.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
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, November 01, 2008

Taking Stock of the Parties

By Richard W. Rahn
Does the value of your stock market holdings depend on which party controls Congress? There is overwhelming evidence it does.

Over the last quarter of a century when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the stock market rose by an average of about 20 percent per year. When the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the stock market only rose at an average annual rate of 6.9 percent for the Dow Jones and a tepid 5.1 percent for the Standard and Poor 500.

When one party controlled one house and the other party controlled the other house of Congress, the growth in the stock market was significantly less than when the Republicans controlled both houses (15.6 percent for the Dow Jones and 12.7 percent for the S&P), but significantly more than when the Democrats controlled both houses. [Continue reading.]

Media in the tank for Obama

By Jack Kelly
The media haven't done enough to tell us who Barack Obama really is. "After all this time with him, I still can't say with certainty who he is," wrote Peter Nicholas of the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday about Mr. Obama, with whom he's spent roughly 18 hours a day for most of this campaign.

Mr. Obama rarely engages in banter with the reporters who travel with him, and typically is in "robo-candidate mode" on those occasions he does speak with them, Mr. Nicholas said. "Ironically, those of us who were sent out to take his measure in person can't offer much help in answering who he is, or if he is ready. The barriers set in place between us and him were just too great."

Less is known about Mr. Obama than about any major party candidate for president in modern history. His public resume is thin: eight years in the Illinois Senate, four in the U.S. Senate, with two of them spent running for president. [Read the rest here.]

Thomas Sowell : Ego and Mouth
After the big gamble on subprime mortgages that led to the current financial crisis, is there going to be an even bigger gamble, by putting the fate of a nation in the hands of a man whose only qualifications are ego and mouth?

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise-- whether economic or academic, or even just managing.........

Friday, October 31, 2008


"I'll keep my freedom, my guns, and my money, you can keep


This is in response to a commenter that acknowledged that Barack may want to "play with the Constitution a bit too much" and asked "but, don't we have enough checks and balances" and further, "doesn't he have a lot of accountability before anything can really be changed?"

First, our founding fathers did an outstanding job of designing our governmental structure with the 3 equal branches and it's checks and balances. However, nothing is perfect and foolproof.

Granted, it is not easy to change the constitution vis-à-vis constitutional amendments. And that is precisely what they wanted.

But, liberals/progressives/socialists, as Barack himself stated as much in his 2001 interview, do not like our constitution as written by our founding fathers.

That is why they want to tell us it is a living, breathing, document. (Read easy to change.)

Unfortunately, you can use judicial fiat. The Dems successfully blocked many lower court judges Bush had put forward. Thus, there are a lot of positions open that Obama can pack the judicial system with. Also, he may have 2 or 3 SCOTUS justices to appoint.

With the most liberal U.S. president we have ever had, with a liberal Congress (providing the Dems increase their margins) and a liberally minded SCOTUS, a lot of damage can be done through enactment of new laws provided by a liberal congress that may be in conflict with the ORIGINAL intent of the US Constitution and what our forefathers intended.

But with a liberal court system that shares the view that the constitution needs to be "," they can get their changes made through judicial activism.

And just WHERE is the checks and balances that keep the "justice system" in check?

Once new laws are passed and our constitution is subjected to the reinterpretation of a liberal supreme court, it is not easy for the pendulum to swing back far enough to have these draconian measures turned back in future years.

Take Roe v. Wade for example. Regardless which side you take on this issue (the country is roughly split 50/50 on this issue) many see this as an example of judicial activism, finding the right to abortion somewhere in the constitution.

The liberal left worked long and hard before finally getting a friendly supreme court to rule that abortion is a legally protected constitutional right.

The conservative right continues to work at getting it overturned. It's been almost 36 years since the Roe v Wade case was decided. It is not easy to undue the damage that can be done and could be done in a 4 year term with Lord Obama at the wheel.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Indiana Secretary of State requests investigation of ACORN over voter fraud: WSBT South Bend
LAKE COUNTY, Ind. — Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita submitted 100 hours worth of investigative work to the FBI and prosecutors requesting an investigation of the voter advocacy group ACORN.

Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter confirms there have been allegations of voter registration fraud in Lake County.

Rokita said 1,400 application submitted by ACORN violated Indiana election laws. More.

Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations

Contributions Reviewed After Deposits
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited. [Read more]

Congressman's adviser fired, linked to fraud probe

New York woman registered to vote in Ohio while helping Democrat campaign

Ex-staffer: Obama camp gave ACORN 'donor list'

Goal: ID maxed-out contributors to presidential campaign to give to group
--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

ACORN 'shock troops' tied to election crimes

Facing fraud investigations, prosecutions, over aggressive 'voter registration' drives

ACORN's "shock troops" have been linked to or convicted of perjury, forgery, identity theft and election fraud in recent years and now are facing investigation for alleged violations of federal election law in 12 states, according to a new report from Matthew Vadum, a senior editor for the Capital Research Center.

Vadum, whose work with the Research Center includes studies of non-profit organizations, has released a report titled "ACORN: Who Funds the Weather Underground's Little Brother?" documenting the troubled past and current problems facing the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Sen. Barack Obama at a presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York.

The organization for which Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama at one point trained activists and to which he directed grants while aboard the management of the Woods Fund has established a reputation for doing pretty much as it pleases, the report said.

"In 1995, ACORN sued the state of California seeking an exemption from the law that requires that it pay its own employees a minimum wage. ACORN, which argued that keeping its employees in poverty helps to boost their zeal to help the poor, lost," according to the report. [Continue reading]


Watch the video


..... is hollow rhetoric for Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.

First it was a brother found living in a hut, in Kenya, living on about $1 a month.

Now, Obama's aunt has been found living in a Boston slum in a disabled-access flat in a rundown public-housing building.

Since Obama wants to raise taxes and spend more money on the "needy" in the United States as well as additionally giving many, many billions more through the United Nations (on top of what we already give) to help fight global poverty, we will be helping out family members of his that he himself refuses to help.


Marxist 'mentor' sold cocaine with Obama

Alleged Communist Party member's book boasted of bisexuality, sex with minors

Amanda Carpenter: Murtha Looks Vulnerable

Laura Hollis : A President Who Won't Uphold the Constitution? Never.
Well, now we know why Barack Obama’s been so reluctant to have symbols of this country associated with his campaign. No flags on his airplane. Nix to pins on his lapel. Not inclined to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem.

After all, it turns out he has a problem with that other slightly more significant representation of our nation, the United States Constitution.

Just as he tried to prove to everyone that his patriotism was demonstrated by the lack of symbols of the United States, so he is now arguing that his passion for the Constitution is demonstrated by his commitment to shredding it. [continue reading]

Michael Reagan: You Can't Be Half-Socialist


By Cal Thomas

"The October surprise may turn out to be a 7-year-old interview with Barack Obama in which he strongly suggests that the U.S. Constitution is an impediment to his desire to redistribute the nation's wealth. How does Obama credibly take the oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" when he thinks it impedes his socialist agenda?

Is socialism too strong a word? Consider one of its definitions from dictionary.com and tell me it is something other than Obama's economic philosophy: "A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor."

A complete restructuring of society is what Obama advocated in a 2001 interview on a Chicago public radio station."


Read more of Cal Thomas here.

Obama rips U.S. Constitution
Faults Supreme Court for not mandating 'redistribution of wealth'

Obama's Dangerous Alignments

By Ken Blackwell:
Last week an enemy of the United States spoke out and endorsed an American presidential candidate - Senator Barack Obama.

[Read more.]

A Perfect Storm

By Thomas Sowell:
Some elections are routine, some are important and some are historic. If Senator John McCain wins this election, it will probably go down in history as routine.

[Continue reading.]

Senator Government

By Larry Elder:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama wants you -- to redistribute your wealth.

[Continue reading.]

I'm voting for those not yet born

By Chuck Norris
"My, how the landscape of elections has changed. Remember when the issue of abortion used to matter to conservatives in political races? Today, presidential nominees can get away with murder, literally. They can smoke, toke and hang out with terrorists who do. What were once considered legitimate leadership litmus tests are now regarded as off-limit character assassinations and hate language. Nonprofit organizations have even recently been threatened with the withdrawal of their tax-exempt status due to their leaders merely voicing opposition to what they consider a moral issue – abortion."  [Read more]

Europe Swoons for Obama

"It has for a long time been clear that most Europeans support Barack Obama for president far more than they support John McCain. One obvious reason is that European countries in general are more leftist in political, economic and social attitudes than the U.S. Europeans seem more comfortable with taxes and big brother government than Americans do--and Obama seems to agree with that idea.

French intellectuals are telling American interviewers that the U.S. needs more welfare-state economics and higher taxes. Next they'll be telling us that we should stop going to church, stop believing in God, focus less on patriotism, and hand over all our guns. Come to think of it didn't Obama say that America's problem was that we clung to such things?"

-- by David Aikman --

Counterintelligence Implications of Foreign Service National Employees

From Stratfor
Terrorism Weekly
By Fred Burton and Scott Stewart

Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said Oct. 27 that five officials from the anti-organized crime unit (SIEDO) of the Office of the Mexican Attorney General (PGR) have been arrested for allegedly providing intelligence to the Beltrán Leyva drug trafficking organization for money. Two of the recently arrested officials were senior SIEDO officers. One of those was Fernando Rivera Hernández, SIEDO’s director of intelligence; the other was Miguel Colorado González, SIEDO’s technical coordinator.

This episode follows earlier announcements of the arrests in August of SIEDO officials on corruption charges. Medina Mora said that since July, more than 35 PGR agents have been arrested for accepting bribes from cartel members — bribes that, according to Medina Mora, can range from $150,000 to $450,000 a month depending on the quality of information provided.

Mexican newspapers including La Jornada are reporting that information has been uncovered in the current investigation indicating the Beltrán Leyva organization had developed paid sources inside Interpol and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and that the source in the embassy has provided intelligence on Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations. The source at the U.S. Embassy was reportedly a foreign service national investigator, or FSNI. The newspaper El Universal has reported that the U.S. Marshals Service employed the FSNI in question.

This situation provides us with a good opportunity to examine the role of foreign service national employees at U.S. missions abroad and why they are important to embassy functions, and to discuss the counterintelligence liability they present.

Foreign Service Nationals

U.S. embassies and consulates can be large and complicated entities. They can house dozens of U.S. government agencies and employ hundreds, or even thousands, of employees. Americans like their creature comforts, and keeping a large number of employees comfortable (and productive) requires a lot of administrative and logistical support, everything from motor pool vehicles to commissaries. Creature comforts aside, merely keeping all of the security equipment functioning in a big mission — things like gates, vehicle barriers, video cameras, metal detectors, magnetic locks and residential alarms — can be a daunting task.

In most places, the cost of bringing Americans to the host country to do all of the little jobs required to run an embassy or consulate is prohibitive. Because of this, the U.S. government often hires a large group of local people (called foreign service nationals, or FSNs) to perform non-sensitive administrative functions. FSN jobs can range from low-level menial positions, such as driving the embassy shuttle bus, answering the switchboard or cooking in the embassy cafeteria, to more important jobs such as helping the embassy contract with local companies for goods and services, helping to screen potential visa applicants or translating diplomatic notes into the local language. Most U.S diplomatic posts employ dozens of FSNs, and large embassies can employ hundreds of them.

The embassy will also hire FSNIs to assist various sections of the embassy such as the DEA Attaché, the regional security office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the anti-fraud unit of the consular section. FSNIs are the embassy’s subject-matter experts on crime in the host country and are responsible for maintaining liaison between the embassy and the host country’s security and law enforcement organizations. In a system where most diplomats and attachés are assigned to a post only for two or three years, the FSNs become the institutional memory of the embassy. They are the long-term keepers of the contacts with the host country government and will always be expected to introduce their new American bosses to the people they need to know in the government to get their jobs done.

Because FSNIs are expected to have good contacts and to be able to reach their contacts at any time of the day or night in case of emergency, the people hired for these FSNI positions are normally former senior law enforcement officers from the host country. The senior police officials are often close friends and former classmates of the current host country officials. This means that they can call the chief of police of the capital city at home on a Saturday or the assistant minister of government at 3 a.m. if the need arises.

To help make sure this assistance flows, the FSNI will do little things like deliver bottles of Johnny Walker Black during the Christmas holidays or bigger things like help the chief of police obtain visas so his family can vacation at Disney World. Visas, in fact, are a very good tool for fostering liaison. Not only can they allow the vice minister to do his holiday shopping in Houston, they can also be used to do things like bring vehicles or consumer goods from the United States back to the host country for sale at a profit.

As FSNs tend to work for embassies for long periods of time, while the Americans rotate through, there is a tendency for FSNs to learn the system and to find ways to profit from it. It is not uncommon for FSNs to be fired or even prosecuted in local court systems for theft and embezzlement. FSNs have done things like take kick-backs on embassy contracts for arranging to direct the contract to a specific vendor; pay inflated prices for goods bought with petty cash and then split the difference with the vendor who provided the false receipt; and steal gasoline, furniture items, computers and nearly anything else that can be found in an embassy.

While this kind of fraud is more commonplace in third-world nations where corruption is endemic, it is certainly not confined there; it can even occur in European capitals. Again, visas are a critical piece of the puzzle. Genuine U.S. visas are worth a great deal of money, and it is not uncommon to find FSNs involved in various visa fraud schemes. FSN employees have gone as far as accepting money to provide visas to members of terrorist groups like Hezbollah. In countries involved in human trafficking, visas have been traded for sexual favors in addition to money. In fairness, the amount that can be made from visa fraud means it is not surprising to find U.S. foreign service officers participating in visa fraud as well.


While it saves money, employing FSNs does present a very real counterintelligence risk. In essence, it is an invitation to a local intelligence service to send people inside U.S. buildings to collect information. In most countries, the U.S. Embassy cannot do a complete background investigation on an FSN candidate without the assistance of the host country government. This means the chances of catching a plant are slim unless the Americans have their own source in the local intelligence service that will out the operation.

In many countries, foreigners cannot apply for a job with the U.S. Embassy without their government’s permission. Obviously, this means local governments can approve only those applicants who agree to provide the government with information. In other countries, embassy employment is not that obviously controlled, but there still is a strong possibility of the host country sending agents to apply for jobs along with the other applicants.

It may be just coincidence, but in many countries the percentage of very attractive young women filling clerical roles at the U.S. Embassy appears many times higher than the number of attractive young women in the general population. This raises the specter of “honey traps,” or sexual entrapment schemes aimed at U.S. employees. Such schemes have involved female FSNs in the past. In one well known example, the KGB employed attractive female operatives against the Marine Security Guards in Moscow, an operation that led to an extremely grave compromise of the U.S. Embassy there.

Because of these risk factors, FSNs are not allowed access to classified information and are kept out of sections of the embassy where classified information is discussed and stored. It is assumed that any classified information FSNs can access will be compromised.

Of course, not all FSNs report to host country intelligence services, and many of them are loyal employees of the U.S. government. In many countries, however, the extensive power host country intelligence services can wield over the lives of its citizens means that even otherwise loyal FSNs can be compelled to report to the host country service against their wills. Whereas an American diplomat will go home after two or three years, FSNs must spend their lives in the host country and are not protected by diplomatic status or international conventions. This makes them very vulnerable to pressure. Additionally, the aforementioned criminal activity by FSNs is not just significant from a fiscal standpoint; Such activity also leaves those participating in it open to blackmail by the host government if the activity is discovered.

When one considers the long history of official corruption in Mexico and the enormous amounts of cash available to the Mexican drug cartels, it is no surprise that members of the SIEDO, much less an FNSI at the U.S. Embassy, should be implicated in such a case. The allegedly corrupt FNSI most likely was recruited into the scheme by a close friend or former associate who may have been working for the government and who was helping the Beltrán Leyva organization develop its intelligence network.


It appears that the FSNI working for the Beltrán Leyva organization at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City worked for the U.S. Marshals Service, not the DEA. This means that he would not have had access to much DEA operational information. An FSNI working for the U.S. Marshals Service would be working on fugitive cases and would be tasked with liaison with various Mexican law enforcement jurisdictions. Information regarding fugitive operations would be somewhat useful to the cartels, since many cartel members have been indicted in U.S. courts and the U.S. government would like to extradite them.

Even if the FSNI involved had been working for the DEA, however, there are limits to how much information he would have been able to provide. First of all, DEA special agents are well aware of the degree of corruption in Mexico, and they are therefore concerned that information passed on to the Mexican government can be passed to the cartels. The special agents also would assume that their FSN employees may be reporting to the Mexican government, and would therefore take care to not tell the FSN anything they wouldn’t want the Mexican government — or the cartels — to know.

The type of FSNI employee in question would be tasked with conducting administrative duties such as helping the DEA attaché with liaison and passing name checks and other queries to various jurisdictions in Mexico. The FSN would not be privy to classified DEA cable traffic, and would not sit in on sensitive operational meetings.

In the intelligence world, however, there are unclassified things that can be valuable intelligence. These include the names and home addresses of all the DEA employees in the country, for example, or the types of cars the special agents drive and the confidential license plates they have for them.

Other examples could be the FSNI being sent to the airport to pick up a group of TDY DEA agents and bringing them to the embassy. Were the agents out-of-shape headquarters-types wearing suits and doing an inspection, or fit field agents from a special operations group coming to town to help take down a high-value target? Even knowing that the DEA attaché has suddenly changed his schedule and is now working more overtime can indicate that something is up. Information that the attaché has asked the FSNI about the police chief in a specific jurisdiction, for example, could also be valuable to a drug trafficking organization expecting a shipment to arrive at that jurisdiction.

In the end, it is unlikely that this current case resulted in grave damage to DEA operations in Mexico. Indeed, the FSNI probably did far less damage to counternarcotics operations than the 35 PGR employees who have been arrested since July. But the vulnerabilities of FSN employees are great, and there are likely other FSNs on the payroll of the various Mexican cartels.

As long as the U.S. government employs FSNs it will face the security liability that comes with them. In general, however, this liability is offset by the utility they provide and the systems put in place to limit the counterintelligence damage they can cause.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Science points to Ayers authorship of Obama's 'Dreams'
By Jack Cashill

I write this from a hotel room in Washington, D.C., to which city I have repaired in only a semi-successful attempt to bring the news to our truth-phobic national capital.

At the heart of my message is that Barack Obama is an impostor, the Milli Vanilli of politics, a man who has been lip-synching for the last 13 years to lyrics pre-recorded by, among others, Bill Ayers. Read more.

Clerk charged with unlawful search of Joe the Plumber
News : WNWO NBC24
Toledo Police have confirmed that a TPD records clerk is accused of performing an illegal search of information related to 'Joe the Plumber.'

Julie McConnell, has been charged with Gross Misconduct for allegedly making an improper inquiry into a state database in search of information pertaining to Samuel Wurzelbacher on Oct. 16. Read more.

Obama donor ordered Big Brother probe of Joe the Plumber
Following the third presidential debate, a state agency director and maximum donor to the Barack Obama presidential campaign immediately authorized a government background check of Joe the Plumber's child-support records.
Read more.

Did Saddam bagman help Obama buy mansion?
Just 23 days before a crooked fundraiser helped Sen. Barack Obama buy his Chicago mansion, a billionaire bagman for Saddam Hussein wired millions into the crook's account.

"Barack Obama appears to have personally benefited from funds originating in Saddam Hussein's regime," said Mideast expert Daniel Pipes. More.

Growing Threats from North Korea As Leader Ails
– Amid continuing speculation about the state of Kim Jong-il’s health, North Korea’s government has stepped up threats against its neighbor. It is especially sensitive about the dissemination of propaganda leaflets inside its territory.

Obama Sees Supreme Court Justices as Champions of the Weak Over the Strong
– For Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, Supreme Court justices should champion the weak against the strong. It’s a view of the Supreme Court that divides the legal community. Obama outlined his views on justices in the speeches he gave on the Senate floor in opposition to the confirmations of Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. In both speeches, the Illinois Democrat chastised the nominees not for their positions on specific constitutional issues or matters of law but for what he perceived as too often siding with the strong instead of the weak.

Rashid Khalidi Referred to Arafat’s PLO As ‘We’
– Rashid Khalidi, the Columbia University professor whose friendship with Sen. Barack Obama is causing waves, says he was never a spokesman for the PLO, but his strong PLO leanings were evident at a time when Yasser Arafat’s group was mounting terror attacks in Israel and causing mayhem in Lebanon. And while he may not have been speaking on behalf of the PLO, during interviews he occasionally used the word “we” when speaking of the organization.


If current survey trends continue, Obama will finish with less than 50 percent in the polls. Even discounting the Nader vote (some people never learn), the undecided voters could tip the race either way. How will they break?

Since there is no incumbent, they cannot automatically be assigned to the challenger; and since turnout is likely to be huge, the current undecided voters will probably make their way to the polls and cast their ballots.

But for whom?

At the beginning of this contest, Obama effectively made the case that the election was a referendum on Bush's performance in office. Painting a vote for McCain as a desire for "four more years of the same failed policies," he made the most of Bush's dismal approval rating. Had he been able to keep the focus on Bush, he would likely have inherited most of the undecided vote. READ MORE.

The Power of Price

By David Frum
In this week of financial panic, we can already begin to see hope for economic recovery.

In trading Friday, the price of oil fell below US$65 a barrel, down from US$145 only four months ago. This dramatic price collapse will act like a massive global tax cut. Along with the huge monetary stimulus delivered by the U. S. Federal Reserve and other central banks over the past few weeks, it should jolt the world's major economies back to health over the coming months.

People got the oil market wrong because they assume oil is immune to market discipline. It's not.

The only thing surprising about this price collapse is that anybody could be surprised. Some forecasters asserted that because oil had gone from $50 to $100, it must therefore double again to $200. These must be the same forecasters who predicted that because a detached house in suburban Las Vegas had doubled in price between 2003 and 2007, it must therefore double again between 2007 and 2011.

The price of oil is declining for the same reason it always does: Econ 101. If the price of something rises, consumers demand less and producers supply more. With falling demand and rising supply, price declines. When people use less, supplies increase. It happens so regularly, you might almost think it was a law or something! READ MORE.

How's Obama Going to Raise $4.3 Trillion?
by Alan Reynolds
The most troublesome tax increases in Barack Obama's plan are not those we can already see but those sure to be announced later, after the election is over and budget realities rear their ugly head.

The new president, whoever he is, will start out facing a budget deficit of at least $1 trillion, possibly much more. Sen. Obama has nonetheless promised to devote another $1.32 trillion over the next 10 years to several new or expanded refundable tax credits and a special exemption for seniors, according to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center (TPC). He calls this a "middle-class tax cut," while suggesting the middle class includes 95% of those who work.

Mr. Obama's proposed income-based health-insurance subsidies, tax credits for tiny businesses, and expanded Medicaid eligibility would cost another $1.63 trillion, according to the TPC. Thus his tax rebates and health insurance subsidies alone would lift the undisclosed bill to future taxpayers by $2.95 trillion -- roughly $295 billion a year by 2012.

But that's not all. Mr. Obama has also promised to spend more on 176 other programs, according to an 85-page list of campaign promises (actual quotations) compiled by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. The NTUF was able to produce cost estimates for only 77 of the 176, so its estimate is low. Excluding the Obama health plan, the NTUF estimates that Mr. Obama would raise spending by $611.5 billion over the next five years; the 10-year total (aside from health) would surely exceed $1.4 trillion, because spending typically grows at least as quickly as nominal GDP.

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money. Altogether, Mr. Obama is promising at least $4.3 trillion of increased spending and reduced tax revenue from 2009 to 2018 -- roughly an extra $430 billion a year by 2012-2013. Read more.

COMMENTARY: Media Downplay Any Talk of 'Socialism'

Obama's old radio comments make discussion a key election issue, if journalists will actually ask the questions.

By Dan Gainor
Business & Media Institute

Little did Joe the plumber know that Barack Obama was just scratching the surface when he answered Joe’s question with a desire to “spread the wealth around.” A new discovery of a 2001 radio appearance by Obama has thrust socialism into the national spotlight despite the media’s best efforts to avoid doing just that.

In a Jan. 18, 2001, interview on Chicago public radio Obama talked about the limitations of the Supreme Court and how it had “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”

Obama said one of the “tragedies of the Civil Rights movement” was focusing on legal remedies and not putting together the coalitions to bring about “redistributive change.”

The media have told us repeatedly that Obama promised “change.” Now we know what kind – “redistributive.” There’s an easier word for that. Socialism Read more.

Higher Taxes Promote Eating the Rich

Former vice president is one of many who don't get that tax hikes hurt workers.

By Dan Kennedy
Business & Media Institute

Is it possible to tax only the rich and leave everyone else alone?

I have met and talked with many politicians, mostly when they were out speaking for their suppers just as I was. I repeatedly spent backstage time with four former U.S. Presidents, policy wonks like Bill Bennett, military leaders like Gen. Colin Powell and even a couple flaming liberals including Mario Cuomo. Some smart, some not.

But never have I encountered any as obtuse and ignorant about business and economics as a former vice president from a Democrat administration who, out of courtesy, I won’t name. But you can guess. There aren’t that many of them. Fortunately. Read more.

Left, Media Try to Cook Up a New New Deal

From The Balance Sheet

Attacks on capitalism, reverence for FDR bypass experts who say anti-market policies prolonged Great Depression.

By Julia A. Seymour
Business & Media Institute

The media have been obsessed with the Great Depression this year, comparing our current time to the devastation of the 1930s. Now, the media and the left are pushing New Deal-style solutions of regulation and taxation – the same ones economists say worsened the Great Depression. Read more.


“The United States of America—five percent of the world’s population—leads the world economically, militarily, scientifically, and culturally—and by a spectacular margin. Any one of these achievements, taken alone, would be cause for enormous pride. To dominate as we do in all four arenas has no historical precedent. That we have achieved so much in so many areas is due—due entirely—to the structure of our society as outlined in the Constitution of the United States.”

-- Bill Whittle --

Unless of course you are Barack Obama. He believes our constitution is "fundamentally flawed"

“When it becomes dominated by a collectivist creed, democracy will inevitably destroy itself.”

-- Fredrich August von Hayek--

“Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.”

--Calvin Coolidge

“The power to tax is the power to destroy.” —Chief Justice John Marshall

Electing a President: Life Issues

By Albert Mohler

"The 2008 presidential election cannot avoid the issue of abortion. With the race in its final phase and the issue of life looming large on the political landscape, the two major political parties could hardly be further apart.

The Democratic Party platform calls for unequivocal support for Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand. The Republican Party platform calls for an end to abortion on demand.

The Republican Party speaks of its concern for the unborn and the sanctity of every single human life, born and unborn. The Democratic platform speaks of a woman?s right to choose either abortion or to give birth to her baby.

John McCain says that a baby should be recognized as having human rights at conception. Barack Obama says that's above his pay grade.

On the issue of life, Americans face a stark choice in 2008."

Detroit Police Department Acknowledges Pro-Life Advocate’s Right to Demonstrate as a Result of Federal Lawsuit

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that a federal lawsuit it brought on behalf of Dr. Monica Miller, a pro-life activist, against the Detroit Police Department, was settled after the Detroit Police Department acknowledged in court that citizens have a right to peacefully protest on public sidewalks.

As part of the court settlement, the ticket against Dr. Miller was dismissed with prejudice and the City of Detroit agreed to pay costs to the Thomas More Law Center in the amount of $1,593.00.

The Law Center filed the lawsuit in the Detroit Federal District Court in September 2006, after the Detroit police issued Dr. Miller a ticket, told her to go home, and threatened her with arrest while she was engaging in peaceful pro-life activities.

At the time, Dr. Miller and others were engaged in a peaceful counter-demonstration near a pro-life pregnancy center that was being picketed by pro-abortion protestors. Full story.

"The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind."

-- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PT Boat

I found this to be pretty interesting:

Democrats will punish hard work, Sarah Palin says
Chicago Sun-Times/AP

2001 radio interview stirs Obama foes
McCain sees 'redistributionist'
BY Stephen Dinan

POTTSVILLE, Pa. | Sen. John McCain on Monday said a newly revealed radio interview from Sen. Barack Obama adds depth to his "spread the wealth" comments and exposes the Democratic presidential nominee as candidate for "redistributionist in chief."

Clips of the 2001 interview with Chicago Public Radio, in which Mr. Obama talks about "redistributive change," were posted to YouTube and linked Monday morning by the Drudge Report. Mr. McCain said it was another of the "unscripted moments" that are piling up and giving voters a glimpse of an Obama administration. MORE.

Obama's Education Groups Funded Controversial Organizations in the '90s, Tax Returns Show
Barack Obama's boards gave tens of thousands to ACORN and more than $1 million to racially charged organizations, a study of tax returns shows.

Taxpayers Work 6 Months to Pay for Government in 2008

Sources: Sarkozy views Obama stance on Iran as 'utterly immature'

Department of Peace: National Suicide or A Joke?
By Paul M. Weyrich

Many conservatives agree that since the mid-20th Century, the federal government has grown too large, its bloated bureaucracies unaccountable to the American people and its oversight too broad vis-à-vis its Constitutional prerogatives. Unfortunately, Congress soon may add a new bureaucracy to the federal government. And this would not be another run-of-the-mill bureaucracy but a perilous threat to America’s future. MORE.

Media Downplay Any Talk of Obama’s ‘Socialism’
By Dan Gainor

When Joe the plumber dared to ask Barack Obama about the candidate’s spending obsession, it set in motion a one-sided discussion of an old theme: socialism. Obama’s response, that he would “spread the wealth around,” has revealed the true left-wing nature of many of his policies. And the media’s response has shown their near-complete unwillingness to take that discussion seriously.


Obama's First Hundred Days

Undeniably, a powerful tide is running for the Democratic Party, with one week left to Election Day. Though Congress is regarded by Americans with a disdain bordering on disgust, Democratic majorities are certain to grow. What does the triumvirate of Obama-Pelosi-Reid offer? Rep. Barney Frank is calling for new tax hikes on the most successful and a 25 percent across-the-board slash in national defense. Sen. John Kerry is talking up new and massive federal spending, a la FDR's New Deal. There's more: amnesty for illegal aliens, wealth redistribution, liberal Supreme Court justices, special protections for homosexuals, universal health insurance, more federal bailouts... MORE.


Barney Frank Promises More Business Regulation
If the nation's big investment banks proceed with plans to give employees billions of dollars in bonuses this year, they can expect more regulation from Congress. That's what House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told NBC News on Monday.

Obama on Social Security: System Won't Collapse
In an interview with AARP radio on Monday, Sen. Barack Obama downplayed fears about the Social Security system going bankrupt and said he favors an immediate hike in the payroll tax -- for high earners.

Kashmiris Mull US Election Prospects
Srinagar, India
– Many Muslim Kashmiris who support independence for the Himalayan region or incorporation into Pakistan are hopeful that Democratic Sen. Barack Obama will win. They believe he will address Muslim grievances throughout the world because of his Muslim heritage.

Obama Getting Campaign Support From Gaza Strip
– A Palestinian student in the Gaza Strip is spending his nights making phone calls to the United States urging Americans to vote for Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama, according to Palestinian media. “Twenty-three-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab sits by the computer in the Nusairat refugee camp [in the Gaza Strip] trying to call American citizens, in order to convince them to vote for the Democratic candidate for president, Barack Obama,” the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al Jadida reported this week.

‘No Softball Questions’ for Biden or Any Candidate, Florida TV News Director Says

The news director of an Orlando-based TV station that conducted an interview with Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) on Thursday, said he and the station stand by the questions anchorwoman Barbara West asked the senator.

Judge Obama's Alliances vs. Distancing
By: Thomas Sowell

Although Sen. Barack Obama has been allied with a succession of far left individuals over the years, that is only half the story. There are, after all, some honest and decent people on the left. But these have not been the ones Obama has been allied with — “allied,” not merely "associated" with.

The controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is not just an organization on the left. In addition to the voter frauds that ACORN has been involved in over the years, it is an organization with a history of thuggery, including going to bankers' homes to harass them and their families, to force banks to lend to people with low credit ratings.


Hillary Backers Decry Massive Obama Vote Fraud

By: Kenneth R. Timmerman

With accusations of voter registration fraud swirling as early voting begins in many states, some Hillary Clinton supporters are saying: “I told you so.”

Already in Iowa, the Obama campaign was breaking the rules, busing in supporters from neighboring states to vote illegally in the first contest in the primaries and physically intimidating Hillary supporters, they say. More.

A Disturbing Look At a Very Near Future: Tax Cuts Vs More Spending at the Special Session
by Newt Gingrich

We have a choice between two futures.

For the first, fast forward 23 days. It’s November 17. Congress convenes for a special session with a veto-proof Democratic majority Senate, an expanded Democrat majority in the House and a Democrat in the White House.

The sole item on their agenda is to pass the $300 billion government spending package promised by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi back in October. [more]

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
--Sinclair Lewis--

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
--Edward R. Murrow--

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
--George Washington--

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
--James Madison--

HeavyHanded says: The recent bailout bill comes to mind. It went from a 3 page document that Bush sent to Congress, was reworked twice, went form a $700 billion dollar bailout to an $850 billion bailout while ballooning to over 500 pages.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
--Thomas Paine--

"I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe - Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy."

--Daniel Webster, Jun 1 1837--

"You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream - the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order - or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, 'The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.'"

--Ronald Reagan, Oct 27 1964--

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ayers: Radical Loon When Obama Was Only 47
The media are acting as if they completely and fully vetted Obama during the Democratic primaries and that's why they are entitled to send teams of researchers into Alaska to analyze Sarah Palin's every expense report.

In fact, the mainstream media did no vetting. They seem to have all agreed, "OK, none of us will get into this business with Jeremiah Wright, 'Tony' Rezko, Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers and everyone's impression of an angry Michelle Obama on 'The Jerry Springer Show.'" [read more]

Amanda Carpenter :
MSNBC Teams Up With ACORN, La Raza
MSNBC has launched a news project with a variety of left-wing special interest groups to boost their Election Day coverage and help viewers experiencing problems at the polls.

One of the groups involved in MSNBC's "Election Protection" project is the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now. ACORN has been involved in rampant voter registration fraud across the nation this election cycle and is actively supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for president.

By David Limbaugh :
Obamanomics Abhors the Free Market

For Obama Kool-Aid guzzlers who believe Joe the Plumber was a
premeditated Republican plant to trap Obama into admitting his
communist inclinations (even though Obama approached Joe, not the other
way around), I refer you to Obama's history of similar utterances in
favor of soaking the rich.

In June, Obama said he'd designed his tax and spending policies to deal, in part, with the challenge of our "winner-take-all" economy, where the gains from economic growth skew heavily toward the wealthy. "A strong government hand," he said, "is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably."

By John Boehner :
Big Labor Payoff: Obama & Pelosi Plot to Destroy Secret Ballot Rights for Millions of Americans
Just days from now, voters will head to the polls facing the ultimate irony: potentially electing a President and congressional majority prepared to strip millions of Americans of the same right they will exercise on November 4th inside voting booths across the country: the right to a secret ballot. At stake is the American working men and women’s right to preserve their privacy during workplace unionization elections – a right Democratic leaders like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are ready to replace with a decidedly undemocratic process known as a “card check.”

John the Populist

By Salena Zito

'Share the wealth' should send shudders down the spine of any hardworking, over-taxed, get-government-out-of-my-pocketbook American. Read more.

Freedom of Choice in Health Care

by George Will

WASHINGTON -- On Election Day, Arizonans can give the nation the gift of a good example. They can enact a measure that could shape the health care debate that will arrest or accelerate the nation's slide into statism. Read more.


Dem Playbook Shows Dirty Tactics

Dirty campaign tricks don’t die. They just become more refined with age. 

Documents obtained by Townhall show the Democratic Party encouraged party activists to accuse the GOP of intimidating minorities on Election Day even if no evidence of intimidation existed in the 2004 presidential election. The tactic is being used again in 2008, this time to downplay fraud charges against a predominantly minority non-profit supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. 

Read more by Amanda Carpenter.

Obama and "The Left"

By Thomas Sowell:

Although Senator Barack Obama has been allied with a succession of far left individuals over the years, that is only half the story. READ MORE.


“People who put faith in government to solve national or even individual problems are headed for deep disappointment, if it hasn’t already arrived. Still, that doesn’t stop politicians from attempting to sell political snake oil to the gullible. No one ever lost money betting on the ignorance of the uninformed masses. What should be required viewing before the election is ‘John Stossel’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics,’ a ‘20/20’ report critical of the U.S. government’s ability to get things done. The report looked at facts, not opinions, or ‘feelings’ concerning government’s inability to live up to the high expectations caused by over-promising politicians. Stossel visited New Orleans to see how government reconstruction is progressing three years after Hurricane Katrina. What he found should not surprise anyone. Huge numbers of houses remain un-repaired thanks to a bureaucracy that could serve as a plot for a horror movie called ‘Nightmare on Bourbon Street.’ The forms necessary to apply for permits to conduct any repairs or construct new buildings take 10 minutes to explain. As for the houses themselves, ‘Of the 314 public projects (New Orleans Mayor Ray) Nagin promoted in his ‘One New Orleans’ rebuilding campaign announced in January 2006, only six are complete.’ Contrast that with what the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity has done: ‘They built 70 homes quickly,’ noted Stossel. ‘Even Nagin admitted they did what government didn’t.’ Private enterprise has succeeded, where government has failed... Individual Americans do things better, with less bureaucracy and at less cost than the central planning collective known as government.”

—Cal Thomas


“God’s view of government dictates that it carries out a specified and limited role in human affairs. The church and civil government are made necessary by the same thing (sin), but do not have identical responsibilities (Matthew 22:15-21). The humanist view of the role of government is to perfect mankind. The Scriptural view of the role of government is to protect mankind. Throughout Scripture, God is clear that civil government is charged with a limited responsibility and that good leaders decide to take a Scriptural view of government’s role. We also see in Scripture that God has a welfare plan—people are to look to the family, then the church, then the community (1 Timothy 5:3-16, Leviticus 19:9, 10, 23:22). The humanistic plan is publicly funded, coercive, and creates cycles of dependency. God’s plan is community-oriented, voluntary, and empowers people.”

—Nathan Tabor


“The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn’t pay taxes, and who better than business to make this message known? Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business. Begin with the food and fiber raised in the farm, to the ore drilled in a mine, to the oil and gas from out of the ground, whatever it may be—through the processing, through the manufacturing, on out to the retailer’s license. If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business.”

—Ronald Reagan


“Well, there’s something known as American conservatism, though it does not even call itself that. It’s been calling itself ‘voting Republican’ or ‘not liking the New Deal.’ But it is a very American approach to life, and it has to do with knowing that the government is not your master, that America is good, that freedom is good and must be defended, and communism is very, very bad.”

—William F. Buckley Jr.


“There is another factor at work in this year’s election that makes polls and predictions more unreliable than usual. That factor is race. Barack Obama’s string of victories in early Democratic primaries against far better known white candidates shows that large segments of the American population have moved beyond race. It is Barack Obama and his supporters who have hyped race, after his large lead in the polls began to shrink or evaporate, as more of the facts about his checkered career came out. Almost any criticism of Obama has been equated with racism, even if there is no connection that can be seen under a microscope. Barack Obama himself started this trend when he warned that his opponents were going to try to scare the public with various charges, including a statement, ‘And did I say he was black?’ McCain said no such thing. Palin said no such thing. But those who support Obama—and this includes much of the media—are acting as if they just know that this is the underlying message. Congressman John Lewis has likened Senator McCain to George Wallace. Congressman John Murtha has condemned a whole section of the state of Pennsylvania as ‘racists’ because they seem reluctant to jump on the Obama bandwagon. Senator Harry Reid has claimed that linking Obama to deposed and disgraced Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is racist, since they are both black—as if the financial and political connection between the two does not exist. Much is being made of the fact that, in past elections, some white voters who told pollsters that they are going to vote for a black candidate did not in fact do so, so that a black candidate with a lead in the polls ended up losing on election day. This is supposed to show how much covert racism there is. It might instead show that people don’t want to be considered racists by pollsters because they are leaning toward someone other than the black candidate. In other words, the media themselves helped create the charged atmosphere in which some people give misleading answers to pollsters to avoid being stigmatized.”

—Thomas Sowell


"Have you ever wondered why billionaires like George Soros financially support politicians who say they will "increase taxes on the rich"? 

The answer quite simply is that the tax increases are most often put on people trying to become rich, not those already rich. Hence, the rich, big government advocates can gain far more by "buying" the politicians. The "bought" politicians then provide them with confidential information about administrative decisions, which these donors then use to place big bets in the market, making themselves much richer. If you have deep financial pockets and inside information, you can make huge amounts of money when markets drop. 

Mr. Soros, the Democrats' financial angel, is often referred to as the "man who broke the bank of England" in the 1992 Sterling crisis. During that episode, he made $1 billion in one day at the expense of British taxpayers. The relevant question is, did Mr. Soros bet a couple of billion dollars on mere guesses of what the German, French and British officials would do, or did he have inside information?"

-- Richard Rahn  --


"You have to pinch yourself.

A Marxist radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshipped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, unrepentant former terrori sts and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. 

And it's considered impolite to say so."

 Melanie Philips, The Spectator (UK) 10/14/08



The most reliable surveys put McCain five to seven points behind Obama as we enter the last week of this interminable campaign. But in a race that will be famous for years afterwards for its volatility, it is not too late for the Republican to pull out a victory.

For Harry Truman in 1948, the presidential race shifted dramatically in the final week, and it's happened three more times in the past 30 years. In 1980, Reagan came from eight points behind to a solid victory by winning his sole debate with Carter in the last week of October. In 1992, Clinton, who had fallen behind in the polls because of the pounding he was taking over his liberalism and propensity to raise taxes, surged ahead of Bush when Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh announced that he was indicting Defense Secretary Casper (Cap) Weinberger, an indication of Bush's possible complicity in the Iran-Contra scandal. And in 2000, Bush's three-to-four point lead in the polls was erased over the final weekend when reports surfaced that he had been cited for DWI 20 years before and had not revealed the fact to the public. Bush still won the election, of course, but Gore won the popular vote by half a point.

What does McCain have to do to pull off a similar shift this time?
Read on.

2008 and the Return of the Nation-State

By George Friedman
Geopolitical Weekly

In 1989, the global system pivoted when the Soviet Union retreated from Eastern Europe and began the process of disintegration that culminated in its collapse. In 2001, the system pivoted again when al Qaeda attacked targets in the United States on Sept. 11, triggering a conflict that defined the international system until the summer of 2008. The pivot of 2008 turned on two dates, Aug. 7 and Oct. 11.

On Aug. 7, Georgian troops attacked the country’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. On Aug. 8, Russian troops responded by invading Georgia. The Western response was primarily rhetorical. On the weekend of Oct. 11, the G-7 met in Washington to plan a joint response to the global financial crisis. Rather than defining a joint plan, the decision — by default — was that each nation would act to save its own financial system with a series of broadly agreed upon guidelines.

The Aug. 7 and Oct. 11 events are connected only in their consequences. Each showed the weakness of international institutions and confirmed the primacy of the nation-state, or more precisely, the nation and the state. (A nation is a collection of people who share an ethnicity. A state is the entity that rules a piece of land. A nation-state — the foundation of the modern international order — is what is formed when the nation and state overlap.) Together, the two events posed challenges that overwhelmed the global significance of the Iraqi and Afghan wars.
The Conflict in Georgia

In and of itself, Russia’s attack on Georgia was not globally significant. Georgia is a small country in the Caucasus, and its fate ultimately does not affect the world. But Georgia was aligned with the United States and with Europe, and it had been seen by some as a candidate for membership in NATO. Thus, what was important about the Russian attack was that it occurred at all, and that the West did not respond to it beyond rhetoric.

Part of the problem was that the countries that could have intervened on Georgia’s behalf lacked the ability to do so. The Americans were bogged down in the Islamic world, and the Europeans had let their military forces atrophy. But even if military force had been available, it is clear that NATO, as the military expression of the Western alliance, was incapable of any unified action. There was no unified understanding of NATO’s obligation and, more importantly, no collective understanding of what a unified strategy might be.

The tension was not only between the United States and Europe, but also among the European countries. This was particularly pronounced in the different view of the situation Germany took compared to that of the United States and many other countries. Very soon after the Russo-Georgian war had ended, the Germans made clear that they opposed the expansion of NATO to Georgia and Ukraine. A major reason for this is Germany’s heavy dependence on Russian natural gas, which means Berlin cannot afford to alienate Moscow. But there was a deeper reason: Germany had been in the front line of the first Cold War and had no desire to participate in a second.

The range of European responses to Russia was fascinating. The British were livid. The French were livid but wanted to mediate. The Germans were cautious, and Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to St. Petersburg to hold a joint press conference with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, aligning Germany with Russia — for all practical purposes — on the Georgian and Ukrainian issues.

The single most important effect of Russia’s attack on Georgia was that it showed clearly how deeply divided — and for that matter, how weak — NATO is in general and the Europeans are in particular. Had they been united, they would not have been able to do much. But they avoided that challenge by being utterly fragmented. NATO can only work when there is a consensus, and the war revealed how far from consensus NATO was. It can’t be said that NATO collapsed after Georgia. It is still there, and NATO officials hold meetings and press conferences. But the alliance is devoid of both common purpose and resources, except in very specific and limited areas. Some Europeans are working through NATO in Afghanistan, for example, but not most, and not in a decisive fashion.

The Russo-Georgian war raised profound questions about the future of the multinational military alliance. Each member consulted its own national interest and conducted its own foreign policy. At this point, splits between the Europeans and Americans are taken for granted, but the splits among the Europeans are profound. If it was no longer possible to say that NATO functioned, it was also unclear after Aug. 8 in what sense the Europeans existed, except as individual nation-states.

The Global Financial Crisis

What was demonstrated in politico-military terms in Georgia was then demonstrated in economic terms in the financial crisis. All of the multinational systems created after World War II failed during the crisis — or more precisely, the crisis went well beyond their briefs and resources. None of the systems could cope, and many broke down. On Oct. 11, it became clear that the G-7 could cooperate, but not through unified action. On Oct. 12, when the Europeans held their eurozone summit, it became clear that they would only act as individual nations.

As with the aftermath of the Georgian war, the most significant developments after Oct. 11 happened in Europe. The European Union is first and foremost an arrangement for managing Europe’s economy. Its bureaucracy in Brussels has increased its authority and effectiveness throughout the last decade. The problem with the European Union is that it was an institution designed to manage prosperity. When it confronted serious adversity, however, it froze, devolving power to the component states.

Consider the European Central Bank (ECB), an institution created for managing the euro. Its primary charge — and only real authority — is to work to limit inflation. But limiting inflation is a problem that needs to be addressed when economies are otherwise functioning well. The financial crisis is a case where the European system is malfunctioning. The ECB was not created to deal with that. It has managed, with the agreement of member governments, to expand its function beyond inflation control, but it ultimately lacks the staff or the mindset to do all the things that other central banks were doing. To be more precise, it is a central bank without a single finance ministry to work with. Unlike other central banks, whose authority coincides with the nations they serve, the ECB serves multiple nations with multiple interests and finance ministries. By its nature, its power is limited.

In the end, power did not reside with Europe, but rather with its individual countries. It wasn’t Brussels that was implementing decisions made in Strasbourg; the centers of power were in Paris, London, Rome, Berlin and the other capitals of Europe and the world. Power devolved back to the states that governed nations. Or, to be more precise, the twin crises revealed that power had never left there.

Between the events in Georgia and the financial crisis, what we saw was the breakdown of multinational entities. This was particularly marked in Europe, in large part because the Europeans were the most invested in multilateralism and because they were in the crosshairs of both crises. The Russian resurgence affected them the most, and the fallout of the U.S. financial crisis hit them the hardest. They had to improvise the most, being multilateral but imperfectly developed, to say the least. In a sense, the Europeans were the laboratory of multilateralism and its intersection with crisis.

But it was not a European problem in the end. What we saw was a global phenomenon in which individual nations struggled to cope with the effects of the financial crisis and of Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been a tendency to view the world in terms of global institutions, from the United Nations to the World Trade Organization. In the summer of 2008, none of these functioned. The only things that did function effectively were national institutions.

Since 2001, the assumption has been that subnational groups like al Qaeda would define the politico-military environment. In U.S. Defense Department jargon, the assumption was that peer-to-peer conflict was no longer an issue and that it was all about small terrorist groups. The summer of 2008 demonstrated that while terrorism by subnational groups is not insignificant by any means, the dynamics of nation-states have hardly become archaic.

The Importance of the State

Clearly, the world has pivoted toward the nation-state as the prime actor and away from transnational and subnational groups. The financial crisis could be solved by monetizing the net assets of societies to correct financial imbalances. The only institution that could do that was the state, which could use its sovereign power and credibility, based on its ability to tax the economy, to underwrite the financial system.

Around the world, states did just that. They did it in very national ways. Many European states did it primarily by guaranteeing interbank loans, thereby essentially nationalizing the heart of the financial system. If states guarantee loans, the risk declines to near zero. In that case, the rationing of money through market mechanisms collapses. The state must take over rationing. This massively increases the power of the state — and raises questions about how the Europeans back out of this position.

The Americans took a different approach, less focused on interbank guarantees than on reshaping the balance sheets of financial institutions by investing in them. It was a more indirect approach and less efficient in the short run, but the Americans were more interested than the Europeans in trying to create mechanisms that would allow the state to back out of control of the financial system.

But what is most important is to see the manner in which state power surged in the summer and fall of 2008. The balance of power between business and the state, always dynamic, underwent a profound change, with the power of the state surging and the power of business contracting. Power was not in the hands of Lehman Brothers or Barclays. It was in the hands of Washington and London. At the same time, the power of the nation surged as the importance of multilateral organizations and subnational groups declined. The nation-state roared back to life after it had seemed to be drifting into irrelevance.

The year 1989 did not quite end the Cold War, but it created a world that bypassed it. The year 2001 did not end the post-Cold War world, but it overlaid it with an additional and overwhelming dynamic: that of the U.S.-jihadist war. The year 2008 did not end the U.S.-jihadist war, but it overlaid it with far more immediate and urgent issues. The financial crisis, of course, was one. The future of Russian power was another. We should point out that the importance of Russian power is this: As soon as Russia dominates the center of the Eurasian land mass, its force intrudes on Europe. Russia united with the rest of Europe is an overwhelming global force. Europe resisting Russia defines the global system. Russia fragmented opens the door for other geopolitical issues. Russia united and powerful usurps the global stage.

The year 2008 has therefore seen two things. First, and probably most important, it resurrected the nation-state and shifted the global balance between the state and business. Second, it redefined the global geopolitical system, opening the door to a resurgence of Russian power and revealing the underlying fragmentation of Europe and weaknesses of NATO.

The most important manifestation of this is Europe. In the face of Russian power, there is no united European position. In the face of the financial crisis, the Europeans coordinate, but they do not act as one. After the summer of 2008, it is no longer fair to talk about Europe as a single entity, about NATO as a fully functioning alliance, or about a world in which the nation-state is obsolete. The nation-state was the only institution that worked.

This is far more important than either of the immediate issues. The fate of Georgia is of minor consequence to the world. The financial crisis will pass into history, joining Brady bonds, the Resolution Trust Corp. and the bailout of New York City as a historical oddity. What will remain is a new international system in which the Russian question — followed by the German question — is once again at the center of things, and in which states act with confidence in shaping the economic and business environment for better or worse.

The world is a very different place from what it was in the spring of 2008. Or, to be more precise, it is a much more traditional place than many thought. It is a world of nations pursuing their own interests and collaborating where they choose. Those interests are economic, political and military, and they are part of a single fabric. The illusion of multilateralism was not put to rest — it will never die — but it was certainly put to bed. It is a world we can readily recognize from history.


I'm Buying My Insurance from this Guy


A Transparent Presidency

By David Aikman

Senator Obama has said that, if elected, he will ensure his administration is truly transparent. That's terrific. Most Americans want our government to be as open as possible. The problem is, we actually know less about Barack Obama than any other presidential candidate in decades.

His academic record at Occidental College and Columbia University has not been released. His Columbia thesis paper--a good indication of his thinking as a student--is not available. His Harvard Law School records and his medical records have not been released. We don't know a single article he wrote or edited as editor of the Harvard Law School Review.

He won't even release his original birth certificate. For someone promising transparency, that is a strange way to begin. It makes one want to ask who, exactly, is Barack Obama?

Sure. Pelosi promised the same thing: Transparency and integrity when they took over Congress two years ago - and it has been anything, but.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bob Barr on Health Care

"In America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last, the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favored one whenever their rights seem to jar."

-- Thomas Jefferson


Barack Obama wants to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits and Medicaid, and full healthcare coverage.

By Obama's own count there are 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. and he wants them all getting government benefits.

Obama has stated he also wants to give each and everyone of them amnesty and citizenship.

As for them learning English, he has stated he thinks American kids, your kids, should learn Spanish.

Obama's wants to give illegals driver's licenses — even though everyone knows the 9/11 plot began with 13 of the 19 terrorists getting driver's licenses.

Barack wants to raise taxes and "rob Peter to pay Paul " in order to spread the wealth."

There is no doubt this man is the most radical leftist ever nominated by the Democratic party.