Thursday, October 30, 2008

Down, But Not Out

That's a good description of me, because I've been sick as a dog these past few days, and it's a good description of the McCain campaign too.

I honestly don't know where this is all going to end up, because the polls are all over the place, but I honestly think that McCain can still pull it out. Here's why:

1. Until the actual young voters turn out heavily for Obama, I'll doubt that they'll do so. Every four years, the youth vote is expected to turn out, only to disappoint those who, like Kerry in 2004, were counting on them.

2. Pennsylvania is drifting toward McCain, and I think it might surprise Obama in the same way it went for Hillary during the primaries.

3. Old people always turn out to vote, and they tend to be more conservative, so I figure this one will favor McCain overall.

The one thing I don't think is working against Obama is race -- if anything, I think it's working for him. I think many people who love this country and believe in its promise are positively eager to vote for an American President who happens to have African heritage, as Obama does. For me, his far-left ideas, his lack of experience, and his profoundly anti-free trade stance work against him, but that's just me.

Whichever way it turns out, it sure is going to be an interesting night next Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Innocent People Have to Die in a Revolution"

That's what "Billy Ayers" allegedly said to an FBI informant, Larry Grathwohl, who had infiltrated the Weather Underground:
Pajamas Media: Scattered news accounts on the Internet note that you were instrumental in foiling Weather Underground attacks in February of 1970, in Detroit. The Weathermen built two bombs targeting the Detroit Police Officers’ Association (DPOA) building and the 13th Precinct. Were the goals of these attacks symbolic property damage as were some other Weathermen attacks, or were these targets selected to kill police officers?

Larry Grathwohl: The instructions I received from Billy Ayers was that the bombs to be used in Detroit must have shrapnel (fence staples, specifically) and fire potential (propane bottles). The intention was to kill police officers.

Pajamas Media: One of the Detroit bombs was to be placed on the side of the DPOA building, and the blast was likely to cause damage to the adjacent Red Barn Restaurant, which had mostly African-American customers. Who ordered the attack, and what did he say when you told him that innocent civilians would be killed?

Larry Grathwohl: When I objected to Billy Ayers that more innocent people would be killed in the restaurant, he replied, “Innocent people have to die in a revolution.” Billy also acknowledged during a criticism session in Buffalo that Bernadine placed the bomb at the Park Police Station which resulted in the death of Police Officer McDonnell.
This is important because it is evidence of several things: one, that Ayers intended to kill, and that it was luck and police work that prevented it, not his conscience as he would have it; two, that Bernardine Dohrn was personally responsible for the murder by bomb of a police officer.

And here is Gratwohl discussing the Weather Underground's plans to liquidate the roughly 25 million Americans they figured would not be susceptible to re-education after their glorious Communist revolution was realized:

From the above, it's pretty clear that Ayers and Dohrn are classic Stalinists, in their willingness to contemplate mass murder in order to accomplish their ideological goals. In this light, Obama's endorsement of Ayers' work as a so-called education reformer takes on all sorts of non-funny connotations.

Read the whole thing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Concrete Blonde

This is an incredible Los Angeles-based band I was fortunate enough to see in 1989 at the now-defunct Green Parrot club in Neptune, NJ. The lead singer, Johnette Napolitano, is all of 5 foot zero and man does she have a set of pipes. Given that the stage at the Parrot was all of an inch tall and I was standing right up against the stage, I towered over her and was utterly blown away.

Concrete Blonde "God is a Bullet"

There's a green plaid jacket on the back of the chair
It's like a moment frozen forever there

Mom and dad had a lot of big plans for their little man
So proud!
Mama's gone crazy 'cause her baby's shot down
By some teenage car chase war out of bounds
It was the wrong place wrong time wrong end of a gun.

Shoot straight from the hip, yeah.
Gone forever in a trigger slip
Well, it could have been
It could have been your brother.
Shoot straight shoot to kill, yeah.
Blame each other, well, blame yourselves, you know
God is a bullet have mercy on us everyone

They're gonna call me sir they'll all stop picking on me
Well I'm a high school grad I'm over 5 foot 3
I'll get a badge and a gun and I'll join the P.D.
They'll see
He didn't have to use the gun they put in his hand
But when the guy came at him, well he panicked and ran
And it's a thirty long years 'fore they're givin' him another chance
And it's sad, sad, it's sad

Shoot straight from the hip, yeah.
Gone forever in a trigger slip
Well, it could have been
It could have been your mother.
Shoot straight shoot to kill, yeah.
Blame each other, well, blame yourselves, you know
God is a bullet have mercy on us everyone

Shoot straight from the hip, yeah.
Gone forever in a trigger slip
Well, it could have been
It could have been your mother.

John Lennon, Doctor King, Harvey Milk
all for goddamn nothing

God is a bullet have mercy on us everyone
God is a bullet have mercy on us everyone

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Bill Ayers Lunacy

Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn issued their revolutionary manifesto, Prairie Fire, on May 9, 1974. According to recently-scanned pages posted to the web, it contained the following tidbits:
We are a guerilla organization. We are communist women and men, underground in the United States for more than four years.


We need a revolutionary communist party in order to lead the struggle, give coherence and direction to the fight, seize power [my emphasis] and build the new society.
For those who continue to argue that Ayers was all about peace, he just got carried away, there's this: among the many "heroes" to whom Prairie Fire is dedicated is Sirhan Sirhan, the murderer of Robert Kennedy, who killed Kennedy because as a Palestinian militant he objected to Kennedy's support for the state of Israel.

As the poster of the pages notes, Ayers lists himself as the author of Prairie Fire on his own blog.

Bill Ayers was 30 when this manifesto was issued, Dohrn was 32, so please don't tell me you can chalk it up to youthful foolishness.

Why this matters, of course, is that Senator Obama from 1995 through 2005 chose a political alliance with these loons, with Ayers in the 1995-2000 (at least) educational reform of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and with Dohrn peripherally in letting the Ayers/Dohrn couple hold an introductory fundraiser for him in 1996.

And to those who continue to argue that Ayers and Dohrn changed, and that Senator Obama could not possibly know what these thugs were really about, there is this interview they gave to Connie Chung and ABC News in 1998, as repeated on Fox News recently:

That's not exactly hiding the fact that they're still radical, is it? How could anyone spend five minutes with these idiots and not realize that fact? How could someone purporting to have the intelligence and good judgement of Senator Obama not realize it, more to the point!

I wonder what Obama's various Kennedy supporters -- Senator Ted Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Kathleen Kennedy Townshend, and Maria Shriver -- are thinking now about Senator Obama's association with Ayers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama Loses Chris Matthews?

Kudos to Suitably Flip, who says, "Who is this anchor and in whose basement is he keeping Chris Matthews?"

But in all seriousness, when Obama loses (if only momentarily) Chris "I felt this thrill going up my leg" Matthews, maybe things are really starting to turn around for Senator McCain.

Memo to poor Governor Paterson from New York: what you were trying to think of was the Lugar-Obama legislation, a pretty slam-dunk piece that Senator Lugar largely updated from the old Nunn-Lugar legislation of the 1990s. In other words, even in this sole bipartisan accomplishment in Senator Obama's 3 years, 9 months in the U.S. Senate to date, his input was basically minimal.

ADDED: Since it is often stated that Senator Obama spent very little time indeed in the U.S. Senate before running for President, I decided to check on the precise dates involved. He spent just shy of 2 years, 4 months in the Senate before running for President, and if elected on November 4, 2008 to the Presidency it will only be 3 years, 10 months precisely since he was sworn in as a U.S. Senator.

Obama was sworn into the U.S. Senate on January 4, 2005

On May 2, 2007, Senator Obama declared he was entering into the Presidential race.

Adding it all up, that's 28 months as a full-time U.S. Senator, followed by 18 months as a full-time Presidential candidate. But of course he's qualified! Why would anyone have any doubt?

By contrast, the evil George W. Bush waited a full four years as Texas Governor from 1994-1998 before declaring his intent to run for President. It worked out so well the first time -- let's go for Obama and even less experience than the current President had!

John Kerry is a Disgrace

If you recall, Senator John McCain was quite honorable in defending Senator John Kerry from the Swiftboat attacks on him during the latter's Presidential campaign against President George W. Bush in 2004.
A group of veterans backing President Bush launched a direct attack this week on Democratic nominee John Kerry's war-hero biography by releasing a new TV ad accusing him of lying about his injuries in Vietnam and dishonoring fellow veterans by speaking out against the war.

But the 60-second television commercial, being aired in three battleground states in the presidential race, sparked a furious response Thursday from Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, who called the ad "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House to condemn it.

The White House declined but distanced the president from the group's critique of Kerry.
How does Kerry repay McCain during this year's Presidential election? This is how:
The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, addressing a business summit in Cambridge yesterday, was talking about the media’s “silly questions” to presidential candidates when he cracked his “joke,” his spokeswoman said.

“Barack got asked the famous boxers or briefs question,” Kerry said, PolitickerMA reported. He said Obama successfully parried the question.

“Then they asked McCain and McCain said, ‘Depends,’ ” Kerry said, referring to the brand of adult diapers. Kerry spokeswoman Brigid O’Rourke defended the Bay State senator, saying he was recycling an old joke: “The point he was making was that the press asks silly questions and jumps on ridiculous things - as evidenced by this very story.” Kerry was forced to apologize in 2006 when he “botched” a joke that poor students end up “stuck in Iraq.”
Well, Senator Kerry, here's something I am most assuredly not joking about: you're slime, Senator, and my mild regret that I voted for you in 2004 has now solidified into complete certainty that I was mistaken in ever thinking you fit for high office.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hiding the Evidence

It is silly, and so self-defeating, that a liberal blogger has deleted her post about first meeting Barack Obama in Bill Ayers' living room.

I myself checked out that post last week, and can confirm it was there, but I was not as smart as Patterico who took a screenshot, just in case:
On Thursday, the L.A. Times claimed that there is “no recorded basis” for John McCain’s statement that Obama launched his political career in Bill Ayers’s living room. That same day, I wrote a post that proved them wrong. I linked a January 27, 2005 blog post by Maria Warren, a political liberal who attended the function. In that post, she said:
When I first met Barack Obama, he was giving a standard, innocuous little talk in the livingroom of those two legends-in-their-own-minds, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. They were launching him–introducing him to the Hyde Park community as the best thing since sliced bread.
I originally read about this post at a Politico piece about the Ayers-Obama relationship in February 2008. That post identified the name of the blog, and Maria Warren as the author. But Politico did not link Warren’s post; I found it and linked it based on the evidence provided by Politico. Yesterday I sent the link to the L.A. Times as part of a request for a correction of the error in their editorial.

As far as I know, I was the first blogger to directly link Warren’s blog entry — and I did so last Thursday.

Now it’s Monday, and this blog entry — which had been around since January 27, 2005 — is suddenly gone. (H/t Jim Treacher.)

I thought there wasn’t anything to the Obama-Ayers relationship. I guess somebody thinks different — and is taking pains to delete the evidence.
But don't forget, there's nothing to hide here, Ayers is just a guy Obama knows from his neighborhood.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Obama and (Labor) Voter Intimidation

Tigerhawk has an excellent post up about Obama's support for the Card Check bill backed by labor, which Obama supports and McCain does not. Here's why it's troubling:
Barack Obama supports Big Labor's ambition to intimidate American workers into joining unions that they would not join if they were permitted to vote in secret. This is the central idea of "card check," a program that would eliminate the need to have an election -- and the debate that precedes it -- before unionizing an American workplace. Big Labor is trying to accomplish through legislation what it cannot in the marketplace of ideas (in 2007, only 7.5 percent of private sector employees belonged to labor unions). "Card check" is such a naked power grab that even USA Today could not help but editorialize against it
Now, just imagine if corporate management was trying a similar thing in reverse, in other words, so long as 50% of employees signed a card in public indicating that was their intention, then management could de-certify a union. Pro-union Democrats such as myself would be howling, and properly so.

It is no different here -- unions in their desperation are willing to toss aside the critically necessary step of voting in secret AFTER a union has gathered enough signed cards (30% of the workers in a given company) to authorize having the vote in the first place. They are seeking to replace freedom of individual votes with a situation rife with possibilities for fraud and intimidation.

Add his support for this bill to his prior support for removing the Teamsters' federal oversight and a picture of Obama supporting the worst elements of unions more clearly emerges.

ADDED: To his great credit, Obama supporter and former 1972 Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern parts company with Obama on this one:

That pretty much says it all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Times Like These

The more I listen to Foo Fighters, the more I think Dave Grohl is just not sufficiently appreciated for his musical talents.

Foo Fighters "Times Like These"

I am a one way motorway
I'm the one that drives away
then follows you back home
I am a street light shining
I'm a wild light blinding bright
burning off alone

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again

I am a new day rising
I'm a brand new sky
to hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
do I stay or run away
and leave it all behind?

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama's friend Alexi, the Mob Banker

Of course, the national media has taken great interest in this story, too. Just as soon as they're done thoroughly vetting Joe the Plumber, they'll get right on it!

So, young Alexi Giannoulias, all of 29 years old, got elected Illinois State Treasurer in 2006 with a critical endorsement by Senator Barack Obama, who has reportedly called Giannoulias his protege.

His qualifications? Playing basketball with Obama, and for a time in Greece in a semi-pro league, and of course, making sure his family-owned Broadway Bank keeps local Mob figures well-supplied with easy money:
Before he promised to raise funds for Obama, Giannoulias bankrolled Michael "Jaws" Giorango, a Chicagoan twice convicted of bookmaking and promoting prostitution.

Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links that several top Illinois Dems, including the state's speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama's help.

Giannoulias was the bank's vice president and chief loan officer for most of the more than $15 million in loans.
And let no one think that this means Obama's rep as a reformer is an absolute crock, oh no!
"Barack Obama has a long record of fighting for ethics reform from his days as a state senator," a campaign rep said.
Because putting a mob banker like Giannoulias in charge of all the finances of the State of Illinois is the reformist thing to do, you see?

With a record of staunch Daley Machine reform like this, it can only come as a shock that Illinois seems to be missing $45.8 billion in pension funds. Thank goodness Senator Obama has helped put Alexi and his well-connected Mob friends on the case! I'm sure it will all be cleaned up in a jiffy.

To get serious for a moment, this is not about party or ideology. This is about corruption. Obama and his Daley Machine pals in Chicago are corrupt to the core, as were Republicans Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay, among others. We just got rid of that last bunch of corrupt hacks, let's not give another gang a crack at it, mmkay?

McCain at least learned his lesson from being one of the Keating Five and thereafter took on his party's corrupt hacks, as did Palin in Alaska, both at considerable risk to their careers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama and the Reverend Wright

From a 2007 profile of Barack Obama in Rolling Stone:
The Trinity United Church of Christ, the church that Barack Obama attends in Chicago, is at once vast and unprepossessing, a big structure a couple of blocks from the projects, in the long open sore of a ghetto on the city's far South Side. The church is a leftover vision from the Sixties of what a black nationalist future might look like. There's the testifying fervor of the black church, the Afrocentric Bible readings, even the odd dashiki. And there is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a sprawling, profane bear of a preacher, a kind of black ministerial institution, with his own radio shows and guest preaching gigs across the country. Wright takes the pulpit here one Sunday and solemnly, sonorously declares that he will recite ten essential facts about the United States. "Fact number one: We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he intones. "Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!" There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. "We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!" The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: "And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!"

This is as openly radical a background as any significant American political figure has ever emerged from, as much Malcolm X as Martin Luther King Jr. Wright is not an incidental figure in Obama's life, or his politics. The senator "affirmed" his Christian faith in this church; he uses Wright as a "sounding board" to "make sure I'm not losing myself in the hype and hoopla." Both the title of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, and the theme for his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 come from Wright's sermons. "If you want to understand where Barack gets his feeling and rhetoric from," says the Rev. Jim Wallis, a leader of the religious left, "just look at Jeremiah Wright."

Obama wasn't born into Wright's world. His parents were atheists, an African bureaucrat and a white grad student, Jerry Falwell's nightmare vision of secular liberals come to life. Obama could have picked any church — the spare, spiritual places in Hyde Park, the awesome pomp and procession of the cathedrals downtown. He could have picked a mosque, for that matter, or even a synagogue. Obama chose Trinity United. He picked Jeremiah Wright. Obama writes in his autobiography that on the day he chose this church, he felt the spirit of black memory and history moving through Wright, and "felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams."

Obama has now spent two years in the Senate and written two books about himself, both remarkably frank: There is a desire to own his story, to be both his own Boswell and his own investigative reporter. When you read his autobiography, the surprising thing — for such a measured politician — is the depth of radical feeling that seeps through, the amount of Jeremiah Wright that's packed in there. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising. Obama's life story is a splicing of two different roles, and two different ways of thinking about America's. One is that of the consummate insider, someone who has been raised believing that he will help to lead America, who believes in this country's capacity for acts of outstanding virtue. The other is that of a black man who feels very deeply that this country's exercise of its great inherited wealth and power has been grossly unjust. This tension runs through his life; Obama is at once an insider and an outsider, a bomb thrower and the class president. "I'm somebody who believes in this country and its institutions," he tells me. "But I often think they're broken."
It seems to me that the Reverend Wright is still stuck in the early 1960s, to say the least, and refuses to see the many positive strides the United States has made in race relations. It's not all good, not by a long shot, but Wright makes the typical radical mistake of dismissing the good because it's not perfect.

News flash: this nation is never going to be perfect. The Founders wanted us to strive for a "more perfect union," by which they meant that for all the essential flaws of our humanity we should never stop trying to make a better nation. And so it has been: two steps forward, one step back.

The above article alone should put to rest the facile lie Obama has told, and most have accepted, that the ravings we heard from Reverend Wright this past spring were new or unacceptable to Obama. They were the very bread and butter of the Trinity Church, and for better or worse what drew him to that church in the first place.

Here's the full, in-context speech of the Reverend Wright, put on YouTube by the Trinity United Church itself (warning, it's nearly 7 minutes long, but worth watching):

And, Senator Obama's first (37 minutes long!) response, when he refused to disavow Wright and compared Wright's racism to his white grandmother's, without making the obvious point that she, at least, did not preach said racism to a crowd of 5,000 strong each and every Sunday:

Draw your own conclusions.

Hat Tip: Victor Hanson, whose writing pointed me to the Rolling Stone article.

Are You Kidding Me?!

You know, as a Democrat in good standing I used to dismiss right-wingers whining about the "liberal media" as ridiculous, but then this happened: the New York Times, which assiduously stayed away from the Bill Ayers/Obama story for oh, gee, a year and a half until April 2008, is after three days on top of reporting all about that well-known domestic terrorist Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known by his sinister alias "Joe the Plumber."

Andrew Sullivan (aka "The Conservative Soul") knows the score, and has veered only briefly from his relentless pursuit of Trig Palin's true birth parents to vet this latest threat to the Democrats, uh, I mean the Republic.


Oil is now at $70 a barrel and our good friends in OPEC are alarmed. Awww, poor OPEC! I'm sure there's nary a dry eye in the house.

But seriously, this makes me glad that the tax credits for wind and solar energy were passed as part of the bailout-palooza last week, because interest in alternative energy sources tends to dissipate whenever traditional energy sources get cheaper. You know, like happened during the last big recession of 1981-1983.

This time, let's hope we've learned our lesson and don't throw away the solar, wind and nuclear baby just because the oily bathwater is temporarily cheaper. Wow, is that a deranged metaphor or is it just me?

Orson Scott Card nails what bugs me about Obama

As per usual, I'm late to the party as it was written on September 7, 2008, but I just ran across this excellent takedown of Obama by science fiction author Orson Scott Card:
Where and when has Obama taken anybody on in his own party? Where is his vote that flew in the face of his party's discipline, like many of McCain's? Obama liked to claim that McCain voted with President Bush ninety percent of the time. But that means McCain voted against a President from his own party ten percent of the time.

Meanwhile, Obama has voted with the extreme left of his party, right in line with the party leadership, one hundred percent of the time.

That ten percent of McCain's votes that went against his party is actually a remarkable record of independence. One that Obama has never even attempted.
I have nothing to add. Just read the whole thing.

ACORN Needs to be Prosecuted

I'm no legal expert, but it's nice that the DC Examiner also thinks that ACORN needs to be prosecuted using the RICO statute:
It’s getting steadily more difficult to detect differences between an organized nationwide criminal conspiracy to commit voter fraud and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). Thus far in the 2008 campaign, state election officials representing both major political parties in 15 states, including such key battlegrounds as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, have accused ACORN of various schemes involving widespread voter fraud. The pattern is so pervasive - and the danger to our electoral system so dire – that it demands federal intervention.

The Justice Department’s indictment in 2005 of the Milberg Weiss class-action securities law firm under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) did not involve charges of mob involvement. Ultimately, the firm plea bargained and several of its senior partners now reside in federal prisons. Likewise, ACORN’s repeated abuses don’t include mafia links, but the pattern matches the organized criminal conduct RICO was passed to combat.
ACORN likes to say all this uproar is about supressing the vote of poor and/or minority voters, but that's simply ridiculous. What these investigations across the country are about the fact that ACORN has no discernible quality controls in place for their voter registration process. It is well worth noting that the investigations are being conducted as often by Democrats as by Republicans.

Voter fraud is a felony offense, and it must be investigated thoroughly if we the people are to have any confidence in this rapidly approaching election's legitimacy.

Hat Tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: Even the Associated Press is noticing that 200,000 out of 600,000 new Ohio voter registrations have address and/or social security discrepancies. It doesn't mean all of those 200,000 registrations are fraudulent, but even a small number such as 5,000 could potentially swing the Presidential election.

UPDATE 2: Oh, and Hot Air reports that the FBI is now launching a nationwide investigation of ACORN. About time!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid...

...and unfortunately that means right now folks are blaming McCain, because he shares party affiliation with President Bush, for the poor state of the economy.

Obama has all these enormous plans for new spending, and there is simply no way that his supposed tax increases only on the rich will be sufficient to pay for it all. Which means he'll be faced with the same choice Bill Clinton faced when he was sworn in on January 20, 1993: either he will have to abandon his more ambitious spending programs or he will have to abandon his middle class tax cut.

Clinton took the latter option, and it's one of the reasons he is remembered so fondly on the economy. He raised taxes in minor fashion on the wealthy, but only on the income tax. He did not raise capital gains taxes, he did not raise corporate tax rates, and he did not propose a windfall profits tax on oil companies, which are all central to Obama's program.

Further, under tremendous political pressure he abandoned the big government approach to universal health care, thus removing an enormous potential budget buster. This is in contrast to President George W. Bush, who championed the Medicare prescription drug benefit that is already, only in its third year, tripling its predicted cost.

If we had true conservative accounting, such that took account of the fact as shown above that government spending exceeds its projections dramatically, then I would feel more sanguine about this proposed new spending. But Obama's and McCain's proposals both likely lowball the estimate cost of new spending -- but at least McCain's spending proposals are modest by comparison to Obama's.

Then we come to free trade, which Obama has voted against consistently, as he has most of President Clinton's other moderate successes. Free trade is the engine of America's growth, and free trade accords only serve that critically necessary growth. Here's why: our tariffs on foreign goods are generally low, especially when compared to European, Asian, or Latin American countries. Free trade accords we've signed and ratified over the past few decades have the effect of bringing down foreign tariffs on our exports, while giving our trading partners the desired certainty (which investors prize) that the low tariffs on their exports to the U.S. are not subject to the yearly whims of a mercurial U.S. Congress.

According to World Trade magazine, Canada is our number one trade partner, Mexico is number three, and South Korea is number seven and rising quickly. Obama's reckless primary promise to tear up the NAFTA accord with Canada and Mexico if it could not be renegotiated, and his equally short-sighted opposition to the South Korea Free Trade Accord, would needlessly alienate these good friends and trading partners of the United States, to our mutual detriment.

The economy is deeply in trouble right now, to be sure, but a combination of large tax increases combined with a repudiation of our nation's historic commitment to free trade will only worsen the situation, not better it.

Don't take my word for it, though. An article in Foreign Affairs magazine had this conclusion in April 2005 about what it called "The Overstretch Myth" that America was inevitably headed for a fall, and it is just as relevant now as it was then:
Many analysts have pointed to the euro as a threat to the dollar's status as the world's central reserve currency. But the continuing strength of the U.S. economy relative to the European Union's and the structure of European capital markets make such a prospect highly unlikely. On the basis of likely demographic and productivity growth differentials, Adam Posen of the Institute for International Economics estimates that the U.S. economy will be at least 20 percent larger than that of the EU in 2020. The United States will maintain its 22 percent share of world output, but Europe's share will, in the absence of serious structural reforms, shrink by 3 to 5 percent. Moreover, European government bond markets, although larger than the U.S. Treasury market, are divided among five large countries and a host of smaller ones, greatly reducing liquidity, and European corporate bond and equity markets are smaller than their U.S. counterparts. With Asian capital markets still in their infancy, it will be a very long time before the pre-eminence of the dollar and U.S. capital markets is challenged.

At the peak of its global power the United Kingdom was a net creditor, but as it entered the twentieth century, it started losing its economic dominance to Germany and the United States. In contrast, the United States is a large net debtor. But in its case, no plausible challenger to its economic leadership exists, and its share of the global economy will not decline. Focusing exclusively on the NIIP obscures the United States' institutional, technological, and demographic advantages. Such advantages are further bolstered by the underlying complementarities between the U.S. economy and the economies of the developing world--especially those in Asia. The United States continues to reap major gains from what Charles de Gaulle called its "exorbitant privilege," its unique role in providing global liquidity by running chronic external imbalances. The resulting inflow of productivity-enhancing capital has strengthened its underlying economic position. Only one development could upset this optimistic prognosis: an end to the technological dynamism, openness to trade, and flexibility that have powered the U.S. economy. The biggest threat to U.S. hegemony, accordingly, stems not from the sentiments of foreign investors, but from protectionism and isolationism at home.
Protectionism and isolationism at home is precisely what Senator Obama offers as President, and why this Democrat simply cannot support him. As Senator McCain is a full-throated internationalist and committed free trader, he is the best choice for President on these critical economic issues.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More on the Chicago Machine

According to David Freddoso in the Wall Street Journal, it seems that Senator Obama had a chance to back a bipartisan reform effort in Cook County in Illinois, and chose instead to vote for a Chicago political machine hack who was well known as corrupt:
In the 2006 election, reformers from both parties attempted to end the corruption in Chicago's Cook County government. They probably would have succeeded, too, had Mr. Obama taken their side. Liberals and conservatives came together and nearly ousted Cook County Board President John Stroger, the machine boss whom court papers credibly accuse of illegally using the county payroll to maintain his own standing army of political cronies, contributors and campaigners.

The since-deceased Stroger's self-serving mismanagement of county government is still the subject of federal investigations and arbitration claims. Stroger was known for trying repeatedly to raise taxes to fund his political machine, even as basic government services were neglected in favor of high-paying county jobs for his political soldiers.

When liberals and conservatives worked together to clean up Cook County's government, they were displaying precisely the postpartisan interest in the common good that Mr. Obama extols today. And Mr. Obama, by working against them, helped keep Chicago politics dirty. He refused to endorse the progressive reformer, Forrest Claypool, who came within seven points of defeating Stroger in the primary.

After the primary, when Stroger's son Todd replaced him on the ballot under controversial circumstances, a good-government Republican named Tony Peraica attracted the same kind of bipartisan support from reformers in the November election. But Mr. Obama endorsed the young heir to the machine, calling him -- to the absolute horror of Chicago liberals -- a "good, progressive Democrat."

Mayor Richard M. Daley -- who would receive Mr. Obama's endorsement in 2007 shortly after several of his top aides and appointees had received prison sentences for their corrupt operation of Chicago's city government -- was invested in the Stroger machine's survival. So was every alderman and county commissioner who uses the county payroll to support political hangers-on. So was Mr. Obama's friend and donor, Tony Rezko, who is now in federal prison awaiting sentencing after being convicted in June of 16 felony corruption charges. Rezko had served as John Stroger's finance chairman and raised $150,000 for him (Stroger put Rezko's wife on the county payroll).
Once again, we see the central role of Obama's money man Tony Rezko, who is one of the bagmen for the Chicago Machine.

Don't just take the Wall Street Journal's word for it though. Far closer to home, the Chicago Tribune had this to say about Obama's endorsement of Todd Stroger back in 2006:
...Obama has come too far as an inspiring new breed of politician on the national scene to muck around in local politics, endorsing machine hack candidates and substituting party for principle. Or so you'd imagine.

There were warning signs: Obama's first dubious endorsement of a lightweight came during the primary season when he cut TV ads plumping for Alexi Giannoulias, then 29, the vice president of his family's bank who decided he'd like to be state treasurer. The endorsement was widely seen as key to Giannoulias' primary victory.

Obama was upfront about why he got involved: Members of the Giannoulias family were early and strong backers of his U.S. Senate campaign and "I think it's important to reciprocate," he told a reporter.

But Obama did not reciprocate for Forrest Claypool.

Claypool was the overwhelming favorite of reform-minded Democrats in his race against incumbent John Stroger (Todd's father) and had headed Obama's transition team after Obama was elected to the Senate in 2004.

Old-guard candidate John Stroger, meanwhile, had endorsed Comptroller Dan Hynes instead of Obama in the Democratic Senate primary.

When Obama decided not to endorse either candidate, his spokesman intoned, "The senator believes that the voters should make up their own minds in this race."

As you know, then, John Stroger suffered a stroke, won the primary and retired for health reasons. The Democratic Central Committee thumbed its nose at critics and selected Todd Stroger to take his place on the ballot, rejecting more senior, qualified candidates such as U.S. Rep. Danny Davis of Chicago and veteran county Commissioner Bobbie Steele.

The stench of same-old-same-old from John Stroger's years of cronyism and bloat hung over the process, and Obama had every excuse to distance himself from it.

Instead came this letter--a body blow to Claypool Democrats and the idealists whose fantasy about Obama is that he will transcend the grubby machinations and tawdry favor-swapping of party politics--followed by word from Obama's office that he will appear on stage at a pro-Stroger rally Monday night.
So, let's count the largely unchallenged statements Obama repeatedly makes about himself that this story simply destroys, shall we?

1. Obama represents a new politics. Reality: No, actually, he represents the oldest politics around, the big-city political machine. When given the opportunity to choose his reformist ally, Forrest Claypool, over a dirty Machine politician who previously endorsed Obama's rival, he undermined the reformer by failing to endorse either candidate. When John Stroger retired, Obama further chose to endorse Stroger's son Todd over more experienced and reform-oriented alternatives.

2. Obama represents a new bipartisan spirit, rising above petty divisions. Reality: At the last, given a chance to support a reformist Republican over Todd Stroger, Obama again chose Todd Stroger. Three strikes, you're out.

This is just his record in Chicago, but it exemplifies how Obama's rhetoric is completely disconnected from the actual reality of how he does things. And it is the poor of Chicago who suffer most from this corrupt brand of politics. "Stroger was known for trying repeatedly to raise taxes to fund his political machine, even as basic government services were neglected in favor of high-paying county jobs for his political soldiers."

Do you think the rich of Chicago were hurt by Stroger's neglect of basic services, or the poor?

Obama and the Teamsters

I missed this back in May when it occurred, but according to CBS News and the New Republic Senator Obama struck a deal to end the federal Independent Review Board created in 1989 to curb Teamsters' corruption:
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that last summer, Illinois Senator Barack Obama told officials in the Teamsters union that he favored ending the Independent Review Board (IRB) that was created in 1989 by the federal government to rid the union of organized crime. Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama, confirmed the story, saying that the candidate believed that the IRB had "run its course" because "organized crime influence in the union has drastically declined." The Teamsters subsequently endorsed Obama for president, in late February.

Obama and the Teamsters bristled at suggestions that any deal was made. The Obama campaign also circulated a tape of a speech that Senator Hillary Clinton made last March to the Teamsters saying "at some point the past has to be opened," but Clinton's statement, like those made by Senator John Kerry in 2004, stopped well short of committing her to end oversight of the Teamsters. Based on the statements the newspaper quoted, it is fair to assume that The Wall Street Journal got the details right.

There are two reasons to be concerned about Obama's actions here. The first is procedural. Obama's promise to close down the IRB suggests a Bush-like contempt for the customary relationship between government and the judicial process. The president himself can't shut down the IRB. He can only recommend to his attorney general that he recommend to the U.S. Attorney in New York that it be shut down. But in these kind of touchy matters, presidents usually defer to the judgment of their attorney generals. By coming close to promising a shutdown, Obama was putting politics above judicial procedure - which is just the kind of "Washington" behavior that he likes to criticize his opponents for doing.

The second reason for concern is more substantive. Labor leaders have made plausible arguments for shutting down the IRB, but a Chicago politician should be extremely wary of acceding to them. If there is continuing mob influence in the Teamsters, it is probably centered in the Chicago area. And in the last decade, the Teamsters in Chicago have shown little enthusiasm for rooting out corruption in their ranks. As a veteran Chicago politician surrounded by a veteran Chicago campaign staff, Obama had to have known this - and that makes his warm words to the Teamsters all the more disturbing.
Once again, Obama goes where other Democratic politicians dare not go in explicitly committing himself to ending corruption oversight in exchange for union support. This is Chicago politics, but it's not remotely reformist politics.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

'Cause I'm Waiting to Behold Your Many Charms...

Some trippy, happy Beatles-inspired music from Karl Wallinger, a.k.a. World Party.

World Party "Put the Message in the Box"

And if you listen now
You might hear
A new sound coming in
As an old one disappears.
See the world in just one grain of sand.
You better take a closer look
Don't let it slip right through your hand.
Won't you please hear the call.
The World says

Put the message in the box.
Put the box into the car.
Drive the car around the world
Until you get heard.

Now is the moment,
Please understand.
The road is wide open
To the heart of every man.
A few simple words
So a mule could understand.
He don't want tomorrow
If it's just crumbling into sand.
Won't you please hear the call.
She says

Put the message in the box.
Put the box into the car.
Drive the car around the world
Until you get heard.

The World says
Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
'Cause I'm waiting right here with my open arms.
Give a little bit.
Give a little bit of your soul to me
'Cause I'm waiting to behold your many charms.
Is that love in the air?
She says

Put the message in the box.
Put the box into the car.
Drive the car around the world
Until you get heard.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yet More Alleged ACORN Fraud

This time, it's in Missouri:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials in Missouri, a hard-fought jewel in the presidential race, are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states.

Charlene Davis, co-director of the election board in Jackson County, where Kansas City is, said the fraudulent registration forms came from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. She said they were bogging down work Wednesday, the final day Missourians could register to vote.

"I don't even know the entire scope of it because registrations are coming in so heavy," Davis said. "We have identified about 100 duplicates, and probably 280 addresses that don't exist, people who have driver's license numbers that won't verify or Social Security numbers that won't verify. Some have no address at all."
Here's more from CNN:

To my fellow Democrats, I say this: imagine if the evil George W. Bush himself was involved with a "voter registration" organization not merely accused, but found repeatedly guilty, of voter registration fraud! Then imagine that the Bush campaign gave $800,000 to said organization! Then try to imagine putting your head back together after it explodes.

As CNN reports above, Obama's campaign gave $800,000 to ACORN for its primary registration drive, and the supposedly non-partisan ACORN has returned the favor by endorsing Obama. I'd love to see the list of non-Democrats endorsed by ACORN -- I'm sure it's very extensive.

The bottom line is this is yet another example of Obama's Chicago style of politics -- remember to vote early, vote often and don't let being deceased stop you!

Hat Tip: Hot Air

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ACORN Offices Raided for Alleged Fraudulent Voter Registration (again)

From United Press International:
Nevada authorities said Tuesday they raided the Las Vegas offices of the controversial voter-registration activist group, ACORN.

The Secretary of State's Office confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a search warrant was served at the ACORN office as part of a probe into suspected voter registration fraud.


The Review Journal reported that the Secretary of State's Office said ACORN employees were suspected of using false names or addresses in their registration efforts, including the names of some former members of the Dallas Cowboys.
And that's the reason why Obama's campaign is so keen to deny any link between him and ACORN.

Update: I've heard on TV that ACORN's office in Missouri was raided again on the basis of alleged fraudulent voter registrations, but there's no link to be found yet. When there is such a link, I'll add it.

Obama and ACORN, again

Who you gonna believe, Obama or your lying eyes?

Obama's campaign has the following at its Fight the Smears website:
Fact: Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity.
But, Sweetness and Light cites the following from Toni Foulkes, identified as being a Chicago ACORN leader and a member of ACORN's national board:
As Sen. Obama puts it, how did a skinny kid with a funny name become the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, with 53% of the statewide Democratic vote in a seven-person field?

Obama started building the base years before. For instance, ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project. He was a very good organizer. When he returned from law school, we asked him to help us with a lawsuit to challenge the state of Illinois’ refusal to abide by the National Voting Rights Act, also known as motor voter. Allied only with the state of Mississippi, Illinois had been refusing to allow mass-based voter registration according to the new law. Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5000 of them).

Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus, it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends.
Interestingly, the link at the cited Social Policy journal for Toni Foulkes' article is non-existent, even though all other articles on that page and others have working links. So bear in mind I am taking Sweetness and Light at their word without independent verification. But it raises the question of why that article alone has no link in the journal, when all the others do have working links.

In any event, there is ever so slight wiggle room here for Obama to claim he never worked for ACORN. From the above, it looks like he didn't draw a paycheck from them. But come on! -- by this ACORN board member's own admission, Obama showed up from 1992 through 2003 at "our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office." By any reasonable definition, contrary to Fight the Smears, Obama was indeed an ACORN trainer, even if he was an unpaid one.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama vs. McCain: (not just) tonight's debate

In sum, I thought both men acquitted themselves well, and unfortunately right now with Obama leading in the polls McCain needed more dings on Obama than he got. So Obama is starting to look like he's trying to sit on his lead and run the clock out, we'll see if he succeeds.

Apart from the debate, I wanted to discuss some historical parallels from my own lifetime that I see in Senators McCain and Obama.

For all my vehement criticism of him and his questionable associations, I think Senator Obama is an honorable man, as is Senator McCain. My issue with him is that he's far more comfortable with the far left than people realize, much further left in his own way than President Bush, for example, is a creature of the far right.

Which leads me to my next thought, that Bush is the Nixon figure hanging over this election much in the way that Nixon, though not on the ballot, hung over the 1976 Presidential race between Ford and Carter. Carter was able to make the 1976 election a referendum on Nixon and thus was able to narrowly defeat the incumbent President Ford. Obama is trying to do the same thing by tying McCain to the discredited President Bush, and so far it looks like he's succeeding.

With either man we are going to get a repudiation of Bush -- the only question is how decisive a repudiation, and what form it will take. McCain decisively repudiates Bush on torture, for example, which is one of the many reasons I admire him. And he proposes, and I believe him because of his long record as a deficit hawk, that he will be tough as nails on needless new spending, which is critically necessary after the drunken spending spree both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been on these last 8 years, all of them overseen by President Bush with nary a veto.

Obama, on the other hand, promises to change everything -- except to rein in the profligate government spending. His only quibble with government spending is that we have not spent enough. On health care, more government spending. On the environment, more government spending. On a whole host of issues, the problem for Obama is framed as being the rich and/or the war in Iraq. The Obama solution: withdraw from Iraq post-haste, and tax the rich, and the combination of the two will pay for all his wonderful new government programs, which he says will benefit 95% of America.

So who's Ford in this parallel, and who is Carter? As if you didn't guess already, I think McCain stands in as Ford, and Obama as Carter. And that's where the problem lies... both Ford and Carter were repudiations of the much-despised Nixon, but Ford was a moderate repudiation while Carter was an ultra-liberal one. Personally, I much prefer the Ford model -- an honorable, moderate Republican battling the excesses of a profoundly liberal Democratic majority in both the Senate and the House.

Was Carter more effective, for having inherited such a Democratic Congress after having defeated Ford? No, he was not. As I predict will be the case with Obama, Carter was rolled by the Democrats in Congress, and was increasingly regarded in his own party as weak and ineffectual. This judgement was mirrored abroad by our old enemies in the Soviet Union, and our then-new enemies the Ayatollahs taking over Iran while Carter watched, helplessly.

Folks thought that things couldn't get worse in 1976, and that Carter would turn things around, would "save" America. I see a similar sentiment now, that things can't get any worse, and that only Obama can save America now.

I fear Obama will make things much worse, that he will follow the Carter model of being rolled by aggressive Democrats in Congress, and emboldened adversaries such as Putin in Russia, Chavez in Venezuela, and the decaying, corrupt Ayatollah's regime in Iran. Also, as was the case with Vietnam, where the Democrats cut off all military aid to South Vietnam and let it collapse, I fear the Democrats under Obama will gladly cut off all aid to the nascent democratic government in Iraq, regardless of the disastrous consequences for ordinary Iraqis or for American prestige.

Even if McCain is not the Reagan figure so many Republicans still hunger for (maybe Palin is? we'll see!), I think the American people would be better served in the next four years by a moderate, effective President McCain facing down a Democratic Congress than by an ultra-liberal and ineffectual President Obama being dominated by that very same Congress.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Bottom Line on Obama is that he has none, himself

I am a bit enraged right now, actually trembling with it, after reading some things that are very relevant as to the character of Barack Obama, and why I personally cannot vote for him. Bear with me, it will be a while before we get there, though.

I've been reading for a while now about Bill Ayers and Obama's association with him, and I keep coming back to it. It crystallized my doubts about Obama, and what I read this morning dispelled all doubts that I was, perhaps, being too hard on the man.

I was born in the mid-60s, so like Obama I was a pretty young fellow when the Weather Underground crimes of Ayers, Dohrn, Rudd, Boudin et al were committed. So I had a vague sense at best of what they did, but I knew it was safely filed under the category of Bad Things.

Which means I knew vaguely about the bombings at the Pentagon and the Capitol Building, and that they had not killed anyone, but I regarded that as being luck more than design, no matter what Ayers claimed.

After those "harmless" bombings, came the premature explosion of bombs intended for a dance for Non-Commissioned Officers at Fort Dix Army Base in New Jersey. Apparently, striking this blow would cripple the U.S. war effort in Vietnam, or something. From Wikipedia:
The Greenwich Village townhouse explosion was the premature detonation of a bomb as it was being assembled by members of the American "urban guerilla" organization, Weatherman (later rechristened the Weather Underground), in the basement of a townhouse at 18 West 11th Street in New York City's Greenwich Village. The three persons nearest the bomb were killed, two others in the house were slightly injured, and the four story townhouse was reduced to rubble and caught fire.[1] Shortly before noon on Friday, March 6, 1970, people in the townhouse were assembling anti-personnel weapons armed with roofing nails and packed with dynamite. Years later, former members of the organization who had not been at the scene advanced differing (but not incompatible) claims as to the plans for use of the bombs. Thus, according to Mark Rudd, the plan was to set them off that evening at a dance for noncommissioned officers at the Fort Dix, New Jersey Army base.[2] According to a detractor, "former members" have reported that some of the bombs were destined for the Fort Dix dance and others for Butler Library at Columbia University.[3]

Killed by the blast were Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins. Surviving in a stunned and bleeding state were Weatherman members Kathy Boudin and Cathlyn Wilkerson, who were upstairs at the moment of the blast. The two survivors were led out from the burning structure by a police officer and the off-duty New York City Housing Authority patrolman who had entered in search of survivors.[4] The rescuers were treated at St. Vincent's Hospital for smoke inhalation.[1]

Boudin and Wilkerson disappeared before they could be questioned. They had been free on bail on assault charges stemming from the Days of Rage riots in Chicago.[5] A neighbor who rendered aid after the blast described them as "dazed and trembling" as they were led "staggering" from the wreckage, one clad only in blue jeans and the other naked. The neighbor brought them to her house, where they showered, borrowed some clothing and told a housekeeper they were going to a local drugstore, then got into a taxi and disappeared.[6][7]

The building was owned by Wilkerson's father, a radio-station executive.[5] As the search for bodies continued days after the explosion, Wilkerson's parents made a televised appeal to their missing daughter to avoid needlessly risking the lives of searchers. They asked her to "let us know how many more people, if any, are still left in the ruins of our home", saying "more lives would be needlessly lost and only you have the key".[5]
Never fear, though, Kathy Boudin at least turned up again:
On October 20, 1981 heavily armed terrorists staged a daylight assault on a Brinks armored car at the Nanuet Mall in Nanuet, New York. In the attack that followed, Brinks guard Peter Paige was killed and Joseph Trombino seriously wounded, nearly losing his arm to the gunman’s bullets. Another Brinks guard, James Kelly, suffered wounds and a concussion as the gunmen pumped automatic weapon fire into the armored vehicle.
After leaving the mall the gunmen fled east, ditching their getaway car and entering the rear of a waiting U-Haul truck being driven by co-conspirators. This was an attempt to escape detection, as the participants knew that the police would be on the lookout for the male blacks that robbed the armored car. The gunmen were to be driven to safety by white accomplices, thinking they would easily escape back to New York City in the confusion immediately following the robbery.

Unfortunately for them a high school student witnessed the switch from the original getaway car to the U-Haul. Looking out her bedroom window, she notified the local police and an alert was broadcast to officers on patrol.

Ten minutes later Nyack Police officers were conducting a roadblock at Exit 11 of the New York State Thruway. Spotting a U-Haul, they ordered it to the side of the road. The driver and passenger in the front of the U-Haul did not match the description of the gunmen at the mall. Further, police radio transmissions had broadcast reports of another U-Haul being spotted heading south into New Jersey on Rt. 304.

Kathy Boudin, an occupant of the U-Haul, complained to the police that their guns made her nervous. Apparently, thinking they had the wrong U-Haul, the police stowed their weapons and shotgun. At that moment the rear of the U-Haul flew open and half a dozen heavily armed killers jumped out, each with military-style fully automatic weapons. Police Officer Waverly Brown was hit immediately and died at the scene. Detective Arthur Keenan was struck before he was able to take cover and return fire. Sgt. Edward O’Grady was shot numerous times and died ninety minutes later at Nyack Hospital. Officer Brian Lennon exchanged shots but was seriously outnumbered and under heavy fire.
This is where we get to the part that set my blood boiling. Kathy Boudin obviously used her "don't worry, officers, I'm just a white middle class girl" demeanor to set them up to be gunned down by her Black Liberation Army compatriots in the back of the U-Haul. She might as well have gunned down the policemen herself. And, she did all this a full eleven years after helping build bombs nearly killed her, and cost her the lives of three of her fellow radicals, showing that she had learned nothing at all about the utter futility of her violent extremism.

After Boudin went to jail, Bill Ayers and his wife raised Kathy Boudin's son Chesa Boudin as their own. Any doubts that Ayers has repented one bit of the same idiocy as Chesa's mother are dispelled by the following words from Chesa himself, now a newly-minted Rhodes Scholar: "We have a different name for the war we're fighting now — now we call it the war on terrorism, then they called it the war on communism. My parents were all dedicated to fighting U.S. imperialism around the world. I'm dedicated to the same thing."

Yeah, Chesa, your parents helped murder policemen because that actually improved lives in the rest of the world. How did anyone let this morally blind idiot into Yale, much less into the Rhodes Scholar program?

So Chesa's adoptive father Bill "I don't regret a thing. I think we didn't do enough" Ayers leads us, at long last, back to Barack Obama. It doesn't really matter whether you think Obama agrees with violent radicals like Ayers, or just went along with working with him at the Annenberg Foundation in Chicago for well over five years.

I actually think it's worse if Obama thinks poorly of Ayers, because it means Obama doesn't have a spine worth speaking of. It means that, just to get ahead in Chicago politics, Obama was willing to work with a leftist thug anyone should have been proud to spurn.

And that's when it hit me -- Obama has no bottom line. He has nothing that will make him rise up and say, "No! No! Hell no! I won't do it!" He's the quintessential go-along, get-along example of utter political spinelessness. And this might well be how he manages to glide by long enough to get elected, but it's why I feel he will be an utter disaster as a President, which is a far more serious matter.

Think of it -- which of the major Democratic constituencies has he been willing to piss off? The anti-war left? Nope. The protectionists in Big Labor? Not them, he's in the bag for them. The environmentalists who won't countenance nuclear power or drilling in the U.S.? Nah, he's their puppy too.

The list is endless, and he is basically the perfect liberal checklist -- every box is checked. The idiocy and manifest incompetence of Bush may be enough for Obama to ride the wave of "anyone but a Republican!" all the way to the White House, but what happens after that?

What if Obama is faced with a crisis where he can't please everyone?! As in, not having enough cash for the federal government to pass all of Obama's programs and give a middle class tax cut? Or keeping the anti-war folks happy by departing Iraq, even if things take a turn for the worse there? Such crises and many more are inevitable, and where is Obama's bottom line? I can't say. Can you?

Great leaders are the ones who actually stand for something, and let the chips fall where they may. Obama may be a great campaigner, but I think his utter lack of a bottom line means we'll be in for a second round of Jimmy Carter with him -- neither his enemies nor his allies will respect him, to the world's detriment.

So that's my bottom line on Obama: if he doesn't have enough of a spine to say "hell no!" to working with Bill Ayers, where will he draw the line?

I am absolutely certain that, both for better and for worse, McCain does have a bottom line, stuff he will simply not countenance. Both his enemies and his Republican allies have learned this. The certainty that there are certain things on which you simply do not cross a President McCain will serve his country much better than Obama's utter lack of similar red lines.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Whole of the Moon!

The Waterboys became one of my favorites in the late 1980s, and this is the first song of theirs which I ever heard.

The Waterboys "The Whole of the Moon"

I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hand
I had flashes
You saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

You were there in the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
You cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw "Brigadoon"
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
And you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

The torch in your pocket
And the wind on your heels
You climbed on a ladder
And you know how it feels
To get too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and Piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
Yes, you climbed on a ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

Friday, October 3, 2008

ACORN and its alleged voter registration fraud

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic writes an excellently fair-minded post about GOP complaints about the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN):
ACORN works in urban areas and among the poor, so their advocacy benefits the Democratic Party.

And most acutely, Republicans point to charges, many validated, of ACORN's turning in hundreds, if not thousands, of fraudulent registrations in at least a dozen states and employing felons in states where it's illegal to do so for voter registration purposes.

Defenders of ACORN insist they're non-partisan, say that the group simply wants to make sure that as many eligible voters as possible vote and contend that critics are motivated by their partisanship, and possibly by their antipathy toward poor people and black people. Note: ACORN has liberal critics too, including some who think the group's aggressive tactics and history of quasi-socialism make other community organizers look bad.
I've been having growing concerns about this myself, since there have been all too many convictions of various ACORN canvassers for allegedly making fraudulent voter registrations by the thousands. The fact that there has been more than one such episode is troubling.

I'm all for maximum registration and participation of every American voter, especially the poor who are the most vulnerable and too often disenfranchised. It does no one any good, especially the Democratic party, when that noble goal becomes tainted by voter fraud.

I would love to see this cease being a political football between the two parties, and become something both parties devote time to fixing in a clean, verifiable way. But alas I am probably dreaming.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cindy Sheehan Hearts the Muslim Brotherhood

As if embracing Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez was not enough, "peace mom" Cindy Sheehan has now taken up the mantle of waging peace on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Here's part of her letter to the First Lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, on the Muslim Brotherhood's own English language website:
Through my work on this issue I have become an
advocate for human rights violations all over the
world. I am sad to say that my first visit to your
beautiful country of Egypt brings me here under this
guise to appeal for fair and just treatment for the
forty members of the Muslim Brotherhood, all civilian,
who are being tried through a military tribunal. As I
understand it this process is illegal both under
Egyptian law and International law and since the
defendants have all been found innocent on four
different occasions in civilian courts, I can only
conclude that the Egyptian government is trying them
in a military tribunal as a last resort to guarantee a
guilty verdict.
Now, I have no doubt that the Mubarak government is not exactly a champion of due process in all instances, not just those where the accused are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. But I have not (yet) seen Ms. Sheehan championing secular Egyptians who have run afoul of the Egyptian government.

Ms. Sheehan is of course allowed to espouse any views she likes, but her alliance with thugs like the Castro brothers, Hugo Chavez and now the Muslim Brotherhood makes her self-professed pro-democracy stance ring entirely hollow.

Update: Wikipedia's entry on the Muslim Brotherhood helpfully has the following:
In the group's belief, the Quran and Sunna constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The MB goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretched from Spain to Indonesia.[22] It preaches that Islam enjoins man to strive for social justice, the eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam. The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim nations during the early 20th century.

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam quite strictly. Its founder called for "a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior," "segregation of male and female students," a separate curriculum for girls, and "the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes..."[23]
"... political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam." What a wonderful cause Cindy Sheehan has found for herself now!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Obama and the Surge in Iraq

Prior to the Surge, in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on November 20, 2006, Obama said the following:

Then, Obama told us "the Surge has not worked" on July 20, 2007, and at many other campaign stops. The next month, there were 80 U.S. service deaths overall in Iraq, 69 of them by my count from combat or IEDs.

Fast-forward to this year, when the evidence has been mounting that not only has the Surge in troops and the accompanying change in strategy has reduced U.S. military casualties but also reduced Iraqi civilian casualties, and Obama tells Katie Couric in Amman, Jordan on July 22, 2008 that he still would have opposed the Surge:

Given how laughable this stance became by August 2008, Obama and the Democrats had to resort to their new rallying cry: there's not enough political reconciliation in Iraq! We should still leave!

Somehow, they missed the news that Iraq's largest Sunni political party rejoined the Iraqi government in July 2008, after a year's boycott.

Or, they missed the following news in September 2008:
Now that Iraq's parliament passed a provincial elections law Wednesday, overcoming months of political gridlock, many politicians and Iraqis are looking ahead to what the elections early next year will mean for Iraq
Oh, and here's the death toll for that very month, September 2008, as compared to the year before:
The number of civilians killed in Iraq last month more than halved to 359 compared to a year ago, Iraqi government figures showed, and the number of U.S. troops killed in action also fell dramatically.

U.S. combat deaths fell to eight in September, down from 12 last month and vastly reduced from 43 in September last year, statistics from independent Web site showed.

Violence in Iraq has fallen to around four-year lows in recent months, but militants have still been capable of large-scale attacks.

A string of bombings last month targeted civilians shopping before their evening meal during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and in Iraq's north, where the U.S. military says al Qaeda is active, violent attacks are carried out almost daily.

But September's toll of 359 civilian deaths was still lower than August's 382. Some 884 Iraqi civilians were killed in September last year.
So, U.S. combat fatalities have fallen to 8 in September 2008 vs. 69 in September 2007. Iraqi civilian casualties have fallen to 359 as compared to 884 in September 2007. Political reconciliation is proceeding apace, now that Sunni and Shi'it politicians are not constantly worried that extremists will slaughter them if they make a compromise with the other camps in Iraq. And still the Democratic candidate for President says his course of opposing the Surge was the right one!

I will yield to none in my contempt for Bush's criminally incompetent management of the war from March 2003 through January 2007. But by finally jettisoning Rumsfeld and putting General Petraeus in charge of a Surge in troops and a change in strategy, Bush has managed to show he can, however belatedly, come to grips with reality.

That is more than the Democrats, or Senator Obama in particular, can say.

Updated 10/3/2008: Yahoo News:
Baghdad - Iraq's presidential council on Friday ratified a law that paves the way for the first provincial elections in four years, officials said.

U.S. officials hope the election will give greater representation to minority Sunni Arabs and disaffected members of the Shiite majority.
This exemplifies the difference between McCain's approach and Obama's -- Obama has pledged repeatedly over the last two years to "end the war" and leave, no matter what, even if genocide results.

McCain also proposed ending the war in Iraq, but only by defeating our extremist enemies first! McCain's preference is increasingly validated by the fact that, with violence declining, the critically necessary political reconciliation between Iraqi factions is happening.

Of course, since things are going well in Iraq these days, expect it to fall all the more rapidly off the front pages. That's a shame, because what we're seeing is nothing less than the dual defeat of Sunni (Al Qaeda) and Shi'ite (Mahdi Army) extremists, with huge repercussions for the entire region. The Ayatollahs of Iran and the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia might be distressed, but this development is to the great benefit of ordinary Iraqis.