Wednesday, November 5, 2008


As I write this in the early morning of the 5th. in Australia, Americans are now voting in the Presidential election. So there does not seem to be a lot of point in saying anything further here about Dumbama. Whatever could be said and done to stop America falling into the hands of an ignoramus has been said and done. The more I have seen of Obama, the more I have become convinced that his academic qualifications are just bits of affirmative action paper. The man knows nothing and has no ideas. All he has to say is hoary old Leftist boilerplate and largely content-free generalities.

So the die is cast and there will be no more posts here after today. This has been a campaign blog only. If Obama is more than a footnote in history tomorrow, his words and deeds will be discussed on my general political blog: DISSECTING LEFTISM.

Just as a parting shot, however, a few last pieces of commentary below:

Economic Illiteracy Is Not the Change We Need

Barack Obama is campaigning for president under the slogan "Change We Need." Unfortunately, many of his economic policy proposals would move us in exactly the wrong direction. As of this writing it appears that Senator Obama will be the next president of the United States. We can move forward by looking at the implications of some of his economic policy proposals.

Consider first the issue of trade. One of the fundamental principles of economics is that there are gains from exchange. During the third presidential debate, Senator Obama said that he believes in free trade but then proposed a slate of caveats and provisos that would undermine the principles of free trade. On the surface, environmental protection and labor standards sound noble, but they actually harm the desperately poor by artificially raising the cost of employing them and effectively legislating them out of the international marketplace. Restrictions on trade provide a short-run windfall for unionized American workers-a powerful Obama constituency-but this windfall comes at the expense of other Americans who have to pay higher prices and at the expense of poor people around the world who are then barred from the market.

Senator Obama has also proposed trying "to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers." However, it isn't clear how NAFTA currently works against American workers, and trying to renegotiate agreements with important trading partners sets a dangerous precedent. The United States risks alienating the international community and imperiling future progress toward free trade.

Second, Senator Obama wants to create millions of new jobs via various environmental schemes. It is important to remember, though, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The resources to create all these jobs must come from somewhere, and if the government is to get the resources to create these jobs, they must redirect them from other lines of employment. Where government intervention is involved, jobs created in one sector are jobs destroyed in another.

Third, Senator Obama wishes to make it easier for workers to unionize. This will raise some incomes for some workers in the short run, but these increases come at the expense of lower wages for other workers, reductions in investment, and reductions in the international competitiveness of the firms that are unionized. The near-failures of the Detroit automakers illustrate how union-friendly policies allowed special interests to bleed producers dry. In the late twentieth century, the government sowed the seeds of financial and social prodigality. Today, we're reaping what was sown.

Finally, Senator Obama proposes increasing the minimum wage. This runs counter to economic theory and mountains of evidence showing that minimum wages hurt exactly the people they are supposed to help. Minimum wages reduce the number of workers businesses wish to hire and legislate some of them out of the labor market. If we wish to truly help the poor, we should eliminate the minimum wage, not increase it.

Both Senator Obama and Senator McCain have offered numerous proposals that are almost audacious in their economic illiteracy. As president, Senator Obama would do well to reexamine the economics of the changes he is proposing. Especially in a turbulent economy, many of his proposals exemplify exactly the kind of change we don't need.


Media Are Big Losers in Election 2008

In one of the worst editorial decisions of this entire campaign, MSNBC, the cable news arm of NBC, used Olbermann and Matthews to anchor the Democratic and Republican conventions. The verdict is in: the mainstream media were overwhelmingly in the tank for Barack Obama, and did their part to make sure he will be elected. Their polls predict an Obama victory, but the people have a chance to vote against media bias on Election Day.

Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger calls Obama a "con-man" who intends on buying the election with untraceable and possibly illegal contributions or stealing it through the efforts of ACORN if necessary. If this is the case, then it will be up to John McCain to decide what to do?concede or fight. The outcome could fall into the hands of lawyers for both sides, and it could be weeks or even months till we know for sure.

The evidence of bias in favor of Barack Obama continues to pour in. In the last couple of weeks came studies from the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), neither of which is considered in any way to have conservative leanings. In the former study, they found that, based on coverage from 48 news outlets between the end of the two party's conventions and the end of the debates, 57% of the stories on McCain were negative, while only 14% were considered positive, while for Obama, those figures were 29% negative and 36% positive.

Surveys show that, by a margin of seven to one, the public thinks that most journalists want Obama to win. Even Democrats, by a six-to-one margin, believe the same. They also saw the bias in favor of Obama during the Democratic primaries and caucuses. The liberal bias cannot be denied.

The CMPA reported their findings last week: "Based on a scientific content analysis of 979 election news stories with 33 hours 40 minutes airtime that appeared on the ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX evening newscasts (the first half hour of Fox News Channel's "Special Report") from August 23 to October 24," they determined that "On the broadcast network newscasts, evaluations of Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been over twice as favorable as evaluations of John McCain and Sarah Palin-65% positive versus 35% negative for the Democratic ticket compared to 31% positive versus 69% negative evaluations of the Republican ticket."

They go on to reveal that Fox's (the Fox News Channel) premier news show, Brit Hume's "Special Report," is both more balanced and more negative than the broadcast network shows. McCain and Palin combined have received 39% favorable and 61% unfavorable comments on Brit Hume's show, compared to 28% favorable and 72% unfavorable comments about Obama and Biden.

What is particularly significant about these findings is that though the size of their audiences are way down from years back, the three broadcast network news shows are seen by 25 - 30 million viewers a night, while even the highest rated cable news show, "The O'Reilly Factor" averages in the 2 - 3 million range per night. So the power of the old media persists.

The Big Picture

In addition, the CMPA findings do not include CNN or MSNBC, the latter of which has been a virtual infomercial for Obama every night throughout its prime time schedule, repeated throughout the late-night blocks as well. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are clear partisan supporters of Obama, and rarely provide a balanced picture on matters regarding Obama or McCain. In fact, much of the time is spent venomously attacking President Bush, McCain, Sarah Palin, or any other number of Republicans and conservatives. Matthews, to his credit, does invite some people on his show to provide balance. What a concept!

In one of the worst editorial decisions of this entire campaign, MSNBC, the cable news arm of NBC, used Olbermann and Matthews to anchor the Democratic and Republican conventions. Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, defended it by saying that they "put on different hats. I think the audience gets it. . . . I see zero problem." But just days after the end of the Republican convention, and after much criticism even from inside the more staid NBC offices, Griffin relented and said the two of them would no longer anchor live political events. But they were free to continue their partisan hackery on their respective programs.

Many have questioned Olbermann's emotional stability, especially during his extended rants that he calls "special commentaries." NBC's "Saturday Night Live" show even felt compelled to make fun of him last Saturday. The funny bit captured Olbermann's dishonesty, political bias, sense of self-importance and emotional fragility. What's most amazing, it came come from his own NBC family and noted Hollywood liberal Ben Affleck, who played Olbermann. In case you missed it, here it is.

Double Standard

Speaking of the popular culture, there has been a relentless attack on McCain and Palin, and Bush. Between Comedy Central's "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report," and shows like "The View," "Ellen," and even many prime time entertainment shows, like Tina Fey's "30 Rock," the cumulative battering and ridiculing of the Republican ticket certainly has to have an impact on some impressionable people, most of them young potential voters.

Except for "American Carol," a film making fun of the far left and especially Michael Moore, Hollywood is careful not to do anything to help the Republicans. Consider the recent Warner Brothers decision to not release the new DVD version of the 1988 film, "Hanoi Hilton," because it includes as an extra feature an interview with Sen. McCain, who was, as is well known, tortured as a POW in Vietnam over much of his five-and-a-half years in captivity. After initially saying last month that their reason for delaying the release was to avoid violating any campaign finance laws, Warner later changed the rationale to, "It's just us trying to be cautious and not affect the election one way or the other."

But this is the same Time Warner that brings Bill Maher's show "Real Time with Bill Maher" on its HBO network for the last two and a half months leading up to the election to engage in a weekly hate-fest aimed again, at Bush, McCain, and Palin. And it is repeated many times over the week. And the same HBO has been running the HBO-produced film "Recount," which premiered earlier this year and won several Emmys in September, and has re-aired a minimum of 20 times over the past couple of months. "Recount" offers a version of history that strongly suggests, with virtually all the good guys being the Democrats, that Al Gore had the presidency stolen from him in 2000. It is apparently just a coincidence that it's running now.

Another notable figure has just added his voice to the many who experience the media's bias in favor of Obama. Harold Evans was the editor of the Sunday Times (London) for 14 years, which he left over editorial differences with Rupert Murdoch, and as a naturalized American citizen, has been the editorial director of U.S. News and World Report, the New York Daily News, and Atlantic Monthly magazine, as well as the head of Random House publishing. He is also the husband of Tina Brown, formerly the editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

In a piece he wrote for the UK Guardian, he states that "In this 2008 race, it's the American media that have voted very early and often. They long ago elected the star graduate of Chicago's Democratic machine, Barack Obama."

Evans cites a laundry list of complaints against the media: "All the mainstream national outlets were extraordinarily slow to check Obama's background," he writes. "And until it became inescapable because of a video rant, they wouldn't investigate the Reverend Jeremiah Wright connection for fear of being accused of racism. They wouldn't explore Obama's dealing with the corrupt, now convicted, Chicago businessman Tony Rezko. They haven't investigated Obama's pledge to get rid of the secret ballot in trade union affairs. After years of inveighing against `money in politics,' they've tolerated his breach of the pledge to restrict himself to public financing as McCain has done (to his cost). Now the L.A. Times refuses to release a possibly compromising video, which shows Obama praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 banquet, saying its promises to its source prevent it from doing so."

Regarding that L.A. Times story about the suppressed video, the question is how close of a relationship did Obama have with Khalidi, and does it matter. After all, as Keith Olbermann and others have pointed out, didn't John McCain have some connection with an organization that gave more money to Khalidi's group than did any of Obama's foundations? The answer to that is yes, but it is not the same kind of relationship.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) gave nearly a half million dollars to "the Center for Palestinian Research and Studies (CPRS) for polling in the West Bank/Gaza." Their full statement of explanation can be found here, and says in essence that this was the only organization qualified and in a position to do polling in the West Bank and Gaza during the so-called Oslo peace process in the 1990's, and they cleared doing so with Israel, while not doing background checks on individuals involved with the group.

While there was no evidence of a personal or professional relationship between Khalidi and McCain, there was between Obama and Khalidi. This makes all the difference in the world.

The Pattern

The problem for Obama is that this was just one part of a pattern of relationships that Obama had over a number of years that shed light on his mindset and world view. In this youtube video, a segment from a Sean Hannity TV show, the links among Obama, Khalidi and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers are shown. More detail is provided in an article by Daniel Pipes of the Hoover Institution, who identifies and documents several close associations between Obama and various Islamists with ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, as well as people associated with Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.

More here

Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says

A former top deputy to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan tells Newsmax that Barack Obama's ties to the black nationalist movement in Chicago run deep, and that for many years the two men have had "an open line between them" to discuss policy and strategy, either directly or through intermediaries. "Remember that for years, if you were a politician in Chicago, you had to have some type of relationship with Louis Farrakhan. You had to. If you didn't, you would be ostracized out of black Chicago," said Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam. White broke with the group in 1995 and is now a professor of African-American history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

White said Obama was "part of the Chicago scene" where Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and radicals would go to each other's events and support each other's causes. "Even though Chicago is the third-largest city in the country, within the black community, the political and militant nationalist community is very small. So it wouldn't be uncommon for [Obama and Farrakhan] to show up at events together, or at least be there and communicate with each other," White told Newsmax.

The Anti-Defamation League has denounced Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam as a "hate group." Farrakhan has called Jews "bloodsuckers," "satanic" and accused them of running the slave trade. He has labeled gays as "degenerates." In a 2006 speech, the ADL again condemned Farrakhan when he said: "These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. . It's the wicked Jews the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It's wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!"

Obama was careful to "denounce" Farrakhan's comments - but not the man -- during the Democratic primary season earlier this year, but only after Hillary Clinton called him out for benefiting from Farrakhan's support. Farrakhan endorsed Obama in a videotaped speech to his followers at Mosque Miryam in Chicago in February. "You are the instruments that God is gonna use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth," Farrakhan said. He told the crowd that Obama was the new "messiah."

Once the news media and the Clinton campaign got hold of those comments from Farrakhan, demands mounted from all sides that Obama "renounce" Farrakhan. But as he has done repeatedly throughout this campaign, Obama was careful to parse his words. "You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments," he said during one appearance on "Meet the Press." "I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible."

Obama hastened to point out that Farrakhan had been praising him as "an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan."

But Obama, once again, was less than candid. In 1995, according to a profile of Obama that appeared in the Chicago Reader newspaper, Obama "took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October's Million Man March in Washington, D.C." At the time, Obama was running for the Illinois Senate from Chicago's South Side, a seat he won after getting surrogates to challenge the signatures on nominating petitions for his chief rival, the incumbent Alice Palmer.

The march, which fell far short of attracting the million men it advertised, was organized by Farrakhan and by Obama's then-pastor, the anti-white black nationalist Wright. Obama spoke at length with the Chicago Reader upon his return from the Million Man March. "What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society," he said. "These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a `lock 'em up, take no prisoners' mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress," Obama said. "Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing."

"Black nationalism" is a current of thought and political action in the African-American community that has been championed by the likes of Farrakhan, Wright, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Khalid al-Mansour. Obama discussed his attraction to black nationalism at length in his 1995 memoir "Dreams of My Father."

More here

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama's No Kennedy

A former RFK confidante leads McCain's rally in Gotham

In blistering remarks to a Saturday morning rally here, former Robert F. Kennedy aide Bartle Bull embraced Republican John McCain for president, hurled Barack Obama under the bus, and then backed it slowly over the Democratic nominee. "America needs a president who is grounded in patriotism, not drowning in ambition," Bull told a crowd of hundreds gathered in Lower Manhattan. "I have used that sentence many times in the last three months, and not once - never once - have I been asked which candidate is which."

The lifelong activist and former Village Voice publisher presented his impeccable liberal-Democrat credentials. "I had the privilege of serving as Robert F. Kennedy's New York campaign manager when he ran for president in 1968," Bull explained. "I was arrested as a civil-rights lawyer in Mississippi, and I campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment. But in honest conscience, I cannot support the Democratic ticket in this campaign."

Bull aimed at his target and charged like a longhorn. "Character in the White House should be more important than charisma on the campaign trail," Bull declared. "Barack Obama does not want to `change' America. Barack Obama wants a different country."

Turning to Obama's financial agenda, Bull minced no words. "Obama's notion of economic fairness is pure Karl Marx," Bull said, "plus a pocketful of Chicago-style `community organization.' "

Bull derisively recalled "how the Obama campaign ridiculed John McCain for not being able to use a computer - an attempt to reference his age. Senator McCain cannot use a computer because the Vietnamese repeatedly broke his arm when he refused to renounce his country and his fellow prisoners." Bull then asked the gathered McCain fans, "Do you suppose that Obama, or talky Joe Biden, can land an A-4 at night on a flight deck of an aircraft carrier in heavy seas?"

Bull and six other speakers rallied voters at Manhattan's Foley Square - one of six simultaneous events across the Empire State. The New York Veterans for McCain-Palin also hosted supporters of the GOP ticket in Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica.

Surrounded by the U.S. Courthouse, the Jacob Javits Federal Building, and other government facilities, John McCain and Sarah Palin's backers waved flags, shook placards, and cheered applause lines deep in the heart of Obama Country. While they were hard-pressed to tip New York (or even the 10007 Zip Code) into McCain's column, cameras from CBS, NBC, and Univision carried their message to places where McCain's fortunes are brighter.

More here

Barack Obama victory will hurt US firms - and world economy

Well, it's nearly over - this presidential election campaign that has gone on for so long I can scarcely remember what life was like before it started. So long has it been running that the world has actually gone through two tumultuous transformations of political reality during its span.

First there was the emergence of Russia as a threat to international stability in a form that should not have, but nevertheless did, come as a startling revelation to a complacent free world: a phenomenon which, in cynical partisan terms, played heavily in John McCain's favour. But that was followed, and almost totally eclipsed, by the economic implosion that brought every earlier assumption about the electorate crashing down with it.

So, in one of those bizarre jokes that history sometimes plays, the United States is apparently about to choose as president the most inexperienced, untried and virtually unknowable (because there is so little to know) candidate who has ever run for that office at a time of unquantifiable international risk and unprecedented economic instability: a candidate who, as Bill Clinton revealed in a wonderfully back-handed "tribute", responded to the banking collapse by ringing every expert he could find (including Bill) to ask them what he should be saying.

And not only does it seem likely that Barack Obama will be elected president, but that he will arrive in office accompanied by a legion of new Democratic senators and congressmen which will give his party a lock on both the executive and legislative branches of government, thus permitting it to do precisely anything it wants.

A week ago in New York, I talked to senior Republicans who were dividing their time between conference calls to the White House to discuss the economic crisis and exasperated confrontations with the McCain campaign team over the ineffectiveness of its strategy. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the state of dissension and dissatisfaction within the higher ranks of the Republican Party - which is why the Obama claim that a McCain White House would simply be George Bush by other means is so ludicrous and disingenuous.

In truth, McCain's status as an outlaw within his own party ("maverick" is much too mild a word) has meant that he has had only the most ambivalent relationship with what was once a very professional Republican campaigning machine. Those members of the Bush team who have been involved with the McCain-Palin ticket have been accused of being so out of sympathy with its message and tone as to be positively counter-productive.

Combine this with the fact that McCain has been running against not just a super-financed Obama machine but the most monolithically hostile media barrage in electoral history, which forced him to spend most of his time and energy on defensive fire-fighting, and you get a sense of why the Republican effort has so often seemed at cross-purposes with itself.

This media phenomenon may yet prove double-edged. There is just a possibility (maybe I am clutching at straws here, but we shall see) that the relentless onslaught from the mainstream press and television networks has made support for McCain unsayable rather than impossible and that this is producing seriously skewed opinion-polling results. This could mean, to put it in British historical terms, that this election will be 1992 (complete with premature victory celebrations) rather than 1997.


Look who's rooting for Obama

What do Iran's ayatollahs, Hamas terrorists, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have in common? They are all pulling for Barack Obama to win the US presidential election. When Israel's disparate foes manage to rally behind a single candidate, it should set off alarm bells for anyone who cares about the Jewish state.

If you think this is just Republican scaremongering, consider the following. Last week, Ali Larijani, the hard-line speaker of the Iranian parliament, told a press conference in Bahrain that "we are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational" (Agence France Presse, October 22).

And then there is the October 19 endorsement that Obama received from Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef, who told WABC radio host John Batchelor and World Net Daily's Aaron Klein that "we as Palestinians are thinking that we might have better luck with a new administration, maybe, if Obama wins the election... I do believe he will change the American foreign policy in the way they are handling the Middle East."

There you have it. Two clear expressions of preference for Obama from two of the leading anti-Israel and anti-Western forces in the Middle East. Both the Iranian regime and the Hamas terrorist organization view Obama in a positive light and hope he will be elected. Their enthusiasm for the senator from Illinois is shared by a number of other long-time enemies of the Jewish state on both sides of the Atlantic.

On June 11, Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, in a speech broadcast on Al-Jazeera, spoke glowingly of the Democratic nominee. According to a translation provided by MEMRI, Gaddafi said, "His name is Obama. All the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa applauded this man. They welcomed him and prayed for him and for his success, and they may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him to win the American presidency."

Back in the US, anti-Semitic firebrand Louis Farrakhan earlier this year labeled Obama "the hope of the entire world" and compared him to the founder of the Nation of Islam, the group Farrakhan heads (Associated Press, February 25).

Normally, one would expect that such a motley collection of rogues would be enough to send shivers down the spine of even the most spineless of voters. In the end, who wants to be cheering for the same outcome as Gaddafi and Farrakhan? Nonetheless, if two recent polls are to be believed, Obama seems poised to capture a significant majority of the Jewish vote.

A SURVEY released last week by Quinnipiac University found that Jews in the battleground state of Florida are backing Obama by a margin of 77 percent to 20%, while a Gallup survey revealed that nationwide, Jews favor him over Sen. John McCain by 74% to 22%. While that is less than the 80% that Democrats Al Gore and Joe Lieberman garnered in the 2000 election, it is similar to the 75% that John Kerry captured four years ago.

One can only shake one's head in bewilderment at such a predilection, particularly in light of Obama's flip-flop on Jerusalem back in June, when he told the annual AIPAC policy conference that he supports the city remaining Israel's united capital, only to back-track from that position the following day. If Obama can't stand firm on the campaign trail on such a basic issue of fundamental importance to Israel and its supporters, how can he be counted on to do so if given the keys to the White House? Any pro-Israel Jews and Christians still sitting on the fence, wondering how to cast their ballot on November 4, would therefore do well to bear in mind the revealing comments made recently by Jesse Jackson.

Speaking at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France two weeks ago, Jackson promised that the "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" will lose influence once Obama is in charge, as he will stop "putting Israel's interests first." "Obama is about change," Jackson observed, "and the change that Obama promises is not limited to what we do in America itself. It is a change of the way America looks at the world and its place in it" (New York Post, October 14).

The bottom line is that Obama makes Teheran, Tripoli and Gaza convulse with excitement, and that alone should make the rest of us shudder with fear.


Passing by in Silence

The other day our Flemish correspondent VH produced a well-researched and thoughtful article about Indonesia and Barry Soetoro, a.k.a. Barack Hussein Obama. Dymphna and I were dismayed by the lack of reader response, given how much time, energy, and bandwidth has been given over to (for example) arguing about Russia.

The election on Tuesday will be one of the pivotal events of the early 21st century, and the Islamic aspects of Barry Soetoro's childhood in Indonesia deserve close scrutiny, since they may affect the well-being of millions of people once he takes the reins of power.

I just posted another article about Russia, and I'm sure there will be a hundred more comments on it with people rehashing the same old arguments.

But, just for a change of scenery, I suggest a visit to VH's excellent article before the election results turn the this, the twilight of American democracy, into ancient history.

Here's what Dymphna had to say about these matters in a comment (the only comment so far) on VH's post:
In looking through post listings on our dashboard, I noticed with surprise that this essay has no comments. Not a one. Birds chirping. Silence.

This is amazing. Two trackbacks - and good ones, I might add - but nary a word on our blog addressed to this wealth of material.

It is worrying that this essay is passed over as though it's not even here. The Russian thread went on endlessly, though Russia is of peripheral interest to us AT THE MOMENT compared to Obama's origins. After all, where he comes from and what his influences are could have a direct and lasting impact on about half the people who read this blog.

So I have been contemplating why the post is simply ignored and my pondering led to this comment. Since nary another soul has seen fit to respond to it, I will write at length. It doesn't make up for the lack of response, but it does make me feel better to let it all hang out.

Certainly the material presented in this post is fascinating. Not just what we learn about Barry Soetoro's early childhood experiences - though they are crucial to the fate of America if he wins the election. It reminds one of the old saying "give me a child until he is six and he is mine forever."

As our poster makes clear, little Barry internalized the Koran early on. He did it the same way I internalized the Latin Mass at that age. Just as I can still recite the "Gloria" or the Introit of that ancient liturgy, no doubt O can still chant parts of the Koran in perfect Arabic.

In other words, such intensive training, for better or worse, stays with you. It doesn't go away just because you "grow up" and move on to other things. Elizabeth Barrett Browning's apt lines about the depth of childhood's faith and of one's "lost saints" is operative here.

Thus li'l Barry's formative experiences in Indonesia (before he was shipped back to Hawaii) plus the growing cultural unrest and instability in the region are crucial in two areas: the first is the implications they have for our election here in the US, and the second is for the coming destabilization of the area.

This could mean big trouble for Australia, at the very least.

So why do you think this post about Obama was passed by in silence? Does the disturbing knowledge about his childhood formation combine with the fear we have that Obama's handlers will turn us irrevocably toward a European "solution" for what was the exceptionalism represented by the US character? We all be socialists now??

Are we now to be judged safer by the world because we will be tamed by a talker rather than led by a man of action? To those America-hating Europeans who so love Obama, who would vote for him if they could, here is a warning: be careful for what you wish. When the One takes over, your exultation may change to dismay as the realization sets in that you're on your own to handle the thugs in the larger world. Obama will be too busy talking to those same thugs to notice your plight.

The Obama juggernaut, so carefully planned and executed by Bill Ayers & Co (the same Ayers who thought the deaths of 25 million Americans a small collateral price to pay for the triumph of his plans) may appear to many as an inevitable rape. With no way to stop it, we numb out and wait for it to be over. We hope he won't inflict more damage than Carter did, when in reality Obama's handlers are more brutal than FDR ever dreamed.

The abnegation of the US media regarding Obama is another tipping point. This slide to the bottom where they will live now with the other mud-feeding fish makes them a new species of "journalists".

What they have done in this election makes their treatment of Bill Clinton look harsh in comparison. If they were "in the tank" for the latter, they are actually flushing their heads down the toilet for the One.

Who feels up for the quixotic task of fighting these piranha for Obama? You only have to look at what they did to Joe the Plumber to know you're in dangerous waters. That attack could not have taken place without the active cooperation of the frenzied press as they followed the Leader.

So I interpret the passing over of "Indonesia, Terrorism, and Barry Soetoro" as a kind of unvoiced despair. This hopelessness applies not only to the coming election, but to the ratcheting up of the violence and increasing Islamization of Barry's childhood home place.

More here

The Coming Obama Global Test

"The reality is, we have to cleanse the soul of America. Our soul is covered in militarism, economic exploitation and racism. . . We need to acknowledge the obscenity that America is . . . America the beautiful is America the obscene."
- Boston City Councilman Chuck Turner, Sept 13. 2005

Hundreds of middle class Americans leapt to their feet and applauded those words as they echoed off the walls of Boston's Faneuil Hall, a place where 263 years earlier Samuel Adams, and other American patriots, fomented the American Revolution.
Other speakers followed, all of them mirroring Turner's horrid disdain for America, including Professor Naseer Aruri of the National Council of Arab Americans who referred to Islamic terrorists as "so-called terrorists" and portrayed the US as the world's biggest cause, and purveyor, of international terrorism. But Aruri's remarks were mild compared to the anti-US tirade delivered by the evening's keynote speaker, British MP George Galloway, a corrupt man who had once licked the bloodstained boots of Saddam Hussein.

The people who cheered Galloway's speech that September evening are now among Barack Obama's core supporters, friends, and promoters. They are not people who will vote for Obama out of ignorance or naivety. They will vote for him because they agree with his friend Jeremiah Wright when he screams, "No, no, no, not God Bless America, God damn America." They do not overlook Obama's collaborations with Bill Ayers because they have bought the tripe that Obama was "only eight years old" when Ayers was throwing bombs, they will vote for him because they agree with Ayers's violent anti-US, anti-capitalist views. Obama's friendship with Ayers, and Obama's other radical alliances are signals of his kinship with them.

Bill Ayers says, "It [America] makes me want to puke." People who cheer a Councilman Turner when he excoriates their country also share Bill Ayers's retching sentiments, just as surely as one who sits in the pews of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ for two decades shares Jeremiah Wright's.

The question is: Are those who hold such views even capable of protecting America from her conventional enemies like Iran and from existential threats like those posed by stateless, dedicated totalitarian groups like Al Qaeda? Human beings do not protect and secure principles they do not love or ideas they have been taught to hate.

Like those who cheered Chuck Turner's and George Galloway's Faneuil Hall speeches, Obama's ideological signals have not eluded America's external enemies. Through provocation, they will seek to clarify their meaning.

Who will "test" a President Obama?

Obama's running mate Joseph Biden recently said, "Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. . .Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. . . As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it's gonna happen."

With that statement, and perhaps for the first time in his life, Senator Biden made sense. He also prompted a question: Can America afford the results of the test he guarantees will happen? What if ruthless Islamic radicals test Obama? They tested President Carter and he failed. The cost of failure was the radicalization of Iran, the rise of violent Islamist movements, the loss of a strategic ally and the emboldening of America's adversaries worldwide.

Islamic radicals tested President Clinton. They tested him in Somalia and he failed, they tested him in Tanzania and he failed, they tested him in New York City in 1993 and he failed. Finally, they tested him in Yemen by ramming an explosive-filled boat into the USS Cole, killing Americans and nearly sinking that ship. Clinton failed his tests, confirming to Osama Bin Laden his view of America as a paper tiger, and prompting 911.

On September 11, 2001, Islamic radicals tested another US president by crashing airliners into American landmarks, murdering 3,000 people in the process. By responding to those attacks instantly and ferociously, that president passed his "test." The proof of that is irrefutable: America has not been attacked since, and those who administered his "test" have spent the last seven years so occupied by the pursuit of self-preservation, that they have not had the time to test him again.

Politically speaking, Barack Obama has far more in common with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton than he does with George W. Bush. It is speculative but reasonable to conclude that considering the devastation brought upon them by President Bush, Islamic radicals would be extremely hesitant to "test" him, or someone like him, again.

Not so when it comes to Barack Obama -- since his aversion to the use of force is written on his sleeve. Obama promises to hold non-conditional talks with America's enemies. He and fellow leftist Democrats promise to downsize the military and to walk away from Iraq. Obama spoke about the "tiny" country of Iran and about preemptively invading Pakistan, illustrating a shocking ineptitude in the realms of foreign policy and basic geography. None of his statements or gaffe-prone political posturing has escaped the notice of America's enemies. They will be racing each other to "test" a President Obama. If one of those "tests" is of the magnitude of 911 while America is in a weakened economic state, she might not survive.

Consider the economic destruction caused by the events of September 11, 2001: Lower Manhattan lost 30% of its office space and many businesses there were permanently destroyed. Close to 200,000 jobs were lost or moved out of New York. Direct job losses amounted to $17 billion in lost wages and increased pressure on government social programs. Fourteen billion dollars worth of private business assets were vaporized, as were $2.2 billion worth of federal and local government enterprises.

Rescue and cleanup efforts cost around $11 billion. Total losses, including lost tax revenue, lost jobs, cleaning costs and damage and destruction to buildings and infrastructure in New York were approximately $95 billion. Insurance losses related to the attacks were between $30-58 billion, resulting in increased insurance premiums and permanently cutting into the bottom lines of businesses and individuals across America. Airlines, on a weak economic footing prior to the attacks, were devastated. Air travel crashed 8% after 911 and massive, industry-wide layoffs were executed. Consumer spending dropped sharply in the months following the attacks and America's GDP shrank.

The 911 attacks happened during a time of relative economic stability. What will happen to America, indeed to the world, if a similar attack occurs while she is in an economic state like the current one?

Those who most trivialize the magnitude of the threats posed by totalitarian Islam are squarely in the Obama camp. That is a fact, not a smear. Some of them (John Kerry, Barney Frank, Harry Reid, and Obama himself) toiled to undermine the US-led war against Islamic terrorists in Iraq. They did that while American soldiers were in harm's way.

Those same Democrat Senators and Congressmen will be among Barack Obama's closest advisors. Their dangerous disrespect for America's fighting men and women, their apologetics towards America's enemies, their characterizations of American soldiers as murderers and torturers, their media-abetted crusade to hamstring America's intelligence capabilities have given support and encouragement to those who intend to harm us.

As elected officials they have opposed almost all of the policies that have kept America safe from attack for seven years -- that opposition has not escaped notice by our enemies. The same Democrats who shouted premature proclamations of defeat in Iraq will be controlling US foreign policy and directing the military they seem to loathe. Their treacherous actions during the Bush presidency nearly assure that Senator Biden's prediction of an Obama "test" will come true sooner rather than later in an Obama presidency.

Before stepping into the voting booth on Tuesday, ask yourself these questions: Is Barack Obama suited to deal with violent Muslim theocrats who have sworn "death to America" by any means? Will a Barack Obama presidency invite attacks on our soil by such people? Can America with a President Barack Obama at her helm survive the guaranteed test Joseph Biden speaks of?

Finally, with Chuck Turner, George Galloway, Jeremiah Wright, and Obama's close friend Bill Ayers on your mind, ask yourself this: Does Barack Obama and the Democrats who will govern with him have enough love for America as she is, to protect her by any means necessary? After answering those questions, vote.


The Obama Campaign's Credit-Card Crack-up

A breakdown of controls has enabled foreign and other unaccountable funds to pour into the Obama campaign - and it's not an accident

The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been and may still be accepting credit-card and prepaid-card contributions from overseas. It has done so in a way that may very likely prevent it from refunding the contributions to "donors," many of whom may have had their credit cards used without their consent. It's virtually impossible that the system for accepting card contributions was inadvertently set up without adequate controls, and almost certain that existing controls were instead deliberately disabled to create untraceability. Finally, it is likely that the total dollar amounts involved run in millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars.]

In mid-August, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, writing at American Thinker, summarized a pattern of irregularities she had found. Geller, and readers who assisted her, discovered that: "Obama's overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up."

The contributions had come from over 50 specifically named countries and major cities. Obviously bogus contributor names that a 7 year-old would have known to be fictitious, including "Hbkjb, jkbkj," "Doodad Pro," and "Good Will," were frequent.

"Thousands of Obama's foreign donations ended in cents." U.S. contributors very rarely contribute in anything other than whole dollar amounts, so the reason why contributions would end with anything other than ".00? would almost always involve foreign currency translation.

In a later post, Geller listed 18 donors who had contributed more than the legal $2,300 limit. "Good Will" and "Doodad Pro" were among them, to the tune of over ten grand each.

You might think "Well that's pretty bad, but really no big deal, because at some point, Obama will just refund the money." In many cases, that does not appear likely.

On October 22, Geller's "Who Is John Galt?" post revealed information that should have set off alarms in newsrooms across America - namely, that anyone could pretend to be someone else, with someone else's address, and successfully process a credit-card donation to Obama. Reader Craig reported the following:

I've read recent reports of the Obama campaign receiving donations from dubious names and foreign locales and it got me wondering; how is this possible?

I run a small internet business and when I process credit cards I'm required to make sure the name on the card exactly matches the name of the customer making the purchase. Also, the purchasers address must match that of the cardholders. If these don't match, then the payment isn't approved. Period. So how is it possible that the Obama campaign could receive donations from fictional people and places? Well, I decided to do a little experiment. I went to the Obama campaign website and entered the following:

Name: John Galt; Address: 1957 Ayn Rand Lane; City: Galts Gulch; State: CO; Zip: 99999

Then I checked the box next to $15 and entered my actual credit card number and expiration date (it didn't ask for the 3-digit code on the back of the card) and it took me to the next page and "Your donation has been processed. Thank you for your generous gift."

This simply should not, and could not, happen in any business or any campaign that is honestly trying to vet its (sic) donors.

How can this happen? Here's how:

Having worked for companies that process credit cards online, it is necessary to go through and manually disable the safeguards that they put in place to verify a person's address and zip code with the cardholder's bank. But international banks don't currently have the same safeguards that banks in the U.S. have, which also works in the One's favor. So most likely they've disabled the necessary safeguards for U.S. cards .

The disabled components involved are part of what is known as the "AVS" (Automated Verification System). Many bloggers and blog commenters have confirmed the accuracy of the just-excerpted claims, including the fact that the merchant has to take proactive steps to rewrite or disable existing programming and controls to make AVS not work.

This information would indicate that Team Obama does not know (or pretends not to know; that would be for investigators to determine) who specifically has donated much of its campaign money - and the fact that they don't know is deliberate.

Further, the lack of controls in Obama's campaign-contribution system enables the use of prepaid cards, which if paid for in cash, are more than likely completely untraceable without going back to store video recordings, most of which are discarded or overwritten after a short time.

From all appearances, in both cases - unverified credit-card and prepaid-card contributions - it is very likely that the Obama campaign couldn't refund monies received even if it wanted to. Donations to Obama are making it to statements of cardholders who never authorized them. The only people who might get their money back are the ones who catch the charges. And what about charges to stolen or forged cards?

Despite many tests, no one has been able to show that these material control weaknesses exist in the McCain-Palin contributions system.

Meanwhile, though space doesn't permit fully chronicling the specifics, America's mainstream Obama-mad media has been negligent in covering this astonishing story, either failing to report it at all (which Clay Waters of NewsBusters has noted is the case at the New York Times), or blandly understating the severity and, if you will, audacity of the enterprise (Washington Post, October 25 and October 28; National Journal).

If this were John McCain's campaign, a deafening "what did he know and when did he know it?" chorus would have begun well over a week ago. As it is, most voters have cast or will cast their presidential ballots totally unaware of what may very well be the largest and most highly-organized campaign-finance fraud in U.S. elections history. As they do, they should be asking, "What did Obama know and when did he know it?"


Brainless Obama the Warmist wants to bankrupt coal-fired electricity generation

And thus cause blackouts in most of America, apparently

Imagine if John McCain had whispered somewhere that he was willing to bankrupt a major industry? Would this declaration not immediately be front page news? Well, Barack Obama actually flat out told the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate) that he was willing to see the coal industry go bankrupt in a January 17, 2008 interview. The result? Nothing. This audio interview has been hidden from the public...until now. Here is the transcript of Obama's statement about bankrupting the coal industry:
Let me sort of describe my overall policy. What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches. The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them.

Amazing that this statement by Obama about bankrupting the coal industry has been kept under wraps until this time.

UPDATE: NewsBusters' Tom Blumer has found out that the San Francisco Chronicle story published on January 18 based upon this January 17 interview did not include any mention of Obama's willingness to bankrupt the coal industry which you can hear on the audio. You can read the story here when you scroll down to the "In His Own Words" section. Way to cover up for The One, SF Chronicle!

Source (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama's links to the semi-Communist "New Party"

By Stanley Kurtz

Ben Smith answers my post, "A Party Without Members?" by conceding that my analysis of the facts regarding Obama's New Party ties is essentially correct. Unable to dispute my account of the facts, Smith takes guilt by association one step further. Rather than confronting what I actually say and believe about the significance of Obama's radical ties, Smith tries to put me in a box with Jerome Corsi, whom I do not know and whose work I have never commented on (or done more than glance at). Smith's rhetorical strategy (based on his apparent near-total unfamiliarity with what I have actually written) is to set up a false dichotomy between the not-so-respectable search for Obama's crypto-radicalism and a respectably policy-wonkish attempt to itemize Obama's good-old-fashioned Democratic liberalism.

My piece, "Barack Obama's Lost Years," is precisely an effort to show that the two enterprises cannot be separated. In that piece, I present a contextualized treatment of Obama's radical associations, showing exactly how they played into his broader legislative program, which I also examine in detail, and on its own. Smith does his best to avoid confronting my actual writings by erecting a Corsi-like straw man, into which he can stuff both me and my Corner colleagues. In fact, as I have said in numerous interviews (and as Andy McCarthy has eloquently noted on The Corner) the fundamental point is not to find a single, killer, smoking-gun, radical association (although many of them are in fact deeply disturbing and arguably disqualifying).

The larger point is that the very existence of so many of these radical political partnerships (and that is what they are, significant political partnerships, not mere "marginal relationships," as Smith would have it) reveals a systematic pattern-a pattern that shows Obama to be a man of the left-so far left that he long had one foot out of (but also one foot in) the conventional Democratic mainstream. It's true that the McCain campaign has not effectively made this point. Yet my Corner colleague Andy McCarthy has eloquently complained about that. The most important point is what Obama's many radical political partnerships reveal about his overall perspective, and how his radicalism ties in to, and helps explain, even his more conventional-seeming Democratic liberalism. I have written extensively about all of this.

Radical or liberal? It's not an either/or. What's certain is that Obama is not the post-ideological, post-partisan pragmatist he presents himself as. The press has shamefully colluded in that false presentation.

Ben Smith has done us a favor by putting his journalistic bias out in the open. We no longer need to ask: "What were they thinking?" Now we know. Smith's obvious distaste for the Corner, and other critics of Obama's radical past, has gotten the best of him. His obvious desire to avoid validating conservative concerns led him to abandon proper journalistic standards in the case of Obama's ties to the New Party. It's not really a question of whether Ben Smith, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post thinks Obama's links to the New Party ought to matter to the American people. Their job is to thoroughly report the facts, and let the public decide. By that standard, on the matter of the New Party, Smith has failed.

If Smith really believes that he and I have little substantive disagreement on the facts of the matter, then he had no business writing his initial post in the way that he did. Yes, quoting Joel Rogers' ludicrous denial of the documented fact that the New Party had members did possess the potential to "advance the story." But the credulous way Smith reported on Rogers' statement had the effect of suppressing the story, not advancing it. I believe that any fair reader of Smith's original post would see that it was designed to suppress the story, and not to advance it.

Contrary to Smith's claim, I have not been "dismissive" of those who argue that the New Party was effectively socialist. On the contrary, I have taken their arguments very seriously. Nothing in my stance toward the socialism question should be used to justify Smith's sarcasm, which goes far beyond the socialism point and extends to dismissing completely legitimate concerns about Obama's radical ties, and Obama's failure to be frank about them. Yes, I have bracketed the socialism question. But that is all.

Smith himself acknowledges that Obama has not in fact being forthcoming about his past. Yet this awareness had no visible effect on Smith's response to the New Party story. Apparently, instead of responding to the Obama camp's protestations with amply justified skepticism, Smith's antipathy toward conservatives, Corner-posters, etc, was sufficient to outweigh even his own knowledge that Obama has been less-than-honest on these issues. This is not responsible journalism. It is bias unmasked.


Criticizing Obama: Mission Impossible

Barack Obama has been talking a lot about the "last eight years" recently. It feels as though he could be referring to the length of the current presidential campaign, but he's actually asking voters to evaluate President Bush's job performance. Fair enough. President Bush is extremely unpopular as he leaves office, and the Democrats were destined to try to run against him-even though he's not on the ballot. While many people aren't pleased with Bush's record, replacing him is a solemn decision and requires the election of a man or woman who is prepared and qualified to serve. Voters ought to expand their judgment of the last eight years by factoring Barack Obama into the equation. What, precisely, has the Democratic nominee for president done in the past eight years? Attempting to meaningfully answer this question proves rather difficult.

Despite its improbable twists and turns, one thing hasn't changed over the course of this endless election: When put on the spot, Obama's supporters are unable to name a significant concrete accomplishment he's managed in his entire professional career. In February, Sean Hannity asked a Democratic focus group to list Obama's accomplishments. Their stirring responses ranged from "he gave a great speech" to "pass." Prior to the Texas and Ohio primaries, Chris Matthews interrogated Kirk Watson, an Obama surrogate, on the same point. "I'm not going to be able to [answer] that," he responded. "One of the things Senator Obama does is he inspires," he added, convincingly. Just last week, Obama backer Jeffrey Sachs was confronted with a similar query from Joe Scarborough. Sachs replied that Obama had "[brought] the country together on a new direction." In case that wasn't sufficiently persuasive, he offered a follow-up. "He's defined a way to achieve energy and new approaches for this country."

There's a reason for these stammering evasions: Barack Obama-love him or hate him-simply does not own any significant legislative accomplishments. Indeed, his greatest career achievements have been the successful attainment of higher office. Obama's last eight years consisted of serving as an unremarkable part-time State Senator, voting "present" on dozens of tough issues, running unsuccessfully for Congress, giving a popular speech at the 2004 DNC, and winning a US Senate seat after consecutive rival campaigns collapsed under the weight of prodigious scandal.

As a United States Senator, Obama did not challenge his own party's leadership in any significant way, authored zero consequential bills, and showed up late for a striking number of committee meetings. Then, after 143 days of federal legislative service, Obama decided it was time to run the country. Not to worry, though. We're told this dearth of accomplishments isn't a big deal. After all, experience doesn't really matter. Not this time.

So let's blissfully ignore his record and focus on what the promises he's made. Over the course of his presidential campaign, he's offered more than a few. One of his earliest promises was to accept public financing if his GOP opponent did the same. John McCain said yes, but Obama shamelessly backtracked for political expediency. Another signature pledge he's made is to cut taxes for all Americans making less than $250,000 per year. Since then, this "richness" threshold has curiously slid by five figures on two different occasions. For those keeping score at home, it's currently at $150,000 per year, and dropping. That's a lot more "patriots" than initially thought. He also agreed to meet John McCain for a series of town hall forums across the nation after clinching the nomination. The tentative agreement was abandoned as soon as Team Obama realized it would not be especially beneficial to their candidate.

Nevertheless, Barack surely wouldn't back away from his principled opposition to granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies as part of a FISA reform bill, drop his refusal to characterize Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, reverse himself on an undivided Jerusalem, dump his position on the DC gun ban, or change his mind on unconditional meetings with rogue dictators within the first year of his administration, would he? Oh, he did all of those things? Never mind. Cynical cries of "flip-flop!"-no matter how justified-just won't work. Not this time.

Maybe an extensive chock-full-o-compromise voting record is the key to discovering Obama's greatness. Wrong again. The non-partisan National Journal ranked him the Senate's most liberal member last year. He voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court justices Roberts and Alito for nakedly ideological reasons. In Springfield, his voting record was troubling. He voted to expand sex education to kindergartners and to defeat a bill that required medical attention for babies who managed to survive abortions. Both of these claims have been angrily decried as falsehoods by the Obama campaign and their media echo chamber, but they are matters of public record. Obama, though, refuses to be tethered to an ideological label. Sliming him as a hardened liberal partisan-regardless of the ample supporting evidence-is just a nasty Republican trick that just won't work. Not this time.

Since it's apparently far too rude to judge Obama on his lack of accomplishments, broken commitments, or leftism, perhaps the company he's kept over the years will give us a measure of the man. Au Contraire. Any discussion of his associations is at the very least a distraction, but probably fear-mongering racism. These are indisputable facts: Obama attended the sermons of an anti-American race-baiter for 20 years. He enjoyed a close working and personal relationship with an unrepentant terrorist. He entered into a lucrative land deal with an ethically-challenged political fixer who's now a convicted felon. And he befriended, funded, and toasted a former PLO mouthpiece who has defended suicide attacks against Israeli governmental and military targets. Any mention of these facts, however, sends the Obama campaign's outrage meter through the roof-which is usually an open invitation for increased media scrutiny. Obama's media allies, though, have exhibited extraordinary deference to their preferred candidate on these issues, with some media outlets going so far as to withhold potentially damaging information from the public. No, Obama's radical associations aren't relevant, and the neo-swiftboaters who raise them are a bunch of liars. Fight the smears. Guilt by association-no matter how vile and extensive those associations may be-just won't work. Not this time.

John McCain is an American hero who's served his country with honor for the majority of his impressive, meaningful life. He's fought for his country. He's been tortured and broken by Communists for defending our liberties. He's devoted decades to public service, bipartisanship, and pursuing what he believes is best for the United States-for better or worse. His deep and intimate knowledge of the world uniquely equips him to navigate the great international game of geopolitical chess more effectively than almost anyone on earth. This man was born to serve as president. Even so, depending on Tuesday's outcome, his unparalleled qualifications, demonstrable integrity, personal heroism, and abiding love of country may not be enough to vault him into the office he so richly deserves. Not this time.


The Obama Bubble Could Cost the Democrats

Obama's stealth campaign has now been exposed by the New Media as just another assault on power by the old-fashioned radical Left, beefed up with race-baiting demagoguery. As a result of constant New Media expos‚s, the Leftwing media are now discredited and widely distrusted, and teetering on the edge of a death spiral. The New York Times' debt securities now have junk bond status from S&P.

The same ideological suicide could happen to the Democratic Party itself.

The Obama campaign, with its many incestuous links to "small 'c' communists" and Islamic fascists, could end up discrediting the entire Democratic Party -- if Americans realize they've been Suckered Big by the slickest demagogue since Bill Clinton. When ordinary people find out how extreme the America-hating inner circle of Democrats really are, many of the rank and file might just walk out in disgust. They certainly should. We'll soon see in states like Pennsylvania.

The Obama Bubble is entirely based on telephone polls to voters who've been told they are racist monsters if they don't vote for O. Under those circumstances people just don't talk freely. That's what intimidation did in the old Soviet Union, where it was impossible to find out the truth about the coming wheat crop because everybody lied. Polls mean nothing in this climate of media intimidation.

But regardless of who is elected on Tuesday, this election represents an amazing gamble for the Dems. Look at this video, showing Barack Obama slyly giving the hidden finger to Hillary Clinton during one of the primary debates. His own people burst out laughing when he pulls that very risky piece of teenage bravado. That's what he means by audacity -- and now the entire Democratic Party is stuck with Barack on his death-defying ride to become Emperor Barack I. Even the Clinton scandals didn't expose the Democrats to this kind of risk. They will have to live with the consequences for years to come.

The Obama Bubble may be hard to recognize today, when it has been blown up to awesome size, just like the mortgage bubble, the oil price bubble, the dot com bubble, and endless others.

But it's happened before: In 1948 Henry Wallace ran for the Democratic nomination. Harry Truman beat him, in good part because Wallace looked like a puppet of Joe Stalin. Truman went on to re-election and became the first Cold War president. The Obama campaign is the closest thing to Henry Wallace since 1948.

But there's more. After 1948 the Democratic Party flipped from Left to Right in short order, and became the Cold War Democrats. The Wallace-Truman contest also began the downward spiral of the US Communist Party, crashing in the 1950s, when Americans became convinced -- quite accurately -- that the CP-USA posed a clear and present threat. They call it "McCarthyism" today, but at that time it looked like Joe Stalin on the march with nukes in his pockets. (Those nukes were copied from plans stolen by Klaus Fuchs from the Manhattan Project.) No wonder the American people were afraid of Communist penetration of the State Department. They were right about that, too.

Today, the Obama election campaign has again exposed the whole Democratic Party as a sucker front for the radical Left. Bill Ayers is just the tip of a gigantic anti-American iceberg that now dominates US education, the media and Hollywood, the unions, and militant minorities. Don't think people don't know it.

In the 1940s the Wallace campaign looked like a power grab of the totalitarian Left. Today Obama looks the same. Some time soon the American people will understand that again: We'll see whether Tuesday is the day they show it. But even if McCain loses on Tuesday the voters will still have some time for a course correction as long as the New Media survive to "tell truth to power." Even in "soft" socialist Britain, Margaret Thatcher was elected when things really got bad.

Like the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge, the Democrats are celebrating premature victory. We'll see very soon if they have overreached.


Hey Barack: Share Share is not always Fair

During a Thursday stump speech in Sarasota, Fl, Obama suggested that people wanting to keep their hard-earned money rather than hand it over to the taxman are "selfish." After explaining how changing "our tax code" to take even more from the rich to give to the poor would "make sure that everybody's got a shot," Obama counterattacked his opponents' blasts at his earlier "spread the wealth" comments:
"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don't know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."

Selfishness? Hmmm. Where have I heard that one part Karl Marx, one part Sesame Street economic bias before? Oh yeah, it was during his April Philadelphia debate with Hillary. Remember his similarly kiddy-comrade response to Charlie Gibson's rebuke that his plan to raise the capital gains tax rate would likely decrease revenues? It went like this:
"Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair."

Not fair? Selfish?

Moving the discussion to the adult table, it appears that not only does Obama's self-righteous sense of fair-play trump economic efficiency, but anyone unwilling to share the booty of their daily toil with less-productive strangers is immoral. The socialist experiment has failed all international field-tests miserably. Obama's Sophomoric Socialism would only spread similar misery to America. Perhaps he'd think that unselfishly fair.


Young Undecideds Who Love Guns: Vote Your Glock

Check out this list from

Reality. Obama voted to allow the prosecution of people who use a firearm for self-defense in their frickin' homes. (Illinois Senate, S.B. 2165, vote 20. 3/25/04)

Reality. Obama supported increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500%. That means the $500 Ruger you want to buy that currently has an excise tax of $55 would skyrocket to $330 tax. (Chicago Defender, 12/13/99). But that shouldn't bug you, Obama backers, because you're all about "spreading the wealth," aren't you?

Reality. Obama voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry. (United States Senate, S. 397, vote 219, 7/29/05).

Reality. Obama wants to reimpose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban. (Illinois State Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes, 10/21/04).

Reality. Obama endorsed a ban on all handguns. (Independent voters of Illinois/Independent precinct organization general candidate questionnaire, 9/9/96; Politico, 3/31/08).

Reality. Obama opposes the Right to Carry laws. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 4/02/08; Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04).

Reality. Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting. (United States Senate, S.397, 7/29/05).

More here

The illegal Auntie

The revelation that Obama has an illegal immigrant aunt living in the USA has not been used in any negative way by the McCain campaign and it is a very minor unsavoury association in the great pantheon of unsavoury Obama associations.

Nonetheless, America's political Left are furious about it. Are they furious about the lawbreaking? Not at all. They are furious that the truth is out. Below, for example, is the comment from the widely-read Leftist blog TPM. All the rage is about who it was who let the cat out of the bag. There is not a shred of regret or concern about the aunt staying on after a court ordered her to go. As usual with the Left, propaganda matters far more than truth or the law

Here's how the right's big eleventh-hour smear on Obama was carried out. First the Murdoch-owned Times of London reported Thursday that Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is living in a Boston public-housing complex. It's unclear how the paper learned of the woman's presence in the U.S. From there, the story quickly got taken up by the right-wing echo chamber. Fox News (also Murdoch-owned, of course), Drudge, the Boston Herald, and various conservative blogs -- as well as some mainstream outlets -- began breathlessly hyping the story. But the Times had been unable to tie up one key detail. It reported:
The Times could not determine their immigration status and an official at Boston City Hall said that Ms Onyango was a resident of Flaherty Way but not registered to vote on the electoral roll. However, that Ms Onyango made a contribution to the Obama campaign would indicate that she is a US citizen.

But that was easily taken care of. The Associated Press was the first to confirm, in a story posted this morning, that Onyango is here illegally after her request for asylum was rejected by an immigration judge four years ago. But note the way in which AP seems to have obtained the information. High up in the story, it reports:
Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release.

In other words, it looks like someone in the Bush administration leaked the information, with the goal of throwing a last-minute wrench into Obama's campaign. And someone else confirmed it, with similar motives.

On the record, of course, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, is telling reporters it can't comment on any individual person's immigration status. It would appear to be a violation of department procedures, at the least, to leak such information.

We've seen this same tactic used recently by the Bush administration. Earlier this month, law enforcement sources leaked the news, also to the AP, that the FBI has begun a nationwide investigation into ACORN. Again, the obvious purpose of the leak was political -- to bolster a Republican campaign to stoke fears about voter fraud, in an effort to de-legitimize an Obama win. The Justice Department still has not confirmed the existence of the investigation.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ego and Mouth

by Thomas Sowell

After the big gamble on subprime mortgages that led to the current financial crisis, is there going to be an even bigger gamble, by putting the fate of a nation in the hands of a man whose only qualifications are ego and mouth? Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise-- whether economic or academic, or even just managing a sports team-- is likely at some point to be chastened by either the setbacks brought on by his own mistakes or by seeing his successes followed by negative consequences that he never anticipated. The kind of self-righteous self-confidence that has become Obama's trademark is usually found in sophomores in Ivy League colleges-- very bright and articulate students, utterly untempered by experience in real world.

The signs of Barack Obama's self-centered immaturity are painfully obvious, though ignored by true believers who have poured their hopes into him, and by the media who just want the symbolism and the ideology that Obama represents. The triumphal tour of world capitals and photo-op meetings with world leaders by someone who, after all, was still merely a candidate, is just one sign of this self-centered immaturity. "This is our time!" he proclaimed. And "I will change the world." But ultimately this election is not about him, but about the fate of this nation, at a time of both domestic and international peril, with a major financial crisis still unresolved and a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon.

For someone who has actually accomplished nothing to blithely talk about taking away what has been earned by those who have accomplished something, and give it to whomever he chooses in the name of "spreading the wealth," is the kind of casual arrogance that has led to many economic catastrophes in many countries.

The equally casual ease with which Barack Obama has talked about appointing judges on the basis of their empathies with various segments of the population makes a mockery of the very concept of law.

After this man has wrecked the economy and destroyed constitutional law with his judicial appointments, what can he do for an encore? He can cripple the military and gamble America's future on his ability to sit down with enemy nations and talk them out of causing trouble.

Senator Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden, has for years shown the same easy-way-out mindset. Senator Biden has for decades opposed strengthening our military forces. In 1991, Biden urged relying on sanctions to get Saddam Hussein's troops out of Kuwait, instead of military force, despite the demonstrated futility of sanctions as a means of undoing an invasion.

People who think Governor Sarah Palin didn't handle some "gotcha" questions well in a couple of interviews show no interest in how she compares to the Democrats' Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Biden. Joe Biden is much more of the kind of politician the mainstream media like. Not only is he a liberal's liberal, he answers questions far more glibly than Governor Palin-- grossly inaccurately in many cases, but glibly.

Moreover, this is a long-standing pattern with Biden. When he was running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination back in 1987, someone in the audience asked him what law school he attended and how well he did. Flashing his special phony smile, Biden said, "I think I have a much higher IQ than you do." He added, "I went to law school on a full academic scholarship" and "ended up in the top half" of the class. But Biden did not have a full academic scholarship. Newsweek reported: "He went on a half scholarship based on need. He didn't finish in the 'top half' of his class. He was 76th out of 85."

Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown. Let us not forget that the Roman Empire did decline and fall, blighting the lives of millions for centuries.


A message from a disillusioned Obama campaign insider

Sounds reasonable

I'm going to let you in on a few secrets here, and this is not because I enjoy the gossip or the attention directed my way. I'm doing this because I doubt much of you know the true weaknesses of Obama. Another reason for my doing this is that I am lost faith in this campaign, and feel that this choice has been forced on many people in this country. Put simply, you are being manipulated. That was and is our job - to manipulate you (the electorate) and the media (we already had them months ago). Our goal is to create chaos with the other side, not hope. I've come to the realization (as the campaign already has) that if this comes to the issues, Barack Obama doesn't have a chance. His only chance is to foster disorganization, chaos, despair, and a sense of inevitability among the Republicans. It has worked up until now. Joe the Plumber has put the focus on the issues again, and this scares us more than anything. Being in a position to know these things, I will rate what the Obama campaign already knows are their weak links from the most important on down.

1 - Hillary voters. Internal polling suggests that at best, we are taking 70-75% of these voters. Other estimates are as low as 60% in some areas - particularly Ohio and western PA. My biggest problem with this campaign's strategy was the decision NOT to offer Hillary the VP slot. She was ready and able to take this on, and would have campaigned enthusiastically for it. This selection would have also brought virtually all of her supporters into the fold, and the Obama campaign knew it. Though I have no way of knowing this for certain, and I do admit that I am relying on internal gossip, Senator Obama actually went against the advice of his top advisors. They wanted him to choose her, but the only significant opposition to this within the campaign came from Barack and Michelle Obama. In short, he let personal feelings take precedence over what was the most logical thing to do. Biden, by the way, has been a disaster inside the campaign. Everyone cringes whenever he gives an interview, and he creates so many headaches as the campaign has to stay on their toes in order to disseminate information and spin whatever it was he was trying to say.

2 - Sarah Palin. Don't believe what the media is telling you about how horrible a choice she was. Again, our internal polling suggest that though she has had a minimal impact on pulling disaffected Hillary Democrats to McCain, she has done wonders in mobilizing the base for McCain. Another thing - we were completely taken by surprise with her pick. In my capacity in the research department, I looked into the backgrounds of Leiberman, Romney, Pawlenty and Ridge, and prepared briefs. I don't mind bragging that we had pretty good stuff on all of them. With Leiberman, the plan was to paint him as an erratic old-timer who didn't have a clue as to what he was doing (pretty much a clone of McCain). In Romney, we had him pegged as an evil capitalist who cut jobs. Pawlenty was going to get the "Quayle treatment", or more precisely: a pretty face, with no valid experience. Tom Ridge was going to be used to provide a direct link from McCain to Bush. As you can see, we were quite enamored of all of them. Then the unexpected happened - Sarah Palin. We had no clue as to how to handle her, and bungled it from the start. Though through our misinformation networks, we have successfully taken some of the shine off. But let there be no doubt. She remains a major obstacle. She has singlehanded solidified "soft" Republican support, mobilized the McCain ground game, and has even had some appeal to independents and Hillary voters. This is what our internal polling confirms.

3 - Obama's radical connections. Standards operating procedure has been to cry "racism" whenever one of these has been brought up. We even have a detailed strategy ready to go should McCain ever bring Rev. Wright up. Though by themselves they are of minimal worth, taken together, Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfelger, and now, Rashid Khalili, are exactly what the campaign does not need. The more focus on them, the more this election becomes a referendum on Obama. The campaign strategy from the very beginning was to make this election a referendum on Bush. Strategists have been banging their head on how successfully McCain has distanced himself from Bush. This has worked, and right now the tide is in his favor. People are taking a new look at Barack Obama, and our experience when this happens tells us this is not good news at all. When they take a look at him, one or more of these names are bound to be brought up. McCain has wisely not harped on this in recent weeks and let voters decide for themselves. This was a trap we set for him, and he never fully took the bait. Senator Obama openly dared him to bring up Ayers. This was not due to machismo on the part of Obama, but actually due to campaign strategy. Though McCain's reference to Ayers fell flat in the last debate, people in the Obama campaign were actually disappointed that he didn't follow through on it more and getting into it. Our focus groups found this out: When McCain brings these connections up, voters are turned off to him. They'd rather take this into consideration themselves, and when this happens, our numbers begin to tank.

4 - The Bradley Effect. Don't believe these polls for a second. I just went over our numbers and found that we have next to no chance in the following states: Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire and Nevada. Ohio leans heavily to McCain, but is too close to call it for him. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa are the true "toss up states". The only two of these the campaign feels "confident" in are Iowa and New Mexico. The reason for such polling discrepancy is the Bradley Effect, and this is a subject of much discussion in the campaign. In general, we tend to take a -10 point percentage in allowing for this, and are not comfortable until the polls give us a spread well over this mark. This is why we are still campaigning in Virginia and Pennsylvania! This is why Ohio is such a desperate hope for us! What truly bothers this campaign is the fact that some pollsters get up to an 80% "refuse to respond" result. You can't possibly include these into the polls. The truth is, people are afraid to let people know who they are voting for. The vast majority of these respondents are McCain supporters. Obama is the "hip" choice, and we all know it.

As part of my research duties, I scour right wing blogs and websites to get somewhat of a "feel" as to what is being talked about on the other side. Much of it is nonsense, but there are some exceptions which give the campaign jitters. A spirited campaign has been made to infiltrate many pro-Hillary sites and discredit them. A more disorganized, but genuine effort has also been made to sow doubts among the unapologetically right wing sites such as Don't you guys get it? This has been the Obama campaign's sole strategy from the very beginning! The only way he wins is over a dispirited, disorganized, and demobilized opposition. This is how it has been for all of his campaigns. What surprises me is that everyone has fallen for it. You may point to the polls as proof of the inevitability of all of this. If so, you have fallen for the oldest trick in the book. How did we skew these polls, you might ask? It all starts with the media "buzz" which has been generated over the campaign. Many stories are generated on the powerful Obama ground game, and how many new voters were registered. None of this happens by coincidence. It is all part of the poll-skewing process. This makes pollsters change their mixes to reflect these new voters and tilt the mix more towards Democratic voters. What is not mentioned or reported on is not the "under-reported cell phone users or young voters" we hear so much about. What is underreported is you.

I changed my somewhat positive opinion of this campaign during the unfair and sexist campaign against Sarah Palin. I will never agree with her on the issues and will probably never vote for her, but I am embarrassed of what has happened. I can't ignore our own hand in all of this. What I do know is that I will not be voting for Obama this time around. Treat that as you will.


Barack Obama 'could worsen crisis', says owner of Fox TV

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has warned that Barack Obama could worsen the world financial crisis if he is elected US president next week and implements protectionist policies. In an interview with The Weekend Australian before delivering the first of six Boyer lectures on ABC radio tomorrow afternoon, Mr Murdoch said the Democrats' policies would result in "a real setback for globalisation" if implemented.

Mr Murdoch said he did not know whether Senator Obama would implement all of the protectionist measures espoused by the party. "Presidents don't often behave exactly as the campaign might have suggested because they become prisoners of all sort of things - mainly circumstances and events," Mr Murdoch said.

He warned that any rise in protectionism in the US, including introducing trade measures against China as espoused by some Democratic members in Congress, would risk retaliation and could threaten the world trading and financial systems. "For the past three or four years, some Democrats have been threatening to do things like put on extra tariffs (against Chinese imports) if they don't change their currency,' Mr Murdoch said. "If it happened, it could set off retaliatory action which would certainly damage the world economy seriously."

Mr Murdoch said Kevin Rudd had been "very sure-footed" in his handling of the financial crisis and defended the Prime Minister against criticism that he acted too quickly in his blanket guarantee of the deposits of the Australian banking system.

But the chairman of News Corporation, which owns The Weekend Australian, warned that politicians should be careful not to make the situation worse by "alarming people more than they should be alarmed, regardless of party". "You've got to recognise when he (Rudd) did it, he did it the day after the biggest ever fall in the stock market and the US Congress's first refusal of the $700million bailout," Mr Murdoch said. "I think, relatively, over this whole financial period, he has acted very sure-footedly."

He said politicians should be careful that their comments did not further exacerbate the delicate financial situation. Asked if the comments were meant to refer to Malcolm Turnbull, he said: "I don't think Mr Turnbull has done that."

With the US election five days away, Mr Murdoch criticised Senator Obama's tax policies as "crazy", particularly his plan to hand out tax rebates to most Americans and to increase taxes for people earning more than $250,000. He said Senator Obama's promises to give tax rebates to 95per cent of Americans was "rubbish". "Forty per cent (of the US population) don't pay taxes, so how can he give them a tax cut?" he said. "But you can give them a welfare cheque which he has promised - a grant of $500 - which will disappear very fast. It's not going to turn the economy around at all."

Mr Murdoch said no one knew what would happen under an Obama administration "but his declared policy would see a real setback of globalisation". Mr Murdoch said politicians should take heed of the lessons of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in the US in 1930, which raised tariffs on American goods to record levels and provoked protectionist retaliation by US trading partners, slashing world trade levels and sending the world economy into depression.

Mr Murdoch said Senator Obama would make the situation worse if he implemented the policies he had promised the American union movement, which represented only 12 per cent of the US workforce, most of them government workers. "We have the historical precedent of Smoot-Hawley," he said. "I can't imagine he would do anything as crazy as that. But anything in that direction could add to all sorts of tensions in the world financial system and the world trading system and eventually all the way down to employment. I am not saying all these things are going to happen, but we are living in a dangerous period." He said the whole world should "fight like hell" for freer trade and the success of the Doha Round of trade talks.

Mr Murdoch rejected suggestions that Tuesday's US election could act as a circuit breaker for the current crisis of confidence in world financial markets. "To some extent it is beyond the power of politicians," he said. "You are going to find that the politicians are very limited in what they can do: they can make it worse but they can't stop it."

Mr Murdoch said there was a slight easing of the liquidity crisis, as market interest rates had edged down in recent weeks. But he said the financial crisis would inevitably affect economies for some time. Mr Murdoch said a push for freer trade around the world, including the success of the Doha Round, could help the world economies come out of the recession faster. "But if it (world trade) goes the way that a lot of politicians are talking in a lot of countries, you are really going to slow down trade and business in every way," he added.

Mr Murdoch, who arrived in Australia this week, will record the first Boyer lecture tomorrow in front of a live audience at the Sydney Opera House. The series of lectures is entitled A Golden Age of Freedom and includes Mr Murdoch's views on the rise of the new global middle class, his concerns about the raising of education levels in Australia and the importance of being ahead of the curve in using new technologies. The third lecture is a detailed exposition of Mr Murdoch's views on the future of newspapers. Mr Murdoch has been scathing of journalists in the US, whom he argues have been all too eager to predict the demise of their own industry.

He told The Weekend Australian that newspapers would survive, although they might have to live with lower profit margins because of competition from the internet. He predicted that newspapers should see the internet as an opportunity to reach more readers in a world where people were increasingly hungry for more information.


Obama's ever changing definition of who is "rich"

If we heard it once from Obama we heard it a thousand times; no tax increase for those who make less than $250,000, right? Um ... not so fast. John Podheretz of Contentions:
Last week, John McCain made a big deal out of the fact that Joe Biden suddenly lowered the annual salary number below which no one would be taxed under the Obama plan from $250,000 to $150,000. That gave added heft to his argument that Obama is pursuing redistributionist policies that will have a negative effect on efforts to help the economy grow. But that was Biden mouthing off, after all, something it's easy to take not all that seriously. What is more serious, and more telling, is that without making any admissions of a change, the Obama campaign as a whole is now explicitly acknowledging the $250,000 floor for tax increases is no longer operative. Instead, both in a commercial released last week and in last night's infomercial, the number that is now being used is $200,000.

Granted, the absolute number of people in this country who make between $200,000 and $250,000 is relatively small, but that is not the issue. What this suggests is that these plans are subject to downward revision in a way that will take in far more taxpayers than Obama spent more than a year promising they would. It's not clear why he didn't just continue to prevaricate about this until Election Day, but facts are facts, a changed policy is a changed policy, and taxpayers under that $200,000 threshold will have to judge whether the promise to increase taxes on others but not on them is to be believed.

What will your definition of "rich" be next week Obama? Next month? This is the clearest sign yet that a President Obama would raise taxes on more than just "rich" Americans. And he will have a ready made excuse; the budget deficit.

Mark my words; he will appear on national TV early in his presidency and tell us that "the situation has changed," the budget deficit is too high and that taxes must be raised on all those in the two top tax brackets. The increase in taxes will be necessary because he will need to fund his wealth redistribution schemes as well as get control of a ballooning federal deficit. I will let you guess which priority of the two will get the funding.

This is why you cannot trust this man. But of course, we know that. I wonder what the press and American people will say when they find out Obama is a liar?


Obama's '$4 Billion for Exxon' Myth

Why haven't the 'fact-checkers' done a better job?

In the final days of the campaign, Barack Obama continues to land the same sucker punch on taxes he used in the debates -- and John McCain continues to take it on the chin. In the last debate, Sen. Obama said, "We both want to cut taxes, the difference is who we want to cut taxes for. . . . The centerpiece of [McCain's] economic proposal is to provide $200 billion in additional tax breaks to some of the wealthiest corporations in America. Exxon Mobil, and other oil companies, for example, would get an additional $4 billion in tax breaks."

That $200 billion figure is false. Yet and most reporters never bothered to ask Mr. Obama where he came up with it. did discover that Mr. Obama's claim about "$4 billion in tax breaks for energy companies" came from a two-page memo from the Center for American Progress Action Fund -- a political lobby headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton, with tax issues handled by two lawyers, Robert Gordon and James Kvaal, former policy directors for the John Kerry and John Edwards campaigns. Those lawyers confused average tax rates (after credits and deductions) with the 35% statutory rate on the next dollar of earnings, so that cutting the latter rate from 35% to 25% would supposedly cut big oil's $13.4 billion tax bill by 28.5%, or $3.8 billion. That is not economics; it is not even competent bookkeeping.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, by contrast, correctly notes that, "Senator McCain has called for the repeal and reform of a number of tax preferences for oil companies," which would raise the oil companies' taxes by $5 billion in 2013.

When fact checkers do look into campaign claims on taxes, they invariably cite estimates from the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center (TPC). The TPC estimates that the McCain corporate tax cuts would lose $734.7 billion of revenue over 10 years (2009-2018). Mr. McCain would also allow immediate expensing through 2013 for equipment normally written-off over three to five years, but no deduction for interest expense if the investment was made with borrowed money. Once equipment has been written-off in 2009 or 2010 it can't be written-off in later years, so the estimated revenue loss over 10 years is only $45 billion, or $4.5 billion per year. Altogether, that adds up to $78 billion a year in corporate tax cuts, not $200 billion.

Yet the $78 billion TPC estimate is also nonsense because it's entirely static. The estimate assumes raising or lowering corporate tax rates has no effect on corporate decisions about where to locate production, income or costs, and no effect on the economy's performance. If that made sense, the corporate tax rate could be doubled to 70% and the only effect (according to TPC estimates) would be to double corporate tax receipts. Such a static analysis is obviously worthless, yet it is nonetheless crucial to the TPC's estimates of the revenue supposedly lost from the McCain plan and its alleged distributional effects.

Mr. McCain proposes to cut the corporate tax rate to 30% in 2010-11, 28% in 2012-13, 26% in 2014, and 25% thereafter. The timing could be better. Why not cut the corporate tax rate to 28%-30% right away? Could anyone doubt that would help struggling businesses to minimize cutbacks and layoffs? Could anyone doubt it would invigorate the stock market?

Phasing in tax-rate reductions -- as in 1981 and 2001 -- has become a bad habit among Republicans. The trouble is that knowing tax rates will be lower in the future provides incentives to delay earning and reporting income until after they fall. In the American Economic Review, December 2006, University of Michigan economists Christopher House and Matthew Shapiro found "the phased-in tax cuts called for in the 2001 tax bill worked to depress employment as firms and workers waited for the lower tax rates to materialize."

In the U.S today, the combined federal and state tax on corporate profits averages 40%, which is increasingly out of line with the rest of the world. The average corporate tax rate dropped to 25.9% in 2008 from 37.7% in 1996 among 97 countries surveyed by KPMG, and to 23.2% from 38% in the European Union. Corporate tax revenues typically increased as a share of GDP after tax rates were reduced. Countries with corporate tax rates from 12.5% to 25%, such as Ireland, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark, routinely collect more corporate tax revenue as a share of GDP than the anemic 2.1% figure the Congressional Budget Office projects for the U.S.

In a new Tax & Budget Bulletin at, Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary estimates that a federal-state corporate tax rate higher than 28% loses money for the government. Kimberly Clausing of Reed College estimated revenues would be maximized with a 33% federal and state tax. Kevin Hassett and Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute found "the revenue maximizing point has dropped over time, and is about 26%." In all of these studies, cutting the federal tax to 28%-30% sooner rather than later is very likely to raise revenue.

Regardless who wins the election, an accelerated version of Mr. McCain's original plan -- to cut the corporate tax rate to 28%-30% and expense investments in business equipment -- is by far the most potent "stimulus plan" anyone has yet proposed. And far from costing $200 billion a year, as Mr. Obama claims, it wouldn't cost a dime.



“Obama! Inshallah!”—Obama! Allah willing! That slogan, scribbled on walls in Gaza, indicates the hopes that Barack Obama has inspired among Arabs. While Obama has tried to push his origins into the background, his “Islamic roots” have won him a place in many Arabs’ hearts.

One columnist, Mohamed Al-Menshawi, hails Obama as “the candidate with Muslim roots” and as the “harbinger of solidarity between Americans and the Muslim world.” Another, Al-Jazeera’s Aala al-Bayoumi, notes: “Had it not been for Obama, Arabs would not even bother to follow the US presidential race.” What makes the difference is Obama’s “Islamic and African roots.” Marwan Bishara hails Obama’s “radical politics”: “For the US to vote in an African-American progressive liberal would certainly mark a departure from the hyper and violent conservatism of the Bush-McCain camp,” he writes. An Obama presidency “would be better for both the US and the Arab world.”

Obama especially appeals to pan-Arab nationalists angry at the United States for having ousted Saddam Hussein. Obama’s promise to leave Iraq gives pan-Arabs their only chance (albeit slim) to destroy the new Iraqi democracy. While radical Arabs, including the Hamas leadership, favor Obama, most Arab officials are wary of him. They fear his inexperience and leftist connections might destroy all that has been gained in Iraq, provoke a bigger mess in Afghanistan, trigger a war with Pakistan and open the way for Khomeinist hegemony in the region.…

Obama… has retained his Arabic-Islamic names. (Barack means “blessed” and Hussein means “beautiful.”) His family name is Swahili, an East African lingua franca based on Arabic. Arab commentators note that his siblings also all have Arabic Muslim names. His sister is called Oumah, Arabic for “the community of the faithful”, his older daughter, Malia, bears the name of a daughter of the Caliph Othman, who commissioned the compilation of the first edition of the Koran. That Obama’s stepfather was also a Muslim (from Indonesia) strengthens the empathy that many Arabs feel for him.

The Syrian regime has also indicated its preference for Obama, not least because President Bush forced it to end its 29-year military occupation of Lebanon. Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, has welcomed Obama’s call for radical change in US policy. She writes, “The change suggested by Obama is essential not only for the US but for the entire human family.” Also enthusiastic for Obama is the Lebanese Hezbollah. The party’s No. 2, Sheik Naim al-Kassim, went as far as inviting Americans to vote Obama as a step toward peace with Islam. (The party disowned his comments as “personal opinion.”) Pro- Hezbollah columnist Amal Saad-Ghorayeb has no doubt that Arabs should welcome an Obama presidency because “African-Americans are more sympathetic to Arabs because they, too, are oppressed.”…

Some columnists have also noted Obama’s close ties to a number of Palestinian radicals, including Rashid Khalidi and the late Edward Said, as signs that the senator would change US Middle East policy in the Arabs’ favor. Strengthening that impression was an interview the Rev. Jessie Jackson granted to several Arab media outlets, including Al-Jazeera and the popular Internet newspaper Elaph, in which he promised an end to the United States’ allegedly pro-Israel policy.

Not all Arab commentators are struck by Obamania, however. His flip-flops on issues—including the future of Jerusalem, withdrawal from Iraq and dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat—have prompted some to counsel caution. Tareq Al-Houmayed, editor of the daily Asharq Alawsat, warns Arabs not to expect too much: “Every American president would be governed by American interests. Obama’s understanding of politics is not important here.” Abdulrahman al-Rashed, a Saudi commentator, also notes that no president can radically alter US global policies. He advises Arabs to neither have exaggerated hopes nor be dispirited when Obama tells the Israelis “more than they hoped to hear” to win Jewish support


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)