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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's Happening Today

I went to the Minnesota State Fair for about three hours today. Did the usual "eat food and drink a couple a brewskies" routine. Returned home.

I will be heading out of here in a few minutes to catch the Minnesota Gophers football home opener. It will be interesting to see if they have improved any from last year's pathetic display.

Even if they do manage to win (and that is not a certainty) not much will be determined as they are playing Northern Illinois.

Nothing against Northern Illinois - but they ain't Ohio State by any stretch of the imagination.

Ski-U- Mah.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Palin? Perfect
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

Election 2008: John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate is brilliant. Her individualism matches McCain's. But it's the new strengths she brings to the ticket that make the team formidable.
[Read more]

Obama's Vision for Government-Run Childhood

HUMAN EVENTS
One of the most dramatic changes in American life in the years since World War II involves the way we raise our children.

We used to do it ourselves. Now, convinced we have better things to do, many of us leave the job to others.

Encouraging this flight from parenthood, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has proposed what he calls his "Zero to Five" plan. It is a collection of programs aimed at getting the government involved in the raising of your children from the moment they are born.

DISTURBING TREND

The photos below capture a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect wildlife in the USA . Animals thatwere formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democrat Party..... as they have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance.
STILL WAITING ....

San Francisco Chronicle:
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein Considering Run for Governor

BBC:
Russiahits back at G7 criticism

Washington Post:
Russia Bans Imports From 19 U.S. Poultry Producers

Jury Acquits Ex-Marine in Iraqis' Deaths - washingtonpost.com

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Aug. 28 -- A former Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi detainees was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday in a first-of-its-kind federal trial. [more]

About Free Speech

Obama’s Gangland Assault on Free Speech
By Michelle Malkin

Where are all the free speech absolutists when you need them? Over the past month, left-wing partisans and Democratic lawyers have waged a brass-knuckled intimidation campaign against GOP donors, TV and radio stations, and even an investigative journalist because they have all dared to question the radical cult of Barack Obama. A chill wind blows, but where the valiant protectors of political dissent are, nobody knows.

Russia Bears Down on European Energy

State of the Union - WSJ.com
A Bear Energy Market
By ZEYNO BARAN
August 26, 2008

Along with a rapid military victory in Georgia, Vladimir Putin succeeded with another weapon in Russia's effort to divide and conquer Europe: energy.

Despite claims of unity on the crisis in the Caucasus, energy is a clear dividing line on the Continent. Countries that have long-term gas partnerships with Russia -- primarily the West Europeans -- chose the "both sides are to blame" approach to the war in Georgia. Countries that are more eager to diversify their sources of energy supply away from Russia -- most of the East and Central Europeans -- evinced the necessary moral clarity about Moscow's preplanned invasion.
Here is the link to the entire Wall Street Journal article, "A Bear Energy Market."

At OpenMarket.org, Iain Murray comments about the Wall Street Journal article:

"It is vital to understand that Russia has designs on Eastern Europe and is using its energy supply to buy off Western Europe. The future looks bad if this is the case.

Yet there is a question here that needs answering first. Natural gas, while cheap to burn and an efficient form of energy, is not the only source of electricity Western Europe has. Germany and Britain both possess abundant coal. France has based its energy profile on nuclear. Both could provide Russia-free energy across Western Europe, yet both are reviled by environmentalists. Wind power and renewables, beloved by environmentalists, are simply not up to the job.

It therefore seems that when faced with a choice between empowering Russia and annoying environmentalists, Western Europeans are less afraid of the former.

Let’s also remember that the Kyoto Protocol is designed to see large amounts of Western European money transferred to Russia as European nations purchase credits for emissions reductions banked by Russia following the collapse of communism. European nations can’t reduce emissions on their own, for the aforementioned reasons, so they need to buy credit from elsewhere. This was the central reason behind Russia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. To put it bluntly, the Kyoto Protocol is subsidizing Putin’s military retrenchment. If supposed oil wealth funding madrassas is a problem, then this certainly is as well.

This is, needless to say, a terrible situation to be in. When environmentalism gets its way, Putin gets his. If Putin’s energy weapon is to be neutralized, Western European governments need to face down the environmental lobbies in their countries, and allow digging for coal and new nuclear build. Political calculus, however, suggests otherwise. And Putin knows this."

Obama News

Protesters Say Obama’s Not an Anti-War Candidate
Denver (CNSNews.com)
– As more than 80,000 people streamed into Invesco Field to hear Sen. Barack Obama accept his party’s nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate, some protestors outside the stadium held signs demanding an end to the war in Iraq and claiming that a President Obama would not change the U.S. foreign policy on the war on terror.

Obama, Biden Wrong to Escalate War in Afghanistan, Liberal Says
Denver (CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate Sen. Joe Biden are wrong to call for an increased U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.

No Mention of MLK in Obama’s Speech
(CNSNews.com)
- Sen. Barack Obama did not mention Martin Luther King’s name as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday night on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The omission offended some African-Americans.

China and the Olympics

Because China won more gold medals at the Beijing Olympics than the United States, knucklehead reporter Nicholas Kristof (NY Times), projects that it means that the Chinese have had a similar "surge" in "the arts, in business, in science, in education..."

Wow.

Michael Medved responds: "Actually, past Olympic success for communist dictatorships didn't signal any rise in power or prosperity. The U.S. lost the medals race to the Soviet Union in Munich in 1972, and we even finished third--behind both the USSR and East Germany--in Seoul in 1988.

Within two years, the Soviet Union had collapsed and East Germany had disappeared entirely as a separate nation. Athletic achievements assist propaganda, but despite "oohs" and "ahs" from China's admirers, they're no real proof of national strength or dynamism."

All it means Mr. Kristoff is that ... well ... China won more medals.

Breaking News: Going for the Woman Vote?

It looks like Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska is McCain's veep pick.
John McCain passed over Mitt Romney and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in favor of Sarah Palin (left), the AP and CNN are reporting, quoting campaign sources.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

SLOW JOE BIDEN: A FERRARI FOR A MOUTH, A TOYOTA FOR A BRAIN

The funniest of several mirthful moments in the Democrats' vice presidential candidate rollout was the assertion by aides for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama that though he's been in the U.S. Senate for more than 35 years, Joe Biden isn't a Washington insider because he takes the train home to Wilmington every night.

Do they really believe this? Or is it just that they think we're stupid enough to believe it?

The only running mate who could have moved the needle much for Sen. Obama was Hillary Clinton, and he had powerful reasons other than electability for not selecting her.

-- Jack Kelly

OBAMAS FAVORITE MOSLEM

Written by Alex Alexiev
To The Point News

"As the Democrat Convention's carefully-scripted coronation of perhaps the least qualified major party presidential candidate in recent American history builds up to its climax, few have noticed that the convention's most pregnant political message may have already been delivered before it officially started.

It came in the form of a decision by Obama's campaign to feature the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Ms. Ingrid Mattson, at an "Interfaith Gathering" of Leftist religious luminaries the day before the convention opened (8/24).

In doing that, Obama and the Democrat leadership rather demonstratively bestowed their seal of approval on the largest and most important front organization of the American Muslim Brotherhood, a conspiratorial Islamist revolutionary movement dedicated, in their own words, to "a grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands."

The implications of this political legitimization of a group dedicated to the destruction of our constitutional order are so profoundly disturbing that some background on what exactly ISNA and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Ikhwan Muslimi are is in order."

You need to be a paid subscriber of "To The Point News" to read the whole article.

However some very "compelling evidence of the Brotherhood’s true aims is contained in an internal memorandum written in 1991 by as senior Brotherhood leader and titled: 'On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.'

In the document, the author is strikingly clear about the ultimate goal of the Muslim Brotherhood
in the United States: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

The exhibits make four things clear:

1) Many of the existing organizations that have set themselves up as the interlocutors
between the Islamic community in the United States and the outside world (including
government, law enforcement and other faiths) were founded and controlled by the
Muslim Brotherhood from their inception. Many of them changed their names over time
to achieve broader national acceptance.

2) The Brotherhood established a highly-structured organization with many different faces
inside the United States while deliberately and continually seeking to hide the
Brotherhood’s links to its front groups.

3) The agenda to be carried out by these groups in the United States in reality had little to
do with publicly-proclaimed goals of the organizations, such as promoting civil rights
protection for Muslims. Rather, the true goal is to destroy the United States from the
inside and work for the establishment of a global Islamist society.

4) The primary function of the Brotherhood structures, from the early 1990s forward, was to
support, materially and politically, the Hamas movement in the Palestinian territories, as
instructed by the office of the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo."

You can read more at the NEFA Foundation.

BBC:
EU considers sanctions on Russia

Stealing the oft used line of Obama, "This isn't the John McCain I knew."

Kerry: I don't recognize my former friend, McCain
Washington Post

Obama and the military

Despite being on record as saying "he would gut the military" Obama aims to enlist support of military reports the Washington Times.

Jerusalem Post:
'Hizbullah tightens hold on Venezuela'
Terrorists aims to capture Jewish businessmen

Gallup: Obama Losing Support Among Conservative Democrats

CNSNews.com
The Gallup daily tracking poll indicates that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been losing support among conservative Democrats as his presidential race with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has tightened into a dead heat. [full article]

“When asked what America’s greatest moral failing was, theological Obama said it was our collective failure to ‘abide by that basic precept in [the Book of] Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.’ For Obama the politician, such scriptural quotations often serve as an all-inclusive writ to impose his religious views on others when it comes to fighting poverty, global warming, racism, etc. But when the question turns to abortion, political Obama insists on a policy of moral agnosticism and political laissez-faire.”
—Jonah Goldberg

“Candidly talking about racial issues doesn’t make you a racist any more than being aware of gender differences makes you a sexist.” —Terry Paulson

“The overwhelming votes for Obama in some virtually all-white states show that many Americans are ready to move beyond race. But Obama himself wants to have it both ways, by attributing racist notions to the McCain camp that has never made race an issue. The problem with clever people is that they don’t know when to stop being clever—and Senator Obama is a very clever man, perhaps ‘too clever by half’ as the British say.” —Thomas Sowell

“I could care less about the color of Barack Obama’s skin, but the thinness of it is starting to wear on me.” —Dennis Miller

“Mr. Obama has a deep, rich voice. Coming from his mouth, nonsense sounds good. But it’s still nonsense.” —Jack Kelly

“The principle of government control over information is inseparable from the principle of government control over people’s lives.”
-James Bovard-



“Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.”
-Sir Francis Bacon-


“Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.” —Plato

Uhhhh... I-I-I-I....Uhhh....Don't know

Question: “At what point does a baby get human rights?” —Rick Warren.

[Pathetic] Answer: “I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or, uh, a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, uh, you know, is above my pay grade.” —Barack Obama.

Hey Barack, you want to be President of the United States. Do you think that is a walk in the park?

As Kevin McCullough puts it: “Obama is the only elected official on record to ever vote in favor of denying life-saving medical care to children who had been born but that were struggling for life. Is that a decision too confusing so as to be ‘above the pay grade’ as well?”

Amateurs Outdoing Professionals
When amateurs outperform professionals, there is something wrong with that profession.

If ordinary people, with no medical training, could perform surgery in their kitchens with steak knives, and get results that were better than those of surgeons in hospital operating rooms, the whole medical profession would be discredited.

Yet it is common for ordinary parents, with no training in education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master's degrees and in schools spending upwards of $10,000 a year per student-- which is to say, more than a million dollars to educate ten kids from K through 12.

Nevertheless, we continue to take seriously the pretensions of educators who fail to educate, but who put on airs of having "professional" expertise beyond the understanding of mere parents.
[Read more..]

The Big Contradiction from the Denver Dems
Is the United States a land of limitless horizons, where hard work and big dreams enable people of humble background to scale dizzying heights of privilege and power?

Or is this a society of slammed doors and blocked opportunities, of a trapped middle class and shattered hope, where ordinary people can only provide a better life for their children with the help of an activist government and dramatic new policies?

The Denver Democrats insist that both descriptions are true, and they fail to acknowledge the obvious contradiction in the two primary messages of their convention.

On the one hand, they want Americans to believe that we live in a dark, destitute moment in our history, with no chance for prosperity or progress unless a Democrat captures the White House.

On the other hand, they celebrate dozens of inspiring rags-to-riches stories (like those of the party’s sweethearts, Barack and Michelle Obama) proving that traditional American values still bring spectacular and gratifying results. [Read more...]

Farewell, NATO
When I was growing up in the 1960s, we had a majestic Santa Rosa plum orchard on my family's farm. The trees were 40 years old and had grown to over 20 feet high. My grandfather would proudly recall how its once-bumper crops of big, sweet plums had helped him survive the Depression and a postwar fall in agricultural prices.

But by the 1960s, the towering, verdant trees were more a park than a profitable orchard. The aged limbs had grown almost too high to pick, the fruit there too few and too small to pack profitably. Yet my grandfather simply could not bring himself to bulldoze the money-losing, unproductive old orchard.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is like that noble Santa Rosa orchard. We all remember how NATO once saved Western Europe from the onslaught of global communism. Its success led to the present European Union. The Soviets were kept at bay. The Americans were engaged, while the postwar German colossus remained peaceful. A resurgent Europe followed, secure enough to prosper while complacent enough to slash defense expenditures and expand entitlements.

After the victory of the Cold War, NATO's raison d'etre became more problematic -- even as its theoretical reach... [Read on...]

Democratic Platform's Hidden Soros Slush Fund
The Democratic Party platform is like a bag of pork rinds. You never know what high-fat liberal government morsel you're gonna get.

Buried in the 94-page document is a noble-sounding proposal to create a "Social Investment Fund Network." The program would provide federal money to "social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations [that] are assisting schools, lifting families out of poverty, filling health care gaps, and inspiring others to lead change in their own communities." The Democratic Party promises to "support these results-oriented innovators" by creating an office to "coordinate government and nonprofit efforts" and then showering "a series of grants" on the chosen groups "to replicate these programs nationwide."

In practice, this Barack Obama brainchild would serve as a permanent, taxpayer-backed pipeline to Democratic partisan outfits masquerading as public-interest do-gooders. This George Soros Slush Fund would be political payback in spades. Obama owes much of his Chicago political success to financial support from radical, left-wing billionaire and leading "social entrepreneur" Soros. In June 2004, Soros threw a big fundraiser at his New York home for Obama's Illinois Senate campaign. Soros and family personally chipped in $60,000. In April 2007, Obama was back in New York for a deep-pocketed Manhattan fundraising soiree, with Soros lurking in his shadow. [Read on...]

Admiring China?

Hugh Hewitt writes:
Barack Obama heads towards his big acceptance speech with a growing number of questions about his understanding of how the world really works. Last week the Democratic nominee told a surprised America that it had fallen behind Communist China when it came to public works, saying:

"Their ports; their train systems; their airports are all vastly superior to us now."

Evidently Obama does not care for the lack of pollution controls in Beijing or the ghastly labor conditions there. This admiration for totalitarian achievements is unsettling. Does Obama truly not understand that just a few miles from the Olympic village is vast squalor and a few hundred more are the ruins of thousands of schools built to Chinese standards?

I am quite certain Obama does not understand. Interestingly, about a week ago Mark Alexander wrote about "China’s porcelain facade."

Mr. Alexander started his column with this:
Having just returned from Beijing, where I was the guest with a corporate association, it is a bit disconcerting to watch NBC’s glossy coverage of the Olympic games, and China in general, and to endure the echo NBC’s coverage is receiving through other media outlets. The network dared not venture off the reservation, and its coverage offered no observation on the obfuscation outside the Olympic village. While in China, I enjoyed major Olympic venues, but I was far more impressed by meetings with several Chinese leaders of underground Christian movements, Chinese entrepreneurs, and other Chinese reformers.

Suffice it to say, I found China to mirror what I anticipated: A great people enslaved under the rule of the tyrannical Red Chinese government—1.329 billion people, in fact, who share none of the rights outlined in our Constitution, which most Americans take for granted.

Alexander writes:
Mao may be dead, but he is not gone. His iconic image is ubiquitous in both urban and rural China, even appearing on the face of every denomination of Chinese currency. The Russian people tore down statues of V.I. Lenin soon after the collapse of the Soviet empire. The prevalence of Mao’s image is a good indication that the Red Chinese government is still alive and well, despite reports of its imminent demise.

For the 2008 Olympics, China put on its best face, rather like a movie set. Beijing’s new airport is among the world’s finest. Every main Olympic thoroughfare was newly paved, signed, landscaped and lighted. Even the primary rural routes outside the city had makeovers, with fresh paint and greenery covering 100 feet on either side of those roads. Beyond that makeup, however, was the dirt and dilapidation that makes up most of China’s rural areas.

In Beijing, amid the very real modern architecture, there is a modern marvel of an office building which occupies an entire city block. Upon closer inspection, however, it is actually nothing more than a very large frame covered by enormous sheets of vinyl on which had been printed features that might be on a modern building. From major thoroughfares, that building blocks a sea of dilapidated Soviet-era apartment buildings. The vinyl screen even featured two businessmen looking out a window, perhaps speculating on whether the wind would blow them away.

The new Olympic structures were certainly impressive, though few of the 250,000 people who were ejected from Soviet-era block housing that formerly blighted the Olympic green were adequately compensated. Indeed, many of them did not receive alternate housing.

Additionally, says Alexander:
The Red Chinese government also created numerous other environmental effects. Consequently, the ceremony became a metaphor for the whole fraudulent facade that hides China’s Communist government under the strong arm of “Dear Leader” president Hu Jintao.

For example, only one of the 29 spectacular firework footprints featured in the aerial footage leading to the Bird’s Nest stadium was real; the others were computer generated.

How did the Chinese government endeavor to deceive a city of 19 million people, and a stadium of 91 thousand spectators, including this humble observer?

During the ceremony, there was only one helicopter overhead, a China Central Television helicopter providing aerial footage edited by the Chinese central government and fed to NBC. Beijingers dared not speak of the disparity in what was happening over their heads versus NBC’s coverage, but a few Chinese bloggers got the word out.

And finally, he closes, by saying:
Of course, there were veneers beyond the Birds Nest, too.

Along the marathon routes, the 10-foot “culture walls” exhibited cultural images, which the government preferred to promote over images of the slums behind the walls. Again, the air feed was from a CCTV helicopter, and NBC wasn’t about to give us a glimpse of the squalor behind those impressive barriers.

Even the less popular venues appeared to be at capacity seating, thanks to the recruitment of “volunteers” to fill the seats.

Notably absent from any media coverage were protests of any size and description, as all those who were considered a “threat to the success of the Olympics” were kept far away from any cameras.

Likewise, few protests lodged on Chinese Internet sites make it to the outside world.

Having walked some of the Great Wall at one of its highest points prior to the beginning of the Olympics, I can report that on a rare clear day, the view to the east is magnificent. However, few dissenting views from Chinese citizens make it over the Great Firewall of China.

The Chinese government routinely blocks millions of websites with references to Taiwan, Tibet, Darfur, Tiananmen, Amnesty International, freedom, liberty and democracy, ad infinitum.

Still, the whole world could access the International Olympic Committee’s Beijing website, with its laughable guarantee from IOC president Jacques Rogge of “no censorship in Beijing.”

Beyond the Olympics, and beyond China’s porcelain facade, the foreign investment in China and the resulting economic growth is as vigorous as the purges by Mao’s Red Guard. Still, every fledgling Chinese business owner shares this unspoken concern: Will I still own my business in 10 years, or will the government nationalize it (or otherwise take control of it through excessive taxation—the U.S. model adaptation of Socialism).

There is another economic concern that the entire free world should lose some sleep over. If the Chinese economy does not continue its present growth rate, producing almost 20 million new jobs annually to meet its bulging urban population, the result could be massive civil unrest. More than 50 percent of the Chinese people now live in urban centers, and the illegal migration of rural Chinese to the urban areas continues unabated. Needless to say, as was the case at Tiananmen Square 19 years ago, the Red Chinese government does not handle civil unrest well.

A likely response to civil discord could be the absorption of millions of additional Chinese into the Red Army and service corps, bolstered by a resurgence of Communist nationalism. For sure, the Reds will be looking for some creative activity to occupy the minds of the Chinese people, something to divert them from concern about their empty stomachs.

In 1919, before communism came to China, a student newspaper there boldly proclaimed as its motto, “Democracy—a government for the people, by the people and of the people.” Don’t expect to see any student newspapers proclaiming anything along those lines anytime soon.

Mr. Obama is too young, too inexperienced, and too naive to be the president of the United States.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sharpton has a message for the Clinton's

Be nice to Obama – or else!

E-mail frenzy: 'Obama plans to disarm U.S.!'

GOP links Ayers to Kerry
Boston.com
In the latest volley in the ping-pong match over 1960s radical William Ayers, the Republican National Committee has dug up a snippet of him praising Senator John F. Kerry for throwing away his Vietnam War decorations.

"John Kerry's finest moment," Ayers, a founder of the Weathermen, says in the video from C-SPAN of a January 2006 appearance at the National Press Club while promoting a book. [more...]

Ayers Unrepentant for Radical Group’s Violence in 1960s, 1970s
William Ayers, who was a founder of the 1960s and 1970s radical group the Weather Underground, told FOX News correspondent James Rosen in a candid 2004 interview that he still believed he was “on the side of justice” years after the group’s wave of attacks.

In the interview, conducted three years after the September 11 attacks, Ayers argued the U.S. government had carried out “many other acts of terror … even recently, that are comparable,” and claimed he and his bomb-planting comrades were “restrained” in their actions.

Ayers, now a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, served with Barack Obama on the board of the charitable Woods Fund of Chicago for three years and helped launch Obama’s political career in Illinois by hosting in his Hyde Park home an informal campaign event for the future state senator in 1995.

Ayers claimed the Weathermen were driven by “hope and love,” not despair, and said he did not think the group’s violent acts, targeting federal officials and local law enforcement officers, were “a big deal.”

[read more]

Another Radical Obama Association?

By Amanda Carpenter

"Old videos appear to show a radical Muslim named Khalid Al-Mansour helped Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama gain acceptance into Harvard Law.

Civil rights activist Percy Sutton recalled being solicited by a man named Dr. Khalid A-Mansour to write a letter of recommendation to help Obama gain acceptance into Harvard Law in this undated television interview available HERE."

You can read the rest of Amanda Carpenter's column here.

You can see a video also of Khalid Al-Mansour giving a hateful history of the Jews tagged below.

Al-Mansour once said, “White people don't feel bad, whatever you do to them, they deserve it, God wants you to do it and that's when you cut out the nose, cut out the ears, take flesh out of their body, don't worry because God wants you to do it."

Barack sure has a lot of questionable acquaintances. It is probably another case of: "This is not the same Al-Mansour I knew."

Dueling Visions

Barrons.com

By Jim McTague
John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax plans hold vastly different implications for the U.S. economy. Required reading before you vote.
[Read it at Barrons]

Drill, Don't Redistribute

AEI

By Kevin A. Hassett, Senior Fellow
Why is consumer sentiment so low? As Democrats cater to dissatisfied voters with redistributive policy proposals, there may be an alternative explanation. Kevin A. Hassett discusses the relationship between high gas prices and the sour sentiment among American consumers. This analysis suggests that the presidential candidate who can wield an effective plan to subdue gas prices may the one ahead in November.

Over the past two months, consumer sentiment has settled in at the lowest level in almost thirty years. The stark drop in sentiment is at odds with many other economic data points. Economists now believe, for example, that economic growth in the second quarter was around 2 percentage points, hardly a cause for deep depression. The unemployment rate hovers around 5.5 percent, about its postwar average.

What explains the low sentiment despite the moderate economy? Democrats and Barack Obama offer a populist story: While the economy as a whole has not done that poorly during the Bush years, the little guy has fallen farther and farther behind. Mr. Obama suggests that the weak sentiment is a call for a major change in economic policy. Americans yearn, the story goes, for massive new redistributions.

Read entire article at AEI.

Obama's paper-thin reform resume doesn't look that good on paper.

Mr. Ethics
Obama’s mentor retires.

By David Freddoso

Denver — “[E]thics reforms means getting officials to limit gifts to themselves.” Those are the words of Emil Jones, president of the Illinois senate, in his speech at the Democratic Convention Monday.

Jones would know. He is Barack Obama’s political mentor, and he can now give himself a $578,000 gift. It is a perfectly legal and completely corrupt arrangement that he made ten years ago, with just a little help from Obama. [read more]

The Democratic far-left is touting a Global Marshall Plan. Global welfare is more like it.

Democrats Save the World?
At the DNC convention, Sixties radicals are still truckin’ — and promoting failed ideas from the seventies.

By Mark Hemingway

With the official events at the Democratic National Convention taking place just across the street, a hundred or so members of the “Network of Spiritual Progressives” are packed into a hotel room discussing their current plan to save the world.

True to form, the event began with bad folk music followed by a prayer. Not just any prayer, but a prayer by John Dear. According to his official bio, the Roman Catholic priest has been arrested 75 times “because he so fervently believes in peace.” Father Dear declares he is a Jesuit, “but don’t hold that against me,” he adds. [read more]

Obama’s Aim

Despite the rhetoric, the candidate opposes gun rights

Denver — In 2007, Senator Barack Obama stood up for a gun owner. He endorsed Chicago Alderman Dorothy Tillman in her Democratic primary. Not only was she a gun owner, but she had even pulled a gun on her colleagues during a contentious 1991 ward redistricting hearing, according to eyewitnesses. Tillman, best known for demanding to be served by black (not white) waiters, and for advocating reparations for slavery, narrowly lost her race despite Obama’s support.

It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that this was the strongest effort Obama has ever made to support gun rights. [read more]

William Ayers

Obama’s Friend, America’s Enemy
Have you ever been a friend or business associate of a terrorist? Not someone who, to your shock and horror, turned out secretly to have bombed government buildings. No, the question is whether you’ve ever befriended an unreconstructed radical whose past was well known to you when you entered his orbit and walked through doors he opened for you. Have you been chummy with an unapologetic terrorist who, years after you’d known and worked closely with him, was still telling the New York Times he regretted only failing to carry out more attacks — and that America still “makes me want to puke”?

Barack Obama has. [read more]

Wrestling over Judges

Can you smell what the Democrats are cookin’?

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

Denver — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be called on to play John Roberts in Bush’s Court: The Movie. That’s the impression I got, anyhow, when Hillary Clinton referred to the nation’s highest Court as being in “a right-wing headlock” on Tuesday night, during her long-awaited speech to the Democratic convention here.

Only a left-wing ideologue would thus describe a Court that recently extended, for the first time in our history, habeas-corpus rights to enemy combatants held on foreign soil. Only a left-wing ideologue, one who is content with a judiciary going out of its bounds to write laws instead of simply interpreting the Constitution, could thus describe a Court where Anthony M. Kennedy — the toast of Salzburg — is the fulcrum. [read more]

Barron’s Recognizes the Threat of Obama’s Tax Proposal; 'Today' Rejects Personal Responsibility, Attacks Online Dealmakers; Media Call Obama's 'Economic Disaster' Exaggeration a 'Sharpened Attack'

It seems like a no-brainer: Raising taxes is bad. It's a shame that Barron's is one of the few outlets to pick up on it.

An economic plan floated by Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., would raise taxes on incomes above $250,000 – with the highest rate at 39.6 percent – and redistribute the wealth to the poor and middle-class. But that would be a big mistake, according to an article by Jim McTague in the August 25 issue of Barron's.

"It's almost as if Obama wants to repeat the mistakes of Herbert Hoover," McTague said. "During the Great Depression, Hoover raised the top marginal rate to 63% from 25% and hiked corporate taxes, too, says Michael Aronstein, chief investment strategist at Oscar Gruss & Son in New York. The moves siphoned needed investment capital out of the markets and into the hands of bureaucrats, delaying the turnaround."

McTague explained that while Obama may be unable to avoid it this would ultimately be bad for investors.

"Because of the budget deficit, now approaching $500 billion a year, the next president, regardless of party, will have his hands tied, many observers say. He will have little choice but to raise taxes and cut spending," McTague wrote. "Obama's tax plans, however, point to a philosophy that historically has worried market pros. Raising taxes on the investor class simply doesn't help investment."

From: The Business & Media Institute

On Obama

"Yesterday, it was Barack Obama's birthday and they got him his usual birthday give of gold, frankincense and myrrh." - - - Jay Leno

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

N. Korea says it has halted nuclear reactor disablement

USATODAY.com
SEOUL (AP) — North Korea said Tuesday it has stopped disabling its nuclear reactor and will consider restoring the plutonium-producing facility in anger over Washington's failure to remove it from the U.S. list of terror sponsors.

Lobby ties counter Biden's 'outsider' label

Washington Times
DENVER | Sen. Barack Obama is trying to portray himself and his running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., as the "outsider" ticket of the year, but Mr. Biden's 35-year career in the Senate may make that a difficult sell. One need look no further than Mr. Biden's relationship with his lobbyist son and his law firm to see why.

Mr. Biden's campaign has hired lawyers from his son's firm to do its legal work. His son's firm lobbied for the University of Delaware and, in turn, Mr. Biden championed federal funding for lucrative projects, known as earmarks, in congressional spending bills.

In addition, Mr. Biden's son, Hunter, once worked for MBNA, the giant credit-card company, whose employees are the elder Biden's largest source of campaign contributions and whose side Mr. Biden took in a controversial bankruptcy-law fight.

All of which makes Mr. Biden a veteran of the types of insider fights that "outsiders" are supposed to eschew.

Misplaced Criticism

Edwards' Wife Criticized for Silence on Affair
Raleigh, N.C. (AP) - Two weeks after a devastating revelation sent her husband into political exile, Elizabeth Edwards isn't getting the steady sympathy usually afforded to a woman scorned.

Instead, she's faced criticism from dedicated Democrats who think she was too willing to keep the affair a secret to help John Edwards' political ambitions, as well as her own.


Sen. John Edwards' behavior is despicable. He had the affair. He kept it quiet. He lied about it on a number of occasions. Let's back off on Mrs. Edwards.

John "the silky pony" is fair game. Have at it.

Taliban Outlawed in Pakistan
A fresh escalation in an already serious security situation in Pakistan has prompted the government to ban the Taliban. The step goes beyond those taken by former President Pervez Musharraf during his almost nine years in power. The decision to outlaw the Taliban marks a shift in strategy for Islamabad. Since taking office after legislative elections last February, the central government of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the NWFP provincial government have pursued a sporadic, and controversial, policy of negotiating with militants.

New Report Questions ‘Man-Made’ Climate Change
(CNSNews.com) – New scientific evidence suggests there is a stronger link between solar activity and climate trends on Earth than there is with greenhouse gases, Fred Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist, told CNSNews.com. The new data call into question whether scientific evidence shows that global warming is a man-made phenomenon and suggests that natural forces, as opposed to human activity, may drive global climate change.

Dimitri Medvedev raises spectre of new Cold War

Times Online
Russia put the West on alert for a new Cold War that the Kremlin is ready to fight, its President said yesterday.

President Medvedev set tensions soaring when he recognised the independence of two breakaway republics inside Georgia. “We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a Cold War,” he said.

Russia threatens military response to US missiles

My Way News
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is warning his country may respond to a U.S. missile shield in Europe through military means.

Gallup Daily: No Bounce for Obama in Post Biden Tracking

Archbishop scolds pro-choice Biden

Washington Times
DENVER | Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived at the Democratic National Convention on Monday amid rumblings over whether his pro-choice Catholicism would help or hurt the Democratic ticket.

An Irish-Catholic from a working-class upbringing, Mr. Biden won the nod as presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama's running mate in part because of his appeal to blue-collar Catholics, the same voters who swung during the primary for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Although he represents Delaware in the Senate, Mr. Biden grew up in Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Democrats in November.

But the party's hopes of winning the critical Catholic vote took a hit Sunday when Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said Mr. Biden should avoid taking Communion as a result of his pro-choice stand on abortion.

- Pelosi’s feud with archbishop escalates

TheHill.com
The public feud over abortion between the Speaker of the House and the archbishop of Washington intensified Tuesday as Rep. Nancy Pelosi responded to his recent criticism and the archbishop fired another salvo at the California Democrat.

The latest development came Tuesday evening, when Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl issued a statement to The Hill that brushed aside Pelosi’s explanation of her comments about conception on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.”

Wuerl on Monday rebuked Pelosi for suggesting that the Catholic Church has long debated the moment of conception. Wuerl said that the church has taught that life begins at conception and has thus opposed abortion as a “moral evil” since the 1st century.

Bill Clinton in Denver again undercuts Obama

TheHill.com
DENVER — Bill Clinton appeared to undermine Sen. Barack Obama again Tuesday.

The former president, speaking in Denver, posed a hypothetical question in which he seemed to suggest that that the Democratic Party was making a mistake in choosing Obama as its presidential nominee.

Let's hope history repeats itself

Rich Lowry: Introducing Barack Obama, 'Cleareyed Pragmatist'

If we've learned anything about presidential politics during the past 40 years, it's that America elects Democrats who are moderates from the South. [read more]

Thomas Sowell: Random Thoughts

Random thoughts on the passing scene: If you took all the fraud out of politics, there might not be a lot left. [more]

Obama Patriotism and Worldview Declared Off-Limits

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Orlando, Barack Obama declared, "I will let no one question my love of this country."

Obama has felt the sting of recent attacks from conservative critics, and prominent Democrats have been pressuring him to hit back harder at John McCain.

Universal praise of John McCain's performance in their first joint appearance at Saddleback Church also has the Obama campaign on the defensive. But we believe the.... [Continue reading]

The Battle Has Begun

By Mike Gallagher
The words came dripping out of Bill Maher's mouth on CNN's Larry King Live. He was mocking the question that Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren asked Barack Obama and John McCain about the presence of evil in a terrorist-filled world. In fact, after Maher said the word evil, he sort of snickered, as if this pseudo-intellectual jerk who was canned from ABC for praising the 9/11 terrorists and condemning our military couldn't even believe he was wasting his time on such a nonsensical concept as the struggle between good and evil. [Continue reading]

The Chosen Obama Narrative
By Michael Barone
Once upon a time, the two parties' national conventions chose presidential nominees. Now, they are television shows that try to establish a narrative -- one that links the long-since-determined nominee's life story with the ongoing history of the nation, one that shows how this one man is perfectly positioned to lead America to a better future. The hope is that the nominee will get a bounce in the polls.

And they usually do. Gallup poll data shows that nominees got a 5 percent or better bounce from 14 of the 16 national conventions between 1976 and 2004. And that's even for nominees that in retrospect seem less than inspiring. [Continue reading]

Georgia and Kosovo: A Single Intertwined Crisis

By George Friedman
Stratfor
Geopolitical intelligence Report

The Russo-Georgian war was rooted in broad geopolitical processes. In large part it was simply the result of the cyclical reassertion of Russian power. The Russian empire — czarist and Soviet — expanded to its borders in the 17th and 19th centuries. It collapsed in 1992. The Western powers wanted to make the disintegration permanent. It was inevitable that Russia would, in due course, want to reassert its claims. That it happened in Georgia was simply the result of circumstance.

There is, however, another context within which to view this, the context of Russian perceptions of U.S. and European intentions and of U.S. and European perceptions of Russian capabilities. This context shaped the policies that led to the Russo-Georgian war. And those attitudes can only be understood if we trace the question of Kosovo, because the Russo-Georgian war was forged over the last decade over the Kosovo question.

Yugoslavia broke up into its component republics in the early 1990s. The borders of the republics did not cohere to the distribution of nationalities. Many — Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and so on — found themselves citizens of republics where the majorities were not of their ethnicities and disliked the minorities intensely for historical reasons. Wars were fought between Croatia and Serbia (still calling itself Yugoslavia because Montenegro was part of it), Bosnia and Serbia and Bosnia and Croatia. Other countries in the region became involved as well.

One conflict became particularly brutal. Bosnia had a large area dominated by Serbs. This region wanted to secede from Bosnia and rejoin Serbia. The Bosnians objected and an internal war in Bosnia took place, with the Serbian government involved. This war involved the single greatest bloodletting of the bloody Balkan wars, the mass murder by Serbs of Bosnians.

Here we must pause and define some terms that are very casually thrown around. Genocide is the crime of trying to annihilate an entire people. War crimes are actions that violate the rules of war. If a soldier shoots a prisoner, he has committed a war crime. Then there is a class called "crimes against humanity." It is intended to denote those crimes that are too vast to be included in normal charges of murder or rape. They may not involve genocide, in that the annihilation of a race or nation is not at stake, but they may also go well beyond war crimes, which are much lesser offenses. The events in Bosnia were reasonably deemed crimes against humanity. They did not constitute genocide and they were more than war crimes.

At the time, the Americans and Europeans did nothing about these crimes, which became an internal political issue as the magnitude of the Serbian crimes became clear. In this context, the Clinton administration helped negotiate the Dayton Accords, which were intended to end the Balkan wars and indeed managed to go quite far in achieving this. The Dayton Accords were built around the principle that there could be no adjustment in the borders of the former Yugoslav republics. Ethnic Serbs would live under Bosnian rule. The principle that existing borders were sacrosanct was embedded in the Dayton Accords.

In the late 1990s, a crisis began to develop in the Serbian province of Kosovo. Over the years, Albanians had moved into the province in a broad migration. By 1997, the province was overwhelmingly Albanian, although it had not only been historically part of Serbia but also its historical foundation. Nevertheless, the Albanians showed significant intentions of moving toward either a separate state or unification with Albania. Serbia moved to resist this, increasing its military forces and indicating an intention to crush the Albanian resistance.

There were many claims that the Serbians were repeating the crimes against humanity that were committed in Bosnia. The Americans and Europeans, burned by Bosnia, were eager to demonstrate their will. Arguing that something between crimes against humanity and genocide was under way — and citing reports that between 10,000 and 100,000 Kosovo Albanians were missing or had been killed — NATO launched a campaign designed to stop the killings. In fact, while some killings had taken place, the claims by NATO of the number already killed were false. NATO might have prevented mass murder in Kosovo. That is not provable. They did not, however, find that mass murder on the order of the numbers claimed had taken place. The war could be defended as a preventive measure, but the atmosphere under which the war was carried out overstated what had happened.

The campaign was carried out without U.N. sanction because of Russian and Chinese opposition. The Russians were particularly opposed, arguing that major crimes were not being committed and that Serbia was an ally of Russia and that the air assault was not warranted by the evidence. The United States and other European powers disregarded the Russian position. Far more important, they established the precedent that U.N. sanction was not needed to launch a war (a precedent used by George W. Bush in Iraq). Rather — and this is the vital point — they argued that NATO support legitimized the war.

This transformed NATO from a military alliance into a quasi-United Nations. What happened in Kosovo was that NATO took on the role of peacemaker, empowered to determine if intervention was necessary, allowed to make the military intervention, and empowered to determine the outcome. Conceptually, NATO was transformed from a military force into a regional multinational grouping with responsibility for maintenance of regional order, even within the borders of states that are not members. If the United Nations wouldn't support the action, the NATO Council was sufficient.

Since Russia was not a member of NATO, and since Russia denied the urgency of war, and since Russia was overruled, the bombing campaign against Kosovo created a crisis in relations with Russia. The Russians saw the attack as a unilateral attack by an anti-Russian alliance on a Russian ally, without sound justification. Then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin was not prepared to make this into a major confrontation, nor was he in a position to. The Russians did not so much acquiesce as concede they had no options.

The war did not go as well as history records. The bombing campaign did not force capitulation and NATO was not prepared to invade Kosovo. The air campaign continued inconclusively as the West turned to the Russians to negotiate an end. The Russians sent an envoy who negotiated an agreement consisting of three parts. First, the West would halt the bombing campaign. Second, Serbian army forces would withdraw and be replaced by a multinational force including Russian troops. Third, implicit in the agreement, the Russian troops would be there to guarantee Serbian interests and sovereignty.

As soon as the agreement was signed, the Russians rushed troops to the Pristina airport to take up their duties in the multinational force — as they had in the Bosnian peacekeeping force. In part because of deliberate maneuvers and in part because no one took the Russians seriously, the Russians never played the role they believed had been negotiated. They were never seen as part of the peacekeeping operation or as part of the decision-making system over Kosovo. The Russians felt doubly betrayed, first by the war itself, then by the peace arrangements.

The Kosovo war directly effected the fall of Yeltsin and the rise of Vladimir Putin. The faction around Putin saw Yeltsin as an incompetent bungler who allowed Russia to be doubly betrayed. The Russian perception of the war directly led to the massive reversal in Russian policy we see today. The installation of Putin and Russian nationalists from the former KGB had a number of roots. But fundamentally it was rooted in the events in Kosovo. Most of all it was driven by the perception that NATO had now shifted from being a military alliance to seeing itself as a substitute for the United Nations, arbitrating regional politics. Russia had no vote or say in NATO decisions, so NATO's new role was seen as a direct challenge to Russian interests.

Thus, the ongoing expansion of NATO into the former Soviet Union and the promise to include Ukraine and Georgia into NATO were seen in terms of the Kosovo war. From the Russian point of view, NATO expansion meant a further exclusion of Russia from decision-making, and implied that NATO reserved the right to repeat Kosovo if it felt that human rights or political issues required it. The United Nations was no longer the prime multinational peacekeeping entity. NATO assumed that role in the region and now it was going to expand all around Russia.

Then came Kosovo's independence. Yugoslavia broke apart into its constituent entities, but the borders of its nations didn't change. Then, for the first time since World War II, the decision was made to change Serbia's borders, in opposition to Serbian and Russian wishes, with the authorizing body, in effect, being NATO. It was a decision avidly supported by the Americans.

The initial attempt to resolve Kosovo's status was the round of negotiations led by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari that officially began in February 2006 but had been in the works since 2005. This round of negotiations was actually started under U.S. urging and closely supervised from Washington. In charge of keeping Ahtisaari's negotiations running smoothly was Frank G. Wisner, a diplomat during the Clinton administration. Also very important to the U.S. effort was Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, another leftover from the Clinton administration and a specialist in Soviet and Polish affairs.

In the summer of 2007, when it was obvious that the negotiations were going nowhere, the Bush administration decided the talks were over and that it was time for independence. On June 10, 2007, Bush said that the end result of negotiations must be "certain independence." In July 2007, Daniel Fried said that independence was "inevitable" even if the talks failed. Finally, in September 2007, Condoleezza Rice put it succinctly: "There's going to be an independent Kosovo. We're dedicated to that." Europeans took cues from this line.

How and when independence was brought about was really a European problem. The Americans set the debate and the Europeans implemented it. Among Europeans, the most enthusiastic about Kosovo independence were the British and the French. The British followed the American line while the French were led by their foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who had also served as the U.N. Kosovo administrator. The Germans were more cautiously supportive.

On Feb. 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence and was recognized rapidly by a small number of European states and countries allied with the United States. Even before the declaration, the Europeans had created an administrative body to administer Kosovo. The Europeans, through the European Union, micromanaged the date of the declaration.

On May 15, during a conference in Ekaterinburg, the foreign ministers of India, Russia and China made a joint statement regarding Kosovo. It was read by the Russian host minister, Sergei Lavrov, and it said: "In our statement, we recorded our fundamental position that the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo contradicts Resolution 1244. Russia, India and China encourage Belgrade and Pristina to resume talks within the framework of international law and hope they reach an agreement on all problems of that Serbian territory."

The Europeans and Americans rejected this request as they had rejected all Russian arguments on Kosovo. The argument here was that the Kosovo situation was one of a kind because of atrocities that had been committed. The Russians argued that the level of atrocity was unclear and that, in any case, the government that committed them was long gone from Belgrade. More to the point, the Russians let it be clearly known that they would not accept the idea that Kosovo independence was a one-of-a-kind situation and that they would regard it, instead, as a new precedent for all to follow.

The problem was not that the Europeans and the Americans didn't hear the Russians. The problem was that they simply didn't believe them — they didn't take the Russians seriously. They had heard the Russians say things for many years. They did not understand three things. First, that the Russians had reached the end of their rope. Second, that Russian military capability was not what it had been in 1999. Third, and most important, NATO, the Americans and the Europeans did not recognize that they were making political decisions that they could not support militarily.

For the Russians, the transformation of NATO from a military alliance into a regional United Nations was the problem. The West argued that NATO was no longer just a military alliance but a political arbitrator for the region. If NATO does not like Serbian policies in Kosovo, it can — at its option and in opposition to U.N. rulings — intervene. It could intervene in Serbia and it intended to expand deep into the former Soviet Union. NATO thought that because it was now a political arbiter encouraging regimes to reform and not just a war-fighting system, Russian fears would actually be assuaged. To the contrary, it was Russia's worst nightmare. Compensating for all this was the fact that NATO had neglected its own military power. Now, Russia could do something about it.

At the beginning of this discourse, we explained that the underlying issues behind the Russo-Georgian war went deep into geopolitics and that it could not be understood without understanding Kosovo. It wasn't everything, but it was the single most significant event behind all of this. The war of 1999 was the framework that created the war of 2008.

The problem for NATO was that it was expanding its political reach and claims while contracting its military muscle. The Russians were expanding their military capability (after 1999 they had no place to go but up) and the West didn't notice. In 1999, the Americans and Europeans made political decisions backed by military force. In 2008, in Kosovo, they made political decisions without sufficient military force to stop a Russian response. Either they underestimated their adversary or — even more amazingly — they did not see the Russians as adversaries despite absolutely clear statements the Russians had made. No matter what warning the Russians gave, or what the history of the situation was, the West couldn't take the Russians seriously.

It began in 1999 with war in Kosovo and it ended in 2008 with the independence of Kosovo. When we study the history of the coming period, the war in Kosovo will stand out as a turning point. Whatever the humanitarian justification and the apparent ease of victory, it set the stage for the rise of Putin and the current and future crises.

www.stratfor.com

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mainstream Media Has a Great Fall
By Douglas MacKinnon
In violation of every ethical standard that allegedly governs their profession, a great many journalists and editors have gone into the tank so deeply for Barack Obama, that they have become an embarrassing extension of his campaign communications operation. So much so, that a few honest ombudsmen and media critics at “In-the-tank” newspapers, have been forced to criticize the practice.

No matter. In the tank they are. And yet, to the horror of these biased “journalists,” the American people seem to be mostly dismissing their predicable pro-Obama sermons and anti-McCain rants in favor of actual information gathering and an honest comparison of the two presidential candidates. [read more]

What's the message?

“[E]ven if Democrats succeed in tarnishing Mr. McCain, it won’t solve their fundamental problem, because this election is mostly about Barack Obama. Who is he? What does he really believe? Does he know enough, is he strong enough to lead? ‘McCain’s message is pretty clear and essentially twofold,’ wrote liberal blogger Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo. ‘Obama is, in so many words, a frivolous phony, someone who really doesn’t have any business running for president. McCain is a strong leader who can defend the country. ‘From Obama, honestly, I don’t sense a really clear message,’ Mr. Marshall said. ‘There are attacks on McCain, some of which are quite good. There are positive, uplifting commercials... But it’s hard for me to come up with a clear-cut Obama message in the way that it’s pretty simple for me to do with McCain.’If Mr. Obama wants to stop his slide in the polls, he must recognize he has been chiefly responsible for it. If people think Mr. Obama has a big head and a thin skin, he must act in a way that belies that. He must be more forthcoming about his past. And when he makes a mistake or changes a position, he should acknowledge it. Mr. Obama has to be clear about where he plans to lead the country and explain why he is qualified to do so. Hopenchange won’t cut it anymore. His acceptance speech in Denver will be the most important of his life. What will he say?”

—Jack Kelly

Playing to the victim thinking mentality

“Instead of pointing to the success of the thousands of black Americans who have worked to achieve their own ‘American Dreams’ and using his campaign victory as the presumptive Democratic candidate for president as a sign of what Americans of any race can do, he continues to play to the victim thinking mentality. It’s that same thinking that has kept far too many black Americans enslaved to affirmative action and its premise that they can’t succeed without it... The black, Harvard sociologist, Orlando Patterson, is quoted in Larry Elder’s The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America: ‘The sociological truths are that America, while still flawed in its race relations... is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa...’Voting for or against someone because of the color of his skin is a form of racism that should be un-American. The first black President of the United States should earn it the old-fashioned way—by combining experience, leadership acumen with compelling policy priorities that excite the electorate. Barack Obama’s lack of proven leadership experience, his inconsistent policy stands and non-existent legislative track record leaves much to be desired as a president.”

—Terry Paulson

Infanticide

“Alas, the abandonment of babies to suffer and die on the modern equivalent of a Spartan cliff did not require confronting evil when Obama saw it. Indeed, Obama turned a blind eye, leading the battle to defeat Illinois’ version of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which would have treated babies living, albeit briefly, outside the womb as, well, babies. He opposed the bill in 2003 (as he had a similar one in 2001), saying it would undermine Roe v. Wade. But even after Roe-neutral language was included—wording good enough that it won support for the federal version of the bill from abortion-rights stalwart Sen. Barbara Boxer—Obama remained unmoved. Until this week, Obama denied that he ever took such a position. His campaign now admits that he was, in effect, lying when he said pro-lifers were lying about his record."

-- Jonah Goldberg

Study: Networks Gave Fawning Coverage to Obama

Lee Cowan’s “infectious” feelings and Chris Matthews’ “thrill” helped NBC lead the way in positive coverage for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

But the other two major networks weren’t far behind in a study of 1,365 network news stories going back to May 17, 2000, the date of Obama’s first appearance on CBS Evening News, through early June 2008, when the Illinois senator secured the Democratic nomination.

The study was released Wednesday by the ....... [read on]

Post-Soviet States May Be Pulled Towards Moscow After Georgia Crisis

The deepening rift between Russia and the West over the invasion of Georgia may spur a resurgent Moscow to seek strengthened ties with other countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, with ramifications for U.S. security interests in the region.

With Georgia and Ukraine pulling increasingly westward, pressure will ....... [read on]

Biden Has A Pro-Tax Career
Like most Senate Democrats in 1981, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware found President Reagan’s tax cut proposal to be an irresistible force and voted for it, after having twice voted for efforts to limit its scope.

Since then, with a few exceptions, Biden usually .... [more]

US-Russia Tensions Give Iran, Syria Room to Maneuver

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called on Russia Wednesday to get behind tougher sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear pursuit, but the mounting tensions between Washington and Moscow could stymie that process, an expert here said.

Russia and the international community understand that the world cannot afford a nuclear Iran. “But there is a gap between this understanding and the translation [into action] especially when it comes to United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Livni told foreign journalists in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“Time is of the essence,” Livni said. “[It is] my belief that Russia has the .... [more]

Clinton Supporter Claims She Was Called ‘Uncle Tom’
Denver (AP) - A black delegate for Hillary Rodham Clinton says she was called an "Uncle Tom" by Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, one of Barack Obama's political mentors.

Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb says Jones made the remarks Saturday night while discussing her support for Clinton. She called the remark "fighting words" and unacceptable. [more]

Obama Picks a Catholic Running Mate with Long Pro-Abortion Record

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Sen. Barack Obama’s choice for his vice presidential running mate, is a Roman Catholic with a long record of supporting pro-abortion causes and legislation.

Biden did repeatedly support enactment of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, but when the ban came up for a Senate vote in 1999 he voted for an amendment by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that said the Supreme Court had acted correctly in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that declared abortion a constitutional right.

Biden has ... [continue]

So this is the ticket?

AP photo

“[Barack] Obama represents the merger of two of the worst aspects of Democratic politics—’60s radicalism and corrupt Chicago machine politics. With the addition of Slow Joe Biden to the ticket, Obama has added to his unsteady candidacy an epic amount of Beltway cluelessness and arrogance unsupported by anything except frequent flier miles and Delaware’s love for a chuckle-headed fellow with a big smile... I was worried that the Dems had pointed out to Obama that his serial gaffing had brought the campaign close to a break point and that he needed Hillary. I was worried he’d actually go find Anthony Zinni or Sam Nunn or someone of accomplishment and purposefulness in foreign affairs. [Jim] Webb would have been hell on the stump. [Tim] Kaine or [Evan] Bayh would have put different states into play. [Kathleen] Sebelius was a wild card. But Biden?... Put Biden’s obvious flaws aside and ask yourself how in the world Obama decided to go with Biden, and you’ll quickly realize that the Democratic nominee must have been impressed with Biden on the long campaign trail of 2007 and 2008—even though voters weren’t and even though Biden has no accomplishments of note after 36 years in the Senate. Biden talked a great game and dropped some very interesting place names—and this impressed Obama. Talking the talk has been the key to Obama’s success, and in Slow Joe he found an older, far better traveled but equally prolix gas bag... For Obama, it is all about politics and words, elections and poses. Slow Joe is the perfect running mate on a perfect ticket for a party betting on wind to solve the energy crisis.”

—Hugh Hewitt


“There are two other issues with which Mr. Obama must grapple, and far from helping with any of these, Mr. Biden actually makes Mr. Obama’s path more difficult. The first is that Mr. Obama’s other big challenge is convincing moderate Americans he shares their values. He is already seen by many as a liberal, big-city politician who says people cling to guns and religion out of bitterness, associates with radicals, and attended a church with a radical theology. Mr. Biden is a fierce foe of gun rights, ardently opposes restrictions on abortion that have widespread support and promotes gay rights. He supports higher taxes, bigger government and socialized healthcare. That doesn’t exactly help Mr. Obama with blue-collar voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The second is Mr. Biden’s lack of executive experience. Not only has he never been a governor or a cabinet secretary, he has never been a mayor, an agency head, or served in any other executive role, not even prosecutor or military officer. Given that Mr. Obama also lacks that experience, having two career legislators heading the executive branch of our government might create doubts. ... More broadly, it cuts against Mr. Obama’s central campaign theme of change. His message is Washington is broken, and the old establishment needs to be swept away in favor of new blood and a new vision. How does picking someone who has been in Washington a decade longer than Mr. McCain jive with Mr. Obama’s contention that Mr. McCain has been in Washington too long to change it?”

—Ken Blackwell

BHO picks Biden as VEEP: McCain Campaign Takes Aim at Obama-Biden

The Trail | washingtonpost.com
SREDONA, Arizona -- Sen. John McCain immediately began
using Joe Biden's own words against him early Saturday morning,
drawing on the Democratic vice presidential nominee's criticism of
Sen. Barack Obama during the Democratic primary.

"There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of
experience than Joe Biden," said McCain spokesman Ben Porritt. "Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing -- that Barack Obama is not ready to be President."

Running against Obama for the presidency, Biden said nominating
someone without national security credentials would be a "tragic
mistake" and said that the presidency "is not something that lends
itself to on-the-job-training." [full article]
Well at least Barack is the "[first] articulate and bright and clean," black guy to run for POTUS. Right, Joe?

Is It Time To Elect A President Who Appreciates Communism?

By Austin Hill
In past presidential elections, it might have been a deal-killer. But in 2008, it apparently makes for endearing campaign rhetoric.

Candidate Barack Obama has put himself “on record” praising the communist government of China, suggesting that the United States should aspire to do as the communists do, and “invest” in our “infrastructure,” the way the Chinese government has done in Beijing.

While at a campaign stop in Chester, Virginia, in a moment of off-the-cuff spontaneity, Obama stated “everybody's watching what's going on in Beijing right now and the Olympics. Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are all vastly superior to us now, which means if you're a corporation deciding where to do business, you're starting to think, Beijing looks like a pretty good option.”

When I first saw the video, it struck me that I’ve never before heard a presidential candidate - - not even another Democratic presidential candidate - - praise a communist government. In fact, I don’t think this has ever happened before in my lifetime. [read more]

When Does a Baby Get Human Rights?

By Ken Connor
"At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?" Most people have a ready answer to this question. A "pro-life" supporter will generally point to conception, while a "pro-choice" proponent will often point to birth. There are a variety of opinions, but the average person does have an opinion. Not Barack Obama. He wouldn't answer this most basic question about human rights.

Senator Obama's response to Reverend Rick Warren's question during the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency was, "Well, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade." He went on to state that he is "pro-choice", but that both sides should "find common ground" by seeking to "reduce the number of abortions." Still he refused to answer the question of what constitutes a human being worthy of rights and protections.

You would think a man who studied at Harvard and .....

For Obama, Believing is Seeing

By George Will
WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama has made his economic thinking excruciatingly clear, so it also is clear that his running mate should have been not Joe Biden, but Rumpelstiltskin. He spun straw into gold, a skill an Obama administration will need in order to fulfill its fairy-tale promises.

Obama recently said he would "require that 10 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term -- more than double what we have now." Note the verb "require" and the adjective "renewable."

By 2012 he would "require" the economy's huge energy.....

'SAFE' PICK FOR TICKET LEAVES WOMEN SCORNED

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

It doesn't take a political genius to realize that Barack Obama needed to nominate a woman for vice president. Obama's key problem is that there is no gender gap. In the most recent Zogby poll, he runs only two points better among women than among men. A Democrat should be running 10 to 15 points better among women.

If Obama is to have a hope of winning, he needs to ... [read on]

So true .... so true

"At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Oct. 31, 1823 in a letter to Monsieur A. Coray)