David Bernstein at the Volkh Conspiracy will be voting for Senator McCain this year. He provides a few good reasons, but my favorite is the first:
(1) Libertarians have been heavily involved in some of the most important constitutional Supreme Court litigation of the last two decades, either in terms of bringing the case, being among the most important advocates of one side's constitutional theory, or both. Among the cases in this category are Lopez, Morrison, Boy Scouts v. Dale, U.S. Term Limits, Grutter, Gratz, Kelo, Raich, Heller, and probably a few more that I'm not thinking of offhand. With the minor exception of Justice Breyers' vote in Gratz, in each of these cases, the ONLY votes the libertarian side received were from Republican appointees, and all of the Democrat appointees, plus the more liberal Republican appointees, ALWAYS voted against the libertarian side. The latter did so even in cases in which their political preferences were either irrelevant (Term Limits), or should have led them to sympathize with the plaintiff (Lopez, Kelo, Raich).
When Libertarians say "there's no difference" or "I could never vote for the author of McCain Feingold" or whatever excuse du jour they have for doing something pointless, I will trot out this observation. Democratic SCOTUS picks will certainly be anti-liberty; with a Republican you have almost a 50-50 chance!
Senator Obama's middle name must be "Humble" or "Humility." Like President Coolidge, he expects the Federal government to keep back and out of the way of the people. Well, except for a list of government priorities. Jake Tapper provides this list of promises from "Obama Claus:"
"give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
"eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
"give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
"end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
"give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
"eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
"create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
"invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
"reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
build "a new electricity grid";
"build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
"eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
"lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
"if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
"end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
"invest in early childhood education";
"recruit an army of new teachers";
"pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
"make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
"stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
"end this war in Iraq";
"finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
"increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
"invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
I can't stop wondering how the Obama-Khalidi videotape situation would be handled if it were in the possession of a Scripps newspaper rather than the Los Angeles Times. Growing up in Denver I became accustomed to the phrase "Give light and the people will find their own way" printed in the masthead of the Rocky Mountain News. Naive youth that I was, I believed for many years that ALL newspapers adhered to this ideal. Silly me.
So today I sought out the LA Times motto. I couldn't easily find it on the paper's own website but here I found it quoted as, "Largest circulation in the west." Not quite as inspirational is it?
Words are so often turned to such shabby or trivial ends that it's sometimes worth celebrating those with substance and a pedigree. Consider the Scripps motto: Give light and the people will find their own way.
Those words first appeared on a newspaper masthead June 22, 1922. They were placed there by a New Mexico editor who refused to damp down truth even when the mighty threatened to smash the lantern.
As the story goes, Carl Magee first attacked U.S. Sen. Albert B. Fall in his Albuquerque newspaper over the Fall machine's misuse of water rights to wrest the votes of New Mexico farmers. When Fall became interior secretary, he leaned on banks to call-in their loans to the paper.
"Scripps saw a man in New Mexico making a tough fight for the people of New Mexico, for principles in which the organization believed. They asked him orally about terms. He wrote a letter and Roy Howard scribbled 'OK.' Then they wired money to his paper. Sounds suspiciously like idealism."
Years later, Dante scholar H.D. Austin from the University of Southern California attributed the line to the following passage in Purgatory XXII67-69: "Facesti come quei che va di notte che porta il lume dietro e.a se non giova ma dopo se fa le persone dott." A literal translation of this would read: "Thou didst as one who passing through the night bears a light behind, that profits not himself but makes those who follow wise."
It is speculated that Carl Magee had read and liked the passage but might have forgotten its source, author and exact wording. Or, being an editor, he may have streamlined it for his editorial purposes.
In any event, the "give light" motto served Carl Magee's purposes and – more than 80 years later – continues to do so today for The E. W. Scripps Company.
So the natural question to the LA Times is, "What don't you want the people to see?"
When my late father T. Coddington Van Voorhees VI founded the iconoclastic conservative journal National Topsider in 1948, he famously declared that "Now is the time for all good conservative helmsmen to hoist the mizzen, pour the cocktails, and steer this damned schooner hard starboard." In the 60 years since he first uttered it after one-too-many Cosmopolitans at one of Pamela Harriman's notorious foreign policy black tie balls, father's pithy bon mot has served as a rallying cry for conservatives from Greenwich to Chevy Chase. Today, I say it's time for we conservatives to once again grab the rigging and set sail with the flotilla of the true conservative in this race: Barack Obama.
Trust me, I haven't taken this tack lightly. No Van Voorhees has supported an avowed socialist since great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandpapa Cragmont Van Voorhees lent Peter Minuet $24 and a sack of wampum to swing a subprime mortgage on Manhattan Island. Old dad himself often recounted how, as a lad, he would command the family chauffeur Carleton to drive the Duesenberg down to the Times Square Trans-Lux so he could hiss Roosevelt. But I've taken a good measure of this Obama fellow, and I must say I like the cut of the man's jib.
You don't suppose he's poking a little fun at Christopher Buckley, do you?
“You know what he did?” [Bill] Clinton said, heralding Obama’s reaction to the financial crisis. “First he took a little heat for not saying much. I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers – he talked to my economic advisers, he called Hillary. He called me. He called Warren Buffet. He called all those people, you know why? Because he knew it was complicated and before he said anything he wanted to understand.”
The President damning with faint praise. Or is it praising with faint damning.
"Why?" a moderate-to-right-of-center relative asks the other day, "are [enumerate three people, all of whom are intelligent, reasonable, and have voted for Republicans before] so captivated by Obama?"
On some level, many Americans -- heavily weighted toward "moderates" -- internally elect a king every four years. This person will be our face to the world, will represent us, and will affect our daily lives far more than envisioned in Federalist #10.
If you're after a king, Senator Obama is a good pick. He's likeable, confident, strong and intelligent. If your disposition is slanted more toward the Executive modeled in #10, you might still choose Senator O, but I think your predilection will run more toward Senator McCain.
I toil in the fever swamps of ThreeSources and meet precious few moderates. But Fouad Ajami reinforces my riff, if indirectly, in "Obama and the Politics of Crowds." Ajami sees the phenomena of large-crowd political rallies as being outside the traditional American political culture:
My boyhood, and the Arab political culture I have been chronicling for well over three decades, are anchored in the Arab world. And the tragedy of Arab political culture has been the unending expectation of the crowd -- the street, we call it -- in the redeemer who will put an end to the decline, who will restore faded splendor and greatness. When I came into my own, in the late 1950s and '60s, those hopes were invested in the Egyptian Gamal Abdul Nasser. He faltered, and broke the hearts of generations of Arabs. But the faith in the Awaited One lives on, and it would forever circle the Arab world looking for the next redeemer.
America is a different land, for me exceptional in all the ways that matter. In recent days, those vast Obama crowds, though, have recalled for me the politics of charisma that wrecked Arab and Muslim societies. A leader does not have to say much, or be much. The crowd is left to its most powerful possession -- its imagination.
"It must be nice for a candidate to have major news organizations looking after his best interests like that... Politicians would love to have a pet newspaper of their very own. In this case we have a newspaper willing to throw aside even the public's right to know in order to protect a candidate that its own editorial board has endorsed. And, if there's a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in kowtowing then the LA Times-- You're winning!"
Biden told a TV interviewer this week, “What we’re saying is that [our] tax break doesn’t need to go to people making . . . $1.4 million. It should go to [those] making under $150,000 a year.”
The Obama-Biden team isn’t even elected yet and already they are redefining that “middle class” tax cut. Remember how no one earning under $250,000 was going to get a tax hike? Well, the latest ad being run by the Obama campaign talks about “families” earning $200,000 or less would qualify for a tax cut. Well, which is it? Individuals or dual-wage families?
Really now... rolling back promises before you're even elected?
This is what Review Corner should be. Mike Russell posts a non-bowdlerized version of his review of "The Secret Life of Bees"
From here, "Bees" becomes a Ya-Ya Bullshit magnum opus. Like "The Great Debaters" and "The Express," it takes bold stances on racism and abuse -- and by "bold," I mean "bold when 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?' was released 40 years ago." Honey and cornbread are lovingly photographed. Fanning and Bettany drawl like crazy. (Sample Fanning dialogue: "My whole life's been nothin' but a hole where my momma should have been.") The women hug and fight and play classical music and dress in Sunday finery while engaged in the art of sun-dappled beekeeping. Queen Latifah does a fine job gently spouting homespun truisms like, "Some things don't matter that much, like the color of a house. But lifting someone's heart? That matters a lot."
Congratulations to patriot and war hero John McCain for his triumph over the Marxist Obama on November 4, 2008 to become the 44th president of the United States. The staff of The Freedom Fighter's Journal salute this stalwart Republican and hope he will lead the first air strike against the American Communist Headquarters at the University of Chicago.
Congratulations Ronbo, I think you're on to something.
I completed my mail-in ballot on Sunday and drove it to the County office in Fort Lupton on Monday. Lest anyone be concerned, I voted for Senator McCain and Governor Palin, a straight GOP ticket downstream, and took the anti-union side of all the big referenda.
If you still harbor any doubts about the imperfect McCain, click over to Mary Anastasia O'Grady's comparison of their positions on trade:
The U.S. hasn't elected a genuinely protectionist president since Herbert Hoover, and for most of the last 80 years a rough bipartisan consensus has held that free trade is in the American national interest. The erosion of that consensus is reflected in the gulf between John McCain and Barack Obama on trade, which is probably the widest division at the presidential level since the 1920s.
UPDATE: Professor Mankiw notes that The Times of India gets it:
McCain is one of the few American politicians in either party with the courage and conviction to stand up to protectionist populism. By contrast, Obama embodies protectionism....
McCain has voted 88% of the time against bills creating trade barriers, and 90% of the time against export subsidies for US producers. Few other senators have such a splendid record.
Obama has served a much shorter time in the Senate, and avoided voting on many key issues. He has voted against trade barriers only 36% of the time. He supported export subsidies on the two occasions on which he voted, a 100% protectionist record in this regard.
For example, recent media reports have lauded the prescience of Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who has long called for increased regulation of financial derivatives. Not that this says much about derivatives. Mr. Markey has also called for increased regulation of the Internet, cable TV, telephones, prescription drugs, nuclear plants, natural gas facilities, oil drilling, air cargo containers, chlorine, carbon dioxide, accounting, advertising and amusement parks, among other things. -- WSJ Ed Page: Barack Wrote a Letter...
In an email to Dirty Harry’s Place, the CIO of investment firm Dune Capital has pledged $150,000 for a digital or source copy of the tape showing Barack Obama partying with former Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Rashid Khalidi and other enemies of Israel as well as toasting the former PLO mouthpiece according to the site.
It is further alleged that domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn were in attendance at the event, possibly seated as bookends to Obama and his angry wife Michelle.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 47%. This is the first time McCain has been within three points of Obama in more than a month and the first time his support has topped 46% since September 24 (see trends). One percent (1%) of voters prefer a third-party option and 2% are undecided.
Elaine Lafferty, "former editor in chief of Ms. magazine (and a Democrat) on what she learned on a campaign plane with the would-be VP."
It's difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin's “intelligence,” coming especially from women such as PBS's Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes—God help me, I'm agreeing with Fred Barnes—suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.
I am used to disagreeing with people, but it has been a real disappointment to see/hear my lefty friends seethe or incredulously stare when I say that I like her. I know some very bright people who have bought into the stereotype of "Caribou Barbie." When you see her on Kudlow & Co., or listen to those who have spent time with her, you get a little different idea of her capabilities than does the Newsweek reader.
UPDATE: Forgot to hat-tip Bill Dyer at Hugh Hewitt
Dear Fellow Business Owners
As a business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next president, and that my taxes and fees will go up in a BIG way.
To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Customer will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about 8-10%. I will also have to lay off six of my employees.
This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did.
I strolled thru the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employee’s cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off. I can't think of another fair way to approach this problem.
WASHINGTON - One of the nation's best-known retired Army generals, Colin Powell, described Sen. Ted Stevens in court today as a "trusted individual" and a man with a "sterling" reputation.
"He was someone whose word you could rely on," said Powell, secretary of state in President Bush's first term, who self-deprecatingly described himself as someone who retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then "dabbled a bit in diplomacy."
The General, like the Senator, has been in Washington too long.
I don't think I ever gave Senator Ted Stevens (R - Leavenworth) the Constitutional courtesy of calling him "an alleged crook" but I won't have to feel bad about it anymore. He is the real, convicted deal:
WASHINGTON – Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted of seven corruption charges Monday in a trial that tainted the 40-year Senate career of Alaska's political patriarch.
The verdict, coming just days before Election Day, adds further uncertainty to a closely watched Senate race. Democrats hope to seize the once reliably Republican seat as part of their bid for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Classy the way he steeped down so that his party could try and keep his seat. Oh wait, he didn't.
I doubt that a lot of ThreeSourcers spend a lot of time worrying about the future inheritances of children of Harvard professors. But -- just for today -- tune in, this is pretty instructive.
Professor Mankiw suggests that his present personal needs are pretty close to sated, but that additional speaking and writing engagements would allow him to bequeath a little more to his three children. He compares the marginal effect of earning an additional dollar under the McCain, Obama, and Eidlebus '12 tax plans:
If there were no taxes [Eidlebus] so t1=t2=t3=t4=0, then $1 earned today would yield my kids $28. That is simply the miracle of compounding.
Under the McCain plan, t1=.35, t2=.25, t3=.15, and t4=.15. In this case, a dollar earned today yields my kids $4.81. That is, even under the low-tax McCain plan, my incentive to work is cut by 83 percent compared to the situation without taxes.
Under the Obama plan, t1=.43, t2=.35, t3=.2, and t4=.45. In this case, a dollar earned today yields my kids $1.85. That is, Obama's proposed tax hikes reduce my incentive to work by 62 percent compared to the McCain plan and by 93 percent compared to the no-tax scenario. In a sense, putting the various pieces of the tax system together, I would be facing a marginal tax rate of 93 percent.
Disincentives to additional work from most Ivy League professors mightn’t be such a bad idea, but I thank Mankiw for this illustrative example that will be reflected in every industry and sector: $1.28 out of $28.00
UPDATE: I'm a little late to the party, I see that Instapundit and Hugh have both linked to this. Just the same, I think it needs the weight of ThreeSources behind it.
Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:
"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
And they were dead serious."
I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.
My name is Joe Biden, and I don't like tough questions.
and of course this:
"There's nothing wrong with tough questions, but reporters have the very important job of sharing the truth with the public -- not misleading the American people with false information. Senator Biden handled the interview well; however, the anchor was completely unprofessional. Senator Biden's wife is not running for elected office, and there are many other stations in the Orlando television market that would gladly conduct a respectful and factual interview with her."
"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election."
Hey, it's not me! I am ThreeSources's sunny optimist!
Buuuuut, I look at where we are headed politically and where we are now and I get a little concerned. So, too, is Professor N. Gregory Mankiw in the NYTimes:
[W]hen Olivier Blanchard, the I.M.F.’s chief economist, was asked about the possibility of the world sinking into another Great Depression, he reassuringly replied that the chance was “nearly nil.” He added, “We’ve learned a few things in 80 years.”
Yes, we have. But have we learned what caused the Depression of the 1930s? Most important, have we learned enough to avoid doing the same thing again?
I think the FOMC is smarter, but I see an Obama Administration and 111th Congress ready to hop on the Hoover-FDR Express. Who doesn’t think this crew would double down on more taxes and regulation if their first round doesn't produce prosperity?
Megan McArdle, my favorite libertarian Democratic Obama supporter, is not in the tank.
I was at a friend's birthday party last night, and another financial/political journalist and I were marvelling at the way that Obama has been able to get away with complaining about deregulation while sharing a ticket with The Man from MBNA. Why haven't journalists pointed this out? I asked. He shrugged, and then said it's really McCain's fault--it's his job to make that case, and he hasn't.
That would be funny were it not so sad. The Tanning Bed Media (don't say I ain't hip to the memes) can send 30 reporters to Alaska to see if Bristol's ex-boyfriend's mother-in-law's cousin's landlord once swore in front of a child, but it's somehow Senator McCain's job to point out the startling differences between his opponent's rhetoric and actions.
Blog friend Everyday Economist again shows why he's the academic and I am the partisan hack. The work of John Maynard Keynes has been used to justify government spending and intrusion. President Nixon famously and prematurely said "We're all Keynesians now."
FA Hayek and the Austrian School in general have been used to promote the individual over the collective and the private over the public.
EE discards politics and marries prominent economic theories from Lord Keynes and Hayek in a smart and extremely readable piece on "The Artificial Boom."
This analysis is by no means the only example of what economic theory has to say about the current financial crisis and the preceding boom. However, this analysis should serve to demonstrate that, looking back on the past six years or so, the artificial boom and subsequent bust in the United States, which is now spreading throughout the world, can be better understood in light of the pioneering work of F.A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. Until we begin to take uncertainty seriously and understand the limitations of price level stabilization, no amount of regulation or intervention will prevent such a crisis in the future.
House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created "guaranteed retirement accounts" for every worker. The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly 3 percent return. Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from Washington and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, said that since "the savings rate isn't going up for the investment of $80 billion [in 401(k) tax breaks], we have to start to think about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that's not generating what we now say it should."
If John McCain is going to win this election it will be with the help of great Americans like Orson Scott Card. A science fiction writer (who's work dagny likes) he's also a Democrat and a newspaper columnist published in North Carolina. And according to Rush Limbaugh (where I first heard this) he's far enough left to be pro gun control. And yet, he takes American newspapers apart:
I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.
This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.
This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.
Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?
I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."
But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.
If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.
If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.
You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.
Every blogger should link this column.
Every American should send it to his local newspaper.
A good friend of ThreeSources sends a link to a Jennifer Rubin post in Commentary -- and the suggestion that "it seems McCain has finally got his grove on."
So let’s try to get all this straight. My opponent says he’s going to cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans — including that miraculous reduction for those who aren’t paying any right now. Then he commits to more than a trillion dollars in new federal spending. And even after voting for the 750 billion dollar rescue package earlier this month, he won’t even specify a single cut in spending that he would consider. That leaves us with almost two trillion dollars in new spending to which Barack Obama stands committed, and no explanation at all of how he is going to pay for it.
Does anyone seriously believe that these trillions of dollars are going to come from only the very highest income earners? Even his supporters are skeptical. Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said of these plans, quote, “There is not enough money to do all this stuff.” An influential newspaper called his claims, quote, “neither politically nor economically plausible.” That critique came from the editorial board of The New York Times, and when Barack Obama loses them you know he’s gone too far.
I join Rubin in wishing that Senator Mac had stuck with this message throughout the campaign.
The reality is: I quickly realized Rudy was a maniac. I had a recurring fantasy in which I took him out during a press conference (it was nonlethal, just something that put him out of commission for a year or so), saving America from the horror of a President Giuliani. If that sounds like I had some trouble being “objective,” I did. -- Michael Hastings, addressing concerns that campaign reporters become too easily enamored of the candidate they're covering. Him, not so much.
I worried in 2003 that as much as I loved the Bush tax cuts, the only way to sell any tax cuts is to make the curve more steeply progressive and to remove more people from liability altogether.
Today, Professor Adam Lerrick has a guest editorial in the WSJ that questions "What happens when the voter in the exact middle of the earnings spectrum receives more in benefits from Washington than he pays in taxes?"
In 2006, the latest year for which we have Census data, 220 million Americans were eligible to vote and 89 million -- 40% -- paid no income taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center (a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute), this will jump to 49% when Mr. Obama's cash credits remove 18 million more voters from the tax rolls. What's more, there are an additional 24 million taxpayers (11% of the electorate) who will pay a minimal amount of income taxes -- less than 5% of their income and less than $1,000 annually.
In all, three out of every five voters will pay little or nothing in income taxes under Mr. Obama's plans and gain when taxes rise on the 40% that already pays 95% of income tax revenues.
There is much for a little-l libertarian, big-P Prosperitarian to worry about in 2008, but this "tipping point" represents a structural, irreversible change in Madisonian Democracy. We are no longer going to let the people who are paying the bill choose the restaurant.
I meant to link to this yesterday and it got away from me. I went hunting for the link so that I could share it with blog brother ls. Randall Hoven is concerned that the media and punditry values debating skills over accomplishment.
I use Sarah Palin as an example. Throughout her life, she was chosen by her peers for leadership roles.
-- In high school she was chosen to be captain of the basketball team. Her team won the State Championship when she was captain. In fact, she sank the winning shot in the championship game - with a broken ankle.
-- In high school she was chosen as leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
-- When she showed up at PTA meetings in support of her own children's education, her peers said she should run for councilman. She did and she won.
-- As a councilwoman, her peers said she should run for mayor. She did and she won.
-- As mayor, her fellow mayors thought she should be President of the Alaska Council of Mayors. She won that election too.
-- The Alaska governor appointed her as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
-- Her peers thought she should run for governor. She did and she won.
-- John McCain selected her to be his Vice Presidential running mate.
Hoven points out that she rose to where she is on her own competence. He goes on to defend her experience vis-ŕ-vis Senator Obama, her intelligence, and her veracity vis-ŕ-vis Senator Biden.
There's some question about the accuracy of some anti-DAWG information posted by blog brother jg. I have not looked enough to wade in, but got this in my email as soon as I saw tg's comment. I think we can all agree that PBS's Frontline will provide a fair and balanced look at climate change:
For years, big business – from oil and coal companies to electric utilities to car manufacturers – have resisted change to environmental policy and stifled the debate over climate change in America and around the globe. Now, facing rising pressure from governments, green groups and investors alike, big business is reshaping its approach to the environment, fundamentally transforming the politics of the debate. Producer Martin Smith travels the globe to size up the climate problem firsthand and to test what big business is really doing to solve one of the most urgent issues of our time.
A great lefty friend of mine recently emailed to tell me that he had looked at both sides of the election by watching a Frontline special and reading one of Senator Obama's autobiographies, and has decided to vote for Senator Obama (without even waiting for The Nation endorsement).
I'll quit my job to campaign full time for the first candidate who runs on a platform to abolish PBS.
Chatterbox isn't sure he's ever read a memoir quite so self-indulgent and morally clueless as Fugitive Days. (He's certainly never before read one festooned with glowing blurbs from respectable folk like Scott Turow--"a gripping personal account.") "Memory is a motherfucker," begins Ayers, establishing the book's literary tone and unreliability in one compact sentence. Throughout Fugitive Days, Ayers reminds his readers that he's had to omit or change many facts throughout his narrative because they describe actions on his part that are, well, illegal. -- Timothy Noah [Chatterbox] in a book review not likely to generate a lot of Bill Ayers book sales or Senator Obama votes.
There aren't a lot of stories I run and hide from, but brave Sir Robin here did not know what to do with this guest editorial. University of Michigan professor Catherine MacKinnon delivers what could pass off as a good parody of agitprop feminism, claiming we need President Obama to protect us from the big bad patriarchy:
Despite inroads, women's status remains characterized by sex-based poverty and impunity for sexual abuse from childhood on. [...]
In addition, for reasons largely not of their own making, most women work in job categories that are paid less than men, yet are equally productive. Courts have not interpreted existing laws to guarantee equal pay for work of equal value. Comparable worth -- paying women what their work is actually worth -- would wipe out more of the pay gap, and hence women's poverty, than any single economic step.
Sporting a Y chromosome myself, I feared that my refutations would not be taken seriously.
Thankfully, Terri at I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err has ridden to my rescue, with I Am JoAnn
Because like Joe, I don’t think the Federal Government should be looking out to give me special privileges. I don’t believe that the government should “spread the wealth” of others to me because I am poorer than they are and I don’t believe that the government should create special laws that apply only to me because I’m a woman.
It seems Terri is not completely taken by Professor MacKinnon's arguments:
Why/how can the government who pays $300 for hammers determine what the value of X is in order to force people to pay appropriately?
And then what happens when it’s determined that teachers are ‘worth’ the same as cardiologists. Who will be able to afford a teacher? Nurses save more patients than doctors, but should we have fewer higher paid nurses to pay them comparably?
Taken individually, most of them would create doubt about the readiness and honesty of any political candidate. Put together as a narrative, we believe this paints the picture of a man who has few real credentials for the office he seeks beyond the Constitutional minimum, and a politician who has succeeded in obfuscating his hard-Left ideology.
Perhaps if Barack Obama had taken more time to build his resumé – especially with executive experience – he might have made a more compelling candidate, and might have demonstrated at least a little of the moderation he has claimed. Instead, Democrats want America to support at once the most radical and least qualified candidate for President in at least a century. They have tried to conceal this with the complicity of a pom-pom-waving national media that has shown much more interest in the political background of a plumber from Ohio than in a major-party candidate for President.
America deserves better than that. Voters deserve the truth from the press, not vague cheers of “hope” and “change” while willfully ignoring or air-brushing Obama’s record. We hope to set that record straight with our essay.
Bloggers -- and I am not immune -- love to celebrate the missteps and economic failures of traditional media. The New York Times Stock Chart is a better laugh to me than all the comics the paper lacks. The disappearance of any viewers younger than 90 for the evening network snooze fests from Brokaw and Couric and Williams are chocolate covered frozen schadenfreude on a stick.
Yet, as news consumers and specifically as bloggers, we require a robust hard news reporting segment and would revel in moderately objective and accurate news gathering from the major dailies and networks.
I've got your ethical prescription: enjoy the demise of the Associated Press! Glenn Reynolds links to another daily dropping its subscription:
Unhappy with both the A.P. service and its price — more than $800,000 a year at a time when The [Columbus] Dispatch’s finances are severely pinched — the paper on Friday took the once-unthinkable step of saying it would drop the service.
The AP had led the way in bias and groupthink. Indeed, its very existence is anti-Hayekian, giving a few individuals massive control of the voice and direction of national newscasting. Papers could replace the AP's homogeneous, biased garbage with original reporting. And there are moves afoot to syndicate these features from the bottom-up instead of the top-down.
So feel free to cheer as the AP goes down in flames. Coverage won't get any worse -- and may well get better. Tell 'em jk says it's okay.
The Chrysler Canary - Introducing A Whole New Hybrid
Numerous recent articles, including this one from the WSJ, have reported Chrysler's ongoing attempts to find someone - anyone - (GM, Renault, Nissan) to merge with. To date, the talks have failed for a variety of reasons. Certainly, the other US auto makers are equally frail. All of the articles cite the cost of retiree health care and worker benefits (e.g., "job banks") as barriers to any deal. The UAW is in a position to disrupt, if not quash, any merger deals. It is interesting to note, however, those parties not mentioned in any deals: major Japanese auto makers (Toyota, Honda). Neither of these companies have the burdensome union contract costs to build into their cars. And, it would appear, they are not anxious to add nearly $4,000 to the fixed cost of every car they make. Those companies considering any mergers already have "big labor" contracts. Of course, we've seen the Daimler-Chysler movie and we know how it ends.
Chrysler is the canary in the US economic coal mine. The UAW contracts are so ingrained that they have become entitlements. These entitlements, and that is the right word, have become so burdensome that the companies can no longer be competitive on a national scale, let alone globally. Even as private organizations, the car companies cannot shed them even when faced with almost certain death.
As the US moves toward a hybid economy in which the government assumes the obligations of private business including "universal healthcare," we should look in the bird cage where Chrysler is barely kicking. As we take the Michigan model to a national scale, how can anyone believe that burdening the entire economy with Detroit-style entitlements will do anything to help the economy grow and create jobs? We've seen this movie, too. It's called "Old Europe."
To support his decision to vote for Barack Obama as president, Colin Powell said,"I watched Mr. Obama," particularly in recent weeks, ... and "he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge . . . in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor."
To support his decision NOT to vote for Barack Obama as president, Thomas Sowell writes,"When one thinks of all the men who have put their lives on the line in battle to defend and preserve this country, it is especially painful to think that there are people living in the safety and comfort of civilian life who cannot be bothered to find out the facts about candidates before voting to put the fate of this nation, and of generations yet to come, in the hands of someone chosen because they like his words or style."
Now, I'm not suggesting that Colin Powell hasn't put his life on the line in battle to defend and preserve this country, or that he "cannot be bothered to find out the facts about candidates." But I am surprised that even the accomplished General Powell appears most impressed by Obama's "words or style."
The rest of Sowell's essay is equally powerful and explains, in part, the answer to dagny's question thusly:
An e-mail from a reader mentioned trying to tell his sister why he was voting against Obama but, when he tried to argue some facts, she cut him short: "You don't like him and I do!" she said. End of discussion.
There's also an excellent dissection of "change" and where it can take us if we aren't careful. Future excerpts would be unjust. Read it.
Judging from this graph of "Lower Troposphere Global Temperature: 1979-2008" it'll soon be much harder to propogate that "proven" "gasoline [and the industrial economy] is destroying the Earth, and humanity along with it" narrative. (Story here.)
Don Easterbrook, a geologist at Western Washington University, says, "It's practically a slam dunk that we are in for about 30 years of global cooling," as the sun enters a particularly inactive phase. His examination of warming and cooling trends over the past four centuries shows an "almost exact correlation" between climate fluctuations and solar energy received on Earth, while showing almost "no correlation at all with CO2."
And there's this for those who believe the world's best science comes from the IPCC:
But in order to prove the climate scaremongers' claim that 20th-century warming had been dangerous and unprecedented -- a result of human, not natural factors -- the MWP [medieval warm period] had to be made to disappear. So studies such as Michael Mann's "hockey stick," in which there is no MWP and global temperatures rise gradually until they jump up in the industrial age, have been adopted by the UN as proof that recent climate change necessitates a reordering of human economies and societies.
So let go of my wallet. I've gotta go buy a new "snow machine" suit.
Haven't had a real "Freedom on the March" post in a while, but Scholar's Stage links to an article in Diplomatic Courier called Can Democracy Truly Blossom in Turkmenistan? It seems the fiat of wacky "Turkmenbashi" has been replaced by a written Constitution. DC concedes there are issues:
Many feel that the constitution lacks components vital to a functioning democracy, such as a constitutional court and freedom of expression and that the document was designed to please foreign investors. Essentially, the document was not created for the people, but for the elites and to open up markets to stimulate economic reform.
Prosperitarian rule in a land that ends in S-T-A-N is nothing to sneeze at. Nor is the small Asian Republic's willingness to stand up to neighbor Russia:
Nevertheless, Turkmenistan’s move towards democracy is favorable to the West. Acting as an economic ally, Turkmenistan stands to gain more than it would lose by developing amicable relations with Europe and the United States. This provides a counterweight for Western states against a “Resurgent Russia” that they seem concerned about.
The opening of Turkmen markets has the potential to damage Russo-Turkmen relations and hurt Russia’s economy. With Russia being ruthless on payments and on the natural gas supply to Europe including many former Soviet republic and satellite states—Ukraine and the Czech Republic—many are more than likely to flock to Turkmenistan for gas. Turkmen gas will be cheaper and there will be less politics involved. This would threaten Russia’s energy supremacy in Central Asia and in Europe weakening Russia’s status as an energy abundant state.
Perhaps the light of liberty lives, albeit in France, Canada, and Turkmenistan.
OK, maybe just "partly-cloudy." (It seems to be in order around here these days. JEEZ!)
Bill (not Billy) Kristol writes in today's NY Times that the American public usually does show pretty good judgement:
Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country and of course concerned about the economy. But, as Pew summarized, “there is little indication that the nation’s financial crisis has triggered public panic or despair.”
In fact, “There is a broad public consensus regarding the causes of the current problems with financial institutions and markets: 79 percent say people taking on too much debt has contributed a lot to the crisis, while 72 percent say the same about banks making risky loans.”
Needless to say, the public’s not always right, and public opinion’s not always responsible. But as publics go, the American public has a pretty good track record.
In the 1930s, the American people didn’t fall — unlike so many of their supposed intellectual betters — for either fascism or Communism. Since World War II, the American people have resisted the temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and have turned their backs on a history of bigotry.
And this good judgement might just lead to a McCain-Palin victory in November:
But it’s hard to blame the public for preferring Obama at this stage — given the understandable desire to kick the Republicans out of the White House, and given the failure of the McCain campaign to make its case effectively. And some number of the public may change their minds in the final two weeks of the campaign, and may decide McCain-Palin offers a better kind of change — perhaps enough to give McCain-Palin a victory.
The media elites really hate that idea. Not just because so many of them prefer Obama. But because they like telling us what’s going to happen. They’re always annoyed when the people cross them up.
Finally, Kristol puts a face on this "common man" who makes up the American public: Joe the Plumber.
And to Peggy Noonan, who wrote that Joe “in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made.” At least McCain and Palin have had the good sense to embrace him. I join them in taking my stand with Joe the Plumber — in defiance of Horace the Poet.
During Barack Obama's recent event in Toledo, Ohio, "Joe the Plumber" asked a simple question and got a surprising answer from the Democratic nominee. When he asked why Barack Obama's tax plan was going to punish him for working hard and living the American Dream, Barack Obama responded, "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
In that brief exchange, the American people got to see what this campaign is all about ... a choice between honoring the hard work of everyday Americans like "Joe the Plumber" and increasing taxes to "spread the wealth." In these tough economic times, there is no doubt that John McCain and Sarah Palin stand firmly on the side of hardworking "everyday Joes" who understand the value of honest work and the American Dream.
That's why we want to hear from you and share your story with the American public. It's simple ... make an ad telling us why you are "Joe the Plumber" in 30 seconds and your video could end up on the air as a TV ad. Share your story of living the American Dream, working hard, or owning a small business to tell America why you're standing with John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Hello, my name is Rich Pearson and I have been active in the firearm rights movement for over 40 years. For the past 15 years, I have served in the Illinois state capitol as the chief lobbyist for the Illinois State Rifle Association.
I lobbied Barack Obama extensively while he was an Illinois State Senator. As a result of that experience, I know Obama's attitudes toward guns and gun owners better than anyone. The truth be told, in all my years in the Capitol I have never met a legislator who harbors more contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner than does Barack Obama.
Although Obama claims to be an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, his voting record in the Illinois Senate paints a very different picture. While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite, Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.
Without a doubt, Barack Obama has proven himself to be an enemy of the law abiding firearm owner . At the same time, Obama has proven himself to be a friend to the hardened criminal. While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family.
Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a "friend" of the law-abiding gun owner?
And speaking of friends, you can always tell a person by the company they keep. Obama counts among his friends the Rev. Michael Pfleger - a renegade Chicago priest who has openly called for the murder of gun shop owners and pro-gun legislators. Then there is his buddy Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago who has declared that if it were up to him, nobody would be allowed to own a gun. And let's not forget Obama's pal George Soros - the guy who has pumped millions of dollars into the UN's international effort to disarm law-abiding citizens.
Obama has shown that he is more than willing to use other people's money to fund his campaign to take your guns away from you. While a board member of the leftist Joyce Foundation, Barack Obama wrote checks for tens of millions of dollars to extremist gun control organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence Policy Center.
Does Barack Obama still sound to you like a "friend" of the law-abiding gun owner?
By now, I'm sure that many of you have received mailings from an organization called "American Hunters and Shooters Association(AHSA)" talking about what a swell fellow Obama is and how he honors the 2nd Amendment and how you will never have to worry about Obama coming to take your guns. Let me make it perfectly clear - everything the A HSA says about Obama is pure hogwash. The AHSA is headed by a group of left-wing elitists who subscribe to the British view of hunting and shooting. That is, a state of affairs where hunting and shooting are reserved for the wealthy upper-crust who can afford guided hunts on exclusive private reserves. The AHSA is not your friend, never will be.
In closing, I'd like to remind you that I'm a guy who has actually gone nose to nose with Obama on gun rights issues. The Obama I know cannot even begin to identify with this nation's outdoor traditions. The Obama I know sees you, the law abiding gun owner, as nothing but a low-class lummox who is easily swayed by the flash of a smile and a ration of rosy rhetoric. The Obama I know is a stony-faced liar who has honed his skill at getting what he wants - so long as people are willing to give it to him.
That's the Barack Obama I know.
"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."
"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."
I'm at a loss to understand what you in your communities can do in the face of international crisis.
I suppose Obama supporters can keep an eye on the pitchfork and torch brigades.
What is he getting at?
Surely Biden argues for a more experienced hand, right?
It's nice to know that the Obama/Biden administration is going all Bush/Cheney on us.
Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right.
Wasn't that the argument about the War on Terror and Iraq? "Just give us time, you'll see."
We Must Look to Canada and France for Economic Leadership
A protectionist presidential candidate has a large polling lead, and a protectionist party is slated to increase its gains in Congress. It seems we may have to leave it to France and Canada to keep prosperity and freedom alive. WSJ Ed Page:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France signed an agreement Friday to begin negotiations for a free trade pact between Canada and the European Union. A Canada-EU study released last week outlines the joint economic benefits of such a partnership, with two-way trade estimated to increase 22.9% by 2014.
Review Corner? On Monday? Yes, you have to buy this book today.
One hundred and one years ago this week, The Panic of 1907 was in full bloom. Robert Bruner and Sean Carr provide an entertaining and enlightening look inside the background heroics of J. Pierpont Morgan as he tried to keep the whole world from crashing. The book opens with a Mark Twain quote that "history does not repeat. But it rhymes."
I don't know what it is about October. I was doing PR for an Investment Banking Firm in 1987 and will never forget the ashen faces of my clients when the nation lost 25% of its wealth on one day. In October 1907, a "perfect storm" was cresting and "Pierpont" was determined to limit its destruction.
The book is entertaining and germane. I cannot say that I agree with its conclusions, and I cannot help but believe that the authors were trying a little too hard to make it match today (it was released August 31, maybe these guys should be managing my extensive -- yeah right -- portfolio).
But it is a great opportunity to look at the Panic of 2008 form a different perspective. And it is a great read. Four stars.
Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (Ł40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned.
Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government's cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed.
I don't know if he still lives in the part of Virginia (McLean) that isn't "Real Virginia", but his endorsement of Barack Obama clearly proves that he is not a "Real American". Now Palin can slam Obama for palling around with Ayers and Powell. This could be the game changer that McCain has been waiting for.
You have to give credit to ABC and the Denver Post. The Post has not fired David Harsanyi and ABC has not canned Mister Stossel. Though both disagree with every freedom lovin' word.
Stossel has a guest editorial in the WSJ today that quotes Hayek, spontaneous order and the power of free markets.
I try to demonstrate that in my upcoming ABC TV special, "John Stossel's Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics." I centrally planned a skating rink, and stood in the center of the ice and shouted through a bullhorn: "Slow down! Turn right. No backwards skating!" It didn't work. People hated it. Some fell, just as predicted by George Mason University professor Daniel Klein, who came up with the idea.
Had I been directing an economy, politicians would say that I failed because I'm not smart enough. They'd demand that we elect an expert. So I gave the bullhorn to Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano. He did no better. Even a genius, or an angel, will lack knowledge of the individual skater's situation. It changes moment by moment. Mr. Boitano and I had no clue who was off-balance, who wanted to speed up, who needed a bathroom break. The skaters each perceived the situation as it happened, and followed their own principles of motion.
The Libertarian Party must be destroyed. It is the only hope for little-l libertarians to have any voice in politics. Professor Reynolds considers voting for Bob Barr and asks readers to help with his tactical conundrum.
Every two years, I get a little less interested in a party that seeks to win elections with nine percent of the vote. This year, my disinterest has solidified. I read the Reason Magazine cover story on Bob Barr, and while he still seems an unlikely and overly convenient big-L lib, I recommend the interview highly. Rep. Barr is bright and serious.
The problem, I have concluded, is that "us nine percenters" have zero chance of electing our own candidates. But, 4.5% engaged, active and serious voters in each major party could push their compatriots, significantly, to more liberty advancing positions. Folks like me could continue to push the GOP away from reflexive opposition to gay rights and acceptance of religious involvement in the public sphere. Liberty minded Democrats could oppose confiscatory taxation, overregulation, and push for freer trade.
We'd be a lot better off bringing both parties toward liberty, instead of providing more colorful, enigmatic fodder for the next edition of Brian Dougherty's Radicals for Capitalism.
The Wall Street Journal -- even under Rupert Murdoch's evil influence -- is still too good to use a scatological bovine reference in a headline. But I think they wanted to, and an editor changed it to Obama Makes It Up.
We actually had a discussion of free trade at the last debate. I'm not a big Bob Schieffer fan, but he was a better moderator than Lehrer, Ifill, and Brokaw put together. Senator McCain was strong, as this is an important issue to him and he has a great track record. Opponents may have thought it Gore-ish, but I liked his eyebrow hurdle when Senator Government -- I mean Obama -- called himself a free trader.
Senator Obama then made a very good case for his opposition to the Colombia Free Trade pact. Like Senator Mac, I thought it was a "no-brainer" but Senator O made a clever case about Columbia's failure to prosecute crimes against labor leaders. Heck, it even sounded good to me. Too bad it was Bullshit:
It is true that Colombia has a history of violence. But since President Álvaro Uribe took office in 2002, that violence has been substantially reduced. The homicide rate through the end of 2007 was down by 40.4% and the rate among union members was down almost 87%. There is nothing "consistent" about a drop to 26 union member murders in 2007 from 155 in 2000.
As for prosecutions: In union-member killings, there were zero convictions from 1991-2000 and one in 2001. But from 2002-2007, there were 80. According to the Colombian attorney general's office, 29% of those murders were "found to have been results of theft, petty crime and random violence unrelated to union activity." Mr. Uribe has nonetheless created a special investigative unit for crimes against union members, and he expanded a special government protection program for unions.
But, is Joe really a plumber? Don't worry the press is on it.
Has it been a year and nine days since Graeme Frost? My how time flies. It seems I wasn't the only one thinking about the poor lad and perceiving a little bit of media double-standard. K. Daniel Glover:
It has been almost a year to the day since journalists dropped the ball on telling America more about Graeme Frost, the boy who made the case for sinking billions of dollars more into the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. But when Michelle Malkin and other curious conservative bloggers did the legwork the press wouldn’t, they earned the scorn of their mainstream colleagues.
Indeed. And Joe Wurzelbacher didn’t give a speech or make a commercial. He asked a question. He stood on a rope line, and Obama picked him to ask it. The Tanning-Bed Media seems to feel that they have a duty to expose every last part of Wurzelbacher’s life, but that asking Obama to explain his political partnerships with Tony Rezko and William Ayers, and his long friendship and financial support of rabid demagogues Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, are not just out of bounds but downright racist.
I think it's great. It keeps Senator Government's collectivist gaffe on the front page without the RNC's spending a dime. I'm hoping Rep. Waxman calls Joe the Plumber (or whoever the whatever he really is) in for hearings.
UPDATE: Can somebody please explain to me -- speaking slowly and using very small words -- what the "Tanning-Bed" meme is all about? I followed a link from Insty when it started but didn't see anything about tanning beds. I hate to be outside the blognoscenti.
It was reported that at a Sarah Palin rally today in Lumpluster, Ohio, some Palin supporters -- when Senator Obama's name was mentioned -- yelled "Bake him a lemon pie with only half the sugar!" and "Make him listen to Duran Duran!"
No, that's not Governor Palin's least favorite SCOTUS decision... It's John Rawls versus Robert Nozick.
That's Perfesser Greg Mankiw's description of how people respond to Joe the Plumber (I'm a fan of JtP on Facebook, BTW). Mankiw suggests Obama's "spread the wealth around" is "as good a summary of the Rawlsian notion of distributive justice as you are likely to find from a major political candidate." In contradicting him, Mankiw suggests that Senator McCain might prefer this passage from Nozick:
However, we are not in the position of children who have been given portions of pie by someone who now makes last minute adjustments to rectify careless cutting. There is no central distribution, no person or group entitled to control all the resources, jointly deciding how they are to be doled out. What each person gets, he gets from others who give to him in exchange for something, or as a gift. In a free society, diverse persons control different resources, and new holdings arise out of the voluntary exchanges and actions of persons. There is no more a distributing or distribution of shares than there is a distributing of mates in a society in which persons choose whom they shall marry. The total result is the product of many individual decisions which the different individuals involved are entitled to make.
Also see Mankiw's Who Wins the Rich Vote? (Spoiler: $1-10 million go McCain 75-15; $30M+, 66-33 Obama) Anybody surprised?
I stopped listening to Hannity in 2004, but he used to call people great Americans.
He's talking about men like Joe.
We are the greatest country in the word, stop apologizing for it. I mean really, I get real mad about that. I'm not sorry about being an American. I'm not sorry for having the things i have, I worked for them. I'm not sorry that I wish our borders were closed, and that you have to come through in a legal manner. I'm not sorry for any of those things. I'm not sorry that we're in Iraq. My friends in the military have come back from Iraq and told me of the thanks they recieved for being there. It doesn't get enough play. We liberated another country. Freedom. Things that everyone of you guys take for granted, Everything that Americans take for granted. I'm these guys havent had it, now they got it. That's an incredible thing.
I don't know whether Senator McCain "won" the debate last night and I don't know if his strong performance will be enough against severe Democratic headwinds. But, Merciful Zeus, he sure got me back into the fold.
He started out with "Greed and Corruption on Wall Street" and I grabbed my stomach for a long night. But he turned the corner pretty quickly and the final 89 minutes were very good.
McCain was strong on taxes and the proper role of government. His little slip of "Senator Government" was so perfect I'd love to believe it was planned. Either way, McCain was on the side of angels in that debate. Senator Government's solutions are government.
He still doesn't have his health care plan down, but he fit it into the context of market versus government. That's a great start.
Finishing up the debate on school choice? Yes. Yes. Yes.
He could have done a little better on health care and he could have punctured the 95% of you are going to get a tax cut myth. But he did a superb job. The McCain-Palin sticker goes back on the car today!
UPDATE: I mayhave to sue. The WSJ Ed Page steals my headline and, pretty much, my lede:
Whether or not last night's much-improved debate performance helps John McCain rally in the polls, at least voters finally got a clearer sense of the policy differences. For our money, the best line of the night was Mr. McCain's Freudian slip of referring to Barack Obama as "Senator Government." Neither candidate is offering policies that meet the serious economic moment. But Mr. McCain would let Americans keep more of their own income to ride out the downturn, while Mr. Obama is revealing that his default agenda is to spend money and expand the government.
The polls that “worry” Eeyores have Democrats at 45% or above in terms of party ID breakdown — with Republicans as low as 20%. In the last 20 years, Democrats have only had a 4% party ID advantage over Republicans. Why on Earth would that historic fact change in 2008 — and swing to a 25% or more Democrat advantage? That’s ridiculous. And everything Eeyores run around with, crazed over, is equally ridiculous if they’d just take the time to critically think through it.
Yes - the media is promoting Obama, to the point where media figures like Chris Matthews actually campaign for Obama in states like Pennsylvania (which he did, in person, the weekend of October 12-13)
Hillbuzz is the blog of Hillary die-hards who are for McCain.
The entire Democratic strategy in 2008 revolves around the unproven theory that polls do create reality. Otherwise, there would be no point in continuously striving to inflate Obama's perceived public support.
The real question at the end of the day is this: Are people telling pollsters they're supporting Obama due to normative conformity (which is what I suspect) or due to informational conformity (which is what the Left is banking on)? We won't know until November 4. You can lie to a pollster. But you cannot lie to a ballot.
When former Governor Bill Owens issued an executive order to achieve this objective for all state government workers, union collections fell by more than half. But that edict was rescinded by current Governor Bill Ritter, a Democrat and union ally. Thus the need for Amendment 49, which the state's unions are spending furiously to defeat.
What is remarkable about Amendment 49 is that it has the endorsement of most major newspapers in Colorado, including the center-left Denver Post. Perhaps that's because even many liberals understand that workers shouldn't be coerced into subsidizing political causes they don't agree with. In particular, income should not be intercepted by a third party -- in this case withheld by the government -- before it gets to the worker's bank account. Unions talk about raising take-home pay, except when they are dunning that pay to finance their own agenda.
Larry Kudlow had a guest last night (not listed on the blog, sorry), an ostensibly conservative money manager, who was peddling this line. He wants $140 oil because he does not want to lose momentum in alternative energy. Kudlow suggested that it would have to drop to $50 or below to threaten that, but Mister Guest thought that the psychological value of oil had a huge influence.
'Scuse me fellas, but is anybody paying attention to what is happening? Three dollar gas will be a huge break for small business and the American consumer. It's one a few things that überoptimist Kudlow can seize onto.
I know Lutz has put all his chips on an electric car that will lose money at three times the price of a comparable combustion vehicle. I'm a Friedmanite and will support his defense of what's left of his shareholders' value. But for any responsible economist to root for more "back to the caves" (That would be Karl Popper, also five stars, but good luck finding it!) to prevent us from global warming has perhaps not noticed the correlation of per capita income and environmental concerns.
The affair between Congressman Tim Mahoney and Patricia Allen began, according to current and former staffers, in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising "a world that is safer, more moral."
Senior Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, including Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), the chair of the Democratic Caucus, have been working with Mahoney to keep the matter from hurting his re-election campaign, the Mahoney staffers said.
David Henderson of the Hoover Institution is no fan of Paul Krugman's acerbic NYTimes punditry. But he does write a nice guest editorial today in the Wall Street Journal to defend Krugman's earlier work as being worthy of the Nobel Economics prize.
But Mr. Krugman's defense of free trade is not what earned him the Nobel Prize. Rather, he was honored for his work in the late 1970s explaining patterns of international trade, and for his work in the early 1990s on economic geography.
In the late 1970s, Mr. Krugman noticed that the accepted model economists used to explain patterns of international trade did not fit the data. The Hecksher-Ohlin model predicted that trade would be based on such factors as the ratio of capital to labor, with "capital-rich" countries exporting capital-intensive goods and importing labor-intensive goods from "labor-rich" countries. Mr. Krugman noticed that most international trade takes place between countries with roughly the same ratio of capital to labor. The auto industry in capital-intensive Sweden, for example, exports cars to capital-intensive America, while Swedish consumers also import cars from America.
I'll admit to having zero knowledge of his earlier work. I know only the "barking mad" partisan who trades on his former academic glory. Nor do I trust the Nobel folks that his anti-Bush screeds were not powerful inducements to his selection.
But I will look for the article referenced where Krugman gives a quick explanation of Ricardo for non-economists. I have failed at that exercise a hundred times and would welcome help.
UPDATE: Don Luskin is a little less kind: Krugman’s Posthumous Nobel "This year’s prize in economics goes to an economist who died a decade ago."
Maybe the McCain campaign and I could compromise. They could continue personal attacks against Senator Obama in lieu of a cogent economic argument, but could they please shift to ACORN instead of Bill Ayers?
The WSJ Ed Page has a devastating editorial today on ACORN, its structural problems, and Senator Obama's ties to it:
The Obama campaign is now distancing itself from Acorn, claiming Mr. Obama never organized with it and has nothing to do with illegal voter registration. Yet it's disingenuous to channel cash into an operation with a history of fraud and then claim you're shocked to discover reports of fraud. As with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, Mr. Obama was happy to associate with Acorn when it suited his purposes. But now that he's on the brink of the Presidency, he wants to disavow his ties.
It is almost inconceivable that Barack Obama should not have been grilled on this –either by his opponent or the media. (The latter is just beginning to cover the story.) Obama’s ties are deep and extensive with an organization that embraces goals and tactics well outside the political mainstream and that has engaged in a pattern of illegal activity usually seen only in RICO indictments.
Sorry, Keystone Staters, while you have a team in the NLCS (Go Phils!) we have to ponder a myriad of ballot referenda. I got an email link to this "High Brow" "Ivory Tower" explanation of 49:
UPDATE: Some might recognize John Caldera of the Independence Institute. I went to his website for more on 49, and found this column which (all three) Boulder Refugee(s) might appreciate:
I came to Boulder in 1984. Since then I graduated from CU, owned a stage-lighting business here, got married here and started a family here, lost my daughter to cancer here, represented the community as an elected official on the RTD board, and wrote a column for the Daily Camera for four years here. I own a home here and my kids go to government schools. After 24 years I think it is fair to say I have every right to call myself a true Boulderite.
But many of my fellow Boulderites don't feel the same way. You see, I am a free market conservative. I don't agree with the Boulder credo of, "I know how you should live." I've opposed tax increases, smoking bans, growth control, bans on "chain" stores and restaurants and all the things that make Boulder the elitist town it is. As the president of the Independence Institute I work for personal and economic freedom. Neither is in great supply here. And after 24 years here in Boulder, I still feel quite the outsider.
Yes, I remain despondent about Senator McCain's failure to articulate a sensical, sentient message on the economy. But, let's do a little fair and balanced. Senator Obama is no better and likely much worse:
TOLEDO, Ohio - Democrat Barack Obama is calling for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and a two-year tax break for businesses that create jobs as part of a plan to heal the nation's ailing economy.
Begs a couple of questions:
-- Why not just outlaw foreclosures entirely?
-- If a two year tax break is good, how about a permanent tax break?
Dr. Helen is soliciting suggestions from her readers on how to (legally) "Go John Galt."
Obama talks about taking from those who are productive and redistributing to those who are not -- or who are not as successful. If success and productivity is to be punished, why bother? Perhaps it is time for those of us who make the money and pay the taxes to take it easy, live on less and let the looters of the world find their own way.
This comes from Insty, who links to Dr. Helen so much I am starting to suspect something... Perfesser Reynolds also links to a positive view of today's man-of--the-day Christopher Columbus.
Yet, even as the chroniclers of Nuremberg were correcting their proofs from Koberger's press, a Spanish caravel named Nina scudded before a winter gale into Lisbon with news of a discovery that was to give old Europe another chance. In a few years we find the mental picture completely changed. Strong monarchs are stamping out privy conspiracy and rebellion; the Church, purged and chastened by the Protestant Reformation, puts her house in order; new ideas flare up throughout Italy, France, Germany and the northern nations; faith in God revives and the human spirit is renewed. The change is complete and startling: "A new envisagement of the world has begun, and men are no longer sighing after the imaginary golden age that lay in the distant past, but speculating as to the golden age that might possibly lie in the oncoming future."
Christopher Columbus belonged to an age that was past, yet he became the sign and symbol of this new age of hope, glory and accomplishment. His medieval faith impelled him to a modern solution: Expansion.
There are no new worlds for a rebirth of liberty until we invent starships. My hopes an Atlantis rising out of former Soviet Republics has not borne fruit. I don't see any half-century hope of anything better than making the best of what we have. Try to keep the candle of liberty lit in the USA.
UPDATE: I had to see Don Luskin's take. He does not disappoint:
And even as a public intellectual, the prize is inappropriate, because never before has a scientist operating in the capacity of a public intellectual so abused and debased the science he purports to represent. Krugman's New York Times column drawing on economics is the equivalent of 2006's Nobelists in Physics, astromers Mather and Smoot, doing a column on astrology -- and then, in that column, telling lies about astronomy.
One insider, who refuses to predict on the record, says privately that Obama will quickly announce his appointments to the cabinet positions of state, defense, treasury and attorney general. He believes Obama's cabinet is shaping up to look like this: retiring U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as defense secretary; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as attorney general; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a political independent, at treasury; Susan Rice as national security advisor; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as secretary of state.
Mark Siegel, a former Democratic National Committee executive director, says Obama will want to make it immediately clear to America and to the world that "there's a new sheriff in town." He expects Obama to make that point dramatically by issuing several executive orders.
Siegel says you will see Obama immediately suspend all pending judicial nominations, close Guantanamo, then reassure the world that he will never permit torture.
McCain's letter -- signed by nineteen other senators -- said that it was "...vitally important that Congress take the necessary steps to ensure that [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac]...operate in a safe and sound manner.[and]..More importantly, Congress must ensure that the American taxpayer is protected in the event that either...should fail."
If only we could hire Simon Doonan, but the NY Observer probably has him locked up.
You have to read this whole, fabulous, thing. Doonan offers fashion advice for hockey moms: "Ditch the Crocs and try sashaying down Main Street in a heavily fringed purple Louboutin boot." Haven't I said the same thing a hundred times on this blog?
You thought "Robert Bork's America" was bad:
In Sarah Palin’s America, there are no Diana Vreelands, hip-hop queens, Janis Joplins, Zelda Fitzgeralds, Gwen Stefanis, Edie Sedgwicks, Annie Oakleys or Babe Paleys. There is a chilling absence of stylish daring. In its place are hockey moms, masses and masses of hockey moms—all attired, one imagines, in those denim dresses, worn over turtlenecks. Uggs in winter. Crocs in summer. Holiday-themed sweaters. Quacker Factory, etc. Pass the cyanide capsules, please.
Stop it Simon, I can't take it...
And what about those “Joe Six-Packs” to which the vice presidential candidate alluded? Initially, this concept sounded quite promising: In my mind’s eye, I saw glistening David Beckham-ish blokes with fiercely toned abs. Then the penny dropped—a bit like the waist on a hockey mom’s denim dress—and I realized she was not referring to those lads in the Abercrombie ads, but rather to that genre of male that unwinds chaque soir by slurping and farting its way through six burpy cans of beer.
Paging Abraham Lincoln! Paging Liberace! Paging Tom Wolfe! Paging any American with a dollop of savoir-faire!
I take comfort from the certainty that Governor Palin’s vision is inaccurate. My America, I am happy to report, is bursting with swaggering boulevardiers and fashion-lovin’ divas. My “Main Street” is filled with showoffs who live to gird up their loins with a stylish garter or two.
And that’s the fashion news for Sunday, October 12 -- have a nice day! Hat-tip a commenter on Althouse.
To a mixture of boos and cheers, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers' home opener against the New York Rangers.
The Alaska governor heard a few boos when she walked onto the ice Saturday evening. But that soon turned to polite applause as she walked out to center ice with Mike Richards of the Flyers and Scott Gomez of the Rangers.
Brian Tierney, owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer (and Daily News), this article is why your friends on the right don't care about and don't buy your paper anymore... yeah even though it's an AP story. It's still your paper.
Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power as governor by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper, the chief investigator of an Alaska legislative panel concluded yesterday. The politically charged inquiry could imperil her reputation as a reformer on John McCain's Republican ticket.
Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report by a bipartisan panel that investigated the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.
The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.
The report found that Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed.
The report clears her, yet that is the lede of the story.
The summary report is here... page eight has the four findings.
Here are two most important.
The basis of the Democrats (and don't believe for a second this is not politically motivated) case is that she had acted improperly solely on the basis of familial spite, when clearly the report says was only a factor and Gov Palin had good cause
The reduces the Democrats case to one of mind-reading and penumbral divinations... precisely what percentage of the firing had been for cause, not spite? This is not revealed.
For the record, Mr Moneghan was dismissed from his job as Public Safety Commissioner, but given another job as director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, which he turned down.
Regarding the third and fourth findings... three was an HR issue and four was a complaint about Sarah Palin's emails... which found their way to the web. Nothing there.
Here we have classic Spitzerism -- without the attractive young sex workers. The indictment is the verdict. There is no plan to offer due process, the chance to confront one's accuser, to present contrary evidence. There’s a push to ensure habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants, but nobody wants to extend it to Dick Grasso, Hank Greenberg, or Sarah Palin.
The court of public opinion has spoken, and she must be destroyed.
It’s like Oakland according to Gertrude Stein, i.e., there’s no there there, Hollis, no smoking gun, no damning evidence, no nothing except 1) evidence of wasting the taxpayers’ money and 2) engaging in a clumsy smear campaign against Sarah. (Don’t you love the way Team Obama labels every criticism of The Dear One a “smear”: Google “Obama” and “smears”: 1,280,000 items in .13 seconds.)
A hasp and a hinge or two shy of a gate, as the Alaska Legislature’s bid to shaft McCain-Palin comes up a little short. Ethics violation alleged by partisan hacks in efforts to fire the trooper. No law broken in commissioner’s firing.
While Republicans can be happy that there is "no there" here, Alaska Republicans can smile a little wider knowing that chief Democrat inquistor and aspiring Alaska governor candidate State Senator Hollis French goes from Democrat hero a month ago, promising an October 31st surprise to zero today as his report falls flat on it's face.
A damning report would have redounded to the Senator's credit.... now, he's a tool.
[Pa GOP Chairman] Gleason said ACORN, a nonprofit, submitted 252,595 voter registrations in Philadelphia. There were 57,435 registrations rejected -- most of them submitted by ACORN, Gleason said.
The forms had faulty Social Security numbers, incorrect dates of birth, "clearly fraudulent" signatures, addresses that did not exist and duplicate registrations, Gleason said. A man was registered to vote 15 times since the primary, according to Gleason, and some people listed vacant lots as their addresses.
Other counties, from Delaware County in the Philadelphia suburbs, to Allegheny County have had similar problems, Newman said.
Strangely in the reports, it does not indicate the party of registration for those duplicates.
Yes, there are investigation all over the country into illegal registrations provided by ACORN. Look out for the real fraud now that every election official in the country is working overtime to purge the obviously false registrations donated by Obama’s supporters.
Indeed. It provides an opportunity to strike real voters from the rolls too.
Though I'm sure some of the "obvious" fakes are Independents (and a few Rs for good measure), I suspect that the vast majority of them are Democrats.
Would a county election official somehow be compelled to strike voters (valid, real ones) from "the other side" in order to maintain some perverse semblance of balance?
While it is true that a voter could ask for a provisional ballot, most polling places aren't really conducive to having perhaps even as little as a few dozen voters waiting around the polling place until the Judge of Elections figures out how to handle it.
From my former position as an election judge, I can tell you that even one or two people waiting to "check their registrations" can gum things up... and the phone lines at the County Courthouse checking those registrations were busy all day long with Judges calling from the hundreds of polling places.
They'd walk out... not come back... or even worse... the disorder inside the polling place would lead to longer lines and people driving past the polling place and not voting at all.
ACORN's actions have thrown the whole f'ing election system into a state of uncertainty. ... and I"m not just saying that as desperate McCain supporter. (though I'm not desperate, yet)
I don't know about this, but man... those Hillary voters are not laying down.
There IS a RICO investigation of ACORN and the Obama campaign underway - this has now been established by the mainstream media. Right now it’s rumored here in Chicago that Patrick Fitzgerald is heading it (confirmation on that has not come yet). There is a lot of activity in Chicago right now, with a lot of IRS agents looking into the finances coming in and out of this city, and across state lines (this was established on Monday when the GOP issued emergency press releases that much of Obama’s campaign contributions could very well be illegal foreign contributions - what appears to be deliberately poor record keeping designed to hide the true identities and monetary sources of online donors is at issue here). We see in 15 states now that ACORN is being busted for attempted voter fraud, and for fraudulent, illegal voter registratons in the hundreds of thousands, if not a million. The article below states, and we have confirmed this with people who know for sure, that the people who gathered evidence of Obama’s fraud and voter intimidation techniques during the primaries against Hillary Clinton are sharing everything they have with the Republican Party and the federal government.
What’s happening here is something we have never seen before: centrist Clinton Democrats and Republicans are working together to expose the DNC and Obama campaign’s illegal activities and orchestrated, coordinated fraud. Both parties are working with federal agents to investigate ACORN, which has been funded with upwards of $800,000 in questionable donations from the Obama campaign (in what appears to be the expressed and explicit direction to engineer voter fraud in the general election). The tactics being employed now in the 15 states currently under investigation are the VERY SAME TACTICS we saw on the ground in Iowa, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana, and other states working for Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
Prosecutions for political activities is always very thin ice.
The Crash: "Why has the market dropped so much?" everyone asks. What is it about the specter of our first socialist president and the end of capitalism as we know it that they don't understand? -- IBD Ed Page
Okay, I'm totally in the tank for the Governor of Alaska and you have every right to question my opinion and motives. But may I do the same? Even the AP says it is all about the election:
It goes to anyone's hands who got a copy or clicks the link on the Web," said Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton, the chairman of the committee that released the report. "I can't tell you how the process ends."
Here we have classic Spitzerism -- without the attractive young sex workers. The indictment is the verdict. There is no plan to offer due process, the chance to confront one's accuser, to present contrary evidence. There’s a push to ensure habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants, but nobody wants to extend it to Dick Grasso, Hank Greenberg, or Sarah Palin.
UPDATE: Blog Friend Terri both takes a serious look at the report and manages to make lemonade:
I think this pretty much shows that Palin, once again, is not afraid of the “machine” that can be politics. She did what she thought was right knowing full well how it might look in the end. I think she’s ok on this.
Even my jokes about my predictable links to Kim Strassel on Friday have become predictable. Sorry, I have a problem. I must link to Potomac Watch. It is a little bit snarky this week, but so humorously dead on to be devastating.
Strassel becomes a barker for "The Great Obama" who "will defy politics, economics and gravity!"
To kick off our show tonight, Mr. Obama will give 95% of American working families a tax cut, even though 40% of Americans today don't pay income taxes! How can our star enact such mathemagic? How can he "cut" zero? Abracadabra! It's called a "refundable tax credit." It involves the federal government taking money from those who do pay taxes, and writing checks to those who don't. Yes, yes, in the real world this is known as "welfare," but please try not to ruin the show.
For his next trick, the Great Obama will jumpstart the economy, and he'll do it by raising taxes on the very businesses that are today adrift in a financial tsunami! [...]
Next up, Mr. Obama will re-regulate the economy, with no ill effects whatsoever! [...]
She even keeps a kneecap for his opponent toward the end:
We'd like to thank a few people in the audience. Namely, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who has so admirably restrained himself from running up on stage to debunk any of these illusions and spoil everyone's fun.
We know he's in a bit of a box, having initially blamed today's financial crisis on corporate "greed," and thus made it that much harder to call for a corporate tax cut, or warn against excessive regulation. Still, there were some pretty big openings up here this evening, and he let them alone! We'd also like to thank Mr. McCain for keeping all the focus on himself these past weeks. It has helped the Great Obama to just get on with the show.
Not long ago blog friend Heretic penned "A case for Obama." This was in response to a comment question from my better half, dagny. She's used her feminine wiles to get me to post the following "open letter to Obama supporters." (It helped her cause that I fully agree with every bit of it.)
An Open Letter to Obama Supporters (especially Heretic since he may be the only one we have around here)
First of all the question that started this was how anyone could support the socialist economic policies of Obama. Heretic professes to support Obama on foreign policy grounds and not economic ones. I contend that this makes him highly unusual for an Obama supporter as Obama has always been said to be winning based on his economics while McCain had the stronger foreign policy command. This theory is supported by the fact Obama has developed a lead since the most recent Wall Street woes. Therefore the question of why anyone would support the socialist economic agenda of Obama remains open and I am still interested in any answers anyone has.
I believe in individual rights and free markets and the philosophical ideas that provided the founding of this country. I have never found a politician that I actually agree with on a regular basis. Therefore I normally vote based on which politician will have LESS success in taking away my individual rights. Lately that has been universally the Republicans. I believe in choice and gay rights as heretic mentions but with a Democrat congress, I see little threat to those ideas.
On the other hand, if Barack Obama is elected president with a Democrat house and senate to support him (don’t kid yourself, the Democrats will maintain control of both houses), this country will look like something from a George Orwell novel in 4 years.
We will have much higher taxes and still higher spending thus no deficit reduction.
We will have government mandated and controlled health care, thus lower quality, and at taxpayer expense.
We will have government mandating energy sources at taxpayer expense and serious limitations on what cars we are allowed to drive.
We will have government mandated and controlled retirement savings at taxpayer expense.
We will have government mandated and controlled pre-school, as pathetic as our current educational mess, at taxpayer expense.
The American taxpayer is the sturdy horse that pulls the wagon but it can only take so much weight. Note that, “corporations,” do not pay taxes (nor do 40 percent of the citizenry.) The customers, employees, and owners of corporations pay taxes.
On a side note – I discovered, as I prepared to send my 3 year-old to pre-school, we currently have a mostly free market in pre-schools. I had a dozen schools to choose from, utilizing multiple educational philosophies at various prices. I could choose the one I decided was best for my kid. Think what an improvement such competition would provide to public schools.
Finally, Obama with support from Congress will do his best to take our guns. For those of you who don’t own guns, this may seem minor but the second amendment to the constitution provides us as individual Americans with the ability to defend all the rest of our rights most importantly from government.
My gun is an equalizer (you believe in equality?). It allows me as a petite woman to defend myself and my family from a man no matter how much bigger he is than I or from multiple assailants or whatever is necessary.
Heretic – if you have any interest, you and your family are invited to Atlantis farm for an introduction to gun safety and utility.
Please Obama supporters, reconsider your vote based on the serious harm to individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness that an Obama presidency would undoubtedly entail.
P.S. What evidence do you have that Governor Palin is either vindictive or naďve? She could maybe be called inexperienced but less so than Obama and he is at the TOP of his ticket.
To Smerconish's credit, he got Obama to say he thinks you (yes, you dear reader) are an idiot.
"I moved to Chicago," Obama recalled. "I didn't grow up in Chicago. And graduating from law school I was involved in a whole bunch of civic activities.
"The gentleman in question, Bill Ayers, is a college professor, teaches education at the University of Illinois and that's how I met him, was working on a school reform project that was funded by an ambassador and former close friend of Ronald Reagan's and I was sitting on this board along with a whole bunch of conservative businessmen and civic leaders and he was one of the people who was on this board. And he lives in the same neighborhood.
"Ultimately, I ended up learning about the fact that he had engaged in this reprehensible act 40 years ago, but I was eight years old at the time and I assumed that he had been rehabilitated."
You're kidding me right?
Liberalism distilled to it's purest essence.
But still, so let's assume he was rehabilitated. Assume for a minute... at some point he must have learned that, no, Bill Ayers isn't sorry about what he did. When was that?
When did Bill Ayers become the Bill Ayers he didn't know?
Don Luskin links, approvingly, to an interesting alternative take on the Panic of '08. Of course, he has to link approvingly as in it he is called "the nation's best economist" (for the record, I’ll put Mister Luskin in the top three).
The guest post by Robert Ridgeway has a hilarious if not totally safe for work headline and suggests that home speculators were enabled by easy subprime loans, that they were excessively leveraged, and that they contributed to the crash in prices and foreclosures, compared to owner occupants, who had less leverage and more reason to pay their mortgages.
This makes a lot of sense and is doubtless a strong and underappreciated factor. But the nation's best economist responds "Absolutely right." And I find one substantive piece of his reasoning flawed. He assumes that ARMs are bought by flippers and that owner occupants bought fixed rate. He provides convincing data that show a huge discrepancy in foreclosures between the two groups.
I suggest, however, that a pile of owner occupants could not resist the immediate gratification of the Zero-down ARM. Sure, it's the perfect vehicle for a flipper, but it's equally enticing to a guy who wants to buy a new plasma TV, is it not?
I refinanced three times during the subprime glory years (starting a start-up, keeping a start-up alive, and recovering from a start-up) an each time was pushed toward an ARM by the broker. "C'mon, you're going to refinance in there years anyway!" I resisted, not realizing Rep Barney Frank would buy me out. But I was close enough to it that I cannot ascribe all the ARMs to flippers.
Flippers on ARMs? What the hell kind of blog are you running here?
It would be ridiculous to suggest that being a pageant veteran alone qualifies Sarah Palin for public office. But she shouldn't be dismissed for it, either. And she probably has her pageant experience to thank for at least some of that unflappable poise and self-confidence. Trust me, once you've gotten up the nerve to walk past a panel of judges in a bathing suit, hostile reporters are child's play.
So, to paraphrase the old ad, "Please don't dismiss her because she's beautiful."
Because if attractive women need not apply for power positions in American politics, we just might end up with Rosie O'Donnell as our first female president.
Mr. McCain's health-care plan does indeed propose having employees pay tax on employer-provided health benefits, but that's only half of his idea. Let's say you're a middle-class family of four earning $80,000 per year, and your company provides a $12,000 health insurance plan (which is the same as what members of Congress receive through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, according to data prepared by the Senate Republican Policy Committee). Under Mr. McCain's proposal, this family would now pay income taxes on their $12,000 health insurance benefit, resulting in them owing $3,000 more in taxes if they were in the 25 percent bracket.
But here's the part Mr. Obama leaves out. Mr. McCain also proposes a $5,000 credit to offset any new tax liability. In the case of the family referenced above, they get a health-care plan, enough money to pay the additional $3,000 in taxes, plus an extra $2,000 in their pockets - not a bad deal for the middle class. So the Obama ads are both incomplete and misleading.
I'm glad we're finally getting into this. It's simply not credible that Barack Obama met Ayers in 1995. Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, and Charles Manson Fan Club Treasurer Bernie Dohrn all worked at the same f*cking law firm, whose managing partner had gotten Dohrn a job because he was friends with Ayers' father.
The Radical Quartet have been friends since the eighties. Not the mid nineties.
"We meet at a moment of great uncertainty for America," he said. "But this isn't a time for fear or panic. This is a time for resolve and leadership. I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis."
Obama ridiculed his Republican opponent, John McCain, for recently saying "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." But in his 35-minute speech on a muddy harness-racing track, he made a similar argument.
"America still has the most talented, most productive workers of any country on Earth," Obama said. "We're still the home to innovation and technology, colleges and universities that are the envy of the world. Some of the biggest ideas in history have come from our small businesses and our research facilities."
Some people around here seem to change their colors faster than the Dow 30 changes directions. "What's the use?" What's the use, BR? There's more at stake in this election than free-market vs. statist economic policies. Much more, that I won't bother to list at the moment. But if McCain can win in November by cloning just enough B.O. economics, isn't that a good thing?
Remember that McCain's chief strategist said he needs to go after the Reagan Democrats that would have gone for Hillary if the Super Delegates hadn't scuttled her campaign.
I went to sleep peacefully last night, thinking that Senator McCain had basically gotten another draw in the debate and that today everything would start again -- just eight or ten points down.
I woke at 3:15 and spun myself into a state of torpor. The blog pragmatist must admit that Senator McCain has only the minimum amount of ideological overlap to capture my vote. I will vote for him but he will lose and I am starting to piece together my sanguinity. It's A LOT like 1996, so I have a road map.
I finally realize that the reason McCain does not come up with my brilliant debate answers is not because he is not as bright as me, or that I somehow have better handlers. The reason McCain doesn't answer the questions like me is because he does not think like me.
He has an awesome idea for health care. To be fair, he articulated it last night for the first time and did it pretty well. But when Senator Obama counterpunched, there was no defense. When McCain talks about "greed and corruption on Wall Street!" he lights up. He lit up at the end about Global Warming. These topics excite him. As does honor, service and military strength to his eternal credit.
But he will never get as animated when discussing tax relief or health care because he truly has adopted those ideas out of the GOP Hymnal. If I may channel Mark Steyn he knows and mouths the words but he really doesn't know the tune.
No, Senator Obama certainly does not deserve to win, and this Prosperitarian fears for the prospects of recovery in an Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Franks-Dodd Empire. But my folks had their chance and whiffed.
One of Mr. Obama's gifts is his ability to glide over contradictions with the greatest of ease. He spent minutes explaining that we spend "$10 billion a month" in Iraq that should be spent here in the U.S. But a short time later he was promoting what sounded like a surge in Afghanistan, and vowing to spend even more money to assist "the economies" of Eastern Europe. He also proposes to provide free health care while claiming he'd cut more spending from the overall budget than his new ideas would cost. If Mr. McCain lets that last claim go unrebutted, he deserves to lose.
UPDATE III: It's really not just me. Instapundit's "Are the Republicans Doomed?" poll breaks the server! I'm not Karl Rove or anything, but that cannot be a good sign.
Dick Morris lays it out succinctly, like I've never seen it put.
Why did Obama put up with Ayers?
Because he got a big job and $50 million of patronage to distribute to his friends and supporters in Chicago.
Why did he hang out with Jeremiah Wright?
Because he was new in town, having grown up in Hawaii and Indonesia and having been educated at Columbia and Harvard, and needed all the local introductions he could get to jump-start his political career.
Why was he so close to Rezko?
Because he funded Obama’s campaigns and helped him buy a house for $300,000 less than he otherwise would have had to pay.
Days after federal officials agreed to an $85 billion bailout of American International Group, the insurance firm spent more than $440,000 for a corporate retreat at a swanky California resort. An invoice from the week-long getaway, a copy of which you'll find below, was obtained by the congressional panel that has been holding hearings this week about Wall Street collapses and executive excess. The late-September AIG gathering at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach cost $443,343, according to the invoice.
Professor Mankiw has his damned (pronounce two syllables) Pigou Club and Professor Reynolds has his Zubrin plan. I should let it rest, but every time they push it I wonder how those two can be so off.
Dr. Zubrin massacres the Obama Energy proposal today. It lacks any mercy at all and should be read in full, several times a day. The lone happy note at the very end of the piece is that -- like Zubrin -- the Obama plan calls for mandates to force automakers to produce "flex fuel" vehicles.
The best part of Obama’s plan is his strong support of biofuels. In contrast to John McCain, Obama favors both the renewable fuel standard and ethanol production subsidies. These subsidies cost taxpayers $0.45 per gallon of ethanol produced but save the nation $3 in foreign oil purchases at the same time. Why John McCain prefers to send $3 to Saudi Arabia instead of $0.45 to Iowa is difficult to understand, especially given the strategic nature of the commodity in question, and the fact that the foreign oil money helps to finance acts of war and terror against the United States. Yet he does. So on this question Obama has it right and McCain has it badly wrong.
Moreover, there is one part of the Obama plan which is absolutely splendid, and that is his explicit promise to require flex fuel capability on all new cars sold in the USA by the end of his first term. This is indeed a potential real game changer, especially if the flex fuel standard is written to include not only automobile compatibility with gasoline and ethanol, but methanol as well. Methanol compatibility only adds about $30 to the cost of an ethanol-gasoline flex fuel car (which itself is only about $100 more expensive than a comparable gasoline-only car), but multiplies its versatility, since methanol can be made out of any kind of biomass without exception, as well as coal, natural gas, and recycled urban trash.
Now, I think biomass methanol and cellulosic ethanol are exciting technologies. I also like puppies and would like to see kids drinking clean water.
But Zubrin wants to pick the winner today. Screw the market, we'll mandate $130.00 extra cost to new American cars. T. Boone wants CNG cars. I am leery of some of his plans but CNG cars seem to make sense just on their own.
I propose that if you make $2 gallon Kudzu-ethanol, you will have a lot of Americans demanding flex fuel vehicles or upgrading their own. The $2.40 CNG on the Pickens Plan Commercial could do the same.
We might also find algae output that could go straight in a diesel engine or landfill waste or a rapid adoption of plug-in hybrids. Let's not have the gub'mint pick a winner first. And. Dr. Z, don't be shocked that Senator McCain would rather willingly send money to Saudi Arabia than be forced to send subsidies to Iowa. The difference is coercion, not geography.
Hat-tip: Instapundit, of course, who links favorably
At least eight "Barack Obamas" who borrowed the Democratic presidential candidate's name to run in Brazil's local elections lost.
The defeat of the so-called Obamas came in municipal elections on Sunday that selected mayors and council members in more than 5,000 Brazilian cities.
The elections saw the ruling Workers Party and allies of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva make gains across the country.
Brazilian electoral law allows candidates to put any name on the ballot as long as it isn't offensive.
Some used the name Bin Laden, and others resorted to French soccer player Zinedine Zidane.
No one was known to use the name of McCain, the Republican presidential candidate.
"The name Obama definitely helped," said Claudio Henrique dos Anjos, who used it to run for mayor of Belford Roxo on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. "It opened the doors for me to talk about projects. It brought a positive result."
But official results show he didn't get a single vote, though he disputes the count.
I'm pretty kind to the WSJ Ed Page (perhaps you hadn't noticed) but less so for some bylined columns of the editorial staff. For a little fair-and-balance, I will call today's Bill McGurn piece an absolute stinker. His plan for a McCain victory? Tie Senator Obama to President Clinton. "Remember the last time a charismatic Democrat made such a promise?"
In some ways, we are today reliving the campaign of 1992. As in 1992, the Democrat is promising a middle-class tax cut. As in 1992, the Democrat is hammering the Republican as a tool of the rich. And as in 1992, the Republican doesn't seem to have an answer.
If we could repeal the 22nd Amendment, William Jefferson Clinton could run in 2008 and win 40 states. The banners may say hope and change, but Democrats and Independents are looking to Obama to bring back the 1990s. Will Buffy be back on?
To be fair, McGurn knows his recent history, and gives the Spirit of '94 GOP props:
Then came 1994, the "Contract with America" -- and a reform-minded Republican Congress. Robert L. Bartley, the late great editor of this newspaper, liked to note the bracing effect the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress had on the market -- and the Democratic president. After a few skirmishes, President Clinton would go on to embrace welfare reform, sign a cut in the capital gains tax, and even declare that "the era of Big Government is over."
I give President Clinton credit for free trade and a pragmatic approach to working with a GOP Congress. Art Laffer boasts that he "voted for Bill Clinton twice." I voted for him zero times and would make it 0-3 in 08. But I'm not sure Mister McGurn has really thought this through.
The WSJ lead editorial today provides a serious and substantive discussion of where we are (economically), how we got here, and what will likely and likely not get us out. Reasonable folks can differ on individual points, but I think we all might agree about the lack of leadership from the two men who purport to extricate us:
Senator McCain could use tonight's debate to map out an economic argument for the final month of the campaign. He would explain to voters how we got here, and that he has a plan to calm the panic, rebuild the banking system and revive the economy. He could start by saying his economic plan was designed before this crisis, but given the panic he has scrapped it and is proposing a major and immediate across-the-board tax cut.
It ill serves voters if the two men running for the Presidency of the United States offer little more than campaign boilerplate amid a crisis of this magnitude. The whole world is focused on these sobering events. The time is now for the country's next President to match the moment.
In an interview with The Associated Press, [Mass. Governor Deval] Patrick says he’s lived in places with no taxes like the time he spent in Darfur 30 years ago. He says there were also no bridges, no good roads and no public safety there.
The solution to Darfur! They just need their own 16th Amendment! Hat-tip: Jeff Jacoby
UPDATE: NOW WOW. Here's the introduction from the president of LA's National Organization for Women, Shelly Mandel, who said what my darling bride says almost every day: "America, this is what a feminist looks like."
I wish the NYTimes and Katie Couric would shut up about this (personal, not official) endorsement. Man the way they go on and on about this, I fear people will tire of the story.
With every senator, representative and both major tickets racing to blame everyone but themselves for our societal problems (see the video of Bill O'Reilly and Barney Frank below), this column by Charley Reese is a great reminder as to who is actually to blame. Originally published in the Orlando Sentinel Star newspaper, here are a few snippets:
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 235 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.
I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.
The publication date of this column is unknown, but given the references to Tip O'Neill, Ronald Reagan and Lebanon, it has to be from the mid-80s. That makes it a classic, as true today as it was 25 or so year ago. And it will still be true 25 years from now.
By conceding the true causes of the Panic of '08 -- thanks to our populist Presidential candidate -- Republicans block the road to repairing the real problems, while paving the road to repetition. The same, damn, week.
A WSJ editorial points out that they will now do for credit cards what they did for home mortgages:
The freedom to manage risk has resulted in an unprecedented expansion of the credit card market. According to a Government Accountability Office study, 75% of the population possessed a credit card in 2005, up from only 30% in the 1980s. "The movement towards risk-based pricing for cards," said the report, "has allowed issuers to offer better terms to some cardholders and more credit cards to others."
Under the Maloney bill, such risk-sensitive pricing would be severely curbed. With few exceptions, companies would be prevented from raising interest rates on existing balances, even if the cardholder has become less creditworthy. This is anathema to responsible lending, which is about making sound assessments about the ability to repay a loan. It's also a major reason mortgage lenders are in their current predicament -- think subprime and "liar loans." So it's ironic that Democrats want to punish credit card companies for taking into account the changing risk of the borrower.
The Maloney bill would also dictate how creditors allocate payments against balances. Where credit balances are subject to different interest rates -- e.g., zero-percent interest for a balance transfer, but 12% for new purchases -- the legislation would ban the current common practice of directing payments toward the lower interest rate balance first.
I think of Dr. Zhivago: "Yes, Comrade that is much more...fair." It's fair to make me pay the same interest rate as an unemployed jazz guitarist who's just come home from bankruptcy court (guitar players, sheesh!) It's not fair to allow a credit card company to entice me with a 0% balance transfer, because some idiot doesn't understand it.
Actually, it's not Dr. Zhivago, it's Santayana: those who cannot learn form history are doomed to repeat it. But in the same week?
An analysis carried out by a language monitoring service said Friday that Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a more than ninth-grade level and Sen. Joseph Biden spoke at a nearly eighth-grade level in Thursday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates.
To be fair, most liberal newspapers are written at a sixth grade level.
Here's the breakdown:
Grade level: Biden, 7.8; Palin, 9.5 (Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.)
Sentences per paragraph: statistically tied at 2.7 for Biden and 2.6 for Palin.
Letters per word: tied at 4.4.
Ease of reading: Biden, 66.7 (with 100 being the easiest to read or hear), versus 62.4 for Palin.
The analysis said Abraham Lincoln spoke at an 11th-grade level during his seven debates in 1858 against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas in their race for a Senate seat from Illinois.
I knew Abe Lincoln, Senator Biden, you're no Abe Lincoln.
It also used all that high-falootin' English too.
But higher grade level doesn't necessarily mean better sentence, Payack said. He pointed to Palin's second-to-last sentence in the debate, which the formula put at a grade level of 18.3:
"What I would do, also, if that were ever to happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington," Palin said.
"When she said it, it sounded good, but on paper it's a completely different animal," Payack said. "It's like, what is that?"
But Biden had his own challenging moments, such as this 32-word gem, rated grade 15.6: "The middle class under John McCain's tax proposal, 100 million families, middle-class families, households to be precise, they got not a single change; they got not a single break in taxes."
I'm calling blog admin privilege and promoting this comment to a post. "The Heretic" answers Dagny's question of why her [Dagny's] friends and neighbors are voting for Senator Obama:
First off let me digress say that I am with this group when it comes to major economic policies -- especially elimination of Corporate and Personal Income Taxes. BR and I were exchanging e-mail the other day about a pipe-dream: Taxes based solely on consumption. I happen to know a state where it works, namely Dubai. Of course we can debate about civil liberties etc. but that is not the point.
Having said that, as much as Economic policies is at the top of everyone’s mind at the moment, First and foremost I believe that Foreign Policy will and should be the top issue. I believe that Pakistan becoming a failed state and the resulting consequences in Afghanistan is a very real possibility in the next Presidents tenure. What will complicate issues is a economically assertive China (the banker of the US), a politically resurgent and saber rattling Russia and Iran's influence in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. McCain other than name dropping hasn't even mentioned Afghanistan. He continues to insist that Iraq is the central battleground in the war on terror while al-Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until months after the US invasion. The real battle in Iraq is the Shia-Sunni conflict and the battle with al-Sadar’s Mahdi army, which McCain refuses to acknowledge. This wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time has significantly reduced not only our ability to take the war to the enemy’s home turf but also alienated many of our NATO allies -- who BTW we need to neutralize Russia. (We can debate McCain’s position on the NATO at another time). In the meantime, bin-Laden and the Taliban have had a chance to regroup in southern Afghanistan/Northern Pakistan enough to pose a threat to the Pakistani establishment itself. I am sure most commentators on this blog will disagree, but Biden is right on this topic.
Secondly, as a first generation immigrant, I grew up looking at the US as the beacon of freedom, be it personal and civil liberties or economic progress. In the 12 +/- years (which is all my adult life) I have lived here, I have seen us lose a lot of the moral fortitude be it gay rights or a woman’s right to choose. Debate over these issues is beyond the scope of what you have asked me.
Thirdly, I cannot in good conscience cast my vote for a lifetime member of the NRA, when every time I read about another shooting in yet another school, my stomach sinks in the thought what of a few years down the lane if my kid is the victim.
Fourth, on economic policies, I neither agree with McCain nor do I agree with Obama. However, I see hope in the fact that just like Bill Clinton, once the political rhetoric of an election settles, Obama will implement what is right for the country rather than sticking to a pre-election political agenda. On this note, I do hope while Obama wins the White House, the Democrats do not have absolute control over Congress. I would like to see the checks and balance built into the system work.
Last but not the least, you could argue that McCain in quite capable of adapting his positions to the circumstances and has gained a lot of political experiences over the years. And I am certain your arguments would be well founded. However, what scares me is the fact is Palin being a “heartbeat away from Presidency”. This notion with McCain is more real than with any other candidate I have known given his health problems. Negotiating with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia or President Zardari of Pakistan or containing Prime Minister Putin of Russia or President Ahmedinejad of Iran is not the same as driving kids to soccer practice. She is vindictive and naive. It would be irresponsible of me to vote for her under the current circumstances.
You could argue Obama's inexperience. But he is not naive nor is he vindictive. He is a very level headed person. Further, the ticket includes the foriegn policy expertise of Biden. Hence has my support.
As for Katie’s Restaurant, ah, I’m sure it was grand but apparently it closed in 1990. In the Diner of the Mind, the refills are endless and Senator Joe is sitting shootin’ the breeze over a cuppa joe with a couple other regular joes on adjoining stools while Betty-Jo, the sassy waitress who’s tough as nails but with a heart of gold, says Ol’ Joe, the short-order cook who’s doing his Sloppy Joes just the way the Senator likes ‘em, really appreciates the way that, despite 78 years in Washington, Joe Biden is still just the same regular Joe Six-Pack he was when he and Norman Rockwell first came in for a sarsaparilla all those years ago. But, alas, while he was jetting off for one-to-one talks with the Deputy Tourism Minister of Waziristan, the old neighborhood changed. -- Mark Steyn
The McCain campaign unveils a new get out the vote program....
Our campaign has launched an online "Voter to Voter" tool that allows you to download and print walking lists of targeted, swing voters in your neighborhood. It's easy to use, and I'm asking you to get involved today by following this link.
With "Voter to Voter" we've made it easy to reach out to fellow voters in your neighborhood in support of McCain-Palin.
Select the "Walk the Vote" Option
* Enter your home address
* Download and print your walking lists, walking directions and scripts
* Visit each voter listed on your walking list
* Return home to record your results online
It got me thinking of Hayek (as a convertible so often will...) Seriously, the conventional wisdom is that a late model used car is the best play: "let the other guy take the depreciation of driving it off the lot." I always believed that. For most people, that likely still holds.
But let's look at distributed knowledge. I drive very few miles. On my other cars, most of the miles were usually racked up by the first owner. This is my first new car and, after four years, has only a little over 20K miles. What is true for most people is not true for me; this new car was a good buy. I like it, it's cheap to run, cheap to insure. They want $1100 to put four tires on it, but in every other respect, it's a reliable, economical efficient Toyota. I'll have it for damn-ever. And every October 3, I'll post a picture:
Do y'all watch Pat Condell? Samizdata links frequently to his deeply offensive -- and absolutely hilarious -- anti-religious rants. YouTube is blocking it, so samizdat Adriana Lukas is trying to spread the word. I'm happy to oblige:
Materials and Consumer Cyclicals are generally a good buy, Check this out from The Spectator:
If you had purchased Ł1000 of Northern Rock shares one year ago it would now be worth Ł4.95, with HBOS, earlier this week your Ł1000 would have been worth Ł16.50, Ł1000 invested in XL Leisure would now be worth less than Ł5, but if you bought Ł1000 worth of Tennents Lager one year ago, drank it all, then took the empty cans to an aluminium re-cycling plant, you would get Ł214. So based on the above statistics the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and re-cycle.
It is the largest in the world, with expected initial capital of $700 billion. It has a free and unlimited credit line should it need more. It has no fixed mandate, though it is expected to initially focus on mortgage-backed securities. And it is the only fund backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.
Strategery is a way for you to be more patriotic. Supporting this fund is an American duty. Many people have already taken to wearing a green, red, and blue ribbon to symbolize and broadcast their support for this newest American institution.
You don't see many these days, but Km Strassel has found one in Paul Ryan (R - WI). Strassel calls Ryan "perhaps the free market's truest friend in Congress" and highlights his getting beyond ideology to support the rescue plan:
Compare this to Mr. Ryan's GOP colleagues in Wisconsin. Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri were among those 162 Republicans that let Fan and Fred bust the bank. Yet when this week's day of reckoning came, Mr. Petri complained it was a "half-baked plan," while Mr. Sensenbrenner declared he wouldn't "subsidize Wall Street." Oh, for this righteousness during the half-baked Fan-Fred subsidy days. And this from two guys in safe seats.
This has left Mr. Ryan alone to defend his position back home. It hasn't helped that his colleagues are spinning this as bravery, crowing that it was they who listened to constituents and they who acted on free-market principles. Never mind that these principles were nowhere in evidence back when it mattered. And never mind that should America crash, it will be the free market offered up as sacrifice to the regulatory mob.
It also hasn't helped that John McCain came out blaming this on Wall Street's "casino culture." Having initially placed this at the foot of the business community -- rather than at the foot of a political class that encouraged corporate excess -- Republicans fed into the left's line that this is a "bailout" of greedy executives. This has left grown-ups like Mr. Ryan struggling to explain the need to stabilize the financial system overall, and to protect Main Street from shedding its own blood.
Mr. Ryan is now busy sending out charts of Libor spreads to radio talk-show hosts (no joke), intent on explaining the seriousness of the crisis, and hopeful his credibility will see him through. "The best outcome is that [those of us who voted yes] take a political hit but avert a crisis," he says. How's that for leadership?
Sarah was nervous at first, but improved as the night went on, but I think she fought well... certainly she looked better.... while Senator Biden was angry, like Obama of a week ago. Including a huge sigh during the Afghanistan exchange.
Why do Democrats do that? Like they can't be troubled by being on the dais with the Republican?
Most comfortable on energy, of course, but she gave a great answer on same sex marriage and the Iraq war. Stumbled around a little on climate change.
Strangely Biden was arguing silly Senate procedural interm votes, as if that "voted for it before i voted against it" worked successfully in the past.
How dare he accuse McCain of voting against the troops? Is he serious?
Overall, it was a great outing for Palin. Where the hell has she been for two weeks? Studying no doubt, but WTF John McCain? Unleash her!
The FEC has compiled a separate database of potentially questionable overseas donations that contains more than 11,500 contributions totaling $33.8 million. More than 520 listed their “state” as “IR,” often an abbreviation for Iran. Another 63 listed it as “UK,” the United Kingdom.
More than 1,400 of the overseas entries clearly were U.S. diplomats or military personnel, who gave an APO address overseas. Their total contributions came to just $201,680.
But others came from places as far afield as Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa, Beijing, Fallujah, Florence, Italy, and a wide selection of towns and cities in France.
Until recently, the Obama Web site allowed a contributor to select the country where he resided from the entire membership of the United Nations, including such friendly places as North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Unlike McCain’s or Sen. Hillary Clinton’s online donation pages, the Obama site did not ask for proof of citizenship until just recently. Clinton’s presidential campaign required U.S. citizens living abroad to actually fax a copy of their passport before a donation would be accepted.
With such lax vetting of foreign contributions, the Obama campaign may have indirectly contributed to questionable fundraising by foreigners.
Another ThreeSources friend (a powerful blog like this can have three of four) sends a link to Ifill's defending her impartiality:
"Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?" said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, "I don't know what it is. I find it curious."
Be curious no more, Ms. Ifill. As part of the "one-day blog chatter [...] to destroy [your] reputation," I'll admit it was racism, pure and simple.
Were a white man moderating the debate with a book on "Great War Heroes in 21st Century Politics" slated for release on Inauguration Day, you wouldn't hear a peep out of me. Or, certainly, the New York Times. Or the Obama campaign.
Call me The Man. I'm just here to keep the sisters down.
UPDATE: I've received permission to include the emailer's letter:
This is Gwen Ifill's response to criticism over her conflict of interest in tonight's debate? She was aware enough of the appearance of impropriety to skip mentioning her forthcoming book to the Commission on Presidential Debates, what our mothers would have called dishonesty by omission, and when she is confronted with her duplicity she wonders "if it's because I'm black." This should be stunning, but it is not. She should be scorned and removed from the debate but she will remain. The malignant MSM should finally be recognized for threat it is, but it will continue to flourish, continue to push centralization, and continue shilling for the consolidation of power and "some pigs are more equal than others" elitism. The Gregorys and the Greenspans will enjoy Washington society with the Brokaws and the Rathers and those of us who would like to see just a bit of fair play are stuck with the Three Stooges on Fox and Friends to point out the emperor's nakedness. God help us.
On a separate rant, as disturbing as Sarah's Supreme Court response to Katie Couric was (don't you think a former mayor and sitting governor should have shouted Kelo at the top of her lungs?) Joe Biden's response to the same question was far more disturbing and she didn't bat an eye, or follow his response with further questioning as to why the issue of violence against women needs to be Federalized in the first place or how it could possibly be piggybacked on interstate commerce. Frankly I doubt she even understood what he was suggesting.
A good friend of ThreeSources sends a link to this commentary in Commentary by Gordon Chang. It's a good piece and I find much to agree with. But his central tenant is that China holds a lot of culpability for our current woes and that changes in Sino-US economic relations are required to get us past it. It's a good and very short piece worth reading in full.
American lenders have had too much money at their disposal in recent years because China has lent staggering sums to America, especially the U.S. Treasury, Fannie, and Freddie. Beijing has done that because the United States is the place where most excess cash in the world goes. The Chinese have excess cash because they have excess savings. They have excess savings because the government depresses internal consumption and creates massive trade surpluses-like last year’s US$262.2 billion (all of which but $5.9 billion related to sales to the United States). Beijing runs up massive trade surpluses because it manipulates the value of its currency to provide a cost advantage, provides below-market credit to producers, depresses the cost of labor, and subsidizes crucial manufacturing inputs like energy and water. When a country engineers excess savings, it has no choice but to lend funds abroad.
My emailer asks "Is it bunk?"
I would not call it is bunk, but I would not give some elements the same stress that he does.
Excess liquidity is a good backdrop to any bubble. ThreeSources folk bitterly cling to their Austrian Economics and the Austrian Business Cycle Theorem (ABCT) lays much of the blame for bubbles on monetary policy. I am not nearly as ready to blame China (on a few fronts) as is Mr. Chang. Excess liquidity comes from the Greenspan Fed’s “accommodative” monetary policies. The Fed Funds rate was kept at 1% for years. That is virtually daring people to borrow. So I’ll join Chang in citing excess liquidity as an important cause, but I’ll give China a free pass. How dare they buy our bonds! “Dad, if you continue to give me this extravagant allowance, you’ll be to blame if I become a slacker!”
I have a running debate with two of my economic betters about the extent to which new derivatives allow money to be created outside of Central Banks. I hold that they do to a greater extent than Perry or The Everyday Economist will allow. But even I hold the FOMC ultimately responsible if an over-abundance of dollars are printed.
Nor do I share Chang’s concern for Chinese currency valuation. What they really did was to outsource their central banking to the US with a dollar peg and I would say that it served them pretty well. As bad as their bubble was, I think the dollar peg ameliorated it. I heard a lot of protectionists worry about the “artificially low Yuan.” If you want to sell me stuff too cheap, I’m not one to complain.
Chang then gives the US Government a free pass. I’ll say plenty of nasty things about authoritarian China’s fear society, but I will not blame them for buying too many of our bonds or selling us goods too cheaply. If you get the time machine and can go back, Terminator style, to fix our current problems, I would suggest:
1. Rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Set the way-back machine far enough to prevent their birth if you can, but at the very least pass the reforms that President Bush and (some) GOP legislators proposed in 2004 and 2005. Cut their leverage in half and you cut the current mess to a fourth.
2. Get Andrea Mitchell to dope Greenspan’s tea and get him to raise rates to at least 2% before handing the reins over to Princeton Boy.
3. Strangle mark-to-market accounting in the crib. Bank regulation makes accounting a legal endeavor. These rules are too harsh and give short sellers too powerful a tool to take a bank down.
4. Laugh the Community Reinvestment Act out of Congress. Do not require banks to make bad loans, they seem to do pretty well on their own.
Get halfway there on all of those and there’s no panic. I don’t fault China, but I do agree with Chang that both politicians have completely whiffed on this one.
Sure they're cute when they're singing. But wait untill they are empowered in a green cause:
"This just in from the you-couldn't-make-this-stuff-up-if-you-tried department. A new website designed by npower, a British electric company, is recruiting children using games, badges and cartoons to enlist as "Climate Cops"; their duties are to actively keep records on their parents and neighbors for violations of "energy crimes" against the planet. Children then use the results of their spying to build a "Climate Crime Case File" on the perps, which they then "report back to your family to make sure they don't commit those crimes again (or else)!" The site also warns children that they "may need to keep a watchful eye" to prevent future violations. Did I mention I'm not making this up? It gets worse."
My heart sank when I first heard that PBS's Gwen Ifill was to host the VP Debate. I don't know if many ThreeSourcers subject themselves to politics on PBS, but Ifill is the worst of the worst for liberal bias.
I have fought with "talk radio Republicans" over immigration and, now, the Paulson Plan. But I understand there is a groundswell to oust Ifill; Rush and Hugh can sign me up for this. FOX & Friends (yes, I was concerned enough about overseas markets to flip on the perky three this morning) highlighted that she has written a book subtitled "Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." The book is about successes by African-American politicians, which is fair enough.
But the book (to be released on Inauguration Day) calls Senator Obama "a transformative figure." Well, I am sure he is. But I am not sure that Ifill, with a demonstrable financial and emotional interest in his election is a good choice to moderate a debate.
I guess Kos was busy, though now that I make that joke, I'd suspect he would be better.
UPDATE: Enumerating my new found friends, I forgot Michelle.
A little perspective is in order, however. The analogy between a debate moderator and a judge is overwrought. Unlike a judge, a moderator decides nothing beyond what questions to ask and how to keep the debate flowing. To put it another way, voters, unlike jurors, can make their decision on whatever basis they choose. They are not subject to instructions from the bench.
I yield to no one in my appreciation for Mr. Taranto but am not swayed. Even he concedes "If you're a stickler about journalistic conflicts of interest, you can make a good case that Ifill was not the ideal choice of moderator." Put me down as a stickler, James.