Archive for October, 2008
29 Oct 2008

“Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Alaska Any More”


29 Oct 2008

From the Ministry of Truth

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Ed Driscoll visits Winston Smith at the Ministry of Truth and explores how history can be turned on a dime.

7:25 video

Via Glenn Reynolds.

29 Oct 2008

Feel Comforted Now?

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Patrick Edaburn, at the Moderate Voice, tries assuring Republicans that America will remain a free country after Obama’s victory.

As we sit a week or so out from Election Day I have been having some interesting discussions with some of my conservative friends. They are paranoid about the prospect of a big Democratic victory next week and that it will result in all kinds of horrible things happening to them. They act like it is only a matter of time before they are all sent to internment camps for re-education.

Much as I did with my liberal friends 4 and 8 years ago I have done my best to convince them that while they might not care for the new agenda they are not going to see such harsh events. Whether it was the left paranoid that Bush was going to cancel the 2008 vote or the right convinced Obama will become President for Life, I always tried to remind them that we live in a free society and that is not going to change. …

This year I also understand why people on the right have fears. One visit to web sites like Daily Kos, Left Coaster, Huffington Post or Democratic Underground will open your eyes to some of the rhetoric is out of bounds. Many on these sites are not simply looking for success in November but to ‘purge the conservative movement’. These sites have hosted discussions of abolishing the Republican party and prohibiting anyone who voted Republican from having any rights in the future.

Of course these proposals are hardly likely to be acted upon, but the fact that these people sincerely hate anyone who disagrees with them is quite disturbing to say the least. Obviously the same kind of rhetoric has and does exist on the right but this year it seems a little stronger on the left, probably because they foresee victory and thus the ability to act on the ideas.

Except there is one proposal from the radical left, which obviously is under very serious consideration.

While many on the left were right to condemn those aspects of the Patriot Act that went too far in chilling free speech, some are now proposing a measure that would be equally restrictive.

The proposal is the so called Fairness Doctrine. While Obama has an least semi officially said he is not going to push the idea, many Democrats in Congress are firmly behind the idea. For those who don’t know the doctrine requires that media outlets give equal time to opposing views when they issue editorials.

On the surface it sounds somewhat reasonable, but when you look deeper you find that it is far from balanced.

For one thing it does not apply to any form of printed media. I think most of us would agree that the print media of newspapers and magazines is dominated by liberal views. This is not to say that there are not conservative publications out there, but most of them are liberal. Under the fairness doctrine none of these places would have to change anything or offer any space for opposing views.

Turning to television, I again think its fair to say that the liberal side is in the majority, though with Fox News there is a stronger conservative presence. The fairness doctrine would apply to television but only as far as opinions are being expressed. So NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc would be free to continue with their liberal slant in news while Fox would be free to continue with the conservative slant, at least in terms of straight news broadcasts.

Opinion shows would be forced to balance out, but again we would see most of the news broadcasts unchanged.

The real impact would be in the area of talk radio, where the conservatives are clearly in charge. THey would either have to offer equal time or shut down. So for every hour or Rush or Hannity you would need an hour of liberal views.

Thus looking at the 3 major segments of media (print, TV and radio) the fairness doctrine would do little to the first two but would dramatically impact the third, which just happens to be the major forum for center right viewpoints.

I am not a fan of the Limbaughs but I can certainly see why some on the right would look to this as an effort to basically suppress any opposing viewpoints. I don’t really expect Obama to do this any more than Bush did, but it doesn’t exactly look good to some on the right.

Be sure to vote next Tuesday.

29 Oct 2008

Better Late Than Never

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Eli Lake in New Republic reports a major change in Bush Administration policy toward terrorist safe havens in countries outside Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have entered a new phase in the war on terror. In July, according to three administration sources, the Bush administration formally gave the military new power to strike terrorist safe havens outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Before then, a military strike in a country like Syria or Pakistan would have required President Bush’s personal approval. Now, those kinds of strikes in the region can occur at the discretion of the incoming commander of Central Command (Centcomm), General David Petraeus. One intelligence source described the order as institutionalizing the “Chicago Way,” an allusion to Sean Connery’s famous soliloquy about bringing a gun to a knife fight.

The new order could pave the way for direct action in Kenya, Mali, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen–all places where the American intelligence believe al Qaeda has a significant presence, but can no longer count on the indigenous security services to act. In the parlance of the Cold War, Petraeus will now have the authority to fight a regional “dirty war.” When queried about the order from July, deputy spokesman for the National Security Council Ben Chang offered no comment.

Strikes within Iran could be justified by the order, since senior al Qaeda leaders such as Saif al Adel are believed to have used that country as a base for aiding the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda affiliates in Iraqi Kurdistan. For now, however, any action inside Iranian territory will require at least sign off from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff because of Iran’s capacity to retaliate inside the western hemisphere.

Why has the administration changed policy at this late date? For starters, the administration is genuinely worried about al Qaeda’s resurgence, not just in Pakistan, but across Asia and Africa. Within the administration, there is growing frustration with security services that are either unable or unwilling to root out al Qaeda within their borders. Pakistan is perhaps the best example of this. And even friendly services, like the one in Kenya, have made maddeningly little progress in their fight against terrorism.

When the administration first proposed this approach, it met with internal resistance. The National Intelligence Council produced a paper outlining the risk associated with this change in policy such as scuttling the prospect for better security cooperation in the future. And Admiral William Fallon, who preceded Petraeus at Centcomm, opposed taking direct action against al Qaeda and affiliated targets in Syria. But with the clock winding down on the administration, it has a greater appetite for racking up victories against al Qaeda–and less worries about any residual political consequences from striking. Roger Cressey, a former deputy to Richard Clarke in the Clinton and Bush administrations, says, “[W]ith the administration in the final weeks, the bar for military operations will be lowered because the downsides for the president are minimal.”

28 Oct 2008

Obama Campaign Bans Another Station

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This time it was CBS Channel 3 in Philadelphia. Ask a hardball question of Joe Biden, and you’re out.

2:23 video

Via US Neverdock.

28 Oct 2008

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Beats Up Obama Campaign’s Bill Burton

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The Obama Campaign responded to the release of the WBEZ 2001 Obama “redistribution” radio broadcast by issuing a statement blaming “the all too common alliance of Fox News, the Drudge Report and John McCain.”

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly responded by inviting Barack Obama’s National Press Secretary Bill Burton onto Fox News’ America’s Election Headquarters.

Fun to Watch!

7:01 video

Via Newbusters.

28 Oct 2008

“Just a Guy in my Neighborhood”


But in one this September 6, 2001 WBEZ interview, it seems that the Bill calling in to ask Obama some softball questions has a recognizable voice.

3:47 audio

27 Oct 2008

Rush Bids Adieu to the Big Tent Conservatives

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And Rush, as usual, is right.

I wish to reach around and pat myself on the back. Way back during the Republican primaries — when the battle was between Huckabee and Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and McCain — we were told by the Republican Party hierarchy that the only chance the Republican Party had (by the way, we were told this also by some of the intellectualoids in our own conservative media) to win was to attract Democrats and moderates; and that the era of Reagan was over, and we had to somehow find a way to become stewards of a Big Government but smarter that gives money away to the Wal-Mart middle class so that they, too, will feel comfortable with us and like us and vote for us.

In that sense, it was said the only opportunity this party has to regain power is John McCain. Only John McCain can get moderates and independents and Democrats to join the Republican Party, “and we can’t win,” these intellectualoids said, “if that didn’t happen.” Well, the latest moderate Republican to abandon his party is William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts who today endorsed the Most Merciful Lord Barack Obama. He joins moderate Republican Colin Powell. He joins former Bush press spokesman Scott McClellan. He joins a number of Republicans like Chuck Hagel, Senator from Nebraska. I don’t know if there’s been an initial endorsement from Hagel, but Obama is out there talking about how Hagel might be secretary of state or have some position in his cabinet.

Now, I wish to ask all of you influential pseudointellectual conservative media types who have also abandoned McCain and want to go vote for Obama (and you know who you are without my having to mention your name) what happened to your precious theory? What the hell happened to your theory that only John McCain could enlarge this party, that we had to get moderates and independents? How the hell is it that moderate Republicans are fleeing their own party and we are not attracting other moderates and independents? How in the hell did you people figure this to happen? So the Republican Party’s own strategy here not only has it backfired, it’s embarrassing. I don’t have any brief for William Weld, don’t misunderstand, but he’s a moderate Republican.

“The Republican Party, we gotta be a big tent,” and that’s code words for, “We gotta have some pro-choicers in our party to get rid of the influence of these hayseed hicks in the South who are pro-life.” Well, they have gone, and I, for one, say, “Damn well good riddance!” Weld, why don’t you stay a Democrat? McClellan, stay a Democrat. All you intellectual conservative media types, go ahead and stay a Democrat once you move over. By the way, we know what this is about. This is about being invited to state dinners in a Barack Obama administration. This is about the social structure of Washington. This is about style. It has nothing to do with the fact that these people love Obama’s policies. They couldn’t if they’re paying attention. Not if they say they’re Republicans. They couldn’t possibly.

But they figure Obama’s running the show, and they don’t want to be shut out the next four years when it comes time to party. Charles Krauthammer writes about this very eloquently today and very elegantly in his column endorsing McCain. I have it in the Stack. I’ll share it with you. There are probably other names I am leaving out here of Republican moderates who have fled and joined the Democrats and Obama, for whatever reasons. I say, good riddance. And this is why I said to you earlier in the week, “I don’t care who wins this election. The task at hand is going to be rebuilding the conservative movement and making sure that the Republican Party is its home,” because the Republican Party hierarchy, bigwigs, people running McCain’s campaign?

They have proven they haven’t a clue how to win an election. They have proven that they have not a clue that they understand the American electorate. They have proven they have not a clue what it is that inspires people to support their party and go to the poll and support them. When I saw the Weld thing today I smiled and I fired off a note to all my buddies and I said, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! How can this be? How can this be? This is the kind of guy that our candidate was supposed to be attracting, and we were supposed to be getting all these moderates from the Democrat Party,” and we will, by the way. We’re going to get some rank and file, average American Democrats that are going to vote for McCain. But these hoity-toity bourgeoisie… Well, they’re not the bourgeoisie, but… Well, they are in a sense. They’re following their own self-interests, so I say fine.

They have just admitted that Republican Party “big tent” philosophy didn’t work. It was their philosophy; it was their idea. These are the people, once they steered the party to where it is, they are the ones that abandoned it. …

We’re going to rebuild it even if McCain wins. We’re going to have to. These people, these moderates who wanted the big tent, they have taken the party exactly where they said they wanted it to be — and when it got there, these little cowards jumped the ship! I have lost all respect for these people. And, folks, when I said at the beginning of this that I wanted to turn around and pat myself on the back, it’s because I (and so many like me) knew this exact thing was going to happen and tried to warn people about it during the primaries and so forth. I am not happy it’s happened except for one reason. We flushed ’em out. We found out they’re not really Republicans and they’re by no means conservatives, and now they’re gone. Now the trick is to keep ’em out.

27 Oct 2008

We Are So Screwed

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Arthur Laffer, in the Wall Street Journal, observes that free markets go up and free markets go down, but if you want enduring economic pain, there’s nothing like a panicky government trying to save the market from itself.

When markets are free, asset values are supposed to go up and down, and competition opens up opportunities for profits and losses. Profits and stock appreciation are not rights, but rewards for insight mixed with a willingness to take risk. People who buy homes and the banks who give them mortgages are no different, in principle, than investors in the stock market, commodity speculators or shop owners. Good decisions should be rewarded and bad decisions should be punished. The market does just that with its profits and losses.

No one likes to see people lose their homes when housing prices fall and they can’t afford to pay their mortgages; nor does any one of us enjoy watching banks go belly-up for making subprime loans without enough equity. But the taxpayers had nothing to do with either side of the mortgage transaction. If the house’s value had appreciated, believe you me the overleveraged homeowner and the overly aggressive bank would never have shared their gain with taxpayers. Housing price declines and their consequences are signals to the market to stop building so many houses, pure and simple.

But here’s the rub. Now enter the government and the prospects of a kinder and gentler economy. To alleviate the obvious hardships to both homeowners and banks, the government commits to buy mortgages and inject capital into banks, which on the face of it seems like a very nice thing to do. But unfortunately in this world there is no tooth fairy. And the government doesn’t create anything; it just redistributes. Whenever the government bails someone out of trouble, they always put someone into trouble, plus of course a toll for the troll. Every $100 billion in bailout requires at least $130 billion in taxes, where the $30 billion extra is the cost of getting government involved.

If you don’t believe me, just watch how Congress and Barney Frank run the banks. If you thought they did a bad job running the post office, Amtrak, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the military, just wait till you see what they’ll do with Wall Street. …

Some 14 months ago, the projected deficit for the 2008 fiscal year was about 0.6% of GDP. With the $170 billion stimulus package last March, the add-ons to housing and agriculture bills, and the slowdown in tax receipts, the deficit for 2008 actually came in at 3.2% of GDP, with the 2009 deficit projected at 3.8% of GDP. And this is just the beginning.

But the government isn’t finished. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — and yes, even Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke — are preparing for a new $300 billion stimulus package in the next Congress. Each of these actions separately increases the tax burden on the economy and does nothing to encourage economic growth. Giving more money to people when they fail and taking more money away from people when they work doesn’t increase work. And the stock market knows it.

27 Oct 2008

2002 Interview: Obama on Redistribution of Wealth

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Obama thought it was a darned shame that the Warren Court didn’t address redistribution of wealth to African Americans. “It wasn’t that radical. It never broke free from the essential constraints that were placed in the Constitution by the founding fathers.”

4:17 video

Via Drudge.

26 Oct 2008

New National Anthem of Obamistan

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Obama never much liked the current national anthem anyway, and he’s already produced his own presidential seal and his own salute, so clearly a new Obama anthem must be in the works.

Glenn Beck imagines what it might be like.

1:27 video

Via Jawa Report and Newsbusters

26 Oct 2008

Saturday Night Live Does Biden & Murtha

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Very funny.

7:02 video

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