Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Republicans and Deregulation


It is correct to say that there has been significant deregulation in the U.S. over the last 30 years, most of it under Republican auspices. But this deregulation -- in long-distance telephone rates, air fares, securities-brokerage commissions, and trucking, to name just a few sectors of the economy where it occurred -- has produced substantial competition and innovation, driving down consumer costs and producing vast improvements and efficiencies in our economy.

The Internet, for example, wouldn't have been economically possible without the deregulation of data-transfer rates. Amazon.com Inc., one of the most popular Internet vendors, wouldn't have been viable without trucking deregulation.

-- Republicans have favored financial regulation where it was necessary, as in the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while the Democrats have opposed it. In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a tough regulatory bill for Fannie and Freddie over the unanimous opposition of committee Democrats. The opposition of the Democrats when the bill reached the full Senate made its enactment impossible.

Barack Obama did nothing; John McCain endorsed the bill in a speech on the Senate floor.

A true instance where politics and finances cross. Why is it that absolutes are applied so easily in politics. Being against regulation when there are instances when it stops competition makes perfect sense but somehow this was used as a means of bludgeoning opposition to reforms needed at Fannie and Freddie. It is the worst sort of slippery-slope reasoning and for some reason it is never stopped.

I am old enough to remember the telecommunications industry before it was deregulated. You leased the same rotary phone every month from the time you took service until the time you died unless you really wanted some very expensive fees. In almost every example cited you went from one very expensive choice to an array of choices and price plans. Most of the time there wasn't much savings because the companies enticed you with an every expanding array of services in an attempt to keep their revenues up. The results have been phenomenal. It is only in areas like higher education, medicine, housing now and perhaps soon stocks with this bailout where the disconnect from the market becomes too large to sustain and thus we have a crisis that requires we all pay to fix the previous solution that is now a mistake.

How long this can go on only depends on how long the government can print money and have others accept it as something of value. My suspicion is that the bill will soon come due.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Best Advice Yet for McCain


Perhaps the best advice yet given to John McCain during this election season.

We Americans face a real financial crisis. Usually the candidate of the incumbent's party minimizes the severity of the nation's problems. McCain should break the mold and acknowledge, even emphasize the crisis. He can explain that dealing with it requires candor and leadership of the sort he's shown in his career. McCain can tell voters we're almost certainly in a recession, and things will likely get worse before they get better.

And McCain can note that the financial crisis isn't going to be solved by any one piece of legislation. There are serious economists, for example, who think we could be on the verge of a huge bank run. Congress may have to act to authorize the FDIC to provide far greater deposit insurance, and the secretary of the Treasury to protect money market funds. McCain can call for Congress to stand ready to pass such legislation. He can say more generally that in the tough times ahead, we'll need a tough president willing to make tough decisions.

With respect to his campaign, McCain needs to liberate his running mate from the former Bush aides brought in to handle her - aides who seem to have succeeded in importing to the Palin campaign the trademark defensive crouch of the Bush White House. McCain picked Sarah Palin in part because she's a talented politician and communicator. He needs to free her to use her political talents and to communicate in her own voice.

There isn't a better way to say it. Free Sarah Palin to use the intellect and voice that made her noteworthy in the first place. Second, be as honest as possible with the electorate about the current conditions and what it takes to address them. Obama is weakest on foreign policy because he cannot admit to current conditions and show that he can change his mind about what must be done.

McCain is very much suffering from this domestically. There was a willingness to address the crisis and even though I disagree with the solution, the motivations themselves will resonate more with voters than simply proclaiming all is well with the economy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who's Running the Sleazy Campaign?

McCain or Obama?

Here's Obama's recent "honor" ad. Wow. "Vile?" What happened to "change!?"

Here's Obama's campaign claiming Carly Fiorina said McCain couldn't run a corporation: This is the ad version.

This is what she actually said.

Here's the ad claiming McCain can't use a computer and is "out of touch."

But...whoops. McCain doesn't use a computer because of his war injuries.

And the accusations that McCain ran a dishonest ad about Obama supporting for Kindergarten students? Well gee..look at the text of the bill:

Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q...2I2MGY=&w=MQ==

What, specifically, was the bill designed to do? It appears to have had three major purposes:

The first, as Ronen indicated, was to mandate that information presented in sex-ed classes be “factual,” “medically accurate,” and “objective.”

The second purpose was to increase the number of children receiving sex education. Illinois’ existing law required the teaching of sex education and AIDS prevention in grades six through twelve. The old law read:

"Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS."

Senate Bill 99 struck out grade six, changing it to kindergarten, in addition to making a few other changes in wording. It read:

Each class or course in comprehensive sex education in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.

So who's running the "sleazy" campaign here?

I know this: Obama cannot win this game. Why? Because it damages his Change™ and Hope® brands. He's supposed to be above it all, whereas McCain is "old Washington." Double edged sword, I guess.

Update 9/18: Check out this link for more Obama stupidity. This is not February's Obama.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Isn't Obama Supposed to be Different?

This question has occurred to me in recent weeks as I've watched events unfold. Is Obama running a different kind of campaign? Is he truly dispensing with the politics of old?

Issue by issue:

1. Race: Obama's candidacy has been hailed as the post-racial candidacy. Not only did a black man get the nomination, but being black wasn't an issue. That's how far we'd come. Obama would seek to unite the nation, racially speaking.

Reality: Obama has run anything but a post-racial candidacy. He's played the race card on his own party (read: Bill Clinton). He's made constant references to his race. "Republicans will try to scare you, tell you he's got a funny name...did I mention he's black"? and "He doesn't look like the Presidents on the those dollar bills" come to mind (the latter was repeated on at least three separate occasions. Obama, who Gave A Speech About Race Relations, is using the every turn. His wife has joined in on at least two occasions, requesting "more white people" in front of the camera at a campaign event, and complaining about (and recalling publicly) race relations at Harvard.

2. Hope: Obama's message of Hope goes unquestioned. Even McCain and Palin accept that this is a tenant of his campaign. But how is Obama running an optimistic, hopeful campaign? The entire message from Obama is that Americans must do with less. They must eat less, drive less, heat their homes less and expect less. Americans cannot survive without national healthcare and a host of federal programs. Obama's acceptance speech clearly demonstrated this attitude. He mocked the GOP for suggesting that people pull themselves up by their bootstraps, pay for their own healthcare and make ends meet on their own. He doesn't feel (or didn't feel until recently) that we could make it work in Iraq. What is it that Obama is hopeful and optimistic about?

3. Change(TM): The word change has essentially replaced Obama's very name at campaign events. Thousands carried "Change" signs in Denver, obviously unaware of how ridiculous they looked. Beyond the usual "what kind of change?" attacks from his opponents, one must ask: is anything he's proposing that different from the Democratic agenda of the last 40 years? He's called for more socialism. He's used the typical Democratic scare tactics on voters, talking about the GOP's plans to take away their healthcare and social security checks (even if not directly). He's proposed billions if not trillions in new spending. He's not even mentioned earmarks that I recall. He's proposed raising taxes. He wants to talk to insane dictators and play Let's Make A Deal, ala Madeline Albright. He's a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who is running as a centrist. Change? I think not.

4. Open Goverment: This has been a complaint of the Left for some time. Obama's campaign frequently speculated on McCain's VP choice being "the next Dick Cheney." But what about Obama? Obama has refused to answer questions about his background, dismissing them as old school politics. His relationships with J. Wright and Bill Ayers? "They're going to try and make something of my associations and attribute their comments to me!" What, exactly did he do as a community organizer? "I helped steel workers! Change!" Criticize Obama on anything in his background or even a policy he holds? ""You're making race an issue!"" or a 6 minute "nuanced" explanation follows. How can we trust him to do away with the so-called culture of secrecy if we're not allowed to talk about who he IS?

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But whether one supports him or not, I think claiming that he's "different" (or "special" as his wife has said) is a bit dubious in the least.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why They Hate Her (Sarah Palin.)

When Barack's berserkers lost the plot

My colleagues in the American liberal press had little to fear at the start of the week. Their charismatic candidate was ahead in virtually every poll. George W Bush was so unpopular that conservatives were scrambling around for reasons not to invite the Republican President to the Republican convention. Democrats had only to maintain their composure and the White House would be theirs. During the 1997 British general election, the late Lord Jenkins said that Tony Blair was like a man walking down a shiny corridor carrying a precious vase. He was the favourite and held his fate in his hands. If he could just reach the end of the hall without a slip, a Labour victory was assured. The same could have been said of the American Democrats last week. But instead of protecting their precious advantage, they succumbed to a spasm of hatred and threw the vase, the crockery, the cutlery and the kitchen sink at an obscure politician from Alaska.

For once, the postmodern theories so many of them were taught at university are a help to the rest of us. As a Christian, conservative anti-abortionist who proved her support for the Iraq War by sending her son to fight in it, Sarah Palin was 'the other' - the threatening alien presence they defined themselves against. They might have soberly examined her reputation as an opponent of political corruption to see if she was truly the reformer she claimed to be. They might have gently mocked her idiotic creationism, while carefully avoiding all discussion of the racist conspiracy theories of Barack Obama's church.

But instead of following a measured strategy, they went berserk. On the one hand, the media treated her as a sex object. The New York Times led the way in painting Palin as a glamour-puss in go-go boots you were more likely to find in an Anchorage lap-dancing club than the Alaska governor's office.

On the other, liberal journalists turned her family into an object of sexual disgust: inbred rednecks who had stumbled out of Deliverance. Palin was meant to be pretending that a handicapped baby girl was her child when really it was her wanton teenage daughter's. When that turned out to be a lie, the media replaced it with prurient coverage of her teenage daughter, who was, after all, pregnant, even though her mother was not going to do a quick handover at the maternity ward and act as if the child was hers.

Palin rises above shrill media
Don't feel bad for the Democrats. They asked for it. The bunch that President Bush aptly described as "the angry left" has been high-sticking Palin since Day One with a series of assists from their friends in the news media.

As you may have noticed, this has not been the fourth estate's finest hour. Reporters, anchors and pundits have mocked Palin and belittled her accomplishments. They've turned tabloid by going nuts over her pregnant teenage daughter, even demanding -- according to top McCain strategist Steve Schmidt -- DNA and blood tests to see if there is truth to the blogger-conceived conspiracy theory that Palin's youngest child really belongs to her oldest daughter. Some even shamefully descended into sexism by calling her a product of political affirmative action, depicting her as a pretty face with no substance -- McCain's "trophy vice," according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd -- and asking 1950s-type questions about how she expected to balance family and a new gig as vice president.

The sexism continued after Palin's speech. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the speech "shrill and sarcastic." That brought some members of the media back to their senses. CNN's Campbell Brown and Gloria Borger were among the female journalists who cringed at the word "shrill" and pointed out that -- while that was a term leveled at Hillary Clinton -- you don't often hear it directed at a man.

Rallying the Right, Confounding the Left
True believers even amended their dogma. Palin prompted the left to reveal a distaste for mothers in politics with young children at home. When did they start telling their daughters they could grow up to be president of the United States, but only after their children reached an undisclosed age?

Palin's judges attached no corollary for men in public life. Forty years ago, Robert Kennedy exulted in announcing during his presidential campaign that his wife was expecting their 11th child.

It was open season Monday when the Palins announced that their 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Advocates of a sweeping application of the right to privacy decided no opinion or inquiry was too intrusive if it could damage the candidate.

Palin's critics applied some new math. Five children, including a baby with special needs, and a pregnant daughter was too much. And, if John McCain had really known about the pregnant daughter, he would not have chosen the egregious mother under their calculus.

The New York Times disagreed with Obama's merciful statement that children are a no-go zone and put three stories about the pregnancy on Tuesday's front page.

Palin has only herself to blame. She refused to buckle. Worse, she returned fire with jocular cheer. The Volkswagen-driving diva, who took the stage Wednesday, ignored the pathos and launched into an aria about the joy of her common life. She is not aggrieved. No millionaire's refrain — mewling over the cost of dance lessons — for her.

The left began baffled and tumbled into incomprehension. Ideology's enforcers don't understand how a woman, any woman, could be a conservative. That a Republican convention, their capitol of misogyny, would not only nominate this woman but be dizzy with enthusiasm for her is an abomination inside the hive. A spokeswoman for the National Organization for Women accused Palin of being more of a "white man" than a woman. Deviation breeds contempt. The Washington Post's Richard Cohen sounded deranged when he reached into antiquity to liken Palin to Caligula's horse, the crazy emperor's choice for consul.

The Alaska governor should brace herself for worse, especially if someone turns up proof she's a denizen of the local Wal-Mart. In the smartest zip codes, they'll turn puce from angry condescension.

Gee, and I wonder why someone wouldn't grant an interview request for this nonsense. I have no doubt it will continue and yes, the regular folks out there absolutely hear and get what the media is doing. No candidate is going to contribute to the attempts to smear them by the media.

Palin should strike fear
Journalists last week cast aside the mask of objectivity to reveal they are so deeply in the tank for Mr. Obama most have grown gills. For six days, Sarah Palin and her family were subjected to a relentless barrage of innuendo. Journalists were trying to "define" her before she had an opportunity to introduce herself to the people in the lower 48. She was portrayed as an ignorant redneck from a hick town who should be home caring for her children instead of running for high public office.

Then Sarah Palin got her opportunity to speak, and her enemies learned firsthand why her nickname is "Sarah Barracuda."

Dismiss if you will the rapturous response to Ms. Palin's speech by the delegates in the convention hall and the posters on conservative blogs. The best testament to its power was the lame response of the Obama campaign. They noted she had the help of a speechwriter (the very talented Matt Scully) in preparing her remarks. Well, duh. Every major political figure has speechwriters. Sarah Palin works fine without a script. It's Barack Obama who ums and ahs without a teleprompter.

In my lifetime, I've only heard three or four speeches (all by Ronald Reagan) that I thought were as good or better than Sarah Palin's. She's as much a natural in politics as Michael Jordan was in basketball.

"Several moderate Democrat friends of mine have been e-mailing -- few if any would ever vote for McCain -- but all agree Palin was very strong," Michael Crowley wrote on The New Republic's blog. "The more liberal among them are a little panicked."

With good reason. With a smile on her face, Ms. Palin sliced and diced Barack Obama with the skill she dresses a moose she just shot. There were a host of good lines which I'm sure we'll see in McCain commercials in the near future. But ultimately the most effective may be this one: "In small towns, we don't know quite what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening."

A feminist's argument for McCain's VP
Clinton voters, in particular, have received a political wake-up call they never expected. Having watched their candidate and their principles betrayed by the very people who are supposed to be the flame-holders for equal rights and fairness, they now look across the aisle and see a woman who represents everything the feminist movement claimed it stood for. Women can have a family and a career. We can be whatever we choose, on our own terms. For some, that might mean shooting a moose. For others, perhaps it's about shooting a movie or shooting for a career as a teacher. However diverse our passions, we will vote for a system that allows us to make the choices that best suit us. It's that simple.

The rank bullying of the Clinton candidacy during the primary season has the distinction of simply being the first revelation of how misogynistic the party has become. The media led the assault, then the Obama campaign continued it. Trailblazer Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first Democratic vice presidential candidate, was so taken aback by the attacks that she publicly decried nominee Barack Obama as "terribly sexist" and openly criticized party chairman Howard Dean for his remarkable silence on the obvious sexism

Ironically, all this at an event that was negotiated and twisted at every turn in an astounding effort not to promote a woman.

Virtually moments after the GOP announcement of Palin for vice president, pundits on both sides of the aisle began to wonder if Clinton supporters - pro-choice women and gays to be specific - would be attracted to the McCain-Palin ticket. The answer is, of course. There is a point where all of our issues, including abortion rights, are made safer not only if the people we vote for agree with us - but when those people and our society embrace a respect for women and promote policies that increase our personal wealth, power and political influence.

Make no mistake - the Democratic Party and its nominee have created the powerhouse that is Sarah Palin, and the party's increased attacks on her (and even on her daughter) reflect that panic.

The party has moved from taking the female vote for granted to outright contempt for women. That's why Palin represents the most serious conservative threat ever to the modern liberal claim on issues of cultural and social superiority. Why? Because men and women who never before would have considered voting for a Republican have either decided, or are seriously considering, doing so.

They are deciding women's rights must be more than a slogan and actually belong to every woman, not just the sort approved of by left-wing special interest groups.

Palin's candidacy brings both figurative and literal feminist change. The simple act of thinking outside the liberal box, which has insisted for generations that only liberals and Democrats can be trusted on issues of import to women, is the political equivalent of a nuclear explosion.

On the day McCain announced her selection as his running mate, Palin thanked Clinton and Ferraro for blazing her trail. A day later, Ferraro noted her shock at Palin's comment. You see, none of her peers, no one, had ever publicly thanked her in the 24 years since her historic run for the White House. Ferraro has since refused to divulge for whom she's voting. Many more now are realizing that it does indeed take a woman - who happens to be a Republican named Sarah Palin.

Keep denying it. Keep spinning it. Palin is going to help change this election. Obama claims to represent change and for his first and most important choice chose a 35 year serving, 65 year old white man who, while nice has the sorts of slips and quips that reflect the thinking that goes on behind the PC platitudes. Obama chose the past.

McCain chose the future. He chose the new and the different. Those who claim to want different showed with their scorn and disdain that they want the same old thing and they used the same old sexist, misogynistic arguments to slap at and attempt to define the true change in this campaign. That first decision really did reveal a lot about each man.

Can anyone tell me how a state governor, any state governor gains experience in foreign policy while serving their state? Executive experience is what counts and that is why we seldom if ever select senators for president and often elect governors. In this instance we can't elect a governor but I know which I would rather put a heartbeat away.

Every hurdle screamed about with regard to Palin will be approached, met and cleared. The left knows this and it is what has them in such a panic. They can scream about it early and often. They can demand their made-up checklist of priorities be met and that the people we elect to lead somehow follow their priorities and timelines. It won't happen. Reporters can cast their disdain and scorn around forgetting that they are to report the news instead of creating it. The profit reports will show rivers of red ink. Their spin will not alter the reality, and in the end, the electorate will not buy their lie.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Report the news and profit. Advocate a view and suffer losses.


US Magazine isn't any sort of major news organization. The most biased versions of those are already bleeding tons of red ink. Heck the NY Times has laid off so many and had such huge losses they probably are personally responsible for the rising unemployment rate.

The difference here is that US magazine is soft news and mostly entertainment and since it took a partisan side, it is now suffering losses for advocating rather than reporting. People see bias and respond to it. Bias is an expensive business proposition and that is why almost all businesses, those who won't let their bottom line be driven by ideology, treat everyone equally well. There are reports that Oprah won't put on Sarah Palin because she is so in the tank for "The One™". Ellen will put her on and grab the ratings from it even though it is claimed conservatives would be too intolerant to watch her because of her sexuality. The ratings are the proof of such claims and they say conservatives will watch and are tolerant. US Magazine and Oprah are the intolerant ones and their bottom lines will reflect that.