Do ya’ think?

March 13th, 2008

Harvard published a study today that links increased insurgent activity in Iraq to “anti-resolve” media reports here in the US. Fox News reports here; a co-author of the study shared the news originally with US News and World Report.

Um…is this a surprise? I realize left-leaning politicians have a job to do, and I also understand that part of that job is to be against anything a Republican president wants to do or what Republicans in general might want to do. Unfortunately, in pursuing these short-sighted goals, real people die. Some of those people are Americans, and some of those are Iraqis.

So, any left-leaner worth his salt might say “hey, if we weren’t there in the first place, people wouldn’t be dying”. That statement is partly true — Americans in Iraq wouldn’t be dying. But Iraqis would most certainly be dying just as they died by the thousands under Saddam Hussein. And Americans might also be dying in other parts of the world — or even in the US — as terror attacks continued.

You don’t have to agree with the action in Iraq. You are absolutely entitled to disagree. But! Common decency (and maybe a little patriotic support?) suggest that you might not want more people to die. We don’t need politicians and media outlets taking the other side. And as the Harvard (no conservative bastion) study points out, the media reports we see every day basically do just that.

Abuse of the Sword

March 13th, 2008

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Alan Dershowitz claims that American laws are too broad.  The breadth of these laws leaves ample room for abusive prosecution.  Dershowitz claims that Eliot Spitzer was wrongfully targeted using this abusive power.

American laws may indeed be too broad when it comes to money laundering and prostitution.  But Dershowitz  must have missed the rise of first prosecutor and then Attorney General Spitzer.  The man made a career out of abusive prosecution.

Dershowitz goes on to question the veracity of leaked reports as to how Spitzer was caught.  “Experts” doubt that the truth developed along the lines the story has unfolded.  Perhaps so…but welcome to the world of Spitzer’s victims.  Spitzer used leaks, lies, exaggerations, and the ultimate power of his office to destroy the lives of countless people.  Does a man like this think he won’t have enemies?  Does a man who “lives by the sword” actually think he won’t some day die by it?

If he does, he’s an arrogant idiot.  We have enough of those in politics.  Good riddance, Eliot.  I feel sorry for your daughters.  I feel only contempt towards you.

And Mr. Dershowitz?  Let’s work on that nasty hypocrisy problem, shall we?

Low Performance Approaches to Low Performance Policitics

March 9th, 2008

In today’s Sunday Times (London), the democrats are portrayed as a bunch of bumbling idiots and Hillary is portrayed as a ruthless, self-serving politician:

However, the new strategy explains why Clinton is prepared to mount an assault on Obama that risks handing victory to McCain in the autumn. It is worth badly wounding her rival because she believes she has found a way to win.

“If she wins big in Pennsylvania, she can rack up a majority of several hundred thousand votes and be in hailing distance of Obama. So stay tuned,” said William Galston, an elections expert at the Brookings Institution.

Clinton’s new tactics depend on clearing up a mess in Florida and Michigan, which are banned from seating delegates at the convention because they defied party rules by holding early primary contests.

Obama leads Clinton by nearly 600,000 in the number of votes cast to date, but trails her by 30,000 if the votes of the two “rogue” states are counted. These states are now likely to stage some form of rerun.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives who will play a critical role in the event of a near-tie at the convention, met leading Clinton officials last week to discuss Florida and Michigan “do-overs”, the role of superdelegates and the campaign’s increasingly vitriolic tone.

Tad Devine, a senior Democratic strategist who has overseen bitter convention battles, said Obama was still the favourite to win. “He has a 50-state strategy and she has a 15-state strategy and in the end that may be decisive,” he said. “The most important factor for the superdelegates will be who has the most pledged delegates.”

Clinton will need improbably large victories in the remaining contests to narrow the 100-plus delegate gap that Obama has established. His lead is likely to grow after Mississippi votes on Tuesday.

peter_brookes_289728a.jpg

Over the past twelve years, the democrats have whined, cheated, bullied, manipulated, and otherwise acted like a bunch of spoiled children when it comes to elections. They can’t get their own primaries right; how are they going to get government right?

Changing the rules in the middle of the game? By the way, they want the Florida and Michigan taxpayers to foot the bills for their “re-runs”. Reasonable, right?

Superdelegates subordinating voters? Popular vote outweighing their own system of pledged delegates? “Scorched earth” mentality? Hillary apparently thinks that if she can’t have the nomination, Obama can’t either — she’ll hand the election to McCain.

Which brings me to another problem: McCain. Republicans might behave more maturely than democrats (unless they control Congress…then they spend like little kids with coins burning holes in their pockets), but McCain is a caricature of a politician. The phrases “What do you want me to say? I’ll say it?” seem to be his mantra. This guy doesn’t know where he stands, and if he does, he’s doing a poor job of communicating it.

The media loves him for two reasons: 1.) he bashes fellow republicans, and 2.) he most likely can’t win against Clinton or Obama. What’s not to love from the left-leaning, biased press?

And yet, McCain is increasingly being handed the chance to win. Clinton’s selfishness combined with Obama’s inexperience just might be enough — and then we’re in real trouble.

A President McCain is a president without core principals, and that spells disaster for all of us.

A Liberal Behaving Like an Adult

March 7th, 2008

It’s rare, I know…but in today’s Wall Street Journal, George McGovern proves that left-leaners can think and behave like responsible adults.  Check out his piece here.

McGovern argues that eliminating options and choices for individuals does not lead to a healthier society.  In today’s political climate, we have candidates from both parties telling us they’ll save us from “unfair” mortgages, they’ll pay for our health care, and they’ll save us from ourselves when we need cash (all examples in McGovern’s column).

This is crazy.  We’re a country built on a sense of personal responsibility our “leaders” are trying to squash.  At their roots, Americans are rugged individualists that also possess a strong sense of community.  We know when someone needs help, and we’re more than happy to provide it.

When I think “McGovern”, I think of the guy that lost one of the most lopsided presidential elections in history  (520-17 in the Electoral College).  But in doing a little homework for this blurb, I learned that McGovern was a mature liberal even then.  In his telegram to Nixon conceding defeat, McGovern wrote, “I hope that in the next four years you will lead us to a time of peace abroad and justice at home. You have my full support in such efforts”.

Can you see Hillary being as gracious to Obama?  Only if the cameras were running…

Hypocrisy

March 4th, 2008

Like most people, I am very intolerant of hypocritical people. This is one reason I find it easy to write about politicians. They’re easy targets in the hypocrisy game, and they’re excellent examples of how not to lead a high performance life (their perceived power and status notwithstanding).

I live in New York (part time). Over the last few years, my patience with the weather and with the politicians has worn incredibly thin. New York politicians fall very low on the totem pole of political integrity. These folks are so corrupt (and hypocritical) that one wonders how any of them stay out of jail. Eliot Spitzer is one politician in particular that has asked us all to sing to one tune while he dances to another.

In today’s New York Times, take a look at this piece detailing Spitzer’s tactics in raising campaign contributions. Spitzer announced a self-imposed “cap” on contributions to his campaign in an effort to cleanse the system of corruption. Like most things political, an effort to do one thing results in just the opposite; in this case, Spitzer is respecting the cap to his campaign while encouraging donors to contribute bonus funds to a democrat party account that he controls.

Also in typical political fashion, the hypocrite blames someone else for his actions. The Times reports that “Mr. Spitzer’s aides acknowledge encouraging contributors to give to both accounts, but say they are abiding by the law and the governor’s pledge, while trying to match the bare-knuckle politics of state Republicans.”

Oh those nasty, bare-knuckled republicans…

Say one thing, do another, blame someone else…it’s amazing to me that an entire generation leads their lives this way. It’s even more amazing that as a society, we elect these people to positions of power.

Congress v. Clemens

February 27th, 2008

The New York Times reports that Congress has officially asked the Justice Department to investigate Roger Clemens who faces possible perjury charges.  Read the article here.

Given our current political, economic, and national security environments, one would think that Congress would have better things to do with their time.  Congressional democrats and republicans should be ashamed of themselves.

This investigation is more about political posturing than it is about the veracity of Clemens’ testimony or the dangers of steroid use.  Steroids are illegal without a prescription.  If Congress were serious about enforcing the law, it could easily do so without hearings, grandstanding and testimony.

There was no need for a Mitchell Report, and there’s even less need for the political food fight that’s being waged to attack or defend on party lines.  Congress — and Chairman Waxman especially — have overstepped boundaries defined by both the law and by common sense.

Guilty or not (of perjury or steroid use), Roger Clemens does not deserve to be used as a pawn in a political brawl.  More importantly, we should hold members of Congress accountable for recklessly destroying a man’s reputation.

Steroid use is not a matter of National Security.  Steroid use does not affect the health and vitality of our economy.  Steroid use has nothing to do with a whole host of problems we’re faced with in the country.  And yet, our elected officials are ruining lives while wasting our time and money.

When will we make them stop?

The Chosen One

February 21st, 2008

“One of us is ready to be commander in chief,” Hillary Clinton told a crowd in New York. “Let’s get real. Let’s get real about this election, let’s get real about our future, let’s get real about what it is we can do together.”

Senator Clinton is certain that she’s smarter than any of us.  That’s why she’s decided that Obama isn’t ready to be president.  I’m no Obama fan, but last time I checked, it wasn’t up to Mrs. Clinton to choose our next president.  It’s up to all of us.

Mrs. Clinton is also so smart that she has a plan to end what she calls the “foreclosure crisis”.  You can check out her press release here.   Personally, I think the whole idea of intervening in one of the largest segments of our economy is particularly arrogant.  If Mrs. Clinton successfully ends the banking industry’s ability to foreclose on loans in default, she essentially eliminates the collateral that determines (in part) the cost the borrower pays for the loan.  In other words, mortgages become similar to credit card debt.  Have you checked interest rates on credit cards recently?  How many potential home buyers will be forced out of the market when faced with higher mortgage interest rates?  What happens to the housing market then?

But alas, I’m an idiot.  As Clinton strategist Mark Penn points out “she is the only person in this race who is both ready to be commander in chief and she is the only one with a real plan for managing the economy” (emphasis mine).  I always thought that our economy was market-driven, and I always thought that it functioned reasonably well when left alone.  We are the wealthiest nation on earth, after all.  A market-driven economy seems to experience hiccups only when government gets involved.  But Mrs. Clinton is so smart that she’ll manage the economy for us.

There have been smart people in several communist countries that have tried to do something similar, but those smart people always failed.  Mrs. Clinton will show the world that she is indeed the smartest person to ever reign in history.  And she’s humble too.

Train Wreck

February 20th, 2008

In shameless, lazy fashion, I’ll let Ann do all of the talking on this most important point. Check it out:

How to Keep Reagan Out of Office
by Ann Coulter

Inasmuch as the current presidential election has come down to a choice among hemlock, self-immolation or the traditional gun in the mouth, now is the time for patriotic Americans to review what went wrong and to start planning for 2012.

How did we end up with the mainstream media picking the Republican candidate for president?

It isn’t the early primaries, it isn’t that we allow Democrats to vote in many of our primaries, and it isn’t that the voters are stupid. All of that was true or partially true in 1980 — and we still got Ronald Reagan.

We didn’t get Ronald Reagan this year not just because there’s never going to be another Reagan. We will never again get another Reagan because Reagan wouldn’t run for office under the current campaign-finance regime.

Three months ago, I was sitting with a half-dozen smart, successful conservatives whose names you know, all griping about this year’s cast of presidential candidates. I asked them, one by one: Why don’t you run for office?

Of course, none of them would. They are happy, well-adjusted individuals.

Reagan, too, had a happy life and, having had no trouble getting girls in high school, had no burning desire for power. So when the great California businessman Holmes Tuttle and two other principled conservatives approached Reagan about running for office, Reagan said no.

But Tuttle kept after Reagan, asking him not to reject the idea out of hand. He formed “Friends of Reagan” to raise money in case Reagan changed his mind.

He asked Reagan to give his famous “Rendezvous With History” speech at a $1,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser in Los Angeles and then bought airtime for the speech to be broadcast on TV days before the 1964 presidential election.

The epochal broadcast didn’t change the election results, but it changed history. That single broadcast brought in nearly $1 million to the Republican Party — not to mention millions of votes for Goldwater.

After the astonishing response to Reagan’s speech and Tuttle’s continued entreaties, Reagan finally relented and ran for governor. In 1966, with the help, financial and otherwise, of a handful of self-made conservative businessmen, Reagan walloped incumbent Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, winning 57 percent of the vote in a state with two Democrats for every Republican.

The rest is history — among the brightest spots in all of world history.

None of that could happen today. (The following analysis uses federal campaign-finance laws rather than California campaign-finance laws because the laws are basically the same, and I am not going to hire a campaign-finance lawyer in order to write this column.)

If Tuttle found Ronald Reagan today, he couldn’t form “Friends of Reagan” to raise money for a possible run — at least not without hiring a battery of campaign-finance lawyers and guaranteeing himself a lawsuit by government bureaucrats. He’d also have to abandon his friendship with Reagan to avoid the perception of “coordination.”

Tuttle couldn’t hold a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for Reagan — at least in today’s dollars. That would be a $6,496.94-a-plate dinner (using the consumer price index) or a $19,883.51-a-plate dinner (using the relative share of GDP). The limit on individual contributions to a candidate is $2,300.

Reagan’s “Rendezvous With History” speech would never have been broadcast on TV — unless Tuttle owned the TV station. Independent groups are prohibited from broadcasting electioneering ads 60 days before an election.

A handful of conservative businessmen would not be allowed to make large contributions to Reagan’s campaign — they would be restricted to donating only $2,300 per person.

Under today’s laws, Tuttle would have had to go to Reagan and say: “We would like you to run for governor. You are limited to raising money $300 at a time (roughly the current limits in 1965 dollars), so you will have to do nothing but hold fundraisers every day of your life for the next five years in order to run in the 1970 gubernatorial election, since there clearly there isn’t enough time to raise money for the 1966 election.”

Also, Tuttle would have to tell Reagan: “We are not allowed to coordinate with you, so you’re on your own. But wait — it gets worse! After five years of attending rubber chicken dinners every single day in order to raise money in tiny increments, you will probably lose the election anyway because campaign-finance laws make it virtually impossible to unseat an incumbent.

“Oh, and one more thing: Did you ever kiss a girl in high school? Not even once? If not, then this plan might appeal to you!”

Obviously, Reagan would have returned to his original answer: No thanks.

Reagan loved giving speeches and taking questions from voters. The one part of campaigning Reagan loathed was raising money. Thanks to our campaign-finance laws, fundraising is the single most important job of a political candidate today.

This is why you will cast your eyes about the nation in vain for another Reagan sitting in any governor’s mansion or U.S. Senate seat. Pro-lifers like to ask, “How many Einsteins have we lost to abortion?” I ask: How many Reagans have we lost to campaign-finance reform?

The campaign-finance laws basically restrict choice political jobs, like senator and governor — and thus president — to:

(1) Men who were fatties in high school and consequently are willing to submit to the hell of running for office to compensate for their unhappy adolescences — like Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. (Somewhere in this great land of ours, even as we speak, the next Bill Clinton is waddling back to the cafeteria service line asking for seconds.)

(2) Billionaires and near-billionaires — like Jon Corzine, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg and Mitt Romney — who can fund their own campaigns (these aren’t necessarily sociopaths, but it certainly limits the pool of candidates).

(3) Celebrities and name-brand candidates — like Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Bush, Giuliani and Hillary Clinton (which explains the nation’s apparent adoration for Bushes and Clintons — they’ve got name recognition, a valuable commodity amidst totalitarian restrictions on free speech).

(4) Mainstream media-anointed candidates, like John McCain and B. Hussein Obama.

What a bizarre coincidence that a few years after the most draconian campaign-finance laws were imposed via McCain-Feingold, our two front-runners happen to be the media’s picks! It’s uncanny — almost as if by design! (Can I stop now, or do you people get sarcasm?)

By prohibiting speech by anyone else, the campaign-finance laws have vastly magnified the power of the media — which, by the way, are wholly exempt from speech restrictions under campaign-finance laws. The New York Times doesn’t have to buy ad time to promote a politician; it just has to call McCain a “maverick” 1 billion times a year.

It is because of campaign-finance laws like McCain-Feingold that big men don’t run for office anymore. Little men do. And John McCain is the head homunculus.

You want Reagan back? Restore the right to free speech, and you will have created the conditions that allowed Reagan to run.

Politics 102

February 16th, 2008

For an idea of how left-leaning socialists see their role in government, check out this article in today’s New York Times.

Don’t you just love political elitism? Don’t you just want to be a part of the ruling class? Oh God, I wish I could get in the club…

Here’s my favorite part: “The issues party leaders are grappling with, they said, include how to avoid the perception of a back-room deal that thwarts the will of millions of voters” (emphasis mine). It appears that Party (capital P) leaders don’t want to avoid a back-room deal — they only want to avoid the perception of one.

Has anyone taken the time to review how the democrat primary process works? I doubt it…that would require effort that would burst the Kool-Aid induced bubble of socialist euphoria. If the tone of that last sentence seems a bit harsh, rest assured that it is — deliberately. If one supports a particular party or candidate, and one doesn’t have a clue as to what that candidate or party stands for, or how that party operates, then it is fair to be harsh.

Let’s just leave it at this: the rules allow for the entire primary voting process to be made into a sham. “Super-delegates” and in some cases, delegates, can do just about anything they choose. And as our last look at this charade made clear, this issue is not lost on the candidates (who are pumping campaign dollars into the delegate coffers).

Nice, isn’t it? If you and I pay off the government clerk to do something quickly for us, we face potential jail time. But our “leaders” can buy off delegate votes with individual campaign contributions.

Ahhhh…the smell of hypocrisy in the morning…

Politics 101

February 14th, 2008

Is this even representative of a republic?

Take some time to learn more about how the primary process works on the democrat side of the aisle.  I’m not advocating the republican method (I think both primary systems suck), but the democrats have really managed to butcher the process.

Look for lawsuits out the whazoo as the primary season comes to a close.  This time, it won’t be Bush v. Gore — it’ll be Clinton v. Obama.  And here’s the perfect part: one side is going to hijack the winning arguments presented before the Supreme Court by the Bush team.

Isn’t life grand?

Check this out for a preview of just a small part of the basis for litigation:

Superdelegates get campaign cash
Posted by Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor February 14, 2008 03:54 PM

Many of the superdelegates who could well decide the Democratic presidential nominee have already been plied with campaign contributions by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a new study shows.

“While it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials serving as superdelegates have received about $890,000 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years,” the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported today.

About half the 800 superdelegates — elected officials, party leaders, and others — have committed to either Clinton or Obama, though they can change their minds until the convention.

Obama’s political action committee has doled out more than $694,000 to superdelegates since 2005, the study found, and of the 81 who had announced their support for Obama, 34 had received donations totaling $228,000.

Clinton’s political action committee has distributed about $195,000 to superdelegates, and only 13 of the 109 who had announced for her have received money, totaling about $95,000.