Monday, June 30, 2008
We are supposed to forget everything they said about each other during the primaries. They didn't really mean it; or did they? This is why so many people are cynical about politicians. You never know if they are telling you what you want to hear, or what they hope you'll swallow in spite of evidence to the contrary.
Now Clinton and Obama want to erase our memory banks, like that gizmo in the film "Men in Black." They even color coordinated their outfits to demonstrate how in-sync they have suddenly become. One needn't have been a fly on the wall at their private meetings to conclude some debt relief has been promised to the Hillary campaign in exchange for her support (though she and Bill have made enough money to relieve their own debt, but like true liberals they want others to pay the bill).
With the general election four months away, Obama’s rhetoric on the topic [iraq] now seems outdated and out of touch, and the nominee-apparent may have a political problem concerning the very issue that did so much to bring him this far.
Obama’s plan, which was formally laid out last September, called for the remaining combat brigades to be pulled out at a brisk pace of about one per month, along with a strategic shift of resources and attention away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan. At that rate, all combat troops would be withdrawn in sixteen months. In hindsight, it was a mistake—an understandable one, given the nature of the media and of Presidential politics today—for Obama to offer such a specific timetable. In matters of foreign policy, flexibility is a President’s primary defense against surprise.
The improved conditions can be attributed, in increasing order of importance, to President Bush’s surge, the change in military strategy under General David Petraeus, the turning of Sunni tribes against Al Qaeda, the Sadr militia’s unilateral ceasefire, and the great historical luck that brought them all together at the same moment.
In a video clip for the Save Darfur coalition, Barack Obama offered that the genocide is "a stain on our souls." His proposal for removing it? "Ratcheting up sanctions" on the Sudanese government and making "firm commitments in terms of the logistics, and the transport and the equipping" of an international peacekeeping mission for Darfur. No word, however, as to whether Mr. Obama would actually risk the lives of American soldiers to stop the slaughter.
"Saving Darfur" is a somewhat different story, but it also involves applying Western military force to whatever degree is necessary to get Khartoum to come to terms with an independent or autonomous Darfur.
International relations theorists, including prominent Obama adviser Susan Rice, justify these sorts of interventions under the rubric of a "Responsibility to Protect" – a concept that comes oddly close to Kipling's White Man's Burden. So close, in fact, that its inherent paternalism has hitherto inhibited many liberals from endorsing the kinds of interventions toward which they are now tip-toeing, thousands of deaths too late.
This is a partial list. Meantime, here are the accumulating estimates of the conflict's toll on Darfuri lives. September 2004: 50,000, according to the World Health Organization. May 2005: between 63,000 and 146,000 "excess deaths," according to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at Belgium's Catholic University of Louvain. March 2008: 200,000 deaths, according to U.N. officials.
There is the 2007 Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, which allows (but does not require) U.S. states and municipalities to divest from companies doing business in Sudan. There is Senate Resolution 559, urging the president to enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur. There is the Clinton Amendment, the Reid Amendment, the Menendez Amendment, the Durbin/Leahy Amendment, the Jackson Amendment, the Lieberman Resolution, the Obama/Reid Amendment and the Peace in Darfur Act.
"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."
-- Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007
That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he'll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-Sept. 11 eavesdropping.
Believing that she had something like a lock on the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton pivoted to the general election before the Iowa caucus. She refused to apologize for her vote on the war. Moveover, only last fall she took a responsible position on the Kyl-Lieberman resolution urging the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. When she did so, Obama hammered her for it.
Obama didn't vote on the Kyl-Lieberman resolution any more than he had on the authorization for the use of miliatary force on Iraq. (He was out campaigning.) Indeed, he didn't even announce his opposition to the bill until after Clinton had voted in favor of it. Nevertheless, he found Clinton's vote a useful tool to use against her and he used it with fervor.The day after securing the Democratic nomination, however, Obama appeared at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington and called for "boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, whose Quds force has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.
"I want you to think about this," Barack Obama said in Las Vegas last week. "The oil companies have already been given 68 million acres of federal land, both onshore and offshore, to drill. They're allowed to drill it, and yet they haven't touched it – 68 million acres that have the potential to nearly double America's total oil production."
Perhaps because the notion is obviously false – at least to anyone who knows how oil and gas exploration actually works.
In other words, these whiz kids assume that every acre of every lease holds the same amount of oil and gas. Yet the existence of a lease does not guarantee that the geology holds recoverable resources.
Oil companies acquire leases in the expectation that some of them contain sufficient oil and gas to cover the total costs. Yet it takes years to move through federal permitting, exploration and development. The U.S. Minerals Management Service notes that only one of three wells results in a discovery of oil that can be recovered economically. In deeper water, it's one of five. All this involves huge risks, capital investment – and time.
Bill Gross, manager of the world's biggest bond fund, said a Barack Obama administration may produce the first $1 trillion deficit and intermediate-and long- term bond yields have already reached cyclical lows.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Do you know that inner-city parents want vouchers — the right to determine where their children go to school? Do you know most Democrats, including Barack Obama, oppose this?
Do you know that Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization that became Planned Parenthood, believed that poor blacks were inferior and that aborting their babies made our society better? Look it up.
Do you know that blacks stand to benefit more than whites through Social Security privatization, a position opposed by Obama but supported by McCain?
Obama called the foes of the House anti-illegal immigration bill "ugly and racist."
What about the "war on poverty" that began in the '60s, the policies that Obama and his party want to continue and expand? Do you know that today 70 percent of black children and over 50 percent of Hispanics are born outside of wedlock? The welfare state — which Democrats want to expand — has played a huge role in discouraging marriage and destabilizing families.
Compassion is not about making people dependent on government. Compassion is about encouraging personal responsibility, and getting people to understand that life is about making choices. Poverty does not cause crime. Crime causes poverty. Poverty does not cause a child to have a child. A child having a child causes poverty. Finishing high school is a choice. Not joining a gang is a choice. Not having a child until you have the maturity and the means to raise that child is a choice.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I guess that is what some one who has convinced so many fools that he is for change will do.
President Bush vetoed the 2008 Farm Bill, as promised, but Congress overrode it.
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said, “At a time of record farm income, Congress decided to further increase farm subsidy rates, qualify more people for taxpayer support and move programs toward more government control.”
Though President Franklin D. Roosevelt first created farm subsidies to aid family farmers struggling through the Great Depression, the group Citizens Against Government Waste estimates that 60% of the subsidies in this year's Farm Bill will go to the wealthiest 10% of recipients - even as small family farmers still struggle today.
A few notable farmers just barely surviving with help from the government:
"I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be [doing] is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas. . . . Haven't heard a thing.
"He wants to show that he is not . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as, 'black is beautiful, black is powerful.' Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."
"Obama's abstract campaign has been illusional and irresponsible when it comes to avoiding concrete policies that truly defend and empower the 100 million Americans living in poverty or near poverty," Nader responded in a statement read by Driscoll.
'Independent presidential hopeful Ralph Nader is pressing the case that presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama is another corporate candidate who won't really change Washington.
'Nader - the longtime consumer advocate who has been a bane to Democrats - told the Rocky Mountain News that Obama is trying to "talk white" and to appeal to "white guilt."
"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said in what the Denver newspaper described as a wide-ranging interview. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white?" '
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
From the NYT:
'Mr. Obama is running as a reformer who is seeking to reduce the influence of special interests. But like any other politician, he has powerful constituencies that help shape his views. And when it comes to domestic ethanol, almost all of which is made from corn, he also has advisers and prominent supporters with close ties to the industry at a time when energy policy is a point of sharp contrast between the parties and their presidential candidates.'
'Justice Alito wrote a dissent lamenting that the majority had ruled out executing someone for raping a child “no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be.” '
Children are usually considered a special part of the population since they do not possess legal rights. This was the reason used to enact the law in Louisiana.
'Responding to a question from Justice Ginsburg, Ms. Clark said the Louisiana child-rape law could apply regardless of the sex of the criminal or that of the victim.
And in support of her argument that crimes against children have long been viewed with special revulsion, and as deserving of special punishment, Ms. Clark pointed out that the Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that states can make it a crime to possess child pornography even in one’s home.
That ruling, in Osborne v. Ohio, carved out an exception to a 1969 Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution protects the possession of obscene material in the privacy of one’s residence. Justice Byron R. White wrote for the 6-to-3 majority in the Osborne case, reasoning that Ohio was justified in trying to “destroy a market for the exploitative use of children.” '
I can't believe Justice Kennedy joined the majority and used to excuse of cruel and unusual punishment!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
That means that as Americans are doing their part, China and India and picking up the slack and driving the world price of oil higher.
Thomas Friedman should implore China and India to reduce their consumption of oil. If they do the world price of oil will come down.
Also billions of private investment has been going into alternative energy. Why do we need the government to step in and change our behavior?
'That’s what a real president would do. He’d give us a big strategic plan to end our addiction to oil and build a bipartisan coalition to deliver it. He certainly wouldn’t be using his last days in office to threaten Congressional Democrats that if they don’t approve offshore drilling by the Fourth of July recess, they will be blamed for $4-a-gallon gas. That is so lame. That is an energy policy so unworthy of our Independence Day.'
From Lawrence Lindsy via WSJ:
'The economics of what Sen. Obama is proposing should be at least as troubling. A high-income entrepreneur would see his or her federal marginal tax rate rise to 53% from 37.7% under Sen. Obama's tax plan. He proposes a 4.6 percentage point hike in the personal income tax rate, a loss of some itemized deductions, and a 12.4 percentage point hike in the Social Security payroll tax. This would take a successful entrepreneur's effective marginal tax rate higher than what it was under Jimmy Carter or Richard Nixon, when the maximum tax on an entrepreneur was 50%.
One of the lessons from the disastrous economics of the 1970s and the subsequent Reagan tax cuts is that everyone – particularly entrepreneurs – responds to incentives. If you take away 10% of a high earner's after-tax income at the margin, he will cut his taxable income by at least 4%. At the margin, this taxpayer now takes home 62.3% of his earnings, a figure that will drop to 47% under the Obama plan. According to a widely accepted economics rule of thumb, the entrepreneur's taxable profit would drop by 11.2%.'
What a joke! Sure price of commodities have some speculation involved but it part of supply and demand and most importantly expectations of the future.
Here is what he said from the Washington Post
'Sen. Barack Obama rolled out a proposal yesterday to curb speculation in energy markets, which his advisers said would help stabilize soaring gasoline prices. '
No amount of regulation (that does not target consumption) is going to bring the price of oil down.
From Paul Krugman in the NYT:
'Now, speculators do sometimes push commodity prices far above the level justified by fundamentals. But when that happens, there are telltale signs that just aren’t there in today’s oil market.
The only way speculation can have a persistent effect on oil prices, then, is if it leads to physical hoarding — an increase in private inventories of black gunk. This actually happened in the late 1970s, when the effects of disrupted Iranian supply were amplified by widespread panic stockpiling.
But it hasn’t happened this time: all through the period of the alleged bubble, inventories have remained at more or less normal levels. This tells us that the rise in oil prices isn’t the result of runaway speculation; it’s the result of fundamental factors, mainly the growing difficulty of finding oil and the rapid growth of emerging economies like China. The rise in oil prices these past few years had to happen to keep demand growth from exceeding supply growth.There is nothing new about Obama. He is not an agent of change. His policies and pandering to get votes is about the same old, same old.
Same old politician!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Like so much that Obama says, this is absurd. Obama knows that he is raising far more money than the Republicans, so how are the Republicans "gaming the system"? Here, apparently, is the explanation:
Obama said McCain and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.
"And we've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations," Obama said.
This was too much even for the Associated Press, which commented:
Despite that claim, few Republican-leaning groups have weighed into the presidential contest so far. In fact, Obama allies such as MoveOn.org are the ones that have been spending money on advertising against McCain.In past elections, spending by Democratic-allied 527s like MoveOn and ACT has dwarfed spending by Republican-allied groups. Thus, Obama is just making it up, trying to deceive his own followers, most of whom, as he knows, are not well-informed.
But his liberal record will speak in volume.
From RealClear Politics:
For a candidate running as a centrist reformer, this is pretty weak tea. Ethics reform and nuclear proliferation are important issues but they have hardly put Obama in the liberal doghouse. When I recently asked two U.S. senators who are personally favorable to Obama to name a legislative issue where Obama has vocally bucked his own party, neither could cite a single instance.
Perhaps Obama is just conventionally liberal. Perhaps he has carefully avoided offending Democratic constituencies. Whatever the reason, his lack of a strong, centrist ideological identity raises a concern about his governing approach. Obama has no moderate policy agenda that might tame or modify the extremes of his own party in power. Will every Cabinet department simply be handed over to the most extreme Democratic interest groups? Will Obama provide any centrist check on congressional liberal overreach?
It is an odd thing when a presidential candidate bases his campaign on a manifest weakness.
From the NYT:
With his decision, Mr. Obama became the first candidate of a major party to decline public financing — and the spending limits that go with it — since the system was created in 1976, after the Watergate scandals.
Mr. Obama made his announcement in a video message sent to supporters and posted on the Internet. While it was not a surprise — his aides have been hinting that he would take this step for two months — it represented a turnabout from his strong earlier suggestion that he would join the system. Mr. McCain has been a champion of public financing of campaign throughout his career.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
From the Detroit Free Press:
'One of two Muslim women who were denied visible seats behind Barack Obama’s stage at Joe Louis Arena on Monday because they wore head scarves said they deserve a personal apology from Obama and close-up seats at a future campaign rally.
Hebba Aref, 25, and her friend, Shimaa Abdelfadeel, received apologies from the campaign Tuesday after they complained that they were not allowed to sit near the podium when campaign volunteers learned that they wear the traditional Muslim head garb called a hijab.'
Monday, June 16, 2008
Here is an analysis by Roger Lowenstein in the NYT as to why Obama WILL flip flop to a free trader! Again Obama is classic panderer, cloaking himself in the message of change!
John McCain, an avid free trader, would surely try to reignite the Doha session. The more interesting question is what the Democrats would do. Obama may soften his populism in the fall, given that protectionists of late have not been winners in national elections. What’s more, if he were to win, he would have a difficult time governing as a protectionist. “There are two forces that will tend to move Obama to centrist positions,” Hufbauer says. Thanks to the cheap dollar, U.S. exports are booming; trade is now the economy’s strong suit. And Obama will find that China is less likely to cooperate on global warming, and the French less likely to lend a hand in Iraq, if our markets are closed to their products. Protectionism does not go down with a multilateral foreign policy.
'The Obama plan is also far more progressive, sharply reducing after-tax incomes for the richest 1 percent of Americans while raising incomes for the bottom 80 percent. But while $700 billion may sound like a lot of money, it’s probably not enough to pay for universal health care, which was supposed to be the overriding progressive priority in this election.
Classic pander to the poll position!
Friday, June 13, 2008
But 50% of his own party rejected this!
He spent close to $175 million to get his message of change and he eeks out a small margin of victory? With the help of his super delegate friends.
Who the heck is believing in his change? Are all the Hillary voters going to see the light of change?
What a joke.
When you listen to his best speeches, you see a person who really could herald a new political era. But when you look into his actual policies, you often find a list of orthodox liberal programs that no centrist or moderate conservative would have any reason to support.
'Mr. Obama issued a statement calling the decision “a rejection of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantánamo” that he said was “yet another failed policy supported by John McCain.”
“This is an important step,” he said of the ruling, “toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy.” '
Prof John Yoo in his excellent book 'War By Other Means' lays out a throughly researched argument as to why the Supreme Court should stay out of the war or terror.
His point is that those in Gitmo are enemy combatants and are not prisoners of war. To be a POW the warring nations must have accepted the Geneva Conventions and follow the rules of war. Most terrorist organizations are not linked to nation states and thus are not signatories of the Geneva Conventions. The Taliban in Afghanistan are not signatories to the Geneva Conventions and therefore those captured in that theater of war are enemy combatants.
The Constitution gives the Executive branch the authority to wage war and execute the war strategy. As the commander in chief the President has the constitutional authority to conduct a war. The various parts of our armed forces can and have (in previous wars such as in the First Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War, WWII, WWI, Spanish American War, Mexican American War, Civil War) detained enemy combatants. These enemy combatants have no standing in US courts. The armed forces follow the rules of war.
I am betting that this will be reversed in the future or will be superseded by another law.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Oil is a commodity and a good chunk of the supply is controlled by OPEC, a cartel. A cartel by definition sets production so that the supply is lower than demand, creating higher prices.
It so happens that the demand is out stripping supply because of high economic activity in China and India.
How do US oil companies control the price then? The don't they are price takers and pass along the cost to the consumer!!
Taxing the oil companies does nothing to alleviate the costs to the US consumer!
What a novice!
From the Weekly Standard:
Obama oversees a team of 700 people--more than twice as many as Bush in 2004--the biggest, most bloated campaign in the history of presidential elections:
So far in 2008, combined campaign-spending data for the three most recent months available--February, March and April--show that Sen. Obama outspent Sen. McCain 4.5-to-1 on staff salaries, more than 2-to-1 on office rents, and 25-to-1 on broadcast advertising, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Sen. Obama has about 700 employees on the payroll, scattered across 19 states. The McCain cadre is around 100, divided among a handful of local offices.
Makes you wonder what kind of tax-and-spend operation Obama will run once he doesn't have to depend on voluntary contributors to foot the bill. Also makes you wonder how biased the media must be that it would characterize the Obama campaign as lean and efficient when in reality it is desperate, spendthrift, and broke. Finally, makes you wonder how a guy who has raised all this money, won his party's nomination, and received all this fawning attention for his historic achievement remains very nearly tied in the polls.
Obama Campaign Continues to Deny Obama's Position on the Surge
Last Friday, David Axelrod said that Barack Obama "never disputed the fact that if you throw a surge of American soldiers in an area that you can make a difference." Yesterday, as the McCain campaign pointed out in an email, Obama's communications director Robert Gibbs said that "there's no doubt that the security situation has improved, much as everybody admitted it would if we put more troops on the ground."
Frederick W. Kagan recalls that, in fact, Obama predicted the surge would increase the level of sectarian violence in Iraq:
In the media, Obama repeatedly predicted that the surge would fail. The day the president announced the new policy, Obama told Larry King he "did not see anything" in the president's surge that would "make a significant dent in the sectarian violence." The same day, he said on MSNBC,
I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse. I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there. So I am going to actively oppose the president's proposal.... I think he is wrong, and I think the American people believe he's wrong.
Four days later, Obama told Face the Nation, "We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality--we can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops, I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground."
Guess what the surge worked!!!!
Obama got lucky by saying he was against the war!! Senators who are smarter than him with decades of foreign policy experience authorized the Iraq war. If you know your constitution you will know that Congress and Senate fund all branches of the executive branch and they regularly conduct independent reviews of the executive operations! That means they had access to CIA and Dept of Defense info!!!
They did conduct their reviews independent of the Bush Administration and came to their own independent conclusion to authorize the war.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
In a 2006 study, the economist William C. Randolph of the Congressional Budget Office estimated who wins and who loses from this tax. He concluded that “domestic labor bears slightly more than 70 percent of the burden.”
Despite these findings, a corporate tax cut as a way to help workers may strike some people as needlessly indirect. Why not just pass an income tax cut aimed squarely at working families, as Senator Barack Obama proposes?
The answer is that while most taxes distort incentives and shrink the economic pie, they do not do so equally. Compared with other ways of funding the government, the corporate tax is particularly hard on economic growth. A C.B.O. report in 2005 concluded that the “distortions that the corporate income tax induces are large compared with the revenues that the tax generates.” Reducing these distortions would lead to better-paying jobs.
When politicians sprout out statistics on inequality they forget to mention the implicit gains. For example if the price of good does not rise with general inflation then a consumer benefits because they are able to increase their purchasing power.
Here is a blurb from the NYT:
"..but trade with China has already eased hardships for poorer Americans. A new research paper by Christian Broda and John Romalis, both professors at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, has shown that cheap imports from China have benefited the American poor disproportionately. In fact, for the poor, discounting in stores such as Wal-Mart has offset much of the rise in measured income inequality from 1994 to 2005."
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
“There are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new,” Mr. Obama said. “But change is not one of them.”
Yet he squeaked by with a little help of his Super delegate friends not the voters.
Mr. Obama’s victory capped a marathon nominating contest that broke records on several fronts: the number of voters who participated, the amount of money raised and spent, and the sheer length of a grueling battle. The campaign, infused by tensions over race and sex, provided unexpected twists to the bitter end as Mr. Obama ultimately prevailed over Mrs. Clinton, who just a year ago appeared headed toward becoming the first woman to be nominated by a major party. The last two contests reflected the party’s continuing divisions, as Mrs. Clinton won the South Dakota primary and Mr. Obama won Montana.
That's because the delegate system is rigged so that the 'super delegates' have a say in the candidate selection.
Obama's victory is hallow in that the majority of the voters did not select him! The super delegates did!
Let see the press drink the cool aide until the real fight begins.
Between the republican party and the green party, Obama is going to have to pull a rabbit out of his....hat to get elected in November.