ‘the most transparent administration in history’ respond to subpoenas.”

There is one word that comes to mind when I hear this and it rhymes with truck. Have these ignorant fools learned nothing? The public wants the nation’s problems solved. They want a government that sits quietly in the background minding its own darn business until it is needed to solve a national crisis. They do not want political show trials and chest-pounding hearings where Congressmen get all bent out of shape over issues we already know all about and about which we made up our minds a long time ago. Wow, the unions benefited from the bails outs? You don't say?! You mean Obama may have made an illegal job offer to Joe Sestak? You're kidding! Tell me more.

I know many of you don’t like Obama and would like to see him dragged through the mud and every one of his warts exposed for the public, just as the Democrats did to Bush and Reagan. But let me assure you, this will not hurt him, it will hurt our side. It always does.

Did Bill Clinton lie under oath? Certainly. Does anyone care? The public certainly doesn’t, his popularity soared after those hearings. Indeed, all the Republicans achieved was making him into the victim and making themselves come across as a party composed of petty morality police and hypocrites. Did Reagan break the law during Iran-Contra? Sure. Did anyone care? No. The public liked the fact Reagan was fighting the bad guys. His popularity soared. All those hearings did was make Oliver North into a hero and make the Democrats look like vindictive anti-American scum.

Our history is littered with attempts by one party to use the Congress to expose the President of the other party as the boogeyman. It’s never reflected well on the party that started the witch hunt. The public just doesn’t care. They want results, not grandstanding.

And right now is certainly not the time to try this garbage again. When you see Tea Party people show up at rallies, they aren’t demanding hearings. You don’t see signs that say “Send out the Subpoenas!” There are no rallies demanding that the Republicans expose Obama -- Obama exposed himself! We know what he is and we want him stopped. We want the wasteful spending he’s lavishing on his friends stopped. We want spending cut, power curtailed, and freedom restored. We don’t want show trials and mock outrage as grandstanding Congressmen pretend to discover what we all already know.

Obama came into office with the power to make the Democrats into a permanent majority party, and he blew it with his crony neo-socialism. The Republicans now have the chance to seize the initiative and cement themselves as the new permanent majority party. But if they go down the road of political theater, of investigations and weak referrals to special prosecutors, rather than boldly standing up and declaring a new day in America. . . a day of free market capitalism and an end to abusive government power, then they can hang it up right now.

Fight the battle for the future, don't try to score points with wonks about the past.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Democrats Acknowledge Disaster

I’ve been saying for some time that the Democrats are in trouble. In fact, I’ve pointed out that it’s very, very likely the Democrats will lose the House and come very close to losing the Senate. Now the Democrats are starting to admit this as well.

In the past couple days, we’ve been hit with interesting poll results:
• 48% of Americans think Obama’s views are extreme (42% don’t).

• Voters now trust the GOP more than the Democrats on all 10 of the most important issues identified by voters: education, health care, Iraq, the economy, social security, government ethics, national security, Afghanistan, taxes and immigration.

• Unelectable Colorado Tea Party Extremist Loser Ken Buck is leading Democrat Michael Bennet 48% to 40%.

• Unelectable Nevada Tea Party Nutjob Sharon Angle and Saint Harry Reid are tied 47% to 47%.

• Unelectable Corrupt Washington Insider Roy Blunt is leading Robin Carnahan 51% to 40% in bellwether Missouri.

• Unelectable freak Marco Rubio is winning his three way race against shoe-in Charlie Crist and also-ran Kendrick Meek 40% to 32% to 17%. And Crist’s numbers keep falling now that the Democrats have chosen a candidate.

• 60% of Americans still want ObamaCare repealed.
This should shake the Democrats up, right? Probably, but they’ve been so shaken up by internal polls for some time now that this is old news. Consider this quote from one Washington Democrat:
“Democrats kept thinking: ‘We’re going to get better. We’re going to get well before the election.’ But as of this week, you now have people saying that Republicans are going to win the House, and now it’s starting to look like the Senate is going to be a lot closer than people thought.”
Who is saying this? Well, listen to one Democratic pollster who is working on several key races: “The reality is that the House majority is probably gone.” What’s worse, his data shows that the Democrats’ problems are “spreading.”

Democrats are in a panic. They’ve noted for example that House seats they considered “safe” are suddenly up for grabs. In a tacit admission of this, they've begun running ads in many of these safe districts, and even in districts where historically the GOP has never been competitive. Moreover, some Democrats have become so panicky that they’re running ads attacking their own leadership, and there is a sudden exodus of House committee staffers looking for lobbyist jobs before the election. Also, 15.4 million voters came out for Republicans in the primaries so far, but only 12 million came out for Democrats, evidence of a massive enthusiasm gap (polls show 46% of Republicans report being “very enthusiastic” compared to only 23% of Democrats).

As always, the Democrats are looking for a scapegoat. They seem to have chosen Obama. Indeed, they’re bitter that the “summer recovery” they were promised never came. . . waaaah, I never got my unicorn!! And they’re furious at the White House for “keeping the debate over a New York mosque in play for two weeks” and now trying to talk about Iraq when they should be talking about the economy.

But isn’t the economy Bush’s fault, you ask? Well, said one former party chairman: “the problem is that a lot of the message talks to the base, and we’ve got to talk to the middle. You can only blame Bush for so long.” You don’t say?

Speaking of the public, last week we learned a little bit about one of their key problems when information was released about polling and focus group work done on ObamaCare. It turns out that no one believes that ObamaCare will reduce costs, lower the national debt, or improve services. In fact, the public isn't buying any of the talking points put together by the Democrats (debunked here many times). In the end, the marketing gurus recommended that Democrats stop talking about it and instead talk about the future. . . including “fixing ObamaCare.”

Does this mean the Democrats are doomed? Not necessarily, but the evidence is getting pretty overwhelming that a disaster is coming. And even if the evidence doesn’t actually add up to a tidal wave yet, this type of pessimism often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, when I hear that the new plan is to demonize John Boehner, a man known by less than 1/3 of the electorate, I begin to suspect that the Democrats just might be on the wrong track.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of skunks.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This Is The Right Direction?

“There’s no doubt we're moving in the right direction."

-- Joey “The Brain” Biden

Yesterday, in an announcement that strains credulity, even for Joe Biden, lying Joe told us there is no doubt we’re moving in the right direction. But Obama didn’t retract that statement. So let’s take a quick look at what Obama apparently thinks is the direction we should be heading.

Team Obama has been touting a positive GDP for the year. But everyone is now lowering their estimate of GDP growth to 1.5% for the year, an anemic number, with more lowering to come. And in case you’re wondering, a positive number does not mean we’ve turned the corner. The Great Depression saw six quarterly bounces in GDP with an average gain of 8%, along with stock rallies to 50% of the pre-1930 levels. . . right where we are today.

Speaking of the stock market, from February 2009 until June 2010, small investors pulled $9 billion out of the stock market. The DOW is down 4% this month, a seven week low.

Bank failures continue to climb. Only 25 banks were closed during the credit crunch in 2008. Since that time, 140 banks failed in 2009 and 118 banks have failed so far this year -- on pace for 200+ this year.

Official unemployment remains at 9.5%, though real unemployment remains around 17%. Various government officials are now predicting that this is the new normal. Teenage unemployment and minority unemployment are at all time highs.

The Federal Reserve reports that factory activity slipped to negative levels in August, meaning economic contraction is coming, i.e. more recession.

Sales of existing homes fell to their lowest level in 15 years, and the drop in sales this last month is the biggest drop since record-keeping began in 1968.

Crude oil futures are down at an 11 week low, and that’s in the middle of the driving season.

Tax revenues continued to fall, this time by 11% from 2009.

Obama’s budget includes a $1.2 trillion deficit, supposedly a decrease from last year’s $1.42 trillion Obama deficit. But this doesn’t count the cost of Afghanistan and Iraq, which are kept off the budget, and it includes fake receipts like estimated receipts from the never-passed cap and trade bill. This $2.6 trillion Obama has added to the debt in his first two years, by the way, compares to the $11 trillion added to the debt in the 40 years since 1970.

China is selling U.S. dollar-denominated assets in anticipation of a collapse of the dollar, and in hopes of replacing the dollar with a new reserve currency. This would be disastrous for our cost of borrowing.

Speaking of China, they and Russia have rejected sanctions against Iran. Russia is now helping Iran finish its nuclear power plant. China is buying gas from Iran. Both have refused to agree to sanctions, even those that would forbid the selling of weapons to Iran. All of this, and Obama’s effete response to Iran, have made war all but inevitable.

Afghanistan is a disaster, with more reports coming out every day that it will never end and cannot end well. The latest involves a report that after nine years of training, Afghanistan’s army still will not be ready to take the field for at least another year.

Obama just flubbed the “worst environmental disaster in history” in the Gulf.

Almost two years into Obama’s term, the Democratic Senate still has not confirmed 118 of his nominees.

Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln? Is this seriously what Obama thinks is the direction the country should be headed? Apparently so. And this doesn’t count the significant hurdles about to come up. Either the Bush tax cuts will expire, destroying the economy, or they will be renewed, blowing the deficit even higher. The effects of ObamaCare have not yet begun to smack around the economy. Medicare is on the verge of collapsing. Our costs of borrowing are on the verge of going up. The EPA is about to regulate carbon, i.e. everything. When Israel bombs Iran, you can expect serious blow back to reach us, both in international condemnation and in increased terrorism. Not to mention that Obama’s nonactions toward Iran are getting countries like Saudi Arabia thinking about building their own atomic bombs. And so on. . . and so on.

If Joe has no doubt that we’re moving in the right direction, then Joe’s version of paradise looks a lot like hell. And if Obama didn’t realize he needed to shut Joe’s trap, then Obama’s a fool.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bush And Eastern Europe Betrayed Eastern Europe, Not Obama

Do you remember how Obama sold out Eastern Europe to improve relations with the Russians? That would be the same Russians who are now helping Iran build a nuclear bomb. . . er, power plant. Well, it turns out that we got that wrong. Obama didn’t sell out Easter Europe, Bush did. Oh, and they had it coming.

Let’s go over the allegations that the haters are making about Obama’s Eastern European policy:
• First, he scrapped a missile-defense system, which had been promised to Eastern Europe to defend them against missiles from Iran and Russia. But “promised” is an understatement. Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic undertook great national risk in agreeing to become bases for the various components of this system. In fact, in response to Poland’s actions, Russian conducted a war game which involved simulated nuclear strikes against Warsaw.

• Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO applications have ground to a halt. Basically, Russia has been allowed dictate NATO membership and extend its control over its former vassals.

• Nothing has happened on European energy security and, specifically, by letting Russia cut off Georgia, Russia continues to control all supplies of gas to Europe.

• Several Eastern European countries (most notably Poland) sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to curry favors with us, but Obama has refused to relax visa rules for Poles wishing to travel to the United States, even though those rules have been relaxed for everyone other country you can think of.

• There are a myriad of snubs, such as Obama skipping World War II ceremonies, demanding that the Poles invite the Russians to a pro-Democracy gathering, the sending of a “snooty” envoy who treats anyone below the prime minister level as an inferior, and Obama’s constant use of the words “partners” rather than “allies,” which they fear signifies a less protected status.
These matters have so bothered the Eastern Europeans that last year they sent an open letter to Obama criticizing his policies. What? You didn't hear about that? How strange, I wonder why?

In any event, The Economist wants you to know that it’s just not right to blame Obama for any of this. In fact, they present an extensive counterargument that thoroughly proves that Bush is the guy who really sold out Eastern Europe, and Eastern Europe had it coming. Let’s consider that “argument.”

First, The Economist begins by attacking an argument that really hasn’t been raised. It notes that under the weak-kneed George Bush, NATO never made contingency plans to defend the Baltic nations in the event of a Russian invasion. Now, under President Ass-To-Kick, NATO is making such plans. How’s that for tough! NATO is even preparing military exercises in those countries. . . something that happened under Bush as well, if The Economist had checked.

Second, with regard to this “flimsy” missile defense argument, President Ass-To-Kick has actually done more than was promised. Yep. Sure, he cancelled the system Bush wanted to install, but in its place he’s putting together a ship based system that The Economist swears is soooooo much better. Of course, that system can only stop Iranian missiles, and it relies on stopping those in the Persian Gulf. But to make up for this, President Ass-To-Kiss actually took the extraordinary step of sending a patriot missile battery to Poland! Woo hoo! Of course, the Patriot Missiles can’t hit an intercontinental ballistic missile, and this particular battery happens to be unloaded. . . and he’s only letting the Poles have it for training purposes only. But still, it’s obvious the Poles are just being whiny.

Finally, The Economist finished off its stellar argument with some classic blame the victim assertions. Georgia and Ukraine brought their NATO problems on themselves because their politicians are unacceptable. As for energy security, well, that’s really Europe’s fault because they just aren’t attentive enough to the issue. And did you know that those grubby Eastern Europeans don’t spend enough on their own defense? If they had been spending enough on their own defense, then maybe that “would encourage America to turn up when needed.” Yeah, and maybe they shouldn’t dress so proactively either.

So you see, it really is Bush’s fault and it’s those darn whiny provocateurs in Eastern Europe. It isn’t Obama’s fault at all. And anyone who says otherwise just isn’t being honest.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Democrats Panic Over NYC Mosque

I have largely avoided discussing the New York mosque issue because there wasn't much to add, until now. Obviously, they have the legal right to build it, but that doesn’t make it right. What fascinates me now though, is just how badly this issue is playing for the Democrats. Sure, we’ve all heard that 65% of the American people oppose the mosque, but that doesn’t tell us anything about the political impact. What tells us about the political impact are some recent events.

Event One: Desperate Democrats Abandon Obama

For the Democrats, the mosque issue couldn’t have come at a worse time. With voters ready to bury them in November, they needed the summer to calm the voters down and to generate a new narrative. But that fell apart when Obama flubbed the BP oil spill in the Gulf. And then Arizona hit, showing not only that Democrats were opposed to protecting our borders and stopping the flood of illegal immigrants, but that they were happy to demonize the public for believing that citizenship means something. Now the housing market and jobs market have tanked, confirming that all that money the Democrats spent was indeed wasted.

The last thing the Democrats needed right now was another reminder that they are weak on the issue of Islamic terror and that they are anti-religious -- except for Islam. Then bam-O! Enter the mosque. For weeks, the Democrats tried not to address the mosque issue, knowing that their response would only anger us hicks. But then Obama did what he does best, he opened his mouth and stupid words came out.

Like a reflex, every Democratic mouthpiece ran to a microphone to repeat his words and to declare how racist and Islamophobic we ignorant hicks are. They whined about religious freedom and tolerance, a freedom and tolerance they never extend to Christians. They spoke of Americans being racist, even though Islam spans many races. They spoke of meeting Islamic aggression with tolerance and whined that we were the villains for refusing to accept this provocative humiliation.

But this wasn’t polling very well.

Soon Democrats in difficult races, like Harry Reid, ran out to express their opposition to the mosque. And don’t underestimate the worry that must have caused this. When the left start with the shrill calls of racism, few Democrats will ever dare cross that line no matter how badly the issue hurts them. So for Harry Reid and others to side with the “racists,” means that this issue must have been truly devastating for Democrats.

Event Two: The Media Falls Back On The Argument Of Last Resort

With the rats fleeing the sinking ship to side with the “racists” and “Islamophobes,” and Obama desperately trying to backtrack without backtracking -- and getting called out for it by both sides. . . and as people all over the country began openly opposing the mosque. . . and as terrorist groups like Hamas announced that this mosque would be a victory for Islamic terrorists. . . and with the racism argument failing so miserably. . .

The media fell back on the truly last refuge to which they flee when the Democrats are in a corner from which there is no escape: they begged Republicans not to politicize this issue. Seriously, I’m not joking.

Democratic activist. . . er, journalist Mark Halperin wrote an article in Time in which he literally begs Republicans not to use this issue against the Democrats:
Obama has given you an in [with his mosque comments]. . . . If you go full force on the offensive, every Democratic candidate in every competitive race in the country will have three choices, none of them good, when asked about the Islamic center: side with Obama and against public opinion; oppose Obama and deal with the consequences of intraparty disunity; or refuse to take a position, waffling impotently and unattractively at a crucial time.

Say what you will about the wisdom of Obama's policies overall, but his belated commentary on religious freedoms clearly was not done for political gain. Quite the contrary, the President knew that he and his party would almost certainly pay a political price for taking a stand. . . The reaction since the President spoke has been vitriolic and unvarying from leading voices on the right, painting Obama as weak, naive, out of touch and obtuse (not to mention flip-flopping, after his confusing follow-up comments Saturday suggested to some that he might be hedging his position).

Yes, Republicans, you can take advantage of this heated circumstance, backed by the families of the 9/11 victims, in their most emotional return to the public stage since 2001.

But please don't do it. . . . As I said, Republicans, this is your moment. As a famous New Yorker once urged in a very different context: Do the right thing.
Yes, please don’t point out how anti-American our side is, those ignorant hicks in Hickville will hold it against us. ** boo hoo hoo **

And it gets even stranger than this. Communist. . . sorry, “columnist” Maureen Dowd has begged Bush to bail the Democrats out. Honestly, I’m not making this up: “It’s time for W. to weigh in. [Bush understands that] you can't have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson also thinks Bush needs to lend his support to this mosque: “I would love to hear from former President Bush on this issue. He held Ramadan iftar dinners in the White House as part of a much broader effort to show that our fight against the al-Qaeda murderers who attacked us on 9/11 was not a crusade against Islam. . . it would be helpful to hear his views.” Even Peter Beinart of the far-left New Republic “pines for George W. Bush. Whatever his flaws, the man respected religion, all religion.” He longs for Bush to remind us that “‘the was on terror’ was a struggle on behalf of Muslims, decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me.”

How strange to hear the left calling for us to “respect religion.” And how bad must their troubles be if they are calling on Bush to save their rear ends on this?

Sadly, various Bushies have been happy to comply. Bush advisor Peter Wehner attacked Gingrich’s opposition to the mosque and warns us that we are “conflating all of Islam . . . with wahhabism and bin Ladenism.” Michael Gerson and Mark McKinnon (who you may remember from this article) also have weighed in defending the mosque, as have Bush alums Ed Gillespie and James K. Glassman, who insists Republicans should be “communicating a message of tolerance to most Muslims.”

Event Three: Democratic Fratricide Begins

Finally, the Democratic fratricide began this weekend, when Howard Dean said: “we have to stop the polarization in this country, [and] some of the folks on my end of the spectrum are demonizing some fairly decent people who are opposing this. Sixty-five percent of the people in this country are not right-wing bigots.” He was skewered for his comments.

So there you have it. Forget the poll about 65% of the public, look at the panic on the left to tell you how this issue is really playing.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Obama Can't Be Parodied

Parody is a form of comedy/commentary that involves highlighting the ridiculous. Done right, it’s one of the most interesting and entertaining forms of comedy, and it can be devastating to its target where the target lacks substance or hides behind a facade. Parody is particularly effective against politicians; they make prime targets. But what about Obama?

Obama is rife for parody. Like all politicians, Obama has flaws. Some might even argue that he has more flaws than most. Moreover, more than any politician I can recall, Obama lives behind a facade that he’s finding harder and harder to maintain. Consider this:
• The most obvious flaw with Obama is the difference between how he speaks when he’s reading from the teleprompter and how he sounds when he’s speaking “off the brain.” He’s like some modern-day Cyrano De Bergerac, which should be fertile ground for comedy, as comedy thrives on contradiction and juxtaposition.

• Obama also speaks in a strange combination of dispassionate rhetoric (as if he were teaching a course he’s taught so many times that he no longer pays attention to the lesson) and anger. And if you doubt me, as yourself two questions. First, what was the last thing Obama said that you knew he felt passionately about? Secondly, how long would you work for a boss who spoke to you in the tone Obama constantly uses on us. Even the left has noticed that he’s generally dull and joyless when he speaks these days.

• Obama has shown a propensity for shooting off his mouth, backing off immediately, and then trying to claim he never backed off -- as he did with the mosque incident and the beer summit. This and his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Hopeful Anticipation shows a Bidenesque lack of judgment or control combined with a good deal of arrogance.

• He’s shown a disturbing lack of substance in all of his endeavors, which he compounds with simplistic attack phrases, such as “just tell me whose ass to kick.” This has been a primary source of griping in his party as they feel he’s set convoluted or contradictory goals and then attacked them when they sought his guidance.

• He’s also shown he “doesn’t get it” in terms of the amount of work the job demands. Indeed, he routinely claims to be too busy to get around to important matters, even as he spends his days on vacations.

• And speaking of vacations, he has a wife who spends her days taking luxury vacations at five star resorts with MC Hammer-like entourages (like the left's stereotype of Nancy Reagan), while Obama preaches austerity (like the left's stereotype of the hypocritical preacher). He’s also clearly embraced the rock-star culture even as he talks about being humble and accuses his opponents of not being serious.

• He has also shown a penchant for using his daughters as political props.

• And he’s shown himself to be all but humorless.
Each of these is a trait that comedians have used to parody other politicians in the past. Yet they won’t lay a finger on Obama. Why? I think the answer is obvious, even as it is unpleasant. The answer boils down to race.

When parodying any human being, the first order of business involves mocking the person’s mannerisms: without this you cannot have a parody. If you want proof, think about everyone you’ve seen parodied in the past. Reagan was mocked for his age and his speaking tone. Bush I was rich and spoke funny. Bush II was stupid. Palin was mocked for her colloquialisms. Carter was mocked for his accent and general wimpiness, Schwarzenegger for his accent, Nixon for his sweating and paranoid tone, and Ford for his clumsiness. Clinton was mocked for his salesman like mannerisms and evasions. Gore was mocked for his wooden speaking style and penchant for telling whoppers.

In each instance, you know instantly what I’m talking about without me even needing to get into specific quotes or policies. The reason for this is that parody is mostly defined by attacks on a person's mannerisms. Indeed, parody must always begin by taking the person and exaggerating them for the audience. If you can’t exaggerate the person to unrealistic proportions, then the things you say next will sound like nasty criticisms of the person rather than funny zingers aimed at the caricature. It’s the difference between: “I did not have sex with all those women!” and “you betcha I can see Russia from my house” -- which make a myriad of points without sounding personal -- and “Clinton lies about his affairs” or “Palin’s response was stupid,” which are harsh and pointed comments aimed directly at the living breathing person.

And therein lies the problem. Before we can parody Obama for his policy failings and other flaws, we must mock his personality. But here’s the catch: you can’t do that without being accused of racism. If you point out that he sounds angry, you’re accused of perpetuating the “angry black man stereotype.” If you point out his Cyrano problem, you’re accused of perpetuating the “stupid black man stereotype.” If you point out his penchant for vacations and living the highlife on our dime, you’re accused of perpetuating the “lazy black man stereotype,” or worse. If you talk about his use of his kids as props, you would be accused of perpetuating the “bad black father stereotype.”

What does that leave us? Nothing except criticism, which just isn’t that funny.

If Obama were white, I think you would have seen each of the above flaws exploited. You would have seen scenes where Obama uses soaring rhetoric to order off of menus in five star hotels, but uses his dispassionate tone when arguing with his wife. You would have speechwriters writing the argument for him. You would have him using his angry tone at all the wrong times. You would have him promising to never rest until he completed the task at hand, right before heading on vacation as he complained about the 5 hour work day being forced upon him. And you would have him using his daughters as human shields to protect himself against reporters and other politicians.

But you won’t see that. As I’ve said before, each of these things was said or done to other politicians in the past. But with Obama the game is different because comedians know that they will be accused of racism if they try it. Thus, the path of least resistance is to avoid the parody entirely and instead parody his fans or enemies.

And if you think I’m wrong about the desire of people to take the path of least resistance, ask yourself when the last time was that Hollywood presented you with a black street thug or advertisers used a black character as the butt of the joke. Both Hollywood and Madison Avenue have learned that it is easier to avoid anything that could bring out the race or gender lobbies, because those groups aren’t trying to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, they are trying to stamp out all negative portrayals.

That’s why Obama can’t be parodied. And if history is any guide, this will ultimately hurt him and his legacy severely. Because there’s only one thing worse than a politician we all laugh at. . . that’s a politician we aren’t allowed to laugh at.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Just History Repeating. . .

History loves irony, and right now the Democrats are giving it off in spades. They are repeating obvious mistakes that millions of others before them have made. Yet, like so many Wiley E. Coyotes, they’re shocked that things aren’t turning out the way they expected. In fact, they spent the weekend whining about the unfairness of it all.

Consider the following four issues: the stimulus, the TARP, Obama’s dictator-appeasement plan, and Obama’s mortgage rescue plan. Each is blowing up in their faces like an ACME explosive.

• DeStimulus: The Democrats spent the weekend freaking out both on and off the record that despite all the money they poured into the stimulus, unemployment remains higher than it was before the stimulus began. What’s worse, they think they are now being unfairly blamed by ungrateful taxpayers for running the deficit/debt to dangerously high levels.

But of course, they aren’t the first to do this. Indeed, consider the case of FDR’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau. Here is what Morgenthau wrote in his diary about their efforts to combat the Bush. . . er, Hoover Recession:
“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . [A]fter eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . and an enormous debt to boot!”
Sound familiar? Despite FDR’s mega-stimulus, unemployment fluctuated between 14% and 20% during his first eight years, with the 20% coming later, not earlier. You would think somebody (**cough cough** Obama **cough cough**) might have considered this before they acted, but maybe that’s too much to ask.

Interestingly, FDR raised the top income tax rate so he could keep spending, causing unemployment to spike. The top rate went from 24% under Hoover to 63% to 79% to 90%. In 1941, FDR even proposed raising it to 99.5% on all income above $100,000 -- probably would have worked better if he’d said $250,000. All this did was bring unemployment to an all time high and stretch out the Great Depression an extra 15 years. FYI, Obama wants to raise the top income tax rate so that he can keep spending. Obama’s rates are not as bad, he’s aiming for something in the 50% rate, but the effect will be the same. Geithner’s diaries should make for fun reading someday.

• TARP Monster: Do you remember how the TARP was supposed to save the banking system from the folly of the banks who were too big to fail? Well, it turns out the TARP put the banking system at the mercy of those very banks. Indeed, a recent report from the government’s own TARP watchdog reports that the TARP has hurt smaller banks, who are having trouble repaying the money, and they are now vulnerable to being taken over by the very same too-big-to-fail banks that caused the crisis. Soon, those too-big-to-fail banks will be too-bigger-to-fail.

By the way, the historical parallels to this are legion. For example, every time socialism has been put in place to help the common man or a dying industry, it ended up making living conditions worse, and it ended up wiping out small firms in favor of the large firms that caused the competitiveness problem in the first place. Similarly, for you history buffs, the US government’s attempts to fix (read: “bailout”) abusive and negligent railroads which were putting the whole economy at risk resulted in those same railroads consuming vast numbers of other industries who found themselves at the railroads’ mercy.

• Appeasement: You would think by now that people would understand that you can’t negotiate with dictators from a position of weakness. But the cornerstone of Obama’s foreign policy has been appeasement. He begged forgiveness of Muslims and got only contempt. He surrendered our friends in Eastern Europe to the Russians to get help with Iran. . . the same Russians who will start fueling Iranian reactors this week. And he begged the Chinese to go along with the harshiest, most-non-cuddly sanctions yet on Iran, only to have them flip him the bird and announce last week that they would start buying Iranian oil. His bended-knee effort to get the Iranians to behave appears to have made war inevitable. His kowtowing to North Korea has brought us closer to war with them than we’ve been at any point since the 1950s. And don’t get me started on Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Sudan, etc. The fact that begging for respect has never worked, never once crossed Team Obama’s minds.

• Mortgage Failure Program: Finally, do you remember Obama’s mortgage rescue plan, which was supposed to help homeowners by stopping the flood of foreclosures and thereby stabilizing the housing market? It’s not working. According to a special inspector general for the bailout programs, the mortgage plan has not “put an appreciable dent in foreclosure filings” and foreclosures have hit an all time high. In other words, it turns out that giving second chances to irresponsible people does not suddenly make them responsible. And this is forcing down home prices, further hurting the housing industry, and delaying the resolution of millions of inevitable foreclosures, all of which puts more homeowners at risk.

One definition of insanity involves trying the same things over and over but expecting different results. Interestingly, if you add in a little self-pity to that definition, then it seems you’ve defined the Democratic Party.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Am I Seriously Defending Obama? Yep.

As I’ve said before, when Obama does something right, I will point that out. Well, it’s happened. According to a New York Times article this weekend, the US has been fighting a “shadow war against al Qaeda and its allies.” And the Times doesn’t like this one bit. But Obama deserves praise for this decision.

This shadow war began under Bush and has been intensified under Obama. At this point, this shadow war has taken place in a dozen countries, from North Africa to Pakistan to former Soviet republics, and has involved the use of robotic drones, commando teams, missile and air strikes, and the hiring of “local contractors” to find and kill these terrorists. Also, this war is apparently being shifted to the CIA from the military.

This is absolutely the right way to fight terrorism and Obama deserves credit for his decision.

History has proven time and time again (without exception), and is proving once more in Afghanistan, that you just can’t fight terrorism with traditional military action. Terrorists disappear too easily into civilian populations and don’t require the types of infrastructure that ground forces are designed to combat. Indeed, trying to fight terrorists with large scale military operations merely results in getting soldiers killed and driving civilians to the terrorists’ cause; the only way to fight terrorists is exactly what is apparently being done as part of this shadow war.

Good for Obama, good for our country.

But of course, that’s not the end of this issue. Indeed, Obama’s left flank is upset to learn about this shadow war. Here are their arguments and why they are garbage:
1. These efforts are intended to kill the terrorists, not arrest them.
Yes, and that’s the point. When someone declares war against the United States and sets out to kill American civilians, they have lost any right to demand that they be arrested and treated according to criminal law. They have made themselves into military targets, just as if they were a battleship parked off an American port, and we are within our rights under any reading of law or international law to kill them. Indeed, even under the Geneva Convention, terrorists deserve less protection than even enemy soldiers. Thus, this argument is simply wrong on all counts.
2. The potential for botched operations might fuel anti-American rage.
This is a sucker argument because it applies to any action by the US. Even if we sent in unarmed police with warrants and provided trial attorneys on the spot to hand out teddy bears, there is still the potential for botched operations. What you need to look at are the alternatives. Under this policy, the worst that happens is that the US hits the wrong target and kills a few innocent civilians. That’s regrettable and will outrage people in those countries, but the outrage will be nothing compared to the outrage caused by the United States Army occupying the country and going house to house trying to find the proverbial terrorist needle in the stack of needles.
3. Blurring the line between soldiers and spies “could put troops at risk of being denied Geneva Convention protections.”
This is the most disingenuous argument on the list because al Qaeda does not act in accordance with the Geneva Convention and does not extend such protections to US soldiers or civilians.
4. Reliance on authoritarian foreign leaders could lead to murky loyalties.
The world is an ugly place full of bad people. Some can be helpful and others harmful. The idea that we should only deal with good people is a utopian delusion that limits our allies to a handful of useless countries. And if the left really believed this argument, then why do they advocate the US dealing with Hamas, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China and a dozen more.
5. The use of “private contractors” worries the left that the US “has outsourced some of its most important missions to a sometimes unaccountable private army.”
This is more utopian doublespeak. It’s also bad policy. In many instances, there is simply no way for Americans to get intelligence on what is going on in remote places unless they deal with these “private contractors.” Moreover, why should we risk the lives of American men and women when we can hire local mercenaries to do the job for us? Now, to the extent this complaint is about effectiveness, I would agree that we need to be careful not to waste valuable opportunities on bad bets. But the military is unlikely to use “contractors” who are not effective. Finally, this idea of unaccountability is simply wrong. The “contractors” may not be subject to US law or Congressional oversight, but the American officers who hire them would be.
6. This is leading to weakened Congressional oversight, which is undoing “safeguards introduced after Congressional investigations into clandestine wars of the past.”
As you may recall from way back, I am a firm believer in Congressional oversight of everything the military or intelligence communities do in our name. But I don’t see how the waging of such a war, which will be overseen by Congressional intelligence committees, will weaken that oversight. And if it does, then we should strengthen the oversight, not stop the operation.

This policy makes a world of sense. It is, in fact, one of the first things we’ve done about terrorism that actually has a chance to stop terrorism. Compared with Afghanistan, where we’re fighting on the losing side of a civil war, or Somalia, where we’re playing catch and release with modern-day pirates, or Europe, where we’re playing legalistic footsie with people who want to kill us, this is finally a policy that should lead to the eventual destruction of these terrorist organizations. And the phony arguments of the left to keep us from undertaking this policy should be treated with the contempt they deserve. Thus, I must say quite firmly, that in this, I do support Obama.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Teenage Sex Is Not Harmful

If there’s one thing liberals love, it’s spinning studies to back up their point of view. Take the recent study by two sociologists from the Universities of California and Minnesota who studied the effects of teen sex on academic achievement. This study is being spun as evidence that teen sex “is not going to derail [teenager’s] educational trajectories.” Of course, that’s not what the study actually found.

The study was done by Bill McCarthy and Eric Grodsky. They analyzed surveys taken by students in 1994-1995 and compared those to student academic records to determine if being sexually active had any effect on student academic achievement. Here’s what they found: teens who were in a “committed relationship” did no better and no worse than their non-active peers. In other words, as the AP describes these results:
“Teens in serious relationships did not differ from their abstinent counterparts in terms of their grade-point average, how attached they are to school or college expectations. They were also not more likely to have problems in school, be suspended or absent.”
Cool huh! Party on kiddies.

Indeed, here’s the spin people like Peggy Giordano, a sociologist from Bowling Green State University, have put on this: “this should give some comfort to parents who may be concerned that their teenage son or daughter is dating.” And the AP reported this study thusly: “the findings. . . challenge to some extent assumptions that sexually active teens tend to do poorer in school.”

Whew! And here I was worried.

But wait. . . there seem to be more findings.

First, the above conclusions apply only to teens in committed relationships. Teens who are engaged in “casual sex had lower GPAs, cared less about school and experienced more problems in school. . . . Teens who hook up also were at greater risk of being suspended or expelled and had lower odds of expecting to go to college.”

In other words, if your teen is in a “committed relationship,” then they should do as well as everyone else. But if they aren’t in a committed relationship, then being sexually active hurts their grades, their attendance, their chances of graduation and their chances of going to college. That's a pretty big caveat and looks a lot different than how the AP is spinning this study as finding that teenage sex is not harmful.

And it doesn't stop there. University of Southern California sociologist Julie Albright uses these results to argue that it’s time to revamp sex education to “emphasize the importance of relationships and spell out the consequences of casual sex.”

But that’s faulty logic, if you can even call it logic. In Vegas, these results would be called a sucker bet: if you win, nothing happens, but if you lose, then it gets bad. That’s hardly an enticing proposition. And, consequently, it makes no sense to advocate "committed relationships" to teens. In fact, that's like suggesting kids try pot in the hopes they stay away from meth.

There’s also one more interesting fact that I haven’t mentioned yet. It turns out the quote from the AP about teens in a committed relationship not being “more likely to have problems in school, be suspended or absent,” isn't accurate. To the contrary, the study actually found that teens “who have sex -- whether it’s a serious or casual relationship -- were at higher risk of being truant and dropping out compared with teens who don't have sex.”

In other words, our sucker bet actually is: if you do it right, you lose, if you do it wrong, you lose big.

The other thing the study did not address was the effects of teen pregnancy, which simply does not happen to the abstinent group. Teen pregnancy has been shown to be linked to lower educational levels for the mother and child, higher rates of poverty, and poorer “life outcomes” for the children of teenage mothers, i.e. lower paying jobs, higher chance of poverty, higher crime rates, higher drug addiction rates, etc.

How can anyone legitimately spin this to say that parents should take “comfort” from this study? Well, because this study is aimed at a generation of lazy parents who didn’t want to raise their kids. They preferred to hand that task off to the schools. And now they’re feeling guilty that their kids have turned out to be losers. The spin on studies like this is intended to assuage that guilt.

So what is the answer? The answer is probably to take this whole issue away from schools and thereby force parents to take responsibility for their own kids again. Having unionized employees teach kids to aim for the second worst outcome on a sucker bet just doesn’t seem like a good policy.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Passes For "Conservative" At HuffPo

Leftists are interesting creatures. They are immune to reality. Logic and truth are foreign concepts to them. They are seething with hate. They love to put their ignorance on display. And sometimes, they pretend to be conservatives. Take, for example, Eric Margolis, who rants at Huffpo on occasion. Eric claims to be moderately conservative, defining himself as an “Eisenhower Republican.” You can tell me in the comments if you buy into that laugher.

To properly get a sense of who Eric is, let’s look at two pieces that he ran over at Huffpo about Afghanistan and Iraq. But first, some background: Eric is a fool with no understanding of history, no grasp on reality and an indifference to facts. He believes that “America has become addicted to debt and war,” and he seems to despise the American military, which he describes derisively as “professional soldiers” (in the Roman context) and “mercenaries.” He also thinks that using modern weapons in a place like Afghanistan is “cowardly”:
“In my view, as an old soldier and war correspondent, using heavy bombers to attack tribal levies or employing gunships and drones against tribal compounds is cowardly.”
Note the assertion that “America’s professional soldiers” are waging a war against civilians.

You may also note that Eric mentions that he is a former solider. In fact, he reminds us of this over and over because he thinks this means something. Perhaps he’s forgetting that Lee Harvey Oswald, Hitler and Alan Alda also were soldiers, and they were all less paranoid than Eric.

And speaking of soldiers, Eric has no love for “fire-breathing Gen. Stanley McChrystal” or our “Special Forces ‘mafia’.” He also hates Fox News, Republicans and the American people, as he was just sure that those morons would make McChrystal into a hero, and thereby the Republicans would “again sadly demonstrate they have become the party of America's dim and ignorant.” He also hates the Tea Party because it appeals to the “fears and prejudices” of its followers, and he rejects the Republican Party because it is influenced by the evil Tea Party.

Oh, and speaking of evil, in a 2009 essay titled “Don’t Blame Hitler Alone for World War II,” Eric claims that it was wrong to give Hitler full blame for World War II, because this was a “preventive war” forced on Hitler by the Soviets.

Ok, so that’s conservative Eric. Now let’s take a quick look at what he just wrote about Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are some highlights.

The Taliban are resisting “western occupation” of Afghanistan. . . forget that the Taliban were there long before the West arrived.

And why would we occupy Afghanistan you ask? Well, first he rants something about the US wanting to control the biggest exporter of heroin. But then he changes his mind mid-rant to alert us that the US wants Afghanistan to control its “oil”. . . which doesn’t exist.

But his real hatred is aimed at our being in Iraq. See if you can follow this:

He starts by saying that we only went into Iraq because the “Seven Sisters” have been squeezed out of their oil fields in places like Iran, and they needed Iraq’s oil wealth to get back into the game. The “Seven Sisters,” by the way, was the name given to the big seven American oil firms in the 1950s. Only four still exist and only two remain American.

But then he suddenly realizes that people might not buy the idea that we need Iraq’s oil because. . . well, we don’t. So he says that the real reason we wanted their oil fields was to gain influence over people like Japan who need the oil. Apparently, occupying Japan doesn’t give us enough influence. His proof? Well, “as the old saying goes, America’s trinity is ‘God, guns and gasoline.’” Wow, now that’s definitive!

Then he gets a little crazy. . . er:
1. He notes that “American ‘liberation’ left Iraq politically, economically and socially shattered, ‘killed’ in the words of former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz.” To back this up, he claims that “reputable studies estimate Iraq’s death toll at mid-hundreds of thousands to one million, not counting claims by UN observers that 500,000 Iraqi children died of disease as a result of the US-led embargo before 2003.” Of course, there are no reputable studies that say this, there are only a couple of far left guesses. Even the AP only puts the death toll at 100,000.

2. He goes on: “four million Sunni Iraqis remain refugees.” FYI, that’s more Sunnis than exist.

3. He says the “surge” only worked because Iran ordered the Shia Mahdi Army militia “to temporarily end resistance” and because of “deft bribery” by the Americans who spent “untold millions bribing Sunni fighters.”

4. Then he takes a quick side trip to warn us that Washington is building new “fortified embassies” in Kabul, Islamabad and Baghdad? These “may hold 1,000 ‘diplomats.’ Osama bin Laden calls them, ‘Crusader Fortresses.’” You see people. . . it’s all there in black and white!

5. And what about the “50,000 US troops left until 2011 . . . to ‘advise and assist”? Well, “to this old war correspondent and military historian, that sounds an awful lot like the British Empires employment of native troops under white officers.” Military historian? Yeah, sure.

6. Of course, he couldn’t leave the Jews out of this because no paranoid rant is complete without a little anti-Semitism. So, did you know that “Large numbers of Iraqis doctors and scientists have been murdered”? And guess who did it? Well, Eric doesn’t want to say definitively because there’s no “hard evidence,” but he lets us know that a lot of people are saying they were killed “by Israel’s Mossad.”
That’s probably enough for you to get the point. Eric is an anti-Semitic, anti-American nutjob with paranoid delusions of American schemes to conquer the world. He fits right in at Huffpo. And he is anything but a “conservative.”

I guess it’s become the vogue thing for leftists to masquerade as “conservatives.”

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Obama Who? Pelosi What? Never Heard of Them!

My how the mighty have fallen. In a few short months, Obama has gone from messiah to pariah. His agenda has gone from ambitious to noxious. And Nancy Pelosi. . . well, she’s never been able to show her face outside her home district. With the mid-terms fast approaching, the Democrats are finally showing some brains. . . by running away from the mess they’ve made and each other.

Think back a few months. Barack Obama was the Kool-Aid Savior. He could do no wrong. The MSM wept in his presence. Average liberals read “his” book, tried to find out what he ate on his pizza, had sexual fantasies about him, and drew him in Biblical poses. Remember that?

My how times change.

Did you know that when he went to Texas the other day, only one candidate was willing to be seen with him? The candidate for Lt. Governor. Everyone else (including Congresscritters) suddenly found themselves too busy doing anything else. And Texas is not unique. When Obama went to Wisconsin, Sen. Russ Feingold disappeared off the face of the planet. It seems that no one wants Obama to come to their districts to campaign for them! Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly even released a new ad Monday that lumps Obama, Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner together, labeling all three: "the Washington crowd."

Now think back on the Obama/Pelosi agenda. Do you remember how the Stimulus was needed to create jobs? Remember how that was going to be the centerpiece of their November campaign? Remember how they needed to pass ObamaCare to give the voters something to latch onto? Do you remember how that was going to be the centerpiece of their November campaign? Do you remember how the second, third and fourth jobs bills were going to be the centerpiece of their November campaign? Do you remember how financial regulation was going to be the centerpiece of their November campaign? You get the picture, right?

Well, get this. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), who is running for Senate in Indiana, won’t mention health care reform. In Iowa, the Democratic candidate for governor is running ads attacking the Republican candidates’ health care plan for being too much like ObamaCare. Rick Boucher (D-Va) began his campaign by running ads highlighting his opposition to ObamaCare and Obama’s energy bill. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) just did a two day swing through Democratic strongholds in South Florida without mentioning the Democrats’ legislative record.

And that’s actually the advice they’re getting from their handlers: whatever you do, don’t talk about the Democrats’ legislative record. Instead, they are being advised to focus on “shaking up Washington” and whatever new plan the Democrats can dream up to create jobs. Indeed, privately, Democratic strategists are admitting that their legislative record “has limited political benefit in swing districts.” Basically, it’s toxic in America.

Fascinating. Who could have possibly foreseen this? ** cough cough ** Commentarama readers ** cough cough **

So what does Nancy Pelosi say about this? We have no idea. . . Nancy’s gone into hiding. Over the last 20 months, Pelosi visited 21 states on behalf of members of her party. Here’s the catch: she hasn’t appeared publicly in any of them! Yep.

Like an ancient vampire, Pelosi has been doing fundraising, sucking donors dry, but carefully staying out of the light of day as she sucks. In fact, later this month, Pelosi will be doing private fundraisers in Dallas and Houston and the two Democrats who the fundraisers are for won’t even show up (Chet Edwards and Ciro Rodriquez). Can you blame them? As Eileen Smith of the Texas Monthly so nicely explained the problem: “Why doesn’t D.C. just send Satan down to campaign here?”

So “the most powerful speaker in history” is now about as popular as Satan. Nice.

But not everyone is happy with the Democrats’ new “run for your life” strategy. Party Chairman Tim Kaine says Democrats would be “making a mistake” to run away from Obama and the party. Actually, the mistake was everything they’ve done up till now. . . as Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) inadvertently admitted: “Everybody is in one boat. I’d recommend correcting the course of the boat rather than swimming away from it.”

Sorry Bob, that boat already sank and the rats are swimming for their political lives.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Bush People Attack Republicans Again

The Bush team never liked conservatism, never understood politics, didn’t have a clue how to govern, and didn’t care. They thought they were “beyond all that.” And over eight years of nasty, big-government incompetence, they managed to drive a very conservative public right into the arms of the socialists and crazies that make up the Democratic Party. In fact, if it were not for Obama’s overreach, they would have made the Republicans into a permanent minority party. Well, they’re back, and they’re doing their best to hurt the Republicans once again.

A few days ago, several Republicans began advocating changing the 14th Amendment to reflect the realities of the modern world. While I observed that this was likely little more than an election ploy by some of them, I also noted that this was a good idea if it could be achieved. Moreover, this idea cannot be reasonably construed as racist or offensive (except of course by far-left race-baiting Democrats) as it would do nothing more than make our laws similar to the laws of every other country in the world. Heck, even uber-RINO Lindsey Graham is on board for this one. Since then, ninety-four Republicans have co-sponsored legislation that would limit citizenship to children born in the U.S. with at least one parent who is a naturalized citizen, legal permanent resident or serving in the military.

But the Bush people don’t like Republicans or conservatives or the public or anything we ignorant and racist conservatives and/or the public might want. So they’ve pounced on this:

Exhibit 1: Mark McKinnon, who served as Bush’s media adviser on both Presidential campaigns said that Republicans would risk losing “their rightful claim to the 14th Amendment” if they continue to “demagogue” the issue:
“The 14th Amendment is a great legacy of the Republican Party. It is a shame and an embarrassment that the GOP now wants to amend it for starkly political reasons.”
So expressing and trying to address the concerns of the vast majority of the public is being a “demagogue”? So trying to make our citizenship laws just like everyone else on the planet is an “embarrassment”? And since when has anyone credited the Republican Party with creating the 14th Amendment? Oh wait, I think 50 Cent mentioned it in one of his rap songs. . . my bad.

For good measure, McKinnon finishes his slander by chastising Republicans for wanting to use the 14th Amendment “to drive people away.” Wow, that sounds like something right off the digital-sewer pages of Huffpo.

McKinnon, by the way, worked for a slew of Democrats before he joined Team Bush. Democrats like former Texas Governor Ann Richards of Texas (“poor George can’t help it, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth”) and drunken Rep. Charlie Wilson. He also represents steroid user Lance Armstrong and turd Bono. McKinnon has said that he only joined Bush’s staff because:
“This Governor Bush was doing some things that really got my attention. He was talking about education reform. He was talking about immigration reform. He was talking about issues that had typically been Democratic issues. He was talking about them in a really compassionate way. . . he’d gotten ahead of the Republican Party.”
Yep, Bush was so far ahead of the Republican Party he’d become a Democrat. McKinnon also is the source who blasted Palin in the media for her debate preparation. At the time, he was informally helping out the McCain campaign, though he resisted formally joining because he “wanted no part in flailing Obama.”

Exhibit 2: Cesar Conda, who served as a domestic policy adviser to Dick Cheney, called this proposal “incredibly offensive” and said that “this proposal . . . validates the left's worst lies about our party not being inclusive.” In other words, we’re proving we're racists. At least he called these "lies," which is more than the other Bush Leaguers have done.

Conda describes himself as a movement conservative, though he’s recently attacked Rand Paul and now Colorado Republican candidate Ken Buck. He’s also praised Obama’s “muscular policy to win the war in Afghanistan.”

Exhibit 3: Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, said the Republican proposal violates the “wisdom of the authors of the 14th Amendment” who “wanted to take this very difficult issue -- citizenship -- outside of the political realm.” He then accused Republicans of wanting to substitute a “subjective standard” for the “objective standard [of] birth.”

Of course, this is a lie as no one is suggesting substituting a subjective standard. Nor does he apparently understand the reasons the 14th Amendment was written the way it was. And since when is citizenship "a difficult issue" unless your advocating something the public hates.

What’s more, Gerson is one of those “conservatives” who routinely demonizes other conservatives in his column. For example, in a column titled “Letting Fear Rule,” he compared opponents of Bush’s immigration reform bill to “nativist bigots of the 1880s.” He has been blasted by various conservatives including National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru. Here is Gerson talking about the Republican Party:
“My low point with the Republican party came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The response of many Republicans was to use the disaster as an excuse for cutting government spending, particularly the Medicare prescription-drug benefit for seniors.”
And here is Gerson attacking conservatism:
“What does antigovernment conservatism offer to inner-city neighborhoods where violence is common and families are rare? Nothing. What achievement would it contribute to racial healing and the unity of our country? No achievement at all. Anti-government conservatism turns out to be a strange kind of idealism — an idealism that strangles mercy.”
Yep, because small government conservatism is about anarchy and racism, and only big government can cure racism and broken families. . . look how great Johnson Great Society turned out! Oh wait, that only made things worse. Of course, the fact that big government caused the problems Gerson is proposing big government should now fix escapes his small mind.

These are the people who drove the Bush administration. They are the Bush League. Their unmitigated and unrelenting failures gave us Obama and disgraced the Republican brand. And now they are at it again, lobbing slanders at those evil Republicans for trying to defend their country from a virtual invasion.

It’s time these people went away and joined the rest of the “big government compassionate conservatives” on the ash heap of history.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Obama’s Mortgage-Bribe Hail Mary

There is an informed rumor making the rounds in the financial community that we are about to get a huge, nasty surprise from Team Obama. Desperate to buy votes prior to the mid-term elections and in need of being seen to be doing something about the pathetic ObamaConomy, Obama may be about to forgive the debt of millions of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages. All of the analysts discussing this think Obama has nothing to lose by trying this. But they’re wrong. Very wrong.

First, some background: The financial crisis began when the housing bubble burst. What had happened was that millions of Americans bought homes they never should have. This was made possible by sucker loans, like interest only loans, adjustable rate mortgages and zero percent down loans -- imprudent instruments that let spendthrift homebuyers buy way more than they should have and which depended on an impossibility -- that the housing market would never stall and they would keep receiving 20% raises every year.

These loans were in turn “securitized,” meaning that they were bound together into packets of debt, which were sold to investors as a single investment. When the homeowners started losing their jobs and defaulting on those loans in much larger than expected numbers, the value of these securities crashed, causing bank balance sheets to collapse.

To stop this, Bush and the Democrats created the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which let these homeowners refinance their mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The idea was that it was better to keep them paying less on their mortgages (for a longer time) than it was to have them default. To support this program, the federal government (i.e. you and I) pledged to back up to $400 billion of these refinanced loans, should the borrowers default.

The plan being floated now would involve Fannie and Freddie forgiving most of the debt of anyone who holds a mortgage that is greater than the value of the home it secures -- it is estimated this would be 15 million people. You and I would pick up the tab for this because on December 24, 2009, the Obama Treasury lifted the $400 billion cap, essentially making us liable for an unlimited amount of debt. And "forgiving" is the same as allowing a partial default, hence we cover the difference. It is estimated that up to $800 billion in such debt would be forgiven, though that number will prove much higher as such numbers always do.

The analysts who have examined this think Obama has little to lose by trying this:
1. With the debt already so incredibly high, adding another $800 billion to a $2 trillion deficit would go almost unnoticed. And those people concerned about the debt are not likely to vote for the Democrats in any event. Thus, they lose nothing.

2. Conversely, the people whose debts would be forgiven would presumably be grateful to Obama and the Democrats.

3. The Democrats could take the credit for this program, but simultaneously distance themselves individually because this would be done through the Treasury without Congressional approval.

4. Finally, the stimulus effects of this would be significant because the people who are underwater right now are the most profligate spenders among us. And having the thrifty relieve them of their stupidity and freeing them to spend again would unleash a mass orgy of celebratory spending as these spendthrift jerks rush out to buy new SUVs and the such.
In fact, the analysts are so sure of this that Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and others are putting out notes alerting their clients of this. Morgan Stanley is actively lobbying for it.

But there is something the analysts are missing: the public is furious and well informed. While the Democrats will bill this as a “bail out for main street,” the public will see through that even before the announcement is finished. They will see this for what it is: a bail out of people who recklessly over-extended themselves, of people who gamed the system, of people who used their homes like credit cards, and of people who speculated on homes as investments. These are the same spending-drunk, risk-ignoring bastards who caused the bubble that led to the financial collapse. And we’re supposed to bail them out?!

Moreover, while the Democrats will call this “debt forgiveness,” it is nothing of the sort: it is hardworking taxpayers paying off the debts run up by these jackasses. And guess who holds the debt that is being “forgiven”? Why, the same dirty SOBs on Wall Street that the public is already thinking about lining up against the wall.

If Obama does this, he will ratchet up the anger at the Democratic party to new heights. People are already furious that the Democrats have bankrupted the government to give the money to their rich banker friends. How do you think they will feel when they discover that the Democrats have decided to do it again, and have chosen to reward people who not only do not need it (as they can pay what they contracted for like everyone else), but who also are probably the least deserving among us. People would be less upset if a naked Harry Reid, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi danced around a bonfire tossing $800 billion in bills into the flames.

And don’t think for a minute that anyone will buy into the idea that the Treasury did this and thus the public shouldn’t hold their local Democrat accountable. One Nazi is guilty of the crimes of all Nazis.

If Obama does this, last summer’s town hall meetings will look like love-ins compared to what will happen next.

The likely date of this happening is probably August 17. So watch for the "August Bribe". . . and the September pitchforks.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vacation Miracle: Michelle Obama Cures Racism!

Everyone has been so focused on Barack Obama’s ability to work miracles (like turning support in opposition and turning taxpayer money into vacations), that they never realized that Michelle Obama can work miracles too. Do you remember the garden with the miraculous growth? Well, she’s done it again. This time she’s ended racism in Spain just by visiting. It’s a miracle!

You may recall that Madame O and her daughter are off to Spain for a little taxpayer sponsored “mother/daughter vacation” this week (I’ll explain exactly what that means in a moment). What does that have to do with racism? Well, until Madame O landed, the Clinton State Department had this warning about Spain posted on its website, right after the warning about Islamic terrorism and rampaging, knife-wielding, binge-drunk British tourists:
“Racist prejudices could lead to the arrest of Afro-Americans who travel to Spain.”
Yep. If you go to Spain and you have an “Afro”, some prejudiced racist will arrest you. . . and there’s no telling what the unprejudiced racists will do!

This warning apparently stemmed from the detention last year of two black US government employees for no apparent reason. And we know that’s legit because we know that two black US government employees would never lie and scream racism unless it was 100% true. Oh, as an aside, for those keeping score at home, in the past month we have now determined that al Qaeda, the Tea Party, the Republican Party, Fox News, Arizona, Andrew Breitbart, Tom Vilsack and the USDA, the New York media, the Congressional ethics office, scientists who use the term “black hole,” and now Spain are all dirty racists.

Any hoo, the moment Madame O’s rump hit the tarmac in Costa del Sol, the American embassy in Madrid removed the warning. Allakhazam! And like that, they aren’t racists anymore. Yep, the whole country is cured of its horrid racism by the blessing of being visited by Madame O and her entourage. . . I mean, “her daughter.”

Ok, I’m being a little facetious. She didn’t really cure them of racism, their racism naturally expired. Indeed, when asked why they removed the warning, the embassy said: “The note has been removed. It was 15 months old and out of date. Somebody forgot to remove it.” See. . . racism has a 15 month statute of limitations and then it expires! Who knew?

Ok, ok, I’m still being a little facetious. See, it turns out that arresting blacks for no reason is not racist in Spain like it would be in the United States. Said the embassy: “We are in no way suggesting Spanish police are racist. This is an isolated incident.” Wow, so this is a miracle after all! Indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever heard liberals buy the “isolated incident” excuse before? The next thing you know, someone will buy the "but the farmer likes me now" argument! No. . . that will never happen.

So there you have it. . . a vacation miracle.

Oh wait, I almost forgot: let me define “little mother/daughter vacation” in the present new-speak. The White House called this “a private, mother-daughter trip with long-time family friends.” What this means is Madame O and her daughter Sasha took Air Force 2 to Spain. . . along with 40 “family friends”. . . and 70 Secret Service agents. . . all staying in 60 rooms at the hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella. The hotel Villa Padiema, by the way, is a frugal five-star hotel ranked among the top 30 hotels in the world with room rates running up to £4,200 a night. Maybe you should think about putting in a little overtime friend taxpayer?

In addition to the 70 Secret Service agents, Madame O and her MC Hammer-like entourage will be guarded by 250 formerly racist Spanish police officers and military personnel.

On the plus side, at least they didn’t paint the trees green like they used to do for Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, though they did clean up the beach. . . which means the Obamas can now claim that they got at least one beach clean.

Finally, let me leave you with a little puzzle/game. This is a kind of Where’s Waldo game for taxpayers. Spot which of the “tourists” below you’re paying for! (HINT: All of them.)

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Amending the 14th Amendment, Another Fake Out?

Yesterday, a group of Republican Senators came out in favor of holding hearings on amending the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship rights to anyone born in the United States. This wouldn't be unusual if the Republicans were Jim DeMint or a James M. Inhofe. But they weren’t. This time it was Arizona’s John McCain and Jon Kyl, McCain’s domestic partner Lindsey Graham, and Alabama’s Jeff Sessions. A strange collection indeed. So is this for real? In truth, I think the answer is “no.”

Right now the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born to American parents or anyone born on United States territory. This second part is the problem, as it allows what have been called “anchor babies.” This involves a mother rushing to the United States just in time to give birth. Once the child is born, it becomes an American citizen. The mother then uses the child as a means to stay in the United States legally and eventually become a citizen herself.

It is estimated that 3.8 million illegal immigrants in this country (of the currently estimated 10.8 million -- 2 million left because of the recession) have children who are United States citizens.

Of this, John Sessions says:
"I'm not sure exactly what the drafters of the (14th) amendment had in mind, but I doubt it was that somebody could fly in from Brazil and have a child and fly back home with that child, and that child is forever an American citizen."
Yeah, I kind of doubt that too.

The 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868 after the Civil War to grant citizenship to recently freed slaves. Had the 14th Amendment required that at least one parent be a United States citizen before the child could gain citizenship, then slaves would not have qualified as none of them were citizens. Thus, it provided citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”

At the time this was passed, it was never contemplated that Mexico would essentially fall apart south of us and that Mexicans would use this as a means of fleeing their country. Indeed, when this was passed in the 1860s, Mexico was quite prosperous. As for the rest of the world, it's not very likely that many pregnant women even traveled to the United States back then because a sea voyage would take far too long and would be too risky.

So what would be a good solution? Well, since the slavery issue is over, i.e. there are no more ex-slaves still needing citizenship, it is perhaps time to change the 14th Amendment to require birth to an American citizen -- as almost every other country in the world requires.

Of course, the Democrats will call this racist. . . but what don’t they call racist? (yawn) They will call it anti-immigrant, when it’s truly nothing of the sort, it’s anti-linejumper. They will call it anti-Hispanic, which only makes sense if you believe that all Hispanics got here illegally. Some are whining that this will create vague bureaucratic hardships for parents giving birth! As in they would need to provide proof of citizenship. . . like a drivers license. Big whoop. Others hide behind the idea “this won’t deter illegal immigrants,” but that’s just flawed reasoning, i.e. just because laws don’t prevent all murders doesn’t mean we should make murder legal.

The real problem here, however, is that this is probably a gimmick. The current rule resides in the Constitution. Thus, changing it will require an Amendment to the Constitution. That means 2/3 majorities in both chambers of Congress and 3/4 of the states would need to approve this. I can’t see that happening.

I suspect this is really a couple of RINOs desperate to prove that they aren't RINOs without having to actually do anything about it. So what they've done here is latch onto an issue that they know cannot be delivered. This gives them something deeply conservative to pound home to prove how conservative they really are without any fear that they will ever be called upon to actually pass it into law. That’s why it should not surprise you that Lindsey Grahamnesty and John McCain have signed up for this. Kyl isn't a RINO, but he seems to like trying to change the Constitution, having tried it before with both Graham and Diane Feinstein. Sessions is a strong conservative and has been battling illegal immigration, so that's probably why he's joined in this.

I don’t trust the motives of McCain or Graham, nor do I think this will work because of the impossible hurdles it must pass. I'm hoping it does. I really do. It’s time that this country fixed its immigration system and a good start would be to stop this practice of anchor-babying. But at this point, this looks like nothing more than the proverbial carrot tied to the string hanging just out of reach of the donkey, and that this intended simply to be dangled in front of us but never delivered.

But who knows? Maybe the RINOs have miscalculated? Maybe the people are upset enough about this issue that it will gain traction and eventually become law?

Wouldn't that be ironic, if the RINOs actually did something right?

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