Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 55

Wow, that stunk. I really thought it would be better. . . so much better.

What film disappointed you most?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Film Friday: Real Steel (2011)

Sports films tend to be very formulaic, and Real Steel is no exception. This film has all the usual moments as the heroes make their way to the final-act fight against the all-power enemy controlled by the vilest of bad guys. Total cliché. But you know what? The formula works, and Real Steel handles it quite nicely. This was a fun movie.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ve Vant To Ask You Some Qvestions!

Politico has come up with a list of ten debate questions, five for Obama and five for Romney. Meh. Anyway, I figure I would discuss these and maybe suggest better ones. You should suggest your own in the comments.

For Obama: Politico’s first question is a laugher. They want to know what Obama will say to the “millions of Americans who might have jobs today if you had made the 2009 stimulus package bigger.” They say he promised bold action and he “blinked.” Oh boy. He spent $787 billion. Basically, he spent the equivalent of the Korean economy. The Korean economy supports 30 million jobs. Obama promised 3 million. He got squat. Stimulus spending does not work and spending more wouldn’t have produce any more jobs. But of course, this question would let Obama sound reasonable to moderates for not overspending and he could simultaneously claim the Republicans blocked him (even though they had no power to block him). This is a softball.

Their next question is the standard, we thought you were going to bring us together, but those evil Republicans wouldn’t work with you, so did you overestimate your ability to work with those monsters? That’s a worthless softball too. But then things get more interesting.

The third question is why Obama hasn’t done more to protect people from losing their homes. This is a good question, though it would be better to ask him what he plans to do. The answer is that there’s nothing he really can do unless he wants to buy out mortgages or nationalize the lenders, so it would be interesting to see his answer.

The fourth question asks “how can you promise to protect entitlements when you’ve put them on the table.” This was during the debt ceiling negotiations. There’s no good answer here, though his campaign commercials are delusionally claiming that he strengthened entitlements by stripping them of money. It would be interesting to see how he spins out of this one.

Finally, they ask why he hasn’t shown “leadership on gun control.” The answer is he knows he’d lose the election if he suggested that, but it would be interesting to see him stuck between his gun-hating supporters and the public.

Other questions I would ask would be:
1. How did the DOE clean energy loans program become such a disaster and will you prosecute Solyndra and the others who took loans obviously planning to go out of business? Also, what will you do to protect the rest of the money that was lent?

2. Why can’t we simply return spending to 2008 levels to cut the deficit?

3. What tangible benefits has your Middle East policy produced?

4. What do you plan to do to create jobs?

5. You said you would keep lobbyists out of your government, but your government is full of them. Why did you appoint these people?
For Romney: The first question for Romney strikes me as odd. They want Romney to pinky-swear that he won’t eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction. I don’t recall anyone outside of this blog talking about that? I think this is an attempt to put words in his mouth and make him deny something he never said, so they can call him a flip-flopper while simultaneously scaring people. That’s dirty pool.

Then they ask how he can keep “popular, expensive parts of [ObamaCare] but get rid of the underpinnings that pay for them?” Well, the two things Romney has promised to keep don’t cost the government a penny, so this question is misleading. Imagine that.

The third question is rotten too: “why is it fair that you pay a lower tax rate than many low-income and middle-class Americans?” Uh... that’s not true. Someone actually looked this up today and discovered that Romney’s tax rate was higher than 97% of all taxpayers. But it doesn’t sound so bad to say, “is it fair that you pay a lower rate than 3% of Americans?”

Then they try to revive the tax return issue by asking why Romney demanded more years of taxes from Paul Ryan than he released himself. Yawn.

Finally, they ask him to name three things he disagrees with in Ryan’s budget. This is just an attempt to make him and Ryan appear to be at odds, which they aren’t. Anyway, there’s no right answer here. I would evade this by saying that “you can’t look at a budget that way because it’s all part of a mosaic... now f-off twerp.”

Other questions I would ask would be:
1. What do you plan to do to create jobs?

2. Would you support an across the board spending cut in the Federal government? At what percent? And what other cuts would you make?

3. Obama has been blasting you on Bain Capital, can you tell us how many businesses Bain closed, how many jobs were lost, did they make any money on those closures, how much did they lose on those closures, what companies are alive today because of Bain, and how many jobs do they provide today?

4. What role will Paul Ryan play in your administration?

5. You once said John Roberts was the type of justice you wanted to appoint. Has your opinion changed in light of the ObamaCare ruling, and if so, what justice is most like the type of person you’d like to appoint now?
What would you ask?

FYI: First debate Next Wednesday, October 3.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Scott's Links September 2012

Scott roams the internet far and wide to ply his trade as a link dealer. Fortunately, Scott provides links free to us. Check these out. . . share your thoughts! And away we go. . .

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Somebody Think Of The Children!

I’m going to agree with Michelle Obama. How strange. But like I’ve said, when someone is right, they are right and I don’t care what side they are on. The issue is school lunches and there has been a lot of brouhaha about her attempt to make them more healthy. The things is, she’s right. Surprised?

One of the few (only) projects Michelle Obama has been involved in has been trying to make school lunches more healthy. And as a result of her initiative, and the corresponding legislation, the government has begun to impose health requirements on school lunches which have required that greasy bad foods like burgers, fries and pizza be removed and replaced with salads, vegetables, beans and hummus.

Naturally, the kids aren’t happy. They are whining about how bad these meals taste and how hungry they are when they don’t eat these lunches. Some creative young capitalists have even created black markets in things like chocolate syrup (paid for by the squeeze), cookies, chips, etc. Some educators too are complaining that the government is imposing these requirements and they are getting grief from the kids. And conservatives are joining them. . . wrongly.

So why are these conservatives wrong? Well, they are framing this as a freedom issue, but it’s not. These are state provided lunches and to argue that the students have a “freedom” right to have whatever they want provided defies any sort of definition of freedom of which I am aware. Likewise, it opens the door to this idea that government benefits should cater to the desires of those who receive them. What is the difference between this and a government housing recipient demanding a choice in housing style or a food stamps recipient demanding a right to use their stamps on alcohol or Twinkies?

Don’t forget that except in rare circumstances, any student who doesn’t want to eat what the government provides has the right to bring their own lunch from home. So where is the loss of freedom? If a student wants pizza, bring it, but don’t whine that you have a right to be served it by the government. That’s liberal talk!

Further, there is a very good reason for this. Like it or not, there is an obesity epidemic with somewhere around 30% of kids being declared obese and with that number rising each year. The fact of the matter is that obesity is the direct result of calories taken in. Feeding kids hamburgers and pizza not only gives them way more calories than they need (not to mention other unhealthy ingredients), but it teaches them bad habits which will lead to a lifetime of bad dietary choices. Doesn’t it make more sense that if the school is going to offer food to students (a lot of which is free and almost all of which is subsidized) that the food the government offers at least is healthy and teaches the right kinds of lessons? Think about it. This is the same reason we want food stamps limited to staples (something the program does not do well) and why we want education programs for the unemployed, those on welfare, etc. to teach them the kinds of values which won’t make them a burden to society in the future. How does getting kids hooked on fatty foods help society in the long run?

Also, the collateral issues are good for us. First, schools are the first place most kids come into contact with the government. Should we be teaching them that the government is a dispenser of pleasure or that the government will only give you what you need? Secondly, this will teach kids to think ahead. If they don’t want to eat hummus, they need to learn the responsibility of preparing a lunch and making sure they take it to school. Anything that teaches self-reliance is good. Finally, think of the kids who are operating the black market. They have learned the beauty of capitalism and the kids who buy from them at black market profiteering prices are learning the pain of monopolies and of irresponsibility.

This is good for the country and good for conservatism. But most importantly, it’s good for the kids. Do it for the children. ;)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Campaign News

There has been a lot of interesting talk about the Romney campaign lately. From the manufactured claim the campaign is imploding to Paul Ryan slamming all the right-wing pundits who won’t stop smearing the campaign to more polling data. Let’s discuss.

Polls: It seems almost obligatory that we talk about polling these days. So here are two things worth noting. A new Politico/GWU poll claims Romney has a 14% lead on Obama among the middle class. If true, that would not only put the lie to Obama’s class warfare strategy and claims to represent the middle class, but it would also mean Romney is blowing Obama away because 60% of the public is middle class. Interestingly, this figure doesn’t fit with Politico’s topline number of Obama leading by 3%.

The other interesting news was hidden within an article by Dick Morris on why you can’t trust the current polls. We’ve discussed this extensively here, but what Morris adds is that while most polls are using sample turnout identical to 2008, Rasmussen is using a combination of 2008 and 2004. . . not 2010. This explains why Rasmussen is better, but still calls the race a toss up. The electorate in 2004 was one of the most closely balanced in recent history and 2008 was a high-water mark for the Democrats. Neither of those scenarios is likely this time because there is a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the Republicans and many Democratic voters (like college kids) haven’t even registered. Thus, any poll that incorporates the 2008 numbers will be skewed too far toward the Democrats. Moreover, 2004 is not a good balance for 2008 because it was also a low-Republican turnout election which gave the Democrats the House and Senate. Consequently, even Rasmussen’s numbers appear to be skewed left. I suspect that balancing the numbers against 2010 would show Romney with a 5-8% lead.

It’s All Falling Apart: It’s been amazing to watch this false narrative being built about the Romney campaign falling apart. This started at Politico as a speculation piece on one of their back pages. The following morning, several MSM outlets and blogs ran with this story as if it were being reported as true rather than speculation. Suddenly, reporters were asking Romney about it and reporting his responses as him denying the truth of the supposed turmoil. Romney has all but laughed these off, but the MSM continues to run with stories about the troubles Romney is experiencing and how they are desperate for a re-set button, etc. They are also weaving in the fake poll narrative now, claiming that these polls are proof that Romney’s campaign is failing. In the latest incarnation, they are spinning it backwards by claiming the polls caused the panic, even though the panic story began before the polls they are talking about.

Ryan Fires Back: This narrative of internal chaos has been pushed hard by many on the right. Leading the charge is RINO Peggy Noonan, who last week called the Romney campaign “incompetent,” and this week said:
“The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant ‘rolling calamity.’ A lot of people weighed in. . . . [but] no one that I know of defended the campaign or argued ‘you’re missing some of its quiet excellence.’”
This is pathetic logic: “I’m right because I nobody bothered to tell me I’m wrong.” You can prove anything that way. She even claims that an unnamed source inside Romney’s camp secretly agrees with her! Yeah, right. But Noonan is not alone. Others on the left and right ends of the conservative spectrum have been just as harsh. Romney is swinging too far right, not far enough right, hasn’t said enough, says too much, needs to provide specifics, should avoid specifics. Mostly, he just needs to do “better.”

The truth is that our pundit class are idiots. They don’t know what they are talking about, so they try to fake having knowledge by criticizing the campaign while careful avoiding actually saying what the problem is. They do this because criticism is easy and they win no matter what. If Romney loses, they warned him. If he win, it was only because he followed their advice and “did it better.” Moreover, they make their living by drawing attention to themselves. Thus, they look for ways to be controversial and to sound smarter than they really are. This is not helping. These people should be attacking Obama’s myriad of failures, flaws and outrages, but they know they will sell more copies attacking their own side.

Paul Ryan put his finger on this when he said these commentators were wrong and that “I think that’s just the nature of conservative punditry is to do that – to kind of complain – about any imperfection they might see.” Sadly, that is correct.

Return of the Tax Return: Finally, Romney released his 2011 taxes and the media is frustrated. They have no idea how to smear Romney with these because Romney gave $4,020,722 (29.4% of his income) to charity. Obama gave only $172,130 (21%) of his income and Joe Biden gave $5,540 (1.5%) of his income to charity.

There are also no strange surprises or deductions the MSM have been able to attack. So the best they’ve got now is Harry Reid whining to the Las Vegas Sun, “He’s hiding something! He’s hiding something! It is so evident he’s hiding something!” Which makes me ask again why Harry won’t tell us where he buried the children he molested. . . it’s evident he’s hiding something.

Thoughts? Additions?

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Monday, September 24, 2012

97 Days To Taxmageddon!

You’ve probably heard the name Taxmageddon, but you may not know exactly what that means. Taxmageddon is the name given to the largest tax hike in American history and it’s due to happen on January 1, 2013. It is the result of poor thinking in the legislative process as well as Obama’s policies, and it should pretty much dinosaur our economy with extreme prejudice. Here’s what’s coming.

The 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief Acts: The 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief Acts both lowered numerous tax rated but included sunshine provisions which made the tax cuts expire unless they were reauthorized by Congress. The thinking at the time was that this was the only way to get the Democrats to agree to the tax cuts and it would force the Democrats to keep voting for tax cuts right before various election cycles or the Democrats would need to explain to the voters why they allowed the tax cuts to expire.

I’m not a fan of this strategy because (1) this underestimated the ability of the Democrats to deceive average voters as well as their desire to please their progressive flank, (2) this put the Republicans in the position of having to vote “tax cuts for rich” before each election, and (3) it bought into this assumption that somehow tax cuts are the equivalent of spending and needed to be re-authorized or they would return to their higher “default” levels. These are all bad things. And now we can add a fourth. Since the Democrats have nothing to lose by hurting the economy and are playing to their left flank, they have stopped all attempts to reauthorize these tax cuts before they kick in on January 1. Here’s what will happen:

Each personal income tax bracket will rise (10% => 15%, 25% => 28%, 28% => 31%, 33% =>36%). The capital gains rate rises from 15% to 23.8%, the dividend rate rises from 15% to 43.4%. Itemized deductions will begin to phase out again. The marriage penalty returns. The child tax credit falls from $1,000 to $500. The level at which the death tax applies will fall from $3 million to $1 million.

ObamaCare Taxes: Starting January 1, 2013, several of the ObamaCare taxes kick in. There are twenty such taxes in ObamaCare. Several have already gone into effect, like the tanning tax, the tax on withdrawals from your HSA, and others. New taxes taking effect will include:
● A 2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers. There are 12,000 plants across the country employing 409,000 people. Several plan to close and reopen in China because of this tax. Whether this is true or not, it will increase the cost of medicine.

● The Medicare payroll tax will increase from 2.9% of wages to 3.8% for wages above $200,000 ($250,000 if you’re married).

● Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which can be used to pay medical expenses with pre-tax dollars, will be capped at $2,500 per year. They are currently unlimited. These have been popular with families of children with special needs who use them to pay for tuition at special schools.

● The threshold for deducting medical expenses will rise from 7.5% of AGI to 10% of AGI.
The Alternative Minimum Tax: The Alternative Minimum Tax is a way to phase out deductions for people with high incomes. This was reduced, but will now increase again, snaring 31 million families in 2013 as compared to 4 million in 2012. Business expenses for the purchase of equipment will also be reduced to 50% of the value of the equipment from 100%. That will hurt manufacturers as fewer people will replace equipment as it becomes comparatively twice as expensive as before. The deduction for tuition will be eliminated, encouraging people to stay away from college. IRA rules will be changed too to prevent retired people from deducting amounts paid to charities.

What you have here is a disaster. Income tax rates will go up, which reduces the incentive to work. Taxes are going up on manufacturers in competitive industries, meaning they are more likely to leave for China. Business expenses are going way up across the board, which will make it very hard for small business. Taxes are going up on education and college. Health care spending and giving to charities will be discouraged. Savings and investing will be taxes at much higher rates, so will dividends which will hurt old people.

If you set out to hurt the American economy, you couldn’t have done much better than this plan. Not only is this the largest tax increase in American history by far, but it’s targeted to make business less competitive, health care more expensive, and to get people to make decisions (like skipping college or saving less) which will hurt their long term financial health.


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 54

There are films and there are films, and then there are EPIC films. You know the ones, they are eighty hours long and have lots of scenery. . .

What is your favorite EPIC film?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Film Friday: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

When you remake a movie, there will always be a certain amount of predictability. A remake of Planet of the Apes, for example, will not involve the humans winning or killer sharks. It will essentially follow the apocalyptic storyline. But that doesn’t excuse a film being so utterly predictable that only an idiot wouldn’t know what is about to happen in each scene.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Science Fiction A Genre?

Let’s play the semantics game. Should science fiction really be considered a genre? Or is it just a setting? I know science fiction fans are probably gasping right now or grabbing their pitch-lasers, but hear me out. I think this is important.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Why The Fake Polls?

The polling game continues. The MSM keeps putting out polls showing Obama ahead nationally and in the key battleground states. Yet, as soon as you scratch the surface on these polls, it becomes obvious right away that they are skewed to result in pro-Obama outcomes. Let’s take a look at the latest and then I’ll tell you why they’re doing this.

This week we have two offenders: NBC/WSJ and CBS/NYT.

NBC/WSJ just issued a poll showing Obama with a 5% lead in Florida and Virginia and a 7% lead in Ohio. That seems like quite a lot, given that Rasmussen found these states statistically tied and Romney with a 3% national lead. So what’s the real story? Get this.
● On the surface, the Virginia poll shows only +5% Democratic oversampling. This may not sound like a lot, except Democratic turnout that high in Virginia would be identical to 2008 -- which won’t repeat this year. Factor that out and you’ve got a tie. But there’s something even more interesting hidden within this poll. “Independents” are oversampled by around +10%. So who are these independents? Are they genuine independents or leftists pretending to be independents? Well, when you dig deeper, you find that the poll oversampled blacks by 50% and oversampled the rich by about 10%, both of which groups line up on the left. Yet these people don’t show up in Democratic ranks in this poll. Moreover, the overall sample gave Obama a whopping +10% approval rating, compared to a negative 3-4% in most national polls. So it’s likely these independents skew heavily toward the Democrats. Factor that out and Romney wins Virginia easily.

● NBC’s Ohio numbers are ludicrous. They are +10% Democratic. That’s way more Democratic than even 2008. Factor that out and Obama loses by 3%.

● The Florida numbers are interesting because they are only +2% Democratic. So it sounds like Obama wins by 3%. Except, when you look at the Senate numbers, you suddenly see NBC’s sample going +14% for the Democrat, even though everyone else gives the Democrat a small lead. It’s impossible to know what this really means, except you can’t trust this poll.
CBS/NYT shows Obama with a 3% national lead. They no longer provide their underlying data because they’ve been caught too many times now using laughably biased samples. But get this. . . Romney wins 90% of Republicans. Obama wins 92% of Democrats. So to get a 3% win for Obama, Obama must carry independents, right? No. Romney wins independents by +11%. Think about that. If they used a fair sample, then Romney and Obama should get about the same percentage of voters from their own parties. That means Romney should be winning by 11%, but he’s not. He’s losing by 3%. That tells us the sample was probably around +14% for the Democrats!! There’s also no enthusiasm gap for Obama among Democrats, which is inconsistent with all prior polling.

Clearly, these polls are fakes, just as so many others have been in recent months. It’s becoming a worn out story how the polls are skewing sample sizes well into the double digits, well beyond the peak of Democratic turnout in 2008, to show Obama with a tiny lead. Why are they doing this?

The answer is simple: the herd instinct.

As I’ve said many times before, humans are by instinct herd animals. Marketing people understand this, which is why so many advertisements tell you that if you want to belong, you better do what everybody else is doing and buy their product. These appeals work on the human instinct to follow the herd and do what everyone else does.

The left is worried that if it becomes obvious that the public, i.e. the herd, is running with Romney, the rest of the herd will follow. That will create unstoppable momentum. By putting out these fake poll numbers, the MSM hopes to stop the public from realizing the direction of the herd so that Obama has a chance to win people back before the election. That’s why they pushing the idea that Obama is slightly ahead. And since they know that few people will ever read blogs or dig into the numbers themselves, they know there is little or no danger they will lose their own credibility in putting out these polls. That’s what’s going on.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Naked Royal Flush

The biggest story this week, if the British Press is to be believe, is that Italian and French gossip magazines are running naked pictures of Kate Middleton, who is apparently married to some dude with a famous mother. While I’m indifferent to celebrities/royalties, this does raise an interesting question. Should the press be allowed to print naked pictures of famous people?

For those who haven’t heard about this, what happened is that Ms. Middleton and her hubby went to some private estate in France for a little vacation. Then they got naked and got jiggy. This was caught on camera by a French photographer who was about 1,500 yards away with a high-powered lens. The photos were sold to a French magazine and an Italian magazine. Now the royal family has brought civil suit to stop the publication of these photos (that failed) and they’ve asked a French prosecutor to bring criminal charges against the photographer for trespass and invasion of privacy.

That’s the background. What interests me is the question of whether or not this should be legal? Should the press be allowed to publish naked pictures of famous people taken while the target believed they were in private?

My answer is no because it serves no public purpose in this instance.

The First Amendment, which obviously isn’t implicated overseas, was created for the purpose of making sure that the press would be able to keep the public informed of matters of public import without the government censoring what information it wanted the public to know. Key in that point is the issue of the public interest, and what we need to consider when examining freedom of speech/press issues is to weigh the public interest against the violation of privacy rights.

When you start to think this issue in those terms, it becomes pretty obvious that naked pictures taken of celebrities who believe they are in private when the photos are taken are not something where the public interest outweighs the loss of privacy rights. Indeed, there really isn’t even a public interest here. It’s not like they were doing anything illegal or hypocritical. This wasn’t a crime. There was no drug use or anything which would make you question their judgment. So what exactly is the public interest?

I could see a public interest if they had done this at a bar downtown, but then the public interest would be in knowing they had gotten naked in public. In other words, it’s not the naked part that’s the problem, it’s the doing it in public part that’s the problem. I could also perhaps see a public interest if they had foresworn sex or nudity or something, and they were using that to build an image or reputation. But that’s not the case. This was just another married couple having sex.

So I leave you with these questions. Should the press be allowed to publish these images? Should it be criminal to invade privacy in matters like this? And where would you draw the line?

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Politics of Trek: “Space Seed”

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Libya/Egypt: An Opportunity

As with all international incidents, it takes time to understand what is really going on across the Middle East. There are a lot of conflicting reports and some obviously false ideas being batted about. With several days to observe, here are my thoughts, and what I think needs to be done next.

As often happens during crises like this, everyone sees what they want to see. If you see Islam as evil, then this is proof that all Muslims are evil. If you want to see Islam as a victim of the US, then this is proof that America continues to provoke Muslim outrage. Both views are ridiculous. Let’s start with some inconvenient facts which the idiots on both sides want to ignore:
● (1) The video did not cause these attacks. These attacks were premeditated to coincide with 9/11. The video was simply given as an excuse. How do we know this? For one thing, Egyptian intelligence warned the US three days early that an attack was planned. For another, there is no way this video could even have been seen across the Middle East – not to mention, why would it only outrage Muslims in a handful of countries but not others?

For yet another, these were not spontaneous crowds. We know this because not only did they bring heavy weapons, such as mortars, but they actually knew the location where the US Ambassador to Libya would flee after the riots began and they shelled that location with sufficient accuracy to convince military experts that this was a highly coordinated, professional attack. These were planned attacks.

● (2) This was not aimed solely at the United States. German and other Western embassies have been attacked as well.

● (3) The Libyan and Egyptian governments were not behind these attacks. Egyptian intelligence actually warned the US this was coming. Both governments have condemned attacks. Libya has arrested around 50 people who were involved. And crowds of Libyans also demonstrated against the attacks.
So what does this mean? It means that this was likely just another terrorist attack by al Qaeda, who have indeed claimed credit and say this was in retaliation for the killing of their number two man. More importantly, this and the reaction by the Egyptian and Libyan governments means that there is an opportunity here.

It is clear that both the Egyptian and Libyan governments very much wish to avoid being seen as hostile to America. That tells us something significant. That tells us that they are much more reasonable than people have been giving them credit for and that we have an opening to work with them to forge a better relationship.

Why is this important? For one thing, if these countries drift into the world of radical Islam, then we are looking at new havens for terrorists, right on Europe’s southern border. It makes a lot more sense to engage these countries, who are giving off signs of being willing to engage with us, to try to bring them into the fold of responsible countries, than it does to write them off. As Sen. John McCain correctly said this weekend:

“It’s a fight, a struggle in the Arab world between the Islamists and the forces of moderation. And they want America disengaged.”

Anyone who doesn’t understand this, simply doesn’t understand what is going on or what is at stake. McCain then claimed that Obama’s policy of disengagement is the problem. I don’t fully agree with that because al Qaeda has been plotting attacks since the 1990s, but I do agree that Obama has failed to engage Egypt and Libya (and others) sufficiently. Now is absolutely the time to (1) get these countries to guarantee individual rights, (2) change the culture of their police by training them to shake off corruption and handle riots without violence, (3) get them to crack down on radical behavior, and (4) get them to open up their economies to create jobs for all these unemployed youths.

In this regard, I think it’s a good thing Obama has invited the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood to come speak to him. The Muslim Brotherhood have actually done a lot to shake off the image of being a terrorist organization and to be seen as a legitimate, moderate Islamic organization. If this meeting is handled correctly, Obama will let the Muslim Brotherhood know that their reputation around the world and our response to them will very much depend on them helping to rid Egypt of the kind of radical elements that give aid and comfort to terrorists like al Qaeda. Whether or not Obama can be this firm is unclear – though he has shown a much stronger anti-terrorist backbone than most conservatives want to give him credit for.

Things to avoid are (1) lumping all Muslim in with these terrorists – that just turns potential friends into enemies, (2) talking about military action where none is possible – that just inflames the situation and makes the US look weak, (3) turning our backs on these governments at this moment of opportunity – which is exactly what al Qaeda wants, and (4) further disengagement -- you cannot control what you do not participate in. Obama also must stand up for free speech and make it clear that Muslims must learn that they have no right to control the views of other people. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton has gone the completely wrong way on this and keeps trying to blame the tape.

Politically, I think this has been a disaster all around so far. Romney looked bad by speaking too quickly. He gave the MSM a chance to redirect the crisis at him. I think he was right in what he said, but he should have waited to say it. Clinton looks horrible because the State Department clearly has flopped back and forth between pandering and denying reality. She has presented an image of a liar who is desperate to cover up her mistakes and avoid blame. Obama looks like a fool as well. Indeed, many commentators left and right, including the German magazine Der Spiegel have declared his foreign policy a “failure” because he obviously has failed to “reconcile” the Muslim world. They also criticize his handling of this crisis, particularly his blaming the video. Indeed, they say that it is illegitimate to blame this video because either this was a terrorist act, in which event the video was irrelevant, or this was “an expression of a frightening ignorance,” in which event he needs to stand up to the ignorance. Obama also has had a problem keeping his administration on the same page and his running off to fund raisers rather than dealing with this are, frankly, shocking. Let’s hope everybody learns from their mistakes.

In the end, I think the key to remember here is that we must learn to tell friend from foe. We have received a clear signal of friendship here from the Libya and Egyptian governments and an opportunity we have not had since the Arab Spring began to shape these new countries. It’s time to seize that opportunity, rather than squander it in a false narrative designed to hide what really happened or a blast of ignorant bias.

This is one of those moments that turns history. Let’s hope people start to realize this.

Thoughts? Questions?

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 53

I will follow the Commentarama Rules. I will follow the Commentarama Rules. I will follow the Commentarama Rules. I will follow the Commentarama Rules.

What is your favorite Simpsons moment?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms

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Friday, September 14, 2012

New Mission Statement

I have added a Mission Statement to the sidebar as well as my bio. Please read the Mission Statement.
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TV Review: Face Off (2011-????)

I despise “Reality TV.” Why? Because not only is “Reality TV” not real, it is highly manipulated and sometimes even scripted, but it demonstrates the worst elements of our culture. It shows a group of contestants as they engage in cat fights and backstabbing all in the name of trying to grab a few moments of celebrity. So I hate Face Off, right? Actually, no. I’m truly enjoying this show.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Review: Mission to Mars (2000) vs. Red Planet (2000)

By ScottDS
With Mars in the news once again, I thought it might be a good time to take a look back at the two Mars films that graced the silver screen in the year 2000: Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars and Antony Hoffman’s Red Planet. Neither film is very good but Mission to Mars is the bigger disappointment, having set its sights far higher. One thing is certain: the definitive Mars movie has yet to be made. Let’s start with Mission.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms

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Why Capitalism Has A Bad Reputation

One of our readers forwarded me an article the other day which I think is worth discussing because it raises some very interesting questions. The article was written by Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute and it discusses why capitalism has such a dirty reputation at the moment. He makes some excellent points, but I think he’s missing something crucial.

Murray begins by noting that capitalism should be praised all over the world because it’s lifted the world out of poverty. He notes that everywhere capitalism takes hold, countries become prosperous, and all that entails, but wherever capitalism has been rejected, poverty has increased. So why has the word “capitalist. . . become an accusation” and why do so many people now believe that for one person to become rich, someone else must become poor?

According to Murray, there are two problems with modern capitalism. The first problem is what he calls “collusive capitalism.” This is crony capitalism where “the people on top take care of each other at shareholder expense.” He speaks specifically of golden parachutes. He also points out that crony-capitalists use the government to create “industry wide potential for profit that would not exist in the absence of government subsidies or regulations.” Here he mentions ethanol and low-interest mortgage loans. And he notes that this has become the face of capitalism.

The second problem he observes is the “emergence of great fortunes made quickly in the financial markets.” He notes that while the American public loves people who get rich creating products and services, too much wealth today seems to be generated by “insider knowledge [in the financial markets], arcane financial instruments, [and] opportunities that aren’t accessible to ordinary people.” He also notes that part of the problem is that these modern capitalists, particularly bankers and silicon-valley types, are unwilling to defend capitalism because their political views tend to be leftist -- he gets this from a zip code study.

I think Murray is right, but I also think he’s missing something even more fundamental. See, I’m the perfect example of what Murray has missed. I love capitalism, but I despise most modern “capitalists.” And the reason is they aren’t capitalists. To the contrary, the people wrapping themselves in the cloak of capitalism are anti-capitalists.

Capitalism is about seeing an opportunity. . . a want or need. . . and risking your time, money and energy to try to satisfy the need in exchange for some amount of profit. If you are successful, then the seller and the buyer are happy and everyone benefits. If you aren’t, then you lose your investment. It’s that simple. And it’s the fact that everyone ends up better off that makes us all so happy to love capitalists.

But think about the people getting rich today: bankers, lawyers, health insurers, etc. Look closely. Do these people actually take risks? Do they make anyone besides themselves better off? Hardly.

Consider bankers. The country’s biggest banks dominate the economy. They make risky loans which are backed by the taxpayer. They can draw upon money from the Fed at any time, where they get much better deals that you or I ever could, and they were even allowed to swallow savings banks so they would have a steady supply of cash. . . again, taxpayer backed. Essentially, these are risk-free operations, only they get to keep all the profits they generate. That’s like forcing taxpayers to back people playing roulette.

Moreover, a lot of these banks make a killing on trading in the stock market. Only, they aren’t trading like you or I. They are engaging in rigged markets and microtrades – this is a key point. The economic justification for a stock market is that it is the most efficient allocator of resources. Basically, as millions of people make their guesses about the future, resources slowly shift from companies who are wasting them to companies who can exploit them. But when Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley engage in microtrades, what they are doing is spotting the trades people are offering and using their much faster computers (a privilege for which they paid the stock exchanges) to basically intercept the trades. This does nothing to further the allocation of resources, it’s just playing the float. That means, what they do is outside the very economic purpose of the stock market and is more akin to unnecessary middlemen.

And that’s the key word – middlemen. Observe.

Lawyers claim they help the economy because they structure deals. But the reality is that anyone could structure any deal if it weren’t for the legal climate created by lawyers. Think of it this way. It’s as if a food grower’s association took over the legislature and then passed laws requiring you to have a food grower’s agent before you could order off the menu. Then they defend their actions by claiming they are making the menu ordering process smoother. That’s lawyers in a nutshell.

What about health insurers? (Notice that I’m not mentioning other forms of insurance, which remain distinctly capitalist and which no one hates.) Rather than insuring patients to protect them against loss, these companies have become buyer’s agents. And through their regulator friends, they have set up the system in such a way that you basically need them to navigate the system for you or you will be broke. Again, imagine going to McDonalds and not being told what things will cost until you get home again and then being charged an obscenely high price because you didn’t have a food grower’s agent to smooth the process.

This is the problem. These people hide their sponging behind the word “capitalism” when they are the exact opposite – they are extortionists who have used the government to forcibly create an environment that allows them to act as mandatory middle men. They take no risks. They share no rewards. And everyone is worse off because of them, not better off.

This is why capitalism has such a bad name at the moment. This is why 66% of Americans believe crony connections drive most government contracts, why “by a 3-1 margin, voters believe elected politicians routinely provide help to favored companies,” and why “seven out of ten Americans believe government and big business work together against the rest of us.” This is also why the American economy has stalled and why so much more money is flowing into the banking, the legal and the healthcare sector. They have become giant vacuums sucking up American prosperity.

This needs to change. It’s time for a return to capitalism.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Politico: "Obama Falls Flat"

You know things are going poorly for a Democratic president when the MSM turns on them. And the last month has seen a significant number of journalists doing just that. Some have been more obvious than others. The left-leaning Politico in particular has turned on their crush. Observe.

The morning after Obama gave his big speech at the convention, Politico ran a huge headline: “Obama Fell Flat.” This is quite the shocker, even if it is true. Even more interestingly, they pulled no punches in the associated article. They noted that a “long parade of Democrats and media commentators” didn’t think much of the speech and described it as “a fizzle – an oddly missed opportunity to frame his presidency.” They pointed out that even those who like the speech graded it as little more than “effective. . . in a tough-minded if prosaic style.” They said it paled in comparison to Michelle Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s. They said it “underscored the limits of Obama’s oratorical skills in the context of a grind-it-out campaign.” And they even pointed out that Obama’s campaign knew the speech had failed by evidence of senior staff sharing focus group results with reporters, something that would never have been reported on in the past.

Others has similar reactions, especially on the left:
● The Daily Beast: “Let’s be blunt. Barack Obama gave a dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase.”

● James Carville: “Certainly not the best speech of this convention.”

● Mother Jones: “I didn’t feel any real passion in the delivery. It felt more like an actor soldiering through his lines. There was nothing memorable, nothing forward looking, and nothing that drew a contrast with Romney in sharp, gut-level strokes. Obama was, to be charitable, no more than the third best of the Democratic convention’s prime time speakers in 2012.”

● Nathan Daschle (former head of the Democratic Governors Association): “Disappointed. It was sort of a metaphor for his entire first term.”
These aren’t things Democrats or leftist television hacks normally say. Indeed, this is the silly season of politics where nothing you read isn’t pure spin anymore. So for them to criticize Obama now is truly amazing.

And it doesn’t stop there. Right after telling us how the speech flopped, Politico ran an article under the headline: “Jobs report challenges Obama’s economic message” in which they point out that last Friday’s jobs report completely undercut the entire Democratic message that things are getting better. The article even opened with this line: “President Barack Obama’s convention honeymoon lasted all of eight hours.”

And indeed, that jobs report was dismal as it showed dramatic slowing of the job market and hundreds of thousands of people dropping out of the search for employment altogether.

A few hours later, Politico pointed out under another blaring headline that the number of viewers for the convention was DOWN FROM 2008! (35.7 million compared to 38.4 million). That they didn’t downplay this drew a lot of angry comments.

And this follows a growing trend over the last several weeks where they did articles debunking Obama’s claims and pointing out that while both campaigns have been negative in terms of attacking the other’s policies, the personal attacks are coming overwhelming from Obama. They particularly noted the constant charges of criminality, racism, and the repeated comparisons to Nazis by Team Obama. I find this fascinating.

The MSM never takes shots at Democrats this close to the election, but here they are. I think there are three reasons for this:
Street Cred: If the media believes Obama is finished, and I’ve stated a pretty strong case for that, then now would be the time for them to regain their credibility with the public by attacking him and debunking his lies. They will need that credibility if they want to be able to criticize President Romney without being dismissed as partisan. And if Obama is going down, then there’s no reason not to pile on now.

The Left Is Angry: As much as some conservatives like to think of Obama as a leftist ideologue, he certainly hasn’t lived up to their expectations. His Wall Street reform bill was a sop to big banks. Taxes are still low compared to where they were even after Reagan’s first round of tax cuts. Obamacare sucks, but he didn’t socialize anything. . . it was basically a sop to insurance companies. There aren’t any new social programs. He didn’t grant an amnesty. He never pushed for equal pay amendments for women. He finally started talking in favor of the gay agenda, but hasn’t delivered. And his environmentalism is all crony-environmentalism. About the only thing he did was send taxpayer money to unions.

I suspect a big part of what we’re seeing here is that the left has decided Obama deceived them and that he will never come through for them. So I think they are willing to take him on.

Journalists Just Don’t Like Him: Finally, Politico has been running a fascinating series of articles detailing how many journalists simply don’t like Obama. They’ve described him as arrogant, detached, petty and uninspired. They don’t like the way they’ve been treated by the campaign. They don’t think much of his skills. It is very difficult to treat people fairly when you have personal animus toward them, and I suspect there is a large amount of this going on as well.
Whatever the reasons, it’s clear to me that the MSM is not Obama’s friend, not at the moment.


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Monday, September 10, 2012

Romney Flip-flops To Position He Always Held!

OMG. . . Mitt Romney supports Obamacare! Who knew! Wait, that’s wrong. OMG. . . Mitt Romney flip-flopped on repealing Obamacare! Who knew! Oh wait, I don’t work for the MSM and I’m not stupid, so scratch all that. Here’s what happened.

Back when everyone starting talking about repealing Obamacare, I made the point that a straight repeal was not a good idea. As they say, “the optics” would be horrible to undo the popular parts, especially if the plan was to put those right back into law. It would be much better to promise to “repeal and replace” and then to wipe out the messy atrocity that is Obamacare, i.e. repeal it, while leaving in place the better parts of the reform along with adding whatever new reforms were needed, i.e. replace it.

Mitt Romney, like most rational people, agreed with this idea and has been saying this from day one. Additionally, he like many others, has supported the only two popular parts of Obamacare: the part that prevents insurers from denying people for having pre-existing medical conditions and the part that allows children to stay on their parent’s coverage until the age of 26.

Both of these provisions are highly popular. Both of these provisions were used as the only selling points of Obamacare. Neither of these provisions is all that controversial. Few Republicans wanted to repeal these. Mitt Romney certainly didn’t.

So what happened this weekend? Well, Romney went on the Sunday Talk Shows and said that he doesn’t want to repeal all of Obamacare:
“I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place.”
Then he mentioned the two provisions above. That makes sense since it’s always been his position.

Nevertheless, this is being spun by certain MSM news outlets as a shocking revelation. They are saying that Romney is “now” opposed to repealing Obamacare and they are calling him a flip-flopper. Of course, none of that is true: (1) his position has not changed, so “now” is a misleading word, (2) he remains committed to repealing Obamacare, so saying he opposes repeal is a lie, and (3) this has always been his position, so he’s no flip-flopper.

Naturally, our less than intelligent conservative blogging cousins are pounding their hairy knuckles against their chests, having drunk the MSM Kool-Aid, and are whining that this proves that Romney is what they always knew. . . a socialist flip-flopper. Idiots.

Anyway, I’ve gone over what we need in the way of healthcare reform for a very long time now, and we’re never going to get that because it’s just beyond the realm of government thinking to deregulate healthcare and every insurance company in the country will pour money into any campaign to stop their golden goose from being cooked in the name of economic sanity. But as long as we are keeping this same system, where insurers get to act as gatekeepers of healthcare, then I see nothing wrong with imposing these two requirements upon them. If you want to make your money by getting the government to hold the free market at bay, then you really can’t complain when that same government chooses to impose requirements on you. In other words, if insurers were operating in a free market, then I would agree that imposing these requirements would be wrong. But since they aren’t, frankly, I don't care. Live like a crony, die like a crony.


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Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 52

War! Hooah! What's it good for?! Well, it does make for good films.

What is your favorite war film?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Film Friday: The Frighteners (1996)

The Frighteners is one of those movies. It’s a quasi-comedy, quasi-horror film with a lot of great elements and I want to like this movie. But I can’t. . . not enough. Here’s where it fails.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Polls and Jobs

Folks, I’m still feeling a little sick, so this won’t be long. Here are some interesting poll numbers and a surprising story from CNN about the Democrats’ claim that Obama made 4.5 million jobs. Other than that, feel free to treat this like an open thread.

No Second Term For You! The Hill just did an interesting poll asking a broad range of questions. Only 31% of respondents think the country is better off than it was when Obama took office, while 52% say it is in a worse condition. Fifty percent say they are “very unsatisfied” with Obama’s stewardship of the economy, with another 8% saying they are “somewhat unsatisfied.” And the most interesting number. . . 54% think Obama does not deserve to be re-elected. Those are not good numbers for Obama.

Women Have Turned: Obama’s biggest strength, indeed the only thing which has kept him competitive, has been that women view him much more favorably than unfavorably. In April, women supported him 57% to 39%, according the ABC/Washington Post. Now that same poll has found that women view him unfavorable by 46% to 50%. This is consistent with The Hill poll, which found that 51% of women (57% of men) think he does not deserve to be re-elected. This is really bad for Obama, particularly as it will be hard for him to win women back as he has little to offer them. It’s also worth noting that his collapse among women has occurred during the “war on women” smear by the Democrats. Whoops.

Yes, But: If you’ve been watching the convention, then you will have seen that the Democrats are claiming Obama created 4.5 million jobs. Each of them has been repeating this number like it’s magic. Well, CNN just debunked the claim.

To get the 4.5 million jobs, what you need to do is start in January 2010, the bottom of the jobs recession, and look only at private-sector jobs between then and now. If you do that, you will see that there are indeed 4.5 million more jobs than before. BUT, if you go back to the start of Obama’s administration, you will see that the economy has only produced 300,000 net jobs since January 2009. In other words, Obama is excluding all the jobs lost just to play up the number of jobs created. Moreover, this figure does not count the number of government jobs which disappeared over the same period. When you go from January 2009 to the present and look at the total jobs figure, the economy is down 1.4 million jobs.

Finally, CNN points out that according to the liberal-leaning National Employment Law Project, the jobs that have been created have been low-paying, low-stability jobs such as retail and food services, which have accounted for about 3/4 of all new jobs. These are exactly the kinds of jobs the Democrats claimed should not be counted when they appeared under Reagan or the Bushes.

It’s amazing CNN would point this out. Maybe there’s hope for them yet? In any event, the poll numbers certainly give me further hope that Obama is finished.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Forgotten Films

Last week, in one of the discussions, the film Ice Pirates came up. This was a silly but quite enjoyable film which never made it big and has all but been forgotten. Nevertheless, those of us who recalled the film had good things to say about. Rather than discuss some weighty film topic today, why doesn’t everyone share some of their favorite forgotten films?!

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms

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Democrats Prove Smarter At Platform Making

The platform issue has been frustrating, if truth be told. The Republican platform, as always, was a mess. It was fringey and utterly obsessed with social conservative issues. The Democratic platform is not a mess. Yes, their ideology is horrible, but they are much smarter about how they present it.

The Democratic platform begins with a whole bunch of misleading points. Apparently, under Obama, your taxes went down $3,600 despite the constant tax increases as well as Obama’s repeated attempts to repeal the Bush tax cuts. And Obama wants you to know that Romney wants to raise your taxes! Obama also helped small businesses by giving them tax breaks to buy healthcare under Obamacare. He made Medicare “stronger” by “saving” $4,200 per senior by cutting $700 billion from Medicare. Not to mention, he fixed the doughnut hole in coverage (which was fixed under Bush). And don’t forget, he saved the auto industry! They even claim he “restored fiscal sanity” by reducing the deficit by $4 trillion. . . total lie.

Obama signed free trade agreements and told China to stop manipulating their currency. Never mind, the Democrats stopped those treaties until the Republicans forced the issue and China laughed Obama off. He also ended lobbying. . . although leftist Politico just ran an article talking about how nothing has really changed for lobbyists.

The platform also makes a slew of promises to each interest group they have. It promises money for HIV/AIDS research to help black and Latino men. Obama’s wants to hire 100,000 new teachers and spend more on Head Start. He “saved” $60 billion for the student loan program by pushing banks out of the process and he “invested” some of that money in Historically Black Colleges and he wants to increase the amount you can borrow under student loans -- thereby making the problem of affordability worse, rather than better.... but college kids are too stupid to realize that.

He wants the Federal government to hire 100,000 Americans with disabilities by 2015. He wants to buy biofuels to get the votes of farmers, and he mentions that he’s brought them record profits (forget the harm this has done to consumers). He supports the government working with faith-based organization, which he identifies as “critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world – from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking.” Obama also wants to stop voter ID laws which he claims stop blacks from voting. He wants to give companies incentives to hire wounded veterans. He wants civil rights laws for gays, gay marriage, and equal pay laws for women, and he wants free “prenatal screenings, mammograms, cervical cancer screening, breast-feeding supports, and contraception” for women.

But more importantly, the platform is written in code so that each interest group can see the promises they are getting, but the overall statement sounds very reasonable to the uninitiated. Here are some great examples:

● For the environmentalists, he wants an “all of the above energy plan” based on new emission rules and fuel efficiency standards to make alternative energies more profitable. In other words, he claims to love all forms of energy while promising to make oil and gas so expensive no one wants to use it.

● He wants to “out-build” the world on infrastructure and talks vaguely about “standing up for workers” through the National Labor Relations Board. Again, if you don’t know what he’s talking about it, it sounds like he’s concerned with all workers, but he’s only talking to unions.

● He promises to stabilize the housing market to punish “irresponsible lenders [who] tricked buyers into signing subprime loans” by allowing every “responsible homeowner” to refinance. Forget that no one got tricked into these loans and the people who need refinancing aren’t responsible homeowners. This is a bribe hidden as protection from predators.

● Consider the issue of abortion. Here is what the platform says:
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.
Notice how reasonable this sounds. The word abortion is only used twice here, as compared to the Republican platform which couldn’t stop talking about it. Notice also how rather than talking up abortion, this very much reads like it seeks to curb abortion and notice how it ends with an insistence on protecting women who choose to have a child. This isn’t consistent with their normal rhetoric at all or their voting records, but it certain comes across as reasonable, not-obsessed and not extreme. Do you see the words "government financed"? No, huh? It's in there under "regardless of ability to pay."

● Guns are similar. How often have we seen Democrats try anything they could to take away gun rights. Look at liberal cities that even banned guns. Yet, the platform says “We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation.” Again, this sounds quite reasonable and never hints at their obsession, unless you know the idiosyncratic meaning of the words they are using.

● Internet freedom is another good example. Whereas the Republicans spoke of censoring the internet for the children, the Democrats talk about defending internet freedom and “opposing the extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet.” Forget that they are the driving force behind interjecting the government through net neutrality laws and they joined all the anti-piracy SOPA stuff.

● Finally, we come to immigration. The Democrats have been the party of open borders, of sanctuary cities, of amnesty, of benefits to illegals, and of opposition to anything that might integrate immigrants into America. Indeed, even suggesting that immigrants learn English is enough to be branded a racist by the Democrats. Yet, they say this:
Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship.
That sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Too bad, this isn't the Democratic position.

As I said above, these platforms have been an exercise in frustration. The Republicans couldn’t stop talking about abortion and taking extremist positions whenever one was available, and the Democrats’ platform is packed with lies and distortions. But I have to hand it to the Democrats that their platform sounds reasonable. . . unless you know what each word really means when translated into policy.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Republican Minority Report

The Democrats are cranking up the “Republicans are all white” theme to get their convention started. The point man for this effort has been Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose liberal city is facing new allegations of LA cops beating black residents. This weekend, Villaraigosa ran into MSNBC host Chuck Todd, who finally did what journalists are supposed to do and pointed out some inconvenient facts. What facts you ask?

Get a load of this question by Todd:
“Let me ask you though, this one question, why is it that the Republicans have elected more women governors and have two Hispanic governors and the Democrats don’t . . . don’t have as many women governors and don’t have Hispanic governors, why do you think that is?”
Wow, he’s acting like a real journalist! MSNBC won't be happy. Keep in mind, MSNBC cut to commercial or commentary during every single speech by a minority at the GOP convention except Condi Rice. (Yes, FOX did too, but FOX did that to everyone and FOX wasn't pimping the “Republicans are all white” theme while hiding the minorities.)

Villaraigosa certainly wasn’t expecting an MSNBC fellow traveler to question the Democratic propaganda, and he ended up sputtered his way through claiming the Democrats have more minority mayors and members of Congress. The logic of this is, of course, ridiculous. How does the GOP having more minority Governors but not as many minority mayors support the claim that the GOP is hostile to minorities?

In any event, this gives us a good opportunity to mention some of the rising minority players in the GOP. These are only those with national prominence at the moment, or recent fame, so don't even think this list is close to complete.
Justice Clarence Thomas: Second black on the Supreme Court, and my favorite Justice.

Gen. Colin Powel: First black Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and first black Secretary of State.

Condoleezza Rice: First black female Secretary of State. . . second black Secretary of State after Gen. Colin Powell and second female Secretary of State after Madeline Albright.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez: First Hispanic Attorney General.

Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA): First non-white (Indian) governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction.

Gov. Nikki Haley (SC): First female and first Indian governor of South Carolina.

Gov. Susana Martinez (NM): First female governor of New Mexico (also Hispanic).

Gov. Brian Sandoval (NV): First Hispanic governor of Nevada.

Gov. Mary Fallin (OK): Second woman elected to Congress from Oklahoma and first female Governor of Oklahoma.

Gov. Jan Brewer (AZ): Fourth female governor of Arizona.

Gov. Luis Fortuno (PR): First Republican governor of Puerto Rico since 1969.
And here is a list of prominent Senators:
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
Sen. Kelly Ayote (NH)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (A)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine)
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX)
And let’s not forget Rep. Allen West, and Presidential candidate Herman Cain, both of whom were Tea Party favorites. Not to mention this list doesn’t include state Supreme Court justices, state attorneys general (e.g. Ted Cruz (TX)), state legislators, or mayors (e.g. Mia Love), or anyone not currently active in politics. Nor does this include talk radio hosts or other talking heads (e.g. Thomas Sowell).

Here are two Wikipedia pages with much longer lists: Black Republicans and Hispanic Republicans.

Despite Democratic efforts to smear the Republican Party as hostile to minorities and as all white, there are a great many minorities in prominent positions within the party. Moreover, with few exceptions, the people listed above are up and comers who are or will soon be leaders of the party. And with Romney's continuing outreach efforts, look for the racial-political mix to change significantly before 2020, with many more minorities abandoning the Democratic Party, which offers little except divisiveness.

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