The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Congress takes Day Off; Dow Rises 371
Monday, September 29, 2008
Starts with a "B" and rhymes with "Itch"...
WHOA--PELOSI GAVE KEY DEMS A PASS ON BAILOUT VOTE
However Gingrich did have a suggestion on Fox tonight that would almost instantly free up the markets before these beasts consider another bill: the Secretary of the Treasury can experiment with relaxing the spectacularly stupid Mark to Market accounting scheme. Gingrich thinks he should do it tomorrow morning, because it would work and because Congress could not do a damn thing about it. Gingrich issued this challenge to Paulson and Cox: just try it for two weeks. If it works--if it frees up the world's credit as most people believe it will--then keep it in place. If the markets continue to tank, then you can always reinstate the (arcane and divorced from reality) rules.
But if the markets do heat up, the Republicans are in a much stronger position to demand what they want in any bailout bill--and the Dems would really be walking the plank to do something stupid without them. Makes sense to me.
BREAKING: HOUSE VOTES DOWN BAILOUT
But no matter what the conventional wisdom and pundits are saying, it is hard for this blogger to consider the defeat of State Socialism a bad thing. And obviously the Democrats were terrified of walking the plank on this thing alone.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Uh Oh... Rezko Cooperating with Fitzgerald
Is Obama Eligible to be President?
People are going to say "so what". But I believe it. I really do. It shouldn't matter--that is if our Constitution really is "living and breathing", then I am sure you could find a gaggle of leftist lawyers who would argue that the Founders didn't really mean that. Hell even Anthony Kennedy might agree.
However the real story here is that the press is still silent about it. Why? It is public record. The suit has been filed. Is it not a "worthy" story that the Democrat nominee for President might not even be eligible to serve, under the law??
How silly of me.
Whoa: ABC deletes anti-Democrat comments from Website comments
ABC News Political Punch blog is deleting conservative and anti-Obama comments.
Darke Blog has proof.
Now you see it:
Now you don't:
Oh... and it's not an isolated incident.
Official "Missouri Truth Squad" Incident Report Form
UPDATED "I've Got a Bracelet Too..."
Fast forward to Friday night: McCain is talking about the dead serviceman's bracelet that a soldier's family asked McCain to wear to honor their son. At which Obama had his "I know you are but what am I" moment and pointed out that he too had a bracelet. However, Obama then had to look down at his notes to even recall whose bracelet it was! That in itself was pretty telling; but not nearly as telling as this:
MORE ON OBAMA'S BRACELET: "Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family."
If that's true, I'm surprised the McCain folks haven't made something of it.
UPDATE: More from Uber Pig at Blackfive:
For those of you who watched Friday night's debate between McCain & Obama, you'll know there was an exchange over which candidate's position had more authority because of the bracelet he wore than the other. Background from Jake Tapper on the bracelet issue here. My take is that McCain used an appeal to my emotions to score a point against his opponent, Barack Obama. It's a well known, effective, but unfair debating tactic. An appeal to emotion can be used to justify almost anything, after all, and they keep people from getting to the truth, from arriving at objective decisions. If Obama had come out against these kinds of unfair emotional attacks, or flat out got angry and said he wouldn't take advantage of someone's personal tragedy to guilt people into supporting his political agenda, I'd have more respect for him.Authenticity? Barack Obama???
But he didn't, and I don't.
What he did is respond in kind to McCain's gut punch with this sort of a fey, pathetic, open fisted slap that fell flat because he didn't actually believe the lie he was telling; if you're going to make an unfair appeal to my emotions, you had better know the name of the soldier whose memory you are manipulationg and his story, and be able to speak of that story with authenticity.
Definition of "Insanity"
A Debate of MANY Missed Opportunities
For example: MOST independent Americans and/or "Reagan Democrats" believe in the wisdom of the American worker and American ingenuity. MOST independents believe that given an opportunity to compete in the free marketplace and to explore our own rich resources, we could do it better and more efficiently than anyone else, provided that the government would simply get out of the way (all of the angry left's twisted contortions to the contrary).
MOST Americans do not want another 9/11 to occur--even Democrats--and a large majority would never have predicted that we would have gone this long since that horrific day without being attacked again. There are of course reasons why we have not been attacked again (along with a little luck)--reasons that McCain obviously did not want to bring up because they also involve his predecessor. While some Independents might disagree as to what all the reasons and underlying causes were, in truth most of us have little or no idea what actually has transpired behind the scenes since 2001, in this existential war against our virulent jihadist enemies. Most of us have no idea how many times we came close to getting hit again, or how many plots have been foiled because of our "playing offense." But when it comes to our National Security, is our feigned ignorance really "bliss"? Or should someone who wants to be our President actually, you know... point it out??
And does not this economic crisis also threaten our National Security??
For me a Presidential debate is one of the few opportunities that candidates have to communicate over the media's cheerleaders, those 24x7 purveyors of promoting Democrat candidates and spinning untenable policy positions in order to decieve as much of the electorate as possible. Debates provide some of the few opportunities that Republicans (especially) have to speak and connect directly with the voters, especially those "independents" in the middle who will decide this election. Reagan was masterful in this regard. As a Republican, you have to be good at it, because the odds are always stacked against you by the media's goo-goo eyed worship of these leftist idiots.
And let's face it: it isn't always easy to convince confused and conflicted Americans about what is true and what is not, especially where economics are involved. For a politician to pull it off they must have a good grasp of facts, history, and the way the world really works. The beauty of debates is that--regardless of the undeniable bias the media throws in our way, and regardless of the disservice this partisanship does to a functional democracy's ability to make wise decisions--here is one a golden opportunity to for candidates to communicate ideas well enough to educate the uneducated--and to refute the talking points of the baying hyenas and spinmasters in big media.
But--to be successful you have to actually take advantage of those opportunities. And therein lies the rub.
Yes I thought McCain did "better" in the debate, I will stipulate that. However, I was sorely disappointed that Maverick allowed Obama to play "rope-a-dope" for so long. Obama is a master of twisting a question into a speech that has nothing to do with answering what was asked, and McCain ought to be dogged enough to corner Obama in this weak mealy-mouthedness. Facts, for example can be a good thing, when they are delivered in a timely and effective manner. But for facts to be effective, you have to actually speak them.
Friday night, Obama threw out some real whoppers; some down the middle fat pitches that McCain could have easily hit out of the park... yet he did not even swing at them. In going out of his way not to lose his "famous" temper and/or to appear "Presidential", McCain failed to take advantage of the very killer instinct which served him so well in the primaries (often to my own chagrin...).
Perhaps my own opinion about these missed opportunities are colored by my having spent so much time reading books like Sowell's spectacular Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (also available btw in iTunes or at Amazon as a "book on tape"...). Truly if there was just one book that I had to pick for every American to read and fully comprehend, this would be the one. The beauty of Sowell's exposition is that it is interesting, easy to understand, contains numerous real world examples to explain each concept, and otherwise is virtually inarguable for people with any common sense, intelligence, and a knowledge of history. I've read this book twice now and also have listened to it a third time via my iPod. This is a book that gets better every time.
So yes: it is possible that I do not consider economics to be rocket science, because I had (in Sowell) one of the best teachers alive. Whereas most people seemed intimidated and turn glassy-eyed when the word "economics" is even mentioned. That of course is the fault of our educators--because (my opinion)--they don't want you to know the truth when it comes to Capitalism and why it works. But of course this also stems from the fact that they don't understand it either--and they don't want to.
Fine, then: maybe in normal circumstances you would not make a huge effort in a debate to do a bit of "plain speaking" about economic principles. But these are not normal circumstances, and it is too late to change the reality of where all of this built-in big Government socialism (see: Freddie and Frannie...) has brought us: the World is in an economic crisis. And our next President has to deal with that.
So frankly I don't care if the people don't understand or like the topic--we have to try and make them understand, not to run away from the question. McCain had several opportunities to explain how we got here...but he didn't. McCain had a number of opportunities to prove that it was Government Intervention (and corrupt intervention, at that...) enabled by repeated Democrat pandering to interest groups championing untenable business principles--all in the name of "providing greater opportunity"--THAT is the reason many banks are collapsing like dominoes as we speak. Don't we deserve to know that?
McCain missed THE perfect opportunity to explain which Party was instrumental in precipitating the crisis... but he couldn't bring himself to do it. That would be "too partisan" I guess...
Yeah, well so is Stalinism.
Maybe McCain hasn't read enough Thomas Sowell--it is hard to know. But if that is the case, then maybe he should read some... (email me John, seriously: I'll buy you a copy...)
Unfortunately McCain did not consider it to be worth the risk of overcoming an innate American economic illiteracy in order to take advantage of several clear openings that Obama presented to him the other night. You see: when you are debating a Marxist on economic policy, it should not be that difficult to score powerful points, nor to demolish strawmen like the ones that were coming out of Obama's mouth. There were a number of occasions in that debate where I felt like John McCain could have dramatically slammed the door on the Democrats' fear-laden mythology about the free markets.
Alas, he didn't take advantage of those openings; McCain apparently still does not understand that when there is no media to "translate" whatever Populist tripe his pollsters tell him that the Public actually believes, a debate provides the perfect opportunity to walk away from all that cheap, dishonest, transparent crap (which both candidates have been regurgitating ad nauseum)--and to expose the unwashed electorate to the blessing of actual truth.
Don't you get it, Senator? Once people can see the truth, they will thank you, not blame you. You have survived a living hell as a young man; why then is it so difficult to level with the American people about the Genesis of this financial crisis?
Senator, you have been a politician for most of your life, yet you seem not to grasp a basic truth: ALL politics is partisan. And when your opponent is championing an economic ideology that has now come close to DESTROYING this great country, it IS acceptable to point that out... Yes, sometimes we have to come together, and we do when we have to (see this weekend, for example). But 99% of the time politics is bloodsport. It is a zero sum game. That sucks from an intellectual point of view, but it has always been that way. And it still is preferable to not having a choice in the matter. Therefore: is IS OK to stand for something, and to defend it--especially when you are in the right...
Friday night, John McCain might have taken great leaps in actually explaining to the American people just what the hell has been going on since the days of Carter, all in the name of "fairness"; he could have clearly laid out to the unaware the great lengths to which our Government (led by Democrats) has gone to overtly and covertly sneak provisions into law which have since then forced at gunpoint the very banks now going broke to provide "opportunities" to individuals and businesses who they otherwise would never have given loans to, that is: had sound business judgment and not social engineering become the "PC" standard for issuing credit.
But apparently McCain and/or the paranoids handling he and Sarah Palin's campaign (why are they hiding her???) don't think it is worth the risk of being honest with the American people about the CAUSE OF THIS CRISIS. It was not "8 years of Bush", John... It was 31+ years of Liberalism run amok in our Government.
Perhaps he doesn't think we can handle the truth. But the reality is that: as a free people we will not be able to endure much longer living under the continued perpetuation of the BIG LIE. So who is going to address that?? Are we so afraid of ticking off ACORN and other purveyors of bankrupt social "equality" that we dare not speak the truth about the root cause of this crisis??
Thus, we step ever closer to the precipice of "Paradise Lost"; not because McCain did not have plenty of opportunities to reveal the truth about the Democrats and their empty ideology--but more because he let those opportunities pass.
More important, he missed chances to score points on Obama. Here are a few: Early in the debate, Obama asked rhetorically: “The question, I think, that we have to ask ourselves is, how did we get into this situation in the first place?” Instead of talking abstractly about greed, McCain might have said: “Senator Obama wants to know how the trouble started. He might ask his close adviser Jim Johnson, who headed Fannie Mae and got an exorbitant pay package.”Perhaps. But he blew several opportunities in the first debate; how many more openings will Obama give him? How many more chances will there be to explain the differences between what Obama is calling for and how the world really works?
Obama promised that we would deliver a tax cut to 95 percent of Americans. McCain could have said: “Senator Obama has made a lot of promises. In 2005, he promised that he wouldn’t run for president. In 2007, he promised that he would work aggressively to ensure public financing of the presidential campaign. In 2008, he promised to fire any staffer who attacked Governor Palin’s family. He broke all those promises. And now he promises to cut your taxes. Right.”
Obama claimed that he “stood up and opposed this war” when it was politically risky. McCain might have replied: “In 2002, Senator Obama said he was against the war. Two years later he said, ‘There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.’ Then he went back to opposing it again. So he was against the war before he was for the war before he was against it. Senator Obama should compare notes with Senator Kerry.”
Obama listed a number of energy options, including “clean-coal technology.” That line was perhaps McCain’s greatest missed opportunity of the night. “It seems that the real debate here is between Senator Obama and his running mate,” McCain might have said. “A few days ago, Senator Biden said — and I quote — ` We’re not supporting clean coal.’”
“And by the way, Senator,” McCain could have added, “your running mate claimed that he was the first person to support solar energy 26 years ago. Actually, the first major legislation on solar energy came years before that, and Senator Biden had nothing to do with it. At least he didn’t claim that he was the inventor of solar energy. That was God.”
There are more debates to come. Perhaps McCain is holding some one-liners in reserve.
McCain had a chance Friday night to put Obama down for at least an 8-count. Yes Maverick may technically have "won" the debate on points. But Obama still lives to fight another day. And that is too bad.
House Republicans get Key Concessions for Bailout
Ed Morrissey helps us to separate the myths from the facts about the compromise plan:
Myth: Windfall for ACORN.
Fact: The Frank-Dodd proposal created an affordable housing slush fund and directed 20 percent of net benefits from the program to be directed to ACORN-type organizations. The proposed compromise does not include any affordable housing slush fund and directs all net benefits back to the Treasury to pay down the national debt.
Myth: Tax increase on financial industry.
Fact: The proposed compromise imposes NO tax on the financial services industry. The proposed compromise simply requires a proposal from the Administration to recoup any losses after five years.
Fact: The proposed compromise includes tax cuts for struggling community banks.
Myth: Blank check for $700 billion with little accountability.
Fact: In general, the Treasury Secretary is limited to purchasing up to $250 billion outstanding at any one time. If the Treasury needs to use another $100 billion, the President must certify this action and report to Congress. Further spending requires Congressional action.
Myth: Treasury plan is the only option available.
Fact: Treasury is given multiple options to deal with the current economic crisis, including insurance, public/private auctions, loan guarantees, and direct support to financial institutions.
Fact: Further, Treasury is MANDATED to create an insurance program (Section 102) that protects the taxpayers and requires companies that wish to participate in this program to have some skin in the game by paying risk-based premiums.
Myth: The taxpayer is not adequately protected.
Fact: The proposed compromise includes strong taxpayer protections. Treasury’s proposal had minimal oversight to protect taxpayer dollars. The proposed compromise enhanced the oversight structure by creating a Financial Stability Oversight Board, a Special Inspector General, and a Congressional Oversight Panel.
All AIG-type deals require mandatory equity interest in order to provide taxpayers with potential future benefits. All auctions require a percentage of equity interest based on participation in the program.
Requires the Secretary to develop regulations/guidelines necessary to prohibit or, in specific cases, manage any conflicts of interest with respect to contractors, advisors, and asset managers.
Myth: The taxpayer does not benefit from Treasury bailouts.
Fact: The proposed compromise (Section 113) requires mandatory equity interest in scenarios like AIG. The proposed compromise also allows Treasury to take an equity interest in the program generally.
Myth: Treasury will never use the insurance option.
Fact: Treasury is mandated (Section 102) to establish an insurance program and set risk-based premiums. This will protect taxpayers by requiring the beneficiaries of the insurance program to pay risk-based premiums. Treasury further shall collect premiums mandatory equity interest in scenarios like AIG. The proposed compromise also allows Treasury to take an equity interest in the program generally.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
Ignoring the fact that House Republicans didn't so much boycott earlier meetings as that they were EXCLUDED from earlier meetings on the bailout, Nancy Pelosi had the gall a little while ago to go before cameras and say that they boycotted meetings in the week and that their non-participation made them, yes, quote "unpatriotic." If Boehner had said that about Pelosi, every establishment media outlet in the country would be having conniption fits for about a week and said that it blew up the negotiations and showed that Boehner and Republicans are McCarthyite, etc. But I bet you don't hear a peep out of them against Pelosi. So let me be the first to say it: Pelosi is a rank damagogue, a despicable human being, a person who wants the United States to lose in Iraq, a bad-faith bargainer, and the worst excuse for a speaker of the House in history.And that is saying a lot.
Drawing the Line on "The Deal": What House Republicans MUST Insist Upon
And if the deal does NOT get done and the market crashes next week--it is going to be very very hard for the Pelosis, Reids, Franks, Dodds or Schumers to explain why that had to happen for a few earmarks for pet leftist causes.
So what could mess it all up?
The Democrats in Congress could mess it all up. We’ve already seen that they have larded up the legislation with mandates to spend any revenues from the bailout on programs like foreclosure relief, aid to cities and states, and funding for so-called community activist groups, like ACORN and La Raza, that actually don’t share the values of a majority of Americans.
But spending the profits from the bailout on anything (much less on politically-odious projects) undermines the logic of the trade. All of the cash flows from the bailout must go to coupon payments on the borrowed $700 billion. All of the at-maturity payouts must be used to retire the borrowed money and get it off the balance sheet of the United States.
Otherwise, Congressional Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, and ACORN-attorney Barack Obama, will have converted the greatest trade in history into the greatest expansion of national debt in history.
Congressional Republicans MUST insist on the removal of all of these earmarks as their price for signing on to the legislation.
And they can do it, too. The American people are so overwhelmingly opposed to the bailout plan that Speaker Pelosi dares not pass the bill without Republican support.
In fact, she has stated that her price is at least 75 Republican votes, or 100 if she can get them.
Democrats know that financial markets continue in an exceptionally precarious state. They have to pass this legislation as soon as they can, ideally before the end of the weekend. Every senior Wall Streeter I talk to is using phrases like “very stretched,” and “can’t hold out much longer.”
The Republicans are therefore in a strong position to ensure that this bailout retains its potential to be the greatest trade in history, rather than one of the greatest expansions of national debt in history.
The latter would be the outcome, if the Democrats are able to ensure that the profits from the trade will be spent rather than returned to investors.
Republicans must insist, as the price of their support for this bill, that all of the provisions which direct that bailout proceeds will be spent on any particular program, should be stripped out.
ATTENTION HOUSE REPUBLICANS: Don't let them get away with it. (and for you folks playing at home, let your Congress know that you won't stand for it either...).
Friday, September 26, 2008
Obama Thuggery UNHINGED!
This is straight out of the GRU/KGB/STASI manual!
Just think what a President Obama would do after he was in power.
MORE THUGGISHNESS: Obama threatening the licenses of TV stations that run NRA ads.
Haven't we had about enough of this? Related item here. They told me that if George W. Bush were re-elected there would be brazen efforts to suppress free speech on political grounds -- and they were right!
UPDATE: Still more on the ad-silencing effort here.
Plus, from Jacob Sullum at Reason, Why Obama is Vulnerable On the Second Amendment.
MORE: Prosecutors and sheriffs threatening to prosecute Obama critics?
Check out this TV news report from St. Louis, too, which makes clear that the Obama campaign is behind this.
STILL MORE: This is the ad that's got the Obama campaign so upset. You can make up your own mind, but it doesn't seem especially unusual for a political ad, though it's certainly likely to hurt Obama in the bitter-clinger demographic. Of course, more people will see it now because of this controversly. And here, at Politico, is the NRA response. (Bumped).
MORE STILL: Reader Carolyn Gockel writes: "Why Obama is Vulnerable On the First Amendment: The whole NRA flap is going beyond gun rights advocates...I'm not as pro-gun as you and I am furious." Yeah, and the bit with state law enforcement officials threatening critics is even worse. I wonder if the ACLU will weigh in on this one? Seems like a good opportunity for them to show their nonpartisan nature.
This is Frightening, people. Being a student of World War II and the events in Europe leading up to it, the parallels with Il Duce, Benito Mussolini are eerie scary.
Obama's handlers (because, after all Barry often has problems deciding for himself what to do...) are taking a page right out of the Blackshirts/Brownshirts playbook. Perhaps the beautiful--if historically jingoistic--film Pan's Labyrinth is more appropriately digested if seen in a light of of a warning about what can happen today, not some revisionist history about Franco (Orwell is pretty open about his view of the Communists after his prior affiliation with the Marxists in that war...). Other recommendations: The Lives of Others and The Inner Circle...
Welcome to the 1930's. Better stock up on arms and ammo while you still have the chance... unless we DEFEAT these Nazis, they may be coming for you soon.
RELATED: Key Obama fundraiser meets with Ahmadinejad. Now there's a role model for Democratic leadership...
Meanwhile Übermensch Val Prieto--the immigrant from Castro's Cuba who does know the difference advises:
Be afraid, folks. Be very afraid.That seems like good advice to me. Time to go stock up on guns and ammo...
UPDATED: EVEN MORE VIDEO EVIDENCE..Financial Crisis Made Simple (Video)
UPDATE: ... and this too:
Cartoon by Steve Kelley (click to enlarge)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Obama thugs (lawyers) threaten Licenses ofTV stations airing NRA ads
Barack Obama is used to having his way. Interestingly, he is not a fan of people pointing out when he’s lying about things like civil rights, especially that pesky Second Amendment.
That’s why Obama has a team of hired goons - some call them lawyers - to threaten legal action against those who air his record.
The Obama campaign sent cease and desist letters to news outlets in Pennsylvania and Ohio, denouncing the ads and demanding their removal from the airwaves. All stations where NRA-PVF has purchased or plans to purchase ads have been provided with documented evidence of Sen. Obama’s anti-gun record.
The only problem is that the ads are based on a real, proven record. If anyone hears of a local outlet turning NRA down, call and complain about how upset you are that they would be so biased.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
YES! FINALLY Someone who GETS IT about How our Media is KILLING our Democracy
As I noted in an update last evening would almost certainly be the case, the media today is pushing the story that the firm owned by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, lobbied for Freddie and Fannie Mac — all while continuing to ignore exploring, at any length, Sen Barack Obama’s actual ties to those closely related to the current economic meltdown. Not only that, but the Davis-as-tied-to-crisis story is disputed by the McCain campaign — which alleges that the NYT has reported in bad faith, and that public records back up the campaign’s claims that Mr Davis cut ties to his firm in 2006, and that he never lobbied Freddie or Fannie Mac (and in fact, hasn’t been a registered lobbyist since 2005).
All of which, I suppose, is not surprising; after all, the media seems to think that the Sen from Illinois is running against everyone but Senator McCain, from the Gov. of Alaska to a campaign manager, and so their function has been to try to dirty them and hope that as the stories accrue, the public is left with a certain impression crafted by their reporting, while the facts that undercut this impression will ultimately only be “corrected” in the back pages of the paper, if at all.
The fact is, McCain hired Davis to run his campaign, not to write policy. And it was McCain who spoke up for the reforms that could have forestalled the current crisis while Obama remained silent and collected more money from the corrupt Freddie and Fannie Mac than all but Chris Dodd.
I’ve noted before that we are now fighting an all out ideological war for the survival of what the democratic republic. In fact, I’ve been making this same argument for years now: when the press, under the cover of “objectivity,” is allowed to function as an advocacy arm for a particular ideology and its titular representatives, what follows is a necessary skewing of facts — and a carefully constructed attempt to frame “stories” with “lessons” that the public will interpret “correctly” (according to those attempting to teach the lessons from the perspective of their own personal advocacy).
This is not hyperbole: a free society relies on a free press to inform. That the mainstream press leans demonstrably left is not the problem in and of itself; the problem arises when that demonstrable bias is given cover as “objective,” and when those who believe they are basing their support for a candidate or platform on objective reporting are in effect doing no such thing, but are rather being coaxed, prodded, directed, and manipulated — in everything from what comes to count as newsworthy to, in cases like these, shoddy reporting (which may or may not be intentional), the effect of which is to leave those who rely on the media literally less informed than had the media reported nothing at all.
A free society cannot run this way. If information is power, those who control the information and its mainstream dissemination are in a position to act as the most important swing vote in any election. That the press has given up, at this late stage (and despite declines in readership and public trust), any serious attempt to report objectively suggests that we are now quite immersed in a battle for the very principles of a democratic republic. Progressives have decided that the ends justify the means — that lies in the service of greater truths (as defined by their own ideology) are both pragmatic and utilitarian measures to be adopted so that “we” can finally get things “right,” and accept government from a permanent political class, a new aristocracy, that will expand the federal government in ways that will protect us from ourselves, in the process, assuring that ever new generations will be reliable upon the good graces of the federal government for their survival.
The new media held promise for fighting back. But the left recognized this immediately and built a counter balance to the MSM fact-checkers — and, in a perverse expansion of their role as foils, these progressive “netroots” are now responsible for feeding stories to the mainstream press, a further assault on the Enlightenment mandate for the free exchange of ideas, and further proof that progressives are every bit the totalitarians and would be fascists that I have long suggested they must necessarily be, given the philosophical imperatives that underwrite their political philosophy.
But enough of the abstract. Over at the Pub, Dan has put together a link-rich exploration of the specifics — including the roles of Raines, Gorelick, Pritzker, and Johnson — which help bolster my more airy musings:The media push to drive all of the responsibility for the sub-prime mess onto the shoulders of the Republicans seems for the moment to be working. Sen. Sherrod Brown was on NPR yesterday stating that the crisis was created by greedy Wall Street bankers and Republicans who deregulated the finance industry. His depiction was too much even for Terry Gross, who stated, “Spoken like a loyal Democrat.” To which Brown answered, with a certain lack of vocal conviction, “Well, it’s true.” After claiming that the Bush administration had never tried to do anything about the situation.
Mind you, I don’t give Republicans who’ve voted against oversight for Fannie and Freddie a pass, nor do I give greedy Wall Street financiers a pass, or the home equity loan bastards who now feel they’re entitled to a bail-out. But tucked into the Congressional provisions we now find that there are bail-outs for student loans and car debt. While Dem-leaning policy wonks talk about the inherent unfairness of the Feds permitting certain firms to fail and buying others, they seem not to mind that the government has intervened to save some homeowners from foreclosure while letting those who have gone before them sink, or that some people may have paid off their student debt or automotive financing, while they contemplate making us hold the bag for this. Are any of them going to recuse themselves for having accepted discounted loans from CountryWide or any of the other mortgage lenders? [...]
Read the whole thing, which goes into even greater detail.
For my part, I’d just like to again reiterate that, should the press be allowed to comport itself this way under the current mythology that it is dedicated to “objectivity,” then every election will be necessarily skewed — if not by Evan Thomas’ infamous 15 percentage points, than at least by a number significant enough that it could very well be the deciding factor in every major election.
At which point, we’re dealing with no more than simulacrums of free elections, and the idea that we live in a democratic republic is but a useful fiction we tell ourselves as we slide ever more toward western European socialism and away from the principles this country was founded upon.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Explaining Freddie and Fannie from the Beginning: Mark Levin at his Finest
If I had had the opportunity I might have posted it earlier; I've been thinking of linking it since my wife and I just looked across the car at each other and just shook our heads. But now that I see that Ace and Allahpundit have beaten me to the punch, why try and reinvent the wheel here? Obviously I was not the only person zapped between the eyes by this broadcast.
If you have the patience and time to fully understand the truth, it can be found here. If you are ready to hear it. I find it to be a bit ironic that this broadcast has gotten so much attention on the Web since Friday. Ironic because I've been challenged at times as to what claim or right I had to dare to express my opinion as to what is true and what isn't on this and other topics. Obviously timing, setting, decorum and the known sensitivity of other parties to certain views ought to in polite company take some precedence over the need to make such pronouncements--especially among friends. Many of us can become outspoken at less than appropriate moments, and I am walking proof of this. But the other side of that coin is that we live in extraordinarily tense, uncertain and consequential times: emotions run high and patience is often on a hair trigger.. How do you balance these things? Precariously.
None of us knows everything there is to know about any topic, so to be challenged openly about an expressed opinion regarding any topic, no matter how strongly held, is not necessarily always related to some sort of viral moral relativism run amok.
Still, to be effortlessly and glibly dismissed when one knows another party you are talking to has not been exposed to the same information (nor would they be likely to bother to access it even if you made it available), can render their lectures on what is "true" or not into an ironic lighting. It is almost as if some people would rather not know certain facts, I think. Going against the flow of a pre-established pattern can cause an unpredictible "cognitive dissonance" that many people would just as soon not deal with. I don't always understand this, but it seems to be quite common.
Still there hopefully do exist people out there in the ether who do want to hear more than just the side of the news they are spoon fed by the cheerleading media hacks they are used to. Which leads me again to Allah's post about Levin's magnum opus. Personally I think it is the finest Mark Levin show ever aired, and if I could make it so, I would make it required listening before anyone could vote. Cue Allah's take:
Via Ace. It’s long, but we’ve had lots of requests for it and you’ve got time on a slow Sunday afternoon. What happens when a policy with good intentions is built on a foundation of bad financial sense? Ask the New York Times, which saw this coming almost 10 years ago. September 30, 1999:
In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.
”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”
And now here we are. Click to listen.
Cartoon by Henry Payne (click to enlarge)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Explaining the Left's Anger: they are no longer Needed
Pure greatness follows (emphasis mine):
Two generations, now, are being raised on this poison, and the reason for that is this: the enemies of this city cannot come out and simply say, “Do not defend the city.” Even the smartest among us can see that is simple treason. But they can say, “The City is not worth defending.” So they say that, and they say that all the time and in as many different ways as they are able.Like almost anything Whittle writes, you will want to read the whole thing, save the whole thing, and then mail the whole thing to as many people as you can find.
If you step far enough back to look at the whole of human history, you will begin to see a very plain rhythm: a heartbeat of civilization. Steep climbs out of disease and ignorance into the light of medicine and learning — and then a sudden collapse back into darkness. And it is in that darkness that most humans have lived their lives: poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
The pattern is always the same: at the height of a civilization’s powers something catastrophic seems to occur — a loss of will, a failure of nerve, and above all an unwillingness to identify with the values and customs that have produced such wonders.
The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a bitch has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.
And how is this done, this “throwing open of the gates?” How are defenders taken off the walls?
Well, most of what I learned about Vietnam I learned from men like Oliver Stone. This self-loathing narcissist has repeatedly tried to inculcate in me a sense of despair and outrage at my own government, my own culture, my own people and ultimately myself. He tried to convince me — and he is a skillfull man — that my own government murdered my own President for political gain. I am told daily in those darkened temples that rogue CIA elements run a puppet government, that the real threat to the nation comes from the generals that defend it, or from the businessmen that provide the prosperity we take for granted.
I sit with others in darkened rooms, watching films like Redacted, Stop-Loss, and In the Valley of Elah, and see our brave young soldiers depicted as murderers, rapists, broken psychotics or ignorant dupes –visions foisted upon me by bitter and isolated millionaires such as Brian de Palma and Paul Haggis and all the rest.
I’ve been told this story in some form or another, every day of every week of the past 30 years of my life. It wasn’t always so.
But it is certainly so today. And standing against all this hypnotic power — the power of the mythmakers in Hollywood, the power of the information peddlers in the media, the corrosive power of America-hating professors on every campus in America… against all that we find an old warrior — a paladin if ever there was one — an old, beat-up warhorse standing up in defense of his city one last time. And beside him: a wonder. A common person… just a regular mom who goes to work, does a difficult job with intelligence and energy and grace and every-day competence and then puts it away to go home and have dinner with the family.
Against all of that stand these two.
No wonder they must be destroyed. Because — Sarah Palin especially — presents a mortal threat to these people who have determined over cocktails who the next President should be and who now clearly mean to grind into metal shards the transaxle of their credibility in order to get the result they must have. Truly, they are before our eyes destroying the machine they have built in order to get their victory. What the hell is so threatening to be worth that?
Only this: the living proof that they are not needed. Not needed to govern, not needed to influence and guide, not needed to lecture us on our intellectual and moral failings which are visible only from the heights of Manhattan skyscrapers or the palaces up on Mulholland Drive. Not needed. We can do it — and do it better — without all of them.
When all is said and done, Civilizations do not fall because of the barbarians at the gates. Nor does a great city fall from the death wish of bored and morally bankrupt stewards presumably sworn to its defense. Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it.
Ask the common people of all politics and persuasions aboard Flight 93 whether greatness and courage has deserted America. Through this magical crystal ball — the one we are using right now — we common people can speak to one another. And by reminding ourselves and those around us of who we are, where we came from, what we have achieved together and of the marvels we have yet to achieve, we may laugh in the face of despair and mock those people that think a man with an MBA from Harvard knows more about running a gas station than the man that actually runs the gas station.
It is the small-town virtues of self-reliance, hard work, personal responsibility, and common-sense ingenuity — and not those of the preening cosmopolitans that gape at them in mixed contempt and bafflement — that have made us the inheritors of the most magnificent, noble, decent and free society ever to appear on this earth. This Western Civilization… this American City… has earned the right to greet each sunrise with a blast of silver trumpets that can bring down mountains.
And what, really, is a Legion of Narcissists and a Confederacy of Despair against that?
It is a shame that Whittle does not write more often like he used to, because the words and thoughts roll off his keyboard like great poetry. His talent is wasted on Hollywierd, although undoubtedly it has been lucrative for him: Whittle could be writing Presidential speeches that might someday draw comparisons to Lincoln at Gettysberg or Reagan at Pont-du-Hoc.
Here is hoping that someday we have another President that is worthy of Whittle's great talent. Until then, I guess I'll just have to keep an eye on his site ("Trinity" and "Tribes" are great essays to start with...), keep stopping by the E3 Gazette "satellite" site--and keep renewing my subscription to National Review.
Herbert Hoover Returns
Sunday, September 21, 2008
MUST READ: Orchestrating the Palin Smear: Did "Barack Obama Approve this Message"
Dr Rusty and Friends have hit the mother lode: evidence that Barack Obama broke Federal Election laws by sanctioning the Sarah Palin smear campaign.
This is only a small portion: you will DEFINITELY want to read the whole thing:
Extensive research was conducted by the Jawa Report to determine the source of smears directed toward Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Those smears included false allegations that she belonged to a secessionist political party and that she has radical anti-American views.
Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.
It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign. Namely:
- Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.
- The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.
- Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.
- Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.
- The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.
- This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod's firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as "astroturfing."
- David Axelrod is Barack Obama's chief media strategist.
- The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.
This suggests that false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the internet are being orchestrated by political partisans and are not an organic grassroots phenomenon led by the left wing fringe. Our findings follow.
WHO PRODUCED THE VIDEO?
Who is behind this video against Sarah Palin? It alleges:Sarah Palin was a member of an Anti-American separatist organization.It claims that Sarah Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party and cites The New York Times for that source. Then it quotes the founder of that Party with some pretty outrageous statements.
But here's what FactCheck.org says about that:[Sarah Palin] was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.And The New York Times was forced to retract their earlier claim that Palin was a member of the party, blaming the error on the party's chair. That retraction was published Sept. 3rd, 8 days before the video was first made publicly available.
Sarah Palin wasn't even physically at the party's convention. The clip you see is part of Palin's videotaped welcome for the convention's opening in which she gives some general remarks about the need for party competition and then tries to draw some common ground on the need to reel in government spending. Hardly evidence of extremism or anti-American sentiment.
In our opinion the Palin smear video appears professionally produced. Especially revealing is the voice over, which has a ring of familiarity to it and which also sounds professional.
If we are correct, that means that someone paid for the ad and for the talent behind it. Yet no one identifies themselves as being behind the video.
Using techniques that we've used in the past to find the identity of online terrorist supporters, the Jawa team went to work trying to figure out who was behind what appeared, in our opinion, to be a professionally orchestrated smear campaign aimed at Sarah Palin with the ultimate goal of electing Barack Obama.
VIOLATION OF FEC RULES?
Federal election law requires that a disclaimer from those paying for campaign ads, "must appear on any "electioneering communication" and on any public communication by any person that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or solicits funds in connection with a federal election." Even when the ad is not paid for nor coordinated with the candidates election committee, "the disclaimer notice must identify who paid for the message, state that it was not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee and list the permanent street address, telephone number or World Wide Web address of the person who paid for the communication."
No such disclaimer appears on the ad in question. However, "General public political advertising does not include Internet ads, except for communications placed for a fee on another person’s web site." It is not clear to us whether a video is considered an "internet ad" or if the wording only meant to include banner ads or other more common forms of internet advertising.
All of the web only video ads that we could find produced by the Obama campaign carried the disclosure or some other clearly identifiable notice that they were responsible for its content.
It would appear that the ad, while professionally produced, was put on YouTube and then spread in such a way as to make it seem like amateurs had made it and spread it. We can't help but wonder if the missing disclaimer on the video was an intentional exploitation of a loophole meant to distance the people behind the ad from its outright lies?
We also can't help but wonder if maybe those who produced the ad believed that the lack of disclaimer constituted an FEC violation? Which would be an alternative explanation for why they did not wish to be connected to it.
Beyond the disclaimer, though, our reading of FEC regulations suggests that political campaign and 527 groups, such as Moveon.org, are required to report money spent on advertising opposing a candidate for public office. We can find no exception for advertising intended for web only campaigns.
We assume that if some group paid for the production of the video, that it would be reported to the FEC. Not doing so, we believe, would constitute a breach of federal campaign law.
PR FIRM BEHIND THE VIDEO?
The YouTube poster who uploaded the video did so under the account name "eswinner". He names his channel "AGroupofConcernedAmericans". The goal of his channel, says "eswinner", is:Offering a fair and unbiased view towards life and politics...The video was uploaded four times under the "eswinner" account, using different titles for each video. The video was also uploaded to Google Video on the same day and with the same title.
I try to give an unbiased account of all things American.
A Google search of other people using the nickname or account name “eswinner” reveals that someone very interested in yachts also goes by that name. There is, for example, a Picasa page under the account name “eswinner”. I won't link to that page because it also has pictures of his family, but I will include a screenshot here.
That Picasa page of "eswinner" is used by an "Ethan" advertising on Craig's List that he will rent out his yacht to interested parties. But "Ethan" also leaves his e-mail account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hundreds of pictures on the Picassa page belonging to "eswinner" show that the page belongs to the same Ethan S. Winner that is employed by the public relations firm of Winner & Associates. Other instances of an "eswinner" or "ewinner" posting on the internet are found sprinkled here and there. All of those postings seem to fit the profile of Ethan S. Winner and suggest that eswinner and Ethan Winner are one and the same.
The company he works for, Winner & Associates, is one of the largest PR firms in the country and part of an even larger international conglomerate Publicis Groupe, which is, "one the world's top 10 advertising and communications firms."
A firm that specializes in "helping companies survive and succeed" a "controversial issue such as a lawsuit, a government investigation, a political protest, a labor dispute, or a defective product or recall."
These people are professional guns for hire. Looking at their portfolio makes that clear. And they only work for big clients. The kind of clients that pay big bucks. The kind of people hired by Exxon to convince people that the effects of the Valdez spill were over. The kind of people hired to help push through oil fields in Chad and Cameroon or help companies respond to boycott threats over the Beijing Olympics.
Also the kind of people hired by the European Union to help sell the new EU treaty. Who was the lead in that effort? Ethan S. Winner.
In other words, probably not the kind of people who make anti-Palin advertisements with professional voiceovers in their spare time. But also not the kind of people to be averse to running a seemingly grassroots Palin smear campaign .
What I am told by a friend in the business is called "cyber ambuscade" when done by corporations. Apparently it is common practice for corporations to try to plant untraceable rumors about their competitors. In other words some corporations pay professionals to slime the competitors.
While it is clear that W&A are very big guns for hire, those that run it have been strong financial supporters of Democrat candidates and have links to the leftist netroots that first championed Barack Obama.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Obama and Dems Abysmal Record on Economics: Is McCain finally Noticing??
At least his ADS seem to get it. So why can't he tell the truth on the stump as well?? Earth to John McCain: it is the Democrats (including Obama!) who are largely responsible for the fix we are in:
THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES A NEW AD ON THE FINANCIAL CRISIS:
Meanwhile, Time attacks McCain's Fannie Mae ad as racist -- because it doesn't go far enough:
This is hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman.
Let me stipulate: Obama's Fannie Mae connections are completely fair game. But this ad doesn't even mention a far more significant tie--that of Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chairman who had to resign as head of Obama's vice presidential search team after it was revealed he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Instead, it relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama's principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.
Or maybe there are just too many dubious Obama associations to fit into a single commercial? Anyway, here's the ad -- make up your own mind. And maybe the McCain people can oblige the folks at Time by rolling out a Jim Johnson ad next? It's a target-rich environment . . . .
Meanwhile, if Obama is President, will Time regard every criticism of his administration as racist?
UPDATE: Bob Krumm emails: "How do you know that the Obama-Raines ad hits its target? Because Time magazine has declared that it is racist."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive! Here's the Jim Johnson ad:
So does that undercut the racism charges? Will Time apologize? Are these rhetorical questions?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Two, two, two papers in one!
- They almost lost us the War (and still would if they could)...
- They killed TWO Bush and McCain supported bills that would have stopped the pandering by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: this allowed the lobbying, payouts, and pandering to continue, which resulted in LESS oversight--and as a result of not doing what they were supposed to do (protect the taxpayers, not the special interests filling the Democrat Congress' campaign coffers...) the taxpayers being socked with the bill for their corruption.
- Cox did his job well and admirably. To use him as a token fall-guy to support McCain's aura of "bipartisanship" is stupid.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
MUST READ: "We Are the Vermin We've been Waiting For"
Treacher unloads on the anti-free speech tactics of the "Obama Action Wires" talking points that left wing activists are using to try to intimidate opponents and overwhelm radio station phone systems.
It's the same oppressive mindset that is behind other intimidation tactics, such as the release and abuse of the Palin family's phone number, the hacking of Sarah Palin's email account, and the unrelenting "opposition research." They now go far beyond debating the qualifications and judgment of candidates, and now have adopted tactics meant to bully, slander, smear and humiliate the candidates, their spouses, and even minor children of candidates.
Today's progressive radicals still have the mindset of Bill Ayers, they've merely found new tactics to employ.
Bristol Palin is being harassed by a petty celebrity trying to goad her into having an abortion. Others, having discovered family telephone numbers, have left obscene messages demanding nude photos.
How long until unhinged "progressive" activists target Willow Palin, a 14 year-old girl, with unfounded rumors designed to sully her reputation? (Answer: They already have).
How about elementary school-aged Piper? When are they going to insist she's being molested, or is deviant in some way?
How about baby Trig? Many pro-abortionists are already irate the Down's Syndrome child was allowed to live.
What is next, Obamaphiles?
I shudder at the thought.
Update: The bullying tactics of the official Obama campaign revealed:A message goes out over Barack Obama's Web site with the names, phone numbers and e-mails of editors and producers foolish enough to host Obama critics. With Mr. Obama's extensive digital following, and his extensive fund-raising and contact lists, shutting up the Democratic nominee's critics with a fraction of Mr. Obama's millions of supporters is relatively simple. The digital legions plug phone lines, crash servers and intimidate the advertisers of these media outlets. This must be another instance of the "new" politics that Mr. Obama frequently talks about.
These are just the official tactics admitted to by the Obama campaign. It kind of makes you wonder what they're up to that they won't admit.
Headlining Drudge now:
Electing the same Congress, Expecting a Different Result?
... this would be the definition of Insanity.
(cartoon by Gary Varvel -- click to enlarge)
Seeing the Light: Strike 3, he's out??
The truth hurts, folks:
The reason Countrywide and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Lehman ended up in a ditch is because the Democrats in Congress got their way and blocked a Bush Regulation Plan in 2001 and a McCain Plan in 2005. They claim they did it to protect minorities, but they really did it to protect their friends who ran these three companies: you can check the campaign donations; they went overwhelmingly to the Democrats who protected them - Dodd, Clinton and Obama.
The reason we are in an energy crunch now - and sending to many petrodollars overseas to regimes that don't like us - is because the Democrats in Congress got their way and blocked the Bush-Cheney Energy Plan; in fact, the Democrats in Congress spent more time and money and - dare I say it - ENERGY trying to find out who Cheney talked to than in actually debating legislation which would ave made us more energy independent.
If the Democrats had gotten their way vis a vis The Surge, then Iraq would have completely descended into civil war, sectarian strife and been taken over by AL QAEDA and IRAN, BUT BUSH WON THIS WON. AND AS A RESULT WE SAVED IRAQ.
The ONLY reason Bush won on The Surge was because he had the authority to ORDER IT as Commander in Chief, and then - after ordering it -he challenged Congress to cut funding -- their only way to stop it. The Democrats in Congress tried, but they failed.
The Democrats have been 100% WRONG on the three biggest issues of our day (financial oversight, energy and The Surge) - and because their policies succeeded in the financial arena and the energy arena, we are all suffering.
I hope this illustrates how much is at stake this November, and why it is PARAMOUNT to elect as many Republicans as possible.
I say that as a registered Democrat. Since 1974.
But I must admit that I will probably be voting a straight GOP line this fall - and for the foreseeable future - that is until the Democrat Party is no longer dominated by the left and is once again dominated by sensible centrists whom I can trust on ALL matters of national security: the GWOT; energy; taxes & the economy; and immigration.
If you don't want any more fiasocs, then I suggest you VOTE ACCORDINGLY.