Monday, March 31, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

According to Realclearpolitics Barack Obama leads Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by 717,262, not including Florida or Michigan. Digging a little deeper you'll find that 650,304 of those votes come from one state: Illinois. Behind that number is a margin of 429,000 in Cook County alone. How many of those voters are actually alive is not known, but they'll all probably vote again in November.

Those who argue the Senator from Illinois should be the Democrat nominee based on his lead in the popular vote should take note. Illinois has 21 electoral votes. It does not matter by how much you win them in the general election, and it is likely whoever the Dems nominate will win Illinois. For example,
In the 2004 [Senate] primary Obama got 464,917 votes (64.4 percent of the vote) in Cook County and 191,006 votes elsewhere, winning statewide with 52.8 percent of the vote.

Democratic turnout was 1.63 million in 1992 and 1.3 million in 2004. Bill Clinton got 776,829 votes (51.6 percent of the total) in 1992, including 435,599 votes from Cook County and 341,230 from elsewhere.
Going into the convention, Clinton will have a good argument that the states she's won matter more than (essentially) the margin in Cook County, especially if she closes the popular vote gap. Basing the case for Obama on the popular vote could backfire if she gets within 200,000 or so.

It also makes the choice of Al Gore problematic, since he won't have any popular votes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NObama update

Read all three of these in their entirety.

Blind Faith
Christopher Hitchens

You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)

Looking for a moral equivalent to a professional demagogue who thinks that AIDS and drugs are the result of a conspiracy by the white man, Obama settled on an 85-year-old lady named Madelyn Dunham, who spent a good deal of her youth helping to raise him and who now lives alone and unwell in a condo in Honolulu. It would be interesting to know whether her charismatic grandson made her aware that he was about to touch her with his grace and make her famous in this way. By sheer good fortune, she, too, could be a part of it all and serve her turn in the great enhancement.

...The consequence, [of "The Speech"] which you can already feel, is an inchoate resentment among many white voters who are damned if they will be called bigots by a man who associates with Jeremiah Wright. So here we go with all that again. And this is the fresh, clean, new post-racial politics?

...To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come.
An Open Letter to Senator Obama
Lionel Chetwynd

And in that instant I realized my hatred was unjustified. The “context” was false. I was nursing the anger for my own psychic advantage and not because the current state of humanity or my own experience gave it justice. And I shed my anger. And when another film project took me to Germany, my journey was completely different. I’m not saying as I sat in the lobby of the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kimpinski in Munich I couldn’t help but imagine it filled with SS Officers enjoying the fruits of their murdering conquest. Of course I did. But I also understood the young Germans around me could not be held to that account. When one of my colleagues, also Jewish, made a derogatory remark I engaged him, and with surprising ease found he agreed it was time to let go. I threw away the comfort of context, spoke the truth to him. And it freed me. Now, this is not true for all Jews, Senator; some still dwell on that bitterness, and you would say, understandable, given the “context.” Perhaps. But they are not our soul or intent. They are a past generation and we do not look to them for leadership. We teach redemption. We try to hold them to some form of account.

That is the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright’s outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him. That’s how we’ll reach the postracial era: by no longer justifying ourselves with what was, instead speaking to what now exists. Not deny the past, but recognize that’s what it is: past.

You say you are devoted to Reverend Wright because he brought you to Christ. I can only imagine how powerful a relationship that forges. But, my imperfect understanding of the Christian Faith tells me you can do him an equally magnificent service: You can help bring him back to Christ. Show him redemption and salvation lie not in the satisfaction of doing little dances in a pulpit while you slander good and decent people. Teach him that great leadership and Christian love abjures the very filth – and I pick that word deliberately – that he spews on an apparently regular basis. After all, Senator, you know our government did not invent the HIV virus to kill African-Americans. You know, Senator, this is not the United States of KKK America. You know the truth of 9/11. At least you should. Both you and Michelle have benefited mightily from the new spirit that has come to America in the last two generations.
The Obama Crash and Burn
Victor Davis Hanson
For some bizarre reason, Obama aimed his speech at winning praise from National Public Radio, the New York Times, and Harvard, and solidifying an already 90-percent solid African-American base — while apparently insulting the intelligence of everyone else.

Indeed, the more op-eds and pundits praised the courage of Barack Obama, the more the polls showed that there was a growing distrust that the eloquent and inspirational candidate has used his great gifts, in the end, to excuse the inexcusable.

The speech and Obama’s subsequent interviews neither explained his disastrous association with Wright, nor dared open up a true discussion of race — which by needs would have to include, in addition to white racism, taboo subjects ranging from disproportionate illegitimacy and drug usage to higher-than-average criminality to disturbing values espoused in rap music and unaddressed anti-Semitism. We learn now that Obama is the last person who wants to end the establishment notion that a few elite African Americans negotiate with liberal white America over the terms of grievance and entitlement — without which all of us really would be transracial persons, in which happiness and gloom hinge, and are seen to do so, on one’s own individual success or failure.

Instead there were the tired platitudes, evasions, and politicking. The intelligentsia is well aware of how postmodern cultural equivalence, black liberation theory, and moral relativism seeped into Obama’s speech, and thus was not offended by an “everybody does it” and “who’s to judge?/eye of the beholder” defense. But to most others the effect was Clintonian. Somehow Obama could not just say,
There is nothing to be offered for Rev. Wright except my deepest apologies for not speaking out against his venom far earlier. We in the African-American community know better than anyone the deleterious effects of racist speech, and so it is time for Rev. Wright and myself to part company, since we have profoundly different views of both present- and future-day America.
Indeed. Would that they did have profoundly different views.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Lhasa Tea Party?

Protesting as if it meant something.

S.V. has been observing the treatment of Tibetan protestors at the hands of the host of the next Olympics. This causes him to wonder at the cluelessness of some citizens of the United States.

There are 130, and counting, Tibetans who have assumed room temperature because they have dared to criticize their Chinese Communist oppressors: Occupiers of Tibet since 1951. Unlike Berkeley, California rhetoric regarding Marine Corps Recruiters; Oppressors and Occupiers actually mean something in this case.

The Chinese have killed over a million Tibetans, established a Gulag, stripped the region of its culture and crushed civil liberty. In short, the Tibetan protests are about actual freedom. For a start, the freedom to speak out publicly without being killed.

We see Tibetans beaten every day on television lately - which is as much an indication of the Chinese regard for "world opinion" as it is evidence of their vicious Maoist heritage. In the words of Michelle Obama, the ChiComs are "just downright mean," they preside over "a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day" who are "guided by fear" - in ways Michelle Obama probably can't conceive. The Chinese totalitarians, moreover, do not inspire pride in country.

The United States, on the other hand, tolerates and even celebrates protesters. These range from those who shout "God Damn America" from their pulpits to those who would break into a church during Easter Sunday service in order to throw blood on the worshippers, including children. The difference between freedom and lack thereof is demonstrated by the fact that the preacher in the former example is still free to spew his vitriol, and that all six blood-slingers are still among the living. Further, their mug shots show no evidence of beating.

If they had done this in Tibet, where pitching blood on a Commissar might have had some relevance, I think two of them would be dead and the rest wouldn't be able to stand unassisted.

In 1989 the Tiananmen protesters made this. It doesn't necessarily follow that they had pride in the United States, but it most certainly meant they thought WE ought to have it. In 1989 Michelle Obama was 25.

I doubt Jeremiah Wright, Michelle Obama, Donte D. Smith, Ephran Ramirez Jr., Ryane Ziemba, Mercedes Phinaih, Regan Maher, or Angela Haban actually understand any of this. It would help if they looked here, here and here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shilling us softly with our wrongs

Barack Obama vaulted into the national attention with his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In that speech he shared this story:
My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or ”blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined -- They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren’t rich, because in a generous America you don’t have to be rich to achieve your potential.

They're both passed away now. And yet, I know that on this night they look down on me with great pride.

They stand here -- And I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents’ dreams live on in my two precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible.
He also made this observation:
...Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.
Senator Obama's credentials for disowning the race-baiting, anti-American pastor of his church seem well established. From that 2004 soar of rhetoric, one could depend on him to put Jeremiah Wright in his place. However, Obama does not even suggest he has tried.

It would have been a good defense to describe the ongoing, vehement, roof-raising arguments - the good vs. evil view of the United States shouting matches - that punctuated their 20+ year mutual admiration society: "Here is an intensely personal example of my long term commitment to unity and change. Changing Rev. Wright's mind is why I persevered as a member of TUCC."

I suspect the lack of this defense means no such conversations took place. Our President should be able to press an argument that the United States isn't evil upon his closest friends, don't you think?

Previous to the Wright exposé, I only highly suspected Michelle Obama of promoting the low expectations of soft bigotry - relative to Jeremiah Wright that is, you've got to parse the bigotry. She speaks repeatedly of America's meanness, of oppression and of her lack of pride in America. She encourages individual despair that only her husband's administration can fix. Michelle Obama is a very angry woman, not much enamored of the United States. You can easily imagine the Reverend Wright whispering in her ear.

Up until this last week you can imagine him sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.

Today, Senator Obama spoke eloquently to explain all this. His eloquence foundered, however, on the rock of yet another excuse for Jeremiah Wright's behavior and beliefs. He excused Wright - by pointing out that his white grandmother is also a bigot. Perhaps not a raving, blame-America-first bigot, but close enough to justify a cynical exploitation of family in a time of political need:

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
Sorry, Barack, you didn't choose your grandmother and she wasn't preaching racism and nut-job conspiracy theories to thousands of people. Is she selling DVD's of her remarks? If you're the healer, the uniter, you had to disown your choice of Jeremiah Wright.

My question Senator, is this: If you are the great uniter, why, in over 20 years of intimate association with the man, were you unable to convince Jeremiah Wright of the good things about America you describe in your DNC speech?

Just words?

We'll go to Shelby Steele for today's last word on this:
The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?
Today, Barack Obama acknowledged that to be true, after half-denials for the last week. I think he's toast in a general election.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Is Obama even half-Wright?

The following links discuss the Obama family's world-view, the part Jeremiah Wright has played in it and whether the Senator has been forthcoming about either. As TOC noted, it's about choice.

Reading all of these is recommended. Some are fairly long.

Knowing Obama by the Company He Keeps

I learned more about staying on the narrow path and avoiding trouble from my grandmother in five minutes than Barack and Michelle Obama seem to have learned in their whole lives. This lesson in human nature and relationships is pretty darned simple. And it gives no quarter to anyone; it applies to all human beings.

"People will know you by the company you keep," my grandmother told me.

"So, be very careful how you choose your friends, because a person's most valuable possession is his reputation, and once lost, a reputation is nearly impossible to restore."

But the most valuable nugget of all:

"If you remain friends with people up to no good, you are bound to become like them. If you think you're above their influence, you are just fooling yourself. So, choose wisely."

Barack Obama chose Jeremiah Wright as his pastor, his spiritual mentor and friend. Obama has kept the relationship intact for more than 20 years now.
Deconstructing Obama's lawyerly evasions on Wright
Barack Obama desperately needs to distance himself from his spiritual mentor and pastor of two decades, Jeremiah Wright, Jr. But the man who wants America to believe his promise of unspecified change adopts the carefully-parsed language of a Harvard-trained lawyer. There is a fundamental discordance in spirit between a canny, evasive lawyer inserting loopholes, and the smiling vision of unity and change you can believe in.

Here is the key paragraph of Obama's statement, bizarrely first published on the Huffington Post, a website that once featured Senator Joseph Lieberman in minstrel blackface. There are multiple evasions buried in each line, analyzed below: ...
The Wit & Wisdom of Barack Obama
...in his best speeches he offers quick, arresting portraits of individual Americans he has met in his travels. Taken together they help him execute a rhetorical pivot that only the greatest populist politicians--FDR in the 1930s, Reagan in 1980--have been able to pull off. You could call it optimistic despair. The overarching theme of Obama's speeches, and of his campaign, is that America is a fetid sewer whose most glorious days lie just ahead, thanks to the endless ranks of pathetic losers who make it a beacon of hope to all mankind.
who-ya-gonna-believe-me-or-your-lyin'-eyes
The Senator has said he missed Jeremiah Wright's post-9/11 sermon. How many other Sundays did he decide to sleep in? Did he also miss the one where the Reverend Wright referred to "the US of KKKA"? How about the one where the pastor said "the government lied about Pearl Harbor. They knew the Japanese were about to attack"?

Out of town that morning? Well, what about the one where he said "the government lied about inventing HIV as a means of genocide against people of color"? Alarm clock out of batteries that Sunday, too?

It seems hard to believe you could spend 20 minutes in this pastor's company, never mind 20 years (as the Obamas have), without figuring he's a race-baiting loon.
Obama responded forcefully yesterday to what his pastor has been saying for lo, these 20 years: "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue." Fair enough.

What about these statements, then?

This country is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," "we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents." "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day." "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

Where does this person live who thinks things have gotten progressively worse in the last 44 years? In America,
the most charitable and upwardly mobile country in the world.

Those are the words of Michelle Obama. Who, by the way, is paid over $300,000 a year by the University of Chicago Medical Center. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard, her husband's a United States Senator. To paraphrase Tom McGuire, if the Obamas were white they'd be John and Elizabeth Edwards. Two Americas, indeed. Cynics, sloths, complacents and complainants are the natural constituency of the Edwama message.

In the interest of giving unequal time to Jeremiah Wright's defenders, let's hear from Otis Moss III, the current pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. Moss called criticism of Wright and the church an "attack on the legacy of the African American Church which led and continues to lead the fight for human rights in America and around the world."

Barack Obama cannot view this as helpful. The Reverend Moss just equated "God damn America - the US of KKKA; the terrorist state that invented AIDS to kill blacks; the country that conspired to let the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and deserves what it got on 9/11." - since that montage of Wright sentiments is what the criticism is about - with the legacy of the "African American Church." Or else Reverend Moss' remarks were an unfortunate non-sequitur. Or maybe TUCC is beyond criticism. You pick.

Finally, much left-wing attention has been paid to the defense that guilt by association is ridiculous. For myself, I think a 20+ year association and high public praise of someone is an association worth pondering. However, if you want an example of how "progressives" have treated this association thing in the past, you will be grateful for this reminder from Peter Wehner at National Review Online:
We actually have an example of how the MSM plays the “guilt by association” card when it comes to certain political and religious figures. In the 2000 campaign George W. Bush spoke once at Bob Jones University; it was an event used to bludgeon Bush with for the rest of the campaign and into his presidency. And, of course, Bush did not attend Bob Jones University, financially support it, or consider Bob Jones to be his spiritual mentor or close friend for 25 years. Yet these things mattered not at all. Bush spoke at Bob Jones University — and so to many in the press, he was joined at the hip with it. The association between Reverend Wright and Senator Obama is far deeper in every respect.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's the productivity, stupid!

When bashing NAFTA for loss of domestic manufacturing jobs one does need to address this:
Index: 1960 = 100

H/T CARPE DIEM

So, Hillary... Barack... how much of this productivity gain should we give up to preserve manufacturing jobs? Think how much more competitive our automakers would be if US plants needed 4 times as many workers as Japanese and Korean factories. They'd probably all vote Democrat, too.

OTOH, we could all consume 4 times as much. As much electricity and jet fuel as Al Gore, for example.

There was a time when 80% of jobs were on the farm. But we got over that.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Al-Qaeda and Saddam

The Pentagon has released a 59 page summary of a 1,600 page document which itself was a distillation of 600,000 pages of primary source material about Saddam Hussein. There was a fair bit regarding Al-Qaeda.

Predictably, the MSM is misrepresenting it and the Bush administration can't bring itself to defend the truth. The 59 pages are here:


You can also read analysis at the links below.

Gunsmoke

Why is the Bush administration silent on the new Pentagon report?
by William Kristol
Late last week, the Defense Department released an analysis of 600,000 documents captured in Iraq prepared by the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded think tank. Here's the attention-grabbing sentence from the report's executive summary: "This study found no 'smoking gun' (i.e. direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda."

Relying on a leak of the executive summary, ABC News reported that the study was "the first official acknowledgment from the U.S. military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda." There followed a brief item in the Washington Post that ran under the headline "Study Discounts Hussein, Al-Qaeda Link." The New York Times announced: "Study Finds No Qaeda-Hussein Tie." NPR agreed: "Study Finds No Link Between Saddam, bin Laden."

And the Bush administration reacted with an apparently guilty silence.

But here's the truth. The executive summary of the report is extraordinarily misleading. The full report, released Thursday night, states, for example, on page 42: "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives." In fact, as Stephen F. Hayes reports in this issue, the study outlines a startling range of connections between Saddam and various organizations associated with al Qaeda and other terror groups.
Saddam's Dangerous Friends
What a Pentagon review of 600,000 Iraqi documents tells us.
by Stephen F. Hayes
This ought to be big news. Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda's second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon. "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives." According to the Pentagon study, Egyptian Islamic Jihad was one of many jihadist groups that Iraq's former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.

The study was commissioned by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and produced by analysts at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded military think tank. It is entitled "Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents." The study is based on a review of some 600,000 documents captured in postwar Iraq. Those "documents" include letters, memos, computer files, audiotapes, and videotapes produced by Saddam Hussein's regime, especially his intelligence services. The analysis section of the study covers 59 pages. The appendices, which include copies of some of the captured documents and translations, put the entire study at approximately 1,600 pages.
While you're at it, this 2004 piece by Stephen Hayes is worth reading, too; if only for a reminder of Al Gore's demagoguery.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Barack and Geraldine Show

Powerline's Paul Mirengoff on Barack and Geraldine: Sacked for stating the obvious
...I think we can agree that it was politically unwise for Ferraro to have made these comments. On the other hand, they are true at several levels. For one thing, if Obama were white, he would not be capturing 80 to 90 percent of the African-American vote in Democratic primaries against a candidate towards whom African-Americans previously were quite well disposed. And without that general level of black support, Obama would be winning many fewer delegates.

In addition, it’s highly unlikely that Obama’s trademark statements about coming together as a nation -- the ones that drive the crowds wild -- would have much resonance coming from him were it were not for his race. Obama is a left-wing Democrat with no special claim as a healer of “what divides us as a nation” other than his racial status. (For more about how that status, and Obama’s very clever use of it, has turned Obama into an icon, please consult Shelby Steele and his book on Obama, A Bound Man). The country is, indeed, “caught up in the concept.”
Read The Whole Thing

Even ABC News is now hearing about what Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. has been saying for 20 years: Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11

Well, isn't that what Michelle Obama has been implying with her "America is just mean" - "it's the first time I've been proud of my country" - "you people don't have a chance against The Man" diatribes? Shilling us softly with our wrongs, she is the anti-hope. It's not hard to draw a line back to her church as a reason for this.

Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. - From the horse's mouth: Wright on film

I said it's about choice - The pig can get up and walk away -
so I appreciate this thought from Roger L. Simon: March 13, 2008: Barack has some explaining to do
As we all know, we don't choose our family, but Obama chose this racist demagogue as his pastor for decades.
Indeed he did.

If insert Republican candidate name here's pastor had said anything like this, do you think iRcnh would get a pass?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama is black

So what? Well, there's a taboo factor seemingly attached to his persona. The very idea of Barack Obama means some facts just can't be stated. Extend this a bit and we'll all be asking who's Tony Rezko, anyway?

Obama's name and his race are unquestionably advantages in his campaign, but to point out that he is benefiting, in any way, from a spontaneous surge of affirmative actionism, combined with multi-cultural paranoia, is verboten.

You are not allowed to mention Obama's race or ethnicity. It's the third rail of the Dems nomination struggle. It's why Condi Rice is the smart choice for GOP veep.

Former Democrat VP nominee Geraldine Ferraro said: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position." She attracted a lot of flak for this, and has just resigned from the Clinton campaign because of it. The fact that she's got a good point doesn't mean she can be allowed to express it.

Before you start feeling guilty twinges about secretly agreeing with Ferraro, think of it this way:
If Barack Obama were a smooth talking white guy with an uplifting personal biography and no discernible resume, he would be John Edwards.
-Tom McGuire
Add statist populist demagogue to that, otherwise it could be Mike Huckabee. Huck's only statist on health care and economics, though equally weak on national security.

Another example; recently there has been a big flap about using Senator Obama's middle name. If you somehow didn't know, it's "Hussein." Calling him Barack Hussein Obama will get you labeled a racist Islamophobe.

Here's what the candidate himself had to say about that before his middle name became a victim card.
Sometime before Barack Obama's middle name slipped into the realm of the unmentionable, it was supposed to be a selling point of his candidacy. "Well, I think if you've got a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, that's a pretty good contrast to George W. Bush," Mr. Obama told PBS's Tavis Smiley on October 18, 2007. "If you believe that we've got to heal America and we've got to repair our standing in the world, then I think my supporters believe that I am the messenger who can deliver that message."
If his middle name is a uniting characteristic, as BHO seems to imply, it isn't working very well. Maybe it's only OK if he says it.

H/T Instapundit & LGF

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

evil cabal

This comment was written today to a post of November 26, 2007. It deserves to be more widely read than it will be in the archives. The following will be somewhat clearer if you read the November post first.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Michigan Business Tax - disaster in the making":

My Illinois business just found out that a $22,000 Michigan SBT liability for 2007 will become a $57,640 liability for 2008, and all I do is have the misfortune of having a couple customers in this pathetic state! This new tax amounts to 25% of the profit I generate from my Michigan business. Add to that my 34% federal obligation on my business profits, throw in a couple more % for Illinois, and I am being ROBBED of 70% of the money I make just because a customer decides to locate in Michigan. I hope you Michigan voters vote this evil cabal out before they ruin your state. Gov Grandholm [sic] is gonna wake up one day and discover no business willing to do business in Michigan, so how will she pay the welfare benefits for all those unemployed workers in Flint and Detroit?

Typical commie liberals.
Ah, the misfortune of having a couple of customers in Michigan.

That's a 162% tax increase.
It's a trade war and I wouldn't be at all upset to see some retaliation.

Anonymous does not say whether the 25% of his Michigan related profit is based on gross or net. Adding 34% federal tax makes it seem like gross. If so, I imagine his Michigan customers may shortly be looking for a new vendor.

While we're revisiting the November post, these comments are also worth noting:
Mitch [of Canada's John Galt] said...

The Republican congress had HR 1956 tabled for the floor of the house last September. This would have redefined Nexus per P.L. 86-272, stating that a state could only impose business level taxes (i.e. MBT) only if the taxpayer had physical presence in the state.

Alas, many states are using more esoteric definitions such as "directed economic activity" in order to tax companies that have no physical property in payroll in a state (MBNA v. West Virginia). Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

States will continue to expand the definition of Nexus, ensnaring more out of state entities (perfect since they don't vote in their minds). This will be coming to a head within the next few years unless congress or the Supreme court stops it.
9:20 PM EST

Anonymous said...

Please include Madam Governor and her statist appointments in the Treasury Department when handing out idiot awards.

Complete incompetence. Unbelievable incompetence.
9:42 PM EST


jgillman said...

I have an essay on this here..
http://michigantaxes.com/wordpress/?p=132

Talking to the aide for Howard Walker, I am still left a little confused, but there may be (a little) hope for some of us. It is still sickening, how ANY law could be passed without the full understanding of it's impact PRIOR to it's passage
10:37 AM EST

Monday, March 10, 2008

Existing conditions

Last week a Dewitt woman received a traffic ticket because she slid off US 127 in northern Michigan. Two points. One hundred dollars. No one was hurt and damage (she disputes this) was limited to a bent highway marker. The ticketing officer said that, except for that, no ticket would have been issued. "If there's no damage then it's just a car in the ditch."

Lt. Gary Megge of the State Police Traffic Services Section spoke with Lansing State Journal columnist John Schneider and objected to that interpretation. Lt. Megge says that it wouldn't matter if there were damage or not. If you slide off the road, you have ipso facto "failed to adjust to existing conditions," an offense under the traffic code.

I can understand Lt. Megge's point, but where does the line get drawn? You were driving too fast for the existing condition of a pothole that exploded your tire? You were driving too fast for the existing condition of a tornado? Maybe because of it? What if you've failed to adjust to existing conditions but are lucky and don't slide into a ditch? Still guilty? Is claiming you slid into the ditch on purpose a defense?

Seems like a law in need of semantic assistance. Lt. Megge, unfortunately, supplies some:
Too many drivers believe government is obligated to allow them to get from Point A to Point B under any conditions. That's just not the case.
Maybe too many State Police Traffic Services Section public employees believe that what the government "allows" is even at issue. Government, rather, is manifestly not obligated to rescue me from my stupidity should I travel unwisely. If they were, we could sue for failure to protect from sliding into the ditch, or for bodily harm incurred in gun-free zones.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Power, tripping.

So much for my speculation about Samantha Power as a future SecState for President Obama. She's just resigned from Obama's campaign after describing Hillary Clinton as a "monster" in a recent interview with a Scots newspaper, The Scotsman.

Ms Power was not content with that, however. She later told the BBC that Obama is just as serious about getting the troops out of Iraq as he is about abrogating our NAFTA Treaty obligations. That is, not so much.

For all the chatter about Obama adviser Samantha Power's calling Clinton a "monster," another set of remarks made on her book tour in the United Kingdom may be equally threatening to the Obama campaign: Comments in a BBC interview that express a lack of confidence that Obama will be able to carry through his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months.

"He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator," she said at one point in the interview.

Power downplayed Obama's commitment to quick withdrawal from Iraq on Hard Talk, a program that often exceeds any of the U.S. talk shows in the rigor of its grillings. She was challenged on Obama's Iraq plan, as it appears on his website, which says that Obama "will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

"What he’s actually said, after meting with the generals and meeting with intelligence professionals, is that you – at best case scenario – will be able to withdraw one to two combat brigades each month. That’s what they’re telling him. He will revisit it when he becomes president," Power says.
Power has already resigned, so there's nothing much left but seppuku.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Farrakhan. Power.

TOC noted on Feb-27 that Barack Obama had been somewhat less than ringing in his repudiation of support from "Calypso Louie" Farrakhan, the noted anti-semite. Farrakhan's current gig is head of the Nation of Islam.

We further noted Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.'s close connections with, and admiration for, Minister Farrakhan. Dr. Wright was Obama's pastor for many years at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ; an Obama mentor whose influence is probably less veiled in Michelle Obama's unrelenting pessimism. She should just stop giving speeches. Eventually, her philosophical darkness is going to overwhelm Obama's hopeful message.

In addition to Dr. Wright, it turns out there's another name you should know. That of:

Obama's Mentor's Mentor

The influence of the black liberation theology of James H. Cone appears in the political philosophy of Barack Obama as well as in the recent controversial statement about national pride made by Michelle Obama.

The spiritual role that Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC) and its just-retired pastor Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright have played in the lives of Barack and Michelle Obama is well-established, as is the Africentric theology that is the cornerstone of the church's self-proclaimed identity.

One largely unexamined element of that Africentric theology, though, is the pivotal role that black liberation theologian Dr. James H. Cone, Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary (NYC), and his 1969 book Black Theology & Black Power, have played in the life of that faith community. Examining Cone's theology may enlighten us on Barack's political philosophy and Michelle's recently controversial statement about not having been proud of her country until the favorable reception to her husband's candidacy.

...Cone's myopic theological worldview looks solely through the prism of his understanding of the experience of Blacks in America as victims of white oppression.

Ironically, while the media has occasionally focused on the religious beliefs of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, a much more substantive faith element has been at work in Obama's campaign, and the media mostly hasn't noticed, or if it has, hasn't commented.

None of this, [RTWT] if accurate, makes Barack Obama a man necessarily unsuitable for the Presidency of the United States, nor his wife for the role of First Lady. But, it may give us cause to further explore their worldviews, and the perspectives of those who, like Dr. Cone, have influenced the formation of those views.
Speaking of "world" views, let's not ignore Obama's top foreign policy advisor, Samantha Power.

Speaking truth to Power

Samantha Power is the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide, and she has a professorship at Harvard (in something called "Global Leadership and Public Policy"). She is also a senior foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama. This isn't an honorific: she has worked for Obama in Washington, she has campaigned for him around the country, and she doesn't hesitate to speak for him. This morning, the Washington Post has a piece on Obama's foreign policy team, identifying her (and retired Maj. Gen. Scott Garion) as "closest to Obama, part of a group-within-the-group that he regularly turns to for advice." Power and Garion "retain unlimited access to Obama." This morning's New York Times announces that Power has an "irresistable profile" and "she could very well end up in [Obama's] cabinet."

She also has a problem: a corpus of critical statements about Israel. These have been parsed by Noah Pollak at Commentary's blog Contentions, by Ed Lasky and Richard Baehr at American Thinker, and by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line.

Power made her most problematic statement in 2002, in an interview she gave at Berkeley. The interviewer asked her this question:
Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine-Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?
Power gave an astonishing answer:
What we don’t need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing—or investing, I think, more than sacrificing—billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.

Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat” [Sharon-Arafat]. I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention.... Any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism. But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.
It isn't too difficult to see all the red flags in this answer. Having placed Israel's leader on par with Yasser Arafat, she called for massive military intervention on behalf of the Palestinians, to impose a solution in defiance of Israel and its American supporters. Billions of dollars would be shifted from Israel's security to the upkeep of a "mammoth protection force" and a Palestinian state—all in the name of our "principles."
Whatever those principles are. It's hard to tell.

A thorough discussion of Sam Power is unfolding at the Powerline links below. This is the person who could very well be SecState for a President Obama.

January 29, 2008
Obama tries his hand at damage control -- and pandering

February 2, 2008
Soft Power

February 11, 2008
Soft Power, Part Two

February 19, 2008
Soft Power, Part Three

February 25, 2008
Soft Power, Part Four

February 28, 2008
Soft Power, Part Five

February 29, 2008
Soft Power -- Max Boot responds

March 3, 2008
Soft Power, behind the music

March 4, 2008
Bad news for al Qaeda. . .and for liberal talking points

March 5, 2008
The arrogance of impotence, Obama style

March 6, 2008
The book tour from hell

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Famous Pig Song

In response to a request for the "original" poem mentioned yesterday, here's an extended version. There are many versions, so I am not sure that Mr. Van Ness originated it, though there is a recording here.

In any case, an extended version:

The Famous Pig Song
(Clarke Van Ness, music by F. Henri Klickmann)

'Twas an evening in October, I'll confess I wasn't sober,
I was carting home a load with manly pride,
When my feet began to stutter and I fell into the gutter,
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
Then I lay there in the gutter and my heart was all a-flutter,
Till a lady, passing by, did chance to say:
"You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses,"
Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.

Walked away, walked away,
He was really too particular to stay.
"You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses,"
Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.

Then I heard a gentle mooing, it was like a pigeon cooing,
As a home returning cow stopped in her stride,
And her eyes were big and gentle; her expression sentimental,
As she curtsied low and sat down by my side.
Then I saw her eyelids flutter and a tear fell in the gutter,
As the owner of the cow did loudly say:
"Leave that brute this moment, Sonja, or your milk will curdle on ya,"
Then the cow got up and slowly walked away.

Walked away, walked away,
She was really too particular to stay.
"Leave that brute this moment, Sonja, or your milk will curdle on ya,"
Then the cow got up and slowly walked away.

Then the moon began to shine in that old gutter I reclined in,
Thinking of the weakness of the human race,
When a dog sat down beside me, and I thought he came to chide me,
Till he gently licked the stubble on my face.
In the gutter, still reclining, I began "Sweet Adeline-ing,"
While the dog raised up his head to loudly bay;
Then his mistress said, "Come, Fido, that disgusting man may bite you,"
Then the dog got up and slowly walked away.

Walked away, walked away,
He was really too particular to stay.
Then his mistress said, "Come, Fido, that disgusting man may bite you,"
Then the dog got up and slowly walked away.

Down the street there came a clatter, and a gentle pitter-patter,
As a pair of goats along the gutter ran;
And it seemed that Billy knew me, for he quickly drew up to me,
While his wife munched on an empty sardine can.
Then again my pulse did flutter, and my heart was soft as butter;
Till the Nanny goat, unto her mate, did say:
"William dear, your social status don't include men such as that is,"
Then the goat got up and slowly walked away.

Walked away, walked away,
He was really too particular to stay.
"William dear, your social status don't include men such as that is,"
Then the goat got up and slowly walked away.

Then I started in to mutter and I rose up from the gutter,
Then I sadly went about my lonely way;
I was weary, sick and busted; I was really quite disgusted,
And I vowed to sign the pledge that very day.
For each humble, lowly creature, a great lesson he can teach ya,
Like the one learned while I in the gutter lay;
In the tavern, do not tarry, when you've got all you can carry,
But take up your load and slowly walk away.

Walk away, walk away,
For the "Horrors" is an awful price to pay,
In the tavern, do not tarry, when you've got all you can carry,
But take up your load and slowly walk away.

Now lately I've been thinking that I will quit my drinking.
I'm going to leave off whiskey, beer and grog,
For there's no consolation, but only aggravation,
You can't even find friendship with a hog.