The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Friday, February 29, 2008

Medal of Betrayal

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/29/2008 11:31:00 PM | Permalink | |


Now we're talking. After my initial take on Wednesday, I have found two terrific obits of the William F. Buckley, Jr. which fit the category of "must reads". You would be well served if you read them in their entirety:

From the eloquent, classy, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan--a masterpiece:

I am not sure conservatives feel despair at Bill Buckley's leaving--he was 82 and had done great work in a lifetime filled with pleasure--but I know they, and many others, are sad, and shaken somehow. On Wednesday, after word came that he had left us, in a television studio where I'd gone to try and speak of some of his greatness, a celebrated liberal academic looked at me stricken, and said he'd just heard the news. "I can't imagine a world without Bill Buckley in it," he said. I said, "Oh, that is exactly it."

It is. What a space he filled.

It is commonplace to say that Bill Buckley brought American conservatism into the mainstream. That's not quite how I see it. To me he came along in the middle of the last century and reminded demoralized American conservatism that it existed. That it was real, that it was in fact a majority political entity, and that it was inherently mainstream. This was after the serious drubbing inflicted by Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal and the rise of modern liberalism. Modern liberalism at that point was a real something, a palpable movement formed by FDR and continued by others. Opposing it was . . . what exactly? Robert Taft? The ghost of Calvin Coolidge? Buckley said in effect, Well, there's something known as American conservatism, though it does not even call itself that. It's been calling itself "voting Republican" or "not liking the New Deal." But it is a very American approach to life, and it has to do with knowing that the government is not your master, that America is good, that freedom is good and must be defended, and communism is very, very bad.

He explained, remoralized, brought together those who saw it as he did, and began the process whereby American conservatism came to know itself again. And he did it primarily through a magazine, which he with no modesty decided was going to be the central and most important organ of resurgent conservatism. National Review would be highly literate, philosophical, witty, of the moment, with an élan, a teasing quality that made you feel you didn't just get a subscription, you joined something. You entered a world of thought.

I thought it beautiful and inspiring that he was open to, eager for, friendships from all sides, that even though he cared passionately about political questions, politics was not all, cannot be all, that people can be liked for their essence, for their humor and good nature and intelligence, for their attitude toward life itself. He and his wife, Pat, were friends with lefties and righties, from National Review to the Paris Review. It was moving too that his interests were so broad, that he could go from an appreciation of the metaphors of Norman Mailer to essays on classical music to an extended debate with his beloved friend the actor David Niven on the best brands of peanut butters. When I saw him last he was in a conversation with the historian Paul Johnson on the relative merits of the work of the artist Raeburn.

His broad-gaugedness, his refusal to be limited, seemed to me a reflection in part of a central conservative tenet, as famously expressed by Samuel Johnson. "How small of all that human hearts endure / That part which laws or kings can cause or cure." When you have it right about laws and kings, and what life is, then your politics become grounded in the facts of life. And once they are grounded, you don't have to hold to them so desperately. You can relax and have fun. Just because you're serious doesn't mean you're grim.

You must read the rest.

Also in the Journal another grand recollection of WFB from someone who knew him well; another great speechwriter--William McGurn.

Finally from NRO: some great starting points for Buckley books to read. And if I might add my own: the audio (unabridged) version of Miles Gone By. Read by the author himself. And available on iTunes. Check it out.

UPDATE: I liked this, from David Brooks as well. A nice story which shows what a gracious, open and forgiving person WFB was.

And there is this recommendation from Mark Steyn (remember that Buckley also spent some time in the CIA...).

Finally, do not miss the fact that NRO has put an excellent Archive together. It's worth spending some time browsing.
DiscerningTexan, 2/29/2008 12:02:00 PM | Permalink | |

As I was saying...

As I alluded to yesterday, our Congress has really been going all out for us. Duane Patterson sums up the week that wasn't.
DiscerningTexan, 2/29/2008 11:44:00 AM | Permalink | |
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Greatest Reusable Quote of All Time

Cartoon by Scott Stantis (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2008 10:04:00 PM | Permalink | |

Is the Obama Campaign Intimidating Black Superdelegates?

Wow. There may not be proof that the campaign is actually involved in this, but it is not an exaggeration to say that the news cycle is suddenly taking a bad turn for "His Holiness":


African-American superdelegates said Thursday that they’ll stand up against threats, intimidation and “Uncle Tom” smears rather than switch their support from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama.

“African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom.

“This is the politics of the 1950s,” he complained. “A lot of members are experiencing a lot of ugly stuff. They’re not going to talk about it, but it’s happening.”

Interestingly, the original Politico headline was Black superdelegates stand up against "Uncle Tom" smears, but it now reads Black backers steadfast for Clinton.

As we all know now, it isn't the delegate counts that matter so much for Clinton and Obama now because no one will have enough come convention time. It is rather the superdelegates which mean everything. And this could be a sign that Hillary's delegates just might hold firm. But a win on Tuesday certainly would help her.
DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2008 10:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

Another Low Point for the Worst Congress Ever: Senate wanted new "stimulus package" to benefit Democrat Voter Fraud

Captain Ed has picked up on a little-known reason for why Harry Reid's latest "Stimulus" Bill was dead on arrival: a lot of the money therein appeared to be solely designed to "stimulate" Republican electoral defeat by fraudulent means:
The beneficiaries of the bill turns out to be somewhat different than advertised:


ACORN? Would this be the same ACORN that conducted voter fraud in Washington, resulting in felony charges against its officers there in 2007? Isn't this the same organization that generated complaints and questions about their practices in several other jurisdictions during the 2006 election? How does shoving money into the pockets of ACORN provide an economic stimulus?

This doesn't look like a stimulus package. It looks more like an investment in further voter fraud.

The good Captain has put it so well, why reinvent the wheel here? He also has a transcript of the video above posted.

But I will add: the entire legislative agenda of the Democrats in both houses seem determined to be focused on one thing only: to introduce destructive dead-on-arrival poison pill bill after poison pill bill, ad infinitum, for the rest of the year, thus forcing Republicans to kill them all lest they simply hand absolute power over to the Stalinists. The obstructionist partisans continue to block hundreds of Bush judicial nominees and other Executive appointments--some which have been on ice for over two years now; they continue to try to engineer defeat out of a war we have all but won (but must remain until that victory is locked up); they have single-handedly halted the surveillance of foreign enemy terrorists whose one aim is to kill as many of us as humanly possible--all because they want their trial lawyer sugar daddies to be able to sue the very phone companies who make that surveillance possible. But in the meantime they are doing absolutely nothing whatsoever to actually address in good faith--and with all of the "bipartisan" fanfare they are so fond of talking about--the problems that the American people sent them to Washington to solve. Talk is cheap, and stonewalling is downright immoral. It has been over a year now and our system of elected Government is at a complete standstill. How much longer?

The irony about all of this non-stop political "chicken" that the Socialists are play, is that they can't even do that well; half the time they are easily thwarted by the Republicans, who make them look even more stupid than the incompetent rubes they are.

As was the case last year, and also the entire tenure of the Republican leadership, the primary Democrat goal is to clearly see that virtually nothing whatsoever gets done, other than to produce an entire legislative session of purely political posturing which can be used in vapid campaign sloganeering. Meanwhile the Stalinist ruling the roost have the lowest Congressional approval ratings in American history, and those approval ratings are not exactly heading north with a bullet based on their current scorched-earth agenda. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the poster children for why nothing in Washington is working. Barack Obama is right that America needs change, but totally wrong in where that change needs to occur.

So please allow me to pose this question: why in the world would any American want to send this worthless pile of human dung back to lead the people's Congress next year? Regardless of which Presidential candidate wins, it is clear that putting these incompetent fools into the House and Senate for another two years--who care about nothing other than holding America hostage to its cheap political posturing and thus making it impossible to accomplish anything--could be suicidal for the country at war for its ideals and its very existence.
DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2008 08:14:00 PM | Permalink | |

Obama tied to Unrepentant Weather Underground Terror Bomber

Via Jonah Goldberg, a blockbuster story, linking His Holiness Barack Obama to an unrepentant former terrorist. A few highlights (emphasis mine):
“Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon.”

This excerpt from William Ayers’ memoir appeared in the New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001 — the day al-Qaeda terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Ayers, once a leader in the Weather Underground — the group that declared “war” on the U.S. government in 1970 — told the Times, “I don’t regret setting bombs,” and, “I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Ayers recently reappeared in the news because reported Friday that Barack Obama has loose ties to him. Ayers, now a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is apparently a left-wing institution in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, and Obama visited Ayers’ home as a rite of passage when launching his political career in the mid-1990s. The two also served on the board of the charitable Woods Fund of Chicago, which gave money to Northwestern University Law School’s Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers’ wife (and former Weather Underground compatriot who glorified violence) Bernardine Dohrn is the director.


What fascinates me is how light the baggage is when one travels from violent radicalism to liberalism. Chicago activist Sam Ackerman told Politico’s reporter that Ayers “is one of my heroes in life.” Cass Sunstein, a first-rank liberal intellectual, said, “I feel very uncomfortable with their past, but neither of them is thought of as horrible types now — so far as most of us know, they are legitimate members of the community.”

Why, exactly, can Ayers and Dohrn be seen as “legitimate members of the community”? How is it that they get prestigious university jobs when even the whisper of neocon tendencies is toxic in academia?

The question of why Ayers isn’t in jail is moot; he was never prosecuted for the Weather Underground’s bombing campaign. Still, Ayers is unrepentant about his years spent waging war against the United States. “Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at,” Ayers was widely quoted as saying at the time.


Why is it only conservative “cranks” who think it’s relevant that Obama’s campaign headquarters in Houston had a Che Guevara-emblazoned Cuban flag hanging on the wall? Indeed, why is love of Che still radically chic at all? A murderer who believed that “the U.S. is the great enemy of mankind” shouldn’t be anyone’s hero, never mind a logo for a line of baby clothes. Why are Fidel Castro’s apologists progressive and enlightened but apologists for Augusto Pinochet frightening and authoritarian? Why was Sen. Trent Lott’s kindness to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond a scandal but Obama’s acquaintance with an unrepentant terrorist a triviality?

I have my own answers to these questions. But I’m interested in theirs. In the weeks to come, maybe reporters can resist the temptation to repeat health care questions for the billionth time and instead ask America’s foremost liberal representatives why being a radical means never having to say you’re sorry.
When you take items like this and then you add Obama's National Journal designation as THE most Left Wing voter in the Senate, his association with funny money from an Iraqi in Britain and Tony Rezco, his association with a Church which gave an award to Farrakhan, and the endorsement of Obama by Farrakhan himself--well, let's just say you have some pretty disturbing cognitive dissonance to work out.

And one gets the impression this is just the tip of the iceberg.
DiscerningTexan, 2/28/2008 03:04:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

R.I.P. to the Master

Click photo to enlarge

I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free.

--William F. Buckley, Jr. (Up From Liberalism)
DiscerningTexan, 2/27/2008 11:58:00 PM | Permalink | |

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008): A Giant Passes On

Since I heard about the passing of William F. Buckley late this morning, I have really not been able to get much accomplished. It is like latent ADD has suddenly taken over my life.

Everything is a bit more grey, a bit more humorless today; I can't speak for my coworkers, but for me anyway the sense of loss was palpable from the second I heard about it. Then I got home from work and I wanted to start writing something, but first I kept reading all of the other obits, starting here. But I couldn't find one that fully grasped or expressed what I was feeling.

William F. Buckley, Jr.'s death is not tragic simply because he carried the banner of "Conservative Principles"; his influence was much more profound than that. The things he fought for were things that had been taken for granted for decades--things like the importance of our Constitution and the visionaries and blood which birthed it, things like Libertarianism and the principles of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, the importance of keeping America strong, the importance of keeping Big Government out of our lives, and of keeping our culture and humanity decent--besides his ideological causes, Buckley also carried high the banner of dignity, intellectual discourse (as opposed to ad hominem attacks), kindness, boldness, hard work, and generosity.

There is no way Ronald Reagan becomes the greatest President of this century had not William F. Buckley paved the way. It just simply would not have happened.

Had it not been for WFB, there is a great chance that Berlin Wall is still standing and the Soviet Union is still holding the lives of millions of Eastern Europeans prisoners. The Stasi would probably still be listening to the conversations of East Germans. And America? Can you say: "Europe"?

But Buckley did come along. And the rest is history.

When I was an adolescent/teenager, I used to watch Firing Line with my Dad and watch my father take enormous pleasure in seeing Buckley logically ripping to shreds the argument of an opponent who had more times than not been speaking for over than a minute--usually it only took Buckley a kindly-spoken--but deadly--sentence or two. Short and sweet. His words were lethal weapons, because they so starkly exposed the vapidity of the elite Left. Every word was measured and thought out, like poetry. But they came out so effortlessly, and with that cultured Eastern accent that implied aristocracy. Dad would say something like "did you see that?" And so I learned to take pleasure in these "debates". It soon became apparent that the whole tension in Firing Line became not if, but when will the coup d' grace be delivered? And Buckley never disappointed.

He was the human definition of "eloquence", but he always used his keen intellect and superior command of the English language to attack the ideas--but never the person espousing them (well almost never...).
Listen to Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal discuss, not Vietnam -- though that's ostensibly what its about -- but power in society.

This is rare footage indeed.

About 12 or so years ago, I went over to McFarland Auditorium at SMU to watch William F. Buckley, Jr. debate George McGovern on liberalism vs. conservatism. He not only wiped the floor with McGovern, but you could tell that even McGovern enjoyed it. It was so masterful, so completely effortless (or so it seemed, anyway), that I walked out of there feeling like I had just witnessed a scene from a Shakespearean martial arts film.

I've been subscribing to National Review almost since college. The writers have come and gone over the years but there has always been the one constant;' the one heartbeat at the center of all conservative heartbeats of the late 20th century. And now he is gone?

When he stepped down from running National Review, I guess so many momentous things had happened over the years because of him that I didn't really see it as "retirement". He spawned Reagan and a whole slew of Conservative journalists, writers, and radio hosts; he writes a tremendous autobiography, "Miles Gone By"; his columns continue to appear in the magazine from time to time. It wasn't like that much had changed. And the magazine continued to be excellent.

I always read those columns. Every one. And he kept writing until the very end. You could almost surmise that he would have wanted it that way.

But still I wasn't ready for this. I felt horrible for him when his wife Pat passed--I thought at the time of those stories you see all the time; the ones where one long time spouse dies and the other follows soon thereafter. And I didn't want it to be so here. But--in a way--it was almost poetic that it did turn out that way. Poetic, yes; but that doesn't ease the shock.

I hope Christopher and the rest of the family is holding up. I am sure their faith will get them through this, simply because it must. I lost my Dad while I was in college. Car wreck. So now, the fact that it was my Dad who introduced me to WFB resonates like a harmonic guitar chord. The bell tolls for thee.

The United States of America is as great as it is today, partly because William F. Buckley spent his entire adult life fighting for her. Fighting for the same vision as that of the Renaissance men who first graced its shores in the Age of Enlightenment.

Bill Buckley is this century's Renaissance Man. We will miss him, dearly.

UPDATE: A great comprehensive summary of WFB's life, from Rick Moran. Very thorough, although it still didn't get to the emotion for me. It's almost like I want to shed tears but the catalyst still hasn't made it happen yet. But keep your eyes on NRO. His pride and joy, and it is chock full of tremendous writers. I've seen some great tributes over there already, but I get the feeling that the best is yet to come. I did get a little misty while listening to Rush's first hour though.
DiscerningTexan, 2/27/2008 09:25:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Democrat Candidate: SELECTED not Elected

Remember the chant about Bush being "selected" rather than "elected" in 2000? Well, the worm is about to turn, and in a very very big way. The dirty little secret is that no matter who wins next week, the 800 so-called "Superdelegates" are going to select the nominee, unless one of the candidates steps down (don't count on that...).

And friends, it is going to be bloody. This via Eric Scheie (h/t Glenn Reynolds):

Regardless of who "wins" the Democratic primary elections next week, neither candidate will win enough delegates to win the nomination. All that will happen is that both will win more delegates in proportion to the vote. If the races are close, this means there will be no major net change, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's delegate stalemate will remain with neither a clear winner.

Unfortunately, the endless debates, countless vote counts, and exciting predictions make the process seem a lot more democratic than it really is.

However, Americans are now waking up to the ugly secret that in the Democratic Party, some votes (those of the superdelegates) count more than other votes. A lot more:

Clinton, former president Bill Clinton (a superdelegate himself) and their allies have been working aggressively for months to court the superdelegates, drawing on old loyalties to open a huge advantage for the senator from New York in total delegates amassed.

"One person, one vote? Forget about it. Some votes are worth more than others. You have to know the rules," said Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race and a D.C. superdelegate.

Of the nearly 300 superdelegates who have committed to a candidate, out of a total of 796, Clinton leads Obama roughly by a 2-to-1 ratio, according to numerous counts. The lead is so substantial, her campaign asserts, that even if Obama pulls ahead in pledged delegates after Feb. 5, Clinton will probably retain a modest edge in the overall delegate tally.

But there is a catch. While delegates chosen in a primary or caucus are technically committed to a candidate, superdelegates can change their allegiance at any time.

The threat of a wholesale shift hangs over both candidates....

More here from Sean Gonsalves of the Cape Cod Times:
What if Clinton and Obama are neck-and-neck on the delegate count going into the convention and the superdelegates aren't just a deciding factor but the deciding factor? What if the Clinton super delegate "firewall" trend continues and these super delegates end up crowning Hillary king, even though Obama gets more votes?

True, all the candidates knew the "rules" going in. So, Hillary's delegate advantage can be considered "fair play." But if this undemocratic "rule" should happen to beat a more popular Obama, there's going to be lots of folks, inside and outside the party, rightly crying foul.

That was written on February 11, and right now, I'd say the "what if" is looking more and more like a political certainty.

What has become increasingly obvious (even to political outsiders) is that because the votes in the remaining primaries will not be enough to put either candidate over the magic number, this race will be decided by a few hundred people -- known collectively as "the superdelegates."

I'd say the smoke-filled rooms are back! But I can't say that, because today's Democratic Party activists are about as tolerant of smoking as Iranian mullahs are of gay disco dancing. Maybe no-smoking-sign-filled rooms.

This is shaping up to be an all-out war, waged delegate by delegate.

They could have saved them the trouble by not bothering with the primaries, and just let the party insiders decide who gets it. I can't think of a better way to create a permanent rupture than allowing a class of young, starry-eyed idealists not only to vote for the candidate of their dreams (a man they consider the literal embodiment of "hope") , but then actually see him win democratically, and in a crowning blow, finally see hope destroyed in the most undemocratic manner imaginable.

Read the rest here. Now I agree with all this, however since Hillary and especially Harold Ickes (the Keyser Sose of Democrat politics) are Alinsky disciples, they don't seem likely to let a little thing like a few superdelegates get in the way of the Clintons' ambitions. What's a little Stalinism now in the face of a "democratic plurality", when they want to impose the same Stalinism on the rest of us anyway.

It is going to be a very, very interesting summer and fall.

DiscerningTexan, 2/27/2008 02:44:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It all Smells the Same...

Cartoon by Mike Lester (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/26/2008 09:18:00 PM | Permalink | |

Barack's "Special Interests" (and Fitz) may Swallow him whole

You might remember the name Patrick Fitzgerald as the man who prosecuted Scooter Libby, and also successfully prosecuted the "Blind Sheik" in the first World Trade Center bombing, but I'll bet many of you aren't aware that Fitz is also the prosecutor in the case against one Tony Rezco, whose wife appears to have been a big player in purchasing the $625,000 lot for His Holiness Barack Obama's mansion.

You also might not know that the Court in the Rezco case has ruled that Fitzgerald may make public records in the case which may implicate Barack Obama in the scheme:

Experiences (he's had a few): The Chicago Tribune reports that "Obama's name likely to come up at Rezko trial" (prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald):

The name of Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama is likely to brush up against the impending federal corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko as the result of a judge's ruling Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve, who is presiding over Rezko's trial, told prosecutors they could introduce evidence to support allegations that Rezko used straw men to make political contributions on his behalf.

Prosecutors have alleged that the money came from fees Rezko illegally siphoned from a state pension board. [Someone I know is researching the "coincidence" that during the three-plus months that Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama was appointed to the senate's pension committee -- just three months -- the senate prevented the consolidation of state pensions, which would have adversely affected Rezko's pensions schemes, that bilked millions from the state pensions. The bald facts are there, but my friend is still digging for details. - SusanUnPC]

There are new developments regarding the Obamas' home purchase ...

It was a sweetheart of a deal, that directly involved Tony Rezko, who was already under intense federal investigation, and Rezko's wife. As you'll see below, several newspapers are reporting Tony Rezko tried to get a state appointment for the real estate agent who did the home sale/purchase, and that an Iraqi/British billionaire involved with Rezko "lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender." (By the way, City Nell's original article on February 4 here at NoQuarter -- "How to Buy a Mansion You Can't Afford" -- broke new ground on the story, and has been quoted widely across the 'net.)

"Obama as a State Senator: Does He 'Deserve a Promotion?'," the companion article to last night's ABC Nightline provides some background.

Big Media is staying as far away from this as it possibly can--although as mentioned above, Nightline did touch on it last night. But it may not be possible for even the elites to steer clear for much longer: the Democrats are about to nominate a Presidential nominee that is may be every bit as corrupt and sleazy as the Clintons--only this time there may be real proof. Don't be surprised to see the presumptive nominee in the Grand Jury box soon. And one need only look at the zeal with which Fitzgerald went after Scooter Libby--with the goal of getting at Cheney or Rove--to understand that Fitz is unlikely to merely look the other way for the new "Messiah". Here is more from the Times of London:

A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.

The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15.

Mr Obama says he never used Mrs Rezko's still-empty lot, which could only be accessed through his property. But he admits he paid his gardener to mow the lawn.

Mrs Rezko, whose husband was widely known to be under investigation at the time, went on to sell a 10-foot strip of her property to Mr Obama seven months later so he could enjoy a bigger garden.

Mr Obama now admits his involvement in this land deal was a “boneheaded mistake”.

Mrs Rezko’s purchase and sale of the land to Mr Obama raises many unanswered questions.

It is unclear how Mrs Rezko could have afforded the downpayment of $125,000 and a $500,000 mortgage for the original $625,000 purchase of the garden plot at 5050 South Greenwood Ave.

In a sworn statement a year later, Mrs Rezko said she got by on a salary of $37,000 and had $35,000 assets. Mr Rezko told a court he had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations."

Mrs Rezko, whose husband goes on trial on unrelated corruption charges in Chicago on March 3, refused to answer questions about the case when she spoke by telephone to The Times.

Asked if she used money from her husband to buy the land next to Mr Obama's house, she said: "I can't answer these questions, I'm sorry."

Asked how long she and her husband had known Mr Auchi, she replied: "I will not be able to answer this question."

Mr Auchi's lawyer, asked whether the Fintrade Services loan was used to buy the land which became Mr Obama's garden, stated: "No, not as far as my client is aware."

McCain would be smart to use this for every drop of mileage he can get from this. (I'll believe that when I see it...) But I also wouldn't put it past the Clintons to sabotage Obama this year so she can take another shot at it in 4 years at a middle of the road McCain. Call me cynical, but I see that as at least as likely--if not more so--than Hillary's cooing sweet nothings into Obama's year for the entirety of the fall campaign.

If Hillary does not win the nomination this year--and unless she abandons her life's dream after getting so close to realizing it (unlikely...)--it is Hillary who would benefit the most from an Obama loss. I don't see him naming her VP--not with Michelle around. So her best chance is for Obama to lose. And I don't even want to hear it that she cares more about her party and country than her own ambitons. That dog is just not going to hunt around here.

The halo may disappear from "His Holiness" very soon now, and it could be a really target rich environment (figuratively speaking) this fall.

Works for me.

DiscerningTexan, 2/26/2008 08:10:00 PM | Permalink | |

Dare I say it: Global Cooling may be upon us

Every day, the scientific news is more and more starkly the polar opposite of every single hysterical lie that has come out of Al Gore's egomaniacal mouth. When that blowhard can accurately predict what the mean temprature worldwide will be one month from now, then come talk to me. Meanwhile if all of the whining Hollywood glitterati jetting around in their private jets want to give up big chunks of their salaries--more power to them. But stay the hell away from the fruits of my labor if you are peddling a "religion" that is less believable and reinforced by fact than Scientology. Hell, L. Ron never looked so good in comparison... :
Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year time. For all sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn't itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

Let's hope those factors stop fast. Cold is more damaging than heat. The mean temperature of the planet is about 54 degrees. Humans -- and most of the crops and animals we depend on -- prefer a temperature closer to 70.

Historically, the warm periods such as the Medieval Climate Optimum were beneficial for civilization. Corresponding cooling events such as the Little Ice Age, though, were uniformly bad news.

To reiterate what was said here: truly scientific evidence of global cooling, spurned by the lack of sunspot activity is not good news in itself. It is welcome news though, in light that the NGO's and Socialists which make up a large majority of the "Church of Warmism" are being badly discredited--to the point where the very idea of the developed world spending over $500 Trillion to "combat" a crisis that is not real in any sense of the world, becomes more and more ridiculous.

This has never been about climate; it has always been about the United Nations and other "Global" Organizations (and our own Democrat party) helping their greedy selves to as much of our wages as they can possibly get their hands on. If we meekly bow to these Chicken Littles and their hysterical message of gloom and doom, it won't even matter if afterwards we enter another ice age; the money will aready be gone and spent--removed from the American economy and funneled to evil regimes and corrupt UN officials like Kofi "Bugsy" Annan" the client states they serve (Russia, China, Korea...).

"Man Made" Global Warming is the biggest con game in world history, unless someone can prove that some men "made" the Sun. And we and Western Europe are the ones being played.

The same Al Gore who got up in 2004 and angrily raged "...he betrayed this country, he played on our fears..."--and then proceeded to get rich selling to the guilt-ridden "carbon credits" based on the fear he was peddling--ought to take a good look in the mirror. If he can find one that big...

So--just for a few more years anyway--I am willing to go scrape ice off my car a few more times, if it will expose these frauds for what they are. But still, it would be nice if that sunspot activity were to speed up some more, so that we return to the kind of climate we have enjoyed since the 1850's. There is a reason all those snowbirds migrated to the South...
DiscerningTexan, 2/26/2008 07:08:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, February 25, 2008

And the Band Played On...

Cartoon by Eric Allie (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/25/2008 11:43:00 PM | Permalink | |

Ice Station Zebra: the Sequel

Maybe they were right back in the 70's after all? (via TigerHawk, Inconvenient Snow)

Flying home from Chicago yesterday afternoon, I continued to be impressed with how much snow and ice there was on the ground. Lake Erie was all but completely frozen over, and the farms of Michigan and Ohio were covered in snow. Apparently the same is true everywhere in the northern hemisphere ...


This is going to be a tense year for climate models and their critics. The modelers got out in front of the cold winter, predicting that 2008 would start cooler than most years since 2000 but would nevertheless be one of the ten warmest years on record. January was in fact dramatically cooler globally, and all the snow and ice in the northern hemisphere suggests that February is heading in the same direction. So far, the weather has made a fool out of neither side. If, however, the cooler temperatures persist through the year and 2008 finishes well below the "warmest ten," the only certainty will be that a massive public relations fight will erupt between the modelers and activists on one side and the "skeptics" on the other. The question then will be whether the mainstream media, having been duped by models gone wrong, starts to pay more attention to people who resist the supposed "consensus" view that carbon dioxide emissions lead inexorably to planetary catastrophe.
DiscerningTexan, 2/25/2008 11:27:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Third Estate and Hillary

Are four pictures worth four thousand words? Maybe in this case:

From her lovesick slaveys at the Associated Press:

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., talks about the decor in the rear of her campaign plane, where the media is seated, while the plane is sitting on the tarmac at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008.

Isn’t she adorable?

Though maybe “adorable” isn’t the word I want.

DiscerningTexan, 2/25/2008 10:58:00 PM | Permalink | |

A preview of Obama-Care

Courtesy of Don Surber, a description of a co-worker's experience with Canadian medicine. If the country falls to the Dems (that's right, I said "falls"...), get ready to grab your ankles:

How Canada does knee surgery.

My experience with knee surgery is limited to that of a co-worker. Knee surgery is that it is painful, necessary and should only be done one knee at a time.

That’s not the experience of pro wrestler Lance Storm, 38. He lives in Canada, where the health care is free and mothers pregnant with quadruplets are flown 325 miles to Montana because Calgary, population 1 million, cannot handle quads.

Lance Storm’s experience is:

1. It took him nearly 21 months from his initial consultation to get to the surgery — “I guess I can at least take comfort in the fact that at least I won’t be getting a large bill at the end of it all.”

2. He saw the surgeon at his office and then briefly for a minute or two before surgery.

3. After surgery, he received very little instruction.

4. His wife was given a wheelchair to escort him from the hospital and given no further instruction.

“I can only assume things went well, and if they had found anything unexpected during the procedure someone would have said something. My follow up appointment is Wednesday morning, so hopefully I will know more then and post an update on my website then, but for now I can only assume things went well.”

But hey, it is free.

You get what you pay for.

He blogged about it here.

If that's not enough to scare the hell out of you, refresh your memory here.

DiscerningTexan, 2/25/2008 09:59:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Obama Nails the Farrakhan Endorsement

Does one have to be a rocket scientist to put the whole picture together? If so, I guess there are no rocket scientists in the mainstream media...not yet anyway

I do expect this one to surface though. This is a huge find, courtesy of Reliapundit:
In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better.

The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator.

[NOTE: In the photo, on the podium it says: IN THE NAME OF ALLAH."]

"This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better," he said.

"This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed."

Farrakhan compared Obama to the religion's founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father.

"A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he told the crowd of mostly followers. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."
Hey, with the Nation of Islam in your camp, the sky's the limit, right?
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 11:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Not "Ma Belle"

Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 11:26:00 PM | Permalink | |

Over the Hill

The talented and verbose Mark Steyn goes back to something he's always been great at--writing obituaries:

Hillary is what the Clintons look like with their pants up. Their much-vaunted political savvy turns out to be a big nothing: The supposed masters of "the politics of personal destruction" can't turn up anything better on Obama than some ancient essay from his Jakarta grade school, plus a few limp charges of plagiarism. And instead of getting the surrogates to crowbar the enemy every time Hillary opens up on him she looks mean and petty, and he gets to do his high-minded Obamessiah routine.

Their star quality was also, as noted above, mostly a giant bluff. In his heyday, Bill could channel his narcissism into a famously sure "common touch" – he liked to bask in proof of his awesome empathetic powers. But, in the years since he left the Oval Office, he's played too many gazillion-dollar-a-plate jet-set dinners in France and Switzerland, and the "common touch" has curdled. That was plain even by the 2002 midterms, when you could more or less correlate Democratic losses by his travel schedule. He's a bust on the stump.

And, worst of all for Bill and Hill, the Dems found a new star – their first in 16 years. Look at it from Hillary's point of view: She'd expected to run against the likes of Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd – the usual mediocrities and misfits. Then Barack Obama came along, and did what the Clintons did in 1992 – saw his opportunity and seized it. All of a sudden, she's the Bill Richardson – worthy but dull, earthbound and joyless, lead weights round her ankles.

She has a melancholy dignity in decline. She knows she would make the better president, but every time she tries to explain why it sounds prosaic and unromantic. Bill gave the party an appetite for slick lounge acts, and this time round Barack's the guy delivering it in buckets of gaseous uplift. Can Barbra Streisand and the Supergays get Hillary airborne again? I doubt it. Go back to that Staples Center entrance in 2000, and try to imagine Hill walking that walk. How far would she get before the applause died away and she'd be padding that endless corridor to no audible accompaniment but the clack of her heels?

This --as any Steyn piece--must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated.
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 11:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

Nader and Chasing the Red Rainbow

Yep. He's back. Apparently the Obam-munists aren't far left enough for ol' Ralph. Maybe Pol Pot? (not that I'm complaining...):

Ralph Nader is running for President because the two contenders for the nomination of the Democratic Party aren't far enough to the Left for his tastes. Here's a video announcing Nader's candidacy.

In particular, Nader is afraid Obama won't be tough enough on Israel. Red State has a transcript of Nader's recent accusation that Obama has 'sold out' to the Israelis.

I give you the example, the Palestinian-Israeli issue, which is a real off the table issue for the candidates. So don't touch that, even though it's central to our security and to, to the situation in the Middle East. He was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state Senate, during he ran--during the state Senate. Now he's, he's supporting the Israeli destruction of the tiny section called Gaza with a million and a half people. He doesn't have any sympathy for a civilian death ratio of about 300-to-1; 300 Palestinians to one Israeli. He's not taking a leadership position in supporting the Israeli peace movement, which represents former Cabinet ministers, people in the Knesset, former generals, former security officials, in addition to mayors and leading intellectuals. One would think he would at least say, "Let's have a hearing for the Israeli peace movement in the Congress," so we don't just have a monotone support of the Israeli government's attitude toward the Palestinians and their illegal occupation of Palestine.

There is always room to the Left in Democratic Party policy debate, always an open flank in a way that resembled the German-Allied race to the sea at the outset of the Great War. The only thing that stopped the extension of the front in 1915 was the English Channel. There is no English Channel in politics so the drift Left simply goes to the asymptote. The other striking thing about Democratic politics is how large a role personality plays. Politics in the Left is characterized by the extreme longevity of its personalities; Nader has been around almost as long as Castro.

Mainstream politics is the handmaiden of ordinary life. And the wheeling-and-dealing that people like Nader find so distasteful is really the consequence of ordinary politics being about jobs, family, security, living and dying. About it being rooted upon the earth. But ideological politics is about ideas; fine definitions; intensity of vision. It is about alternative paths to paradise. And that's why fringe politics generates factions in ways that mainstream politics never does. There is only one earth but there are many heavens. A guy like Ralph Nader will always be looking to turn the corner to recover the perfect vision he once glimpsed. No one described the dogged pursuit of illusion better than F. Scott Fitzgerald in his character of Gatsby. Nothing, not even the reality of Daisy would ever fill Gatsby's hunger for what was once glimpsed and lost.

Read the rest.
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 10:44:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Bankruptcy of Marxism: Exhibit 1,957,418

More proof:
MARXISM STILL DEAD: Cyprus elects a communist president who promises to preserve the market economy.
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 10:30:00 PM | Permalink | |

NOT a fake photo: Barack Obama in Muslim garb, two years ago

Remember the brouhaha when Nancy Pelosi visited Syria wearing that Scarf? Well get a load of this:

Friends of my enemies, etc...?
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 10:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

Fratricide in Democrat-land

The trouble that conservatives have had digesting John McCain's many betrayals over the years is not the only bitter family feud going on in American politics: the so-called Democratic Leadership Council wing of the Democrat party, must feel like the South during reconstruction, or like Tojo just after Hiroshima and Nagasaki--witness Andrew Sullivan's evisceration of Hillary Clinton, which is more brutal than almost anything I have read about her from a Republican. And that is saying a lot.

They say the truth hurts; well Democrats, welcome to what we Republicans have known for about 16 years now (big h/t to Glenn Reynolds, because I am not the biggest Sullivan fan and would never have found this myself...):

Watching senator Clinton attempt to regain some lift as she paraglides into history is almost enough to evoke pity. Almost. The Clintons come with their own boundless reserves of self-pity so further reinforcements seem unnecessary to me. And I suppose they could somehow still find a brutal, soul-grinding path to the nomination. But we've learned something important these past couple of weeks.

Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people, an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.

It's staggering to me that she blew through so much money for close to nothing (apart from the donuts). Without that media meltdown in New Hampshire, she would have been forced to bow out much earlier. She didn't plan for contests after Super Tuesday. She barely planned for any before that. She was out-organized in Iowa and South Carolina, and engaged in the pettiest form of politics in Florida and Michigan. Her fundraising operation was very pre-Internet. She has no message that isn't about her and the Republicans. Her trump card - Bill - managed to foment a 27 point loss in South Carolina.
I am still going to try to keep Hillary in this race against the Obam-munist a little longer by voting for her in the primary this week...but I must say that couldn't have put it better myself.
DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 09:40:00 PM | Permalink | |

Suicide Watch for Bill Keller? One can only Hope...

When I saw Roger L. Simon's headline, I thought instantly of the great Tom Petty's Free Falling. But when the entity falling to its destruction might be the almighty New. York. Times... well let's just say it is difficult for me to salvage much empathy for Bill Keller:

New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt takes his own paper to task this morning over the NYT's coverage of John McCain's putative affair and supposed bias in favor of a lobbyist. Excuse me for going psychoanalytic, but there was something weirdly self-destructive in the newspaper's behavior on this matter.

I cannot believe that an intelligent man like Bill Keller was entirely unaware that most people would be repelled by the thin gruel his paper published - even though he evinced astonishment at the huge number of negative comments, including many from Obama supporters, that appeared on their website. Others may say he and his fellow editors were just unconscious of the way people think, but I am not convinced. As evidence I offer the simple fact that they were for months reluctant to publish. Was the imminence of The New Republic story on the inside deliberations at The Times the trigger? Maybe partly. But again I suspect there was more to it. The New York Times is run by human beings, like everything else, who are subject to the same conflicting cocktail of motivations we all are.

The Jayson Blair affair, of course, was damaging to the paper, but I suspect the fallout here will be worse, since we are in the midst of a presidential campaign to determine the leader of the Western World. I don't think this necessarily means any kind of shakeup in editorial staff. It means something more serious - the continued degradation of the newspaper's already weakening reputation.

And this is a very good thing. No matter what your politics, for too many years The New York Times has had far too much power over our national discourse for one outlet. No media source should have that much authority in a democracy. We need, pardon the expression, a thousand flowers to bloom. I know Bil Keller agrees with that, because I have heard him acknowledge it. He was clearly under considerable pressure from his reporters and editors to publish this unprofessional nonsense. Why did he finally pull the trigger? I submit that he may have done so, at least in part and most likely unconsciously, to shoot himself and his own institution in the foot.

DiscerningTexan, 2/24/2008 09:19:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Last Stand?

It's looking like "The Messiah" is going to make it to the finals, barring a miracle. There goes all those anti-Hillary votes in the fall...

Truthfully, if something cannot be done to rally Conservatives to get out the vote this fall, we are staring at the horrific proposition of a neo-Marxist President--for the first time in American history--and possibly a Democrat Congress to help JFK/Lenin/Farraknan do pretty much whatever he wants to destroy the America we all love. The result could be catastrophic in ways too various and scary to even contemplate fully. He would walk away from Iraq and the rest of our friends. He would surely ruin our economy and re-enter the era of "malaise". For the rest of our lives we may be waiting months just to get medical care. And who knows how many innocent American, European, Asian and Middle Eastern lives will be snuffed out by the Islamofascists because Americans were stupid enough to allow the election of a latter-day Neville Chamberlain--and an inexperienced one at that--to be our President at this critical juncture of hisory. It's like being on the deck of the Titanic and seeing the 'berg dead ahead but being powerless to do anything.

I'm going to be taking a couple of days off to finish editing a my stepfather's World War II memoirs; he, who was then a 19 year-old commander of a B-24 who flew 31 missions over Europe. He's beginning to lose some of his memories now. Anyway I am going to be focusing on this task for a couple of days and won't be posting. But I'll be back. I will go down fighting.

But think about what I am saying here. And in the meantime, I am going to probably go vote for Hillary Clinton this week too. For all the "good" it would do...
DiscerningTexan, 2/21/2008 10:45:00 PM | Permalink | |

Hillary vs. Barack

Ann Althouse is live-blogging the debate tonight. I could only make it through about 5 minutes of both candidates saying absolutely nothing substantative, and of Barack Obama saying he would "protect America"--and it was about all that I could handle; I decided I had better things to do than two watch two Stalinists tell lies for an hour and a half.

But Ann is smart as a whip, and an attorney with a keen mind for detail, so I am sure she will cover pretty much everything we need to know.

UPDATE: More here, including an outrageous statement from Obama:
The Socialist Debate Is On...
Hillary and Barack are going at it tonight on CNN.
With Hillary's lead shrinking (gone) this may be her shot at saving Texas.

Michelle Malkin is liveblogging.

Hillary is insisting that her health plan will be mandatory.
Hillary has previously promised to take your wages if you do not buy her health plan (Video)
--Aren't you all so excited about the government taking over your health care?

Hillary is talking about democrats being in charge of national security- THE HORROR!
Obama talks about using the military wisely.
Barack believes his judgement on Iraq was correct because it has diverted attention from Afghanistan.

WOW!... Obama claims US soldiers in Afghanistan are capturing Taliban weapons because this was easier than getting weapons from the government.
You've got to be kidding?

He must think US soldiers are all Rambo's-- wrestling weapons out of the hands of the Islamists!
Here's the nutty video:

"They were actually capturing Taliban weapons because it was easier getting Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current Commander in Chief."
Check out Michelle Malkin's take as well.
DiscerningTexan, 2/21/2008 08:35:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Darkness Comes?

Cartoon by Gary McCoy (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/20/2008 11:55:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Same Question: Still no Answers

From Sweetness and Light: it has been a several weeks now, and still no answer to the greatest question of our time: What has Barack Obama ever a accomplished? :

From MSNBC’s Hardball, via YouTube:

And from Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, also via YouTube:

Of course this will change nothing.

Mr. Obama’s followers seem to like it that they know nothing about him.

Ignorance is bliss, isn't that how it goes? It's what led gullible Germans to believe in the "charisma" of Hitler, and all that "change" he promised to his adoring acolytes in Nazi Germany. Well Hitler made changes, all right... The only thing that "change" means is something different. Hitler was different. He promised change too. Promising change is like promising you will die someday. It means absolutely nothing. And when you live in the best country in the world, change that takes us away from how we got that way is not change that I want any part of.
DiscerningTexan, 2/20/2008 10:40:00 PM | Permalink | |

Snow in...Saudi Arabia????

Iraq, Jerusalem, and Iraq too! Must be all that CO2 in the air:

Snow in Saudi Arabia, Greece, Jerusalem, China, Iraq — maybe the polar bears will get a larger habitat.

I posted on that snow in Athens on Monday. Now, the London Daily Mail has pictures of that as well as a roundup of all the places that have experienced snow for the first time in a while.

“So far,” the Daily Mail wryly noted, “the leading advocates of the global warming thesis have remained fairly quiet about the 2008 freeze, although some may explain that ‘freak weather events’ such as we are now witnessing are just what we should expect to see as Planet Earth hots up — even if this produces the paradox that warming may sometimes lead to cooling.”

Bloggers notice.

The “Watts Up With That?” site has a chart from NASA’s own James “Global Warming” Hansen that show a significant drop in temperatures in the past 12 months at the NASA center he heads.

In fact, Watts Up has four such charts.

Scientific consensus, my eye.

Here is what comes to mind whenever I hear about "consensus science":

To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
-- Margaret Thatcher

DiscerningTexan, 2/20/2008 09:40:00 PM | Permalink | |

Generating still more support from Conservatives, the NYT drops an Unsourced Hit Piece on McCain

A month ago, the New York Times was proudly proclaiming its support for John McCain in the primaries. Now that that nomination has been all but locked up, the Times has now dropped an unsourced, unsubstantiated story about so-called "ethics" violations, including a completely seedy reference to a supposed affair with a Washington lobbyist (never mind that he did not support her bill...). It is so obvious that it is more likely as not to rally more conservatives behind McCain, as Allah points out here:
NYT: McCain may have behaved unethically and cheated on his wife, but we’re not sure; Update: Pressured by the New Republic? Update: McCain responds; Update: Carl Cameron video added

A sex scandal that may not be a scandal tucked inside an ethics scandal that may not be an ethics scandal tucked inside an ethics scandal that was a genuine scandal 20 years ago, and for which McCain has begged forgiveness ever since. The Paper of Record.

The media halo’s gone, Maverick. Nothing personal. Just business.

Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”…

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others…

[McCain advisor John] Weaver added that the brief conversation [he had with Iseman] was only about “her conduct and what she allegedly had told people, which made its way back to us.” He declined to elaborate…

Mr. McCain said that the relationship was not romantic and that he never showed favoritism to Ms. Iseman or her clients. “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that,” he said. He made the statements in a call to Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, to complain about the paper’s inquiries…

In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman.

The juicy stuff’s at the end, including instances of McCain acting against the interest of Iseman’s clients. Exit question: Is this really the tack the left’s going to take against the guy who co-sponsored McCain-Feingold, and about whose “sense of honor” Russ Feingold testifies to in this very piece? That he’s unethical?

Update: Remember this? This story’s evidently been in the works for two months, and if you believe Drudge’s teaser from back then, it was initially going to accuse McCain of having let Iseman write parts of his telecom bills. How thin must that angle have been if it didn’t make the cut for an article this thin on other details?

Update: Among the various ways to get the base to rally behind Maverick, a New York Times hit piece surely must be one of the most efficient.

Allah also has some video from Carl Cameron on the story at the same link, suggesting that the New Republic "double-dared" the Times to run this...and he continues to update as we go.

We knew the press would turn on McCain--but this?? What it tells me is that they have next to nothing on the guy.

Anyone reading this blog knows me and undoubtedly knows that McCain is not one of my favorite people. I am supporting him because the alternative is the most terrifying major party candidate this country has seen in my lifetime. McCain can be a real pain in the butt, and I often become furious at his self-serving antics. But for the NYT to kind-of sort-of infer that he might be "corrupt" with this piece of bat guano? If that's all they have on McCain, it's going to be a long year for the brain-dead Grey Lady.
DiscerningTexan, 2/20/2008 08:37:00 PM | Permalink | |

Attention CNN Anchors: your marching orders are in

Via Babalu Blog--probably the most diligent blog in America on matters Cuban--we have this gem of an email from a CNN Producer:

Michael Graham, blogging at The Natural Truth, brings us this disgusting but not surprising story about how CNN coached its anchors to treat the subject of fidel castro in an early morning email today.

I can now confirm independently that not only did such an email go out, here it is in its entirety:

From: Flexner, Allison
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 7:46 AM
To: *CNN Superdesk (TBS)
Cc: Neill, Morgan; Darlington, Shasta
Subject: Castro guidance

Some points on Castro – for adding to our anchor reads/reporting:

* Please say in our reporting that Castro stepped down in a letter he wrote to Granma (the communist party daily), as opposed to in a letter attributed to Fidel Castro. We have no reason to doubt he wrote his resignation letter, he has penned numerous articles over the past year and a half.

* Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration. in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.

* Also the Cuban government blames a lot of Cuba’s economic problems on the US embargo, and while that has caused some difficulties, (far less so than the collapse of the Soviet Union) the bulk of Cuba’s economic problems are due to Cuba’s failed economic polices. Some analysts would say the US embargo was a benefit to Castro politically – something to blame problems on, by what the Cubans call “the imperialist,” meddling in their affairs.

* While despised by some, he is seen as a revolutionary hero, especially with leftist in Latin America, for standing up to the United States.

Any questions, please call the international desk.

The sender of this email is Allison Flexner whose current position at CNN is unknown. She was a producer and has been in Cuba according to this transcript from 2000.

Smoking gun evidence about how the mainstream media and particularly CNN, which we have always referred to as the castro news network, is trying to sanitize castro's legacy, EVEN NOW!

As if health care and education were a good enough excuse to violate human rights. We have to be fair now don't we?

As if the regime needed any more help in getting its talking points into the MSM, they now come through official emails to journalists and anchors. We've often lamented the Faustian bargain that foreign news agencies have made with the castro regime in order to maintain access. When Reuters has a reporter in it's Cuba bureau that penned 1,000 articles for the official newspaper of Communist Party U.S.A. nothing should surprise us. But it does.

Any questions? None here. " CNN"
DiscerningTexan, 2/20/2008 02:13:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Which Classroom is Safer??

Cartoon by Chuck Asay (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 2/19/2008 04:42:00 PM | Permalink | |

Doctor: Leftists really ARE mentally ill

A clinical psychiatrist has a new book out, just in time for this year's elections. (Thanks to directorblue over at Astute Bloggers for this):
Clinical psychiatrist: modern liberalism is a mental disorder Dr. Lyle Rossiter's new book makes a compelling case that liberalism really is a mental disorder.

"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded... Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."

While political activists on the other side of the spectrum have made similar observations, Rossiter boasts professional credentials and a life virtually free of activism and links to "the vast right-wing conspiracy."

For more than 35 years he has diagnosed and treated more than 1,500 patients as a board-certified clinical psychiatrist and examined more than 2,700 civil and criminal cases as a board-certified forensic psychiatrist. He received his medical and psychiatric training at the University of Chicago.

Rossiter says the kind of liberalism being displayed by the two major candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination can only be understood as a psychological disorder.

"A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity – as liberals do," he says. "A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population – as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation's citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state – as liberals do."

Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

* creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;
* satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;
* augmenting primitive feelings of envy;
* rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

"The roots of liberalism – and its associated madness – can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind," he says. "When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."
Makes sense to me.
DiscerningTexan, 2/19/2008 04:27:00 PM | Permalink | |

Barack and Che

Yaacov Ben Moshe got into a bit of a skirmish with an Obama Houston campaign worker on a blog after this photo went public:

You will want to read it all, particularly the part where he takes apart the campaign worker's lame argument limb by limb. But Yaacov really summed up for me the whole problem with Obama's dalliance with Che as "Socialist Symbolism" (I hope he will forgive me for quoting him liberally here--I just didn't know where to "cut"...):
The quixotic, demented, anti-logical dueling contradictions I identified in Susan’s rant, combined with that craving for change is the very kind abandonment of reason brought Che and Castro to power in Cuba, Hitler in Germany and Lenin in Russia. The swelling ranks of impressionable young people and immature older people who, like this hapless Susan, seem capable of believing the most outrageous calumny about their own country while, at the same time, remaining blind to far more egregious short comings on the part of almost any other country (other than Israel, of course) is ominous in its own right.

It is unsettling that the Obama campaign, notably through his wife Michelle Obama, is pandering to and encouraging the ecstatic urge for change in a recent speech (HT Sister Toldjah) Mrs. Obama said in a recent speech at UCLA, “Barack is the only man who can “heal” this nation and “fix our souls””

My reading of history tells me that when a government undertakes to “fix” peoples souls, as nice as that sounds, it will ultimately mean that if you don’t care to have your soul fixed in that particular way, they are going to wind up doing something very unpleasant (maybe even fatal)to your property, your freedoms and, your life.

As Jeff Jacoby wrote in the Boston Globe:

With Che at his side, Castro toppled Fulgencio Batista in January 1959. "As soon as they had seized power," notes "The Black Book of Communism," a magisterial survey of communist crime in the 20th century, "they began to conduct mass executions inside the two main prisons, La Cabana and Santa Clara." As chief prosecutor of the new regime, Che oversaw the bloodbath, ordering hundreds of executions in the first months of 1959. Those he killed, "The Black Book" records, included "former comrades-in-arms who refused to abandon their democratic beliefs."

Like totalitarians of every stripe, Che didn't scruple at the death of innocents. "Quit the dallying!" he ordered Jose Vilasuso, a conscientious government lawyer who was seeking evidence against several prisoners. "Your job is a very simple one. Judicial evidence is an archaic and secondary bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! We execute from evolutionary conviction."

Che fixed their souls all right- by setting them free from their bodies. This is the thanks that naïve change-seekers can expect from true revolutionaries like Che to whom they find themselves romantically drawn. Let me be clear, I think that Barack and Michelle Obama are more like Susan than they are like Fidel and Che. They are essentially good people who are either too emotionally involved in their desire to advance their joint career through the false promise of socialism or so convinced that they have "a mission" that they find it possible to ignore the moral and intellectual bankruptcy and cultural danger of their ideology.

And then there are the nameless, faceless campaign functionaries, flaks and Public Relations experts- let’s look in detail at what they published as the Obama campaign’s official statement on the Che flags. It has become axiomatic in political campaigns that it is a big mistake, especially in primary elections, to give too accurate a picture of who you are and what you believe in. This statement is a masterpiece of obfuscation and hypocrisy.

The first thing I notice is that it never actually mentions the name "Che Guevara". This is a sure sign that there is something indirect and manipulative going on. We are in for a "Marketing Momnet".

It begins with a reasonably forthright first sentence: “This is a volunteer office that is not in any way controlled by the Obama campaign” a valid disclaimer. Any organization that is growing and changing as rapidly as the Obama campaign has got to have a few loose cannons. There is no way that the core leadership can keep a watch on everything.

The next sentence is not so direct. It is a loosely joined succession of phrases. These phrases, owing to the looseness of the connections, clack and bump against each other leaving us to wonder wha the real bond is between them. I am going to have to take it one fragment at a time.

The first phrase is “We were disappointed to see this picture” My initial reaction is that I find it shocking that all they can muster is “disappointment”. Knowing who Che Guevara was, what he stood for and the bloody murder he committed, if I were Barack Obama I might have felt something more like outrage or horror- but that is just me. How disappointed are they? What kind of disappointment is it?

The next two phrases are even more shocking. “…because it is both offensive to many Cuban-Americans-- and Americans of all backgrounds” So, we see where the word “disappointment “ comes from, it has nothing to do with being repelled by Che’s bloody record or dismayed by his totalitarian association. No, it is nothing so moral and judgmental. They are disappointed because it offensive to Cuban-Americans and others.

Incredibly, they are far more concerned about the “offence” caused than they are about the meaning of the flag as a symbol. Unspoken here, but clearly identifiable are two senses in which the Obama campaign apparently considers giving offense more notable and worse than the moral implications of his presence in the volunteer office. First, of all it giving offense to identifiable voting blocs (Cuban-Americans vote!) is politically counter-productive. When, as the Obama campaign seems to, you believe (we know Mrs. Obama does) that you have the power to “heal” and “save”, engaging in honest and direct debate that might drive votes away is a sin against your sacred (however mistaken) mission.

The other reason “the offense” is a greater concern for them than the substance of the matter is that in the multicultural, morally relative world of the left and the Democrats it is a greater sin to be “insensitive” to the feelings of revolutionaries and malcontents than it is to ignore and enable injustice and even murder.

They go on to say that it the flag does not reflect Obama's views and that "Barack Obama has been very clear in putting forward a Cuba policy that is based on one principle: freedom for the Cuban people" It's funny how bland and non-committal that “freedom for the Cuban people” sounds. What does that mean exactly? To me, it has the same ring of ominous irony of, say, calling a repressive Communist totalitarian state “The People’s Republic of Whateverstan”.

It doesn’t specify what kind of freedom they’re talking about. Presumably, they are trying to be sufficiently general to avoid offending anyone else. Incredibly, this champion of change for America, this campaign that wishes to sell us on wholesale change for America (the nation that needs change the least of all the countries of the world) comes up short on suggesting any particular change for Cuba (an internationally acknowledged economic and social basket case). Cuba needs more of what we have here – in a hurry. Democracy and free markets would be a huge improvement for that country. Does the Obama campaign suggest any thing like that? No, he certainly would not want to offend the people who put him into this fix with that banner of Che, and they are not so much in favor of democracy or free markets. The whole thing is weasely, multicultural, morally relativistic and marketing oriented- not at all statesmanlike.

Edmund Burke warned us about this three hundred years ago. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” From this one instance, it looks to me that Obama is very much in favor of doing nothing about evil. He can’t bring himself to call it “evil”. As I said above he seems like a very nice and pleasant man. If all the evil in the world were done only by evil people, though, things would be a lot less complicated than they are.

The real danger that the tone and direction of the Obama candidacy brings home to me is that once “Change” becomes the ultimate goal, the strongest, most ruthless candidate of change will often look like the best one and the well-intentioned, emotionally labile dummies of the liberal left (as the example of Susan Rainsberger shows) will be powerless to see what he is up to- let alone stop him. That blood thirsty criminal is not Barack Obama but he might well be hanging a Che Guevara flag up in a "volunteer" office somewhere and waiting for his chance. So, Mr Obama's people have not really addressed the key flag issue at all. They have only given us a flaccid denial of approval- not a categorical condemnation and that makes the Che flag a rather large red flag for me.
When you take this argument, along with the one posted earlier about Obama's very troubling foreign policy team, the recent remarks of his wife, and the fact that he has people pretending to faint at many of his campaign events, I am getting the picture of someone whose lust for power knows no scruples; a man who would do perhaps more damage to my country than even Hillary could. And I never thought I would see that day.

I am really starting to get the "willies" about this guy. Kerry and Gore were buffoons. This guy is all smiles on the outside, but you get the feeling he is a take no prisoners kind of guy on the inside. Or worse, a "take many prisoners" guy. As in 'political'.

Sort of like... Che.
DiscerningTexan, 2/19/2008 04:05:00 PM | Permalink | |