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AIG Bonuses – Who Got AIG Lobbyist Money?

Both Chris Dodd (D-Conn) and Democrat President Obama have voiced righteous indignation about the AIG bonus payouts. But when you look a bit deeper, you wonder why both men are complaining — after all, they each had a major part in allowing the payouts to go forward. First, the President, in a press conference, stating they knew where AIG spent all the money (that would include the bonus).

From White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ briefing two weeks ago, when $30 billion in additional funds were announced for AIG. AIG had at this point designated $165 million in retention bonuses for officers of the Financial Products subsidiary, as well as an additional $121.5 million in executive bonuses.

TAPPER: AIG, is the administration confident that it, that it knows what happened to the tens of billions of dollars previously given to AIG?

GIBBS: Is it confident — I’m sorry?

TAPPER: That they know — that you guys know what happened to the previous billions before you hand over this next $30 billion.

GIBBS: Yes — yes, the — I mean, I don’t think it’s a — well, obviously, you’ve got a huge insurance company that is losing money, not the least of which because of its sheer size and sheer size and decrease in the growth in our economy. It experiences a far bigger drop, largely because of its size. But, again, the steps that — that Treasury and — and others took were to ensure a larger systemic problem wasn’t one that we had to deal with here today in letting something just die.

TAPPER: But in terms of specifically the — I guess it’s like $150 billion before, you guys are confident…

GIBBS: Yes.

So the President says he knew where the money went — and that includes the bonus money. Gee, wonder why he never complained about it until now? We’ll see why after examining Chris Dodd’s role.

While the Senate constructed the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd unexpectedly added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. That amendment provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,” which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax. The amendment is in the final version and is law.

So why is Chris Dodd (D-Conn) upset? He added law exempting bonuses to the stimulus bill. And now he feigns indignation?

So what do Mr. Obama and Mr. Dodd have in common, besides both men knowing those bonuses were to be paid out from the bailout money (one stated he knew where the money was spent, the other specifically exempted bonuses). They’re both number 1-2 in political contributions from AIG, Mr Dodd first at $103,000 and Mr. Obama second at $101,000 (third place was less than $60,000, and then fourth place on drops to $35,000 and less – so Obama/Dodd fed the most at the lobbyist trough. Data from Opensecrets.org).

Citigroup and AIG were top contributors to Dodd, while Goldman Sachs was a top contributor to Obama.

And that’s how they can both encourage and know those bonuses would be paid, and then (for political reasons) feign being upset about it, when they knew it all along. Same old politics in play — do one thing behind closed doors for lobbyist $$$, do another for the public.

That’s change we can’t believe in, just more of the same old-school Washington garbage.

Those who Don’t Know History …

… are doomed to repeat it.

Recall when the Patriot act passed Congress, and the Democrats complained it was rammed through Congress so fast nobody could read it (and we know how well that worked out)? It’s Deja Vu, all over again, only this time, it’s Democrats ramming a spendulous political payback bill thorough Congress so fast nobody can read it (with special “stimulus” spending for Reid’s and Pelosi’s districts — like train lines and mice). What happened to transparency? What happened to 48 hours of public notice? What happened to debate? Just like PAYGO, Democrats abandoned all their campaign promises — after all, they don’t need votes (right now), so why bother with those pesky little promises? Doesn’t everyone know those only applied to campaign season?

The bill just came out of conference committee, and at over 1,000 pages, it must be voted on today? Why the rush? Why no debate? Why can’t they even (gasp!) read the bill — is it too much to ask for Congress to actually read what they’re voting on? (Hint: It’s reported Pelosi wants to jet out of town today — maybe true or not, but even if true, it’s no excuse for a rush on spending trillions).

Would you put your name on a contract without reading it? If not, you’re smarter than the entire Congress, who can’t be bothered to actually read the bill — after all, they’ve got pork to distribute!

Unfortunately, they’re not putting their name on the credit card — it’s ours.

More Stimulus Bait and Switch

The “stimulus” pork fest contains a government takeover of healthcare buried inside. That’s right, according to Bloomberg:

One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions …

Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

Where’s the pro-choice lobby in blocking this — keep your hands off my body!

But Obama knows one thing — it’s totally impossible to pay for all the pork he promised during the campaign — someone will come up short (while it’s OK for him to heat the White House, he wants everyone else to turn their thermostat down).

In the healthcare debate, many, many people will be shorted to allow Obama’s dream of government run healthcare. And now you know why Mr. Obama is in such a rush to pass this “stimulus” bill — with a takeover of healthcare buried in it, is that what you have in mind?

The stimulus bill has little to do with the economy, and mostly to do with government expansion. That’s why the rush to pass it exists — so few people have a chance to read it. As public support continues to crumble, the more people find out about the garbage performed in Washington, the more fed-up people will become as the “stimulus” package turns out to be the biggest deception of the American people ever (and will actually make the economy worse — if government spending actually “multiplies” [like promoters of the stimulus claim] and creates prosperity why stop at $1 trillion? Why not spend $10 trillion and make everyone rich?).

Remember “Animal Farm” — all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. This “stimulus” divides the country into the elites who can have whatever they want (heat, healthcare, etc) while the lower class working drones suffer with whatever crumbs the elites feel to drop on the floor.

Fear used by President to pass Pork Stimulus

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”

– President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

Why the rush to pass a bill which won’t have any stimulus for years? Because it’s filled with billions for ACORN and other non-stimulus pork. That’s why it has to be pased NOW NOW NOW. If you don’t give in to the pork, the world will end, or so says Mr. hope-n-change. Besides, if you really find out what’s in it, nobody will want it.

$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts

$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program

$300 million for grants to combat violence against women

$2 billion for federal child-care block grants

$6 billion for university building projects

$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships

$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24

$1 billion for community-development block grants

$4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”

$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”

Best ammendment offered so far: $2 billion to encourage low-income housing. Gee, isn’t subprime mortgages how we got in this mess to begin with? So let’s do more!

The more people find out about the “stimulus”, the more resistance will come. That’s why Mr. hope-n-change switched tactics to fear-fear-fear the-sky-will-fall without all the pork! He knows if you really know where your taxes will end up, nobody will want this pork-fest.

So tell me, how will the country pay back the trillions going to special interest groups? Is that the legacy hope-n-change leaves to the next generation – trillions for special interest groups? After all, following the example of his own cabinet, nobody will bother paying taxes anyway.

The Inconveinent Truth

With all the “stimulus” (read political paybacks) floating around few talk of the incredible inflation these policies will create. And yet Obama wants to add yet trillions more in “stimulus”? The only result of the pork-filled stimulus package will be …. massive inflation.

From the St. Louis Federal Reserve:

St Louis Federal Reserve Money Supply

St Louis Federal Reserve Money Supply

You can’t create trillions of dollars without causing inflation and devaluing the currency. What’s worse, the “stimulus” won’t accomplish anything positive for the economy, it’s only goal is to spend pork — most of the spending doesn’t even happen this year. So why rush it? Only so the political operatives can pay back campaign people quickly.

Thanks to Glenn Beck for finding this chart.

Why TARP, Bailout 2.0, and Stimulus is Doomed to Failure

As hope rides into Washington on a white horse, what chance does hope-n-change have for success? Consider the words from long ago:

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; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulged, or undergo such incessant changes, that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess, what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action : but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed? (James Madison, The Federalist, page 350)

As Obama, Frank, Pelosi, Reid, et al, complain they had no idea the first TARP funds would be wasted, did they not take the time to read the bill they voted for? By their reactions, apparently not, as TARP was (is) a pork-fest of staggering proportions, and accomplished nothing.

As a revenue bill starting in the Senate (unconstitutional), switched to the auto companies against the language in the bill (in what way are they “financial” institutions), and then spent on pork (golf courses for UAW) — how does Obama/Frank/Pelosi dare feign indignation at it? They wrote it and voted for it. Oh well, we’re sure with the next $350 billion of taxpayer money they’ll do better.

And now Mr. Obama wants to up the ante — not just $750 billion for TARP, but trillions for “stimulus” to “save or create” 3 million jobs (note the weasel word “save” — a completely unquantifiable statistic. If the economy tanks, they’ll still claim to have “saved” 3 million jobs). Absurd.

The only stimulus coming is pork — as has been seen with TARP, Congress has no idea what they pass, and then are shocked — shocked! — when it works exactly like they wrote. As Michelle Malkin says, call it what it is, The Generational Theft Act of 2009 as Congress spends trillions on pork to be paid back in the future — how high will taxes go to pay for this pork-fest?

The economy has a hangover from the drunken spending of Congress; nothing can be done except to suffer through it. Think about it — what got the economy into this mess? Deficit spending and the forcing of (by Congress) easy credit given to people who they knew couldn’t pay. And how do our fearless leaders expect to save us from doom? Deficit spending and easy credit.

TARP was a pork-fest with no accountability — Congress wrote it that way, it worked that way. And Team RePO wants to double down with another trillion dollars (or more) of taxpayer money?

Yeah, great idea guys. Maybe this time read it before you vote for it.

Obama to Double Federal Deficit

Obama states he’ll run trillion dollar Federal deficits for years to come. To put that in perspective, President Bush is perhaps the most fiscally irresponsible spender in history — running up deficits of over $470 billion. But incoming President Obama takes fiscal responsibility to new lows — going from irresponsible to reckless in doubling the Federal deficit.

Change you can believe in? No, change will be all that is left as sooner or later massive inflation arrives reducing everything to pocket change. You can not borrow your way out of debt — a “stimulus package” is simply borrowing against future production — it must be paid sooner or later (hopefully for Mr. Obama if the bill comes after he leaves office).

There’s simply no way to continue to spend and spend and spend massive deficits without paying the piper. Our prediction: Obama’s administration will not only double the deficit, he’ll double the debt (by adding over $10 trillion in deficit spending during his administration), hoping the bill waits for his successor. But kicking the can down the road is not viable fiscal policy (for all those Bush-haters saying Obama has to “clean up the mess” left by Bush, repeat again You can not borrow your way out of debt — there’s no excuse to continue irresponsible fiscal policy which makes the situation worse).

The rapid increase of the deficit under Obama will make the ponzi scheme of Madoff look minuscule by comparison. Obama is in a bad situation — he promised massive new spending, free healthcare, social programs, welfare (disguised as refundable tax credits), and so on, but with a bad economy he can’t pay for it. But no problem, just crank up the printing presses and presto!

The debt passed to children and grandchildren is massive. Of course that’s nothing new, as politicians have been doing it forever. But the kick-the-can scale Obama proposes, and the complacent attitude of Congressional leaders (and Obama disciples) is astonishing. If President Bush was bad for massive spending (true), how can many times more deficit spending by Obama be our savior (it’s not)?

We hope Mr. Obama changes course (that would be change we could believe in), but with a liberal Democratic Congress passing massive deficit spending a liberal Democratic President wants, how can this train wreck be averted?

Auto Bailout – More Taxpayer Money down the Black Hole

The best line so far about the government bailout for the auto industry – “Bringing Fannie and Freddie Style Accountability to the Auto Industry” by Newt Gingrich, who went on to say:

One of the reasons was House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Frank fought tenaciously against the regulation that would have held Fannie and Freddie executives accountable and might have averted the financial crisis.

Now Chairman Frank wants to bring his particular style of crony capitalism to the auto industry.

On “Face the Nation” this Sunday, Chairman Frank announced that not only would he push for a taxpayer bailout of the Detroit Three during the special session of Congress this week, but he would also create a government oversight board for the three companies — in effect, a board of directors made up of predatory politicians.

I believe that it would be a mistake for the taxpayers to be forced to bail out Detroit. Companies at which union workers make $71 an hour in wages and benefits — compared to just $47 an hour at Toyota’s U.S. plants — are not going to be saved by a $25 billion government check.

So the people who brought you the Fannie/Freddie mess want to do for the auto industry what they did for the mortgage and banking industry. That guarantees bailout 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and so on. Barney Frank not only can’t admit he failed spectacularly with Fannie and Freddie (saying they were fiscally sound right until they collapsed), he brazenly wants to do bring his failed Fannie/Freddie strategy to the auto industry. How many trillions will your failed oversight cost taxpayers, Mr. Frank?

But in January, there’s a new sheriff in town — Mr. hope-n-change rides in. Will Obama support actual change, or go along with the Democratic congress for more of the failed policies which got us into this mess in the first place? We hope Obama really does work for change, and tells Congress NO! That would take guts, and go against his own party, but we’ll quickly find out if we elected hope-n-change, or more-of-the-same. We’ve already had two years of Democratic-controlled policies, how well is that working out for you?

President-elect Obama won an historic victory two weeks ago on the promise of delivering change to the American people. Bailing out the Detroit auto dinosaurs is not change. It is crony capitalism in service of a failed status quo.

President-elect Obama should stand up to congressional Democrats and say “no” — “no” to saddling future generations of Americans with the bill for today’s crony capitalism.

That would be change we could believe in.

Crap Sandwich Bailout Bait and Switch

The classic bailout bait-and-switch. Remember how it was sold to the public (and Congress) with the idea to buy up troubled mortgage assets? Now, after the bill was signed, Secretary Paulson says he’s going to ignore what the bill said and spend the $700 billion however he wants.

This is just one problem with the bailout — it gives the Treasury Secretary unlimited power to spend $700 billion of our money any way he wants with no accountability whatsoever (can you say Freddie meltdown 2.0?). Should we thus be surprised when he decides to ignore the bill’s intentions?

This bailout disaster will end up with more corruption, payoffs, and back-room deals making the Fannie/Freddie meltdown look like childs play. And Team RePO (Reid/Pelosi/Obama) wants more bailout? Grab your walllet.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday that original plan to purchase distressed mortgage assets from Wall Street firms is not the best use of the $700 billion financial rescue package, and officials will now focus on direct capital injections into the struggling financial firms.

This comes after Paulson said buying troubled assets — the plan originally advertised to the public — would take too much time in a financial crisis that continues to test the patience of investors, government and the public.

So Paulson decides a handout (oops, “direct capital injection”) is best, and doesn’t even want to buy any assets. It’s pure handouts, and completely contradictory to what the public and Congress was told. Is it any wonder more companies and states are lining up at the federal trough for this pork-fest?

Neither party wants to investigate the financial meltdown they caused. Democrats look to take advantage of their financial creation to pass more socialist programs, while Republicans don’t want to touch it as it might uncover their shady business ties. Both parties don’t want the public to know the truth — it’s Congress’ fault (for the last two years Democratic controlled) for this mess. Simply put, Democrats forced banks to make home loans they knew would end up in default (via the Community Reinvestment Act), and Republicans saw a chance to make a buck by passing off the stinking festering pile of goo off to other (federal) banks so they could keep the profits.

The Crap Sandwich bailout — brought to you by the Democratic Congress overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (and told you how financially sound they were right up until they collapsed) — and that worked out so well, let’s do bailout 2.0! How many trillions have already been spent by Democratic-controlled Congress without any results? And their solution — spend more!

Have no fear, citizens, Team RePO is on the job! (Hopefully, Obama won’t go along with Reid/Pelosi on more crappy bailout as he’s supposed to be for the little guy, but this remains to be seen)

Democrats to Eliminate 401k Retirement Accounts

This is so bizarre, reckless, and bad for regular people we can’t make this up if we wanted to:

Powerful House Democrats are eyeing proposals to overhaul the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, are looking at redirecting those tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.

“system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute. “

Gee, that sounds like … wait for it … Social Security! And we all know how well that worked out — it’s bankrupt in 2017 and will require either massive tax increases, or massive cuts in benefits (or both). And just like the Fannie and Freddie collapse, the politicians tell us the system is fine and won’t be bankrupt (of course, what happens in 2017 when taxes taken in can’t pay benefits they don’t want to talk about) — and just like Fannie/Freddie all those same politicians will say “we never saw this coming…”, and it will be deja vu, all over again. How many trillions will the next bailout cost?

And those guys want to start a new retirement plan? We can see the ads now “The new Secure Community Retirement Wealth Distribution (SCReWeD for short) — brought to you by the same people who brought you subprime mortgages, Social Security insolvency, trillion dollar bailouts, and the Fannie and Freddie collapse”. Something tells us there won’t exactly be truth when they try and sell this mess to voters.

Whether this new scam (oops, plan) replaces social security (unlikely) or be a new tax on top of social security (probably) isn’t clear, but combine the House Democrats with a Senate majority and a friendly Obama administration signing any stinking pile of festering goo they send him, do you really want to find out? How high can your taxes go? How fast can your retirement be raided? (Gingrich was correct recently calling them “Team RePO” for Reid/Pelosi/Obama)

But it gets worse when you see how the plan actually works:

Under Ghilarducci’s [Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York] plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.

So they kill your 401k, force you to pay a tax (oops, contribution) of 5% more of your salary to the government, and only offer investments in government IOU’s (oops, bonds) paying 3% per year (unless they change the rate later). Yeah, that’s a safe investment — I’ll take the stock market and it’s long-term returns, thank you very much — even with the current downturn.

“I want to spend our nation’s dollar for retirement security better. Everybody would now be covered” if the plan were adopted, Ghilarducci said.

She has been in contact with Miller and McDermott about her plan, and they are interested in pursuing it, she said.

Just like Obama told Joe the plumber he wanted to “spread the wealth around” (not exactly true, Obama didn’t mean spread the wealth around, but spread Joe’s wealth around), only this time not only raise your taxes and spread your income around, raid your retirement savings and spread that around as well. More specifically, make sure everyone is beholden to the government for retirement, and remove choice. Aren’t the Democrats supposed to be pro-choice? Only if it involves abortion and throwing babies in the trash if they’re born alive (oops, “survived a medical procedure”).

When it comes to your retirement, no choice allowed, and instead of making your own decisions you’ll only get what the government chooses you should get — and they can change it anytime they like, as often as they wish, as you don’t really own anything, just a bag of IOU’s.

“I have altered our agreement, pray I don’t alter it further.” — Darth Vader

Even worse, Obama with a Democrat controlled Congress passes legislation at will like insane proposals like this — only which have a majority Democratic leadership and President behind them (Team RePO at work).

For more, just Google for “George Miller Jim McDermott 401k” for lots more; it really is as bad as it looks.

When Tax Cuts Aren’t Tax Cuts

How socialist income redistribution is disguised by political candidates for votes

One of the biggest challenges facing both John McCain and Barack Obama in their commitment to provide tax relief to working-class Americans is the simple fact that millions of them already pay no personal income taxes.

According to the most recent IRS statistics for 2006, some 45.6 million tax filers — one-third of all filers — have no tax liability after taking their credits and deductions. For good or ill, this is a dramatic 57 percent increase since 2000 in the number of Americans who pay no personal income taxes.

Tax Foundation estimates show that if all of the Obama tax provisions were enacted in 2009, the number of these “nonpayers” would rise by about 16 million, to 63 million overall. If all of the McCain tax proposals were enacted in 2009, the number of nonpayers would rise by about 15 million, to a total of 62 million overall.

Most tax credits can only reduce a taxpayer’s amount due to zero, but the EITC and the child tax credit were also made refundable, meaning that taxpayers are eligible to receive a check even if they have paid no income tax during the year. Those tax returns have become, in effect, a claim form for a subsidy delivered through the tax system rather than a direct payment from a traditional government program like welfare or farm supports.

Both the McCain and Obama plans would increase this number by expanding existing tax benefits or creating new ones. Senator McCain is proposing one expanded provision — the dependent exemption — and one new credit, a $5,000 refundable health care tax credit. The Obama plan contains seven new provisions, including a new “Making Work Pay Credit,” a “Universal Mortgage Credit,” and a plan to eliminate income taxes for seniors earning under $50,000.

About one-third of tax filers pay no income tax at all. So how can Obama claim to cut taxes for “95%”? He can’t (at least honestly). Not only does his plan increase the number of people who pay no tax at all from about 1/3 to almost 1/2, but additionally gives handouts to those who pay no taxes at all. That’s welfare under a different name. But you can’t put lipstick on the pig and change the pig — welfare disguised as tax cuts is still welfare.

Both McCain’s and Obama’s plans are socialist. If someone pays zero tax, it’s mathematically impossible to cut it — yet both candidates call their Robin Hood programs “tax cuts”.

McCain had it right earlier to criticize Obama’s plans — Obama calls them “tax cuts”, but any third grader knows better (McCain was correct, but the criticism applies to his plan as well). Obama’s plan is socialist income redistribution (take money from those who earned it and give it to others — “spread the wealth around”); it has to be disguised because if Obama is honest and calls his plan what it is (a giant expansion of welfare — even Clinton knew welfare was broken, and the country should “end welfare as we know it”, not expand a broken system which encourages people to live out of the public trough), it would be rejected as the giant welfare program it is.

Is it really good public policy to have half the country not support the government? How much should the “rich” pay? Do the rich pay their fair share? What happens when the majority of people pay no taxes, and in fact receive welfare payments from the Federal government?

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. [Quote attributed to several people, but commonly Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813)]

If voters really want socialist programs and are willing to vote for them (knowing those policies will eventually cause the country to collapse — think of current mess with Fannie/Freddie multiplied hundreds of times), let’s at least be honest about it — instead of hiding the truth in attempts to fool people into supporting something they’d really be against if they knew the truth. (Corollary: Why do liberals fear being called liberals?)

At least if people have information they’ll know voting for these proposals guarantees a more serious financial meltdown later which makes current events look like child’s play — and we haven’t even begun to talk about Social security bankrupt and the ignoring of warnings about Social Security’s (and other entitlements) destructive impact on the economy of the future.

There is no free lunch — the bill for these handouts will come due, and no amount of “soak the rich” can possibly pay for it. Candidates are simply destroying the future (after they’re out of office) to buy votes today. We don’t completely blame Democrats — they don’t have the big spending reputation for nothing, after all — it’s the Republicans which continue to go along with the big-government, lets-try-a-free-lunch Democrats which guarantees we’ll have many more financial messes to deal with making the current trillion dollar bailout look like pocket change.

There is no free lunch, and promising one is dishonest.

Why European-Style Healthcare Doesn’t Work

Too many people (Obama included) want healthcare to be more like Europe — you know, where everyone gets healthcare for free. But peel the onion a bit and you’ll find tidbits like this (from the London Telegraph), and ask yourself, do you really want this? This is the future of Obama-care and other socialized solutions:

Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.

Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

Oops. No abortions either. Nobody will be happy with a system like this. No abortion-on-demand, treatment rationing, and in the end more financial mess which will require another “bailout”.

There is no free lunch.

Senate to Vote on Pork-Laden Earmarked Bailout Package

They just can’t help themselves when it comes to stuffing pork in any and all bills, with both new waste, and renewals of old waste. Is it any wonder these bozos aren’t trusted, and Congress has single-digit approval ratings? The only bipartisan agreement comes on stuffing pork and earmarks at every opportunity — the one thing both parties agree on. Disgusting — and at 451 pages long, what are the odds any of the Senators actually reading the bill?

New Tax earmarks in Bailout bill

  • Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
  • Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
  • 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)

Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.

  • Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
  • American Samoa (Sec. 309)
  • Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
  • Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
  • Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
  • Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
  • Railroads (Sec. 316)
  • Auto Racing Tracks (317)
  • District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
  • Wool Research (Sec. 325)

What does ANY of that have to do with saving the economy? It doesn’t. Of course, this isn’t the final bill, but which is more likely — Congress will do the right thing and strip this pork from the bill, or to guarantee its passage they’ll load it up with even more pork earmarks?

Obama supports pork and earmarks, but here’s a chance for McCain to take a stand and — at the very least — make a speech proclaiming all these earmarks, and who they’re from. It’s unlikely the Senate won’t pass this pork-fest, but at least McCain could be on record.

Let’s hope the House doesn’t pass the pork-fest as well, and the House Republicans don’t knuckle under to pressure and demand the earmarks be removed, as well as protecting taxpayers from paying the $700 billion of the bill. They have the right idea — loans not bailouts. Let’s hope the House remembers it’s backbone and opposes this disaster (which will likely be laden with even more pork by the time the Senate passes it).

VP Debate Moderater is Obama Supporter

Nobody actually denies the media leans left (especially at PBS), so just about any moderator will be pro-Obama. But you have to wonder when a “journalist” doesn’t even attempt credibility and impartiality.

Questions are being raised about PBS anchor Gwen Ifill’s objectivity after news surfaced that she is releasing a new book promoting Barack Obama and other black politicians who have benefited from the civil rights struggle.

Ifill is moderating Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. Her book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” is due to be released about the same time the next president takes the oath of office.

In an imaginary world where liberal journalists are held to the same standards as everyone else, Ifill would be required to make a full disclosure at the start of the debate. She would be required to turn to the cameras and tell the national audience that she has a book coming out on January 20, 2009 — a date that just happens to coincide with the inauguration of the next president of the United States.

The title of Ifill’s book? “Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” Nonpartisan my foot.

Yeah, that debate will be fair and impartial.

As has been suggested by others, the first thing Palin should do is congratulate her on her book and ask her to give the title and date of publishing. If the “moderator” won’t disclose her obvious bias and conflict of interest, someone else should.

It’s amazing what passes for “journalism” these days. Imagine the roar if Ann Coulter moderated a debate — yet it would be just as biased. Or perhaps debates should have two moderators, one from each side. At least then the bias would be out in the open.

Obama says He’s to Blame for Bailout Failure

OK, that’s not exactly what he said, so let’s go to the tape

“Here are the facts: For two weeks I was on the phone everyday with Secretary Paulson and the congressional leaders making sure that the principles that have been ultimately adopted were incorporated in the bill,” Obama said.

Since he was taking credit for shaping the bill — now that it’s failed will he put out a statement saying he’s to blame for not crafting an acceptable solution? Don’t hold your breath.

Willing to take credit, but not accepting responsibility.

Reid, Pelosi and Schumer Fail on Bailout for Economy

Harry the-war-is-lost Reid is trying to shift blame for his failure to move the “bailout” proposal forward. That might work for people who don’t realize it’s the Democrats holding the majority in both the House and Senate; Reid and Pelosi can pass whatever pork bailout bill they want, and the President will surely sign it. They don’t need any Republicans to do so. If a bill isn’t passed, it’s because the Democrats don’t want it passed. Democrats are the majority, they’re responsible for passing the bill and can do so at any time. What Reid meant was he doesn’t want to pass the bill right now, but he’s not the only blame-shifter.

“We need to get the president to get the Republican House in order,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., added while on the Senate floor. “Without Republican cooperation, we cannot pass this bill.”

Totally false, plain and simple. Democrats hold majorities in both houses, they don’t need any Republican support to pass this bill, other than the President (who will support it). The only possibility (and a remote one) is a possible Senate filibuster (Pelosi can pass it whenever she wants), which won’t happen. Even if it does, they’d only need a handful of fiscally irresponsible Republicans to go along (which they’d get).

Why won’t Democrats act? What are they waiting for? Could it be they’re posturing for political reasons? Or do Reid/Pelosi simply don’t know they hold the majority, and don’t realize they can pass anything they want? Is it possible Reid/Pelosi/Schumer know the majority of Americans are against the bailout, and want to spread the blame around come November?

Schumer/Read/Pelosi don’t need Republicans to pass the bill, they need them for cover for the upcoming election (so in a sense, Schumer is right, they can’t pass the bill without the cover of Republicans for their pork — they can pass it without Republicans votes, but they’re hoping the blame game works. Politics as usual).

It’s interesting as Obama tries to paint McCain as agreeing with Bush, it’s Obama and the Democrats who walk in lockstep with the President to give $700 Billion of your money to Wall Street (tax and spend yielding to tax and giveaway). Is that what you want? Do you agree with Obama in giving handouts of $700 billion of your money to failing companies? Is Obama correct in taking your money and giving it to corporations who bungled their management? If you’re paying your mortgage on time, do you agree with Obama those exercising fiscal irresponsibility should be rewarded?

It’s McCain and a minority of Republicans who want something different (along with most of the American people). Will Democrats team up with the President to ram a pork bill through? Or will sanity reign and a reasonable approach (loans instead of bailouts and rewards which leave the taxpayer footing the bill) supported by others have a chance?

We’ll see what happens, but don’t buy the lie Reid and Pelosi need any Republicans to go along. They do not as they’re the majority (even if they fail to act like it). Since Obama aligns with Reid 95% of the time, is this the leadership the country looks forward to in an Obama administration? Do you want politics put first? Or country first?

In Washington, it’s a showdown between the representatives of Wall Street and the representatives of Main Street. But have you noticed that the old partisan alliances are reversed? It’s the Democrats who are now the Wall Street Party. And Republicans — with the conspicuous exception of President Bush — are now the Main Street Party.

Consider: President Bush proposed the $700 billion plan; after days of hiding behind the Secretary of Goldman Sachs, Henry Paulson, Bush finally emerged from the sidelines Wednesday night to tout the plan in prime time. Just this morning, he spoke again in favor of his plan, while again taking no questions from pesky reporters.

But the Congressional Democrats, who mostly despise Bush, are also mostly for the Bush plan. Sure, they made some cosmetic changes in the bailout proposal, but they have never wavered in their basic endorsement.

So who’s against the plan? It’s Congressional Republicans who are getting in the way. They are the heroes of the hour. Although outnumbered, these brave Capitol Hill GOPers have stopped official Washington in its tracks.

Why? Because the Democratic majority, supporting the bailout, doesn’t actually dare to vote for it unless they know that most Republicans will vote for it, too. And that’s because the Democrats fear that this bailout legislation is deeply unpopular with the country. So the only way that Democrats can vote for the bill and be safe this November is if Republicans also put their names on the legislative dotted line. Not a profile in courage for Democrats, of course, but it’s smart practical politics for them to demand some ‘cover.’

Reid/Pelosi know they can pass the bill anytime they want. They’re hoping first nobody realizes that, and second, they can stall long enough to cover their collective #!&$ for a bill the American people don’t want.

Bill Clinton on Fannie and Freddie, and the Debate

CHRIS CUOMO, ABC NEWS: A little surprising for you to hear the Democrats saying, “This came out of nowhere, this is all about the Republicans. We had nothing to do with this.” Nancy Pelosi saying it. She signed the ’99 Gramm Bill. She knew what was going on with the SEC. They’re all sophisticated people. Is that playing politics in this situation?

BILL CLINTON: Well, maybe everybody does that a little bit. I think the responsibility the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And on President Bush’s speech:

The former president thought Bush’s address Wednesday night on the economic crisis had a “positive reaction”.

“I thought it was the clearest statement of why we’re in the fix we’re in, at least what the nature of it is and why some national action is needed,” Clinton said.

And on McCain suspending campaign activities (and perhaps the debate) to focus on the bill in Congress:

“We know he didn’t do it because he’s afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates,” Clinton said, adding that he was “encouraged” by the joint statement from McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.

Obama says call me if you need me because I’m busy with my own business of trying to get elected — don’t bother me with the financial meltdown of the country, I’m busy right now. McCain says deal with the crisis — country first, self-interests second.

Which characteristic do you want in a President?

Obama and Earmarks – where’s that $100,000 again?

Oh yeah, it went to the wife of a campaign volunteer, instead of where it was supposed to.

A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Earmarks you can believe in!

The Financial Crisis – Deficit of Decency

Here’s a view of the real financial crisis facing the country, and it can’t be solved by bailouts or regulations.

It’s not AIG, Lehman, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even Enron and MCI. It’s not the national debt, budget deficits or politician’s plans for staggering tax increases which will surely damage the already fragile economy. Make no mistake, all those are bad, but they’re only symptoms of the real disease, the cancer eating away at our society — that cancer is as Zell Miller said “A Deficit of Decency” — more specifically, a lack of ethics.

First off, don’t confuse morality with ethics; morality being just an idea of right and wrong, generally coming from some absolute source (many people mistake the concept of morality for “good” morals — i.e. don’t cheat on your wife, but murderers have morality as well, it’s just bad), while ethics is “my word is my bond”. It’s possible to act ethically, but not morally.

For example, few would disagree a crime syndicate performing shake-downs of an innocent business lacks morality (“Gee, that’s a nice business you have there, it would be a shame if something happened to it”); they’re acting immorally, however, the ethics surpass those of politicians and wall street — you can be sure they’ll do what they say and won’t change, if fact, you can count on it.

Ethics and morality aren’t the same, even though they share similarities.

Perhaps the confusion comes as younger people (30 or below) don’t remember a time when a handshake was enough to seal a deal (or a time when the Interweb thingy didn’t exist either, but we digress). Believe it or not, a time existed when your word was sufficient, and people (gasp) did what they promised. They many not have acted with good morals, but their ethics were unquestionable.

That was the prevailing attitude for many, many years. Most business circles were fairly small; you simply couldn’t get away with breaking your word. Perhaps not because people didn’t want to, but because the community simply didn’t tolerate it. Ethical behavior was demanded if you desired to stay in business.

But today, even if you have a contract, it’s who has the most lawyers and $$$ to fight. It’s not about holding up your promise, it’s about grabbing as much money as possible in the fastest way possible. Ethics is thrown under the bus, even as candidates promise “change”, but don’t want you to look behind the curtain to see it’s just business as usual and the ethics continue to disappear.

That’s the real problem in Washington — a lack of ethics. When double-talking politicians try to dodge real questions with slick-talking nuance instead of solutions, and then act differently when the teleprompter turns off, that’s a lack of ethics. The goal in politics becomes how to fool people with slick oratory, but then after election turn against the flowery rhetoric and act oppositely — in their own interests instead of serving the country.

Sacrificing for a greater good (or your country) has become a concept ridiculed and scorned. Just compare the campaigns — one says to act in your own self-interest (thus, vote for the guy promising the most handouts), while the other says country first. But that’s the political arena — the ethics problem infects all corners of society equally; as the Federal bailouts continue, every one actually increases the likelihood of more bailouts. Here’s why.

If you live in a hurricane area, and the floods ravage your house or destroy it but you don’t have insurance, the government pays you anyway. So why have insurance? Your house gets rebuilt no matter if you paid for insurance or not — each bailout increases incentive for homeowners in bad areas not to get insurance. After all, they’ll get paid anyway.

If you bought a ARM or sub-prime mortgage and got stuck with something you knew you couldn’t afford, once again, a bailout is coming your way. So why should others play by the rules and put 20% down? It doesn’t matter as financial ethics becomes discouraged, and the rewards go the people who deliberately skirted responsibility.

If AIG/Lehman/Fannie/Freddie used poor business practices in pursuit of profits, it doesn’t matter as — you guessed it — another bailout heads their way (and sometimes promotions to political campaigns for those involved). There’s even a phrase floating around — they’re “too big to fail”; what motivation do they thus have to act ethically instead of plundering the company leaving shareholders, employees (and taxpayers) left to clean up the mess while they jet off to their vacation homes?

And in elections, they guy who promises the most from the public trough gets the most support. Elections become not about serving the country (“ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”), but who promises the most $$$ from the public treasury. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine this pattern can’t continue.

Just take a look at who took the most lobbyist money in the recent Fannie/Freddie collapse, who was on the committee charged with oversight of Fannie and Freddie, and then where those executives ended up after plundering the companies, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Should we trust them with advising the president so they can do to the country what they did to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

A democracy can’t exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy … [author unknown, though commonly attributed to Sir Alex Fraser Tytler in 1801]

Of course, who pays for all these bailouts for unethical behavior? The hard-working taxpayer playing by the rules — you know, ethically. They get the privilege of paying for everyone else’s ethical lapses.

The solution is a return to ethical behavior — and that can’t be legislated (in contrast, the only thing which can be legislated is morality — right and wrong. All laws are someones view of what’s right and wrong). But once those laws exist, there’s always people willing to employ legions of lawyers looking for a way to skirt both the spirit and letter of the law and plunder the company while passing the bill to others for their behavior. In other words, unethical.

Each bailout or rescue increases the incentive for unethical behavior — and that’s the real issue facing the country. As money flows from lobbyists to politicians, who then look the other way as companies are destroyed, is it any wonder failures are increasing? No amount of new regulation or financial bailouts will solve the problem. The real issue is where is personal responsibility?

It’s not the billions being spent right now which ultimately will ensure doom, it’s the degradation of ethics which will haunt the country for generations.

The Rest of the Story on Abortion – Gianna Jessen

Obama’s ship is taking on water over the abortion issue — his all-abortion, all-the-time position is considerably out of the mainstream view of Americans. His refusal to give botched aborted babies surviving the procedure medical care (instead of discarding them to die) when it came for a vote — a proposal so non-controversial even Ted Kennedy and Clinton supported it — defies explanation (as Gianna Jessen notes, she herself survived a botched abortion, and Obama’s position would deny her the medical care to save her life); no amount of nuance or spin can change the facts — Obama voted against medical care for children.

The record here is very, very clear. Obama initially said that he opposed the bill in Illinois because it didn’t have the “neutrality clause” included in the federal version of the legislation. As documentation proved, Obama voted against it even with the neutrality clause added. The Obama campaign finally acknowledged that Obama had lied about his position a month ago. Why? Because it would have actually forced doctors to provide care for live infants from abortions — or in other words, it would have worked.

If you’re interested, visit Jill Stanek’s site, a nurse in the Chicago area who witnessed botched aborted babies discarded to die — it’s not an academic discussion, the problem is real, and Obama voted (multiple times) to deny those children medical care — even as the U.S. Senate approved an identical bill 98-0.

No amount of “change” spin can alter the facts — Obama’s votes indicate he’d deny medical care for children after they’re born. The question nobody asks him is simple — if it’s acceptable to kill a baby after it’s born and call it abortion, at what age does the child get bestowed constitutional rights? Can they be “aborted” until 18? Do children count less than other people? When do they get basic human rights? For how long can they be aborted after being born before it becomes a crime? When asked, he provided his (in)famous “above my pay grade” response, which is strange considering he’s running for leader of the country.

It’s not a religious issue, or medical issue, it’s a legal issue he is (supposed) to be qualified to answer. If he can’t answer a legal question, he’s not qualified to run the country. For Obama, the question of when a child gets human rights isn’t answered — it certainly isn’t at birth, but at some mysterious point later — how later he’s not saying.

That’s certainly “change” from mainstream America, unless you believe allowing infants to die in the trash can remotely represents most people’s views. But there’s another view of the issue, and it’s eloquently presented by Paul Harvey in his book “The Rest of the Story” — a good read for lots of reasons if you have time.

When rape results in pregnancy, or when giving birth might cost the mother’s life, few women would fail to consider as an alternative: Abortion.

[...]

Your first expectant mother is Caterina. Caterina is unmarried, obviously in her teens, obviously poor. You ask her age, and she tells you, and at once you realize she has overstated her years by one or two or three.

Caterina is in the first trimester of her pregnancy.

You ask if she has been pregnant before.

Caterina shakes her head.

Studying her, you wonder.

You inquire of her general health; no problems, she says.

And the health of the father?

Caterina shrugs; her eyes fall.

She has lost contact with the father of her unborn child. All she knows is he was twenty-three, a lawyer or a notary or something like that. He lives nearby, she thinks; she is not sure. The affair was over quickly, little more than a one-night stand. No child was expected–nor now is wanted.

What Doctor, is your advice?

Later the same day, you are consulted by a second expectant mother.

Her name is Klara. Klara is twenty-eight, married three years, the wife of a government worker; she has the look of a woman accustomed to anguish.

Concerned for the ultimate health of her unborn, Klara explains that for each year of her marriage she has had a child–and each has died; the first within thirty-one months, the second within sixteen months, the third within several days.

[...]

So what, Doctor, is your advice?

In addition to all immediate considerations–physical, moral, religious–the dilemma of whether to terminate a pregnancy is a philosophical question:

Might this life, if left to live, affect the consciousness or even the destiny of mankind?

Yet if the profundity of this question is diminished by the balance which governs all life, there is evidence in the two true stories you have just heard: the unwed mother with unwanted child; the married mother with the graves of three infants behind her.

For if you, as the hypothetical physician, have opted in both cases for abortion–then you have respectively denied the world the multifaceted genius of Leonardo da Vinci–and spared humanity the terror of Adolf Hitler.

They are THE REST OF THE STORY.

The average person wants to keep abortion legal, but ban partial-birth abortion, and certainly wouldn’t want living babies discarded as trash to die. Yet Obama is so extreme on abortion he voted against bills even Kennedy and Clinton supported.

That’s change nobody believes in.

Politics of Hope – Thrown Under the Bus

Chalk up another position Obama has thrown under the bus (with gun control, FISA, public campaign financing, Israel … you get the idea).

In Elko, Obama tried to anticipate his critics and called on the crowd of about 1,500 to sharpen their elbows, too.

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” he said.

Hope replaced with argument and confrontation. Sounds like old-school politics, doesn’t it?

Fannie, Freddie and Obama

So who’s in the pocket of lobbyists? As Obama bloviated about economic issues, what does he do behind the scenes? It’s quite a different picture that what he tells the crowds…

When Barack Obama came to congress in 2005 with his extraordinarily inquisitive mind, he had every reason to know that Fannie and Freddie were bad news. So what did the relentless agent of change blessed with the magnificent judgment do? He instantly became the twins’ favorite kissing cousin in congress. Since 1988, only Chris Dodd has raised more money from Fannie and Freddie than Obama, and Dodd had 20 years to shake down the twins where Obama has had only four.

But Obama’s relationship with the twins runs still deeper. The two Fannie CEOs who did the most to corrupt the company, Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, have close ties with Obama. Raines is one of Obama’s ranking economic advisors. Jim Johnson was actually in charge of vetting Obama’s potential running mates until Obama responded to public pressure and threw Johnson under the bus where he now resides comfortably with Tony Rezko.

Obama’s dealings with Fannie and Freddie are consistent with his pattern. He talks a big game about change, and yet his actions belie the bravado. It’s not that Obama merely fails to live up to his reformer rhetoric. Both in Chicago and in Washington, he somehow wound up keeping close company with the least desirable denizens. In both locales, he showed a bewildering combination of poor judgment and rank hypocrisy.

(more…)

Palinmania versus Team Obama

It seems someone has out-charismatized Obama, and he doesn’t know how to handle it. But it’s important to temper the enthusiasm for McCain/Palin to avoid being just another celebrity — there’s already one celebrity running, we don’t need another.

The pit pull line was good, as well as playing “Barracuda” at events, but it’s time to focus on reality — Obama is nothing more than a replay of Jimmy Carter, and we remember those years and don’t want to relive them. McCain needs to remind everyone how much Obama acts exactly like Jimmy Carter and his disastrous administration (and how he’s afraid to meet in townhall meetings away from the teleprompter). From windfall profits to pathetic energy policy (which actually makes the problem worse), it’s amazing how similar Obama is to Carter.

Windfall profits tax? (to reduce supply and increase prices) Check.

Ridiculous energy policy? (Wear a sweater vs. inflate your tires). Check.

Horrible foreign policy? (Hostage crisis, surrender, so on) Check.

McCain/Palin win on the issues — national security, taxes, energy, reform, and so on. While Palin’s popularity isn’t a bad thing, it’s important to know it’s on energy, taxes, reform, and security McCain/Palin beat Obama/Biden every time. The more people find out how much taxes will go up, how the no-energy policy will keep gas prices high, and how unprepared Team O is on foreign policy, and how he’s abandoned virtually every promise he made in the primaries (Iraq, public campaign financing, FISA, gun control, new style politics, etc) the less likely they will be to support him.

… we have to guard against the same kind of cult of personality that arose around Obama and continues to this day. We want the large crowds, but we need to have them pay attention to the message. That message can’t just consist of “hockey mom” and “pit bull”, but a coherent public-policy philosophy along with a demonstration of how Palin’s record and experience supports it. …

That means being realistic about Palin’s experience. As governor for only 20 months, she has more executive experience than Barack Obama, but that’s a quip, not an argument. McCain chose her because she has a record of real reform, and of risk-taking in cleaning up politics, that includes more than just her term as Governor. We need to press that message and show how Palin commits McCain to change by outlining her achievements over the last several years, and focus on that rather than the Palin family. …

We’ve been fortunate in one regard: for some reason, Barack Obama has chosen to run against Sarah Palin rather than John McCain in the last two weeks. We win that argument every time in two ways: Obama can’t beat Palin on experience, and McCain winds up looking like the only person running for President. However, we can’t count on that foolishness lasting forever …

When Obama says “lets talk issues”, McCain should repeat his challenge for Obama to join him in town hall style discussions. McCain should immediately run ads repeating the challenge, and use Team O quotes about “focusing on the issues”, and then ask why he’s afraid to talk. McCain should give his schedule for town hall discussions for the next few weeks, and invite Obama to every one (if they want, bring along Biden).

The presidential debates are a joke — too scripted and rehearsed. Want to know if someone can handle the pressure and think on their feet in unscripted moments (you know, like the situation room)? Get ‘em in a townhall style discussion. It would be good for the country for both candidates to travel together and meet daily in townhall discussions. It would also stop some of the attacks — after all, it’s hard to be mean when someone stands right next to you.

Since Obama wants to focus on issues, why does he continue to reject the offer? Could it be he knows he lacks good judgment and lacks ability to think on your feet and improvise? McCain could even offer … ummm … to have … let me say first … teleprompters … umm …. available … you know … umm …. if Team O wants ‘em.

It’s been said by some the first and most important choice of a presidential candidate is the choice of VP. And Biden recently said Hillary would be better for VP.

“Make no mistake about this, Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Let’s get that straight,” Biden said testily when a voter told Biden he was glad the Delaware senator had been chosen and not Clinton.

“She’s a truly close personal friend and she is qualified to be President of the United States of America, she’s easily qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America and quite frankly it might have been a better pick than me,” he continued.

Oops. Even Obama’s pick for VP admits Obama didn’t use good judgment in what many people say is a candidate’s most important decision — that of VP.

Ready to lead? Even Obama’s VP says no.

Obama Going Negative to Attack McCain/Palin – The Gloves are Off (Again)

Obama appears rattled and says (again) the gloves are coming off and he’s going on the attack. But isn’t this the “politics of old” he promised us he’s above? Where’s the change? He’s using what he knows — old style Chicago attack politics.

Team O now admits the “hope and change” has been thrown under the bus, and the “new politics” has been replaced by traditional old-school attacks. Trivia question: what promise did Obama make during the primary he’s kept? Public financing? Nope. “New politics”. Out the window. Get us out of Iraq? Not immediately. Filibuster against FISA? Negative.

Obama started this campaign on a promise of New Politics. He betrayed that by breaking his pledge on public financing, and almost immediately afterwards began weeping about the racist Republicans and the John McCain campaign. The farther Obama walks away from his New Politics pledge, the weaker he becomes. Because without that, voters have no reason at all to vote for a man with no experience at all.

Obama’s policies are straight from Jimmy Carter — and we all know how well that worked out. Since he’s abandoned his “new politics” pledge, along with the pledge to support public financing and more, what’s left of Obama is just old-school politics coupled with a lack of experience and judgment.

Democrats Favor Drilling in Alaska

As long as it’s for dirt, not oil.

Democrats understand Sarah Palin is a formidable political force who has upset the Obama victory plan. The latest Washington Post/ABC Poll shows John McCain taking a 12-point lead over Barack Obama among white women, a reversal of Mr. Obama’s eight-point lead last month.

It’s no surprise, then, that Democrats have airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau and Mrs. Palin’s hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background. My sources report the first wave arrived in Anchorage less than 24 hours after John McCain selected her on August 29.

What happened to rejecting the politics of division and mud slinging? Changing the tone? The politics of hope? It’s all gone, as old-style Chicago attack politics takes over for Team Obama.

What’s left when the change and hope disappears? Nothing but a run of the mill politician with no experience who wants to relive the Carter Administrations’ disastrous policies on energy, foreign policy, and taxes.

Can you say gas lines? Hostage crisis? Wear a sweater? Windfall profits tax? We lived through Carter once, must we suffer it again?

Randi Rhodes says McCain was “well treated” as POW

Another far-left commentator has lost it. It’s one thing to criticize policy, but this is way over the top. But will Team Obama denounce this personal attack? Where is the criticism of old-style attack politics? Isn’t this the sort of thing we’re supposed to “move beyond”?

Normally, we wouldn’t care much about some minor unhinged commentator most people have never heard of. It’s not so much Ms Rhodes bizarre unsubstantiated rant, but isn’t this what Team Obama says we need to get beyond? Where is Team Obama’s denouncement? Don’t hold your breath — this is standard old-school politics, of which Team Obama is a part — allowing someone else to do the smear job.

Of course he (McCain) became very friendly with the Vietnamese. They called him the Prince. He was well treated actually. And he was well treated because he traded these propaganda interviews for good treatment.

Compare an article May 14, 1973 in US News and World Report. Let the reader decide if Ms. Rhodes attack has any validity at all.

Of the many personal accounts coming to light about the almost unbelievably cruel treatment accorded American prisoners of war in Vietnam, none is more dramatic than that of Lieut. Commander John S. McCain III — Navy flier, son of the admiral who commanded the war in the Pacific, and a prisoner who came in “for special attention” during 5 1/2 years of captivity in North Vietnam.

I hit the water and sank to the bottom. I think the lake is about 15 feet deep, maybe 20. I kicked off the bottom. I did not feel any pain at the time, and was able to rise to the surface. I took a breath of air and started sinking again. Of course, I was wearing 50 pounds, at least, of equipment and gear. I went down and managed to kick up to the surface once more. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t use my right leg or my arm. I was in a dazed condition. I went up to the top again and sank back down. This time I couldn’t get back to the surface. I was wearing an inflatable life-preserver-type thing that looked like water wings. I reached down with my mouth and got the toggle between my teeth and inflated the preserver and finally floated to the top.

Some North Vietnamese swam out and pulled me to the side of the lake and immediately started stripping me, which is their standard procedure. Of course, this being in the center of town, a huge crowd of people gathered, and they were all hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.

When they had most of my clothes off, I felt a twinge in my right knee. I sat up and looked at it, and my right foot was resting next to my left knee, just in a 90-degree position. I said, “My God–my leg!” That seemed to enrage them — I don’t know why. One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly. Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.

[...]

For the next three or four days, I lapsed from conscious to unconsciousness. During this time, I was taken out to interrogation — which we called a “quiz” — several times. That’s when I was hit with all sorts of war-criminal charges. This started on the first day. I refused to give them anything except my name, rank, serial number and date of birth. They beat me around a little bit. I was in such bad shape that when they hit me it would knock me unconscious. They kept saying, “You will not receive any medical treatment until you talk.”

[...]

After about two weeks, I was given an operation on my leg which was filmed. They never did anything for my broken left arm. It healed by itself. They said I needed two operations on my leg, but because I had a “bad attitude” they wouldn’t give me another one. What kind of job they did on my leg, I do not know. Now that I’m back, an orthopedic surgeon is going to cut in and see. He has already told me that they made the incision wrong and cut all the ligaments on one side.

[...]

… They just told me I’d never go home and I was going to be tried as a war criminal. That was their constant theme for many months.

Suddenly “The Cat” said to me, “Do you want to go home?”

I was astonished, and I tell you frankly that I said that I would have to think about it. I went back to my room, and I thought about it for a long time. At this time I did not have communication with the camp senior ranking officer, so I could get no advice. I was worried whether I could stay alive or not, because I was in rather bad condition. I had been hit with a severe case of dysentery, which kept on for about a year and a half. I was losing weight again.

But I knew that the Code of Conduct says, “You will not accept parole or amnesty,” and that “you will not accept special favors.” For somebody to go home earlier is a special favor. There’s no other way you can cut it.

I went back to him three nights later. He asked again, “Do you want to go home?” I told him “No.” He wanted to know why, and I told him the reason. I said that Alvarez [first American captured] should go first, then enlisted men and that kind of stuff.

[...]

To get back to the story: They took me out of my room to “Slopehead,” who said, “You have violated all the camp regulations. You’re a black criminal. You must confess your crimes.” I said that I wouldn’t do that, and he asked, “Why are you so disrespectful of guards?” I answered, “Because the guards treat me like an animal.”

When I said that, the guards, who were all in the room — about 10 of them — really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn’t have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.

Read the entire article. It’s well-worth the read.

From Across the Pond – Palin & Thatcher, McCain, Reagan and Obama

It would seem that it is only sexist to trash a woman candidate if she is a Woman Candidate, which is to say a liberal.

The London Telegraph notes what liberals in the US state openly — Palin doesn’t represent women because she’s not a liberal. It seems only liberals can represent womens issues, and women only care about liberal issues. Anyone daring to utter a thought against the pro-abortion, all the time position becomes anathema to “womens issues”.

The Telegraph compares Governor Palin to Margaret Thatcher in that the elites simply don’t understand either one — those in the “flyover” states liberal elites have such contempt for represent mainstream America, Republican and Democrat. Sure, some differences on policy exist, but love of country, family values, duty, and personal responsibility are the same for southern Democrats and conservatives alike — and it’s that foundation people want, in spite of the elites wishes.

The Republican party began losing when they abandoned small-town values and teamed with the big-government big-spending control-your-life elites of the Democratic party, casting true conservatives over the edge of the cliff (while asking for donations before citizens hit the rocky cliffs below), and even worse attempting to purge conservatives from the party which founded it — don’t make the mistake the Republican party bears any resemblance to its conservative roots. Conservatives are in the Republican party, but not all Republicans are conservatives.

If Republicans want to make a comeback, they need to move back to the values which made them popular in the first place. It’s interesting after Sarah Palin was introduced as the VP, fundraising sky-rocketed. Why? It’s an admission Republicans lost their way over the last years, and it’s time for a change in direction — back to middle-American values (the “flyover” states) as those voters (Republican AND Democratic) look for someone who relates to them, and doesn’t treat them like mindless sheep needing direction from the One.

(more…)

Obama’s 95 Percent with Harry Reid – That’s Change?

In his acceptance speech the other night, Barack Obama got big applause when he said that John McCain had voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time, and that he didn’t want to gamble on a 10 percent chance for change.

What Obama didn’t tell you is that he has voted 95 percent of the time with the liberal Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. That would be the same Harry Reid, who along with uberliberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, head up a Democratic-led Congress with a sensational 9 percent job approval rating. Obama is part of that liberal Congressional leadership of which 91 percent of the American people disapprove. Obama votes with them 95 percent of the time.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to gamble on just a 5 percent chance on change from that.

And then there is McCain’s new running mate, the Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. The fact that Democrats are jumping all over her (albeit haltingly because they aren’t sure exactly HOW to attack her), tells you how worried they are. She’s a tax-cutting, pro-drilling, environmentalist, gun-toting, ice-fishing, hockey-playing, pro-life mom of five, with a son about to be deployed to Iraq. She’s one incredibly relatable person. Cool too.

The Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media have tried to attack her for being “inexperienced.” I certainly hope they continue down that path, considering the guy at the TOP of their ticket was approving dog license fees in Chicago 3 years ago.

In a campaign of dueling percentages, Sarah Palin has one that Obama, Pelosi, Reid, even President Bush would walk over their grandmothers for: as Governor, her job approval stands at 80 percent. Even apple pie doesn’t have 80 percent approval.

She is McCain’s secret weapon: solidly conservative, living family values, attractive, warm, and — what do you know? — NORMAL.

Do you like Reid/Pelosi and their Congressional “leadership”? Then Obama’s your guy, and the actions of Congress (like taking a vacation instead of tackling energy problems) will continue into the Presidency; if you like Reid/Pelosi, you’ll be pleased with four years of Obama giving you the same “leadership” as Congress has the last few years. How’s that working out for you? Iraq war ended as they promised? Has the mysterious Pelosi energy policy materialized yet? Oh right, maybe she’ll get to it after vacation.

Obama’s in trouble. If he brings up Palin as inexperienced, it only reinforces how unprepared he is for the job — lacking any management experience at all (only legislative, and only for a few years — and how many “present” votes did he cast when he couldn’t make up his mind?). It’s bizarre Obama’s team is equating his experience with Palin’s — the top of the Democratic comparing with the the bottom of the Republican — and he still comes up short on experience. That inspires confidence — hey look, I’m better than their VP!

If he tries to equate McCain with Bush, it reminds us Obama sides with Harry Reid and the single-digit-approval Congressional leadership (Reid/Pelosi) — the lowest approval ever and about 1/3 that of the President.

Energy? The no-energy plan (failing to increase supply guarantees price increases) verses increasing production and promoting alternatives. But keep your tires inflated (and wear a sweater while you’re at it).

It’s back to vague “hope and change” again, as Obama’s popularity becomes inversely tied to people’s knowledge of his positions. Mainstream American just isn’t that far-left; Obama’s hopes for the oval office hinge on not having his positions become commonly known to voters.

So it seems those Greek pillars just may represent something after all, because in ancient Greece, people were more enamored by rhetoric and passionate presentations than by principled truths and pragmatic solutions. In modern America, these few millenniums later, nothing seems to have changed. I might not be the smartest man on the political block, but I know fluff when I see it (or is it Puff?). Obama conducted his version of a political David Copperfield magic show. Will Americans really not see beyond his illusory performance? America, we are being duped again by fluff and folly, glitz and glamour, and hype and Hollywood.

It’s time for America to wake up before it’s too late! Reawakening our country and making necessary societal changes are the very reasons I’ve fully engaged in the culture wars with my new book (to be released Sept. 7), “Black Belt Patriotism,” available for pre-order from Amazon.com. It is my battle plan for winning back America. But it’s not just my plan; it’s our Founders’ plan, as I turn to them for their old solutions to our new problems.

Where’s the change again?

War Changes … Everything

WAR doesn’t change anything! How many times have we heard the claim from self-righteous leftists protected by their betters?

Tell the dead in Georgia that war changes nothing. Tell it to the 100,000 or so people driven from their homes. For that matter, tell it to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – he may finally crack a smile.

War doesn’t change anything? Wish it were true – but war has been humankind’s preferred means of effecting change.

We’re all – right and left – getting an in-your-face lesson about how the world really works. Passive resistance only has a chance when your opponent believes in the rule of law and respect for human rights. Gandhi was effective against law-abiding Britain, but he would’ve frozen to death in the Soviet gulag – if he’d lived long enough to reach the camps.

Putin believes in force. Just because we don’t share his values doesn’t mean he’s going to see the light. (Imagine a President Barack Obama pitted against Putin – the Left’s new messiah would be gobbled up in one bite.)

Putin doesn’t think we’re naive fools. He knows it.

That’s the contrast between theory and reality, fantasy land and the real world. No sane person wants war, but the reality is sometimes no alternative exists. If someone wants to exterminate you or make your country disappear from the map, what will dialog accomplish? A compromise? Like only exterminating half the people? Do you “dialog” with the rapist and try and understand their motives, and how their childhood drove them to savage acts? Or do you resist? (Hint: only one method works) As long as someone wants to kill you, dialog accomplishes nothing.

Evil exists, and must be confronted. Clicking your heals three times chanting “world peace” won’t accomplish much; the Georgia crisis is just the latest example illustrating the gulf existing between those living in reality, and those living on fantasy island (Let’s open up a “dialog” so we can “understand” their feelings — and while you’re at it here’s a cigar, and tell me about your mother, oh and are you going to eat the last slice of pizza?).

Will citizens realize the difference before the election and understand a leader must live in reality and deal with difficult situations, or elect Mr. Roarke, close their eyes, fly to fantasy island to meditate on whirled peas while the real world crumbles around them?

War changes everything. Sane people don’t want it, and we all wish for world peace, but the reality remains as long as one crazy person doesn’t accept the dream of living in harmony and peace with everyone on the planet it ruins it for the rest of us, and the wish remains fantasy. At least one greedy bastard always exists who will (without provocation) attempt to conquer lands and people in a quest for world domination. The question remains will you appease him in an attempt to quench the lust for power, or resist and defeat evil?

Appeasement never worked to stop greedy attempts for world dominion, and Einstein gave the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. What makes the appeasers think it will work in any future situation? “Give peace a chance” makes a great song, but terrible foreign policy; there’s always one person who doesn’t agree, starting conflict to feed their lust for power. How will you deal with it?

History teaches war is part of the selfish greed of the human condition, and two kinds of people exist — those that understand the lessons of history, the existence of evil, and the reality of confronting that evil, and those living with Mr. Roarke on fantasy island.

Obama/Biden – Hillary Supporters Snubbed

Much has been (and will be) noted about Biden/Obama, but several items stand out.

First, Hillary wasn’t even vetted — a slam on her supporters. Very few expected Obama to pick Hillary (since Michelle didn’t want her), but not even to consider her? Quite an in-your-face to Hillary supporters (about 1/4 of which say they’ll vote McCain, while less than half support Obama, if recent polls are correct).

And the choice of Biden admits Obama lacks experience and desperately needs someone who actually understands the issues, as Obama switches positions as most people change clothes (daily). After the disastrous performance at Saddleback, voters are left wondering — does this guy believe anything, or will he say anything to be elected?

Of course, Biden fits in well with the flip-flopping Obama. Biden (rightly) called Obama inexperienced and the Presidency isn’t on the job training. Biden also said he’d never accept the VP slot.

Biden must flip-flop on both of those issues to be on the ticket, so he’ll fit in well with Obama’s flip-flops on FISA, gun control, campaign finance, Jerusalem/Israel, and so on (Biden is actually a far better choice than Obama — the ticket really should be Biden/Obama, and not the other way around).

The reality is Obama is the choice — the VP doesn’t really do anything. No matter how many people Obama adds to his staff with actual experience, the reality is Obama himself is completely unprepared for the job he’s running for. Obama combines the elitism and arrogance of the Clintons, the naive and pathetic foreign-policy ideas of Jimmy Carter, the unstable flip-flopping of John Kerry, and the I’ll-raise-your-taxes popular with socialists and proponents of income redistribution — all in one flawed ticket, and the addition of Biden doesn’t minimize Obama’s inexperience or elitism.

In short, Obama combines all the worst qualities of previous Democratic failures into one person, but without any of the positive qualities those failures possessed.

Finally, the choice of Biden just proves the “hope and change” theme is totally and completely dead and buried; the choice of yet another Washington old-time insider to Obama’s staff shows once again Obama is nothing more than a garden variety far-left liberal, who’s attempting to wrap himself in the “change” flag, while behind the scenes doing the same old Washington dance.

Nothing to see here, move along.

… others just shake their heads at the racism of anyone who could possibly have a problem with a very left-wing politician with almost no experience, who often sounds like his campaign slogan is: “People of Earth! Stop Your Bickering. I Am From Harvard, And I’m Here To Help.”

Perhaps therein lies the answer to this supposed mystery. Indeed, perhaps there’s no mystery at all, and Obama’s problems are the same problems Democrats always have at the presidential level: He’s an elitist.

Crazy idea for the day — McCain picks Hillary as VP, sweeping into office with an electoral landslide, as Obama only wins his home state (barely).

OK, maybe not, but a new McCain ad wonders why Obama never answers the questions which Hillary and Biden raised during the primaries (and which Biden will now flip-flop on).

John McCain’s campaign has decided to start some trouble between the Democrats just as they’ve gathered for their convention in Denver. Their new ad, “Passed Over”, asks why the woman who received 18 million votes for the nomination never even made it to the short list for the VP nomination. Team McCain’s answer? The ego of Barack Obama couldn’t handle it …

However, the McCain team found the right formula in this spot. Instead of just focusing on the injustice Hillary received, the ad makes it about Obama and his inability to deal with her criticisms. This calls into question Obama’s leadership and his ability to separate the personal from the job — as well as refloat all of the specific issues Hillary mentions in these clips.

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