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.
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 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.
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."
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