Thursday, July 31, 2008

What’s Ludacris About Senator Obama?

A couple of my friends have decided not to vote for Obama after all. The reasons can be broken down into what we now know and what we now suspect about him.

What we now know about Senator Obama:

1. In changing his positions for political expedience on so many issues, his core campaign theme of ‘a different type of politician offering hope and change’ was a lie. He supported his minister, Rev. Wright, until he began to catch heat, and then he dumped him. We would be stupid to believe he learned of Wright’s beliefs at the last moment. He supported the rapper, Ludacris, until he began to catch heat, and then he dumped him. We would be stupid to believe he learned of the rapper’s foul mouth and his “kill the bitches”, “kill the police” rap lyrics at the last moment. He supported public financing of campaigns, until he collected a lot of money, and then he opted out. We could continue with many more examples, but this is enough; my friends got the idea.

2. He can’t seem to admit he was wrong about the surge, and, as a corollary, can’t give any credit for its incredible success where it’s due.

3. His many gaffes on foreign policy (he wanted to bomb an ally, Pakistan; he misunderstood the significance to both parties of Jerusalem; he thinks he can talk Ahmadinejad out of developing the bomb) shows his inexperience and lack of judgment.

4. His economic plans include huge increases in taxes, especially on the investment savings of millions of Americans. He also plans to impose a national health plan that would eventually become a single-payer form of socialized medicine. He wants to impose an “excess profits” tax on oil companies. That would sure bring in a lot more oil. He wants to impose a new tax on U.S. citizens that would help reduce global poverty.

5. Despite his moves to the right immediately after he locked up the nomination (flipped on FISA, on 2nd Amendment, on whether Iran poses a threat to world peace, others), his voting record is that of the most left-wing of all Democrats in Congress.

What we now suspect about Senator Obama:

1. His very long and close association with Reverend Wright and with the Weatherman bomber, William Ayers; his early refusal to honor our flag (he later began wearing a flag pin when the heat became unbearable); his wife’s statements about not being proud of her country and how America is "just downright mean" – taken together make us suspicious that the Obamas may be representative of those few liberals who truly hate their own country.

2. There is also some reason to believe that this man, Senator Obama, has some sort of a Messianic complex. His treatment of General Petraeus in Iraq, his speech in Berlin, where he played the part of an already elected President, coupled with what he reportedly said to members of Congress that “the Europeans see him as a symbol of America’s best traditions” are all quite worrisome. And, of course, speaking privately to supporters in heavily left-liberal San Francisco, Obama let down his hair and described working class people in Pennsylvania as so "bitter" that they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."

These friends I speak of who have changed their monds about Obama are life-long Democrats. There is much reason now to be hopeful that the election in November will not return another Jimmy Carter to the presidency. Only one term of Carter was ruinous, and we are still paying the price. One term of Obama would be equally ruinous.


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moonbats Fed, Congress Now Can Pretend to Work

The current, Democrat-controlled Congress seems to be determined to reach even lower than its current 9% approval ratings with fake impeachment hearings held to get its radical moonbats off its back. Pushed by Dennis Kucinich (I only talk to aliens from space when they have something on Bush) and Shirley Jackson Lee (Lets nationalize all industries like the Russians did), the House Judiciary Committee got together for another one of its hilarious meetings the other day.

The Impeachment Hearing That Wasn't
By JR Dieckmann
Jul 28, 2008 (Excerpt)

"What would you call it when a group of Bush hating, hallucinating, antiwar liberals get together for an antiwar, Bush bashing party on the taxpayers' dime? Today, we call it a "Congressional Committee Hearing." Most recently, it was the House Judiciary Committee discussing the "Constitutional Limits of Executive Power" - at least that is what they were supposed to be discussing. It wasn’t.

Chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi), this hearing was based on the Dennis Kucinich points of impeachment of President Bush. Although billed as a House Committee Hearing on the Constitutional Limits of Executive Power, it was actually more like a lynch mob intent on putting Bush's neck in a noose and pushing the articles of impeachment onto the House floor.

Repeatedly it was stated by Conyers that this was not an impeachment hearing, but rather an inquiry into presidential powers. Impeachment hearings had not been authorized by House leadership. Why? Because the House leadership knew they didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever passing impeachment of the president on the House floor. If you have ever wondered why Congress now has a 9% approval rating, this explains it all.

There was nothing new or different in this hearing that we haven't been hearing from Democrats for the past 5 years. It was just a rehash of everything they hate about Bush and all of their unsupported charges thrown at the president over the years which include: lying to Congress and the American people; manipulating intelligence pertaining to WMD in Iraq; ordering the illegal use of torture; outing a covert agent; spying on the American people; firing U.S. Attorney's for political purposes; denying the constitutional powers of congressional oversight; ignoring subpoenas; and other alleged crimes. Yet, this wasn't an impeachment hearing.

It should be noted that throughout the hearing, Democrats rarely made mention of the attacks of 9-11, or the fact that we have been at war against terrorists ever since. As far as they are concerned, none of that exists and national defense and protecting the country from attack are irrelevant.

The Democrats have the right to pursue this nonsense, and as Mike Pence said, it's a waste of time and will never be considered by Congress, but some of the accusations and hateful language used against the President were highly disrespectful and way over the top, if not just liberal nonsense. There was no shortage of references to Richard Nixon throughout the hearing, but only a couple of brief mentions of Bill Clinton, who also faced impeachment.

The hearing was supposed to be an investigation into the powers of the president (and the Democrats’ hopes of reducing them), not an impeachment hearing. That's not the way it turned out. It was a clear and obvious attempt by Democrats to criminalize politics because they disagree with the policies of the president.

What hurts the most are the accusations by Democrats that President Bush has put his personal interests above the best interests of the American people; that everything he has done in defense of our country was done instead for some sort of personal gain. I don’t agree with Bush on a number of issues, but one credit I will give him is that his primary concern is for the safety and security of the country above all else. Democrats have made a big mistake by attacking him on this issue.

In their opening statements, they profess that Bush started a war in Iraq for no good reason, all on his own, and without the consent of Congress. The fact that Bush had a consensus of world intelligence in support of his reasons for going to war, that he had the full approval of Congress, and that Congress continues to fund the war in Iraq to this day, means nothing to them. They don't care.

What they care about is getting their false charges and lies out on television and into the media to sucker in the uninformed voters; to increase their power to subvert the U.S. government; to trash the Constitution; and offer "change" - from capitalism to socialism, if not communism, and justify it all by saying they simply want to be sure the Constitution is being adhered to by the president.

An early example of liberal ignorance came from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the same Sheila Jackson Lee who recently said the government should "socialize" and take over the oil companies."

Congress can now go back to figuring out ways to shut down America's desire to achieve energy independence and lower costs for gasoline. Maybe they can convince us that global warming has returned or that it's good for us to freeze next winter. Actually, now that I think more about it, I almost feel that gasoline should stay at $4 to keep the heat on Congressional Democrats - almost.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kelo Still Here; Still a Disaster

Now that we are in the midst of a massive housing correction that is threatening banks and promises to bring our economy down – a bursting of the bubble that has also focused attention on stupid and destructive lending practices, perhaps this is also time to push harder to overturn or counter the horrendous Supreme Court decision on Kelo – a decision that stripped Americans of their private property rights.

As a Floridian, I keep harking back to a development here called Murdock Village, which illustrates perfectly what can happen when government blunderers substitute their wishes for the wisdom of the marketplace – and ends up displacing people from perfectly good homes while imposing a massive and never-ending tax burden on local tax-payers. Envisioned as a new community of mixed commercial and residential uses, Murdock had become a white elephant even before the housing market collapsed. No-one wants to develop it, and tax-payers in one small county are out $14,000 per day just on interest on the bonds that were floated.

Pols Remain Masters of Domain
By Steven Malanga June 25, 2008 RealClearPolitics

In her two great works--The Death and Life of Great American Cities and The Economy of Cities��"Jane Jacobs explained that effective economic development and urban renewal arise from the bottom up as the product of thousands of enterprises and people working on their own without a master plan, rather than from the top down, as planned by politicians or bureaucrats. The vibrancy and diversity of city markets and neighborhoods lie in “the creation of incredible numbers of different people and different private organizations, with vastly differing ideas and purposes, planning and contriving outside the formal framework of public action,” she observed.

This week, it is exactly three years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, which endorsed a very different view of how local economic progress occurs. In that decision, the court said that it was okay for government to condemn and take private property and use it for new economic development if officials believed that the seizures would "provide appreciable benefits to the community, including…new jobs and increased tax revenue." The court’s decision expanded the so-called “takings” clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which previously had been interpreted to mean that government could only take private property to create a public “good,” such as construction of a needed new highway or water pipeline.

The Kelo decision was enormously unpopular, with polls showing that between 80 percent and 90 percent of Americans disagree with the idea, even when property owners received market value for their land. Still, that hasn’t stopped the politicians and urban planners, who moved in quickly. In the first year after Kelo, according to a study by the Castle Coalition, which tracks eminent domain seizures, state and local governments condemned or threatened to condemn more than 5,400 properties, compared to slightly more than 10,000 such actions in the previous five years. In the eminent domain business, a threat to condemn is usually just as good as an actual taking, since a homeowner can’t sell a house under those conditions and a business would find it difficult to do things like get credit.

The homes and businesses targeted in the wake of Kelo ranged from a seafood restaurant in Freeport, Tx., whose property officials wanted so that they could expand a local marina, to a parking lot in Oakland, Ca., which the city wanted to take from a private owner and hand to an auto parts store, to single family waterfront homes in Long Branch, N.J., that the city wanted to see redeveloped into luxury condominiums.

Most Americans object to such takings because the intended uses of the land don’t justify violating property rights when the owner is unwilling to sell to government.

ut as Jacobs observed, another important objection is that government planners often do a lousy job of anticipating the marketplace when they take property to be developed into something new. What I call mega-project ‘state capitalism,’ the grandiose schemes of politicians and their planners to invest public money in big projects like stadiums, downtown super-malls, and subsidized entertainment districts, has been on the rise for years, often with disastrous results which should have given the Supreme Court justices pause before they gave their blessings to seizures that "provide appreciable benefits to the community."

Indeed, the very redevelopment project that sparked the Kelo lawsuit, an effort by the town of New London, Ct., to turn its Fort Trumbull waterfront into a haven for high-priced homes and 21st century jobs, has sputtered. The ground where Susette Kelo’s home stood is now barren, because the townhouses that the city-sponsored developer was supposed to build there have never gone up. Interest in the area isn’t very great and the developer hasn’t been able to get financing. In fact, what began more than a decade ago as an extravagant ‘public-private’ scheme to redevelop this whole area around tourism, research and development and luxury residential uses has produced little except ongoing construction on a $17 million Coast Guard station.

State capitalism provides more examples of losers than winners. Consider the convention center business. About 25 years ago urban politicians noticed that a few cities, notably Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando, were cashing in on a booming convention and business meetings marketplace. Almost in tandem around the country, cities rushed to build convention centers or expand their current ones, investing billions in tax subsidized dollars. In some cases, such as facilities in Boston and San Francisco, officials also used eminent domain to take control of private property that stood in the way of the building of their new centers.

The result has been a disaster for the taxpayer. Dozens of new convention properties have opened around the country, creating a glut of convention space, and most centers are underperforming. In 1986 the country boasted 194 centers sporting about 32 million square feet of space, while today there are 322 featuring 66.8 million square feet, with about 40 million more square feet under construction, according to congressional testimony by Professor Heywood Sanders of the University of Texas. The building boom, coming at a time when the convention business has been flat, has turned many of these projects into money-losers. Projections that the new centers would create thousands of jobs to boost the local economy have rarely materialized, leaving taxpayers in Boston, Baltimore, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., among other places, on the hook for additional subsidies.

Public officials and planners continue to pursue such projects in the face of repeated failures in part because redevelopment schemes and ‘public-private partnerships’ help put enormous additional power in the hands of politicians and the private entrepreneurs who partner with them.. In California, for instance, 390 redevelopment agencies operate with the power to condemn property, tax and float debt. Collectively these redevelopment agencies, many run by municipalities and controlled by local politicians, own some $13 billion in property, generate nearly $9billion a year in revenues (mostly from dedicated taxes) and have racked up some $81 billion in debt "most of it paying tax-free interest thanks to the federal tax code.

Redevelopment authorities and public-private partnerships are especially common in places like California where government has created such a hostile environment for business that officials justify their work as necessary to jumpstart a sluggish economy. But as Doug Kaplan, a California developer, has observed in a piece he wrote for the Castle Coalition, local government would serve their communities better by simply cutting red tape for new development, reducing fees, and focusing on basic government services like public safety, while leaving the rest to the market. Asked by a local redevelopment officer to join a ‘public-private partnership” to open a restaurant in a depressed downtown, Kaplan told him,” If you really want to revitalize downtown, then light the sidewalks, fix the roads, take care of the police, support the schools.” That’s not a message most redevelopment types, or politicians, want to hear, however.

In the wake of public reaction against Kelo, officials in many states promised they would seek laws limiting local use of eminent domain, but although a few states have put in tougher restrictions, in many places there has been little reform because regardless of public sentiment, officials like the power of takings that the Supreme Court gave them. The League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association, for instance, undermined efforts by taxpayer groups to pass a referendum restricting eminent domain by putting their own competing, but much weaker referendum on the ballot, one which doesn’t prohibit condemnations against businesses, who are the most common target of seizures.

Today, three years after Kelo, the game of public sponsored economic development subsidized by taxes, tax-free bonds, tax-breaks for favored businesses, and the threat of eminent domain, is alive and well, supporting everything from mega-projects like the massive 22-acre Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the efforts by the tiny California town of Hercules to take land away from Wal-Mart because the town fathers objected to the big box retailer invading their domain. Kelo has allowed local officials throughout the country to remain masters of eminent domain, and private markets continue to suffer as a result.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Sheep Pay Arabs Billions for Oil, Eagles Drill

In the last two weeks, since American politicians started feeling the wrath of American voters, the world market price of oil has dropped $24.00 per barrel or 16%. Another factor has been President Bush’s largely symbolic lifting of a previous executive order against drilling. I use the term, “symbolic”, because it is my understanding that Congress also needs to act before anything meaningful can be done.

A third factor in the drop in price of oil and gasoline is the decrease in demand for gasoline which, in the USA, has declined about 3% recently. Several columnists have made the point that when gasoline increased to $3.00 per gallon, the American public sheepishly accepted the price increases and the whacky environmental regulations that caused them, but when the price increased to $4.00, the public finally became outraged.

Why has the price dropped? It is possible that speculators have become convinced that we are serious about drilling and building more refineries and have started to dump futures contracts. It is also possible that the demand decrease has had an effect. What I am afraid of is that two other things are also happening: 1. the Democratic leadership in Congress has decided to play a stalling game, hoping that the price decreases will take the heat off them, and, 2. the major suppliers have also increased supplies for the same reason.

If I am right, the American public has to be motivated to keep the heat on even if the price does fall back to $3.00 per gallon, because any real steps to increase supply in the United States will take several years to complete
If we back off every time the price falls, we will be on a merry-go-round for the foreseeable future, because all knowledgeable observers of alternative fuel possibilities understand that the potential of alternatives will take decades to become realized.

Another factor in this equation is that, as T. Boone Pickens likes to point out in a series of television commercials running now, we are witnessing and contributing to the greatest transfer of wealth in recorded history by buying foreign oil. Anything we can do to reduce this flow of funds out of our country adds to our national security and to the strength of our economy. We have been sheep; we must become self-sufficient eagles again.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don’t destroy American health system for Canadians

I have many Canadian friends who come to Florida each winter. From them I have heard many horror stories about the ills of socialized medicine. Here is another story complete with some important facts and information for American voters as they contemplate the candidacy of Senator Obama:

Don’t destroy American health system: Canadians need it
July 19, 2008 Shona Holmes The Providence Journal

CANADA promises good health-care coverage to all that it claims is free at the point of service and financed through taxes. Unfortunately for me and millions of Canadians, the actions of our government all too often belie that generous pledge.

Canada’s cost-conscious, government-run system wasn’t there for me when I needed it most. And even worse, it continues to overlook the most fundamental rule of health care — that patients ought to come first.

As America considers ways to reform its health-care system, I hope that my experience reminds decision makers that more government intrusion in health care is a poison pill.

No one should be forced to travel thousands of miles to obtain accessible good care. Yet that is exactly what I was forced to do after being diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago.

After my government told me that I’d need to wait four to six months to see a neurologist and endocrinologist, and with my eyesight rapidly deteriorating, I decided to seek a diagnosis at the storied Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

After a battery of tests the doctors there told me I needed treatment immediately, advised me to return home for surgery. I returned to Canada confident that no doctor would turn away a patient in such obvious need of care. I was wrong. Ten days later I flew back to the Phoenix area and underwent successful surgery that removed the tumor and restored my vision.

Why would someone who lives in an industrialized country with a high standard of living and a promise of guaranteed health care need to go anywhere else?

The answer — incredibly — is that Canada’s bureaucratic health-care system transformed me from a human into a number, put me on a waiting list and essentially told me to hope for the best. Free health care was indeed about money. It refused to pay for treatment outside its borders, even though life-saving surgery was quickly available a short plane-ride away in the United States.

As a daughter, a wife and mother of two wonderful children, I really had only one choice — paying thousands of dollars, relying on family, friends and creative refinancing for an operation at the Mayo Clinic’s world-class facility nearly 2,000 miles away in the Arizona desert.

My story, with all of its unfortunate twists and turns, is relatively simple: Stay in Canada and let the government gamble with my future or journey south of the border and benefit from an accessible, patient-oriented, and compassionate facility that responds swiftly to medical emergencies.

My gratitude over receiving a new lease on life has turned me into a full-fledged activist — fighting for free-market change in Canada. Hopefully, we’ll win that fight soon so my country can actually redeem its longstanding promise of providing timely, efficient health care to its 33 million citizens — a population equivalent to the State of California.

And I hope that American voters will remember my story when U.S. candidates this year begin touting the Canadian health-care system as a role model for reform in their own country.

Americans already are being blitzed with a propaganda barrage that bashes America’s current private-public health-care partnership as little better than that of an emerging Third World nation.

Movies like Sicko and John Q, a wave of admiringly reviewed new books, newspaper pundits and cable-news commentators batter Americans with a daily message that the U.S. needs to embrace a universal, government-run system similar to Canada’s or Britain’s.

What they don’t tell you is that both those countries routinely block or delay access to needed treatments and often treat elderly patients with cavalier contempt.

The national health-care system in my country is racked by agonizingly long waits and rationing of many vital medical services, starting with a severe shortage of family physicians, who are the gate keepers of our care.

More than 800,000 Canadians currently are in a lengthy holding pattern for operations that would be done in the States a few weeks after the initial diagnosis.

Sadly, many will die before they make it to the head of the line. Those who can find a way flee to the United States for the quality medical service so often lacking at home.

The benchmark question for any nation’s health-care system is whether its citizens are forced to go abroad for good accessible health-care treatment.

The answer in America is obvious. In the decades since World II, million of Canadians, Europeans, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans have flocked to the U.S. for life-saving medical procedures. And, with few exceptions, that has been a one-way flow.

While I work to reform Canada’s creaking health-care system, I sincerely hope that Americans won’t destroy a system that is the envy of the world by placing it under the yoke of Big Government bureaucracy.

Until Canada breaks free from the Alice in Wonderland absurdity of its system, droves of Canadians, including me, will join millions of others around the globe in seeking medical sanctuary in the United States. If your “patient first” system begins to crumble, we’ll have no place to go.

Shona Holmes is a wife, mother and patient advocate from Toronto. She is pursuing a lawsuit against Ontario to repeal a ban that prevents its citizens from purchasing private health insurance.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Bush Haters Will Not Like Batman

At least one reviewer has noticed the symbolism that compares Batman to President Bush in the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight". As one who has greatly admired the understanding and foresight that President Bush has shown in comprehending the threat to free societies everywhere presented by Islamofascism and its record of murderous terrorism, and also admired the courage he has shown in the face of unbelievable threats, obstruction and vitriolics from the left-wing cowards and ostriches who can't and won't understand this threat, I am greatly encouraged that President Bush's great character and steadfastness is being recognized in a major movie. I knew he would be remembered in history as the man who saved western civilization, but I did not think it would start happening so quickly. All the left-wing, anti-American war movies have bombed. This movie is setting records.

What Bush and Batman Have in Common

July 25, 2008; Wall Street Journal

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."

There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror -- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.

Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?

The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?

The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of "The Dark Knight" itself: Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.

Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."

That's real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Keep the Price of Oil Going Down, Down, Down

Isn’t it interesting how just a small drop in gasoline consumption – coupled with polls that show almost 60% of the American public favor greatly expanded drilling (and President Bush’s largely symbolic canceling of the existing executive order limiting drilling) – can cause such a large drop in the world market price of oil? Obviously the market-makers for petroleum think that America may, at long last, be starting to get serious about drilling our way out of our dependence on foreign countries that hate us. The price has dropped today to $126 from a high of $146.

I have been peppering my Congressmen, both in Florida and in Rhode Island, with e-mails and telephone calls urging them to get off their butts and pass legislation allowing drilling in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and off both continental shelves. In Alaska, not only is drilling for oil and gas prohibited in ANWR, but also in other promising areas of the state.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba has contracts with Chinese and Indian companies to explore and eventually drill for oil in an area not far from Key West, Florida. They could tap an oil pool some geologists think could rival the Ghawar pool under the sand in Saudi Arabia. If we don’t get going, the Cubans could start taking huge amounts of oil from right under our noses using slant drilling techniques. If there is an oil spill near our shores, would you rather have a Chinese company or an American company responsible for the cleanup, and would you rather have a Chinese company or an American company taking steps to prevent it in the first place?

Unfortunately we are treated every day with a Democrat Congressperson or spinmeister coming on TV to repeat the mantra that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have ordered: “ we can’t drill our way out of this mess (they caused)”; “let the oil companies drill on the 68 million acres authorized (already explored - no oil there)”; “we need to develop alternative sources (not going to happen in our lifetimes)”.

The fellow with a 10,000 square foot house that consumes tons more energy than the average person, the fellow who flies around on his private jet and drives his huge SUV, continues also to regale us with the nonsense about man-made global warning – from which he makes millions from his books, movie, lectures and his carbon credits company. He says there is a consensus, and the argument is over. There is no consensus when the IPCC admits there has been no warming for the last ten years and none to come in the future. There is no consensus when corrected data puts the hottest year on record as 1934, instead of 1998. There is no consensus when thousands of scientists say there is no man-made global warming. There is no consensus when people realize that warming and cooling cycles have occurred naturally throughout history.

If you haven’t already, get on the phone and on your computer with messages to Congress and tell them to get serious about providing ample, cheap energy for Americans from American sources.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama, Iraq and Environmental Madness

Now that Senator Obama has admitted that his judgment was wrong, and President Bush’s policy in Iraq is a huge success, we should examine other aspect’s of Obama’s seeming moves to the center. Has he seen the light about liberal policies? Were all those left-wing positions advanced just to win the nomination with the help of the looney, far-left netroots.? Not only does his voting record say no to that, but Obama’s attempts to move to the center are all too familiar. The article below by Jeffrey Lord not only explains why this is common practice among Democratic candidates, but it details some environmental history that explains why Obama does not want you to look too closely. The liberal, left-wing has destroyed America’s competitive position on energy and driven up the cost of everything dependent on energy and fossil fuel products. It’s a long one but a good one.

Why Obama Models Dukakis

By Jeffrey Lord The American Spectator 7/22/2008

"This election isn't about ideology, it's about competence."
-- Michael Dukakis, 1988

"The choice in this election is not between left or right, it's not between liberal or conservative, it's between the past and the future."
-- Barack Obama, 2008

Why? Why do liberals who capture their party's presidential nomination say things like this? Why are they so afraid to say, "I'm an out and out card-carrying liberal and I'm proud of it!" Why do they try and hide their liberalism behind "competence" and screeds about "the past and the future"?

There is a reason. There are lots of reasons, as a matter of fact. Liberalism did not become a laughing stock overnight. It took a while since it began to rule the political roost in 1932 for Americans to understand that what once was considered an honorable philosophy had come to represent repeated and vivid lapses in common sense and good judgment. So the past Senator Barack Obama wants Americans to ignore will do nicely for illustration purposes. It is -- how could it not be? -- a mere update of why then-Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis tried the same denial routine once he secured the Democrats' nomination in 1988.

What exactly is in the liberal past that makes these people want to run from liberalism when the presidential campaign spotlight goes on? For Dukakis it was furloughed murderer Willie Horton and a disdain for fighting for the Pledge of Allegiance, to name but two liberal ideas that brought Dukakis to his proclamations about competence over ideology. But what is it that drives Obama to say essentially the same thing in 2008? Why would he be concerned that a voting majority would flee modern liberalism -- and his candidacy -- if they understood, as they did twenty years ago, what it was really all about?

Let's look in just one policy area that we are all acutely aware of and use one of America's most famous actors to illustrate precisely why Obama wants to run from liberalism just as Dukakis did in 1988.

Energy is the issue. Leonardo DiCaprio the actor.

How exactly did we get in this place where the cost of energy is doing such damage to Americans? Why are you paying so much for gas at the pump? For running your air conditioner or heating your home? What is the connection between Obama's liberalism and the reality of your life? Here's an example of liberalism at work on five critical energy issues. Our actor friend Leo is involved with the very first one.

* Building refineries: This story is as reported on July 10, 2008 by senior editor Susan Jones:
Environmental Group Sues to Block Oil Refinery Expansion

( -- An environmental group on Wednesday filed a lawsuit intended to stop the expansion of a BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana. A shortage of oil refining capacity is often mentioned as one reason for soaring gasoline prices.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is challenging air permits granted to the refinery by the State of Indiana.

OK. Stop right there. Liberalism alert in Indiana. Here we are in this major energy crisis, which Americans are reminded of every single time they pull up at the gas pump. As this news story correctly says, a shortage of refinery capacity in the United States is one of the culprits in sending the price of gas at the pump skyward. But why do we have a shortage of refinery capacity in the first place? Who, very specifically, is out to stop the expansion of this particular Indiana refinery? Why, the Natural Resources Defense Council, a longtime liberal special-interest environmental group. And who sits on the board of the NRDC? Yes indeed, America's favorite Titanic star, Leonardo DiCaprio himself.

THIS IS BUT ONE REASON why Senator Obama wants to brusquely dismiss the idea that this election is about "liberal or conservative" and re-make it Dukakis-style to something else -- the future versus the past. Were the American people ever to fully understand that it is liberal political philosophy in action that is directly responsible for high gas prices, well, can you say President McCain? But don't think for a moment that I'm picking on just poor Leo here. OK, rich Leo. Here are other recent examples of liberalism at work in causing America's energy problems that don't involve a rich liberal movie star:

* Building nuclear power plants: Here's an AP dispatch from July 9, 2008:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- An environmental group has filed a petition with federal regulators, seeking to block Duke Energy Corp.'s plan to build and operate two nuclear reactors near Gaffney, S.C.

In its filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League said the cost to build nuclear power plants and the inherent dangers of operating them outweigh the benefits of increased power generation.

* Drilling for oil: This story is an Associated Press report from December 2007:
Environmental and Native Alaskan groups asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to block Royal Dutch Shell PLC's plans for exploratory drilling near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Lawyers for the groups challenged the U.S. Mineral Management Service's decision earlier this year to allow the energy giant to drill up to 12 exploratory oil wells in the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska.

The attorneys told a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the federal agency failed to adequately consider the impact of Shell's exploratory activities on endangered bowhead whales and other marine mammals."

"An oil spill in this area can have a potentially devastating impact that could linger," said Dierdre McDonnell, an attorney representing the Alaska Wilderness League, Sierra Club and other conservation groups.

* Drilling for natural gas: Here's a July 11, 2008 story from the Denver Business Journal:
Ten environmental groups filed suit in federal court Friday, seeking to block new natural-gas leases on western Colorado's Roan Plateau until federal officials evaluate alternative ways to develop the area's energy resources.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, names as defendants U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the US Bureau of Land Management, an Interior Department agency that administers the Roan Plateau, and two regional BLM officials.

The suit asks that the BLM's resource-management plan for the Roan be set aside and that the agency be barred from leasing drillin g sites on the plateau on Aug. 14 as planned.

* Mining for oil shale: Here's a May 15, 2008 story from the Rocky Mountain News about the response of U.S. Senate liberals and the Democrat who is Governor of Colorado. Need it be said that Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) is the conservative in this story?
The Senate Appropriations Committee today narrowly defeated Sen. Wayne Allard's attempt to end a moratorium related to oil shale development in Colorado.

It was a big day for Colorado energy issues on Capitol Hill as Gov. Bill Ritter testified before a Senate committee asking lawmakers to move cautiously on oil-shale development until more is known about the environmental impact and other issues.

Meanwhile downstairs, the appropriations committee was considering a massive Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill. Allard, a member of the committee, attempted to insert an amendment that would reverse the moratorium that lawmakers approved late last year.

The moratorium prevents the Department of Interior from issuing regulations so that oil companies can move forward on oil-shale projects in Colorado and Utah. Allard said the moratorium has left uncertainties at a time when companies need to move forward and in the long term make the United States more energy independent.

"If we are really serious about reducing pain at the pump, this is a vote that would make a difference in people's lives," Allard argued.

But in a 14-15 vote, the committee spilt strictly on party lines and rejected the amendment.

Day in and day out for decades liberals have actively pushed some version of the above when it comes to energy policy. Their activist groups sue to block the construction of refinery plants, as Leo DiCaprio's group is doing right now in Indiana, or nuclear power plants, as another liberal group is doing in South Carolina. They refuse to allow oil shale mining, as they are doing in Colorado, or they won't go along with drilling for either oil in offshore Alaska (note: this isn't even ANWR) or natural gas in gas-rich Colorado.

Is there any wonder Barack Obama echoes Dukakis in saying this election is not about being liberal or conservative? When it comes specifically to just one issue, the energy issue, it is liberals -- as environmental activists, as lawyers, as Hollywood celebrities, as governors, presidents, legislators and judges -- who have insisted for decades on the very policies that now have a stranglehold on your personal economic windpipe

LEO ISN'T ALONE as a liberal Hollywood celebrity on that NRDC board, either. Laurie David, the famous liberal activist and ex-spouse of comedian Larry David, he of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame sits there as well. Ms. David, of course, was behind Al Gore's slide show-as-movie An Inconvenient Truth and has given bucks to every liberal candidate out there, Obama included. Both Leo and Ms. David are, according to the FEC, also financial contributors to, that famous home of Obama supporters.

One could go on endlessly connecting these dots between specific liberals known and unknown and their active efforts to shut down the U.S. energy supply according to liberal philosophical guidelines. They have sued, legislated, voted, and judged us all to the exact moment America is at today in terms of energy.

The point here is really quite simple. How much did you pay for gas today?

Do you think Senator Obama wishes to acknowledge that the liberal philosophy he and his liberal (and frequently very rich) friends champion has gotten us to this exact point in American energy history? Of course not. If the American people figure out the connection between the price of gas and liberalism, they won't put a liberal in the White House. Which is why Obama, as with Dukakis, has to hide his liberalism. Connecting the dots between what we see in our everyday lives and illustrating the folly of whatever liberal idea got us here is what the rest of us have to do.

Can we do it? Ask former President Dukakis.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Washington DC to Supreme Court on Guns, Drop Dead

It’s easy to see that the extreme, left-wing liberals who have run Washington, D.C. into the ground and established it as the murder capital of the country have no intention of following the letter and the spirit of the 2nd Amendment that was recently upheld by the Supreme Court.

On June 10, 2008 I published a piece where I said, "It is wonderful that the decision by the Supreme Court has opened up opportunities for the NRA and other groups to challenge many existing gun laws, but it doesn't mean that the gun-control proponents have given up. They will just get even more sneaky."

Well, they have now imposed new restrictions on gun ownership that will prevent all but the most persistent to be able to have some protection in their own homes from thugs and murderers. These restrictions are a sham and a disgrace, and D.C. continues to join Massachusetts and Chicago as places where only criminals are allowed to have firearms, because criminals don’t care about laws.

In particular, read closely the experience of Heller, who filed the original complaint that led to the Supreme Court ruling.

New DC Gun Laws Remain Strict

July 16, 2008 ((Excerpts)

WASHINGTON — "The District of Columbia Council approved new firearms legislation Tuesday that will allow residents to begin applying for handgun permits this week.

The council's unanimous vote comes as officials try to comply with last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the city's 32-year-old ban on handguns.

The emergency legislation will allow handguns to be kept in the home if they are used only for self-defense and carry fewer than 12 rounds of ammunition.

Handguns, as well as other legal firearms such as rifles and shotguns, also must be kept unloaded and disassembled, or equipped with trigger locks — unless there is a "reasonably perceived threat of immediate harm" in the home….

Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, said at least some of the new regulations will likely be challenged.” USA Today

In addition to the absurd requirements for a permit-to-own, any person with some firearm experience knows that a locked or unloaded and dissembled weapon in the home is worse than having no weapon at all, because a normal, decent person will most likely have that weapon taken away from him as he struggles to load or unlock it. If there are children in the home or may possibly visit, the intelligent gun-owner will, of course, secure the firearm.
Heller Denied D.C. Gun Permit

July 18, 2008

Dick Heller, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned Washington, D.C.’s 32-year-old ban on handguns and established that the 2nd Amendment provided an individual right to own guns, was denied a handgun permit by the District yesterday.

He was among the first in line Thursday morning to apply for a handgun permit. But when he tried to register his semi-automatic weapon, he says he was rejected. He says his gun has seven bullet clip. Heller says the City Council legislation allows weapons with fewer than eleven bullets in the clip. A spokesman for the DC Police says the gun was a bottom-loading weapon, and according to their interpretation, all bottom-loading guns are outlawed because they are grouped with machine guns.

I suppose gun-control advocates will applaud the clearly illegal actions of the DC Police, but this is a nation of laws, not men. Below is a picture of Heller’s firearm. I recognize it as a Keltec .380, a firearm I also happen to own. It measures about 4”deep by 5” long, and is 5/8” thick. In no way can it be mistaken for a machine gun, which have been illegal throughout the U.S. for many years. The comments of the DC Police are ridiculous and deceitful.


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dealing with Savages

At a time when history is hardly being taught anymore, and journalists lie, it must be hard for our young people to understand who the good guys are in the conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis in what was called Palestine. In a land where both Jews and Arabs have dwelt and fought one another for ages, it was Solomon-like for the United Nations to divide the land between them in 1947 – yes, 1947, more than 60 years ago. Neither the Arabs in surrounding countries nor the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians would accept that decision, and the Palestinians moved out, confident that they could soon move back and take over all the land; while Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen attacked the Israelis. Four times since 1948 the Arab countries have attacked Israel with the objective of exterminating every Jew who lived there. The result of these wars was defeat and humiliation for the Arabs and more-defensible borders for the Israelis.

Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel (for which Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists), and, over the years, many times other countries, mostly the U.S.A., have tried to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The last, significant negotiation, called the Oslo Accords, was brokered between President Clinton, the Palestinian leader, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat, and the Israeli Premier,Yitzhak Rabin. Many Israelis objected to the terms of this agreement and replaced Rabin, while the Palestinians reacted by launching the “Intifada”, a never-ending state of terrorism against the Israelis, and the Oslo Accords came to naught.

Due to the rampant anti-semitism that exists in much of the world, Israel has often been portrayed as the monster in the conflict. When Hezbollah attacked Israel in the summer of 2006, both the Associated Press and Reuters were caught doctoring photographs and filing false reports (remember Cana) that condemned Israel unfairly. Now today, eight years later, we finally get the truth about another, widely-circulated false report:

Faux news

July 19, 2008 The Providence Journal

The Sept. 30, 2000, video of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammed al-Dura, caught in a crossfire on the West Bank riveted the world. The voiceover said the boy had been deliberately targeted by the Israeli military. The Arab world responded vehemently. The incident still reverberates as a symbol of Israeli brutality and Palestinian victimization.

But it never happened. Shortly after the original broadcast, its veracity was questioned in many quarters. Evidence emerged that Israeli soldiers could not have shot the boy but that Palestinian fighters could have.

French media watchdog Philippe Karsenty accused Charles Enderlin, who as Mideast bureau chief for the official French TV network France2 had done the broadcast’s voiceover, and his Palestinian cameraman, of creating a hoax. Mr. Enderlin sued Mr. Karsenty for defamation.

At trial, evidence of a hoax was abundant if not conclusive. A stock film clip of an Israeli soldier shooting had been spliced into the broadcast video. Mr. Enderlin, who was not present, relied on his cameraman’s word that the child had been killed.

Frames edited out of the video showed the boy alive after the shooting stopped. France2 initially refused to hand over minutes of relevant video footage. When it was finally released, it showed Palestinians practicing for a range of hoaxes, including scenes of “wounded” Palestinians being rushed to ambulances (and then emerging with smiles on their faces).

Now a verdict exonerating Mr. Karsenty has been delivered by a French judge, Mme. Laurence Trébucq. Mr. Karsenty’s acquittal amounts to the disgrace of his accuser, and shines a much-needed spotlight on the “fauxtography” that sometimes masquerades as television news in the Middle East.

The verdict has been greeted largely with silence not only by the French media but throughout Europe, the Mideast (except Israel), and to an extent even in the United States. It is not beside the point that exonerations (seven so far) in the trial of eight U.S. Marines in the Haditha case have similarly attracted little attention, despite blanket coverage in the aftermath of charges of a massacre in Iraq in 2005.

The Palestinian cameraman who shot the al-Dura footage, Talal abu-Rahmah, once bragged that “I went into journalism to carry on the fight for my people.” Objectivity is not always the lodestar of journalism as practiced in the Muslim world, but it should be for Western media. The role of faux news in covering the Mideast deserves more scrutiny.


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Friday, July 18, 2008

One Good Thing about Obama’s Candidacy

Like most white, middle-class Americans, I was astounded, shocked and disgusted by the comments and beliefs of Reverend Wright, and, given the applause and cheers, he mirrored the beliefs of most in his congregation. I thought, “well, maybe the people in this church hate America this much, but this has to be a tiny sample of what black people think”. Then, for weeks afterward, I watched black talking head after black talking head appear on various cable news channels – some disagreeing with the Obamas and Wright, but many agreeing with them – that America is a terrible country, for blacks at least.

Then I thought some more about Katrina and the terrible problem it exposed of a large group of people in this country whom welfare programs have robbed of the significance of their lives – and turned them, both blacks and whites, into helpless wards of the state, unable in the face of a disaster to do more than sit around waiting for others to help them.

While I was pondering this, I recalled the recent news, first discovered in Memphis, Tennessee, that the huge increases in crime in many of America’s mid-sized cities could be traced almost exactly to the locations in the cities where recipients of Section 8 housing vouchers lived.

What we are witnessing is a terrible disaster unfolding before our eyes, and Obama's campaign has opened my eyes to it as never before. Over the years we have let all our inner-city manufacturing jobs where unskilled and semi-skilled workers could earn a decent wage on which to raise a family, disappear; and we have replaced those jobs with a group of welfare programs that have failed miserably – and destroyed families and society in the process. Aside from traditional marriage, the glue that keeps a civilized society civil is the same thing that breeds self-respect and self-reliance – a good job.

I believe we need to begin to reverse this process in a massive way, and put the money we now spend on various anti-poverty programs into subsidizing manufacturing plants that provide jobs in our cities, jobs that were lost to foreign competition, union overreach and technological obsolescence. I know that this will be a very difficult program to sell and to carry out; it means ending AFDC for new recipients and coming up with a way to get an honest administration of a program that will require business knowledge and the subsidizing of entrepreneurs who otherwise could not compete in head-on competition to provide these jobs.

Since President Johnson launched the “Great Society” anti-poverty welfare programs, white births of fatherless children has about doubled to 50%, while black births of fatherless children have tripled. Before the Great Society, both black and white unwed births were about the same, about 25%. A fatherless boy is a destructive missile launched on society, often ending up with a gun in his hand before he is caught and goes to prison. Let’s give him an opportunity for a good job close to where he lives so he can start a family, and his children WILL have a father.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Perspective on the New Yorker Cover

This now-famous New Yorker cover has attracted much attention and varying viewpoints. In my opinion, this commentary hits the mark:

Progressive Cover
By George Neumayr 7/15/2008 The American Spectator

Liberals, when caught out in some violation of progressive propriety, often invoke their history of fine sentiments as a defense. Recall that Geraldine Ferraro, given what she regards as her unimpeachable record in support of all good things, was flabbergasted that anyone could see racism in her scoffing remarks at Obama's success and in her complaints about Hillary Clinton as a victim of reverse discrimination.

A rude shock of this sort is now rattling the progressive cocoon at the New Yorker. Understanding themselves as surrogates for Obama, the New Yorker editors didn't think themselves capable of offending the esteemed candidate or deviating from the canons of liberal good taste.

So the furor over their "satirical" cover depicting the Obamas as revolutionaries leaves these sharp and sophisticated editors befuddled and perhaps hurt. After all, they are obviously on the right side of history and were just doing their part to help the candidate. It will no doubt sting to be treated at fashionable parties this week as dim-witted advocates whose zeal to protect their hero has ended up damaging him.

Is this another case of liberals undone by their own cocoon mentality? The frantic explanations of David Remnick and others at the magazine would suggest so. Apparently it never occurred to them anyone might take offense, since in their minds all right-thinking people should immediately see that the images used in the cover bear no connection whatsoever to reality

The cover was designed to expose the "prejudices" and "dark imaginings" of Obama's critics and the "absurdity" of the charges thrown at him, says Remnick to the Huffington Post, revealing his anxiety at having offended the Obama campaign.

"I can't speak for anyone else's interpretations, all I can say is that it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama's supposed 'lack of patriotism' or his being 'soft on terrorism' or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the Oval Office."

Dark imaginings, prejudices, idiotic notions -- it is all so obvious to Remnick. So why isn't it to everyone else?

The cover's artist, Barry Blitt, adds that he was simply illustrating how "preposterous" it is to think of the Obamas as unpatriotic and wanted to capture the "fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is." Meanwhile, journalist Clarence Page, a trusted arbiter of taste for the establishment, chips in that the cover lampoons the "crazy ignorance out there."

While an image like this seems fantastical to Remnick and company with their exalted understanding of such things, it doesn't seem fantastical to Obama's campaign operatives, who remember all too well the factual, not fantastical, image of Obama in Islamic garb that Hillary's campaign disseminated via the Drudge Report to the blue-collar hinterlands. Nor were the weeks of coverage of Obama's militant black separatist church just a fantasy to them but a fire they have yet to put out. The New Yorker cover greatly annoys them by stirring all of this back up.

Remnick argues that the cover isn't satirizing Obama but his crackpot critics. Somehow he forgot that the subject of the satire actually needs to be in it. Perhaps if the image had been restricted to the Osama portrait and flag burning in the fireplace he could have gotten away it. But mixing factual elements -- the Obamas have fist-bumped, Obama has been pictured in a turban, they did attend a black separatist church -- with fantastical ones explains its too-close-for-comfort feel.

Were the Obama campaign more restrained, it would have ignored the cover. But his staffers couldn't help themselves; their quick and sensitive reaction reveals that they know Obama's most significant liability is that many Americans continue to see him as an unknown quantity with an outside-the-mainstream philosophy and past.

Just when Obama thought that he had put his problem with elitism behind him, it rears back in the form of bumbling supporters at the New Yorker who have provided common folk with an ill-advised satirical image that cements their "crazy ignorance."


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Monday, July 14, 2008

American Healthcare IS the Best

Americans are well aware of the shortcomings of the socialized healthcare systems that exist in Canada and Great Britain. We have heard the horror stories of outmoded techniques, rationing and doctor shortages, and we also know of the number of foreigners who come here for treatment. If they thought about it, Americans would also give credit to the number of miracle drugs, revolutionary techniques and breakthrough, medical devices and instrumentation that have been developed in the free market system of the U.S.A.

Despite our successes, a significant number of Americans do not have healthcare, either through choice or because they cannot afford it. Because of this, every year there are calls for government supplied healthcare or a government insurance program. This year is no different, as all of the Democrat candidates, including Obama, called for some sort of massive, federal, healthcare program.

When I discuss this issue with my liberal friends, and indicate my concern that the government not screw-up healthcare as government has done with almost everything else it touches, a common argument they always throw in my face concerns the studies that have shown that other countries have longer life expectancies than does the United States. The next time we have this discussion, I will be armed with the following two studies. The first one concludes that our shorter life expectancies are from the self-inflicted inability to practice some self discipline in the face of the abundance we also have; the second analysis concludes that some of these international studies of healthcare do not measure healthcare at all – they measure and reward the degree of socialism found in a particular country.

Why their life expectancy is shrinking
FROMA HARROP June 29, 2008 Providence Journal (Excerpt)

“NEWS THAT LIFE expectancy among some American women has fallen earned startled headlines, as well it should. In this country, life expectancy is something that’s supposed to go up. It took a big scourge, such as the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, to depress it briefly.

But a study published in the online journal PLoS finds that in about 1,000 U.S. counties, women’s life expectancies are shorter than in the early 1980s. During this time, no deadly virus rampaged through the female population. And the bristling arsenal of new medical treatments continued to grow.

The chief cause was something for which there is no vaccine: obesity, smoking and other forms of self-abuse. The victim and victimizer are one and the same — or so it appeared to me.

The counties listed are mostly in Appalachia, which includes part of the South, Texas, and the lower Midwest, say researchers at the University of Washington and the Harvard School of Public Health. And although the shorter lives weren’t limited to one race or ethnic background (94-percent white Washington County, in Maine, was on the list), the places affected tended to have higher proportions of African-Americans.

Poor health habits are hurting babies, as well. Shocked officials at the Mississippi Department of Health report that their infant-mortality rate — which had been dragged down to 9.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004 — soared in 2005 to 11.4 deaths. It sounds counter-intuitive, but fetuses growing in grossly overweight mothers are often undernourished. Obesity can bring on hypertension and diabetes, which starve the baby of nutrients.” Providence Journal

How surveys twist rankings on health care

GLEN WHITMAN June 11, 2008 Providence Journal (Excerpt)

“BARACK OBAMA and many in the Democratic Party look to Europe for inspiration for reforming America’s healthcare. Back in 2003, Mr. Obama said, “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer health-care program,” thereby endorsing the state-controlled health systems of countries such as Norway and Britain — and endorsing ideology over quality.

According to the World Health Organization, Mr. Obama was correct: In its highly influential World Health Report, America scores well below the vast majority of Western European countries — and even below the likes of Morocco and Costa Rica in one index. This report is frequently cited by Democratic reformers wanting to replace the U.S. market system with something a little more Continental. But an examination of the two indices in the WHO report tells us more about the ideology of the authors than the quality of American health care.

Michael Moore made great sport in his movie Sicko of pointing out that the WHO ranked the United States a lowly 37th in the world, considerably below top-10 France and Canada (although the United States is 15th in the other index). But, much like Mr. Moore himself, the rankings are far from impartial.

One of the five factors in the calculations is “Financial Fairness.” This favors systems that charge richer people a higher rate of health tax, irrespective of how much, or little, health service they use. Colombia comes out on top. This measure has nothing to do with the quality of health care, yet it counts for a quarter of the weighting.

The WHO claims that its rankings are a tool for comparing different means of financing health-care systems, yet this tool inherently favors taxpayer-funded systems and gives the rankings a bias that renders comparison pointless. As a result of this bias, the United States languishes in lowly 54th place on “Financial Fairness,” largely explaining its poor overall position.” Providence Journal


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Friday, July 11, 2008

What's Wrong With Senator Obama?

I’ve been trying to stay away from more discussions concerning His Eminence, but the following articles leapt out at me. All through the presidential campaign we have been watching Senator Obama change and refine previously stated positions on patriotism, on Reverend Wright, on his grandmother, on bombing Pakistan, on his relationship with Rezco, etc., etc., etc.; but for the past few weeks we have been showered with position changes on everything from public financing to Iraq to gun control to FISA. What’s going on?

Some, like Bob Beckel in the article below (Beckel is a very long-term Democrat strategist and spinmeister), are trying to put across the idea that this is a very normal movement to the center – reflective of Obama’s true positions on important matters. I disagree. Nothing in Obama’s background or voting record would suggest anything other than a far, left-wing belief system. He has simply not taken moderate positions on anything in the past. From previous comments, his earlier refusal to honor our flag and long associations with the likes of Reverend Wright and the bomber, William Ayers, I believe that he and his wife are hate-America liberals, and that these new positions are essentially lies being told to fool that large segment of the voting public who have not really been paying attention yet – that they (the Obamas) are really very moderate in their views.

It's up to those of us who have been paying attention to make sure the truth is known to the voters before November, not by sending out e-mails full of false charges, but with the TRUTH - just as the Swift Boat Veterans did duing 2004.

'What's Wrong With Senator Obama?'
By Bob Beckel July 11, 2008 Real Clear Politics (Excerpt)

"My 14 year old son loves Barack Obama. He plays the "Yes We Can" music video by will.i.m so often he can recite Obama's New Hampshire speech (from which the video was made) word for word. Obama gave his 'Yes We Can' speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. That refrain, meant to encourage his supporters after the loss, quickly became the mantra for Obama's campaign.

Far from needing encouragement, his supporters were energized by the New Hampshire defeat. My kid kept bugging me to get behind Obama. I tried to tell him as a political analyst for Fox News I had to stay neutral. He wasn't buying that and reminded me that his grandfather (my dad) had been involved in the civil rights movement and "if granddaddy was still around he would be for Obama". That was followed by "you're a wuss".

So I was a little surprised last week when my son asked me, "What's wrong with Senator Obama?" I asked why. "Because he sounds different", he says. Thinking the kid was referring to Obama's recent moves to the center on some issues I tell him every candidate for president repositions for the general election. My son gives me one of those teenage 'what planet are you on' looks and says, "never mind."

It took awhile but I realized my point about Obama's repositioning on Iraq, FISA, etc meant nothing to my kid. All he knew was that the "Obama of Summer" was somehow different than the Yes We Can "Obama of Winter" - and it bothered him. To my kid it wasn't a question of issues, but a perception that somehow Obama had changed. As Barack Obama learned this week it is a perception shared by thousands of his supporters who do understand the issues and, unlike my son, can vote.

So being an astute political analyst I went to YouTube in search of a clue to my kids concerns. I bring up the Yes We Can video which I hadn't seen for several months. I play it once and I'm moved. I play it twice and I must confess I get a bit emotional. For comparison I watch the video of Obama's press conference last week in North Dakota in which he tried to clarify an earlier statement about perhaps "refining" his position on Iraq after a trip there later this month.

Listening to both videos I get it. Obama did sound different. He was defensive, and I sense a bit annoyed that he was forced to explain himself in North Dakota. But the reaction from the press and many of Obama's supporters seemed to me shrill and politically naïve. After all, Obama, on this and other issues, was only repositioning for a broader electorate, something every presidential candidate before him had done.

Sure Obama appeared to be modifying his issue positions a lot lately, but most presidential candidates lock up their nomination early, allowing the art of repositioning to be more subtle. In Obama's case the protracted battle with Hillary Clinton did not allow him the luxury of time to be subtle. Apparently his supporters and some in the press just didn't get that point.

But the amount of angry internet traffic to Obama's website suggesting he was abandoning his positions apparently hit a nerve. In a town hall meeting this week Obama was forced to address the charges and to defend his progressive credentials. He blamed the criticism from "my friends on the left" and "some of the media" on their preoccupation with assuming a political calculation is behind every move he makes.

That response, coupled with Obama's North Dakota press conference and watching the Yes We Can video, began to clarify the "Obama of Summer" problem with his supporters. To a guy like me, who has been involved in many campaigns, what Obama was doing made sense. But to millions of Obama supporters (most having never been near a political campaign) Obama's general election repositioning stood in stark contrast to his 'elegance of defeat' in New Hampshire.

I finally got it. While I was holding Obama to a typical political standard, his supporters' standard, forged in the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, was more elevated and exacting. To them, the "Obama of Winter" had been a calling, while the "Obama of Summer" was causing an uncomfortable disconnect (as evidenced by a decline in the percentage of Obama supporters who tell pollsters they are 'totally' verses 'probably' certain to vote for him).” Real Clear Politics

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
By Philip Klein
7/11/2008 The American Spectator (Excerpt)

"AMERICA HAS ENDURED liberal presidents before. Jimmy Carter's single term in office was an unmitigated disaster, but it brought us eight years of Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton's early stumbles ignited the Gingrich Revolution. Though Clinton's presidency contained personal political triumphs, he never advanced the liberal agenda in any permanent way, and welfare reform is one of his few domestic accomplishments.

On the other hand, there is Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose New Deal created the welfare state as we know it, and more significantly, changed the psychology of Americans so that they would look to government to solve their problems ever after, a legacy that Lyndon Johnson built on with his Great Society programs.

If he's elected president, there are certain items on the liberal wish list that we can expect Barack Obama to fulfill, especially given the likely expanded majorities he will enjoy in Congress.

The Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire, resulting in the largest tax increase in the nation's history. Democratic legislation that cleared the House in the Bush years only to be blocked by a Senate filibuster or Bush veto, will get passed and quickly signed into law by Obama. Chief among these will be an expansion of the government-run children's health care program S-CHIP and "card-check" legislation, which will deny workers access to a secret ballot when voting on unionization, thus allowing big labor to expand its membership through intimidation. Obama also can be expected to appoint liberal judges to any court vacancies that arise during his administration." The American Spectator

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Green Agenda

At the beginning of the Bush Administration, Vice President Cheney attempted to bring together representatives of various energy industries (imagine, the nerve of him, asking people who actually knew something about the issues) to try to work out a more reasonable energy policy than the self-defeating jumble that then represented American policy. His efforts were so castigated by left-wing politicians and media (using against him his own energy business experience) that nothing came of this effort. We are paying the price now, as families in northern states go bankrupt trying to stay warm and poor people around the world go hungry.

Other than Iraq and Senator Obama's phoney moves to the center, the one thing that can elect Senator McCain is Obama's role in this catastrophe. He thinks $5.00 gas is good for us; doesn't he understand that $5.00 gas also means $5.00 heating oil and huge increases in the cost to grow and transport food? My daughter in Maine paid $1000 for each fillup last winter that lasted about three weeks (no global warming there).

How the Greens Captured Energy Policy
By J.R. Dunn The American Thinker July 10, 2008 (Excerpts)

"U.S. energy policy -- to stretch the meaning of the term - is appalling. It has been thrown together piece by piece over the decades to create a system that is dysfunctional, over complex, and internally contradictory. It is a system that victimizes American citizens, cripples the U.S. economy, makes the government a laughingstock, and empowers our enemies worldwide. While it's conceivable that somebody could actually design a policy that would do worse, they'd really have to work at it.

The only group in American that sees energy policy achieving some of their goals are the ones who oversaw its implementation from the beginning: the environmentalist Greens. It's obvious that our energy policy was intended not for the benefit of the public, or industry, or government, but almost solely to fit the agenda and goals of the Green movement, and not even the public agenda and goals, but the core agenda rarely referred to except through euphemism.....

The Green Agenda

Through its influence in the media and government (both bureaucracy and congress), the Greens effectively abolished nuclear power, curtailed domestic oil production, and left the American energy industry in the comatose state in which it abides to this day. Nor was this an error or overreaction - it was a deliberate effort to fulfill the Green agenda.

What is the nature of this agenda? Greens were much more open about it during the early years of the movement. (As for example in the utopian novel Ecotopia.) The end point of all Green efforts is a kind of Edenic state in which humans exist in "partnership" with nature. In which humanity is simply another species. In which the human "footprint" (a purely Green concept with no literal meaning) is reduced to a minimum. A world which has returned in large part to a pre-industrial state, where whatever small amounts of power are needed are provided by solar and wind. Where every last damn item is recycled. A kind of universal Northern California, where all living things from spirochete to grizzly exist in harmony under the cloak of Gaia (Earth Mother).

(Such a world could sustain perhaps a hundred million human beings, tops. What happens to the rest is something most Greens have been less than straightforward about.)

Greens have become quieter about this vision as it has grown more distant. Which does not mean that they have ceased working toward it. Like all true believers, the Greens simply grow more fanatical the more unlikely their dreams become. And that is why the long overdue reform of America's energy sector, of the kind supported by John McCain and a few forward-looking GOP politicians (now there's a threatened species), is no certainty, in no way a slam-dunk, and will require a lengthy and hard-fought battle if it's going to happen at all.

Current energy policy -- or non-policy, however you wish -- lies at the very center of the Green agenda. It is the only element in which any progress has been achieved. First, we need to rid ourselves of our "addiction" to nukes and oil. Then we adapt to solar and wind, and.... Here it peters off into silence. Because no such second step has ever, or will ever be made. Solar, wind, alcohol, ethanol... all these are single-digit energy sources. (And the low single digits as well, able to replace perhaps two or three percent of power generation at best.) Replacement of oil and nuclear power is a fantasy. Therefore, the rest of the Green dream is as well.

But the gutting of the American energy sector remains the Green's chief accomplishment, their single achieved step toward paradise. They will defend it tooth and nail. The Green lobby, comprised of organizations such as the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Federation, is immensely powerful and has deep pockets -- not to overlook the many politicians who are avid converts (e.g., Hudson Valley congressman John Hall, who as leader of the execrable 70s soft-rock band Orleans wrote an anti-nuke anthem, "Plutonium is Forever").

The Green crisis ahead

They'll still lose. Americans are not going to freeze in the dark. Nuclear technology has gone through several revolutions in the past decades. Entire families of reactors exist -- including the CANDU and pebble-bed designs -- that simply cannot melt down or suffer any other kind of catastrophic failure. Evolution in oil drilling and exploitation has followed similar paths. We need to catch up on these technical advances.

Other aspects of the Green argument have also collapsed. New discoveries off Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico have nearly doubled international oil reserves, pushing backwards from the "peak oil" date. And global warming, that notorious by-product of "oil addiction," has faded to the point that its advocates are now reduced to threatening dissenters with prison.

Energy reform is an egg and rock situation for the Democrats. (From the old Irish proverb: "When the rock hits the egg, alas for the egg. When the egg hits the rock, alas for the egg.") The Democrats -- Obama chief among them -- can neither adequately defend it nor abandon it, as is clearly shown by their refusal to even consider loosening drilling restrictions. The GOP holds all the cards on this one, and all they need to do is keep building the pressure. (Always granted, of course, that they play it better than their last few runs of hands.) No better electoral tool will be found during this cycle. We just can't expect results immediately - this will be a long and drawn-out battle, requiring maximum, sustained effort from all involved.

It has gone almost completely unacknowledged that with oil shale, offshore deposits, and new resources such as the hydrocarbon sludge deposits off B.C. and Alaska, the OPEC of the late 21st century is going to be right here. That's a goal worth working toward. Breaking the power of the Greens is yet another possible benefit.

Environmentalism is a luxury, and like all such, is best taken in moderation. The environment requires protection, but that's all. Primitive panthiesm has no place in this millennium. Nature is not an utterly benign continuum, and human beings are not a disease. Pseudo-religious environmentalism has long outlived its welcome. It's time to bring down the curtain." American Thinker

We HAVE had some energy-related disasters (Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island). The appropriate response in these cases would have been to convene a panel of experts, send out investigators, hold hearings, issue recommendations, and see to it that reforms went into effect. This is what occurs following aircraft disasters, large-scale fires, building collapses, or any other catastrophic incident where suspicion exists that things were not being handled according to best practice. (Consider the investigation following the Challenger disaster, for one example.)

But this is not what occurred in these cases. Not in any meaningful sense. Under the new Green paradigm, oil and nuclear energy were not industries to be reformed, but "evils" to be either contained or destroyed. The Greens could have served a useful purpose by pushing for serious reform in management of critical energy industries. Instead, we got the religious impulse, distorted into sheer apocalypticism, with the environmentalists fighting oil and fissionables (plutonium in particular) as products of dark sin, placed on earth to tempt humankind from the path that Earth Mother, Gaia, intended.

Some editorial changes made.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Holy Cows: George W Bush - buffoon or great leader?

This piece should really bring out the Calvins, the Dudley Dursleys, the Lucy van Pelts, the Angelica Pickles and all the rest of the spoiled brats and know-nothings of this world who have been having a temper tantrum because President Bush is succeeding in Iraq and defeating the terrorists. Al Qaeda has been reduced to a few impotent screamers who can't do much - other than make amateurish video tapes, and there have been no more major terrorist attacks in Europe or America for several years. Apparently he, and others, have been doing something right.

"A tantrum is an episode of extreme anger and frustration characterized by crying, screaming, and violent body motions, including throwing things, falling to the floor, and banging one's head, hands, and feet against the floor.

Aside from taking any measures needed to prevent danger to children, parents should try to ignore the tantrum and let it run its course. If the upset has occurred over something the child wants and has been denied, it is tempting to give in to the child's wishes, but doing so can be harmful because it teaches children that they can get what they want by having a tantrum."

Holy Cows: George W Bush - buffoon or great leader?

July 9, 2008 Telegraph By Sameh El-Shahat (Excerpt)
Sameh El-Shahat argues that George W Bush has been the most under-rated president... ever.

"Whatever happened to leadership and honesty as presidential traits? I happen to believe that the only leader in the West to have these two admirable qualities in droves is the leader of the free world: George W Bush.

Yes, we’ve all heard the Bushisms and laughed at them but do you really think somebody supposedly that thick can make it to the top of the most sophisticated political system the world has ever seen?

No, and that is because Mr Bush is far cleverer than most of his predecessors. He may not have been a Rhodes Scholar, but he has the ability to reach out to his people and read them.

Take the Iraq war for example. OK, so he got us into Iraq in the first place. But for Pete’s sake, he’s the leader of the world’s only superpower. He needs to take decisions, even if sometimes they have nasty consequences - which is far better than we do in Europe, where we enjoy dithering not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself.

Something had to be done about Iraq and our government was all for attacking it too. So let’s not blame G.W. for the war.

And when things did go wrong in Iraq, and there were calls to pull out, Mr Bush just followed his own counsel and doubled his bet with the Surge.

And he was right because Iraq is in a relatively better shape today than it ever was and Al Qa'eda is a shadow of its former self in that country.

This is a man who has the courage of his convictions.

Let’s not forget how Europe does wars.

Usually we wait and wait until the enemy starts attacking, then we let them win a bit, then we fight until we are tired, then we just call the US to come over to clean our mess.

That is what happened in WWI, WWII, and the Balkans.

Bush is just showing us what a bunch of dangerous ditherers we are and we hate him for it. Naturally.

And the Olympics. Bush said right from the beginning that he’s going to the opening ceremony because he saw the whole boycott thing as silly and counterproductive.

Compare that with Sarkozy who has changed his mind twice so far and to Gordon Brown who, well... err.

Not much leadership from Europe here, as usual, just doublespeak. Once again, it is to Bush that we look for leadership.

Bush may not have the slickness of his predecessor, but he is a man you can trust and who prefers to tell it like it is.

This is refreshing, and very scary for us who are used to our politicians always talking grandly about principles and hiding behind political mumbo-speak.

The fact is you guys hate Mr Bush because he is not a hypocrite and you are used to hypocrites as your leaders. We hate what we don’t understand.

Yes, yes, all you bleeding heart liberals are cringing out there. I can just hear you. But the fact is, Mr Bush has had to take some very tough decisions and the world needs people who can not only talk but also act tough and admit mistakes.

Of course you think Mr Obama is going to make a difference, but as I write this, he’s already giving all the signs of somebody who will say anything to get into power only to act in exactly the same way as the Washington clique he aims to replace!

Hating George W. Bush is not only dull and unoriginal, but it shows a complete lack of understanding of the world in which we live in.

You want liberty but you don’t want to defend it... right.

And for those of you who still don’t buy into what I’m saying, look at the Middle East. Bush single-handedly managed to unite the Arabs in their hate for him.

Given how difficult uniting the Arabs is, it takes a special man with special skills to achieve this. He is just the kind of man to bring about peace in that region!


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