What is so interesting about it is not that the election of the Obama was supposed to put all this behind us but that it now seems that the chief victim of it is now the Democratic party. It was tried by Obama himself on McCain and it backfired. But it worked quite well on Clinton and now it may propel the non-entity Burris into the Senate by cowling the Democrats.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
What is so interesting about it is not that the election of the Obama was supposed to put all this behind us but that it now seems that the chief victim of it is now the Democratic party. It was tried by Obama himself on McCain and it backfired. But it worked quite well on Clinton and now it may propel the non-entity Burris into the Senate by cowling the Democrats.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
As president-elect, Obama has talked frequently about the economy but
practically never in the language of free markets. Incentives? He's
mentioned "incentives for fuel-efficient cars" and "economic incentives
that would be helpful" to Iran to improve relations, but not for
capital investment. "Across-the-board tax cuts" or "corporate tax cuts"
or "tax cuts to increase investment"?
Saturday, December 27, 2008
The cover of the Standard features an article by Charles Krauthammer arguing for a "net-zero gas tax," one of the most sensible ideas I can think of and one which could potentially bring together those on the left and the right in a true coalition, i.e., one where people work to bring about the same policy change for entirely different and independent reasons.
Monday, December 22, 2008
We are getting a chance to see the same dynamic at work with Republicans. Once upon a time--about a week or so ago in fact--all of the scandals were evidence of Republican depravity. A Senator gets caught in the airport mens room making suspicious foot tapping touches and he must be identified as a Republican. But now all of the problems are evidence of "American" values being out of whack, not Republican.
Left unanswered by this Guardian columnist is why, if it is American values that are the problem, the banks in the great care-castles of Europe such as Britain, Germany and Iceland are doing worse, much worse?
"But beyond that is a broader question. In
Afghanistan, the young men tying down First World armies have no
coherent strategic goals, but they’ve figured out the Europeans’ rules
of engagement, and they know they can fire on Nato troops more or less
with impunity. So why not do it? On the high seas off the Horn of
Africa, the Somali pirates have a more rational motivation: They can
extort millions of dollars in ransom from seizing oil tankers. But, as
in the Hindu Kush, it’s a low-risk occupation. They know that the
western navies that patrol the waters are no longer in the business of
killing or even capturing pirates. The Royal Navy that once hanged
pirates in the cause of advancing civilization and order is now advised
not even to take them into custody lest they claim refugee status in
the United Kingdom under the absurd Human Rights Act."
Sunday, December 21, 2008
"Abbas may instead call for presidential and parliamentary elections
early next year. Right now, polls show his Fatah organization ahead of
Hamas, 42 percent to 28 percent. But the situation is explosive, quite
literally, because Hamas's cease-fire with Israel expired on Friday. If
Hamas votes with rockets, Israelis will become even more pessimistic
about a two-state solution."
Now what is so delicious about this is that it doesn't come in the form of opinion but in the form of neutral analysis. The prospect of a party bent on the destruction of the state of Israel lobbing rockets into cities would be bad because it might make them more pessimistic about the prospects for peace. Not that it would kill Jews. Not that it should make them more pessimistic, that it will make it harder for them to believe that there is not a party on the other side of the border bent on their destruction. The fact that there is such a party is beside the point.
Re-read the paragraph just quoted, but instead of imagining a suited reporter imagine a group of Nazis scheming to ease the Israelis into a complacent mindset so as to create the opportunity to destroy them. It makes just as much sense read that way.
One paragraph later we have this absurdity:
"If hard-liners begin to win [among Palestinians and Israelis], thatNow ponder that for a moment. The peace-security trade off? Don't those usually go together? We say, "Peace AND security?" The UN has a security council to ensure peace, yes? That is what peace is, isn't it? Only Israel is expected to see these things as competing goods. They could possibly be viewed as different if the party threatening peace and the party threatening security were different, but given that it is Hamas that is the threat to peace and security (along with the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole) in what sense can one have peace without security? And yet, we have reached the point where such absurdities roll off the tounge without our even noticing.
means the issue will be security," says Davutoglu. "Security will be
more important than peace."
"Yes, finally we have peace. Now we can do something about those guys on the other side of the border lobbing rockets at us."
Interestingly, the press in Pakistan can still write about Israel and the Arabs.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Milbank makes the argument that Obama is doing the same thing that Bush did all the time and brings in the example of Bush begging off a question about a military raid into Syria. But that is not quite the same. In addition to it not be a question about a scandal but one where there is a legitimate reason to beg off answering for national security reasons, there is the more important point that Bush doesn't try to make his answer seem like he is trying to help the reporter.
"I'm not going to comment on the matter," Bush said. "You're welcome to
ask another question, if you'd like to, on a different subject," the
There is a world of difference between just saying you are not going to talk about something and telling a guy you are doing him a favor becasue his original question was one that didn't even need to be asked if he had read the statement and done his homework.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Of course the actual person running it can't just be a politician. It has to be someone with the right technical skills. Engineer? Businessman? Silence you crazed ideologue! We need someone with sympathy and understanding for all the interests and social values at stake. Yes, that's right: a lawyer. I am surprised we didn't think of it before. In fact, that was probably the whole problem in the first place over there at the car companies: not enough lawyers.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
This is an idea that I hope and believe will get more attention now that the Bush administration is leaving and one can be in favor of the spread of democracy without the confounding factor of the unpopular conflict in Iraq. With time, people may even be willing to consider that spreading democracy is not only good but may even require force.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Here is a report from India itself that actually contains information. Turns out the victims were tortured before being killed, no doubt the result of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. The special forces that finally won the battle after they had determined that the hostages were all dead did not play nice:
The doctors who
conducted the post mortem said the bodies of the terrorists were beyond
recognition. "Their faces were beyond recognition."
There was no
way of identifying them," he said. Asked how, if this is the case, they
knew the bodies were indeed those of the terrorists, he said: "The
security forces that brought the bodies told us that those were the
bodies of the terrorists," he said, adding there was no other way they
could have identified the bodies.
An intelligence agency source added: "One of the terrorists was shot through either eye."
A senior National Security Guard officer, who had earlier explained the operation in detail to rediff.com,
said the commandos went all out after they ascertained that there were
no more hostages left. When asked if the commandos attempted to capture
them alive at that stage, he replied: "Unko bachana kaun chahega (Who will want to save them)?"
Good thing for them they don't have the ACLU.
More Gandhi-ism run amok from a story about Somali pirates hijacking a Liberian oil-tanker: "We
have been informed by coalition military authorities that three of our
unarmed security staff were rescued from the water by a coalition
helicopter and are currently on board a coalition warship in the Gulf
A) if they don't have guns, what are they guarding against? B) Why isn't this Liberia's problem? All of this international law business seems to create a massive free-rider problem.
At Citizens for Peace they are calling for Mumbaikars to "chanel [their] collective outrage" into "action not just...attitude." She also wants "an end to platitudes." Good luck with that.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"The biggest bias in the press is towards effectiveness," said
Heilemann, who is authoring a book on the 2008 race along with
"We love things that are smart."
Because Obama's campaign was generally so well run, he argued, the press tended to applaud even his negative tactics.
So the campaign received positive evaluations because it was so good?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Now, doesn't calling something a smear campaign imply that the charges are true?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Here is a law professor claiming to have inside information that Obama is going to try to undo the right of counties to have "shall issue" policies. Lets hope he is wrong. Or, perhaps, that he is right, since doing so would be politically stupid and blatantly at odds with the promises he made in the campaign--though, of course, he will find a way to argue that we misunderstood him, just as the President of Poland appears to have done.
I don’t know what the weight equivalent of a Reverend Wright would be, but if John McCain had chosen a white reverent Wright to be his spiritual divisor and religious instructor for his children, it is difficult to imagine his opponent not using it against him.
American election campaigns are centered on the question of does the candidate’s record matches rhetoric? Obama, having no record to begin with, was never really forced to defend what record he did have. Thus, he was able to present himself as a moderate. Perhaps he is in his heart of hearts. He was nothing of the sort in Chicago.
Leave aside the question of whether, on balance, his race was an advantage or disadvantage; it seems clear that his race did constrain what other people would say about him. We can feel in this conversation. Here I am a very conservative Republican asked to talk about the election of a very liberal Democrat to the presidency. Under normal circumstances no one would expect me to be anything but very unhappy. Yet April keep expecting me to celebrate the election of an African-American to the presidency. And if I don’t that I’m some kind of mean person. I am not being allowed to go to the grieving process. And besides, I don’t think if the situation were reversed, if Clarence Thomas had been elected president, the first reaction of all my liberal friends would be oh how wonderful to have an African-American president.
Identity politics matters greatly until the day the man takes office. After that, it is what can he do for us. It is policy. And I for one can’t wait to start talking about it.
That being said, I hope you don’t mind me plugging an NPR story, but it is just great to see the daughter of a slave live to see an African-American elected president. Any American has got to love that.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
They have just called Pennsylvania for Obama. It was a great country while it lasted.
They have just called Pennsylvania for Obama. It was a great country while it lasted.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Now what if the former KKK member had not just been in the KKK, but had been a founding member, an ideologist for the group, a designer of bombs for them that were specifically designed to kill people though, through their own incompetence, had only succeeded in killing members of their own group? And what if the former KKK member were unrepentant? Unrepentant not only about the violence, publicly stating that his only regret was that he hadn't set more bombs, but about the goals of the group? In fact, loudly and publicly proclaiming that he is still working for the same goals only by different means? Surely this would give you pause?
Now what if this man called himself a moderate? Would you not feel entitled, indeed, obligated to ask how this moderation squares with the Association of described above? Why, if you are indeed a moderate, did a former member of the KKK decided to recruit you to head the foundation he'd created? Was the beneficiary of the funds you disposed of?
And even if, after all this, you decided you would vote for this man after all, would you feel guilty for asking these questions? Would you feel that by investigating these questions you had somehow sullied political discourse in your society? Had somehow violated the rights of the man who was asking for your vote?
Surely not. And yet this is exactly the position of the American electorate in the current campaign. We are told that to even ask about this association is to engage in McCarthyite tactics, is to incite hatred, perhaps even endangering life of the candidate, to be a racist.
It is one of the standard functions of an election campaign to make a systematic comparison between the candidates rhetoric and stated goals, and the candidates prior conduct. To ask whether a candidate stated goals reflect his real goals, whether the candidates will stated goals are reflected in his past conduct, is not cheapening our democracy or degrading our political discourse, it is a requirement of democratic discourse. When have we ever shied away in comparing the candidates "dreams" for the future with his actions and associations in the past?
Never, until now.
Obama promises change; he has already delivered and we have already lost.
Of course, one might argue that the comparison is unfair. The Weather Underground were merely idealistic youths that went too far. Or, that though their methods were "despicable," as Obama said of this "guy who lived in his neighborhood," their goals were mobile or least understandable.
Even if one accepts this argument, their goals were certainly not moderate. No one can seriously argue that the Weather Underground was not a far left organization, nor can they argue that Ayers is anything other than a radical leftist now. indeed, William Ayres is at pains to point out that his beliefs haven't changed. Far from repentant, he is proud.
Nor is there any reason to put the word terrorists in scare quotes in their case. The Ayers' designed bomb in that killed the members of the Weather Underground who were assembling it was, by Arizona's mission, packed with nails and sharp objects in order to kill more soldiers at Fort Dix dance where they intended to detonate. If they did not kill more people it was thanks not to their compassion but to their incompetence.
The argument is not that Obama is a terrorist, but that he is a leftist. The argument is not that he will conspire with terrorists, but that he has a similar view of the world.
This is a special election for me. I lived in Mr. Obama's neighborhood when he was State Senator. This will not only be my second chance to vote for Senator McCain, whom I supported in the Republican primary in 2000, being my second chance to vote against Barak Obama.
As a graduate student at the University of Chicago I lived in district of state Senator Barak Obama. It is no ordinary place. it comprises the two census districts in the United States which represent the largest gap in wealth between any two contiguous census districts in the country. It comprises not only desperately poor areas like the Robert Taylor homes, but extremely wealthy areas, like the Hyde Park neighborhood around the University of Chicago. And thus it is a land of contrasts. But one thing is constant: its politics are of the radical left. Baraka by was seen as a moderate and conciliatory figure who could reach across ideological lines, but it was only the line between the radical black nationalism former Black Panther Bobby Rush (who was our congressional representatives) and the post-nationalist socialists of the U of C faculty, two flavors of far and farther left.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
"I probably shouldn't have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here."
No, Joe, don't worry: you're on the side of the angel, the Obamessiah, and in the state of grace reporters can hear no wrong, or at least not those who depend on them for their news.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My own thoughts on Sarah Palin's intelligence are there she meets the first test but having a sound mind: she agrees with me. Of course some people can just agree with me through luck or habit, but usually takes some sustained thinking to come to the correct conclusion -- mine -- on such a large number issues. Such broad agreement with me is unlikely to be due to just coincidence and so must surely be attributed to intelligence.
I've been struck by how certain people are that Obama is intelligent because he speaks well. I think we are witnessing the birth of a new Mandarinate based on certain, highly specialized, education. Instead of the Confucian classics are new mandarins are talked constitutional law. Instead of having beautiful handwriting and knowing lots of characters, David Vance by being able to argue themselves out of any corner, make a distinction that rescues them from any apparent contradiction, and greatly recommend a course that takes the middle between two extremes, preferably a course that involves taking as little action or risk as possible. In other words, bullshitting.
I think that both McCain and Palin our looked on with some contempt by members of this new class, this new Mandarinate, precisely because of their inability to bullshit. they are too honest. It even has this terrible habit of when she doesn't know something saying that she doesn't know. Even more excusable sometimes before saying she doesn't know, she actually thinks about it. This was her undoing in the Couric interview, for instance. When she was asked if she knew any times the McCain fought for regulation she was supposed to pivot, and say something like, "of course, Katie, but the real question is..." Instead she inexcusably said something along the lines of I don't know and don't get back to you. One of my colleagues in the political science department said that she was shocked at payments in the middle of the two turn the question around to something she wants to talk about, as if this were a desirable ability.
It may certainly be a desirable ability in a trial lawyer, but it seems of limited use, if not positively pernicious, in any walk of life concerned with actually accomplishing things. I remember reading James McPherson's comments on Grant's memoirs and his orders to generals in the field. McPherson said that it was striking how clear grants instructions were. It was always playing what Grant expected his subordinate to do and when he expected the subordinate do it. What makes this unusual, as I recall McPherson's argument, was that it left Grant no out if things went wrong. Most of the generals typically wrote their orders with enough wiggle room so that if things turned out badly they could avoid blame. Grant left himself no such outs. He was not bullshitter.
I think that Palin is a bit like Grant in this regard. She is concerned with getting things done and so has not cultivated the ability to hide behind words. It is no use to someone who wants to get someone else to do something to obscure their own meaning. the ability to expand abstractions with one hand and whittle them down with fine distinctions with the other is mainly of use to people concerned with fixing responsibility, either claiming credit or escaping blame. It is the skill that defines lawyers; it is a quality that repels others.
That Palin and McCain not cultivated this skill speaks highly of them. That are new Mandarinate has equated with ability and wisdom, is a bad sign for us.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
you know times have changed when the controversial statement is the claim that a candidate's drug dealer should be interviewed. The fact that he has a drug dealer is not part of the story.
Mr. Dowd, Cindy McCain's attorney, goes on to make this argument:
"I suggest to you that none of these subjects on either side are worthy
of the energy and resources of The New York Times. They are cruel hit
pieces designed to injure people that only the worst rag would
investigate and publish. I
know you and your colleagues are always preaching about raising the
level of civil discourse in our political campaigns. I think taking
some your own medicine is in order here."
how in the tank are they?
I have one prediction to make: if Obama does win this election it will end up destroying the press as we know it. Once he is elected all of these stories as they have been ignoring become fair game. The press is restrained itself in order to see their preferred candidates get elected, but once that happens the other, normally more powerful, imperative kicks in: the urge to compete. There are just too many good stories about Obama's past and been ignored. Once he is safely ensconced in office, there will be nothing to keep the press often. I expect that will along with these stories will appear stories of how they had been earlier spiked or suppressed by the "will of the newsroom."
Obama is the most liberal candidate for president perhaps ever. It is hard to think of a man whose underlying preferences are so far from those of the median voter. his statements are, on the surface, images of moderation. His actions, particularly those before he got to the Senate, are those of a hard left radical. As president he he will not be able to help revealing this. He has to make too many appointments, too many executive decisions, for his true preferences to remain secret long.
The great disadvantage under which liberal intellectuals operate is their belief that deep inside every American beats the heart of a Swede. They are convinced that the only thing which stops the American people from expressing this preference at the polls is the manipulation of opinion by their enemies and be stirring up of retrograde prejudices among those poor, frightened, economically insecure lower classes, who out of their economic insecurity, "cling to their guns and to their religion." there is is the, "try it you'll like it," theory of public policy: if only we can institute socialism people realize how much better it is for them. Moreover, they are, in their own way, as isolated and insulated from opposing views as the most insular white suburbanite in a gated community, or backwoods Baptist Bible thumper in darkest Alabama. They never hear opposing voices. That is why William Ayers could become a respectable figure in Hyde Park: most Americans on being introduced to such a man would grow their hands back in disgust. Obama saw and nothing controversial in handing over other people's children to be educated by him. Why should he have? No one else he ever talk to did.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
His personality fit with his conception of how to do the job. “People come into your office to ask you for things. Usually these are things they shouldn’t have, but if you just sit there long enough without saying anything they’ll usually just get up and leave.”
Coolidge’s little story draws our attention to a fact about the presidency: it mostly involves giving people money. And so, in asking whether or not some would be a good president, a reasonable thing to examine would be what kind of people they’ve given money to, especially other people’s money.
This is why it is fortunate that the Annenberg foundation has finally consented to release the records of the time it was run by Senator Obama. After all, the senator has an unusually short political career for a presidential candidate, and has been unusually reluctant to release records that other politicians make public as a matter of course: his legislative records, college transcripts, etc..
Obama was the founding Chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Grant, from 1995- 1999. The Annenberg foundation gave $50 million – an amount which later grew to some $160 million through other contributions – to the Chicago organization to improve elementary education in Chicago. Obama’s job was to decide who got the Annenberg foundation’s money. It was his first big job and his first and only executive position. And yet, Senator Obama has shown little interest in talking about this part of his resume.
Part of the reason may be that according to their own audits the organization’s own internal reports their efforts did not achieve much: students at schools that received the challenge Grant showed no statistically significant improvement. Fortunately for Mr. Obama he was not the mayor of a small town where going through $160 million without anything to show for it might be something of a problem.
Perhaps part of the reason Mr. Obama’s efforts produced so little in the way of educational achievement was that the people he Obama said yes to were more interested in radical politics than reading and math. One of the groups that Obama decided to get money was one run by William Ayers, the unrepentant Weather Underground member. Ayres’ group sought to inspire grade school children to recognize the American system as a repressive tool of capitalism and empower them to resist.
Obama’s supporters counter that it is ridiculous to think that the Annenberg Foundation, created by a conservative Reagan Administration member, would be supporting radical causes, but that is precisely the point. Ambassador Annenberg probably did not expect the money he put up to improve reading and math scores be used for radical indoctrination.
Senator Obama’s supporters are indignant about these questions, claiming it is guilt by association. But “association” is a rather broad term. It can cover everything from a guy who just happens to live in your neighborhood to a guy you to whom you entrusted the education of other people’s children. That one happens to be on a board with someone we don’t like tells us nothing; that one decides to give money to him tells us quite a lot. The amount of money spent on education may not shift wildly with whoever is President, but the way in which that money is spent often does. Obama has portrayed himself as a moderate, but the list of people and organizations to whom he has directed substantial resources—Reverend Wright, ACORN, Bill Ayers—suggests something else.
Senator McCain has the same problem in the form of his involvement in the Keating five scandal. But whatever one thinks of Senator McCain’s answers to these questions he has never suggested that people don’t have a right to ask them. Senator Obama stands poised to become the first President since Jimmy Carter to have a majority of his own party in the House and a filibuster proof margin in the Senate. We are, in effect, handing over to him 100,000 Annenberg challenge grants. If we don’t like the people to whom he has given other people’s money, we may not like how he spends ours.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
october 11, 2008
JUSTICE, NO PEACE? So we've had nearly 8 years of lefty assassination
fantasies about George W. Bush, and Bill Ayers' bombing campaign is
explained away as a consequence of him having just felt so strongly about social justice,
but a few people yell things at McCain rallies and suddenly it's a sign
that anger is out of control in American politics? It's nice of McCain
to try to tamp that down, and James Taranto
sounds a proper cautionary note -- but, please, can we also note the
staggering level of hypocrisy here? (And that's before we get to the
Obama campaign's thuggish tactics aimed at silencing critics.)
The Angry Left has gotten away with all sorts of beyond-the-pale
behavior throughout the Bush Administration. The double standards
involved -- particularly on the part of the press -- are what are
feeding this anger. (Indeed, as Ann Althouse and John Leo
have noted, the reporting on this very issue is dubious). So while
asking for McCain supporters to chill a bit, can we also ask the press
to start doing its job rather than openly shilling for a Democratic
victory? Self-control is for everybody, if it's for anybody. . . .
UPDATE: Well, here's an opportunity to see how they do.
Plus, days of rage."
Oh? That's helpful. Now can I be considered for free speech if I oppose anyone writing new books but am not advocating burning old ones? And even in favor of new speech if I am happy to have it once the concerns about "harmful" speech have been addressed to the satisfaction of the interest groups that share my concern and I designate as the true guardians of the welfare of the people? If he isn't anti-nuclear the words have no meaning. He is the ultimate Mandarin, playing word games to get what he wants past the people.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Of course McCain does not make this argument. He is at a disadvantage. He is an honest man. He voted for the financial deregulation because he thought it was a good idea. He would've voted for it if it been proposed by Republican or a Democrat. so, they're accused of having voted for the financial deregulation which caused the problem by a Democrat it doesn't occur to him to turn the question around him. He defends his decision. He defends his decision out because he believed it then. A more practiced liar, a politician more focused on expediency, would have no trouble skipping over a principled defense of his actions -- his actions not being based on principle. he would move immediately to the challenge to logic a man arguing that we need to put a Democrat in the White House because of your support for the last Democrat who was in the White House.
That is what is happening in this election. The Democrats, who are the cause of this economic meltdown, are perversely benefiting from it. the press with its ideological certainty that the problem lies in a general lack of regulation has blamed the problem at the door the Republicans. Their questions in their reporting are premised on the cause of the problem being deregulation itself. They are in curious Dennis as to the relationship between the Democrats and Fannie and Freddie, and, more importantly, between the credit market crisis and the mortgage market problem, has left the casual observer with no inference but that the Republicans are the culprits. McCain's "greed on Wall Street" rhetoric does not help matters.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
One thing that is not addressed is how Senator Obama voted when he was on the board. Neither are the minutes of the meetings discussed. It would
make a great deal of difference if he was there arguing against these
proposals and voting against them. On the other hand, if he is voting
for these proposals it is all the more damming. As it is his supporters
will surely say that he should not be held responsible for what the
majority voted for. To hold him responsible in that way would have the
effect of penalizing a person for serving on the board of an
organization that did anything they disagreed with.
Still, the questions almost ask themselves. Do you support the efforts to serruptitiously influence academic publications? Did you support their efforts to bar opposing voices from speaking on campuses that took your foundation's money? And why, if you are a supporter of an individual's right to bear arms, vote for a campaign to have it read out of the Constitution in the first place?
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
That is precisely why McCain and Palin have to be much more specific about the nature of the association between William Ayers and Obama. It is not that they were merely on the same board, but the air is gave Obama the job as head, chairman of the Annenberg challenge grant. This was Obama’s only real executive experience, and it was a failure. By its own estimate, the organization accomplished little with over $100 million. And he didn’t just show up together in meetings. Obama approved billions of dollars going through Ayers’ organization. This organization at a radical, anti-American agenda, that talk to school children in public schools. Some of the board members thought that this arrangement represent a conflict of interest. Obama dismissed it, voting with those who allowed Ayers to both sit on the board distributing the grant that he’d written and receiving money from that grant.
Fortunately for Obama he wasn’t the mayor of a small town, where blowing $100 million on radicals indoctrinating children in public schools and showing no results for it, might be considered something of a problem.
The McCain campaign continues to pull its punches. They merely raise an eyebrow. They use the word “associates,” which invites the kind of counter argument that Begala outlines. Obama is an unknown quantity. He has a thin legislative record and a voting record that in spite of unusually sparse attendance and an unusually high number of “presents” still puts him at the extreme left of the Senate. If, as is expected, the Democrats have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and control of the House, we will see a specter not seen in decades: complete control of the elected branches of government by one party. Therefore it is extremely important to examine what he has done in his life to predict how he will use the enormous power of the presidency. On the evidence of his time at the Chicago challenge grant, we are in for some unpleasant surprises. The McCain camp is not only within its rights to bring up these issues, it is its duty.
You know the thing that really worries me about Sarah Palin, he said she sometimes cites her degree in journalism as something to be proud of.
I wonder, is it somehow relevant to the American people’s decision about who should be president, that one of the candidates in the election approved giving millions of dollars for the purpose of educating children in public schools, to a man who has attempted to murder them? Or my just being racist?
"If Mr. Obama were a Republican, the news media
would be demanding he disclose the names of all of his donors - as er,
the Republican has done - so we can see if there are among them other
Good Wills and Doodad Pros.
CNN recently sent a reporter to Little Diomede Island, the westernmost
part of Alaska (2.4 miles from Russia) to determine whether Sarah Palin
had ever been there to see Russia with her own eyes. But CNN - and the
rest of the media - have been incurious about the Obama campaign's
Jack Kelley of the Toledo Blade also makes a good case that much of this money came from overseas. You just can't get more in the tank in our mainstream media.
Friday, October 03, 2008
"...free markets, and by extension Reaganomics and the last 25 years of
American economic policy, are getting the blame for the housing and
Thursday, October 02, 2008
It wasn’t Wall Street that was running wild friends at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that ran wild and the only man in Washington to try to stop them with John McCain.
Why does she want to tell us times are bad? We know this. I suppose this works but I’ve never understood it. It’s clear she has not adjusted her answer in response to his. I suspect that’s going to be a pattern
John McCain sounded the warning but she doesn’t explain why that’s important. She doesn’t really know her way around this issue. But of course, neither does McCain.
She sounds hurried and canned.
Biden explains why he is able to reach across the aisle, but isn’t the issue the top of the ticket?
“The fundamentals of the economy are strong,” and she should defend that remark.
She gives a halfhearted defense of his remark, but she does respond directly, which is a good sign. And she turns the focus to the top of the ticket. Good move.
She is given the choice between greedy lenders and blaming homebuyers (voters). Gee, I wonder which one she will pick? She chooses lenders. Good move. But a better move would be to say Congress, particularly the Democrats in Congress who gave implicit backing to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bankers have always been greedy. But they don’t loan money to people who can’t pay it back. That only happens when you have the government insulating a private company from risk if it loses but allowing it to keep the money if it wins. That’s what got us into this problem and that is the responsibility of the Democrats.
Biden says McCain is at fault because he is in favor of deregulation. She has to make the distinction. It’s fine if the rich people are playing with their own money. Problem is when you give a guarantee from the government against their losses. That is what led to this problem.
Banks were deregulated for all of their business back in 1991. Investment banks were never regulated because they never had a guarantee from the government. That’s not what went wrong. What went wrong was the mortgage market, and what went wrong in the mortgage market was that government created these entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, staffed by Democratic pols, becoming a retirement home for Democratic lobbyists.
Man, Biden really knows each vote that happened in the Senate.
Biden makes a good point, the 400 times he voted to raise taxes is a bogus standard. Moreover he is correct she did not answer the deregulation question and it’s a terrible mistake because that should be something she should hit out of the park.
What about campaign finance reform? John McCain is the architect of the system. The top of the ticket went around the country saying it was fundamental to his is very being, fundamental to “what I’m about,” the system of campaign finance reform and then after checking his bank account a few days after winning the nomination, he changed his mind became the first politician residential candidates in our history to abandon the system.
Now we are on to whose taxes are going to be raised. He says people who make over $200,000 year are small businesses. That is correct, but doesn’t that admit his premise? That they really won’t raise taxes on anyone unless they’re already making $250,000 a year?
“Are you interested in defending Senator McCain’s health-care program?” I wonder if Senator Biden will be asked if he wants to defend any of Barak Obama’s plans?
Biden says that 95% of small business and make less than $200,000 a year. Sounds plausible, and the fact that he knows a statistic like that is kind of impressive.
Biden argues that you lose the $12,000 plan your employer to issue and all you get in return is $5000. Now isn’t that odd? The fact that the average health care plan through an employer is $12,000, isn’t that a problem? Doesn’t that indicate that there’s something wrong?
Palin has a very good comeback on that $4 billion tax break for Exxon Biden is talking about. “Bless their hearts, they’re doing what they have to do as CEO”s, but they’re not my biggest fans.” Biden is smiling as she said this. I think it’s a smile of admiration.
Obama vote against it before he voted for it. There is a certain disadvantage to knowing too much sometimes.
Biden takes advantage of her policies in Alaska and says he would like to apply them nationally. I guess that’s why he was smiling.
She blames Wall Street greed. Then she gives us a short lecture on living within our means.
Why doesn’t she talk about Washington corruption? Why focus on Wall Street corruption? Doesn’t that play into the hands of those who want to make it all a matter of Wall Street regulation.
Someone has to point out that if you can buy a house with no money down based on a teaser rate, and then can’t pay when the interest rate goes up, there’s nothing wrong with you defaulting on that mortgage. You don’t have any equity in the house. The rest of the American people don’t owe you anything. It took a risk to reasonable risk and if you just walk away you haven’t done too badly. You’ve been branding. And we can’t leave these nonperforming mortgages houses occupied because the market won’t clear. (This is where it can never be a politician, never think out loud)
Her neck looks really old.
She decides to ignore all that massive detail and swerve toward the issue of energy wins from a celebrity talk about that. Totally unscrupulous and the absolutely right thing to do. Yes, please lay into this were going to vote more money for windmill research Dodge. What are we going to do now?
Shouldn’t the governor of Alaska to take advantage of the fact that she lives in a very cold part of the world and if anyone has an excuse for not being too worked up about global warming it’s them?
She makes an excellent point. When we come out with all this purity, don’t drill here, all that happens is the oil was drilled in some other country where they care much less about the environment. All our precious concern for the environment is just moving the damage somewhere else to people who can much less afford to bear it.
One man’s vital energy research project is another man’s pork. John McCain voted against a lot of these because they happen to be in the district of an influential legislator. Paired
I feel reasonably certain that the oil will get here before the wind power.
“Drill baby drill,” she then corrects him. More jujitsu. Excellent.
Great the way she mentions that Biden called Obama out on voting against funding for our troops.
Biden saying that everyone’s in favor will bomb his plan now. Of course, everyone’s for leaving once you win. That the people that wanted to surrender and leave in the middle of the fight vindicated. It was said we should leave in the middle of flight and let the enemy take the field because the fight was hopeless are not vindicated when after we win we start talking about leaving. If we had done what Obama wanted to do we would have a humiliating defeat and Al Qaeda would have had a famous victory at the very center of the Arab world. At the very center of the world oil supplies. It would have been a disaster. It would’ve been in Vietnam on steroids.
Biden says they don’t have a plan because they don’t have a timetable for leaving. But of course this is a non sequitur. Obviously we want to leave. That’s why we’re welcome in the first place, because people know we want to leave.
Biden accuses McCain of voting to cut off funding for the troops. He explains the McCain voters against a $1.6 billion amendment for M-raps, because it had a timeline in it. Unfortunately, he didn’t oppose it because it included funding for the M-raps, which are stupid. The way you protect yourself from landmines is not hiding behind giant pieces of metal rumbling through the streets it’s by getting out of your vehicles getting to know the people convincing them that you can protect them from the terrorists and finding out from them who the terrorists are. To protect the troops by acting like the good guys, not like you’re afraid, not like you’re criminals who step out of the tanks.
Biden wants to defend Obama and his judgment against McCain’s on the conduct of the war in Iraq. Is that really a winning strategy? Is clearly something that Biden himself does not leave.
It is a pity the Democrats didn’t go after them when they had excellent though it was the first three times.
Again, Eifel helps out her boy, and turns Obama’s promise to meet face-to-face with America’s enemies within the first year of his presidency in two “having some level of engagement with our enemies.” Of course we have some level of engagement with our enemies. That is not and never has been the issue. The question is do we naively think that having face-to-face, heart-to-heart chats with cold-blooded murderers is going to bring them around.
Our friends and allies have been saying sit down talk. The fact that Bush sent a high-level diplomat after five years is not a defeat, it is the result of five hard years of work through our allies in the six party talks are four party talks with Iran.
A two state solution is the solution, but what is standing in the way of that is not a lack of American diplomacy, is in transients on the side of Hamas and the PLO. And as long as we keep rewarding them for terrorism they will continue to be the obstacle.
Sometimes there are people you just can’t negotiate with. There’s nothing to negotiate about.
Has the administration’s policy towards his robe and an abject failure Western Mark well if you measured by the number of agreements they’ve had signed perhaps yes. If you measured by the number of Jews have been killed, it’s a great improvement. Israel finally faced up to the fact that they didn’t have a negotiating partner, so to protect themselves, they put up a wall. They stop suicide bombers cold. The rest the world turned on Israel attacked her President Bush defended her still buy her.
Now, in answer to his criticism of the Bush administration’s policy on Israel, she goes into this canned speech about too much finger-pointing. That is a shame. I like the way she was actually engaging him directly. More importantly, why is she admitting that the Bush of ministrations policy is going to be McCain administration’s policy?
Biden says “I haven’t heard how his policies will be different.” He is exactly right.
She’s asked about the use of nuclear weapons. She should’ve used this as an opportunity to criticize those who say that an Iranian nuclear weapon is no problem because it would have return address. Are such people saying that our security should be paced on the willingness to commit mass murder? If we must seriously contemplate a thing such a thing in the event of an Iranian nuclear weapon, isn’t that an argument for using military force to prevent having to face the choice?
“Our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle will not work in Afghanistan.” Biden takes that as a reason not to try the surge tactics in Afghanistan. But didn’t all of our generals say the same thing about the surge in Iraq?
“Nuclear weapons require nuclear arms control regime.” But isn’t the point that we already have one? We have a nuclear nonproliferation Treaty that the Iranians themselves signed. The problem is in not a problem is the lack of treaties it’s a lack of partners that will follow them. All of our problems is around and North Korea have evolved from getting them to live up to the obligations they’ve already signed his treaties. Getting him to sign more, having more diplomacy, is not going to move us ahead.
Biden wanted to go into Bosnia, in spite of the experts telling him that these people been fighting each other for thousands of years. He went against the experts and was proved right. Good for him. I’m about to make him an honorary neocon.
She should use these Biden positions to fork him, use them against him. Apply them to the situation in Iraq.
“When a country engages in genocide, when a country engaged in harboring people who are killing our people. Period.” Aren’t these arguments for a new meaning in Iraq?
Biden says “we would be tied down for years, we would not be greeted as liberators, we would have to deal with Sunni she fighting,” then why did he vote for the war? In defense of the neocons, they lease didn’t think these bad things would happen.
When she is nervous she smiles. It shows a lack of gravitas. It is not presidential. She should stop it.
The “heartbeat away” question comes up. Biden uses it as a queue for his stump speech.
The Bush policy of preemption and regime change. I kind of like those.
She, on the other hand, uses it as an occasion to repeat the word “maverick. ”Then she goes into her, I’m just an everyday working class American,” shtick.
Biden says Bush has been bad and McCain agrees with his policies. That deserves a state answer.
“Let’s look ahead, doggonit.”
“The money was left behind,” is something she should jump on. How much did money go up under no Child left behind? I’ll bet it at least doubled.
She should use this as an opportunity to point out that all the other guys are senators. Then she should go on to talk about what she will do in the office.
She is in such a hurry to get her little bon mots out.
John McCain voted against the violence against women act. It is amazing that has not come up. It was 20 years ago I suppose, still, how often do you vote against apple pie?
I think she has a much more interesting story to tell about what she brings to the table, much better than these mechanical, canned recitations of a resume. She has had to deal with people telling her that this or that issue is over her head and she should just listen to the experts, and do as she is told. And she has stuck to her guns and proven them wrong. It seems a very good story for president. That ability, to not be intimidated by “experts” or “the people with experience” is pretty important. It is perhaps more important than knowledge in any one particular area.
Biden gives a list of places where Kane is not a maverick. She should hit back on every one of these.
If Bork had been on the court, elected officials would be making a lot of decisions that are now made by judges. He congratulates himself on making the judiciary and object of ideological warfare.
Biden has been able to work across the aisle, it is the top of the ticket that has the problem there. She should say, “I think Senator Biden has set a fine example of bipartisanship. I wish the man of the top of the ticket could make the same boast.”
She never pauses between her sentences. It’s as if she’s afraid she’s going to be cut off if she stops and breathes.
Biden mentions, graciously, that McCain has kids in Iraq.
Biden: My Achilles’ heel - “my excessive passion.”—isn’t that in one of those self-help books? In a job interview you say your fault is being too committed to your job?
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Take the first part of the debate in which the economic situation was the topic. The financial crisis in which we find ourselves has been successfully defined by Obama as a problem of unregulated capitalism. This framing of the issue has allowed him to make the argument that deregulation is the true culprit, that Republicans like McCain, by reducing government involvement in the economy, allowed corporate greed to run amok.
What does framing of the issue fails to explain is why, if corporate greed is at the root of the problem, is the problem centered on mortgage backed securities? Are the Wall Street bankers that issue corporate bonds or car loans any less rapacious than those involved in the housing market? What makes the housing market different is the presence, not the absence of government. it was government backing for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that allow these entities to grow so large and to make risky loans that greedy capitalists playing with their own money would never have made. Rashness on such a scale is never long tolerated by the market unless the government stands behind it.
I was the Democrats who are the prime, and proud, movers. Fannie and Freddie were their babies. The Democrats gave them the implicit governmental guarantee and the mandate to extend credit to otherwise on credit worthy borrowers that lie at the heart of this crisis. The boards of Fannie and Freddie were populated by Democratic pols. Their campaign contributions directed primarily at Democratic coffers (Obama was that a second greatest beneficiary -- not bad for a freshman senator). Yet the culprits have managed to define themselves as saviors. John McCain was actually one of the few in Congress who made a serious effort to rein in Fannie and Freddie in. But now, the issue having successfully been defined by Obama as deregulation, McCain is the one hurt politically the crisis.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Became confidently said that Mr. Kissinger was on his side. Mr. Kissinger, for his part, issued a statement saying exactly the same thing. That would seem to settle the matter? Oh, you obviously don't have a degree in journalism. The Los Angeles Times faults Mr. Kissinger for not knowing his own mind. Or, what is perhaps they were servants, not knowing the mind of the anointed one. Mr. Kissinger's statement apparently commits the offense of not recognizing how Senator Obama had redefined the question. Mr. Kissinger had not taken due note of the fact that Senator Obama had redefined the issue to mean contacts in general rather than summit meetings. Thus the fault is Mr. Kissinger's, who, along with everyone else, just can't understand the subtlety of Senator Obama's thoughts.
This point came home to me when Obama used the phrase, "you can't just talk the talk you have to walk the walk." it struck me at the time there was an unfortunate phrase for Obama to use in the context of foreign-policy, particularly when the discussion is about defending your friends from aggressive enemies. Surely, in that context, "walking the walk" can only mean willingness to use military force -- a matter which can hardly make Obama comfortable.
But it seems to me that the point is larger than that. In thinking about Obama, his whole life seems to be a case of not living up to That motto. indeed his whole life can be seen as a mockery of it, a mockery of his own motto. He talks about the sacredness of public financing and then becomes the first candidate to abandon the system, he talks about integrity and openness and rack up $1 million in earmarks for every one of the relatively few days he spent in the Senate. But even more than that, his whole life is based on talk; the question of accomplishment brings embarrassed mumbles even from his most passionate supporters. he has ridden on words to the heights of power with barely in accomplishment to his name.
And most of what little he has done in his life is declared out of bounds for discussion by our political class. We are not allowed to talk about his time with the Annenberg foundation as its chair since that would associate him with Roger Ayres, the unrepentant terrorist. We cannot talk about how the foundations spent its money under his direction for the same reason. Nor are we allowed to discuss the public-private partnership (Fannie and Freddie Chicago style) he initiated with his property developing friends Tony Rezko & Co. (with whose help he also bought his Hyde Park mansion) because that would associate him with a known felon. "Obama is not a felon. He disapproves of felonies. You are practicing McCarthyism." Substitute for "felon," "terrorist," "slumlord," and you have the verbal magic wand which wipes away the anointed one's past. he has done little worth talking about and less you are allowed to. When it comes to "walking the walk," Obama Let's his mouth to the running.
McCain, on the other hand, is uncomfortable in the world words. He is a stranger there. His life has been almost totally lived in the world of action. As he asks nothing of words but that they reflect his deeds, he has little skill in manipulating them. They do not do his bidding. Confronted with the words of a man who uses them to avoid actions, to hide from making decisions, he is at a loss. He smiles nervously and looks around, as if to say "it just me, or am I really hearing this?" when McCain makes mistakes it is painful to him. He admits them and apologize for them. He even tries to atone for them period witnessed his -- in my opinion misguided -- crusade for public financing of elections. Some Democrats have tried to make a point of the fact that 25 years earlier at the beginning of his Senate career McCain was caught up in the Keating five scandal. They say, "McCain paints himself as a crusader for campaign finance reform, but he was in that scandal. This misses the point. it is precisely because of that mistake 25 years ago that McCain has devoted his career to the cause of public finance. With Obama the order of action is reversed. He spends years talking about how important campaign finance reform is, and in his first major act, strikes a major blow against the system.
Obama has always "traveled on his tongue." words have got him everywhere, accounted for his every advance. Words got him his first job in politics. Pledging loyalty to his mentor as she prepared to make a bid for Congress, he was given his first office. When she, relying on his words asked for the office back, his actions betrayed her. When she ran against him he used words again. Not the soaring rhetoric we are used to hearing, but the cold language of law. He put his legal training to good use and got her and three other opponents disqualified. That was his first act of service to his constituents, saving them and the possibility of confusion on election Day -- his was the only name on the ballot. Public interest lawyering meets Chicago politics.
"... Slippery vocables, they beckon like a path of stepping stones. But lift them up and watch what writhes or scurries."
When Obama makes mistake he takes it not as a chance to apologize, much less atone, but as a challenge to his verbal virtuosity. The one occasion where McCain was able to deconstruct one of Obama's verbal smokescreens in real time, was when the Obama tried to pass off his pledge to meet a roster of the world's worst dictators "without preconditions" as merely referring to "preparations." But by and large, most of the contradictions between Obama's words and deeds or, what is even more important, his words and his interests, are passed off as a confusion in the part of the listener. he didn't just do the exact opposite of what he has been saying for years, you just misunderstood him. "Just words?" Precisely.
McCain's life is a list of actions. He has said little that is memorable, done much that is. Obama... Does one even need to finish this sentence?