Trutherism is becoming a contagious disease

This web site is a perfect example of why people don't want to go into politics. Such sliminess is unbelievable. But it's all in a day's work for the likes of Daily Kos, Andrew Sullivan, and other gullible bloggers I once respected who ought to know better.

I hope this poor girl gives a tearful press conference and reveals to the nation that she was never pregnant with her brother.


MORE: Ann Althouse shares her thoughts in a post titled "Stop prying into other people's vaginas, even if you happen to oppose them politically. What is wrong with you people?"

"Think before you write" is her advice to Andrew Sullivan, and I hope he takes it to heart.

And there's this:

Pictures are posted, with captions like: "Sarah's waistline never changed. Her wardrobe still remained tight and professional." Note the gratuitous insult to pregnant working women. They can't possibly dress in a professional manner. There are also enlarged photos of the 16-year-old daughter with comments about the shape of her abdomen. The whole world is invited to talk about that teenager's body.

Despicable, sexist trash. Shameful.

I couldn't agree more.

This is a horrible thing to do to a young person who never harmed any of her attackers. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, but they're probably delighted.

posted by Eric at 11:46 PM | Comments (5)

So why do they insult our intelligence?

Roger L. Simon takes issue with the conventional wisdom lumping so-called "social issues" together:

The preeminent social issues - gay marriage and abortion - are quite separate. Lumping them together, as is often done by the media and by ideologues on both sides, is insulting to our intelligence.
It certainly is. What's even worse is to lump them together with other unrelated issues, like gun control, stem cell research, creationism, pornography, media censorship, or even taxation. The crazy logic which politics and political coalitions produce drives me nuts -- and has been a major driving force behind this blog.

In general, my philosophy is the less government, the better.

Roger said "I remain pro-choice because I would prefer the government not be involved in these highly personal decisions."

I'd prefer the government not be involved in a lot of highly personal decisions. But the people who go into government go into it because they want to tell people what to do, and the people who get excited by politics often have the same motivation.

As Roger says, the social issues are not the same. But the people who want to manipulate social issues to gain power benefit from saying they are. Thus, they come up with phrases like "family values" and repeat them so often that they start to believe that if you disagree with them, you are "anti-family." (Or at best, not "family friendly.")

Fortunately, the "social issues" are not part of the president's job, which is simply to uphold the Constitution and carry out the law of the land. If voters understood that, the social issues would not be election issues, but would remain personal issues.

But many voters don't understand that, and there aren't many votes to be earned in telling them that.

Which is why politicians insult the intelligence of those who do understand, and why they struggle to make personal matters political.

posted by Eric at 09:56 PM | Comments (1)

The Equalizer

posted by Simon at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

A New Image
A New Image

H/T Libertarian Republicans

posted by Simon at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

Pit bull politics and leadership of the pack

I'm not normally one to praise Jimmy Carter, but I just stumbled onto an interesting tidbit I'd never seen before that (because of my admitted bias) warmed me to him.

Not all Pit Bulls are bad, but they are strong and, when tested, they do attack with a bone-crushing, mutilating bite. The American Pit Bull is too much dog for the average dog owner, and should only be purchased by people who are willing and strong enough to channel that power into productive areas. Nevertheless, they are loving and protective of their families, and owners report them particularly responsive to training: herding, obedience, schutzhund and weight-pulling. An incredible Pit Bull weighing less than 70 pounds set a record by pulling 2,000 pounds. A host of admirers included Helen Keller, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison (whose dog, "Nipper," was the RCA model) and Jimmy Carter, who had one as a boy. Actors Michael J. Fox and James Caan are current owners.

(Emphasis added.)

I had known about Keller, Roosevelt, Edison and the rest (including Woodrow Wilson, Jon Stewart, Fred Astaire, Mel Brooks, etc.), but somehow, Jimmy Carter's pit bull ownership escaped me totally. I think it also escaped the attention of a lot of people too, and considering the fierce recent debates about the breed, I can't understand why.

Amazingly, there's a picture taken in 1937 of young Jimmy with his pit bull:


The dog's name was "Bozo," and the picture is right there at the Wiki page. While the Wiki writeup says nothing about Bozo, looking at the picture, the dog is obviously a pit bull, no question about it.

Very damning, I'd say.

I guess this means I'll have to step up my efforts to defend this much maligned breed.

Just kidding, folks!

Because, in light of his enlightened pit bull ownership, just for today I thought I'd find something nice to say about Jimmy Carter. So there's this:

Did you know that before he was elected Jimmy Carter had more executive experience than either of the two current candidates for President?

It's true. Carter was Governor of Georgia for four full years (from January 12, 1971 to January 14, 1975).

Why, that's four more years of executive experience than vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, who is often described as "experienced" but who has has spent his entire political life as a legislator, never as an executive.

In terms of hands-on executive experience, only Governor Sarah Palin can approach Jimmy Carter. While it's true that because she was sworn in as Governor on December 4, 2006, she's not quite as experienced as Carter, in terms of executive experience, she's the leader of the current pack.

And that happens to be the truth, regardless of what anyone thinks of pit bulls.

posted by Eric at 12:43 PM | Comments (4)

The Swift Go-Go Boots for Truth Campaign?

Politics is sleazy, and I'm quite used to dirt-digging, bogus allegations, wild exaggerations, and things blown out of proportion to their actual importance. I've seen so much mud-slinging over the years that I often think I've seen everything.

One of the first things I thought when I heard about Sarah Palin's nomination was that she'd be subjected to especially ruthless and cruel scrutiny of the sort male politicians don't generally have to endure. That's because conservative women tend to be hated as by the left as "traitors," while conservative men are seen as living up to the usual male-bashing stereotypes. Conservative women can expect to have their personal appearances, lives, even wardrobes mocked in a way that conservative men don't. Thus, I am not surprised at all to see Sarah Palin widely ridiculed for having been a beauty pageant contestant, and I expect to see more. Feminist lefties like Maureen Dowd have the best of both worlds, for not only do they get to ridicule women with impunity, but they even get to claim that they (the insult-hurlers) are the ones really being insulted!

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah's spunky, relentlessly quirky "Northern Exposure" story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It's a little insulting.)

Sarah is a zealot, but she's a fun zealot. She has a beehive and sexy shoes, and the day she's named she goes shopping with McCain in Ohio for a cheerleader outfit for her daughter.

Sounds almost as bad as Condoleezza Rice being accused of shoe-shopping while people died. (Hey, don't laugh! There's another storm coming, and the shoes of conservative women are sure to be implicated* somehow....)

Dowd's column is even titled "Vice in Go-Go Boots." What is it about women and shoes, anyway? If Dowd were a man, I'd almost be inclined to call it a form of sexism.... Seriously, what national columnist would ever care this much about a male politician's feet? (Well, there was Larry Craig, but no one accused him of wearing Go-Go boots....)

Accustomed as I am to such nonsense in politics, I was genuinely taken aback this morning by the latest charge (by the Kos camp) -- that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy, and only pretended to give birth to a baby with Down's syndrome.

One of the blogosphere's better debunkers, John Hawkins, has photos showing an obviously pregnant Sarah Palin.

Not that an allegation like this should even need debunking, but who knows? Maybe the Palin Pregnancy Truthers are the left's revenge for the Obama Birth Certificate Truthers... (What's next? Will Palin get a stern scolding for having smoked marijuana?)

On the bright side, one of my problems is that I sometimes hate politics so much that I have to struggle to keep a sense of humor, but I face no such struggle today.

By injecting much-needed humor into the race with their antics, the Palin Pregancy Truthers have restored my faith.

Well, maybe almost.

(It's time for a fake pregnant pause....)

* Such people still care deeply about Condoleezza Rice's shoes.

MORE: "Footnote" added above. (I can say that, can't I?)

AND MORE: Speaking of hurricanes, Glenn Reynolds links recent reporting from Brendan Loy that Hurricane Gustav is weakening:

Based on Gustav's current location and forward speed, I'd say we're looking at a six-hour window, or thereabouts. If the pressure doesn't drop significantly by, say, the 5:00 PM advisory, we'll probably be able to say we've dodged a bullet.
Not to politicize the weather (or make light of serious matters), but noted lefties have been suggesting that God is punishing the Republicans with this storm.

I don't know what on earth God might be thinking, but considering what's on some of the leading minds of the left, an inevitable question arises.

When will the coast be clear for conservative or libertarian women to buy shoes?

posted by Eric at 10:30 AM | Comments (3)

Libertarian Republican

Eric Dondero of the Libertarian Republican blog has some very kind words for Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin has long been considered to be a libertarian-leaning Republican. As Mayor of Wasila (Anchorage suburb), Palin was friends with local libertarian Republican elected officials, and worked closely with them on tax cut proposals.

She is known to have spoken to two Libertarian Party meetings in 2004/05. She was endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Alaska in the final days of her race for Governor in 2006, even though the LP had it's own candidate. On election night, Ms. Palin at the Egan Center, went out of her way to acknowledge the Libertarian Party's support in her victory speech. Immediately afterwards, she embraced then LPA Chairman Jason Dowell in the crowd. Dowell, and other Libertarians had stood on street corners waving signs for Palin the final two days.

Eric has an editors note that is very interesting.
Editor's Note - As many of you all know, our own Contributing Writer Adam Brickley of Colorado is the Founder and Chairman of the Draft Sarah Palin for VP Campaign. (I guess, as of this moment the group should happily go defunct.) We are extremely proud of Adam's efforts. And we are proud to have lent our support to Adam, and played a role in this effort.
So who is Adam Brickley? Glad you asked.

Lets have a look at the Washington Post to get some details.

Online, politicians and their supporters both leave digital footprints.

And so it was that yesterday's announcement of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain's running mate led us to Adam Brickley, a young Republican who's a recent graduate of University of Colorado at Colorado-Springs. In Feb. 2007, months before the first-term Alaskan governor, was on anyone's radar screen, the 21-year-old created the blog Draft Palin for Vice President.

Yesterday, much to his own surprise, his dreams were answered. Brickley wrote around 6 p.m. Friday: "Just so that you all know, I did receive a brief phone call tonight from Todd and Sarah Palin.Thanks to them for being so kind."

Earlier today, Brickley told The Trail about the call. "They thanked me for my tenacity," said Brickley, who now lives in Washington, D.C., and works as an intern for the conservative site

Brickley's blog grew into a Facebook group. In the summer of 2007, when McCain's campaign was languishing and Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson were atop the polls, Brickley also created the pro-Palin Facebook group Draft Palin for Vice President. Today that group lists more than 1,400 grateful members.

Well what do you know. Sarah thinks Adam made a difference.

I think it is now time that the rest of us Libertarian Republicans went out and made a difference.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 09:15 AM | Comments (3)

A Wholly Owned Subsidiary Of The Chicago Machine

This happened a while back but I'm just catching up. The DNC has moved a considerable portion of its operations to Chicago.

"This is part of the implementation of the plans Paul [Tewes] discussed last week with the state party chairs," Finney said. "As part of the efforts to fully integrate DNC operations with the Obama campaign here in Washington, in Chicago and in the states, political, field and constituency operations are moving to Chicago to work in the Obama headquarters. The goal is to consolidate these efforts into one operation and effectively drive one national strategy."
Isn't that interesting. So the Democrat Party is now a wholly owned subidiary of the Chicago Machine.

Anglachel's Journal has an interesting insight into the move.

I've been involved in the merger of two good sized US corporations. It's not something that can be done at the drop of a hat. Costs have to be scoped, budgets established, plans made, landlords current and prospective contacted, vendors hired, bills paid, accounts closed in DC and opened in Chicago, equipment purchased, staff relocated, reassigned and/or terminated, letterhead and business cards printed, signage created, phone service changed, and that's just the stuff off the top of my head.

I'm not buying the claim that it was a recent decision, quickly executed. Who knew about the merger and when did they know it what remains to be unearthed. Not a word of this was out in the blogs or in the news before this week thatI am aware of. How did such a major logistical operation remain under wraps?

This casts the repeated insistence that Florida and Michigan not be allowed to change the outcome in a new light. If the DNC had agreed to relocate, but Obama lost the nomination, that would have made for a lot of explaining as to the DNC itself taking sides. It also makes the silence of top party leaders over the brutal treatment of Hillary by the press more explicable - they needed her to lose in order to give their own machinations some cover.

That makes a lot of things clearer.

The news came out around the middle of June. Assuming it takes three months to plan such an operation that would mean plans had to be made in April. Or earlier. So the question is who bought the Democrat Party and what do they intend to do with it?

Let me see. Obama had a Marxist mentor. He sought out Marxist professors. He spent 20 years in a Marxist church and his political career began in the home of a Marxist bomber and his Marxist wife.

I think we have some clues.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon at 04:44 AM | Comments (1)

"Out of touch with the lives of real Americans"

I'm sorry, but with remarks like this, Obama is asking for it:

The Obama campaign is not backing down. "The fact that John McCain does not know how many houses he owns when millions are struggling to stay in the only house they have shows he's out of touch with the lives of real Americans," said Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass Saturday afternoon."McCain is promising to double down on the economic policies of George W. Bush which have benefited corporations and CEO's while leaving middle-class families behind. John McCain just doesn't get it."

(Emphasis added.)

I don't think Barack Obama is in any position to claim that McCain is "out of touch" for not knowing the details of his wife's investments off the top of his head. Perhaps he thinks the public's memory is so short that they've forgotten all about Obama's real estate dealings with Tony Rezko -- which Obama himself described as "bone-headed."


OTOH, maybe he thinks the media memory is short. Here's how ABC reported it:

Obama maintains his relationship with Rezko was "above board and legal" but has admitted bad judgment, calling his decision to involve Rezko "a bone-headed mistake."

Rezko's behind-the-scenes connection in the Obama house deal became public as Rezko revealed personal financial details as he sought to post bail.

While Rezko's wife paid the full asking price for the land, Obama paid $300,000 under the asking price for the house. The house sold for $1,650,000 and the price Rezko's wife paid for the land was $625,000.

Obama denies there was anything unusual about the price disparity. He says the price on the house was dropped because it had been on the market for some time but that the price for the adjacent land remained high because there was another offer.

Obama then expanded his property by buying a strip of the Rezko land for $104,5000, which the senator maintains was a fair market price.

Obama later told the Chicago Sun-Times, "It was a mistake to have been engaged with him at all in this or any other personal business dealing that would allow him, or anyone else, to believe he had done me a favor."

Obama had known Rezko long before the house deal, calling him a "friend."

An ABC News review of campaign records shows Rezko, and people connected to him, contributed more than $120,000 to Obama's 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, much of it at a time when Rezko was the target of an FBI investigation.

"It surprised me that late in the game he [Obama] continued to take contributions from somebody who was under a rather dark cloud in the state," said Cynthia Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a group that has worked closely with Obama and supported his legislative efforts.

In the wake of the Rezko indictment, Obama says he has given $44,000 of the Rezko-connected money to charity.

OK, the facts are complicated and a little hard to follow, and Obama admits it was bone-headed to make a deal with a crook like Rezko. I know it's old news, but how can Obama maintain that McCain is "out of touch with the lives of real Americans" for not remembering the details of his wife's real estate investments?

Since when is a "bone-headed" deal with a Syrian crook like Rezko indicia of being in touch with the lives of real Americans?

I'm thinking maybe Obama should tread lightly where it comes to real estate issues.

posted by Eric at 01:45 AM | Comments (3)


If you want to see the whole interview of Sarah Palin talking about energy policy with a transcript visit this site.

posted by Simon at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

the right combination?

I'm a sucker for puzzles, especially when I can't figure them out. Someone could probably trap and kill me by using the human equivalent of the monkey trap if the trap consisted of something I couldn't figure out, but which looked as if it maybe could be.

I think that whether puzzles are a waste of time depends on whether they are enlightening or possibly entertaining. But you really "get" nothing, other than a vague and fleeting sense of accomplishment in having figured out something that someone put there for you to figure out. Perhaps I'm a twisted sort, but I get more pleasure out of solving the kind of puzzles that people really don't want me to solve. But I don't like to waste time spinning my wheels trying to solve things which can't be solved.

I say this because like the monkey with the monkey trap, I was unable to ignore a puzzle in the form of this ordinary Master Combination lock, which the previous occupants left in the basement.


It's your typical low security locker room type combination lock that most of us used at high school or college. While they can be hammered open or opened with a shim like this, without a combination the lock alone is useless absent a trip to a locksmith (who'd probably charge more money than it would cost to buy a new one).

A sensible person would probably have thrown it away, but I just couldn't resist temptation, and it ocurred to me that there might be information about how to crack the combination. Sure enough, there are innumerable sites and videos demonstrating in detail how to do it, but they seemed a bit hokey, and I was skeptical. Even if you follow the directions exactly, the whole thing requires patience. More patience than most people have. Factor in skepticism, and you find yourself wondering (as I did) "what if this is a complete and utter waste of time?"

Now, a combination lock marked from 0 through 39 with three combination numbers yields 64,000 combination permutations. Only an insane person or a savant would actually sit there and go through them all in the hope of opening the lock. But website after website (and video after video) claim that you can reduce the number of permutations to 100 -- provided that you first discover the crucial third (and final) number of the combination.

To my astonishment, I found that the third number can be found by the method demonstrated in this YouTube video,

What you need to do is summarized here (and described in detail in many other places):

First, we need to find the last number of the combination. To do this pull the "U" shaped thing away from the lock. It helps if its attached to something. (A Locker?). While pulling it out, start to rotate the dial from "0" so you know where to end later. You will notice that the lock will stick to a certain number. Now release the "U" for a second and then start to pull while you start to rotate again.

3) Next write down all the places the lock got stuck at while you were rotating it. There should be exactly 12 places if you did it right. One of these 12 numbers will be the last number of the combination.

4) Now we need to eliminate all of the numbers, but 1 to find the last. There are two types of places where the numbers you found got stuck at. First type is exactly on a number which means it won't move left or right while pulling up the "U". The second type is when the number you found was actually stuck between two numbers on the dial, and it would budge a little to the right or left.

5) Since we can determine, which of the 12 numbers were in between two numbers we can now eliminate them. There should have been 7 of those, which means there are only 5 left on you list.

6) Take a look at you list now and you should see that 4 of the 5 numbers left on you list have the same one's place digit. (ex: 05, 15, 25, 35) These 4 numbers you found are fake and should be eliminated. This last number you have left should be the last number of you combination.

7) To find out the Master Lock Combination is easy now that you have the last digit. You now have 10 first digit possibilities and 10 second digit possibilities. This means you have to try out a maximum of 100 combinations. And don't think that's too many because this is much better than having to deal with 64,000 combinations.

I did this, and it amazingly, it worked! There was only one number which didn't fit the "fake" pattern.

So that had to be it, right? I was still skeptical, though, and I was even more skeptical when I ran the number through this Master Lock Combination Calculator and saw a huge list of possibilities.

There's something about the thought of trying 100 different combinations when you're not convinced the whole thing isn't hokey that's a bit intimidating. Suppose you get to the end and it still hasn't opened? How would you know whether:

  • the Master Lock company changed its lock algorithm as the conspiracy theorists claim;
  • you didn't get the correct third number;
  • you make a mistake and didn't line up a number correctly, or passed one not enough or too many times; or
  • the whole thing is some sort of Internet viral hoax.
  • Very daunting. But once I had (or thought I had) the third number, my hand was caught in the proverbial monkey trap, and I knew that sooner or later I would have to slog through those damned possible combinations. I did this in stages so I wouldn't completely lose all patience, but I have to say, once I had gotten into the eighty-somethingeth permutation, my skepticism had fully ripened into outright disbelief, and my patience was shrinking in a directly proportionate manner. It was when I was in the last group of ten possible permutations of the combinations that I "knew" I had lost and that this had all been a waste of time. But by then I was pissed off. I just wanted to finish the damn thing so I could denounce all these foolish hacker kids, stupid egotistical YouTubers, and time-wasting web sites. I was impatient just to get it all over with, when, to my utter amazement, on permutation number 95 out of 100, the damned lock clicked open! (Swear to God.)

    I cannot describe the inexplicable and irrational feeling of satisfaction when it opened. I actually felt as if I had accomplished something.

    However, I wish I had taken to heart this commenter's advice:

    Just cracked a newer 800xxxx serial lock using this method (and the combo calculator linked). Was 5th from the bottom of the list though. Maybe that was done on purpose? I would recommend starting from the end of the list and working up. Good luck!
    Had I done that, I'd have made it on the fifth attempt.

    Furthermore, because I had originally found the lock open, I really wish I had known about this!

    There's a few more tricks to narrowing down the possibilities. One is if you find the lock open, hold the clasp in locked position and rotate the dial counterclockwise. The dial will catch, causing the clasp to rise, at (I believe) 6 numbers before the FIRST number in the combination. That will narrow the possibilities down to under 10. And, in my experience, the difference between the first and second number (and the second and third number) is always 6 or more. That'll help narrow down the possibilities by about a third.
    Absolutely true, but it's best not to hold the clasp down. Rather, just hold the lock up and let the clasp rest in its hole while spinning the dial. It will begin to rise exactly ten numbers before the first number, then fall just six numbers before.

    Then there was this, which I have no way of verifying because I never had the "official" combination to this lock:

    Also tried it with a lock I knew the combination on and I ended up with a completely different combination that still opened the lock. I wonder how many different combinations you can use on the same lock? I'm guessing several.
    All in all, it was satisfying entertainment, and I guess I could say I learned something. About what? How these locks work? Mathematical permutations? Or how about the moral value of being careful, thorough and persistent?

    But alas! The problem with the theory that I "learned something" is that had I failed, I'm sure I would have "learned" some very different lessons....

    MORE: I don't know why it took me so long to put two and two together, but I just realized that there is no need for anyone needing to figure out the combination for one of these locks to go through the 100 permutations as I did. All you need to do is the following, which I'll break down into two broad steps:

  • 1. Discover the third number by the method outlined above, and then use the shim method (illustrated here) to open the lock. Once the lock is open; then
  • 2. use the "open lock" method (rotating the lock counter-clockwise while the clasp rests on the opening) to discern the first number.
  • When you have the first and the third numbers, you'll be able to isolate one grouping of ten from the list generated by the Master Lock Combination Calculator, and you'll only need to try ten combinations.

    Ten is easy!

    posted by Eric at 03:24 PM | Comments (5)

    Devil or Angel?
    "A vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for gay marriage."
    So claims this website, citing this news report that as Alaska governor, she vetoed a bill "sought to block the state from giving public employee benefits such as health insurance to same-sex couples."

    Thus, argues the site, "Sarah Palin's veto gave gays the same rights as married couples in Alaska," and "a vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for gay marriage."

    What I can't figure out is whether the web site ("Sarah Palin Supports Gay Rights") is for her or against her.

    Not that something like that would matter....

    MORE: A number of people are claiming that Sarah Palin is anti gay, and they cite this Boston Globe piece as authority. And it appears that the Globe has her on record as being against state health benefits for same-sex partners:

    In October of 2006, the Anchorage Daily News described Palin's positions on social issues in a lengthy profile:
    "A significant part of Palin's base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them)."
    The problem is, the "lengthy profile" which is linked by the Boston Globe and others says nothing about same-sex marriage. (In fact, I can't find any of the language cited; I may be blind, but I read it three times.) Howard Friedman, though, says he found the story via Lexis, but he links a .pdf file (which looks like it came from a word processor) and it is completely different from the article at the Anchorage Daily News web site.

    Once again, I'm wondering whether there are two completely different worlds -- Google and Lexis.

    If (like me) you believe in "trust but verify," how do you know what story actually appeared in the newspaper? How is anyone supposed to verify anything?

    I can only conclude that the following statement is probably true:

    "She is against gay marriage although she did support equal access to benefits for same sex couples in Alaska."
    Her reasons for supporting access to benefits may have been out of respect for the state constitution as opposed to her personal views -- so there may be two ways to read the word "support."

    Perhaps she's one of those rare birds who does not allow her religious views to interfere with her legal duties. While I don't know enough about what she thinks (or why she thinks it) to render judgment, many voters would find such an approach refreshing in politics.

    MORE: I keep reading the linked piece (which has two parts) looking for the language cited, and it just isn't there. Why would the Boston Globe and so many blogs be citing it? I find it hard to believe that none of them read it. Can it be that it was altered, and that the original only appears in Lexis?

    I hate to sound like a nitpicker or a whiner, but seriously, how can I discuss a story if I don't know what the story is?

    MORE: Are Obama's people trying to pass themselves off as anti-gay bigots? Commenter Mark astutely points out that the site I linked -- "Sarah Palin Supports Gay Rights" -- was checked out by LGF, and it appears that the IP numbers are the same as those of -- which in turn redirects to the Obama campaign's

    I smelled something funny, but it didn't occur to me that it was the Obama campaign, or that they'd be so blatant about it.

    This isn't even disguised. (And what's with the purloined McCain logo at the top of the website?)


    MORE: no longer redirects to the Obama campaign's


    Whatever is going on, it has the smell of skullduggery.

    FWIW, is registered at the proxy site. Which means it could be anyone.

    posted by Eric at 09:28 AM | Comments (4)

    I'm Mad As Hell

    A comment from No Quarter which is a pro Hillary site.

    Comment by Clinton Fan 2008-08-30 06:19:01

    I might, too. I gave his campaign $20.08 and told them Hillary sent me!

    Obama's strategists miscalculated. I'm mad as hell, not gonna take it any more, and NOT getting over it.

    Time to put Howard, Donna and company in the "naughty chair."

    The smell of fear is in the air. There is blood in the water and the sharks are circling. Despite the fact that this year should be a lock for Democrats from top to bottom, I think there is a strong likelihood that the Democrats could lose control of the House and Senate. I think the Presidency is already a lost cause for them.

    The American people are tired of the corruption, voter fraud, and the cesspool that American politics has become. I'm seeing comments like the above at all the pro-Hillary sites and even the pro-Obama sites before they are scrubbed.

    There is anger out there like I have never seen before. More intense even than the Contract with America revolution. Why do I say that? Because the anger is bi-partisan.

    Let me quote from commenter Neil who had a few words on my post Motherhood, Apple Pie, And Oil.

    Mitt Romney would've been the safe choice--he would've delivered Michigan, along with a 51% victory.

    With this choice, McCain has stated his intention to "shoot the moon". He's solidified his existing alliances and has now reached out to many disenchanted Democrats, but without alienating his base of support.

    He's going to try for a blowout...

    Yes he is.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:33 AM | Comments (3)

    She's Fantastic

    From the video: "Republicans are much more open to strong women"

    posted by Simon at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Sarah Barracuda

    Pardon the opening. It was the best of the lot.

    posted by Simon at 08:53 PM | Comments (2)


    posted by Simon at 05:05 PM | Comments (6)

    Good news!

    I'm delighted by today's news. By picking Sarah Palin, McCain has hit it out of the ball park.

    I'm also delighted that M. Simon proved to be so prescient.

    MORE: Dick Morris says that Barack Obama delivered McCain a "body blow" with his speech last night.

    Maybe so, but it looks like McCain can take it.

    Come to think of it, I think he's taken a few body blows before...

    (Yes he has, so yes he can.)

    MORE: Here's an interesting reaction from CBS News:

    It's more than surprising; it's the strangest running-mate decision since Dan Quayle. Sarah Palin spent a year working as a commissioner for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and has been governor for a year and a half. Now, she'll be the Republicans' vice presidential candidate, and if things go well for McCain, one heartbeat from the presidency. When it comes to being untested and unknown, Palin is in a league of her own.

    Just yesterday, advisers to the McCain campaign conceded to the New York Times that McCain "thinks highly" of Palin, but "her less than two years in office would undercut one of the McCain campaign's central criticisms of Senator Barack Obama -- that he is too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief." So much for the McCain campaign's message.

    Stepping back, we have the man who would be the oldest president in American history, who happens to have a record of health problems, picking a virtual unknown who's been a governor for less than two years. Amazing.

    No more amazing that Richard Nixon's pick of Spiro Agnew, who'd recently been elected governor of Maryland.

    Or how about Walter Mondale's pick of Geraldine Ferraro, not even a governor, but a then-obscure congresswoman? I could be wrong, but I don't remember CBS complaining about her lack of experience.

    (Of course, in those days, the news media used to at least pretend to be objective....)

    MORE: Newsbusters points out that CNN's John Roberts is also plugging the "inexperience" meme.


    I wonder whether a media analysis would reveal whether "inexperienced" Republicans draw more media criticism than "inexperienced" Democrats.

    UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.

    I really appreciate the comments.

    posted by Eric at 10:55 AM | Comments (17)

    Motherhood, Apple Pie, And Oil

    Drudge Report says the GOP VP pick is Sarah Palin. Inspired. It will pick off a lot of Democrat women. It will attract the 51% of Americans who want to develop more American oil resources.

    H/T Instapundit and Eric Scheie via e-mail.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

    How Much Oil Is There?

    David Zondy is taking a look at resources and the ginned up fear of not enough.
    As an Englishman living in America, where Marmite is hard to come by, I'm all too familiar with the concept of scarcity, but a lack of resource in a local or a particular instance is a very different kettle of fish from absolute scarcity. The Malthusian idea of overpopulation leading to the gobbling up of finite resources has been around for a couple of centuries now and what is remarkable about it is how it has proven so consistently wrong-especially when it tries to lay the blame on the doorstep of civilised, industrial nations. I'll grant you that the image of some future New York where a hundred million people live cheek by jowl in polluted squalor until the oil runs out and then they fall on one another like starving rats as nations go to war over what scraps are left does have a certain dramatic appeal in a Mad Max sort of way, but the real world doesn't and never has worked like that.

    Overpopulation is a problem, but only locally in certain, to be blunt, backward parts of the world and even there the problem isn't too many people, but too many tyrants robbing them blind. They don't suffer so much from overpopulation as poverty. A village of a hundred people ruled by a dictator with only enough food for fifty and no way to buy more is "overpopulated". A city of a free ten million that can import more than it needs is not.

    Which brings up the question of oil. Is there enough or has oil output peaked and the inevitable decline begun?

    In a word - no. There is plenty of oil in the ground at current prices. Is that true? Well lets do an inventory to check that assertion.

    ...the world oil shortage is political, not geological. In the U.S., the government makes it virtually impossible to drill in new areas offshore. In Nigeria, civil strife has shut down major production. In Libya and Iran, Washington effectively blockaded and isolated the nations for years to inhibit new production. In Iraq, of course, the U.S. destroyed much of the infrastructure since the first Gulf war in 1991 and then blockaded reconstruction. In nations such as Russia and Mexico nationalism and corruption curtail increased production.

    Outside of developed Western countries, the single largest reason for oil "shortages" is government incompetence and ownership of the subsoil rights so that landowners don't benefit from oil discoveries. In Patagonia, Argentina (a nation with abundant oil), I was told how it was common for landowners to try to hide any evidence of oil seepages from underground, lest the government oil company come in and ruin their lands with no benefit to themselves. Private mineral rights ownership is the reason some 90 percent of all oil wells drilled have been in the U.S. Scientific advances and innovative engineers keep coming up with ways to both discover new fields and keep old ones in production almost indefinitely.

    That is pretty amazing, but there is more.

    ANWR could become the fastest way to generate hundreds of billions of dollars of new oil. But laws need to be changed to fast track the leasing (there are 11 litigation choke points) and to create special courts to expedite environmental issues, as recently proposed by Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.). Under current laws, it could indeed take 10 years to produce oil, compared to two or three years for the actual drilling and pumping. Additionally, leasing is done slowly, thanks to laws written when oil was plentiful. Such laws were designed to gain maximum upfront money for the government, not for speed. For example, BP recently paid $1.2 billion for a new offshore lease, some 400 miles east of Alaska's Prudhoe Bay. The cost and distance gives some idea of industry expectations as to the extent of oil reserves.
    Well what do you know. Politics is causing higher oil prices in America. And who are the politicians against more American oil? The Democrats.
    Washington has become paralyzed by dysfunctional government. France and China can build nuclear electric plants in just years; in the U.S. it takes a decade. Brazil will bring offshore oil online in 24 months, while for U.S. companies it takes 10 years. New refineries are virtually illegal to build. New electricity-generating plants using coal are now unable to obtain financing because of environment constraints.

    This is destroying the value of the dollar and wrecking our balance of trade, making oil prohibitively expensive, and sending hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign lands--many of whom are no friends of America. No wonder 80 percent of Americans think their nation is on the wrong track. Washington needs to declare a national emergency program to produce energy. The reasons we don't are political, not technical. Indeed, new natural gas discoveries have knocked U.S. prices down by about 30 percent.

    What do American resources of natural gas look like? About 150 trillion cubic feet of gas can be obtained by drilling and 590 trillion cubic feet are in gas hydrates. More than enough to last until we have other sources of power in sufficient quantities.

    Are we done yet? Not by a long shot.

    WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposes lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the Outer Continental Shelf. She won't even allow it to come to a vote. With $4 gas having massively shifted public opinion in favor of domestic production, she wants to protect her Democratic members from having to cast an anti-drilling election-year vote. Moreover, given the public mood, she might even lose. This cannot be permitted. Why? Because as she explained to Politico: "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet."
    She may lose her job over that one. In fact I hope so.

    Here in the U.S., one out of every three ears of corn is stuffed into a gas tank (by way of ethanol), causing not just food shortages abroad and high prices at home, but intensive increases in farming with all of the attendant environmental problems (soil erosion, insecticide pollution, water consumption, etc.).

    This to prevent drilling on an area in the Arctic one-sixth the size of Dulles Airport that leaves untouched a refuge one-third the size of Britain.

    There are a dizzying number of economic and national security arguments for drilling at home: a $700 billion oil balance-of-payment deficit, a gas tax (equivalent) levied on the paychecks of American workers and poured into the treasuries of enemy and terror-supporting regimes, growing dependence on unstable states of the Persian Gulf and Caspian basin. Pelosi and the Democrats stand athwart shouting: We don't care. We come to save the planet!

    They seem blissfully unaware that the argument for their drill-there-not-here policy collapses on its own environmental terms.

    And that does not even count the cost of financing our adversaries Russia, Iran, and our "best friend" Saudi Arabia.

    Did I mention that there are about 2 trillion barrels of oil shale in America and about 3 trillion barrels of tar sands in Canada where exploitation has only started? And don't tell me it costs too much. The Canadians are getting the oil from tar sands at about $15 to $20 a bbl. Oil shale, with water recycling to preserve precious water resources, might run $30 a bbl. We really don't know because the oil companies are not allowed to try. So what is the Republican answer? Watch this video (also above) to find out.

    We don't have to pay high prices at the pump and send our money to people who don't like us if government would get out of the way. Republicans are on board. How about you Democrats?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

    Active Measures

    The video explains how Marxists have destroyed a significant swath of America. The fact that Obama is the Democrat nominee shows just how far the rot has gone. Ex-KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov is the speaker.

    posted by Simon at 05:52 AM | Comments (1)

    Al Gore

    Al Gore had some strong words at the convention:

    "John McCain does not care about ManBearPig!"

    Only Barack Obama has a real plan to stop ManBearPig.

    I'm super duper cereal (or serial, as the case may be).

    posted by Dennis at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

    Liveblogging the speech of the year

    I'm watching Barack Obama's speech, and I'm frankly surprised how negative it is. He stresses how awful everything is, and blames Bush, says McCain is clueless and out of touch, and keeps talking about the need for the government to take care of people.

    In short, he's making the case for socialism, and he sounds angry. Much angrier than usual.

    Whether it will work, who knows?

    There's not much talk of freedom.

    He keeps echoing the "I am my brother's keeper" theme and characterizes McCain's philosophy of saying "you're on your own." Im reminded of how much I prefer the latter.

    Frankly, he's sounding more like a scold than ever before.

    10:34 -- Now he's talking about reducing oil dependency, and bashing McCain for advocating drilling.

    Talking about investing in renewable energy.

    Education. (Right. Will we hear about Chicago Annenberg Challenge?*) He'll make sure kids can afford college.

    10:37 -- Health care. What Congress has, everyone will get.

    Equal pay for equal work. (Equals more government in the workplace.)


    I don't know whether I'll get through this....

    10:40 -- "If John McCain wants a debate over who has the temperament to serve as the next Commander in Chief, that's a debate I'm willing to have." Says McCain was wrong about Iraq, he was right.

    McCain won't go after Obama "to the cave where he lives."

    The Iraqi government and the Bush administration echo Obama's call, while McCain stubbornly refuses. Obama looks to future, McCain stuck in past...

    10:43 -- We are the party of Roosevelt, of Kennedy. Don't tell me we won't fight. Bush administration has squandered this legacy.

    Will end Iraq war responsibly, stop Iran from getting nukes, stop Russia, restore America's moral standing....

    10:46 -- Have to change the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character or patriotism. (I agree with this, and hope he means it.)

    "I've got news for you, John McCain. We ALL put our country first!"

    If you don't have fresh ideas, you need stale tactics.

    10:50 -- "All across America, something is stirring. This election is not about me. It's about you." Enough to the politics of the past. At defining moments like this, change doesn't come from Washington, it comes to Washington.

    10:53 -- American spirit pushes us forward. Promise is our greatest inheritance. Refers to King's Dream speech of 45 years ago.

    We cannot turn back! Cannot walk alone. Keep that promise.

    That's it.

    He kept it short, which was smart. It got better towards the end, but it was not exactly what I'd call a fun speech.

    I would characterize Obama's overall position as a communitarian one. He believes that not only are we all responsible for each other, but that the purpose of the presidency is not to carry out the constitutional duties of office, but to take care of everyone by providing jobs, health care, etc. I haven't heard him sound this shrill (or negative) in any of his previous speeches.

    Well, at least it wasn't boring. For Obama, it was guns blazing.

    MORE: Speaking on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer thinks the speech was brilliant, as Obama needed to abandon his conciliatory tone he adopted while running against Democrats. Made himself the agent of change as defined very simply -- not Republican.

    11:25 -- I think it's possible Obama deliberately came out with guns blazing because he wanted to show that he's not a wimp.

    I just watched McCain's gentle congratulatory message, and what a stark contrast!

    I like the way Ann Althouse made mincemeat out of Obama's Second Amendment remarks:

    9:48: "We can keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals." All right, then! Can I have an AK-47? I'm not a criminal. He's trying to say we can accommodate gun rights and gun regulations, but he won't admit to anything near the level of gun regulation he'd support, so he ends up sounding silly.

    And Stephen Green did a great job of drunkblogging!

    8:38PM More Clintonesque requirements of people who get government help. That's not a bad thing -- but it's not how he campaigned in the primaries. He's not just running against one lame duck, he's running as another.

    8:37PM The longer this goes on, the more I remember why I suffered such Obama Fatigue during the primaries.

    8:37PM Yeah, he just tried to buy Michigan with promises that he'll retool Detroit. Honda and Toyota build cars here people actually like, so why not give them money, too?

    8:35PM The first person who gives me an accurate count of the number of times Obama says "McCain," I'll send a crisp twenty dollar bill. That's right, twenty dollars. But I'm not sure science can count that high.

    MORE: Via Glenn Reynolds, I see that media people were observed cheering. And via Glenn Reynolds, here's the full text of the speech.


    (Sorry to plagiarize Obama's word, but that's just the way I feel.)

    * Yes we will! Here!

    posted by Eric at 10:28 PM | Comments (10)

    Fusion Report 29 August 2008

    Alan Boyle has the latest on the EMC2 fusion experiments.

    Researchers have finished the first phase of an unorthodox, low-cost nuclear fusion experiment that has generated a megawatt's worth of buzz on the Internet - and they are now waiting for a verdict from their federal funders on whether to proceed to the next phase.

    Richard Nebel, leader of the research team at EMC2 Fusion in New Mexico, declined to detail the results of the project, saying that was up to the people paying the bills. But he did said "we have had some success" in the effort to reproduce the promising results reported by the late physicist Robert Bussard.

    "It's kind of a mix," he said.

    That is a disappointment. However it is not completely negative so maybe further work is warranted.
    Nebel said his leave from Los Alamos is due to reach the one-year mark in mid-September, but he doesn't foresee any problem in extending the leave if the second-phase funding comes through. Whether or not the Navy funds the next phase, the past year's effort has been worth it, Nebel said. "We're generally happy with what we've been getting out of it, and we've learned a tremendous amount," he said.

    All that learning won't go away. "Regardless of what happens to it, we're going to get this thing well written up and documented," Nebel said.

    Getting the experiment's findings down on paper will help the EMC2 team - or future teams of fusion researchers - advance the legacy left behind by Bussard. And that's a fitting tribute to the unconventional physicist as the calendar rolls toward the anniversary of his death.

    "Bob Bussard was a truly innovative person, that's abundantly clear," Nebel said. "I hope he will be remembered for that. I think that will be the case."

    You will note that yours truly (IEC Fusion Technology blog) got a link from Mr. Boyle. I'm honored. If you haven't seen the material before read the link he gave Tom Ligon. And if you are interested in following the progress to date read Fusion Report 13 June 008 which has links to previous reports.

    I can't wait to read the full report.

    H/T Correspondent Charles Connors.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:36 PM | Comments (2)

    cracking down on right wing fear-mongers
    "The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George."
    Barack Obama to George Stephanopoulos in April.

    Most of us would think that stomping on the American flag is also detestable. Ayers proudly did that in 2001, when Obama was more than eight years old. Here's what Barack Obama said in May, shortly after a photograph showing Bill Ayers stomping on the American flag received too much public attention.

    "Senator Obama is appalled by this disrespect of a flag we love and that so many have fought and died for. There is no excuse for anyone to treat that which we hold so dear with so little regard. But the politics of association required to link Obama to this picture in any way is ridiculous and a silly distraction from the important challenges facing the American people," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

    The picture is from a Chicago magazine article in 2001. That is the same time Obama and Ayers served together on the board of a philanthropic organization called the Woods Fund. It is also around the same time that Ayers donated to Obama's state Senate campaign.

    The Ayers affair died down for the past few months until the University of Illinois library refused to allow Stanley Kurtz to see its library records of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Ayers helped found and which Obama chaired. Obama had not mentioned his work with the CAC, but his campaign has now gone absolutely ballistic over speculation about how closely Obama worked with Ayers. (For more details, see M. Simon's post from last night, as well as the links in this post from Glenn Reynolds.)

    The Obama campaign has yet to condemn Ayers or his even more notorious wife, to say nothing of condemning the dreadful radical Marxist philosophy they share. But Stanley Kurtz -- the guy asking the key questions about Obama's connection with Ayers -- is being excoriated in the strongest possible terms:

    "WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears," Obama's campaign wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "He's currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers."
    "Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse," the note said.

    "It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves," the note continued. "At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies."

    No rebuttal was offered by the Obama campaign, which refused to send a spokesperson to the show, but whose callers inundated the show with angry accusations:
    Caller after caller to WGN read off talking points provided them by the Obama campaign alleging that Dr. Kurtz, and by implication and sometimes directly, Milt Rosenberg, was "smearing" Barack Obama and finding Obama "guilty by association." They also accused Kurtz of lying.

    Yet, when pressed for specifics, these callers had none.

    Now keep in mind for those of you not familiar with the Rosenberg show: it has run for decades and has always been thought of as a quiet sober discussion space; generally conservative but usually open to a range of views.

    My father, a lifelong Chicago liberal and former Democratic party precinct captain, has called in and jousted with Rosenberg several times over the years (Milt called him a "professor of sophistry" in one exchange). Yet, listeners are blogging tonight that they have never heard anything like what happened this evening.

    Perhaps we should not be surprised by the tactics of the Obama campaign - attempting to squash a legitimate discussion on the respected Rosenberg show of these sensitive issues.

    But it suggests to me a whiff of panic inside the campaign. Sure, John Kerry should have gone after the swift boaters in the last election. But this is not swift boating. We are talking about a decade or more of close political activity involving Ayers and Obama.

    (Via Tom Maguire, who has more here.)

    Interestingly, the email from the Obama campaign has a heading which reads "The Facts on Barack and William Ayers," and after barely touching on the subject, goes on to list an odd compilation of opinions from Stanley Kurtz on unrelated subjects such as gay marriage in Scandinavia, feminism, and Larry Summers. (Obviously, the goal was to whip the lefties into a state of agitation in the hope they'd call. Which they did.)

    The bottom line is that Obama has gone for Kurtz's jugular, while he has yet to denounce his colleague Ayers:

    1. Barack Obama and his campaign have denounced Ayers's actions and at least one of Ayers's statements, but I think that neither Obama nor his campaign has ever denounced Ayers himself. As with the first Reverend Wright speech, this is no accident. Obama usually takes the "Christian" position: hate the sin, love the sinner.

    2. Kurtz, unlike Ayers, is denounced in the most vicious and uncivil terms (there is a lot more than I quoted). If Obama or his campaign had ever denounced Ayers with the fervor that his campaign has now used in denouncing Kurtz, Obama wouldn't be having trouble on his connection to Ayers.

    In an editorial titled "Barack Obama, Aspiring Commissar" the National Review notes that the relationship with Ayers is a lot more than an "association," that Kurtz has touched a nerve, and that Obama is not behaving as a friend of free speech:
    Other than denigrating Kurtz for being conservative, Obama's operatives have provided no response to the substance of his claims. In their only pretense of engaging him, they accuse him of telling "a flat out lie" that Ayers recruited Obama for the CAC. Though it is a reasonable inference that Ayers recruited Obama, the careful Kurtz has stopped short of making it -- observing only that Obama offers no explanation of how he was recruited if not through Ayers, his friend and the CAC's driving force.

    The station, WGN, has made a stream of the broadcast available online, here, and it has to be heard to be believed. Obama's robotic legions dutifully jammed the station's phone lines and inundated the program with emails, attacking Kurtz personally. Pressed by Rosenberg to specify what inaccuracies Kurtz was guilty of, caller after caller demurred, mulishly railing that "we just want it to stop," and that criticism of Obama was "just not what we want to hear as Americans." Remarkably, as Obama sympathizers raced through their script, they echoed the campaign's insistence that it was Rosenberg who was "lowering the standards of political discourse" by having Kurtz on, rather than the campaign by shouting him down.

    Kurtz has obviously hit a nerve. It is the same nerve hit by the American Issues Project, whose television ad calling for examination of the Obama/Ayers relationship has prompted the Obama campaign to demand that the Justice Department begin a criminal investigation. Obama fancies himself as "post-partisan." He is that only in the sense that he apparently brooks no criticism. This episode could be an alarming preview of what life will be like for the media should the party of the Fairness Doctrine gain unified control of the federal government next year.

    Seeking a criminal investigation was enough for me. At this point, it almost doesn't matter whether Ayers recruited Obama to be on the board, how closely they worked together, or for how long.

    Calling for a criminal investigation of free speech crosses a line going beyond any association with Ayers.

    I think Glenn Reynolds got it right last night:

    The Ayers connection itself is less interesting to me than the campaign's over-the-top response. It seems to me that they could have put this behind them already, but instead their reaction seems to be fanning the flames.
    If I didn't know any better, I'd call email campaigns like this a form of fear mongering -- along with threats of criminal prosecution against people who raise legitimate questions.

    But according to the Obama campaign, "fear mongering" is defined as asking questions which make Obama uncomfortable, and it's strictly a right-wing phenomenon.

    Only a slimy character assassin would accuse the left of such a thing!

    posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (2)

    Bill Ayers' better (and successful!) half

    I don't normally correct historical details in stuff I read, but in this case I thought I should, because it sheds a little light on the truly horrid background of one of Barack Obama's political sponsors who hasn't been getting enough attention. I refer to Bernardine Dohrn, a notorious and unrepentant terrorist I have called evil, whose praise of the Manson murders was detailed at the Corner by Andy McCarthy:

    As I noted back in April in this article about Obama's motley collection of radical friends, at the Weatherman "War Council" meeting in 1969, Ayers' fellow terrorist and now-wife, Bernadine Dohrn, famously gushed over the barbaric Manson Family murders of the pregnant actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and three others: "Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim's stomach! Wild!" And as Jonah recalled yesterday, "In appreciation, her Weather Underground cell made a threefingered 'fork' gesture its official salute." They weren't talking about scratching up the wall-paper.
    That's the right story, but the wrong "pigs." (I'd say "close but no fork" but I'll leave the wisecracks to Ayers and company.)

    I think it's worth noting that the people Dohrn called pigs (and in whose grisly fate she took such delight) were Leno and Rosemary LaBianca -- a small business owner (a World War II veteran whose parents were Italian immigrants) and his wife. They were strangers to the Mansons, and this was what happened to them:

    Sometime during the early morning hours of August 10, 1969, Manson family members entered the LaBianca house. Manson and Watson awoke a sleeping Leno LaBianca, on the couch in his living room, at gunpoint. Leno was assured by Manson and Watson that he would not be hurt and that they only intended to rob him. Manson removed a leather thong from his neck and had Watson use it to tie up Leno's hands. Leno was then asked if there was anyone else in the house. He told Manson and Watson that his wife, Rosemary, was in the bedroom.[2] Manson went to the bedroom and awoke Rosemary. He allowed her to put a dress on over her nightgown before leading her into the living room where Watson had Leno tied up. Manson and Watson reassured the couple that they wouldn't be hurt, and were just being robbed. After collecting all the cash in the house, Manson ordered Watson to take Rosemary back to her bedroom where Watson placed a pillowcase over her head and wound a lamp around her head, gagging her with a lamp cord. He told her to stay quiet and remain in the room. Watson returned to the living room and Manson then left the house. Within a few minutes, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel entered the residence and were instructed by Watson to go to the bedroom.[1]

    Watson then began stabbing Leno repeatedly, only stopping briefly when Leno screamed, "Stop stabbing me!" Rosemary, hearing her husband screaming, began screaming and flailing around the room, still blinded by the pillowcase on her head. Krenwinkel and Van Houten called Watson for help. Watson left the badly bleeding Leno in the living room, and entered the bedroom to find Rosemary swinging the lamp still attached to the chord used to gag her. Tex lunged forward and stabbed her until she fell to the floor. By the time the stabbing ended, Watson, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten had stabbed Rosemary 41 times.[1]

    Leno was still alive when Watson came back to the living room and the stabbing resumed. After Watson finished stabbing Leno, one of the family members carved the word "WAR" into Leno's stomach. Krenwinkel then stabbed him a number of times and left a carving fork protruding from his stomach, and a steak knife from his throat. The girls then wrote messages in Leno's blood. "Death to pigs" and "Rise" were written on the living room wall, and "Helter Skelter" [sic] was written on the refrigerator.[1]

    After the murders, the family members remained at the house. Some ate food from the LaBianca's refrigerator, played with the couple's dogs and showered before hitchhiking back to the Spahn Ranch.[6]

    Barack Obama was just a small boy when this happened, and obviously, he's not responsible for Bernardine Dohrn's statements of support for the gruesome murders, or her "fork" salute that celebrated them.

    But frankly, the whole thing gives me the creeps, as does Dohrn.

    However, it's easy to complain about people like her going directly from the FBI Most Wanted list to cushy jobs in the finest law firms right after being released, but I like to look for explanations. As it turns out, her employment was enabled by a very respectable man named Howard Trienens:

    Dohrn's post-revolutionary successes are even more remarkable, considering she was the more notorious. During their underground days, she made the FBI's 10 most wanted list. Upon surfacing, Dohrn got three years of probation and a fine.

    Today, Dohrn is on the faculty of Northwestern University's School of Law. She teaches a course titled Children in Trouble with the Law.

    Neither Ayers nor Dohrn returned e-mail or phone messages asking for comment. So we cannot tell you how they see their ascent back to responsibility.

    But it's hard for an outsider not to see the map of family connections behind their paths.

    Ayers' father moved in philanthropic circles with Howard Trienens, an attorney with the powerhouse firm of Sidley Austin. The two served together on Northwestern University's Board of Trustees. Ayers was chairman of that group, then handed the post off to Trienens in 1986.

    Trienens headed Sidley Austin when the firm hired Dohrn in 1984. She had never practiced law and had been out of law school for 17 years.

    When I asked Trienens if he had hired Dohrn, he replied: "Yes."

    Wasn't that a bit of nepotism, considering his relationship to her father-in-law? A lot of lawyers would love a first job with such a prestigious firm.

    "We often hire friends," replied Trienens, 84.

    Wow. I also haven't practiced law for years, and I've been out of law school for an even longer period of time. Will Trienens hire me too?

    Probably not. I don't have the right friends. Nor do we contribute to the same causes. (As it turns out, Trienens has given thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign.)

    Eventually, Dohrn seems to have decided that she'd rather teach law. It just so happens that her pal Trienens was also Chairman of the Board at Northwestern, and he of course denies that he had anything to do with hiring her:

    Dohrn's route to Northwestern is harder to discern. Trienens said he had nothing to do with it, though he was then board chairman.

    "The dean hired her," he said, referring to Robert Bennett, who was then law school dean. (Bennett did not return phone calls seeking comment.)

    Daniel Polsby, a law school faculty member in 1991, recalls Dohrn's appointment going through an academic side door. Because she was brought on as an "adjunct," she was never put before a faculty vote.

    Cool! Maybe if I can find a guy like Trienens, I can get him to slip me through the door somewhere as an "adjunct."

    I've always wanted to be an adjunct anyway. Sounds like the best of both worlds.

    Needless to say, the Tribune reporter got nowhere trying to figure out precisely how the hiring occurred:

    Seeking clarification from the university, I was told to put my questions in writing. Which I did:

    Was her appointment at NU's law school made by the dean acting alone? Did it have to be ratified by the Board of Trustees?

    Instead of answering the questions, the university responded with a boilerplate statement of support: "While many would take issue with views Ms. Dohrn espoused during the 1960s, her career at the law school is an example of a person's ability to make a difference in the legal system."

    Yeah, well I have to admit I take issue with her views on killing pigs. Especially which "pigs" should be killed, and why. She and her husband have tried to explain that her cheering for the LaBianca killings was just a joke, but it was taken deadly seriously at the time. I think it echoed the "kill your parents" meme they famously promoted:
    Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at
    This makes Leno LaBianca a perfectly legitimate target. Because not only was he an affluent small businessman (owner of a successful grocery business, to be exact), he was a father of three kids.

    Might his mutilation at the hands of Patricia Krenwinkel (young enough to be his daughter) have captured the imagination of young Bernardine?

    I realize this is just armchair psychology, but I don't believe the Ayers/Dohrn denials, and as I say, I like to look for answers. I think it just might be significant that Dohrn's father was another small businessman; fellow Weather Underground radical Mark Rudd described her as "just the daughter of a credit manager of a Milwaukee furniture store":

    In Destructive Generation, Collier recounts a chance meeting at around that time between Dohrn and Mark Rudd, another radical leader who'd also been underground for a time. "She asked him what he thought about the whole experience," Collier writes. "He told her that he thought of it as seven years of wasted life; that neither he nor they had accomplished anything, and he wished he'd gotten out at the beginning. 'She got furious [Rudd recounts] and said: "But what about the contribution we made to the overall struggle for armed struggle and revolution in America?" I couldn't believe the rhetoric. The same old shit. I just said to myself, "Oh, later for you, lady," and took off. Later on it occurred to me how her ego was still totally involved with all that dead history. How little she had looked at herself all those years. She should have had to admit how wrong her ideas were, how meshuga her self-conception was. A great revolutionary leader' She had no great revolutionary ideas. None of us did. She was just the daughter of a credit manager of a Milwaukee furniture store.'''
    I guess poor Bernard Dohrn (described by his daughter as a "true believer[] ...with no political interests and little understanding of her commitment") was lucky they didn't practice what they preached, or he'd have ended up looking like this.

    (I'll bet she was too chickenshit even to give her dad the three-fingered salute!)

    By any standard, Dohrn's past is absolutely dreadful, yet like her husband she is unrepentant to the core. What accounts for her success? What enabled her to go from the FBI Ten Most Wanted list to a position where she could assist in the launching of the career of a man poised to be president? And why are she and other unrepentant terrorists considered mainstream? (Like it or not, by prevailing liberal standards, they are.)

    Perhaps the lesson here is that it's a mistake to be repentant.

    (You might end up as just the daughter of a credit manager of a Milwaukee furniture store....)

    MORE: To be fair to Sidley Austin, Howard Tienen, Northwestern University, and the countless others who have helped and enabled Bernardine Dohrn's place in the American mainstream, I think it needs to be remembered that this is no ordinary woman, but someone who is clearly driven. She may be a revolutionary Marxist, but she possesses the Midwestern work ethic in spades.

    Really. Consider that when still in her twenties, she issued a Declaration of War against America, and she did her damnedest for years to carry it out. How many individual terrorists have declared war on America and actually had their war taken seriously? Osama bin Laden comes to mind, but in general, they're few and far between.

    What employer wouldn't jump at a chance to hire a dynamo like that?

    posted by Eric at 10:20 AM | Comments (1)

    Mocking Luther King

    The critics missed the point of what Barack Obama plans to do tonight: he's not placing himself as a god in a mock temple, but rather cynically exploiting the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famed I Have a Dream speech -- with a mock Lincoln Memorial in a football field.

    This is the scene he's hoping to evoke:






    No doubt the press will flood itself with revelatory prose on its success, according to script.

    It's all so manufactured, cold, and cheapening.

    I hope that people do reflect on Dr. King's dream, ignore the color of Barack Obama's skin, and judge the candidates on the content of their character.

    White guilt ignored, McCain is the better man.

    posted by Dennis at 10:19 AM | Comments (5)

    Beginning Of The End

    This ad will appear at the Republican National Convention.

    More at:
    Obama At The Bar
    Where There Is Truth There Is Fire
    Obama Threatens TV Stations
    Ayers On Kerry
    The Ad Obama Doesn't Want You To See

    H/T Power and Control commenter Doug

    posted by Simon at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Obama At The Bar

    It looks like Obama may lose his law license for lying on his application.

    NATURE OF THE CASE: a) making a statement of material fact in connection with a bar application that the applicant knows to be false; b) committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's fitness to practice law; c) engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; d) engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; and e) engaging in conduct which brings the courts or the legal profession into disrepute."
    That is quite a laundry list.

    I have no fear. The vast hordes supporting Obama will be out in force washing his dirty laundry. Just like they did last night on the Milt Rosenberg show on WGN Radio. Evidently looking into the career of one of Obama's associates is now considered abuse of The One.

    Hope and Change

    If you missed the show it is on WGN Radio 8-27-08. Which is to say a pod cast.


    The script Obama callers used to try to shut down the broadcast. Follow along while you listen to the broadcast.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:54 AM | Comments (2)

    Selected Not Elected

    Hillary Clinton called for the selection of Obama as the Democrat Party nominee for President.

    "In the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and our country, let's declare in one voice, right here, right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and that he will be our next president," Clinton said. "Madame Secretary, I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll-call vote, all votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party."
    I guess that lets Bush off the hook.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:15 AM | Comments (2)

    Back to the Clintons

    I just watched Bill Clinton basically steal the show from Hillary, in the form of a rousing speech which made the case for a return to Clintonism. He kept saying that Barack Obama is ready (now that he has tapped the foreign policy experience of Joe Biden), and he kept ticking off his own accomplishments, which he says the Republicans have undone. Quite a speech.

    I think he'd like to have the White House back, and I kept having this weird feeling that the role of Barack Obama (whether he realizes it or not) is to cement into place a return of the Clintons.

    Next time, it will truly be their turn, and Hillary will have earned it. If things go according to this script, the radical Obama will lose, McCain will be the Republicans' last gasp, and America will return to "moderation."

    MORE: Ann Althouse live-blogged Bill's speech, and I like the way she summarized it:

    8:24: Bill Clinton is doing a fabulous job tonight. His superiority to everyone else who has spoken is painfully obvious. "American will always be a place called hope." Brilliant. He's the greatest!

    8:26: And, now what is going through his mind? And that's how it's done you losers. Screw you for rejecting, Hillary's. Enjoy your doom, fuckers.

    (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

    (My problem with the Clintons is that I'm still sick of them.)

    MORE: I also watched Joe Biden, who sounded like an angry hack. I agree with Glenn that Bill Clinton is still the best the Democrats have.

    posted by Eric at 09:39 PM | Comments (2)

    Only a bigot would oppose gay marriage!

    Not long ago, I wrote a post in which I asked why gays shouldn't have the same right as any other American to support John McCain, and I quoted Richard Miniter:

    Why do Gay rights advocates demand lock-step political obedience? Indeed they seem as vicious against Gay dissenters as they are toward evangelical Christians.
    These are good questions, and they won't go away.

    It has long struck me that if gays don't have the same right as anyone else to support or oppose whoever they want, then they are not free citizens. This is a principle objection to identity politics in general; it imprisons people. And by its nature, it is very condescending, and intolerant of dissent. Above all, identity politics vests self-appointed "leaders" with plenipotentiary powers to declare what is right for the group, and all who belong to the group must abide by the rules, or else be considered a "traitor." Nothing could be less democratic. A gay man who sees state-regulated same-sex marriage as something other than a "right" is seen as an Uncle Tom, even though his goal might just be to be left alone and live his life without official entanglements of any kind. By its nature, marriage invites the state into a relationship, and once it is legally in place, people in relationships can file palimony suits even without a formal marriage. Far from being a right, marriage is a state-enforced obligation, with tentacles reaching into many aspects of life. But back in the 90s, unelected gay "leaders" decided in a bloc to start demanding it as a right. At this point in time, it's the number one item on the agenda. If you are gay, you will support gay marriage. Or else. And you may not support anyone who does not!


    Unless, of course, that candidate's name is Barack Obama. He opposes gay marriage, but if you are gay you must support him! Or else!

    Don't even think of supporting John McCain:

    A successful real estate developer, [Jonathan Crutchley] founded Manhunt with his life partner, Larry Basile, in 2001. He ran into trouble when Out, a gay magazine, published an article about the website in its current issue. The article, in passing, referred to Crutchley -- who until last week was chairman of the board at Manhunt -- as a "liberal Republican." That tidbit apparently shocked gay blogger Andy Towle, who within seconds found Crutchley's donation to McCain on a contributor database and posted the news on his website.

    The shaming and condemnation of Crutchley was swift and unforgiving.

    Of course it was. He's not allowed to support McCain. Otherwise, he's a "traitor":
    The hue and cry over Crutchley's politics is all too familiar. Why can't gay activists countenance the idea of a "Massachusetts Republican"? Liberal intolerance. In the minds of too many on the left, gay people (like women and ethnic minorities) have to be liberal and support Democratic candidates. To do otherwise -- that is, to have opinions on issues (even issues utterly unrelated to gay rights) that don't follow the left-wing line -- is to be a traitor to the gay "community."

    For too long, many gay-rights activists have acted as if throwing temper tantrums will magically bring about their political agenda. But labeling everyone with whom they don't agree a "bigot" does not help the worthy cause of gay equality.

    Linking the story yesterday, Glenn Reynolds asked,
    Is it just me, or does it seem that the people who are the most demanding of tolerance tend to be those least likely to display it themselves?
    I thought of that when I saw McCain being attacked as an "adulterer" -- by a gay blogger who presumably believes in at least sexual tolerance if not the political kind:
    Paul Colichman is trying to get John McCain elected. He thinks more years of Republican tyranny is good for Gay America. He is an idiot. We have canceled our subscription to The Advocate and urge others to do the same. John McCain, the adulterer may be the best thing for the conservatives of this country, but he sure is not good for the Gays.
    I usually associate the anti-McCain smear of the "adulterer" variety with rabid fundamentalists of the sort who like to wage war on sex. But I guess gays have been known to wage war on sex too (well, as long as it's heterosexual sex....)

    There really is something to what Glenn says about tolerance. The interesting thing about Colichman is that he's not even a gay McCain supporter. Far from it; he's a gay publisher (and "die hard Democrat") who refused to support Obama because Obama refused to support gay marriage:

    Colichman, 46, who owns The Advocate and Out magazines,, and Here, the premium cable network for gays, said he finally dealt with his disappointment over Clinton's defeat last week and came around to Obama.

    "I thought, 'Get over yourself!' I had literally written out a check to the Obama campaign. And then I saw him in front of an evangelical group in Anaheim," he said.

    Before Rick Warren at the Saddleback Civil Forum, both Obama and McCain defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    "I thought, 'Wow! He just threw the gay community under the bus,' " Colichman said. "My partner looked over at me, and we tore up the check."

    For that crime, he's drawn angry gay scorn. And shame:
    "By tearing up his check for Obama, he basically wrote one to McCain," Genre editor Neal Boulton told us. "I openly - no, flamingly - endorse Obama, whether he says he's for gay marriage or not. . . . I know under Obama, it will only be a matter of time until the country sees the legalization of gay marriage." James Hipps, project manager for gay-marketing firm Vibe Media, wants gays to cancel their subscriptions to The Advocate. "I am appalled," he said. "For our gay-lesbian- bisxexual-transgender rights to continue to grow and not further diminish, then we need to stand behind [Obama]. Good luck with your life, Mr. Colichman. I hope you get to sleep well at night after McCain becomes elected. Shame on you."
    I hope you get to sleep well at night?

    Sheesh. What do they think McCain is going to do to them?

    This identity politics stuff just gets crazier and crazier.

    By the way, Bush got 25% of the gay vote, and I think McCain is better on gay issues generally than Bush was. In 1999, for example, he said that he would be "comfortable with a homosexual as president of the United States."

    I'm sure there are people who find such blatant tolerance very threatening.

    And some of them are gay activists....

    posted by Eric at 04:29 PM | Comments (3)

    An Idea Bomb

    I'm afraid that's about the best I can do with "Obama Biden."

    (And I already repent....)

    HT Ann Althouse.

    posted by Eric at 02:22 PM | Comments (3)

    Ephemeral thoughts on Glenn Reynolds' birthday

    It's August 27, which according to astrological tradition, is Glenn Reynolds' birthday.


    While I'll spare readers my customary "666" nonsense (as well as evil shirts and crossed swords), I will note that on this date last year, Coco was in heat on Glenn's birthday, and in the middle of amorous pursuits. This year she's a bit more subdued....


    I can't blame her. Maybe I should devote more time to topics more in line with the purported classical traditions of this blog. Like astrology, for example. As today is the birthday of the blogfather, what could be more relevant than, say, a look at what the planets were doing on the day of Glenn Reynolds' birth?

    Here's a scan of an official ephemeris for August, 1960:


    To see Glenn's aspects, you have to scroll down, you have to know what you're doing as an investigative astrologer (most importantly, you need to know the exact time of day of his birth), and above all, you have to believe!

    Now, there's no way Coco could find any of that boring. Furthermore, not only does it fit with the classical theme of this blog, but the classical theme also ties in with the politics of today! That's right. Barack Obama has decided to deliver his speech from a miniature Greek temple! I kid you not:

    DENVER (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

    The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos' National Football League team plays.

    Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

    He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor.

    The show should provide a striking image for the millions of Americans watching on television as Obama delivers a speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination.

    Wow. That's so classical, it might even be classical plagiarism. But it's not all that original, because the Romans plagiarized the Greeks centuries before Obama's natal chart was even a hint of an appearance of a future aspect.

    One of these days I'll have to check out Obama's ephemeris. (Presumably, it's not a forgery....)

    Hey, come on folks, get with the program. This is not just about Glenn Reynolds. Or Coco. Or even classical themes. Lots of people care deeply about such issues. I mean, like, check this out:

    The astrological chart of Barack Obama shows he is a Leo. It isn't simply a matter of his having the Sun in Leo, although he does. The Sun is also strongly dignified; has no dispositor detracting from it and is the hyleg according to Bonatti's method of calculation. And he also has Mercury in Leo.
    Mercury in Leo? I thought the Democrats wanted to get Mercury out of everything. (Sorry, but the environment is a serious issue, and I take it seriously.)

    It all has to do with why Obama wants to rule the world!

    Even those people with only a small allocation of Leo want to rule the world, although that might be only the small world they live in. Of course, not everyone can. In this case, the big question on everyone's mind is whether Obama has enough of that leonine energy to make him an effective leader in the bigger world.

    What we can be certain of is that a Leo quality underpins much of what he does and is integral to Obama's image and what he can achieve professionally. Leos commonly do well in public life. They have a particular type of charisma that appeals to the world at large.

    Leo is a sign that requires full expression of a healthy ego. Sometimes, this can cause conflict, especially when we consider the Aquarius ascendant. However, Obama's Sun is in the sixth house of service, showing that he needs to develop his ego in a way that serves others.

    Well, none of that was mentioned in Hillary's speech last night. And I think it's being systematically kept out of the mainstream media too.

    Uh, oh.

    Looking closely at Glenn's ephemeris, I see that he too has (gulp!) Mercury in Leo.

    Well, I guess someone has to rule the world....

    (If you think this is bad, I happen to have a very valuable book which really has the lowdown on Obama's Sun-Moon combination. Depending on the time of day he was born, his profile is titled either "The High and Mighty" or "The Con Artist," and yes I am serious. Glenn is either "The Tranquilizer" or "The Sly Fox," but as I don't know the time of day of his birth I'll stay the hell out of it. There are some things we're better off not knowing....)

    MORE: Speaking of faux Greek temples, Glenn accuses those who do not like them of being "homophobes."

    Worse yet, in another post he goes out of his way to promote the beastly 666 meme.

    Tranquilizer? Or Sly Fox? He may take many forms. Beware!

    MORE: There's been a lot of discussion about the appearance of Obama's faux Greek temple. From the looks of the picture here, I think it looks a lot like the Greek Theater in Berkeley:


    Wouldn't be the first time the Dems have plagiarized Berkeley.

    And yes, anyone who doesn't like it is probably a homophobe!

    posted by Eric at 10:37 AM | Comments (3)

    Covering A Convention

    Stephen Green explains what it is like covering the DNC.

    To give you an idea, gentle reader, what a political convention is like, I've had a total of seven hours sleep in the last two nights, I've walked about ten miles, acquired a VERY nice tan, attended I don't know how many protests, filed two video reports, taken several hundred pictures, ridden four trains, driven about 300 miles, and consumed Alex Jones's weight in vodka. And now I'm stuck on a sofa waiting for a woman I can't stand to say uninteresting things about a party I won't vote for this year. THAT'S what it's like covering a convention.
    If you got 'em smoke 'em or drink 'em as the case may be. It numbs the pain.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Obama Has Friends

    One of them is Alexi Giannoulias.

    Giannoulias also hosted a fund-raiser for Obama in Chicago in September, 2007, omitting it from his public schedule and keeping it closed to the press. Could it be that Obama didn't want the press asking questions about a New York Post article published that same morning entitled "Obama's Mob-Tie $idekick"?

    The NY Post story references the many questions about Giannoulias' ties to organized crime through Broadway Bank, a Chicago bank that his family owns and where Alexi Giannoulias listed himself both as President and as Chairman of the Board on FEC filings surrounding the campaign contributions mentioned above.

    According to a Chicago Tribune article from 2006, Giannoulias "has faced questions about the bank's multi-million dollar loans to Michael Gioranago, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution ring promoter." Barack Obama was quoted in the article as saying that he "is concerned by revelations that the bank owned by Illinois Democratic treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias' family gave loans to a Chicago crime figure and said the candidate owes him and the public a full accounting."

    The leaks are appearing faster than Obama can keep up. Heck I can't even keep up. Fortunately there are lots of other bloggers poking holes in Obama's campaign.

    Oh. Yeah. Why did this come up?

    "We congratulate a fellow Greek-American, Alexi Giannoulias, for being selected as a speaker at the Democratic National Convention," said Gulas. "His place in the national spotlight is a testament to his rising star in the field of politics. It is also uplifting to see the pride he has displayed in his Greek heritage, and his strong desire to give back to the community."
    Isn't the old rule to beware of Greeks bearing gifts? Not in Chicago. The political motto of the town is "Ubi Est". It isn't Greek, but it will have to do.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:58 AM | Comments (2)

    Ayers Airs Opinion On Kerry

    H/T The Belmont Club

    posted by Simon at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

    Where There Is Truth There Is Fire

    Larry Johnson is having a look at the response by the group running the Obama/Ayers ad to the suit filed with the Justice Department asking them to block the airing of the ad.

    The Obama Memo argues initially that AIP's substantial and thorough 167-page documentation and research in support of the Ad, which was provided to your station and publicly posted on the AIP website ( was provided for the purpose of 'hiding the truth' or attempting to confuse station managers regarding the Ad. The purpose of the documentation is, of course, the opposite.

    My client was well aware of the need to carefully and thoroughly research and substantiate every assertion in the Ad, which is exactly what has been done. The research document in your possession includes the full articles and transcripts, not excerpts or headlines. Every statement in the Ad is clearly stated, with the documentation for that statement furnished in its entirety.

    By contrast, the Obama Campaign has furnished as its 'documentation' to refute the Ad a two and one-half page memorandum, with twelve footnotes, three of which are to AIP's own research. None of the articles in their entirety were furnished, which would disclose that the 'sources' for the assertions in the Obama Memo include editorials by left-wing writers and publications, one transcript with an incorrect date, all without authors or titles of the articles, and none of which include the context of the statements cited to refute the factual statements in the Ad.

    The Obama campaign asserts that the ad is "a malicious attempt to link Senator Obama to domestic terrorist activities." The Ad does absolutely nothing of the sort.

    Instead, the Ad discloses information that is factually accurate regarding William Ayers and his domestic terrorist activities including bombing the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon among other government buildings and targets. The fundamental information in the Ad discloses the relationship between Sen. Obama and Ayers, asking why a candidate for President of the United States chooses to associate himself with such an individual -- ever.

    A 167 page document backing up every assertion in the ad. That is what I call fact checking.

    The serious attacks on Kerry didn't begin until after the Democrat convention. It appears that the Democrat convention is not helping Obama. I think he is headed for a disaster of historic proportions and that it will poison the well for the Democrats for at least a generation. The Democrats could easily lose the House and might have a serious set back in the Senate as well.

    And what will be the new conventional wisdom? McCain Democrats.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:36 PM | Comments (1)

    Diplomacy By Other Means

    I was visiting Althouse and came across this comment by a guy bashing Republicans:

    They prefer war to diplomacy
    Just anther instance of the left not getting it.

    War is diplomacy by other means - Clauzwitz.

    See, it works like this - if you have a carrot and a stick you can accomplish more than if you have a carrot alone.

    And if all you have is a carrot and the other guy has a stick you are at a serious disadvantage. Such a situation is referred to as appeasement.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:08 PM | Comments (6)

    "Hillary is right!"

    And using her ad against Obama is just plain mean!

    posted by Eric at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

    What if Ayers really is mainstream?

    That last post leaves me wondering about the "housecleaning" identified by Hot Air, and my question about why the Obama campaign would scrub its characterization of Bill Ayers as "mainstream."

    Especially because I enjoy playing Devil's Advocate, it occurs to me that perhaps I should take another look at Barack Obama's position. The question is not whether his Factcheck website said that Bill Ayers is mainstream, for it did say that, and the Obama campaign is by no means alone in maintaining that Bill Ayers is mainstream. Obviously, if he is mainstream, that would appear to help Barack Obama (at least to the Obama campaign), because any associations between them would have been between a mainstream guy and an up-and-coming politician.

    So why would the campaign scrub the contention that he was mainstream, and replace it with a quote from someone else saying he's mainstream?

    Is Ayers mainstream or is he not?

    I think the answer is that experienced and powerful Democrats fear that he may very well be mainstream, and that this makes the Democratic Party look bad.

    Think about it. If it is "mainstream" to be an unrepentant terrorist who tramples the American flag and regrets not bombing enough, that is hardly an indictment of "the 1960s" (for the man has not changed his radical views), nor is it merely an indictment of Barack Obama.

    It is in fact a horrendous indictment of what is apparently part of the Democratic Party's "mainstream."

    So what if the Obama is right, and an extreme radical like Bill Ayers really is part of the "mainstream"?

    The implications for the Democratic Party are very ugly.

    Political dynamite.

    No wonder the quote was scrubbed.

    We can't have voters think that unrepetentant terrorism and extreme anti-Americanism might be part and parcel of the Democratic Party mainstream.

    UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds, Shannon Love hits the nail on the head:

    ...the real troubling aspect of the Obama-Ayers relationship is that Obama comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts.
    Anything out of the "mainstream," perhaps?

    posted by Eric at 02:43 PM | Comments (3)

    "Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it?"

    Asking such a question can apparently lead to legal trouble.

    Amazingly (and stupidly, IMO), Barack Obama's campaign is taking legal action against a group which produced a video asking that question. The video (claims the campaign) is malicious and false.

    "Barack Obama is friends with Ayers, defending him as, quote, 'Respectable' and 'Mainstream,'" the group's ad states. "Obama's political career was launched in Ayers' home. And the two served together on a left-wing board. Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it? Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?"

    In a letter to station managers, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer wrote: "Your station is committed to operating in the public interest, an objective that cannot be satisfied by accepting for compensation material of such malicious falsity."

    Bauer also wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John C. Keeney, noting that the ad is a "knowing and willful attempt to evade the strictures of federal election law."

    The campaign's aggressive tactics could draw more attention to a subject the campaign wants to go away. On Tuesday, the University of Illinois at Chicago will make available records of Obama's service on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The group was set up to improve the city's schools. The documents could shed further light on whether Obama and Ayers had a relationship.

    I've watched the video carefully, and I'm at a loss to discern precisely what the Obama campaign contends is "false."

    Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

    At Obama's "Factcheck" website, this claim is made (all in caps):

    And later from an AP report, there's this:
    "Ayers is now mainstream..."
    Writing in the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby quotes this from the Factcheck site:
    His campaign issued a 1,300-word "fact check" pooh-poohing his connection to Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn (another former Weathermen terrorist), as "phony," "tenuous," "a stretch" - but simultaneously defending them as "respectable fixtures of the mainstream in Chicago."

    NOTE: That last quote (which has been cited by others) appears to have disappeared entirely from the Factcheck site. At least I can't find it there.

    No, it is not there. A little "housecleaning" went on, says Hot Air.

    Well then, are we allowed to ask why?

    Who will check Obama's Factcheck?

    Jacoby, of course, questions just how "mainstream" and "respectable" Ayers or his views are -- and he notes (as have others) that Obama's career was launched in the Ayers and Dohrn's home:

    The key facts, reported by Ben Smith in, are these: Barack Obama's political career was launched in Ayers's and Dohrn's home, when a group of "influential liberals" gathered in 1995 to meet the young organizer who was Illinois lawmaker Alice Palmer's chosen successor. In the years that followed, Obama and Ayers would serve together as (paid) board members of the Woods Fund, a leftist Chicago foundation, and appear jointly on academic panels, at least one of which was organized by Michelle Obama. Ayers would even donate money to one of Obama's political campaigns.

    Arguably, none of this would matter if Ayers and Dohrn had long ago repudiated their violent extremism. But they have always refused to apologize for their monstrous behavior. "We weren't extreme enough in fighting against the war," Ayers told the Chicago Tribune in 2001. In a memoir published that year, he exulted: "Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon." America, he said after Sept. 11, "is not a just and fair and decent place. . . . It makes me want to puke."

    Is this Obama's idea of "respectable" and "mainstream" political thinking? If so, doesn't that tell us something about his judgment and standards?

    So I'm just not seeing falsity in the above video.

    Maybe the objection is to this question:

    Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it?
    But such a question is not "false," nor is it "malicious"; it's a question.

    I think it's a good question, and one which will continue to be on a lot of voters' minds.

    And it has never been answered. Instead, Obama has tried like hell to imply that he hardly knew Ayers, and the evidence is growing that he knew him well for many years, and worked with him closely:

    ...the so-called "Fact Check" at the Obama website does not disclose that Obama and Ayers worked together on a failed education reform project from 1995 to 2001, and had probably first teamed up on education reform in 1987.

    2. Set aside the fact that Obama was a mere lad when Ayers was setting bombs; today Ayers is an unreconstructed hard-left radical with dramatic views on education and society - as he explained to Hugo Chavez during a speech in Venezuela in 2006, "La educacion es revolucion!"

    Obama worked for five years with Bill Ayers on education reform while they were both with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Are we being asked to believe that, just as Obama initially claimed to have been unaware of Jeremiah Wright's views, he was also unaware of Ayers current radicalism?

    Yes. We are not merely being asked to believe it, we are being told to believe it.

    Or else.

    Those who ask questions may face a Justice Department investigation.

    MORE: Some good advice from Michelle Malkin on the above video:

    Spread the ad far and wide. Will they come after bloggers next?

    Shut us up?

    No, they can't.

    Via Glenn Reynolds

    MORE: And here's Ace on Obama's claim that the ad is "despicable":

    Obama says the ad is "despicable."

    You know what's despicable, Barack? Befriending an unrepentant terrorist who still supports violent terrorist bombing against your country, Barack.

    posted by Eric at 12:51 PM | Comments (7)

    Racist Republicans imply that Obama is black!

    When I read about Barack Obama's half brother living in poverty in a shanty area in Kenya, it occurred to me that the contrast between the two might become an issue in the campaign. After all, imagine what would happen if it were discovered that John McCain had a half brother living in squalor somewhere. As it is, the Obama team is tearing into McCain under the class war / Zero Sum theory that his wife's property ownership makes them somehow guilty of being rich at the expense of the poor, and he's even being savaged because his wife's sister was left out of her father's will:

    Does anyone think if Mr. McCain had a sibling living in a trailer park making minimum wage (892 times more than Mr. Obama's half brother's yearly income) that the mainstream media and the Obama campaign wouldn't notice?

    In fact, last week National Public Radio ran a piece titled, "Cindy McCain's Half Sister 'Angry' She's Hidden," highlighting that Mr. McCain's wife's half sister was left out of her father's will. The piece was duly filed under the publicly funded network's "conservative compassion deficit" media template.

    So clearly, the McCains are held to be responsible for the circumstances of their relatives and they get no breaks. In politics, there's nothing new about this; back in the 60s, even the sacrosanct Kennedy clan faced criticism when it was discovered that Jackie's schizophrenic cousin and her mother lived in a decaying, animal-infested house which drew scrutiny from local health authorities. Jackie went in and helped clean up the place herself, and it's all detailed in the film Grey Gardens.

    While I don't think it is fair to be held responsible for the circumstances of people beyond your control, such "responsibility" is part and parcel of the liberal philosophy, and for any presidential candidate to escape scrutiny resulting from the plight of an impoverished relative would be abnormal in American politics.

    What's utterly new is the idea that such run-of-the-mill political criticism is to be considered "racist" -- at least if the candidate is Barack Obama.

    It did not take long for this meme to be applied to discussions of Obama's impoverished brother:

    ...On the same day that the Obama campaign was sprucing up Michelle's values for popular consumption, the Texas Republican Party released an ad that showed Obama's nice home in Chicago and a picture of his half-brother in Kenya standing by a shanty. The explicit argument of the ad was that Obama says he wants to help American families but does nothing to help his own. The implicit message: he's BLACK and his brother is an AFRICAN. In the weeks ahead, the Obama camp may well face a blitz of negative attacks that could make the Swift Boat assault against John Kerry look like a day at the beach.

    Can warm-and-fuzzy beat mean-and-nasty-and-racist?

    Got that?

    It is now mean and nasty and racist to point out that Obama's brother lives in squalor. That's because such criticism contains the "implicit message" that Obama is black.

    Forgive me, but since when does the fact that Obama is black need to be implied? I'm a bit confused here. I know that there are racists in this country who think being black is bad and would not vote for Obama for that reason, but is that the sort of thing racists point out by implication? Can it be that David Corn is assuming that there are still racist voters in America who don't realize that a black man is running for president, but they'll be "awakened" to that fact by "implicit messages" involving an impoverished African brother?

    I don't think so. Rather, I think this is evidence of a new standard that any criticism of Obama conveys the "implicit message" that he is black.

    That's because your typical white person is implicitly mean, nasty and racist.

    UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all.

    Comments appreciated, agree or disagree.

    posted by Eric at 10:54 AM | Comments (24)

    Dave Matthews is the Anti-Christ

    I don't actually believe in the Anti-Christ, but I've just been made aware of a conspiracy so dark and so ugly that I had to share it with the world: Dmitry Medvedev is actually 90s has-been faux-rocker Dave Matthews. My girlfriend pointed it out, and I was stunned to learn the truth!


    If you're not convinced, then consider this description of Dave Matthews from the Best Page in the Universe (and who can argue with that?):

    His music can be heard in Whole Foods stores, Live Earth concerts, or blasting from the speakers of open-topped Jeeps parked on curbs everywhere. The typical fan is either some dude wearing khaki cargo shorts replete with dangling rock climbing hooks, even though he doesn't hike because he can't afford to drive his gas-guzzling Jeep, or some chick with huge boobs, buck teeth, and an ankle-length floral skirt that she twirls around like an idiot because she thinks her awesome boobs give her enough social capital to make up for the buck teeth and hairy toes (they don't).

    We already know about the dark secrets of the Whole Foods organic empire, and what could be more militaristic than the co-opting of the Jeep, not to mention their military style garb? And just what sort of gas are these Dave Matthews fan using in those Jeeps? You better believe it comes from mother Russia!

    Now here's where their program gets a little tricky: trading in social capital? When capital becomes social, that way leads communism, my friends. Or should I say comrades?

    Now I'm sure there are still a bunch of godless skeptics out there who will still have their doubts (even with the incontrovertible photographic evidence above!) and so I will leave you with this: Dave Matthews and Dmitry Medvedev have the same initials: D.M. which also happens to be the abbreviation for Dungeon Master!

    Think about it!

    posted by Dennis at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

    Hide The Message

    James Carville, Bill Clinton's political strategist and a pretty smart guy, says the Democrats need to get on message. If they can find one.

    (CNN) -- Have the Democrats wasted the first night of the convention?

    Yes, says Democratic Strategist and CNN contributor James Carville.

    Speaking on CNN, Carville said the party was too soft in its attacks on John McCain Monday night -- the same mistake, Carville says, Democrats made at the 2004 convention.

    "The way they planned it tonight was supposed to be sort of the personal -- Michelle Obama will talk about Barack Obama personally, Ted Kennedy was a very personal, emotional speech," Carville said. "But I guarantee on the first night of the Republican Convention, you're going to hear talk about Barack Obama, commander-in-chief, tax cuts, et cetera, et cetera."

    "You haven't heard about Iraq or John McCain or George W. Bush -- I haven't heard any of this. We are a country that is in a borderline recession, we are an 80 percent wrong-track country. Health care, energy -- I haven't heard anything about gas prices," Carville also says. "Maybe we are going to look better Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. But right now, we're playing hide the message."

    Carville also said the party needs to do a better job of communicating its message to the American people.

    "If this party has a message it's done a hell of a job hiding it tonight, I promise you that," he said.

    So far McCain has done a pretty good job of attacking what message is out there. Take this ad about taxes. McCain is framing Obama's message for him. And if you have been watching McCain ads there is a constant theme through the ads. Obama No. A take off on the "NObama" bit you see around the net a lot.

    Pollster Frank Luntz made a similar point. He said Obama must change his message. I think it is more fundamental than that. He has to get one.

    The results of a focus group held by Frank Luntz, the leading American pollster, on the eve of the Democratic convention should sound alarm bells for the Obama campaign after a month in which Mr McCain, the Republican, has drawn level in the polls.

    "The way that he gets here to the Democratic nomination - 'change' - is not how he gets there, to the White House," said Mr Luntz. "If it's change, by itself, he will fail. Change what? Change how? Change why?" Mr Luntz is a Republican but his work on focus groups is respected on both sides of the aisle.

    Some 21 carefully-selected undecided voters were gathered in a conference room in a downtown skyscraper. Observed by The Daily Telegraph and a small group of other media through a one-way mirror, they were grilled by Mr Luntz about their views of the candidates in a two-hour session.

    The focus group wanted to know what kind of change? To me, the most interesting point the focus group brought up was this one:
    The Obama ad that attacked Mr McCain for having seven houses and not being able to recall the number fell flat. But Mr McCain's response ad that highlighted a land deal Mr Obama had struck with Tony Rezko, a real estate dealer subsequently convicted of corruption, prompted more than half the dials to shoot up.

    A couple of the voters suggested that Americans did not resent wealth. "I really don't care how many houses you have but it does matter how you got that house," said Doug.

    America is not a class warfare country. Obama's problem is that his base of operations in Illinois was a class warfare enclave. I don't believe that his political training in Marxism or his base on the South Side of Chicago fits him to win an election let alone govern.

    It may very well be, given his proclivities, that hiding the message is his best tactic. It doesn't appear to be a winning one.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

    The Rapier Vs The Bludgeon

    Bill Bradley is having a few words about the Obama vs McCain Campaigns and thinks because McCain is not getting much Shrinking Media attention for his campaign videos that McCain is losing the fight.

    And naturally the conventional media doesn't link to the ad ... Doh!
    Except 45% of the public get their information from the internet. And it doesn't cost McCain a nickel to get his message played. All he has to do is make an ad. If his team is good it might cost $1K a second. $30,000 for a 30 second message. He is cranking through 2 or 3 of them a day. That is about 10% of his daily budget. The rest can be spent on ad buys for the videos that work.

    The Obama team doesn't get a YouTube campaign. Obama is still Web 1.0. McCain is Web 2.0. Obama needs to get some young people on his team to explain it to him. McCain is running a 10 Mbaud campaign. Obama is running a 56K baud campaign. That is a 20X bandwidth advantage.

    The McCain team has responses out in hours. Obama is taking days. In the words of fighter pilot Boyd - McCain is inside his OODA loop. If you read Boyd - lots of stuff on the www - you will understand McCain's campaign. Obama is not responding fast enough. It gives McCain an "unfair" advantage.

    Take my blogging at Classical Values. I have 2 or 3 McCain videos to choose from every day. He puts them out, sees what sticks, and hammers that message until it gets stale and then he is off in another direction. All he has to do to gauge his effectiveness is watch the hit counters at YouTube. Much cheaper than poling or focus groups. And faster.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:00 AM | Comments (4)

    PUMAs Strike Back

    posted by Simon at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

    The Ad Obama Doesn't Want You To See

    Senator Obama has some associations he is not proud of. He wants to keep the above ad off TV. So obviously it is time to make the ad go viral. Email it to a friend. Heck. E-Mail it to an enemy. You can never get too much exposure for this sort of thing.
    Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire's efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads.

    Obama's campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the "American Issues Project," the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign -- and tens of thousands of supporters -- also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks.

    Like all attempts at suppression it will backfire. The 'net routes around damage.

    If we make it enough of an issue on the 'net it will become a news item and get free exposure. The best revenge.

    And just who is William Ayres? A picture is worth 10,000 words:

    William Ayres

    H/T Sara

    posted by Simon at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

    Obama supports genocide -- against black people?

    Considering that Barack Obama has many flaws, and plenty of questionable associations, there are many excellent arguments which can be advanced against his candidacy. However, I don't think the argument that he advocates genocide against black people is one of them.

    Jeffrey Kuhner of the Washington Times, however, thinks Obama's support for abortion is a betrayal of black people, as well as a form of "genocide":

    Mr. Obama may not be willing to betray his feminist base, but he is willing to betray African-Americans - his most loyal and devoted supporters. Abortion disproportionately impacts blacks compared to white women. Although blacks constitute roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, 37 percent of all abortions are performed on black women, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that specializes in sexual health. Since Roe v. Wade, more than 10 million black pregnancies have been aborted (some watchdog groups put the figure closer to 13 million). America's current black population stands at 36 million. Abortion has claimed the lives of about one-third of the black community. This is genocide. For Mr. Obama to not speak out about this national scandal is a disgrace - both to him and his party. It reveals, like nothing else, that he lacks the moral clarity and courage to lead this country.
    You don't have to oppose or support abortion to see the bad logic at work here. No one is forced by the government to have an abortion. If we assume the sake of argument that abortion is murder, by deciding to terminate pregnancies, black mothers are murdering their their own babies. Regardless of how immoral this is considered to be (or whether should be illegal), to call it "genocide" makes no sense at all. Genocide is the deliberate extermination of one race by another.

    As to the argument that black mothers "murdering" their babies in numbers disproportionate to the number of murderous white mothers, wouldn't it be necessary to examine the relative pregancy rates to be sure about how disproportionate that number is?

    I'm not quite sure who is supposed to persuaded by this "genocide" argument, or of what. Considering the many good arguments which can be invoked against Barack Obama, what's the goal? I mean, it's not as if the anti-abortion people were planning to vote for Obama, and I don't think it will make a dent in Obama's strength among black voters.

    I think this may be another example of what I called "the PETA Principle" at work.

    posted by Eric at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

    Just one more layer to the conspiracy!

    911 Truthers will not buy this, but rationally minded people should: the NIST has had what should be the final say on the collapse of WTC 7.

    Evan at the Rogues Gallery has an excellent post highlighting the findings along with several sad examples of Truther denial and paranoia.

    Here's the link, but for some reason the whole Rogues Gallery seems to be broken, so I'll reproduce the post below:

    Continue reading "Just one more layer to the conspiracy!"

    posted by Dennis at 12:33 PM | Comments (6)

    Applying "unfair" fairness to unfair comparisons

    Never willing to be ignored, pop star Madonna has entered the political fray to help Obama's campaign in the most dramatic way possible. At the kickoff to her concert tour in Denver, she graphically compared McCain to Hitler, and Obama to Ghandi:

    DENVER, COLORADO (AFP) - John McCain's campaign has hit back at Madonna after the pop diva kicked off her world tour with a concert that bracketed the US presidential candidate with Adolf Hitler.

    McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds angrily condemned the segment of Madonna's concert in Cardiff on Saturday that appeared to draw a comparison between McCain, Hitler and Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe.

    "The comparisons are outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive all at the same time," Bounds said in a statement reported by Fox News.

    "It clearly shows that when it comes to supporting Barack Obama, his fellow worldwide celebrities refuse to consider any smear or attack off limits."

    Madonna's apparent swipe at McCain came during a performance of the song "Get Stupid", when the Republican contender's image was flashed up alongside images of destruction and global warming as well as Hitler and Mugabe.

    Towards the end of the song, pictures of Beatles star John Lennon, former US vice-president Al Gore, Indian Mahatma Gandhi and McCain's Democrat rival Barack Obama appeared.

    I don't know how much this will hurt McCain or help Obama. Their mutual supporters aren't going to change their minds, and I just can't see ordinary people suddenly exclaiming, "I see it now! McCain is Hitler!"

    Plus, there's the long-established rule that "in the future, everyone will be Hitler for 15 minutes."

    There's something in the logic behind these comparisons that doesn't make sense, though. I mean, the Hitler comparison is overtly hostile to McCain, while the Ghandi comparison is overtly supportive of Obama, right? This means depicting McCain as Hitler (in a Nazi uniform) would be seen as hostile to McCain, right?

    So does that mean it's OK to depict Obama as Ghandi -- half-naked, wearing that piece of cloth for which Ghandi was noted?

    Not on your life. If someone put Obama in "Ghandi garb," you can bet his supporters would yell foul, with predictable charges.

    Why, they might even think Obama was being compared to this Ghandi.

    MORE: And what about this picture of Nancy Pelosi?


    Achtung baby!

    posted by Eric at 09:56 AM | Comments (2)

    Denver Is Only One Mile High

    posted by Simon at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

    Rachel Hoffman Drug War Casualty
    Part 1

    Part 2

    Reason Magazine has an early report.
    Earlier this year, police in Tallahassee, Florida raided the home of college student Rachel Hoffman, who friends say was a bit of a hippie-ish free spirit, and concede that she shared and sold small amounts of marijuana and MDMA within her social circle. Hoffman was at the time undergoing state-forced drug treatment after police found 20+ grams of marijuana in her car during a traffic stop. The raid turned up another five ounces of marijuana, plus six ecstasy pills and assorted pot-related paraphernalia.

    From this, Tallahassee police apparently threatened Hoffman with prison time, then agreed to let her off easy if she'd become a police informant, and set up a deal with her supplier. They never informed Hoffman's attorney or the state prosecutor of the arrangement. They wired Hoffman, and asked her to arrange to purchase 1,500 ecstasy pills, cocaine, and a gun--a deal that would have run well over ten thousand dollars. Hoffman's friends and family have told me that all three purchases would also have been drastically out of character for her. Which means the dealers she was buying from were almost surely on to her.

    Tallahassee police found Hoffman's body last week. The first thing they did was call a press conference in which they blamed Hoffman for her own death, stating that the arrangement she made with the police was consistent with department protocol, and that she agreed to meet with the dealers in a different location than the one previously agreed upon.

    After public outrage, the city is now walking that back a bit, and has asked Florida's attorney general to look into the Tallahassee Police Department's procedures for dealing with drug informants.

    I think Radly Balko has it totally correct when he says it is
    Proving once again that the most dangerous thing about illicit drugs like ecstasy and marijuana isn't the drugs themselves. It's what the government does to you after you're caught with them.
    Watch the videos here or at ABC News. The police chief is obviously scum of the earth. How does the man live with himself? And will he or the other police involved be prosecuted for breaking the rules? Don't make me laugh. Worse, don't make me cry.

    Rachel's Parents intend to use the tragedy of their daughters death to get the laws changed. Including decriminalization of marijuana.

    The Tribune noted that "Mike Weiss, Hoffman's stepfather, said he wants police to stop saying Hoffman broke protocol He asked how Hoffman could understand how important protocol is and how an untrained civilian could understand how to protect herself in such a situation. 'The reality is, untrained civilians of any age should not be put in that position by a police force,' he said. 'They took a 23-year-old relatively naive person and put her in a life-threatening situation.' Hoffman's mother, Margie Weiss, said she is forming a foundation to push for a requirement for confidential informants to seek legal advice before consenting to undercover work. It also would work to get marijuana convictions decriminalized. 'Her death will make history,' she said. 'It's a great loss. The only way I can make sense of it is by now having her memory live on.'
    Good for them. It is the best way to honor their daughter and all the children of America. It is a crime that we are chasing down people and putting them in jail or in the case of Rachel killing them for a drug that is safer than aspirin. Insane doesn't even begin to cover it. Criminal is more like it.

    posted by Simon at 04:02 AM | Comments (4)

    US Flotilla Transits Turkey Arrives In Georgia

    I'm going to go into some detail on the ships which is interesting in and of itself. However, the most interesting part to me is that the warships had to transit Turkey to arrive in the Black Sea. That I believe is the most critical development in the region of Georgia. Turkey is supporting Georgian independence from Moscow. By treaty they are supposed to allow small warships to transit the Straights of Bosporus. However, they made no diplomatic representation such as "We deplore the build up of Naval power in the region". I must say that it is a most welcome yet unexpected development. It also means that flights from Turkey to Georgia are also assured. Further it means that the Ukraine can be defended from Russian moves.

    Here are the ships involved according to The US Navy.

    BATUMI, Republic of Georgia (NNS) -- USS McFaul (DDG 74) pulled into the port of Batumi, Georgia, Aug. 24 to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to the country as part of the larger United States response to the government of Georgia request for humanitarian assistance.
    There will be a total of five ships including the USS Mount Whitney and USCGC Dallas.
    The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas (WHEC 716) and USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) have also on-loaded humanitarian supplies destined for Georgia. Dallas left Souda Bay, Crete on Thursday with more than 76,000 pounds of relief supplies and will arrive in Georgia within a week. U.S. Navy C-9, C-40 and C-130 aircraft have flown tens of thousands of hygiene kits into the country over the past week.
    The USS Mount Whitney is a rather interesting ship. Here is a description given by the US Navy:
    MOUNT WHITNEY (MTW) serves as the Command Ship for Commander, SIXTH Fleet/ Commander, Joint Command Lisbon/Commander, Striking Force NATO and has a complement of 150 enlisted personnel, 12 officers and 150 Civilian Mariners from Military Sealift Command. MTW was the first U.S. Navy combatant to permanently accommodate women on board.

    MTW carries enough food to feed the crew for 90 days and can transport supplies to support an emergency evacuation of 3,000 people. The ship makes 100,000 gallons of fresh water daily and carries over one million gallons of fuel, enough for a round trip, 16 knot, 35 day voyage from Norfolk, Virginia to Mozambique in the Indian Ocean. The ship's two anchors weigh 11 tons each and are attached to 180 fathoms (or 1,080 feet) of anchor chain. Each chain weighs almost 25 tons. Total electrical capacity is 7,500 kilowatts, a sufficient amount to power a small city.

    The ship's afloat communications capability is second to none. MTW can receive, process and transmit large amounts of secure data from any point on earth through HF, UHF, VHF, SHF, and EHF communications paths. This technology enables the Joint Intelligence Center and Joint Operations Center to gather and fuse critical information while on the move. As the most sophisticated Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) ship ever commissioned, MTW incorporates various elements of the most advanced C4I equipment and gives the embarked Joint Task Force Commander the capability to effectively command widely dispersed air, ground and maritime units in an integrated fashion.

    If it was refueled before entering the Black Sea it could support operations independent of land based supplies for quite some time.

    Note that with the length of anchor chain supplied it could anchor in 250 to 350 feet of water. i.e. it doesn't need to be in a harbor to anchor.

    So what kind of ship is it? In simple terms it is a floating command post. What does it represent in strategic terms? A challenge to Russian supremacy in the Black sea.

    Want to hear a Russian General whine about the American forces being moved into the Black sea? I knew you did.

    The deputy chief of Russia's general staff suggested that the arrival of the ship and those of other NATO members would increase tensions in the Black Sea. Russia shares the sea with NATO members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria as well as Georgia and Ukraine, whose pro-Western president also is leading a drive for NATO membership.

    "I don't think such a buildup will foster the stabilization of the atmosphere in the region," Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn as saying Saturday.

    If by "stability" he means Russian Control I think he is totally correct. However, had Russia wanted stability I don't think they should have gone around whacking their neighbors.

    What would the Russian objective have been? Control of the pipeline passing through Georgia. They didn't get it. That means they spent a fair amount of military resources and are not going to get any long term profit from it. In fact they will have the cost of maintaining their troops in a hostile territory. The odds are they will be pulling out as soon as they can do so without losing much face.

    How do the Georgians feel about the arrival of the American Navy?

    At dockside in Batumi, with the McFaul anchored offshore, U.S. Navy officials in crisp white uniforms were met Sunday by Georgian officials, including Defense Minister David Kezerashvili.

    Speaking to The Associated Press on the aft missile deck of the McFaul, anchored a mile offshore, Kezerashvili said Georgians would feel safer now.

    "They will feel safe not because the destroyer is here but because they will feel they are not alone facing the Russian aggression," he said.

    And how about the US Congress? Do they get it? Indeed they do. At least a little bit.
    In another sign of U.S. support for Georgia, Republican Senator for Indiana Richard Lugar met with the nation's leaders in Tbilisi. He urged European leaders to cut their dependence on Russian energy imports.

    ``It is imperative that the EU minimize energy dependency upon Russian gas and oil resources, even at this point, it is important for the United States to maintain a dialogue on the energy resources,'' he said.

    Indeed it is a necessity. So where will the supplies come from to support Europe down the road? It seems to me that it is critical for the US to start exploiting its vast untapped oil reserves. Drilling, mining and refining US oil is way more profitable than fighting wars over it. Besides, better the Euros spend their money with us than with the Russians or Iranians. Oil at $70 a bbl. will lead to a much more peaceful world than oil at $140 a bbl. Now all we have to do is get the Democrats on board or replace them.

    In the long run we will have to get off oil. In the mean time there is no point in fighting wars over it.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:21 AM | Comments (4)

    Another day, another uncomfortable "association"

    M. Simon sent me an email link to a remarkable (apparently true) revelation about Barack Obama's Communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis.

    If this account is correct, in an autobiography the man admitted to sex with a 13 year old. A girl, by the way. While more people would be upset had this happened with a boy (not sure about the logic behind that), pedophilia is still pedophilia. I've known pedophiles, but their activities disgust me, and I tend to agree with M. Simon, who said this about the Davis matter:

    I have nothing against kinky sex. Some people like it. Most others don't. And America is a free country. We have room here for all kinds. However, statutory rape seems to be pushing the envelope a little far.

    The question for me is: was Obama a not only a willing student of Frank's Communism, but also involved in his other educational activities?

    Replying to Simon's email, I asked,
    While associating with pedophiles does not make a person a pedophile, is it presidential?
    Again, the association thing. Sure, I can associate with anyone I want, but I'm not running for president.

    And if Frank Marshall Davis was Obama's mentor, we're talking more than an ordinary association.

    This kind of stuff is decidedly uncomfortable (at least it makes me uncomfortable), and it's beginning to have an cumulative effect.

    You know, an uncomfortable association here, an uncomfortable association there, and pretty soon voters might start getting uncomfortable...

    MORE: Here's Chris Muir's "Day by Day" on the latest news about Frank Marshall Davis:


    posted by Eric at 06:26 PM | Comments (9)

    Defying the forces of shame?

    After having been castigated for being uncertain about exactly how many houses (or how much real estate) his wife owned, John McCain has now spoken up in his own defense. I was delighted to see that he took issue with an idea that there's something wrong with his wife inheriting property:

    "...I am blessed and very proud that [his late father-in-law] Jim Hensley, a war hero, a man who barely graduated from high school, was able to pass on to his daughter what he struggled for and saved for. That's the ambition that all of us have for our children and grandchildren. If someone wants to disparage that, they are free to do that."
    Well, good for John McCain!

    Implicit in (and inseparable from) the attacks was the Marxist notion that property and money are evil, that the more you have the more evil you are, and that unearned property is more evil (and thus more deserving of shame) than earned property.

    Americans forget that the ability to bequeath or give away whatever property you have does not make the property evil; it's a basic attribute of property ownership under a free economic system.

    What you cannot alienate freely is not yours.

    This has traditionally gone to the heart of a major distinction between the parties, with the Democrats taking the position that citizens are allowed to have only that property that the government allows them to keep. This fosters resentment towards those who have more wealth, by making it look "unfair."

    Even Republicans (especially some of the red-meat conservative commentators) succumb to this disease; I cannot count the number of times I have seen Democrats and liberals attacked or shamed for having wealth. Usually this takes the form of calling them "hypocrites" for having their own money while advocating taking it away from other people, and while I understand the temptation, the logic is similar to the way the left attacks conservatives caught engaged in sex acts of the sort they'd publicly disapprove. However true the claim of hypocrisy may be, it is a bad tactic for three reasons:

  • it bolsters the Marxist position that wealth is evil; and
  • buttresses the undeserved feelings of guilt from which too many wealthy liberals are already infected; and
  • advances insidiously the mistaken (in my view) notion that Christian economic principles are in accord with Marxist doctrine.
  • The latter is especially true when the attacks on wealth are mounted by Christian conservatives. For some reason (perhaps because of the remark about how it would be harder for rich people to get into heaven), some Christians see Jesus as being philosophically opposed to wealth.

    Hmmm.... I guess they're also supposed to cringe in the face of bumperstickers like the one I saw yesterday which said "Who would Jesus bomb?" (Sometimes I worry that certain Christians want a more Mohammad-like interpretation of Jesus, but that's as disturbing as it is off-topic.)

    The point is that opposition to wealth has an ugly toehold in American culture, and unfortunately it crosses the political spectrum. It would not surprise me to learn that wealth or class-based attacks have been mounted against Cindy McCain even from right wing commentators, but I'm in no mood to check. (It might upset me.)

    I'm just glad to see McCain's statement of support for economic freedom.

    MORE: Dick Polman advises populist Democrats to "employ this shorthand at every opportunity":

    Out-of-touch McCain is so rich, he doesn't know how many houses he has.
    I wish I could say that it's bad advice.

    Unfortunately, class warfare populism has a long history as an effective tactic...

    posted by Eric at 10:10 AM | Comments (7)

    Obama Chicago Gang Connection?

    I have been looking into a possible Obama - Chicago gang connection. So far all I have to go on is rumor and the knowledge that gangs such as the El Rukns and the Black P. Stone Nation are very big in Chicago politics. Then there is the Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr. connection to Obama and Jesse Sr.'s brother in law Noah Webster.

    I'm going to give you some of the rumors. If any one has anything more definite please leave a comment.

    From the comments at Byron Crawford:

    I was telling you guys ass that Hussain Obama was right in the thick of that Chicago shit that bol is talking about. It was right after he graduated from college.

    He got his first job in the inner city of Chicago and was very friendly with all the muslim influenced brothers.

    Jesse Jackson declares support for Obama in 2007 - wiki

    Jesse Jackson and Obama's nuts:

    Plus, I haven't forgotten that a few years ago, Bill O'Reilly was trashing JJ because he refused to release financial statements from PUSH, Operation Breadbasket, and the Rainbow Coalition. Plus, plus he knew that his son, Jesse Jr. is a co-chair on Obama's campaign.
    From a comment at Michelle Malkin
    I guess after getting the endorsement of the infamous gang banging "Almighty Black P. Stone Nation" formly known as the "Black Stone Rangers." Obama pretty much has Chicago all wrapped up

    Why hasn't the media reported on Obama's and the reveren Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright connection with the "Almighty Black P. Stone Nation."

    From the comments at Black America Web:
    fbi files show a tie between rev wright & chicago black terror gang 'the el rukns'
    El Rukn - Libya Connection

    Jesse Jackson and the El Rukns

    Obama's Environment - the Criminal Gangs of Chicago's South Side.

    What would I look for in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records? For disbursement to Chicago Street Gang Fronts.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:01 AM | Comments (9)

    Ask The Iraqis

    In a posted opinion piece "Biden pick shows lack of confidence" a pundit suggests that Biden brings a lot to the table in terms of national security credibility.

    Biden brings a lot to the table. An expert on national security, the Delaware senator voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq but has since become a vocal critic of the conflict. He won praise for a plan for peace in Iraq that would divide the country along ethnic lines.
    The Iraqis seem to have a different opinion of the plan.
    BAGHDAD - Senator Joe Biden may be one of the only U.S. politicians that can get Iraq's feuding Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish politicians to agree. But not in a good way.

    Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

    "This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

    "We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

    And yet he is supposed to shore up Obama's lack of foreign policy credibility. That hope seems rather incredible to me.

    H/T Instapundit and Sara

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:18 AM | Comments (0)

    Waiting To Cross The Line

    No Quarter has this interesting bit of gossip:

    I asked a friend who knows someone who has seen the video to Michelle Obama making disparaging remarks about "white" folks. You know, those angry God hugging, gun toting mouth breathers. He wrote me the following:
    But there is a very strange air about Republican operatives. In the last three weeks, I've talked to real insiders in VA, GA, AL and here. They all remind me of a unit waiting to cross the line of departure on an attack. Quiet, determined, last cigarette, last "can of peaches out of the ration," radio checks, confident. They all use the term "safely nominated" when referring to Obama.
    Six more days and then the real fun will begin. McCain has blunted Obama's momentum. Obama's troops are now milling aimlessly at the front waiting for supplies and new orders.

    Once the counter attack begins it will be a slaughter. First a slash through the front lines and then tanks rampaging in the rear through the administrative troops.

    For more of the military metaphor re: Obama see Housing War.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers. You might also like Obama Chicago Gang Connection?

    posted by Simon at 04:10 PM | Comments (22)

    Best way to triangulate McCain's aisle crossing

    I'm thinking that Obama's pick of Joe Biden doesn't go far enough.

    To really beat McCain, Obama needs to pursue a strategy of annihilation by total triangulation.

    As I pointed out in a comment to Simon's post,

    I'd feel more comfortable if Obama had reached across the aisle and chosen a man with hands-on experience. There being no limit to how many terms a Vice President can serve, the obvious choice would have been...

    DICK CHENEY of course.

    Hey why not?

    After all, they're known to be related.

    Why not keep things within the family?


    I don't see how it could fail.

    posted by Eric at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

    Puzzling sign in workers' paradise

    One of the strangest things about Ann Arbor is the presence of ubiquitous signs like this one:


    They're right in my neighborhood, but the reason I didn't have a photograph of my confused self standing in front of one with Coco is that I don't have an available photographer right now. But trust me. They are there, and they don't make sense.

    They've been the subject of a number of articles -- some noting that the signs are only likely to increase accidents and deaths.

    Amy Alkon has also noted the signs, and while she came to no definitive legal conclusions, she seems to think intent to injure or kill is required.

    Do you really need to know that bad things will happen if you injure or kill a construction worker? Like, "Aw, shit, I was going to pick off the foreman until I learned about the $7500 fee."
    I was trained as a lawyer, and from a legal perspective, these signs make no sense at all, so I don't think I can come to any definitive conclusions. Apparently, Michigan has a law giving special protection to workers. I haven't been able to find the exact law yet so I can read the text, but a workers bureaucratic group claims the signs are "misleading." (Perhaps they are, but that hasn't caused them to be taken down.)

    At least one online analyst says that intent does not matter:

    The "kill a worker" law has no provisions for intent or no intent. In other words, it doesn't matter if the SUV driver intended to kill or not - he still killed her and could still be charged with the "kill a woker" felony in addition to vehicular manslaughter charges.
    Damn. If that's true, I think it's harsh, and probably unconstitutional. What if the driver who hits the worker was hit from behind? What if his brakes or steering suddenly failed through no fault of his own?

    And what if the "worker" is at fault? Sheriffs' departments routinely make juvenile delinquents put on orange vests and pick up trash along roadways, and I assume that they are workers. What if two of them get into a scuffle, and one pushes the other out into traffic and he gets hit? Is it fair to punish the driver?

    Should "workers" be entitled to special protection not afforded ordinary citizens? Why should a city worker repairing a sidewalk crack in front of my house receive special protection I don't get if I'm repairing the same crack?

    Perhaps this will lead to new identity politics victims rights initiatives. Many bankers work in buildings located on busy streets, and bankers are under a lot of pressure these days. Plus they're hated even more than street workers, and I see no reason why they shouldn't be entitled to the same degree of legal protection.

    What about smokers? Under many city ordinances now, workers who smoke are forced to go outside onto dangerous public streets and sidewalks. And like street repair people and bankers, many people hate smokers. Why no sign for them?

    Hell, we even warn motorists not to hit deer! And we close roads to protect newts, don't we?

    Anyway, this is getting complicated, and I don't know which sucks more; the law or the sign.

    But the "worker" business (especially the socialistic implications) bothered me so much that I wanted to alter the sign and put the word "BANKER" in its place. But alas! There's no "B" ready to copy and paste and I'm at least as busy with other things as I am lazy with my fingers.

    So this will have to do:


    I know it's one letter off, but come on!

    At least it gives a general idea.

    (If I really had time, I'd have changed it to "BUREAUCRAT," because I think they're the ones who deserve the credit for this nonsense.)

    posted by Eric at 10:22 AM | Comments (7)

    Bye Bye

    posted by Simon at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Who Will Answer The Call?

    So who will be answering the 3 AM phone call in an Obama Administration?

    Joe Biden

    posted by Simon at 09:25 AM | Comments (2)

    Decisions, decisions...

    Well, it's official. Joe Biden is Barack Obama's vice presidential choice.

    Barack Obama picked Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate, choosing a long-time Washington insider who could balance his thin resume on foreign policy over younger politicians who could have amplified the Democratic presidential candidate's message of change.


    Sen. Biden, who has been in the Senate for more than 30 years, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and recently returned from war-torn Georgia, which he visited at the behest of that country's president. Sen. Obama, by contrast, is a freshman senator who is regularly attacked by his Republican opponent, John McCain, for his lack of foreign policy experience.

    Polls have consistently shown voters trust Sen. McCain more than Sen. Obama on foreign policy and national security issues.

    I guess the hope is that Obama will absorb his running mate's foreign policy experience through a process of ballot osmosis.

    Interestingly, Biden has been a critic of Obama. Quite a critic:

    Sen. Biden is a two-time presidential candidate himself, and during his short-lived run in the current cycle, he was at times critical of Sen. Obama's foreign policy bona fides. That will be a staple of Republican attacks in coming days. After news of the Biden decision spread, the McCain campaign issued a statement saying: "There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama's lack of experience than Joe Biden. Biden has denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing -- that Barack Obama is not ready to be President."
    However, Biden did famously allow that Obama was "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man." (Well, at least he didn't say "fairy tale." But I'm glad all is forgiven now.)

    Commenting on a video (a McCain ad, no less!) documenting the Biden-Obama animosity earlier this morning, M. Simon opined,

    The choice of Joe Biden for VP on the Obama ticket is a sign of desperation.
    The sign of desperation I'd like to see would be Barack Obama for VP on the Biden ticket.

    And what about the Democratic rejects?

    (Maybe McCain could use a good man like Hillary.)

    MORE: Here's Jennifer Rubin:

    the selection of Biden as VP seems to cast doubt on the entire premise of the Obama campaign which is that experience doesn't matter. If we are back to including that criteria why not select the more experienced candidate for the top spot? It won't take very long for the McCain camp to point out that Obama's own underwhelming record compares unfavorably to his own VP. (We will also be treated to a good share of "His VP is smarter than he" clips, highlighting the areas of disagreement such as the initial Iraq war vote.) And Biden is not exactly a "safe" pick. If a secret ballot were taken among pundits and politicial office holders asking, "Which politician is most likely to make a jaw dropping, news cycle-stopping gaffe?" Biden would like be the unanimous winner. For a presidential candidate with a gaffe problem of his own, Biden might magnify this unwelcome attribute. Late night comics and pundits are already tabulating their top ten list of favorite gaffes, but it is no laughing matter for Obama who is struggling to get back on message and convince the voters he is ready for primetime.
    Read it all.

    And don't miss Pajamas Media's coverage of reactions with "It's Biden! The Fun Begins." Like this gem from Jonah Goldberg:

    "I think it is an outright terrible decision on Obama's part to pick Biden. Yes, he helps balance Obama's inexperience on foreign policy, but he also reminds people of it. Yes, Biden could conceivably be effective as an attack dog. But Biden is such a gasbag he makes the Hindenburg look like a sack of rocks."

    MORE: Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of reactions, including his own:

    He's at least as fresh a face as Madeleine Albright.
    But does Madeleine Albright have hairplugs?

    Also, Glenn quotes Richard Miniter, who thinks Biden is like McCain:

    "Biden is almost a 'neocon' in his foreign policy views. He voted for the Iraq War in 2002. . . . Does his elevation by Obama signal that that the Obama campaign is backing away from its timetable to withdraw from Iraq? Does Biden's position differ significantly from McCain's? Isn't he, in fact, closer to McCain's view on Iraq than Obama is?"
    Closer, but again, there's a sharp distinction over the hairplug issue...

    posted by Eric at 09:07 AM | Comments (2)

    Respectable Terrorism

    Tom Maguire at Just One Minute has lots more on the Obama/Ayres relationship here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here. Whew. And that is just in the last week.

    Update: A little more on Ayres' educational philosophy. Scroll down.

    posted by Simon at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

    Obama Lacks Experience

    The choice of Joe Biden for VP on the Obama ticket is a sign of desperation. I think I'm going to go over to DU and Kos to see if I can capture the howling. If I get anything tasty I'll do a post.

    posted by Simon at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

    Hunger Stalks Iran

    Yesterday I did a piece on the decline of the fortunes of Iran and its best buddy Hizballah No Deal. Today I got some news that fleshes out the story.

    Since the 2008-09 marketing year began on June 1, Iran has bought more than one million tons of hard red winter wheat directly from the U.S., which is "a very large amount," said Bill Nelson, analyst for Wachovia Securities. The purchases mean at least 3% to 4% of domestic wheat exports for the marketing year will go to a country the U.S. hasn't done business with for more than a generation. Government sanctions don't prohibit U.S. agricultural exporters from doing business with Iran.
    This is the first time since '81 - '82 that Iran has bought wheat from America. At that time it was under a million tons. This year's purchase is expected to run 5 million tons. So what happens when you have to buy food from your enemy to keep going? Obviously bellicosity has to decline. And you pull in your cats paws like Hizballah. No point in upsetting the grain cart when there are no other sellers. Another humiliation for the poor dears. It just points further to the Iranian Government's mismanagement of the Iranian economy. My guess is that drought is an excuse not a reason.

    Investing in missiles and atomic bombs does not feed the hungry. Water projects should be taking priority.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:27 PM | Comments (3)

    They Are Burning The Houses

    Michael Totten reports from Georgia

    On Monday, I visited one of the schools transformed into refugee housing in the center of Tbilisi and spoke to four women--Lia, Nana, Diana, and Maya--who had fled with their children from a cluster of small villages just outside the city of Gori. "We left the cattle," Lia said. "We left the house. We left everything and came on foot because to stay there was impossible." Diana's account: "They are burning the houses. From most of the houses they are taking everything. They are stealing everything, even such things as toothbrushes and toilets. They are taking the toilets. Imagine. They are taking broken refrigerators." And Nana: "We are so heartbroken. I don't know what to say or even think. Our whole lives we were working to save something, and one day we lost everything. Now I have to start everything from the very beginning."
    Imagine how desperate the Russians and Cossacks must be to steal the toothbrushes and toilets and what low lifes they are.

    Michael has more. Read It All.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)

    The "PETA Principle" (how activists undermine consensus)

    In a marvelous essay about the animal rights organization PETA, Michele Catalano touched on two of my pet peeves -- animal rights and the tendency of shrill activists to drive ordinary people away by dominating issues they might support.

    PETA's current attempt at activism only made me shake my head in dismay.

    Who are they trying to reach with this? If PETA is attempting to convert people to veganism or, at the very least, get carnivores to think twice about eating meat, they are going about it the wrong way. The problem with such activism is it preaches only to the choir. No sane person is going to be moved by an ad equating the tragic beheading of a young man with eating breakfast sausage. Not even a person teetering on the border between chicken and tofu would look at something like this and say, "Well , my mind is made up. This upstanding, honest, respectable organization has convinced me with their well thought out Mommy Murders Animals comic book!"

    Nothing new for an organization which has compared eating animals to the Holocaust (the "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign), or the slaughter of animals to the torture and enslavement of black people.

    It's standard activist fare. The irony is that most Americans abhor cruelty to animals, and they might be inclined to support organizations working to prevent it. But once they learn that the goal of many of these organizations is to outlaw meat-eating and virtually all ownership of animals including dogs and cats, they do the only sane thing, and run. Unfortunately, this lets the hardest hard-core activists have the playing field all to themselves, which is great if you're a hard core activist, but not the best way to get results on consensus issues.

    Just as most Americans oppose animal cruelty, most oppose late-term abortions, as well as uncontrolled immigration. But what happens if they try to get involved?

    Once again, they are driven away by what I might as well call the "PETA Principle." You want to oppose late-term abortion, you'll soon find that the people and organizations who dominate the playing field see their issues the way PETA sees theirs. Just as PETA thinks "a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy," those who dominate the anti-abortion debate think a morula is a blastocyst is a baby is a Supreme Court justice. And they also believe that RU-486 is just like Zyklon-B, and pharmacists who dispense it are little Himmlers. Ditto border control. The people who want draconian measures (or who believe in a vast North American Union conspiracy) will alienate ordinary people, and thus prevent the majority consensus goal of basic border control from ever being achieved.

    In a way, I can't blame the activists. If they were careful not to drive ordinary people away, majority consensus on these issues might be obtained.

    And who would pay attention to the activists?

    posted by Eric at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)

    Housing Problems

    The RNC has a page up covering Obama-Rezko Shady Deals.

    H/T Pal2Pal

    posted by Simon at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

    Immorally unowned property?

    I find it extremely annoying that the question of how many houses John McCain owns would be of any more interest to anyone than how many shares of stock he owns, how many cars, how many suits, how many websites, or how many guns.

    Anyway, when asked the question, McCain said he wasn't sure ("I think -- I'll have my staff get to you..." "It's condominiums where -- I'll have them get to you.") -- not because he is senile or out of touch as the Obama campaign is implying in its ads, but because he apparently doesn't own any houses.

    They are all in his wife's name. But even then, it's not clear to reporters who investigated how many there might be:

    The correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, according to his staff. Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties.

    A politico analysis later in the day found McCain's family owns at least eight properties, according to property and tax records, as well as interviews.

    Because of the inability of most people to readily understand the complexities of real estate investing, a question like that is that is an absolute set-up. There was no way McCain could answer it and not provide the other side with a dirty opportunity to make him look like either:
  • a liar if he said "four";
  • a rich gigolo living off his wife if he said "my wife owns four houses and I own zero"; or
  • a man out of touch with his own financial realities for not knowing.
  • For years I lived in a house owned by a trust in which I was a trustee. Did I own the house? Frankly, I don't know. What is "own"? And what is a house? The question of how many of Cindy McCain's seven or so properties have "houses" or how many "houses" there are, would probably depend on how "house" is defined. Is a trailer a house? A small caretaker's building?

    I suppose if McCain had really wanted to get cute, he could have winked at the reporter and said "depends on who owns the word 'own'," or "I don't own my own house."

    If they really are in his wife's name, perhaps he's what amounts to a tenant at will. In common parlance, a "crasher." And isn't that just a nice way of saying "homeless"?

    Which means that the question becomes, is America really ready to elect a homeless man president?

    Shouldn't we instead elect "a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon"? "A guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people 'cling' to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship"?

    I don't expect McCain to make a wisecrack about being homeless, though. The "homeless" have become one of America's sacred cows. (We like to watch them wander about as if to provide a source of sanctimonious pontification -- as if poor personal hygiene, schizophrenia, and substance abuse are a housing crisis.)

    The people who obsess over how many houses McCain or his wife might own are people who buy into the notion that private property is somehow immoral.

    I know I've said this before, but think about it. People hate (or feel guilty about) unearned wealth. But unless it was earned by crime, property is not immoral.

    Unfortunately, millions of unthinking people are conditioned to believe it is. What I'm having trouble understanding is why that wouldn't that make McCain the more virtuous candidate for not actually owning any houses.

    There is a distinction between "unowned" and "unearned," is there not?


    (Perhaps I'm wasting my time trying to analyze why unthinking people think what they think.)

    UPDATE: Recognizing the perils of the question, Richard Miniter has an excellent analysis of the "how many houses" nonsense, and he concludes that McCain should have just said his wife owns them all:

    Here's two truths that the McCain campaign can't say: one, it is Cindy McCain's money and not his. Therefore, he doesn't know how she spends it. It is possible, even likely, that the senator has not even been to all of these houses. Most likely they are investment properties, which have full-time tenants. As for the homes that the senator and his wife actually use... let's say it is three. If McCain says three and it turns out there are two or three or four more investment properties, then it looks like he lied about something he should automatically know the answer to. He is too smart a politician to guess. So the classic senatorial "check with the staff" dodge. Maybe Cindy's accountant knows...


    ...McCain had one good answer open to him when asked how many houses he owns: None. My wife owns them all.

    A lot of guys can identify with that.

    Read it all.

    posted by Eric at 09:16 AM | Comments (5)

    The only people who actually need to "define rich" are the folks who are trying to establish a threshhold for redistributing your money.

    Commenter JM hanes at Just One Minute

    posted by Simon at 06:29 AM | Comments (1)

    No Deal

    The deal brokered in Lebanon to end Muslim on Muslim violence is off. Maybe way off.

    Several Sunni factions in Lebanon announced Tuesday night that they are freezing a truce they had signed with Hizbullah a day earlier.

    The agreement, intended to defuse sectarian tension, prohibited any Muslim group from attacking fellow Muslims.

    "The agreement will be temporarily frozen pending appropriate circumstances that allow for its implementation," Sheikh Hassan al-Shahhal, who signed the memorandum with a Hizbullah official, told reporters Tuesday, according to The Lebanese Daily Star. The Sunni community, he said, needed to stand "more than ever" united and to shun divisions, while the memorandum needed further study.

    Hizbullah officials said Wednesday that they respect the groups' choice of freezing the memorandum of understanding for more discussions and revisions.

    Hmmm. Something has happened to weaken the Hizballah position in Lebanon. Meekness has never been one of their virtues. Normally a change like this would be accompanied by threats and bombast.

    It appears the correlation of forces in the world is changing. Something has shaken Iran. Could it be economic troubles?

    Tehran, 13 August: The punch line of economic models for single- product countries is that they can considerably quicken the process of non-reliance on mono-product policies.

    Fundamentally, Iran's economy relies on oil revenues. The extent of this dependence is so much that some experts believe that Iran's oil should be named 'black disaster'.

    Since the discovery of oil in Masjed Soleyman, the dependence of Iran's economy on oil sales has not decreased. On the contrary, it has increased on a daily basis and this process has gathered pace and accelerated. Based on this, when a national government with great ideals came to power, one its main mottos and strategies was the formation of an oil-free economy. Unfortunately this policy never materialized and compared to 50 years ago, the Iranian economy's dependence on oil has increased. However, oil prices and its fluctuation are also very dangerous and worrisome.

    During recent days, oil price dropped from 140 to 113 dollars in less than a week. This drop happened while three important events which traditionally were considered reasons behind the increase of oil prices occurred in the world. These events included the Beijing Olympic Games, the start of the summer season and an increase in global oil consumption, and most important of all the regional war between Georgia and Russia in the Caucasus.

    The Russian economy is also highly dependent on oil these days. Might this explain their move into Georgia? Perhaps the move was not about South Ossetia at all. Perhaps it was really an attempt to keep oil and natural gas from flowing through Georgia in an attempt to prop up world oil prices.

    Perhaps the Russians and Iranians are anticipating further drops in oil prices over the coming year. Especially since the Russian grab for the Georgian oil pipeline has failed. Maybe not totally, but essentially.

    Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the interests of the newly emerging states of the Caucasus and countries such as Ukraine and Belarus have repeatedly and fiercely clashed with those of Russia. In particular, they have competed with each other over energy resources and the transmission corridors of the former Soviet Union.

    Russian interruptions of gas supplies to Ukraine, Belarus and the rest of Eastern Europe are legion - and so are the restrictions they have imposed on the transmission of Kazakh oil to the international market across their territory. If Russia controls the flow of energy, it also has dangerous sway over the economies of Western Europe.

    The EU had been trying to wean itself off energy dependence on Moscow by developing a network of energy routes through Georgia. It's no wonder that the Russians turned their attention in that direction.

    If the Iranians are expecting further drops in the price of oil they may be cutting back on funding for their Hizballah Army in Lebanon. Armies like to be paid. Without pay they dissolve.

    Talleyrand is reputed to have said something like: "you can do anything with bayonets, except sit on them". Maybe this is one of those cases where the bayonets must be sent home for lack of maintenance.

    If America starts drilling for oil (which is looking more and more likely) it is more than possible we can put an end to a lot of unrest in the world by forcing oil exporters to focus on economics rather than war. And that may explain the changes in the correlation of forces.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

    Not Just Camping Out

    The US military has been training the Georgian Army since 2002. Us troops were scheduled to leave Georgia in March of 2009. It appears the schedule has been changed.

    During the Soviet era, Krtsanisi military base outside Tbilisi was home to the Red Army.

    Now it is US soldiers who are in charge and, according to the US Ambassador in Tbilisi Richard Miles, they are in Georgia to stay.

    In 2002 the Bush administration set up an 18-month, $65m programme aimed at training and equipping Georgia's impoverished army.

    The programme was part of America's war on terror and it started after the US confirmed Russian allegations about the presence of Chechen and al-Qaeda fighters in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, on the border with Chechnya.

    Details are still to be announced of the new permanent programme, but analysts say that any sort of US military presence is good news for the Georgian Government, which sees the US engagement as a security guarantee against Georgia's northern neighbour - Russia.

    So lets see. America will have Patriot Battery troops in Poland and a permanent training base in Georgia. What does a permanent training base mean? Airfields. And what does that portend? Fighter aircraft based in Georgia to protect supply flights. It also means that the Georgian Army can be resupplied with American eqpt. We have a lot of used eqpt in Iraq that can be transfered to Georgia once it gets replaced by new American eqpt. Nothing like second hand eqpt. to teach maintenance.

    Some how I don't think this is what the Russians expected when they moved into Georgia. It also means that Russian resupply to Iran is complicated. In case of American "trouble" with Iran.

    Last week, the Bush administration also called for Russia to remove its military and said it was even prepared to take up some of the costs needed for the relocation of Russian troops.
    Now there is something the gangsters running Russia can understand. Bribery.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Zombies On The Attack

    posted by Simon at 02:10 AM | Comments (0)

    Inside Hollywood


    Commenter Thomas says:

    Now I truly understand how liberals think. I could not understand why my opinion of an issue was always the opposite of every liberal politician. Now I know. This video is well worth 45 minutes of your time.
    Yes it is.

    posted by Simon at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)

    Housing War

    It appears that Obama is losing the housing war. You gotta go and read the whole thing esp. if you are into military history. It is fookin hilarious. The second comment is most excellent as well. Don't miss it.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

    Over Hyped

    This is an advertisement for a movie coming out just in time for the election season. If you follow the link there is a movie trailer that tells more about the movie.

    If you would like some words about the movie from the makers, here are some of them:

    HYPE: The Obama Effect examines the Junior Senator from Illinois and his record. Is he the new Kennedy or recycled Jimmy Carter? Is he the one who will finally change Washington, or will challenges like the Tony Rezko trial reveal politics as usual? Is he the uniter the country begs for, or a liberal divider? HYPE: The Obama Effect seeks the answers.

    Including interviews with political leaders, media experts, and social commentators, HYPE provides the in-depth analysis that can only occur in a full-length feature documentary. HYPE goes to Illinois and interviews those who know the Senator's record as a state legislator. Go on the road with the campaign and experience the enthralled crowds as they are consumed by the HYPE. Washington insiders analyze Senator Obama's Senate record, his views on abortion, his statements on the second amendment, his plan for a troubled economy, and his foreign policy-will the US be safer or will the US become a bigger target?

    I wonder if they will discuss his Communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis? Or the fact that he states in his autobiography that in his college years he was seeking out Marxists Professors in order to get better educated? Or how about his Marxist father? Who had little contact with him, but was a great influence none the less? Or how about his socialist mother who raised him for a time? Plus a really strange one, his socialist grandmother, who was a bank vice-president. Which is a rather odd combination don't you think?.

    posted by Simon at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

    Some things can't be vacuumed

    The Chicago Annenberg Challenge Ayer/Obama affair (discussed infra) is finally receiving national attention. More here and here. (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

    While Glenn thinks the files have probably been "vacuumed of any seriously embarrassing matter," I think it's an embarrassment that a candidate for national office worked closely for years with an unrepentant terrorist.

    Let me admit my bias here. Contemplating Bill Ayers and his evil wife makes me sick, and regular readers know that I don't say this about very many people.

    They are longtime, avowed enemies of the United States who still call this country "the Beast," and who believe in overthrowing capitalism and replacing it with Communism -- the most murderous system of government ever seen in human history. Their terrorist activities were not intended to help the poor or right wrongs, but to bring about a murderous totalitarian state -- by using murderous tactics. The totalitarian state they had (and still have) in mind was to be built on systematic state mass murder -- along the lines of Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot.

    We would neither forgive nor tolerate unrepentant Nazis or Nazi supporters or enablers. The fact that so many people are willing to look the other way in the case of Ayers and Dohrn is, I think, a national embarrassment. It's a stain on every institution which hired them and gave them tenure, and on every politician who has worked with them -- including Barack Obama.

    No matter what details the documents might contain, their very presence is an a seriously embarrassing matter which cannot be vacuumed away.

    (Any more than could the tens of millions who perished under Communism.)

    UPDATE: Roger L. Simon has a great post on the subject of guilt by association, and on Obama's obfuscation:

    I do have some feelings about past associations and what they mean from personal experience. Like it or not, to one degree or another, they are part of our fabric, though not in a simple-minded sense. Knowing communists in the past obviously does not make you one now, or then, for that matter. Nevertheless, the 1972 Roger Simon who gave money to the Black Panthers is a building block of the 2008 Roger Simon who now despises identity politics and thinks it a reactionary betrayal of black people. That past is part of my emotional and intellectual DNA. If I hid that from you, you would not understand my present, where it comes from and what it means. You would be missing important context with which to analyze my current views.

    The same goes for Obama, only his past is being shrouded by the institutions and cronies above. No matter what the truth is, this obfuscation makes it worse.

    Added M. Simon in an email,
    Sounds like he hung in the same radical circles we did.
    Without naming names or disclosing any of my past associations, I don't think I'd be very likely to get a security clearance. (I'll never forget the time I represented a prominent radical whose name is a household word, and I got an ominous call from the IRS stating, "We know what you're doing, Mr. Scheie." Which was news to me, as I never know what I'm doing!)

    Of course, my past associations (and later ones) make me a "traitor" now.

    Nothing logical about it unless you're a radical Marxist.

    posted by Eric at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

    Free Tibet
    Free Tibet
    It seems that China can't keep the Free Tibet folks down. Despite the consequences to them that could be easily anticipated.
    On Monday, "...five pro-Tibet activists unfurled a banner spelling out "Free Tibet" in English and Chinese in blue LED "throwie" lights in Beijing's Olympic Park tonight. The five were detained by security personnel after displaying the banner for about 20 seconds at 11:48 pm August 19th. Their whereabouts are unknown."

    Now these LEDs were sewn to the banner, so I'd say that technically they weren't throwies, just LEDs taped to batteries, but the protesters refer to them as throwies.

    The picture shows an interesting juxtaposition: The protest banner with "Free Tibet" in LEDs, shown with the famous Beijing Bird's Nest stadium in the background, another quite different showcase for LEDs.

    Their whereabouts are unknown. I think that says a lot about the state of political freedom in China.

    China is high tech when it comes to electronics and backwards when it comes to political freedom. Not a surprise.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:34 AM | Comments (1)

    Obama Adviser Meets Syrians

    In The Ties That Bind I discuss Russian proposals for selling nuclear capable missiles to Syria. And then I learn today that an Obama adviser was recently in Syria at an oil company sponsored conference to discuss what? Dried fruit exports? Maybe. Oil exports? Much more likely.

    Barack Obama's Middle East Policy Adviser recently discussed presidential politics with high-level Syrian officials during a conference underwritten Syrian business interests and a Canadian oil company.

    Adviser Daniel Kurtzer told the New York Sun the trip was not related to his campaign work, but that he did discuss the next president's role in Syria's relationship with Israel with Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.

    "I urged him to move ahead in the Israel-Syria negotiations as much as possible so that whoever is the next president would not start from too far down the track," Kurtzer told the Sun. "I did not say anything about Obama or McCain. I said whoever is the next president is not going to want to inherit a process that isn't going anywhere."

    The exchange took place at lawyer's conference organized by the British Syrian Society in Damascus in early July. Kurtzer was invited because he is on the board member of the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative.

    You know I don't think all the details of Obama's advisers discussions in Syria have been fully reported. But that is just me. I tend to be suspicious of Syrian intentions and the intentions of its best friend Iran. And of course who trusts the Russians these days? Iran and Syria that is for sure.

    I think we have to get serious in America and turn on the oil spigot to restrict the incomes of folks who mean us ill. Democrats - are you listening?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:53 AM | Comments (0)

    The Ties That Bind

    You have to wonder what the Russians are thinking.

    Syria's official news agency SANA announced Mr. Assad would begin a "working visit" to Moscow on Wednesday at the invitation of Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev.

    Ahead of the visit, Mr. Assad told Russia's Kommersant daily on Wednesday that his country's defence ties with Moscow, in the context of developments in Georgia, would be the main issue during his talks. "Of course, military and technical cooperation is the main issue. Weapons purchases are very important," he said, adding: "I think we should speed it up. Moreover, the West and Israel continue to put pressure on Russia."

    Mr. Assad said a new situation had arisen after Moscow came across the use of Israeli military equipment by Georgia in its conflict with Russia.

    "I think that in Russia and in the world everyone is now aware of Israel's role and its military consultants in the Georgian crisis. And if before in Russia there were people who thought these forces can be friendly, then now I think no one thinks that way."

    I think he got that right. He just got it backwards. No one in the world now thinks the Russians are nice friendly folk who just want to do business and enjoy life.
    Speaking on the conflict between Georgia and Russia over Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia, Mr. Assad said: "On this issue we fully support Russia. The war, which was unleashed by Georgia, is the culmination of attempts to encircle and isolate Russia."

    Earlier, Iran's Press TV, quoting Israeli media reports, said Russia planned to position the nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Syria. The Israeli report also said Russia could also release to Iran, the advanced S-300 missiles, which had so far been withheld.

    Analysts point out the release of advanced Russian military equipment to Syria and Iran is likely to dampen the sentiment of war against Tehran in U.S. political circles. Nevertheless, a large flotilla of U.S. British and French naval ships has been heading towards the Persian Gulf. The naval taskforce, believed to be largest in Gulf waters since the first Gulf War, includes the U.S. warships -- Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Iwo Jima.

    I did a post on that Naval movement Perhaps They Miscalculated. Then yesterday I got this e-mail from Fabius Maximus.
    Here is the final nail in the coffin of the rumor featured in your post of August 12. Is a retraction in order? (I apologize if I have overlooked it).

    This rumor was widely circulated in the Internet and in the Middle East media, so this is not a trivial issue.

    Stop the presses: no naval armada has sailed to blockade Iran!

    Summary: For a week rumors about a US armada sailing to the Gulf circulated around the Internet and in Middle Eastern media, despite having almost no supporting evidence. One of the two major sources for the "US fleet sailing to blockade Iran" story now has admitted his error. No word yet from the other (and more high-profile) source, Debkafile (does Debkafile post retractions?) or the blogs which promoted the rumors.

    He goes on about the misinformation that the inet is promoting at Fabius Maximus. Which is more or less a reproduction of the e-mail.

    Now what do I think? The Theodore Roosevelt was in port at the time I wrote my report according to sources I have found of late: i.e. comments at blogs. However, that does not in my opinion invalidate the general idea of an Iranian blockade in the works. I'd like to wait a week or three and see what happens. He may be right about no blockade. However, it seems if Iran and Syria are getting nuclear capable missiles that could lead to pre-emptive attacks by Israel and precipitate a blockade of Iran by the USA.

    It is really hard to see where this is all going. I thought it was 1936 (re:Germany France and the Rhineland) it may be much later than that - 1939 (re: Germany and Russia dismembering Poland). If so we may have a very big war on our hands. All this could have been prevented if the USA was supplying more oil to the world markets limiting the profits of our enemies Russia and Iran, not to mention our "best friend" Saudi Arabia.

    Who do I blame for this situation? The Democrats who have declared new American oil sources off limits. Had they allowed drilling and mining of new oil resources it might have defused this run up to a what appears to be a very serious oil war. Evidently they have decided that Blood For Oil is better than drilling for oil. Scum of the earth. And if a single Democrat who is against American contributions to the world oil market is left in the House after November it will just prove we deserve a world wide oil war.

    You can watch a video that gives Harry Reid's opinion of drilling for oil and the response of an ordinary citizen at Harry Reid Makes Me Sick. An eye opener.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:10 AM | Comments (3)

    Dick Hafer apparently was one

    I've stumbled onto a very entertaining and informative site that covers "political ephemera, drug hysteria, vintage sex & health items", and the latest entry is on the work of a guy called Dick Hafer. This anti-gay tract from 1986 reads like modern satire mocked up to ridicule the attitudes of the past. It's the sort of thing Mad magazine might do if they were to cook up a nutty right wing hate comic, and in many ways it reminded me of the Onion's fake editorial cartoons. I kept thinking it was tongue in cheek, but this guy was apparently the real deal. And like those ubiquitous Jack Chick tracts that you find in train stations and restrooms, this comic captured my attention for the artist's skill, determination, and sad delusion.

    What a waste, and what an odd legacy.

    posted by Dennis at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

    Revoke The Games

    In response to my post Let the Games End, commenter Karl notifies me that a petition to revoke the Winter Olympic Games in Russia in 2014 has been started.

    If you want a badge for your site this is the place to go.

    It is the least we can do.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Racist Videos -- watch at your own risk!

    Yesterday I wrote a long post about Barack Obama's long relationship with Bill Ayers. What did not occur to me was that my criticism of Bill Ayers might very well be interpreted as racist. That's because my criticism of Ayers is necessarily criticism of Obama, and all criticism of Obama is racist:

    In his color-coded article, "The Color-Coded Campaign," John Heilemann doesn't just hint that racial prejudice will prevent Barack Obama from winning the White House. He states it directly and without equivocation. The reason America's first black major party presumptive presidential nominee hasn't blown out the intractably boring and uninspiring John McCain in the polls, given "surging" Democratic voter registration and voters' disenchantment with Republicans, is his skin color.

    It wouldn't have anything to do with Obama's liberal beliefs, inexperience, gaffes, and inconsistencies, would it? No, it's because he's black, says Heilemann and other liberals. Lurking just below the surface of any white person's criticism of Barack Obama is racial bias. Heilemann's article leaves the impression that Obama longs to take the high road and rise above such distractions; Republicans and other white people just won't let him.


    I was all set to update the previous post with a couple of videos showing how unrepentant Ayers and his wife are. (To them, America remains the enemy -- "the beast" to be exact.)

    But because Ayers and Dohrn are longtime friends and collaborators with Obama, these videos probably have to be considered racist.

    Readers are warned accordingly.

    Here they're helping out Ward Churchill:

    Here's the November 30, 2007 MSU SDS Reunion:

    And here's Part 2, if you can stand another racist video ("inside the belly of the beast"):

    My apologies.

    UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has a new Insta-Poll asking readers which of the following issues they think Obama is least anxious to talk about:

  • His relationship with Bill Ayers

  • His position on abortion

  • His childhood in Indonesia

  • His relationship with Jeremiah Wright

  • Progress in Iraq
  • I picked Ayers, but it really doesn't matter, because if all criticism of Obama is racist, then so is the entire poll.

    Normally I would never have thought of abortion and Iraq as race issues, but I'm learning.

    posted by Eric at 11:41 AM | Comments (3)

    Harry Reid Makes Me Sick

    Harry Reid says coal and oil are making us sick. He has that right. High oil prices are funding jihadis and the new Russian Military machine. The high price of oil is killing Iraqis and killing Georgians. It is also severely squeezing the poor in America. And here you probably thought the Democrats were the champions of the poor. I guess he champions the right of the poor to decide if they want to eat this winter or freeze to death.

    And here we have an ordinary guy who was probably not educated in the best universities in America who gets it. He is even conversant with climate science. Something Harry would prefer we leave to the Global Warming experts.

    posted by Simon at 03:53 AM | Comments (3)

    Golly, Allah -- let us be his bestest buds!

    Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer and incoming president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, has a post about Iran's failed satellite launch, but what interests me more is the text of Ahmadinejad's desperate prayer (quoted in turn from MSNBC):

    Ahmadinejad was present at this launch on Saturday, and offered a prayer before liftoff: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O God! We beseech you to hasten the lofty advent of your heir [the hidden Shiite imam]. O God! Present him with good health and your assistance; and grant us the honor of being his best companions and to testify before him."

    Emphasis added, of course.

    Here's how I imagine the scene:


    posted by Dennis at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Let The Games End

    There is talk of denying the Russians the Winter Olympic games in 2014.

    Pennsylvania's Democratic Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz and Republican Bill Shuster , the co-chairs of the House Georgia Caucus, announced they intend to introduce a resolution when Congress returns calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to find a new venue for the winter games.

    The resolution states that the Russia's invasion of the Georgian republic makes it an unacceptable host site and notes that Sochi is located about 20 miles from the current conflict zone.

    "Russia must realize that its actions in Georgia will not be ignored by the international community. We stand by Georgia, our friend and ally, and call on the IOC to designate a new venue for the Russian Olympics," Schwartz said in a statement.

    You have to admit that having the Olympics 20 miles from a potential war zone is going to reduce the crowds. Perhaps the Russians could increase the interest by insisting on some new sports. Sports where the Russians are sure to be winners.

    If a war starts up in the middle (or at the beginning) of the Olympics, that could be especially handy for purposes of finding victims (er, contestants) for the new sports. Perhaps we could start with an Olympic roping and throat slitting contest. Or maybe a pillage and intimidation race. And for the really adventurous a rape sprint and a rape marathon. You give the woman a head start and if the male catches her it is totally free style. No killing though. That should be reserved for the throat slitting contest.

    I think this one case where it is past time for the games to end.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:20 PM | Comments (2)

    Space Without The Russians

    For about five years America is going to depend on the Russians for access to the Space Station. Suppose because of happenings in Georgia the Russians decline to do their part?

    "The new challenge we have is that for approximately five years, the plan -- which is a very bad plan but is the only plan that NASA and the administration and Congress have approved -- is to be dependent on the Russian Soyuz vehicle to get people to and from the international space station," said Tom Feeney, (R-FL). "And so now, with the political realities with Russia invading Georgia, we have a new wrinkle thrown in."
    Tom Feeney is right. It is a very bad plan. So what can be done?

    Full speed ahead with private efforts to get into space in the same way the US Government sponsored air mail contracts to get the fledgling aircraft industry off the ground.

    How about a competition to get private industry to supply the space station?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:54 PM | Comments (5)

    More than an "association"

    This is not my first post about the unrepentent terrorist Bill Ayers (to say nothing of his thoroughly evil wife Bernadine Dohrn). I've long thought that Obama's relationship with Ayers is far more serious than his interactions with Jeremiah Wright, but unlike Jeremiah Wright, Obama has yet to denounce or repudiate Ayers.

    Far from it; he's now opted for full coverup mode, and I think it's because Obama knows that his relationship with Bill Ayers has the potential to make the Jeremiah Wright affair look like a cakewalk.

    We're not talking about an outspoken anti-American preacher; Ayers is a longtime, sworn enemy of the United States who regrets that the Weather Underground did not bomb enough. I find it hard to believe that anyone in a serious position to be running for president would have a close association with such a man.

    This is not to say that I judge people by their associations. Lord knows I have associated with criminals, dangerous radicals I will not name, and people whose conduct would shock most of this blog's readers. I think it would be horribly unfair to attribute their guilt to me in any way or to make a judgment that I am a bad person because I have associated with bad people.

    But I must make two crucial distinctions at the outset between my associations and Barack Obama's. First, I am not running for president for God's sake! I've led a colorful life fraught with tragedies and mistakes, and I'm not about to consider running for anything. If I did, depending on the importance of the office, I would expect a certain level of scrutiny, and I would assume my opponent would make the most of the negatives in my past. That's just the way it is. Or at least the way it's supposed to be. (Except, it seems, in Obama's case...)

    Second, there is a distinction between associating with someone and sharing the philosophy of that person. Obama did a lot more than "associate" with Bill Ayers in the ordinary sense. They were politically associated, and the Ayers/Weather Underground variety of terrorism was absolutely, 100% driven by political considerations. When a hard core unrepentant terrorist Marxist like Ayers gets behind someone politically, makes him the Chairman of the Board of a key project (as it appears happened), and then helps launch his career in elected office, that's a lot more egregious, in my view, than if they'd merely been drinking buddies at a local bar.

    There's association, and then there's association. The sort of association which is being covered up is precisely the type of association which should worry the hell out of every voter in the country.

    Back in April (doubtless thinking this would all blow over and would never be an issue) Barack Obama made two different statements about Bill Ayers.

    From what Obama said at the debate, you'd think he barely knew who Ayers was:

    This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

    And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George.

    Obama went on to compare Ayers to Senator Coburn.

    In an interview with Chris Wallace ten days later, Obama remembered Ayers' field, but characterized him as "a 60 plus year old individual":

    Now, Mr. Ayres is a 60 plus year old individual who lives in my neighborhood, who did something that I deplore 40 years ago when I was six or seven years old. By the time I met him, he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois.

    We served on a board together that had Republicans, bankers, lawyers, focused on education, who worked for Mayor Daley. Mayor Daley, the same Mayor Daley probably who when he was a state attorney prosecuted Mr. Ayres's wife for those activities, I (INAUDIBLE) the point is that to somehow suggest that in any way I endorse his deplorable acts 40 years ago, because I serve on a board with him.

    The above is highly misleading, and as I learned yesterday from Glenn Reynolds' link to Stanley Kurtz's post, utterly conceals his major involvement with Ayers.

    That "60 plus year old individual" should have been a tip-off. What on earth does Ayers' age have to do with anything? As it happens, I'm a "50 plus year old individual." And Charles Manson (of whom the Weather Underground were unabashed admirers) happens to be a "70 plus year old individual."

    Why say something like that unless the goal is to obfuscate rather than illuminate?

    I think the evidence is becoming overwhelming that the goal is (and has all along been) a coverup.

    After reading Stanley Kurtz's entire account about the University of Illinois's "last-minute decision to block access to the documents," I was shocked that a taxpayer-funded library would be assisting a coverup involving a matter of extreme national importance as to how closely a future president worked with an unrepentent terrorist and avowed enemy of this country.

    When Obama made his first run for political office, articles in both the Chicago Defender and the Hyde Park Herald featured among his qualifications his position as chairman of the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a foundation where Ayers was a founder and guiding force. Obama assumed the Annenberg board chairmanship only months before his first run for office, and almost certainly received the job at the behest of Bill Ayers. During Obama's time as Annenberg board chairman, Ayers's own education projects received substantial funding. Indeed, during its first year, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge struggled with significant concerns about possible conflicts of interest. With a writ to aid Chicago's public schools, the Annenberg challenge played a deeply political role in Chicago's education wars, and as Annenberg board chairman, Obama clearly aligned himself with Ayers's radical views on education issues. With Obama heading up the board and Ayers heading up the other key operating body of the Annenberg Challenge, the two would necessarily have had a close working relationship for years (therefore "exchanging ideas on a regular basis"). So when Ayers and Dorhn hosted that kickoff for the first Obama campaign, it was not a random happenstance, but merely further evidence of a close and ongoing political partnership. Of course, all of this clearly contradicts Obama's dismissal of the significance of his relationship with Ayers.

    This much we know from the public record, but a large cache of documents housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), is likely to flesh out the story. That document cache contains the internal files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The records in question are extensive, consisting of 132 boxes, containing 947 file folders, a total of about 70 linear feet of material. Not only would these files illuminate the working relationship between Obama and Bill Ayers, they would also provide significant insight into a web of ties linking Obama to various radical organizations, including Obama-approved foundation gifts to political allies. Obama's leadership style and abilities are also sure to be illuminated by the documents in question.

    I won't quote the whole piece, but they're refusing to allow access to these documents, and Kurtz asked for help:
    Please consider contacting the president of the University of Illinois system, B. Joseph White, to ask him to take immediate public steps to insure the safety of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge records, to release the identity of the collection's donor, and above all to swiftly make the collection available to me, and to the public at large. You can find an e-mail link for White here. Telephone, fax, and mailing addresses for White's offices can be found here .

    414 Administrative Office Building, MC-760
    1737 W. Polk St.
    Chicago, IL 606l2
    Phone: 312-413-9097
    Fax: 312-413-8301
    364 Henry Administration Building, MC-346
    506 S. Wright St.
    Urbana, IL 61801
    Phone: 2l7-333-3070
    Fax: 217-333-3072

    B. Joseph White

    White has an impressive background, and does not appear to be a hack, so I thought I would call the Urbana campus, which is his headquarters.

    I was referred to Thomas Hardy in the University Relations Deparment. He stated that the records were "provided as a gift" and that the University had not known that anyone had been looking at them until recently. Whereupon the University "realized that a deed of gift had not been finalized." They are (says Hardy) "not sure what circumstances were and why the deed was not provided," but he said they "would work to get documents finalized," either by working with donor or if things cannot be worked out, they'll return the documents to the donor. The University's position is that it does not own the documents, and thus cannot make them available.

    I don't know the law in this area, but it strikes me that if something is put in a publicly-funded library for a period of years, at some point it ought to cease being private property. I also doubt very much that the University goes out of its way to check for a "deed of gift" document every time someone wants to look at an item in its repository.

    Furthermore, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was a non-profit charity, not someone's personal business records. Presumably, there's some sort of duty of accountability anyway -- regardless of where the records are located.

    Stanley Kurtz has an update here which reflects pretty much the same position as what Mr. Hardy told me.

    Kurtz also links Steve Diamond's most recent post on the subject. Diamond -- who has been repeatedly credited as the first to expose the close and lengthy working CAC relationship between Ayers and Obama is all over the University's lame "deed of gift" claim as a legalistic subterfuge:'s not the crime, it's the cover up and now the University of Illinois has provided the cover up.

    Ironic, that a public university would attempt to prevent a legitimate author and journalist - with a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard to boot - from accessing documents legitimately housed in their library. Ironic, and possibly illegal.

    The flimsy manufactured excuse - most likely provided to the library by the University's general counsel - is that the University does not have a "deed of gift" which the university contends is required for it to, legitimately, claim possession of the archived material.

    Unfortunately, this is a bad reading of the law.

    As Diamond makes clear, what is being covered up might not only shed light on the nature of Ayers and Obama's work together, but also on who instigated the coverup -- and why:
    ...the larger question here is - why the concern? why the alarm bells? why the cover-up? is it simply because Dr. Kurtz is with National Review, the conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley?

    One remaining possibility, of course, is that somehow word that there was interest in the materials was leaked to Bill Ayers, who conceived of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, co-authored the original successful $49.2 million grant proposal, and then co-chaired the key operative body of the CAC, the Chicago School Reform Collaborative. The original CAC offices were housed in the same building as Ayers' office, rent free courtesy of the University. That was also where Ayers housed his Small Schools Workshop, headed by his old SDS buddy, the Maoist Mike Klonsky, which received a $175,000 grant from, you guessed it, the CAC, whose board was chaired by Barack Obama.

    Ayers has been pretty mum of late and maybe quite nervous about the possibility that a close look at the day to day records of the CAC will reveal more about what I have already found out: that he and Barack Obama had a close working relationship during the life of the CAC. The CAC actively and aggressively intervened in a major political war going on in Chicago in the mid 90s over school reform - against the goals of the powerful Chicago mayor, Richard Daley.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Amazing. The mere possibility that a candidate for president worked closely, for years, with an unrepetentant terrorist on an issue of mutual concern, and that the terrorist himself could cause a university to cover it up -- that ought to be huge news, by any standard.

    As the saying goes, the coverup is worse than the crime. But if Diamond is right, what's being covered up might be pretty bad.

    Unfortunately for Senator Obama, what might only stink in Chicago - a relationship with an ex-terrorist who had an authoritarian agenda in mind for Chicago school kids - is far more damaging on the national political scene.
    I don't how most voters will take this, but for me the idea of a guy like Bill Ayers taking over Chicago's public schools (the goal being a transformation "similar to efforts by regimes like those in Nicaragua under the Sandinistas and Venezuela under Chavez to impose control over teachers and their independent unions by an authoritarian regime") is unimaginable.

    If Obama assisted Ayers and his radical efforts, little wonder there's a coverup. He'd better pray that the coverup works, because if middle America ever gets wind of it, he'll never be elected president. Nor should he be.

    There's a lot more to this than guilt by "association." It's called involvement.

    What's being covered up might be more damaging than the coverup itself.

    (I know the usual rule is that the coverup is worse than the crime, but I think this might be an exception.)

    ADDITIONAL NOTE: For most of the above links to Steve Diamond's posts, I'm indebted Tom Maguire, who has been all over this, and who credits Diamond for breaking the story.

    MORE: Another thing that should have been a tip-off was Obama's characterization of Ayers as a "professor of English." Not only is Ayers well known as a professor of Education, but their their long association together -- in the field of education -- makes it virtually impossible for Obama to have forgotten Ayers' field.

    I suppose it's possible that Obama misspoke, and said "English" when he meant "Education." But the idea that he didn't know Ayers' field was is laughable.

    UPDATE: Tom Maguire has more on the coverup, and thinks Obama might not want the public to know anything about the Obama-Ayers educational effort because it was a flop:

    ...why the cover-up? My guess is that the Obama campaign recognizes that education reform is a hot topic with voters everywhere. Obama, the man with limited executive experience, might not want to highlight his executive belly-flop here, undertaken in partnership with a hard left unrepentant domestic terrorist. But that is just a guess.
    (Via Glenn Reynolds.)

    I think it's obvious that Obama does not want voters to know about his close working association with Ayers or the fact that their joint effort ended in failure. But if Steve Diamond is right, might not success have been even worse?

    Can't this still be spun to Obama's advantage? I'm not running the Obama campaign for him, but maybe the voters should be happy that thanks to Barack Obama's "help," an unrepentant terrorist failed to take over the Chicago public school system!

    UPDATE: Don't miss Tom Maguire's Pajama's Media piece, "Obama, Ayers and the Annenberg Challenge Cover-Up."

    posted by Eric at 05:11 PM | Comments (5)

    Little Fusion Hits The WSJ

    Read the article at the Wall Street Journal. My friend Tom Ligon is featured as well as Richard Hull. Read the back story on how the article came about at Talk Polywell.

    You can follow developments in this line of research and McCain's interest at: Fusion Report 13 June 008.

    You can also read more about Tom Ligon's efforts at World's Simplest Fusion Reactor Revisited.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control


    posted by Simon at 01:24 PM | Comments (9)

    Captured By Little Oil

    Commenter Schwimmer at my post Democrats Strike Out had this to say:

    And so it begins. The party which has controlled the White House for the past 8 years and which has controlled Congress for the past 12 of 14 years is now the party of new ideas. The Democrats are rightfully trying to pursue an energy policy that will bring immediate relief as well as long-term solutions. They are doing so in a measured, thoughtful manner. The GOP is only trying for a last-minute land grab for Big Oil, prior to November when they will go into political irrelevance for the next decade or so.
    Well Schwimmer it looks like the Democrats have been captured by little oil.

    See you in November.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 12:47 PM | Comments (4)

    Captured By Big Air

    I was commenting at Althouse about Obama's performance on the stump:

    Without a script Obama is a doofus.
    Another commenter popped up with this gem:
    Really? A doofus? You've been watching to many "Leave it to Beaver" reruns.
    So I responded (I can't resist a set up).
    And Obama is still a doofus when he has to speak off the cuff.

    Did you know we could save two trillion barrels of oil (the amount of American oil shale) by just inflating our tires? That is a heck of a lot of inflation.

    I think Obama has been captured by Big Air. I guess that would make him an airhead.

    H/T Insty

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 12:44 PM | Comments (2)

    If you're like me

    (and who isn't) you may not have read the Bleat in too long a time. Well, here's one worth reading (though you'll want to skip down a bit past the candle):

    Well, let's see what's up with the Old Scout this week. Garrison Keillor's column - America's most peculiar example of a fine writer willingly demonstrating his shortcomings as a short-form essayist - begins with this startling observation:
    "People accuse us old liberals of smarmy self-righteousness and God knows they are right."

    They do? They are? People accuse self-righteous people of self-righteousness; seems to be enough to go around regardless of one's opinion on regulation and taxation, but I suspect he's winding up to a justification, not a condemnation.

    It's all good fun and sage words on things political.

    posted by Dennis at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)

    "They've got a whole machinery that they're cranking out"

    Barack Obama is doing his best to link John McCain to a vaguely labeled "machinery," and he just can't stop talking about a certain "book." Better worry, because things could get ugly:

    Things could get ugly in the coming weeks, he warned.

    "They've got a whole machinery that they're cranking out," Obama continued. "They've got a book about me, that just kind of sprung full bore out of this guy's head."

    "John McCain, all he wants to do is talk about me. They know they can't win on the issues. So what they'll do is they'll try to scare people. He's risky. He's risky. We're not sure."

    It's an old playbook, he continued, but Obama said, it's not going to work this time. "Not only do you have a candidate who doesn't take any guff. Not only do you have a candidate who will hit back swiftly and forcefully and truthfully.But you've also got American people who are rising up all over the country and saying, enough is enough."

    They? A book?

    I have to assume that the "they" Obama is referring to consists of Jerome Corsi (author of the flawed, conspiracy-theory-laden The Obama Nation), and attempting to transform him and the book into a vital part of the McCain machine.

    Nothing could be further from the truth, but what is not being pointed out is that Jerome Corsi is anything but a McCain supporter.

    Far from it.

    He penned a series of WorldNetDaily attacks attacking McCain for (among other things) being Soros connected (and possibly abortion-friendly) and for having a sovereignty-undermining Hispanic activist on his staff.

    And what about this?

    In Jerome Corsi's new book "McCain, Let The Truth Be Told" Corsi confirms that McCain publically denounced the USA while in Vietnam in order to gain favorable treatment over his fellow US POWs in violation of American law. Corsi also proves that McCain was responsible for the deaths of 168 sailors causing the fire on the USS Forrestal and evading prosecution because his father was an Admiral. Corsi alleges that McCain had a homosexual tryst with his NVC chief interrogator while being a guest of the Viet Cong and states that not only is McCain too old to begin a presidential term, that due to brainwashing by the Communists during the Vietnam war, McCain is a danger not only to the nation, but to himself as well. That's probably why back in 2000 that Bush was selected over him as it was pointed out by McCain's own party that he is mentally unfit to lead. Corsi finishes off by successfully demonstrating how McCain's voting record puts him squarely in the anti-freedom gun confiscation camp; proving that he's a gun grabber with liberal ideas.
    Wow. Even though I haven't read (and cannot find) "McCain, Let The Truth Be Told," I'm sure it will soon be published with heavy funding in the form of George Soros's Bilderberger North American WorldUnion NetDaily Ameros, and it definitely looks like "they've got a whole machinery that they're cranking out."

    By Barack Obama's logic, "they" (meaning Obama and the Democrats) are obviously behind Corsi's allegations. I mean, isn't it a well known fact that the Democrats love to accuse Republicans of homosexual trysts?

    What this all means is that Jerome Corsi is obviously working for Obama.

    Case closed.

    (Bear in mind that I've gotta keep my sense of humor.....)

    MORE: The Corsi-Obama machine has also accused McCain of getting his money from organized crime.

    The situation is even uglier than I thought.

    posted by Eric at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

    Green Speculation

    Commenter RAH at the Belmont Club (5:26 pm) speculates on how the Green Movement and CO2 hysteria have played into the hands of the Russians.

    Russian President Medeyev was Gazprom President. In his new position he is buying contracts from other countries. Venezuela sells oil to Russia; Libya just signed a contract with Medeyev and Gazprom. I believe that they got the contracts from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Saudi Arabia provides oil to the US as well as Kuwait and they are our client countries.

    They have been trying to secure outside sources for oil and gas. They recently this spring went to the artic to lay claim to the sources that may be there. Both Sweden and Finland are contesting those areas. Canada also has interest in the artic. The sea ice in the artic actually has changed and the melt has been prominent in the Russian area. The Canadian ice has been getting thicker. The Russia took advantage of the open sea to explore and lay claim. Russia has been the primary interest in the PARS field in Iran that the French company just pulled out.

    So Gazprom has known about the need to get more sources since this is Medeyev's obsession. The clash for oil sources will be the 21st century issue for some time to come. The fools who decry no oil for blood are clueless about how seriously nations will get to secure their energy. Energy is really the life and blood of a nations economy.

    After the Soviet fall the Communist and Marxists groups and agitators went into the Green Movement. The Green Movement and the global warming scare have been targeted at Europe. Now it is curious that Russia has been from the 1990's trying to become Europe's energy supplier as the Green movement has insisted that power generation be only from natural gas and not coal that Germany has in abundance. Also they forced Germany under Schroeder to phase out the nuclear power generators. Later Schroeder went and worked for Medeyev's Gazprom.

    There is a true collusion from the promoters of Global Warming and the Green Movement that has been strangling Europe to work against its own national interests.
    The vociferous attack against those that speak out about global warming as a product of human produced CO2 has been very strong and picked up by the liberal left and almost accepted doctrine in the West. Now we are just starting to show the cracks in that movement and science with bad methodology and sensors and cook algorithms.
    Now what would be a good idea is to look at the funding of these groups and see if they have been funded or a disinformation campaign by Russia. The timing is right and the interests do coincide.

    Russia never stopped working against the US and since we are their competitor on the world stage it is not surprising. Russia has fomented terrorism in Libya from the 1970's and then in Syria and Iraq and Iran. They are also working in South America with Venezuela and Bolivia. So Russia has never stopped the Cold War it just went in different direction and form

    Speculation of course. But it rings true. The parts fit. So who is funding AL Gore? And isn't it time McCain dropped his carbon tax ideas?

    In any case it also fits with the idea of the Uber Enviros being like Watermelons: Green on the outside Red on the inside. They should be ashamed of themselves. Starting resource wars and all especially in the midst of plenty (at current prices).

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 10:18 PM | Comments (4)

    Democrats Strike Out

    American Thinker recounts the latest moves in Congress with respect to drilling for new oil resources.

    After reporting yesterday on Nancy Pelosi's desire to develop a comprehensive energy bill instead of an up or down vote on lifting off shore drilling restrictions, the GOP immediately saw through her transparent attempt to make the bill so poisonous some in her own party could never vote for it and have rejected the idea outright.
    Cute. it appears the Democrats are not serious about gaining new sources of marketable oil.

    What do the Republicans want?

    Republicans lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) energy plan Saturday advising her to "get out of the way" if she was not going to accept GOP solutions to the energy crisis.

    In her Saturday radio address Pelosi announced that Democrats would consider opening up parts of the outer continental shelf for drilling as a part of a broad new energy plan that will be unveiled in the coming weeks.


    Republicans soundly rejected Pelosi's proposal - indicating it was too little too late.

    "Madame Speaker, we ask you to work with us to help Americans feeling pain at the pump by developing more American energy," said Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). "If you refuse, we simply ask you get out of the way and allow us to help the people that sent us here.They understand how flawed and out of touch your caucus is on energy issues, and so do we."

    Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) added, ""There is no better, more qualified spokesperson for the Democratic Party's failed energy policies than Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

    And how about them Russians? Wretchard looks at Russia's energy plan.
    Most of Russia's current power and influence comes from its production and control of energy. According to the DOE, "Russia's economic growth over the past seven years has been driven primarily by energy exports, given the increase in Russian oil production and relatively high world oil prices during the period."

    "Russia's economy is heavily dependent on oil and natural gas exports. In order to manage windfall oil receipts, the government established a stabilization fund in 2004. By the end of 2007, the fund was expected to be worth $158 billion, or about 12 percent of the country's nominal GDP. According to calculations by Alfa Bank, the fuel sector accounts for about 20.5 percent of GDP, down from around 22 percent in 2000. According to IMF and World Bank estimates, the oil and gas sector generated more than 60 percent of Russia's export revenues (64% in 2007), and accounted for 30 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country."

    Russia's major market for natural gas is Europe.

    So natural gas is not only a money maker for Russia. It is also a knife at the throat of Europe. However, it seems as if some one in Europe has grown a pair. And who would that be? A woman. German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, said "there is no such notion anymore in Georgia as Russian peacekeepers".

    "There can be no Russian peacekeepers, these are just Russian forces."

    Saakashvili was speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, at which Merkel gave her support to Georgia's bid to join Nato, an ambition that is strongly opposed by Russia.

    "Georgia will become a member of Nato if it wants to - and it does want to," Merkel said.

    You know I think the correlation of forces is changing. I believe a lot of this is due to Russia overplaying its hand in Georgia.

    And in other news Ukraine has announced that it will make its Russian missile shield data available to the West.

    KIEV -- Ukraine said Saturday that it was ready to make its missile-warning systems available for Western countries after Russia announced that it was pulling out of a long-term cooperation agreement involving them.

    A ministry statement said Russia's abrogation earlier this year of an agreement involving two tracking stations allowed Ukraine to cooperate with other countries on missile-warning systems and satellite tracking.

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko issued a decree last week putting an end to Ukraine's participation in the accord in view of Russia's own abrogation of the deal.

    A top Ukrainian security official, meanwhile, on Saturday discounted any notion of a separatist rebellion in Crimea as President Viktor Yushchenko proposed Kremlin talks on the issue of the Russian fleet based there.

    Yushchenko enraged Moscow this week by ordering restrictions on the movement of ships in the Black Sea Fleet, based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Russia's military vowed to ignore the rules, saying the fleet answered only to Russia's president.

    And not just the missile shield. The Ukraine wants to close the Black Sea to the Russian Fleet. That has got to hurt.

    It looks like the firm stand of the US and the former Soviet Republics has stiffened the resolve of Germany and NATO. And who would understand how the lack of resolve on the part of its opponents could lead to a larger war than Germany? Evidently they still study the moves of the Austrian Corporal there. It is too bad France could not redeem its honor by announcing the welcoming of Georgia into NATO. However, what better way to finally rehabilitate Germany than giving them the honor?

    And the Democrats? I wonder how many will survive the November election? Evidently they never took to heart the contradiction: No Blood For Oil or No Drilling For Oil? They haven't yet figured which policy to pursue. The Republicans have figured it out. Thank the Maker. And Bush? I think he will be remembered for a long time as the protector of liberty and self government in the former Soviet Republics.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:57 PM | Comments (1)

    Classical Values Cartoons?

    Dennis here. I've been drawing again and have plans with some old friends to revive a few dusty old ideas for comic books and strips. But I've never quite found the right idea for this site. I tried my hand at political cartoons a time or two (or five) here, but it never quite caught on. Finally there's an idea brewing that I think may work, but in the mean time (and it may just end up being a long mean time) I thought I'd post some sketches I did today while trying out a new pen.


    As you can see I still had my mind on trying some political cartoons, though I'm so behind the times I'm still focused on the Axis of Evil.

    So here's a proposition:

    If, however, anyone wants to propose ideas for cartoons you can send suggestions to classicalvalues at with the subject line "Cartoon Idea". It could be a fun and challenging way for me to test myself, and you'd have the honor of seeing yourself credited with the idea in the post.

    UPDATE: Drew, you're so right, and I'm already feeling his wrath:


    posted by Dennis at 07:20 PM | Comments (1)

    What if the Ice Age skeptics are ruining the planet?

    I've expressed skepticism about global warming, but it's not often that I see politicians doing the same -- especially in New Jersey:

    Responding to various new scientific reports questioning the concept of global warming, Assemblyman Michael Doherty today called on Governor Corzine to hold off on proposing any new regulations associated with the state's Global Warming Response Act and urged the Legislature to repeal that act when it returns to legislative business after Labor Day.

    "There are many credible members of the scientific community who have questioned the theory of global warming, and now we have some scientists actually suggesting the earth's temperatures may be entering a period of dramatic cooling," said Doherty, R-Warren and Hunterdon. "With this growing level of scientific uncertainty, it makes no sense to enact a new set of economically damaging regulations prompted by the global warming hysteria of recent years."

    The Global Warming Response Act was signed last year by Corzine, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The law required the state Department of Environmental Protection to release a report detailing how the state would meet the goals, with recommendations now expected to be issued this fall.

    According to recent news reports, a top observatory that has been measuring sun spot activity predicts that global temperatures will drop by two degrees over the next 20 years as solar activity slows and the planet drastically cools down. They suggest this could potentially herald the onset of a new ice age. Following the end of the sun's most active period in over 11,000 years, the last 10 years have displayed a clear cooling trend as temperatures post-1998 leveled out and are now decreasing.

    Ice Age? That sounds scary.

    Maybe we should be taking ameliorative action to warm the planet. What if it turns out that what we've been doing is the best overall course for mankind and the planet?

    And how do we know that the drive to stop carbon emissions might end up making the Ice Age worse than it would have been?

    What about the Precautionary Principle?

    Not to be an alarmist, but our real future may look like this:


    A very grim scenario.

    And the only way to prevent it is Nuremberg-style tribunals for Ice Age Deniers!

    posted by Eric at 04:14 PM | Comments (1)

    Some One Just Got A Pole Up Their Posterior

    The Polish President is not a happy camper. He has issues with Germany and France.

    WARSAW, Poland: Poland's president criticized the way France and Germany have handled the crisis between Russia and Georgia, accusing them Saturday of being too soft on Moscow due to their commercial ties with Russia.

    Lech Kaczynski also said that European Union policy was being decided by the two EU giants without taking into consideration the views of new EU members such as Poland that once fell under Moscow's control during the Cold War.

    "Once again, it turns out that the real decisions in this organization are being made between Berlin and Paris," Kaczynski said in an interview published by the daily Rzeczpospolita and also posted on his official Web site.

    "Saying that the Union will have a common policy toward Russia is laughable," Kaczynski said.

    He said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were setting EU policy toward Russia, even though it is the easternmost members that have the most at stake.

    By commercial ties he means Europe's dependence on Russian gas and oil.

    Who stands with the Poles and Ukrainians and Georgians? The Americans. The Europeans are taking the same attitude towards Russia re: Georgia as they did towards Germany in the Rhineland incident in 1936. Or Poland in 1939. It is not our problem. And if it is a problem who cares about the Georgians and besides there is nothing we can do (so true) or will do (truer still).

    If France and Germany want to be de facto Russian allies I say it is time to dissolve NATO. If they want some one to come to their aid in case of war perhaps they could enlist Russian help. Or perhaps China would be interested. Or their buddies in the Islamic world. Axis of weasels indeed.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

    Russians In Georgia Demobilize

    It seems Russian forces in Georgia have gone static.

    IGOETI, Georgia -- Russian forces built ramparts of earth around tanks and posted sentries on a hill in central Georgia on Saturday, seemingly digging in amid Western pressure for Moscow to withdraw its forces under a cease-fire deal signed by Russia's president.
    The #1 advantage of mobile forces is that they are mobile. Digging in is not a sign of strength. It is a sign of weakness. My guess is that fuel deliveries are not enough to keep the Russian forces moving. Demobilizing makes forces brittle. Just ask the Germans who used that tactic in WW2. Or Saddam in 1991.
    Near Igoeti, a Georgian journalist photographed a Russian armored personnel carrier that had broken down and was set afire by its occupants, who preferred to destroy it rather than let it fall into the hands of the Georgians.
    That is interesting. American mobile forces have repair facilities they carry with them they also have carriers they can load vehicles on to carry them back to repair units that have more capability than mobile repair units.

    In addition there are rumors the Russians have withdrawn their jets from the battle space. That is something you don't do in mobile warfare. It means death. Just ask Rommel.

    George Patton had a few things to say about mobile warfare:

    "I don't want to get any messages saying, "I am holding my position." We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.
    An American hospital ship is due into the area in about three weeks. I would think the counter attack would begin around then.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

    Your tax dollars at work

    Stories like this provide a constant reminder of how important it is to vote against the activist left and their political supporters:

    On June 20, 2006, William Bruce approached his mother as she worked at her desk at home and struck killing blows to her head with a hatchet.

    Two months earlier, William, a 24-year-old schizophrenic, had been released from Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, Maine, against the recommendations of his doctors. "Very dangerous indeed for release to the community," wrote one in William's record.

    But the doctor's notes also show that William's release was backed by government-funded patient advocates. According to medical records, the advocates -- none of them physicians -- appear to have fought for his right to refuse treatment, to have coached him on how to answer doctors' questions and to have resisted the medical staff's efforts to contact his parents. As one doctor wrote, William told him his advocates believed he is "not a danger, and should be released."

    William's father, Joe Bruce, obtained his son's medical records from Riverview eight months after the killing. "I read through the records and I just remember crying all the way through," Joe Bruce says. "My God, these people knew exactly what they were sending home to us."

    The patient advocates are of course professional activists. And they couldn't care less that what they do endangers society.
    Some doctors, hospital administrators and mental-health veterans argue that advocates are endangering the mentally ill and the public by too often fighting for patients' right to refuse treatment. Many advocates "have a strong bias," says Robert Liberman, a director of a psychiatric rehabilitation program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    "I don't know if they are doing people a service when they assert the right of mentally-ill individuals to remain psychotic," says Ron Honberg, director of policy and legal affairs for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an education, support and advocacy group.

    Why aren't they asserting the right of Alzheimers patients to wander onto freeways and get run over?

    What galls me the most about this is that the patient advocates are getting my money. By enabling people deemed dangerously psychotic to roam about and kill, they're arguably as dangerous to society as the killers. And of course, the patients who end up not getting the treatment they need because of activist intervention are also victims.

    This cruel scheme hurts everyone.

    It would be bad enough if some group of crackpot volunteers ran around gratuitously freeing dangerous people. But forcing the taxpayers to pay for such antics strikes me as profoundly immoral.

    It's worth noting that when the legislation enabling this nonsense (the "Protection and Advocacy for Mentally ill Individuals Act of 1986") was passed, President Reagan signed it. Did they realize that the result would be stuff like this? Perhaps Republican politicians will start thinking about the consequences, and perhaps they'll cut some of the funding that goes to these activist groups; I don't think the Democrats will.

    That's because patient advocates and their ilk are one of the Democratic core constituencies.

    Or am I exaggerating?

    Are any of them Republicans?

    posted by Eric at 10:27 PM | Comments (5)

    Get Your Russian Women Here

    Yep. Russia is exporting women. Always the sign of a country in decline when the women no longer care for the local men. This has got to be a blow to Russian pride.

    As a commenter from Norway said in response to one of my posts here at Classical Values, the chief exports of Russia to Norway are criminals, cheap vodka, and whores.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:20 AM | Comments (5)

    First Georgia, now Stallone?

    There's been talk lately that Russia has its eyes on the Ukraine, and I think I've discovered their first move:

    Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone, mighty destroyer of Soviet opponents in the "Rambo" and "Rocky" movies, now plans to advertise Russian vodka.

    Russian vodka producer Synergy said on Friday it had signed a one-year contract with Stallone, who will appear in television and newspaper advertisements for the vodka brand Russian Ice, starting September 1.

    Sources valued the deal at $1 million.

    Big deal, right? I mean, a Hollywood star taking a million dollars to hawk a product? It happens all the time. But there's something just a little sinister happening here. Just you wait for it:

    Stallone -- whose film character John Rambo killed Soviet troops by the dozen in Afghanistan and whose Rocky Balboa humiliated Soviet boxer Ivan Drago -- will advertise the product under the slogan: "There is a bit of Russian in all of us."

    Not me. And I have serious doubts whether there's any Russian in the Italian Stallion, either. But let's hear them out:

    "The advertising campaign concept was based on the fact that the actor has Russian roots," Synergy said in a statement, referring to Stallone's great-grandmother, Rosa Rabinovich, from the Ukrainian town of Odessa.

    Aha! If Stallone's great-grandmother from Ukraine was Russian, then that means Ukraine is Russian. Do you think I'm paranoid now?

    Either that or starved for material.

    MORE: Can it be any coincidence that the company is called Synergy, and that Russia has designs on reintegrating former Soviet republics? Synergy is just another way of saying "Workers of the world, unite!"

    posted by Dennis at 10:21 AM | Comments (3)

    "having a bit of fun, the swines"

    In an earlier post about the Georgia situation, I agreed with Victor Davis Hanson's characterization of the moral bankruptcy of the Western Left.

    From Chomsky on down, the ability of the Left to both scold the United States while obsequiously apologizing for villainous regimes (as long as they're anti-American) never ceases to amaze me.

    But the above is a generalization. In fairness, I have to admit that not all apologists for anti-American villainy are on the left. This morning, Pat Buchanan (who sounds for the world like a newly minted Russian lobbyist) reminded me that I shouldn't be too quick to assume that "only the Left" would cozy up to the Bear at a time like this:

    American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight -- Russia finished it. People who start wars don't get to decide how and when they end.

    Russia's response was "disproportionate" and "brutal," wailed Bush.

    True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more "disproportionate"?

    Nice. That gratuitous swipe at Israel is vintage Buchanan, who's getting warmed up for another one of his time-honored hallmarks -- a reference to Weimar Germany:
    That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili's provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia's nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.
    Read it all. Especially if you're in the mood to have your stereotypical thinking about the left annoyingly shattered as mine was.

    The problem with Buchanan is that he's such a good writer that I enjoy being annoyed -- even tortured -- by him. Almost as much as I enjoy being annoyed and tortured by James Wolcott (who these days is "light[ing] a little candle each evening that McCain will choose Joe Lieberman as his all-bran vice presidential sidekick--the Sunshine Boys of Cold War II.")

    Such a paradox is nothing new. In Dr. Strangelove, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake admitted that his swinish torturers made good cameras:

    ...when they tortured you did you talk?

    Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Ah, oh, no... well, I don't think they wanted me to talk really. I don't think they wanted me to say anything. It was just their way of having a bit of fun, the swines. Strange thing is they make such bloody good cameras.

    posted by Eric at 09:30 AM | Comments (6)

    Well Calculated Moves

    I was commenting at Winds of Change and some one asked if Bush had thought through his moves:

    And, of course, it helps to think through what comes next.
    Obviously given the moves and counter moves going on Russia has thought though its actions to the last decimal point and is advancing its position internationally.

    1. Poland gets an anti-missile defense.
    2. Ukraine is working to expel the Russians from the Black sea.
    3. Ukraine and Poland get mutual defense pacts with the US.
    4. Its international prestige declines hourly.
    5. It has made abundantly clear that doing business with it is a very risky proposition.
    6. Its population is declining 1/2% a year
    7. Its birth rate is 1.4 - replacement rate is 2.1
    8. It exports its women - brides and white slavery

    And it is not over yet.

    As Canaris said to a Spanish diplomat who asked a similar question about Germany's leader of the time: "Calculated nothing at all."

    The next question of course is what happens when Russia cuts off Europe's gas and oil?

    My take on all this - Russian oil output is on the decline with the expulsion of Western oil companies. It has to conquer or die. Germany 1939. Japan 1941.

    My guess? Russia is bluffing and its bluff has been called.


    And of its arsenal of nuclear tipped missiles - how many will work when fired? As many as 30%? 50%? Or 10%?

    When you bluff it is wisest not to let your opponent see your cards. i.e. had Russia pulled out after its initial depredations it might have kept its credibility intact. Now it has to show its cards or fold. Bush is calling their bluff.

    Had Europe in the run up to WW2 stood firm on Czechoslovakia or Austria resisted the Anschluss, a general war in Europe might well have been avoided. I believe that is the motivation behind current events. Once you let the little guys get picked off it then comes to a bigger war not too much later.

    "Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war." Winston Churchill

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:46 AM | Comments (6)

    We Will Nuke You

    Russia has threatened to nuke Poland.

    The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia warns Poland that it may become a priority target for Russia in the event the USA deploys elements of its missile defense system on the territory of this East European nation. To put it in a nutshell, Russia may strike a nuclear blow on Poland, which is possible after the recent change of the Russian Federation defense doctrine.

    "The USA is busy with its own missile defense system; it does not intend to defend Poland at this point. Poland lays itself open to attack giving the USA a permission to deploy the system. The country may become an object of Russia's reaction. Such targets are destroyed in the first instance," Anatoly Nogovitsin, Russia's Deputy Chief of Staff said commenting the recent agreement regarding the deployment of the US missile defense system in Poland.

    Nogovitsin stated that Russia may use nuclear weapons in cases as stipulated by the defense doctrine.

    "It clearly states that we can use nuclear weapons against the countries possessing nuclear weapons, against allies of such countries, if they somehow support them, and against those countries, which deploy other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories. Poland is aware of it," the general said.

    Charming. Just charming. How to win friends and influence people.

    Is there an Obama angle to all this? You knew it was coming.

    I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems...

    ...I will not weaponize space...

    ...I will slow development of future combat systems...

    ...and I will institute an independent "Defense Priorities Board" to ensure the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending...

    ...I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons...

    ...and to seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons...

    ...I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material...

    ...and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert...

    ...and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals...

    In other words "Peace For Our Time". The guy is a genius. It appears some one has gotten inside his OODA loop.

    As to unproven missile defense systems, Obama might want to look at this video of a nice laser job knocking down missiles. And to think it is only a prototype.

    In any case it looks like events are outrunning Obama's pronouncements. His August surprise. I wonder what surprises are in store for him in September, October, and November.

    H/T Powerline and Powerline

    posted by Simon at 07:50 PM | Comments (1)

    Coming Soon To A Battle Field Near You

    posted by Simon at 06:52 PM | Comments (1)

    Russians Loot Gori

    Reports of Russians looting in Gori have been confirmed by closed circuit cameras. Euro News has a report.
    The government's accusations of looting in the deserted town have been backed up by closed-circuit television images.

    For those left behind every day has brought news of another promised troop pull-out which has never materialised, while they have struggled without electricity, fuel or water.

    Gori is the closest town to the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia has stressed the need for it to be "secured". Soldiers have been rounding up Georgian weapons.

    In Tbilisi, refugees try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, at least temporarily, waiting until they can return home. But the future holds few guarantees.

    "It's all so difficult but our government is helping," said one woman. "You know I am very ashamed. We don't have any money left and I am so hungry."

    American relief forces had better get a move on. I would think the Black Sea ports of Georgia would be a good supply route.

    In any case the losses for Russia keep coming. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko wishes to have a word or two with the Russians.

    "I sent an urgent request to the Russian president through official channels to start negotiations... to regulate our relations during military actions like those seen at the start of August," Yushchenko said in a statement.

    Yushchenko on Wednesday signed a decree imposing new restrictions on the Black Sea fleet, that was described by Russia's foreign ministry as an "anti-Russian step."

    The decree included a requirement that the Black Sea fleet, which is based in the port of Sevastopol, seek the permission of Ukraine's armed forces "at least 72 hours prior to ships or aircraft crossing the Ukrainian border."

    The announcement heightened fears that Ukraine, a close ally of Tbilisi, could be caught up in a conflict that has raged in recent days between Russia and Georgia.

    On Thursday a Ukrainian official said the decree would require Moscow to ask permission before returning ships active off the coast of Georgia.

    Ships without ports are like aircraft without airports. Eventually they run out of fuel. The Russians are not well known for their at sea replenishment. Something the American Navy is very good at. When I was being transferred to my ship, the USS Bainbridge, I was at sea for three days on an oiler. While at sea I was high lined over to my ship. Nothing like being in mid air with nothing but water below while traveling at about 10 knots. Bracing. The Bainbridge was a nuclear ship, but it carried oil to service the destroyers in the Enterprise task group. Before I went over oil was transferred from the oiler to the Bainbridge.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:17 PM | Comments (3)

    Pluto's Helmet

    Bob Novella at the Rogues Gallery has more sensible information on metamaterials and invisibility than is found in the news reports, and has some disappointing words for all the nerds out there:

    So many stories focus on the invisibility angle and there is some beef in that hamburger. This could potentially scale up and offer some impressive visible light invisibility but an inviso-cloak like Harry Potter might be unworkable. A moving flowing cloak maintaining stealth could be impossible or orders of magnitude more difficult not to mention that the cloak may need to be a hundred times bigger than the object it is cloaking. Harry would need a big backpack to put that in.
    You can read more to learn more than you'd ever like to know about light refraction, or to see what the more practical applications of metamaterials might be.

    Personally, I'm disappointed that we'll never see Pluto's Helmet become a reality, though perhaps we can tip our own hats to the Greeks for inventing this fantasy mainstay and for prefiguring in some sense a bit of ultra-modern technology. It's most famously used by Perseus in the slaying of Medusa and escape from the Gorgons:


    And truthfully, I think the coolest possible application would be one suggested by a commenter at the Rogues Gallery: a Romulan cloaking device. That should be far easier and more practical than a dumb old cloak.

    posted by Dennis at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)

    Attack Of The Russian Trolls

    If anyone has information on the attack of the Russian trolls - examples, how to spot them, ip addys etc. Please leave a comment. It will help us expose them and help them improve their game.

    posted by Simon at 11:22 AM | Comments (1)

    Simple bookshelf gets complicated


    Other than the kitchen (and some rough wooden ones in the basement), this house doesn't have enough of them, and I have waaay too many books. Hiring a finish carpenter to build them was out of the question, so I shopped around, and found three 28 by 72-inch units on sale for only $25.00 each. Such a deal! All I had to do was assemble them, put them in place, and put the books on them!

    (At least, so I thought.)

    The boxed units were incredibly heavy and I could barely get them into my car. Hours later (with very sore arms and lower back), they were finally assembled. What I had wanted was a large bookcase that would take up most of a wall, and there was an ideal wall which would allow the three bookcases to be aggregated as one. The only problem was that there were only two electrical outlets in the entire room, one being located right in the middle of the wall slated to become a wall of books. Cutting a hole for an outlet in a bookcase seemed flaky, and running extension cords behind the bookcase seemed even flakier.

    So I thought it over. Extending the outlet made sense, and raceway wiring does not look bad when done properly. So it was off to the store for materials.

    But not so fast. The problem with the outlet I wanted to extend was that it was old and not grounded, and the nearest source for a good outlet was in an adjoining room. This meant drilling, fishing through walls, and many hours more work -- just so I could have a decent outlet.

    But finally, the job was done, and I was able to put the shelves in place and screw them together as one large wall unit:


    It's easy to say, "I just want some shelves for books."

    But just one thing leads to just another thing, and pretty soon you're talking real work.

    Quite incidentally, while I was working yesterday I heard a very odd droning sound in the air over the house.

    It turned out to be the Goodyear Blimp -- flying directly over my yard!


    Obviously, this is an omen from the gods. Perhaps they are telling me that there is something more important going on than the installation of my new shelves....

    A ride in the Goodyear Blimp

    (Via Ann Arbor News.)

    posted by Eric at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)

    Russia Gives The US Ultimatum

    The Russian Federation has given the United States an ultimatum. It must choose between Georgia and Russia. The American answer was not long in coming.

    Poland and the United States reached an agreement Thursday to base American missile interceptors in Poland, the prime minister said, going ahead with a plan that has angered Russia and threatened to escalate tensions with the region's communist-era master.

    Speaking in an interview televised on news channel TVN24, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the United States had agreed to help augment Poland's defenses with Patriot missiles in exchange for placing 10 missile defense interceptors in the eastern European country.

    "We have crossed the Rubicon," he said, referring to U.S. consent to meet Poland's demands.

    Tusk said the agreement was initialed by negotiators late Thursday in Warsaw and includes a "mutual commitment" between the two nations -- beyond that of NATO -- to come to each other's assistance in case of danger.

    A mutual defense pact between Poland and America? This will definitely alter the correlation of forces between Russia and America. The ring is tightening.

    Russia's behavior in Georgia has definitely altered the world scene. Not to Russia's advantage. Had they kept their agreement to pull out of Georgia I believe this deal wouldn't have happened. Russia has definitely overplayed its hand.

    H/T Instapundit.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:18 AM | Comments (4)

    War Between Germany And Poland

    Is it 1939 all over again? No. Far from it. What we have is a much milder variety. What we have is a nudist war.

    On the one side white bottoms burn in the sun. On the other side conservative swimming trunk-wearers turn up their noses at the naked beachgoers.

    Now a heated argument has broken out between the exhibitionist Germans and the prudish Poles.

    For the last fifty years sun-loving Germans have been preserving their naturist traditions from Ahlbeck (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) to Swinemünde.

    But following the Schengen agreement in December 2007 the fence separating the German and Polish parts of the beach was removed.

    Now German nudists are battling the Poles for their freedom to prance around naked in the sun.

    "It's ridiculous" said Swinemündes minister Edward Zajac. And Anja (28) from Poland, who clearly think the German nudists are real swines, said: "It's horrible. We would never bathe naked - we are Catholic."

    Evidently the integration of Europe is not going quite as swimmingly as is generally portrayed in the news.

    According to the story some Poles are offended and some just want to watch. Let us hope the Poles and Germans can come together and put an end to this friction.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:03 AM | Comments (2)

    On The Gori - Tblisi Road

    If this video report is true, and we should know in a few days, it proves the Russians have not changed at all. Murdering bastards.

    The New York Times has a report:

    Of gripping importance to the Georgian government now, Western diplomats and Georgian officials said, is whether the agreement gave the Russians room to interpret the occupation of Gori and a zone around the city as agreed upon in the cease-fire, thus allowing them to control the main east-west road through the country, isolating the capital, Tbilisi, from the Black Sea coast and cutting off important supply routes.

    In response, the United States began sending troops to Georgia to oversee aid to the capital on Wednesday.

    France brokered the deal as the country holding the rotating presidency of the European Union. Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France, visited Tbilisi and left with a four-point cease-fire plan.

    The conditions were: no use of force; cease hostilities; open humanitarian corridors in the conflict areas; and Georgian and Russian troops withdraw to their pre-war positions.

    In meetings in Moscow, the Russians insisted on two additional points, the Georgian official said, and Mr. Sarkozy carried these demands to Georgia, landing shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday and driving straight to the Parliament building to meet Mr. Saakashvili.

    Negotiating from a position of strength, the Russians demanded the fifth point, allowing their troops to act in what was termed a peacekeeping role, even outside the boundaries of the separatist enclaves where the war began, with an understanding that later an international agreement might obviate this need.

    The vague language of the fifth point allows Russian peacekeepers to "implement additional security measures" while awaiting an international monitoring mechanism.

    What ever the Russians have gained short term I believe their position in the long term is worse than when they started.

    Compare how the Russians will be treated long term in Georgia vs how the US is now seen in Iraq. So what is next? I expect long term pressure by American forces to get the Russians out of Georgia.

    I expect mutual defense pacts among the states ringing Russia. I expect American trainers to join many of the Armies of those states. I expect they will be buying American arms even if they cost more than Russian equipment. Why support your enemy?

    So who won? Long term the Georgians. They now have many more friends than they used to have.

    What we know now is that the Russians have not changed their behavior. They can't be trusted. And their armed forces behave more like a gang of criminals than a professional military.

    H/T Information Dissemination which has more links and a good discussion of the video and links.

    posted by Simon at 03:06 PM | Comments (8)

    The Irony Of It All

    Recently Chicago Magazine, the magazine of the University of Chicago, posted a short bit on a protest by a group of about 100 faculty members against the Milton Friedman Institute. The Chicago Maroon has more details.

    More than 100 academic faculty members have united in protest over the University's soon-to-be established Milton Friedman Institute, sending a letter to President Robert Zimmer in which they take issue with the economics research institute's name and its foundational precepts, and requesting a meeting of the complete faculty to discuss their concerns.
    And just what would those concerns be?
    ...approximately eight percent of the University's faculty members were concerned enough over what they believe to be the Institute's potential biases that they formally expressed their concerns to Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum.

    "It was a heterogeneous group," said Bruce Lincoln, a professor at the Divinity School. "But we all felt a reason to discuss this."

    Lincoln, who helped draft the letter, said that some of the issues raised by the faculty were a perceived ideological bias for the Institute toward a conservative agenda, disciplinary narrowness, and the amount of money being spent. The University plans to invest $200 million in the project.

    "This endeavor could reinforce among the public a perception that the University's faculty lacks intellectual and ideological diversity," the faculty wrote.

    Ah yes. They want a very diverse faculty. Every one should think like them. i.e. be anti-capitalist. Not bad for a University founded by John D. Rockefeller.

    Now for the irony part. In the same issue of the magazine, an article reprinted in the Maroon, discusses the best way to allocate scarce water resources where people have water rights. And what was the conclusion?

    One solution, says Coursey, is to persuade senior-rights holders to curb their water consumption and sell the surplus to junior owners for profit. Under current laws, community members can't exchange or sell water rights; Coursey's market system would change that. Think of it like a lemonade stand, he says. "I have water. You want to buy it. We make a deal." Based on market prices, owners would decide whether to keep the water to which they're entitled or else lease or sell their rights on the open market.

    "People are slowly but surely realizing the power of markets" to cope with scant environmental resources, says Coursey, whose past research includes evaluating the relative value people attach to environmental quality versus other public goods, such as education and safety. "Regulatory markets not only help you achieve your goals, but help you achieve them more efficiently." To this end, Coursey and researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) have conducted economic experiments to predict how a water market would work. Using UNM undergraduate volunteers to represent farmers, city water officials, and environmental groups, the researchers track quantities traded and sale prices under differing conditions, such as average water supply or predicted drought.

    So how did the article conclude?
    As with any stock exchange, participation in the Mimbres market is voluntary. "If you want to sit on your rear end and do the same thing that your great-grandfather did with the water, that's fine," says Coursey. Those who choose to buy and sell can boost their profits while also helping manage a scarce natural resource. "Greed," he says, "leads to a water system that is much more efficient than a situation where trading isn't allowed." Such avarice is good news for Mimbres residents who otherwise might not have enough water to go around.
    So there you have it. Greed, properly harnessed through property rights and markets (commonly called capitalism) is the best way to allocate scarce resources. Something capitalists have been saying for quite some time. Only now we have evidence not just anecdotes. Actually more evidence. Since there always was a lot. For instance, hear much about the USSR these days? I thought not.

    So I sent an e-mail to Chicago Magazine saying:

    I note in the latest Chicago Magazine (July-Aug. 2008) that 101 Professors decry naming an economics institute after Milton Friedman. In the same issue another scholar's work (Don Coursey) shows that property rights and greed are the best way to allocate scarce (water) resources.

    Evidently there are a number of UC professors pontificating well outside their areas of expertise. Too bad there is no list (or a link to a list) of the 101 so future students can tell which professors to avoid.

    Well they got back to me saying my letter may be published in the next issue. We will see if they have the courage.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Commenter JL provides a list of the signers.

    posted by Simon at 02:31 PM | Comments (6)

    Individualism: the common enemy

    A man who runs a gay cruising site has taken flak for the crime of being a gay person who dared to support John McCain.

    Reflecting on the rather strange rule that All Gays Must Support Barack Obama Or Else!, Richard Miniter asks some good questions:

    Why should a particular sexual orientation demand a particular political orientation? Sweater-knitters and ice-skaters are not organized along political lines-and neither are all straight people expected to vote for one particular party. Why do Gay rights advocates demand lock-step political obedience? Indeed they seem as vicious against Gay dissenters as they are toward evangelical Christians.
    They can be even more vicious. That's because while they won't acknowledge it, gay activists need evangelical Christians -- at least, those of the vehemently anti-gay variety. The latter often help advance the gay cause by creating a backlash, and (perhaps inadvertently) helping perpetuate the stereotypes that fuel identity politics. As I've pointed out repeatedly, this has been going on for decades:
    The irony fascinates me, and I'm reminded of Anita Bryant putting gay rights on the cover of Newsweek in the 1970s and Jerry Falwell selling lurid videos filmed at Gay Pride events. All moral issues aside, I think people are titillated by such things, and they are a good way to get attention and bring traffic.

    The problem for the attackers is that they bring attention and traffic to the people attacked. If I wrote a book and it wasn't selling, I'd be tickled pink to see WND attack it. With any luck, that might lead to bigger, more organized attacks -- the AFA, the FRC could chime in, and then maybe some angry television personalities.

    This phenomenon of profiting from attacks is well known in the blogosphere -- something any unknown blogger lucky enough to be attacked by a big blogger knows. (That's why most big bloggers would ignore attacks by little bloggers, but few little bloggers would ignore attacks from big bloggers. Threats of litigation by the big against the little are even better.)

    Shrill anti-gay activists and shrill gay activists might not be literally in bed with each other, but they need each other a lot more than is commonly acknowledged. Without enemies, bigots, and oppressors, identity politics would be a much tougher sell.

    Which is why I think Miniter's concluding questions apply to both "sides":

    What trouble do they have with a free society where everyone is entitled to go their own way? Why are they tribal, not pro-individual?
    Because identity politics is a highly manipulative, very successful form of tribalism, and individualism is enemy number one.

    I can think of no better illustration of how seriously this threat is taken than the attempt by the Seattle public school system to define individualism as a form of racism.

    (That very revealing definition has since has been purged of course, but they showed their hand.)

    posted by Eric at 10:29 AM | Comments (6)

    Secretary Of State Rice To Vacation In Tblisi

    That is a take off on the "joke" going around that the Russian troops are "touring" the beautiful Georgian countryside. This has to be another complication for the Russians. This whole Georgian episode is spinning out of control for them. It has got to be bad for business. And if there is anything the gangsters in charge of Russia hate it is bad business.

    A U.S. military cargo plane is heading to Georgia with relief supplies and Bush said he directed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to organize a humanitarian aid effort. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to Georgia to confer with President Mikheil Saakashvili.

    ``Russia's ongoing actions raise serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region,'' Bush said today at the White House in Washington. He said he was concerned about reports that Russian forces continue to move through Georgia in spite of an agreement on a cease-fire.

    ``The United States and the world expect Russia to honor that commitment'' to halt military operations, Bush said. He held out the threat that the U.S. would withdraw its support for Russia's ``aspirations'' in diplomatic, economic and security organizations.

    I wonder when the mopes in the Kremlin (oops Russia) will throw in the towel. The Russian people admire strength. What will happen when they figure out that the vaunted Russian strength is mostly bluff? Sales of vodka are going to spike. The hangover is going to be a bitch. Hair of the dog is not going to cut it. They are going to have to eat the whole dog.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)

    If You Want To Learn Something About Freedom

    From: i Report

    Text of the Presidents message .

    posted by Simon at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)

    What's "love" got to do with it?

    Hormones are powerful. I know this from personal experience, as I was put on steroids as a kid to make me grow, and it did a number on me.

    Hormones can have unintended consequences, and I have often wondered about whether birth control pills might do more than simply prevent pregnancy.

    The evidence accumulates that they do:

    To millions of women it has been the great liberator over the past four decades, allowing them the freedom to control their fertility and their relationships. But the contraceptive Pill could also be responsible for skewing their hormones and attracting them to the "wrong" partner.

    A study by British scientists suggests that taking the Pill can change a woman's taste in men -- to those who are genetically less compatible.

    The research found that the Pill can alter the type of male scent that women find most attractive, which may in turn affect the kind of men they choose as partners. It suggests that the popular form of contraception -- used by a quarter of British women aged between 16 and 50 -- could have implications for fertility and relationship breakdowns.

    The findings, from a team at the University of Liverpool, add to growing evidence that the hormones in the Pill influence the way that women assess male sexual attractiveness.


    Commenting on the latest study, the researchers said that it could indicate that the Pill disrupts women's ability to judge the genetic compatibility of men by means of their smell.

    They said that this might not only impact on fertility and miscarriage risk, but could even contribute to the end of relationships as women who stop or start taking the Pill no longer find their boyfriend or husband so attractive.

    Normally, a good test of compatibility is for a couple to travel together before considering marriage. Travel brings out the worst in most people, and if you can stand the worst of a potential mate, you're ahead of the game.

    So assuming these latest reports are correct (and assuming you're heterosexual and looking for a mate), probably another good "test" of a relationship would be to stop the hormones, and make sure the attraction is really on the level.

    However, a lot of this stuff is psychological, and the trick is to figure out how much of it is really instinct, and how much is "in the mind." I'll never forget a divorced friend with two kids who didn't want more, so he'd had a vasectomy. During the dating process, he fell head over heels for a woman who claimed she "didn't want children." He assumed she meant it, but dated her for some time without disclosing the vasectomy. Finally, he got up the courage to tell her, and she dropped him like a hot potato. Assuming she was honest, her instincts were probably stronger than her stated desire not to have kids. Or perhaps she was mugged by the uncompromising finality of a vasectomy.

    This all begs the question of what is love.

    Is it all in the mind?

    Or all in the hormone/chemistry/instinct nexus?

    It's sobering to think that love -- a philosophical question challenging some of the greatest thinkers in history -- might come down to simple chemistry.

    posted by Eric at 10:57 AM | Comments (3)

    There Is A Fly In The Ointment

    The Air Force Times reports that the US is going to fly supplies into Georgia.

    Air Force officials are putting plans together to fly supplies into Georgia following Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's order to end all military operations in the former Soviet state.

    Air Force C-17s flew all of Georgia's 2,000 troops deployed in Iraq to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday and Monday after the Georgian government recalled the troops and asked the U.S. to do so.

    Pentagon officials are not releasing when or where the cargo aircraft will disembark or whether the supplies are humanitarian or military at this time due to security issues, according to Lt. Col. Elizabeth Hibner, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

    "We will hopefully be able to say more this afternoon," she said.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. for flying Georgia's troops home from Iraq while Russia's troops advanced into the country after fighting broke out over the disputed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    That is going to complicate the Russian's problems.

    And it looks like America is going to stand up for one of its allies. NATO or no NATO.

    Obama has to be shitting a brick over this. Suppose it goes on over the Dem Convention.? With a large majority of Americans supporting the Georgians it will be interesting to see how he triangulates this one. No Blood For Oil indeed.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 10:28 AM | Comments (13)

    Dave Sim's Judenhass

    As a long-time fan of the inimitable and controversial Kitchener, Ontario comics creator Dave Sim, I was intrigued when my girlfriend pointed out Judenhass on the rack at my favorite comic shop.


    Judenhass is a German term which means "hatred of Jews". Sim chose the terms because he found antisemitism to be inaccurate in that it ignored the central issue, which is not hatred of Semites, but of Jews.

    The owner of the shop, whom I've known for years, was searching for a way to describe the book, which he called "hard" but thinks it's a book everyone should read. It's not that it's a "hard read", but that it offers powerful imagery (Sim has been experimenting with photo-realism ) juxtaposed with the words of westerners throughout history to document hatred of Jews and to argue against what he calls the "disingenuous facade of: How could this have happened?" How? As if the world were not aware? Hatred of Jews has had a long, ugly history, and you may be shocked by some of what you read.

    I'd like to encourage as many people as possible to pick up the book, and if you're in the area I'd like to encourage you to stop in at the Comic Collection where I bought my copy. The owner had about a dozen copies on the shelf when I bought mine, and he deserves the business. (Also, Dave Sim has made the book available only to comic book stores, so you couldn't order it from Amazon if you wanted to.)

    Comic Collection & Records Too
    931 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville, PA
    (215) 357-3332
    Map and Directions

    posted by Dennis at 08:57 AM | Comments (2)

    Some One Got Taught A Lesson

    The war is over in Georgia and it looks, from the oulines of the peace agreement that Georgia won. I predicted that this would be the outcome in Perhaps They Miscalculated and Winning. Let us start with a report by the Volokh Conspiracy on the main points of the agreement.

    Russian agreements to conclude all military operations, return Russian armed forces to the line preceding the beginning of operations and not use force again in Georgia.

    In return, Georgia would return its armed forces to their normal and permanent locations.

    Both sides would provide free access for humanitarian assistance; and international consideration of the issues of South Ossetia and Abkhazia would be undertaken.

    Now compare this to Russia's stated objectives at the start of the conflict.
    MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday that the country rules out negotiations with Georgia's president, and insisted that Georgia must no longer have a peacekeeping presence in breakaway South Ossetia.
    Well isn't that interesting. Yesterday they were insisting that Georgia leave South Ossetia.

    Today in the peace agreement all troops will return to their positions they occupied before the start of the conflict. That does not sound like Russia met that objective.

    Four days on from Georgia's ground and air offensive to seize control of South Ossetia, Russian forces have forced a Georgian retreat from the province in what Moscow has labeled a major peace enforcement operation to prevent further incursions.

    Sergei Lavrov, speaking at a joint news conference with Finland's foreign minister in Moscow, highlighted the severity of the crimes committed by Georgian forces in their attack on South Ossetia, and said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili can no longer be considered a partner.

    I can't find a link now, but at the start of the conflict Russians were asking the Georgian President to step down and that he be tried for war crimes. That is not going to happen.

    What else was Russia saying?

    "We can hardly agree to this, as it implies that Georgian so-called peacekeepers should be in South Ossetia... Georgian peacekeepers cannot be there. They committed crimes, shooting their own [Russian] colleagues, with whom they were serving."
    And yet, agree to it they did. A return of all forces to their positions at the start of the conflict. And still people say the Russians won and met their objectives. I don't think so.

    What most people fail to realize is that a fighting retreat is not the same as a defeat. In mobile positional warfare what you want to do is to draw the opposition in an untenable position so that you can deliver a counter stroke when he is fully extended. Draw out the supply lines and then attack the enemy's rear where he is the weakest and his supply lines are the most vulnerable. Avoid smashing into the spear head. Break the shaft.

    My take is that the Georgians had done that and were about to deliver a counter stroke. What do you do at such a point if you want to keep looking good in the world of public opinion? Declare victory and prepare to beat feet.

    "The best thing would be for him to resign," Lavrov said, while stressing that Russia has "no plans to force anyone from power - this is not in our political culture at all."
    Yeah. Sure. Tell it to the Marines. That was not their position at the beginning.

    What does the president of Georgia have to say?

    Saakashvili said he did not want to leave "any doubt" about whether Georgia's territorial integrity is up for discussion. "This is out of the question," he said.

    He said he would welcome an international process for security arrangements.

    "Georgia needs to get back to normal," he said. "For all the people who are suffering out there, this is good news."

    In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said: "I wanted to make very clear that the United States stands for the territorial integrity of Georgia, for the sovereignty of Georgia; that we support its democratically elected government and people, and are reviewing options for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Georgia. But the most important thing right now is that these military operations need to stop."

    And what would the territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders include? South Ossetia.

    Here is more of what the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had to say.

    Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said at an early morning news conference with Sarkozy his country would not allow its territorial integrity to be put into doubt under any peace agreement.

    "The territorial integrity and belonging of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Georgia can never be put under doubt."

    A key reference to negotiation on the "future status" of two rebel zones in Georgia was cut from the peace plan, they said, with talks to focus instead on how to ensure "security and stability" there.

    Why would Russia give up its ambitions to keep South Ossetia if it was winning the war? It makes no sense. Let me repeat a paragraph I posted in Perhaps They Miscalculated.
    However, they miscalculated by not announcing in advance "limited objectives". Now it will look like they have been defeated by a fifth rate power with American friends. Bad for morale. Bad for their world image.
    So far the Russian spin machine seems to be working well. Most people believe Russia met its objectives and Georgia got taught a lesson.

    I think Russia got taught a lesson. Coming up against American trained troops is no cake walk. Russia might be able to defeat such troops if it applied enough power but it would be at an unacceptable cost.

    Some one got taught a lesson. I don't think it was the Georgians.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:21 AM | Comments (13)


    A lot of folks around the 'net are saying Russia won in Georgia. So let me pose a question. If the Russians were winning in Georgia why would they stop after 5 days? It is not their way.

    posted by Simon at 05:51 PM | Comments (16)

    You mean history hasn't ended yet?

    Anyone remember the "end of history"?

    I do, and I thought it was one of the most idiotic ideas ever floated by the intellectual classes (which is saying something).

    George Will offers a terse reminder that history has not ended again:

    WASHINGTON -- Asked in 1957 what would determine his government's course, Harold Macmillan, Britain's new prime minister, replied, "Events, dear boy, events." Now, into America's trivializing presidential campaign, a pesky event has intruded -- a European war. Russian tanks, heavy artillery, strategic bombers, ballistic missiles and a naval blockade batter a European nation. We are not past such things after all. The end of history will be postponed, again.
    Another European war. But it won't be "the war to end all wars," nor will it "end history."

    According to Will, the Ukraine may be next, and there's little the United States can do other than look by impotently:

    Russia supports two provinces determined to secede from Georgia. Russia, with aspiring nations within its borders, generally opposes secessionists, as it did when America, which sometimes opposes secession (e.g., 1861-65), improvidently supported Kosovo's secession from Russia's ally Serbia. But Russia's aggression is really about the subordination of Georgia, a democratic, market-oriented U.S. ally. This is the recrudescence of Russia's dominance in what it calls the "near abroad." Ukraine, another nation guilty of being provocatively democratic near Russia, should tremble because there is not much America can do. It is a bystander at the bullying of an ally that might be about to undergo regime change.
    Noting that the world is again swooning over a tyrannical country hosting the Olympics, Will concludes with a reminder that history didn't end in 1934:
    ....Not since the Nazi's 1934 Nuremberg rally, which Leni Riefenstahl turned into the film "Triumph of the Will," has tyranny been so brazenly tarted up as art.

    A worldwide audience of billions swooned over the Beijing ceremony. Who remembers 1934? Or anything.

    Also acknowledging American impotence, Victor Davis Hanson sees the conflict in grimly realistic terms:
    ....Putin and Medvedev have called the West's bluff. We are sort of stuck in a time-warp of the 1990s, seemingly eons ago in which a once-earnest weak post-Soviet Russia sought Western economic help and political mentoring. But those days are long gone, and diplomacy hasn't caught up with the new realities. Russia is flush with billions. It serves as a rallying point and arms supplier to thugs the world over that want leverage in their anti-Western agendas. For the last five years, its foreign policy can be reduced to "Whatever the United States is for, we are against."

    The geopolitical message is clear to both the West and the former Soviet Republics: don't consider NATO membership (i.e., do the Georgians really think that, should they have been NATO members, any succor would have been forthcoming?).

    Heh. I always enjoy a good rhetorical question.

    And I particularly enjoyed Hanson's characterization of the moral bankruptcy of the Western Left:

    The Russians have sized up the moral bankruptcy of the Western Left. They know that half-a-million Europeans would turn out to damn their patron the United States for removing a dictator and fostering democracy, but not more than a half-dozen would do the same to criticize their long-time enemy from bombing a constitutional state.

    The Russians rightly expect Westerners to turn on themselves, rather than Moscow -- and they won't be disappointed.

    Infuriatingly, the Russians seem to know us better than we know ourselves:
    From what the Russians learned of the Western reaction to Iraq, they expect their best apologists will be American politicians, pundits, professors, and essayists -- and once more they will not be disappointed. We are a culture, after all, that after damning Iraqi democracy as too violent, broke, and disorganized, is now damning Iraqi democracy as too conniving, rich, and self-interested -- the only common denominator being whatever we do, and whomever we help, cannot be good.
    I think the lesson here is that the Russians do a better job of learning from history.

    What happened? Didn't anyone tell their intellectual classes that history had ended?

    What I can't figure out is how come we always get stuck with the silly ideas.

    UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm, welcome to all!

    Your comments welcome, agree or disagree.

    posted by Eric at 09:07 AM | Comments (28)

    Perhaps They Miscalculated

    There is an excellent discussion of the dust up in the Republic of Georgia going on at The Belmont Club. There is lots of news about an impending Naval Blockade of Iran.

    Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".

    The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

    They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

    Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

    That is very interesting. Very interesting indeed. A joint American and European task force including France? What is the world coming to? No good for the Iranians to be sure.

    So a commenter at the Belmont Club on the Georgia thread pops up and asks if the excitement in Georgia will have an effect on the coming Iran operation?

    Will it frustrate planned action on Iran? Yes.
    Well I'm not going to give a set up like that a pass (I blog after all). So here is my response:

    No. Russia is now tied down. Their freedom to act has just been reduced. You know: hold 'em by the nose and then kick them in the ass.

    The Russians now have what? 30K - 40K troops tied down and their attention concentrated at the cost of 1,000 Americans in the field + a few hundred advisers. Plus there are Israeli advisers in Georgia as well.

    Americans are taking no casualties and the Russians seem to be bloodied.

    The time for a counter strike at Russia's wind pipe (the Roki Tunnel) is when they have fully extended. To make such a strike before that reduces the effect. As a commenter at the Belmont Club link said they have learned nothing from 1908. Evidently we have.

    We will see how stupid the Russians are in the next few days. If they keep advancing while taking losses - i.e. they are goaded into ill considered action - they become more vulnerable every day. If they retreat they lose face. The Georgians need to keep retreating while fighting delaying actions to maintain limited contact and then cut off the Russian wind pipe. In the immortal words of Groucho Marx - stucco.

    It is reported that Putin's face turned to ash at the Olympics. Perhaps things got out of hand before he was ready to act. We have disrupted Putin's timing. i.e. a spoiling attack.

    In re: American politics. This is not going to help Obama with the muddled middle. Americans turn to warriors in dangerous times, not community organizers.

    So what have the Russians decided to do?

    The President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev issued an order Tuesday for the termination of the military operation of the Russian Army in Georgia.

    Medvedev announced his decision during a meeting with the Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and the Head of the General Staff of the Army Nikolay Makarov, Interfax reported.

    The operation for "coercing the Georgian side into making peace" was ended after a report of the Defense Ministry made it clear the goals of Russia's military operation was achieved.

    If that report is true (and it is very likely true because it has come from a Russian news agency) the Russians know that they are in a very dangerous position militarily and may be beating feet to save their army.

    However, they miscalculated by not announcing in advance "limited objectives". Now it will look like they have been defeated by a fifth rate power with American friends. Bad for morale. Bad for their world image. Having Putin at the Olympics at the start when the generals would be in control with orders to do nothing except to respond to attacks was a master stroke not an error.

    Proving once again that Bush plays the game better than any one else currently on the world stage.

    Note: no reported American deaths so far. It looks like the Russians got their noses bloodied and America barely lifted a finger. My guess is that Russia was saving its move into Georgia for the start of the planned blockade of Iran. That is not going to work is it?

    The initiative in world affairs has shifted.

    What can we expect next once the blockade starts? Hizballah will probably attack Israel. However, this time it will come as no surprise to the Israels and my guess is that this time they will not only take out Hizballah but also Syria as well. The Stupistinians in Gaza will also likely get their just deserts. Provided they heed their paymasters in Iran.

    It will be a whole new world come 20 Jan. 2009. A lot of unfinished business will have been finished. Self government is on the move. It will not be denied.

    And American politics? That poor Obama doesn't stand a chance.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers. You might also like There Is A Fly In The Ointment and Some One Got Taught A Lesson.

    posted by Simon at 06:55 AM | Comments (81)

    Giving Advice

    According to The American Forces Press Service American planes are flying into Georgia.

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2008 - The U.S.-assisted redeployment of Georgian troops from Iraq to their home country should be completed today, a Pentagon spokesman said.

    American military aircraft began shuttling the brigade of Georgian forces yesterday, as clashes with Russian forces intensified since fighting broke out last week in the breakaway region of South Ossetia in Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

    The U.S.-provided transport of the 2,000-strong contingent adheres to an agreement that U.S. and Georgian government officials arranged before Russian tanks and troops crossed Georgia's border on Aug. 8, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.

    "We are fulfilling our agreement with the Georgian government that in an emergency we would assist them in redeploying their troops," Whitman said. "We are honoring that commitment and we are following through with that."

    That is definitely going to complicate Russian efforts.

    Here is another complication for the Russians:

    some 130 U.S. military personnel serving as trainers to national forces in Georgia will remain in the war-torn country, Whitman said. He added that all U.S. trainers there are safe and accounted for, and that presently there are no plans to remove them from Georgia.

    Georgia declared its independence from the then-Soviet Union in 1991. However, many South Ossetia residents continue to profess Russian allegiance.

    The situation was already tense when Russian tanks and troops crossed the border into South Ossetia, where they were aided by regional separatists. Fighting escalated a day later in and around Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, as Russian aircraft were reported to have bombed that city, as well as parts of Georgia.

    That has got to be a move that will give the Russians some pause. Look at how much trouble a few American advisers and a steady flow of American weapons caused the Russians in Afghanistan.

    The loss of Georgia after a Russian take over could give other restive Russian provinces ideas. Normally the Russians try to think these things out. If they are acting impulsively and trying to regain their lost empire they may get another bloody nose. Further weakening their self image and reducing their standing in the world. Now if we could only get the Euros off the Russian oil and natural gas teat we might start to regain some strategic leverage with the Russians.

    Save Georgia and the Europeans from Russian domination Mrs. Pelosi. Drill for American oil.

    H/T Wretchard of The Belmont Club who goes into much greater depth and looks at some of the tactics and strategy in the war.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:07 PM | Comments (2)

    "Going for the jugular" (And reaching for the checkbook....)

    Via an article in the Examiner ("Wine-and-Cheese Thuggery") I learned that a new group of left-wing activists is playing the hardest sort of political hardball with people who give money to conservative (and presumably libertarian) organizations they don't like:

    WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Tom Matzzie is mailing threatening letters this week to nearly 10,000 people with whom the liberal political operative vigorously disagrees.

    If the recipients act in a way he disapproves of -- namely, donating to certain conservative or Republican causes -- Matzzie and his new nonprofit group, called Accountable America, will unleash what The New York Times describes as "a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives."

    Matzzie claims he's simply seeking to prevent dishonest attacks on politicians and causes he favors, but the reality is that such letters are nothing less than political thuggery.

    The idea is to preempt what they call "swiftboating" by frightening away contributors. The New York Times has more:
    Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, the newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.

    "We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground," said Mr. Matzzie, who described his effort as "going for the jugular."

    The warning letter is intended as a first step, alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.

    I'm not exactly a political activist, much less a conservative "swiftboat activist." But these cowardly, underhanded tactics stink. I think the idea is to frighten all but the most hardened political activists away from the political process. Whether it will work, who knows? It might create a backlash among people who don't like being told what to do.

    Frankly, I'm about an inch away from a backlash myself.

    Let's see....

    Is there any way I can just make my check out to "The Vast Right Wing Swiftboaters"?

    posted by Eric at 12:48 PM | Comments (11)

    Ask The French For Help

    Nick has left an interesting comment on my error in the post Blazing Economies.

    Seems to me the difference won't matter once the winter comes and the Russians shut the lights off on Germany.
    I seem to recall that Secretary of State Rice warned the Europeans about getting too deeply dependent on Russian Energy supplies. Well what do you know? I recalled correctly.
    ANKARA, Turkey, April 25 [2006 ed.] -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday warned Greece and Turkey against allowing Russia to obtain a monopoly over Europe's supply of natural gas, implicitly bolstering a planned pipeline from Azerbaijian that would weaken Russia's tight grip on European energy supply.

    "It's quite clear that one of the concerns is that there could be a monopoly of supply from one source only, from Russia," Rice told reporters in Athens after meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    Rice waded into the battle over the increasing dominance of Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom -- which recently sought a stake in a Greek-Turkish pipeline -- even as she sought to build support in Greece and Turkey for sanctions against Iran concerning its nuclear program.

    Her trip to Athens was the first independent visit to Greece by a secretary of state in two decades. As she met with Bakoyannis, about 3,000 protesters marched with signs calling Rice a war criminal and urging her to "go home," and some youths clashed with riot police.

    And who do they expect to defend them if the Russian Bear comes calling? I guess they couldn't see that far ahead. Fortunately, America has an administration with a little foresight.

    What do you want to bet that the Euros ask for another American division to protect their sorry asses? I suppose we could just tell them we are busy. Ask the French for help.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:44 AM | Comments (4)

    Obama Eats His Waffle

    Obama has a couple of statements on Gerogia.

    "I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis."
    That was his first crack. Clearly a waffle.

    Now catch his second statement on the subject:

    "I condemn Russia's aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire... Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia."
    I think we have direct evidence here that Obama has eaten his waffle.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:17 AM | Comments (2)

    A Proud American
    A Proud American
    AP Photo

    posted by Simon at 04:33 AM | Comments (2)

    Guerilla marketing. It's more than a Che Guevara product line!

    Would Barack Obama ever dare to attempt a nationwide smoking ban?

    Richard Miniter thinks it is possible.

    It occurrs to me that if something like that were seriously proposed, it would take a considerable amount of time to implement. This might offer a nice business opportunity for some political guerilla marketing, and I already came up with a crude design:


    Notwithstanding the restrictions on cigarette advertising, I'd like to see stuff like that on billboards. The nexus between commercial speech and political speech intrigues me, and I think the lower standard of constitutional protection traditionally afforded commercial speech might have to yield when political advocacy is involved.

    Or how about a "heritage" line of "protest ads" recycling images like this:


    Seriously, if I can put a "BUSH IS HITLER" sign in my front yard, why not a Marlboro ad?

    I mean, don't angry, embattled smokers have just as much a right to advocate and express their position as the people who seek to make criminals out of them?

    Such things constitute politics, right?

    And we still live in a free country, right?

    posted by Eric at 09:16 AM | Comments (9)

    On Her Six
    On Her Six

    From Matt J. Duffy H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:16 AM | Comments (0)

    Picken Apart Pickens

    Bob Zubrin discusses the T. Boone Pickens plan to replace natural gas electricity with wind based efficiency. He seems a bit weak in understanding how wind and natural gas electricity are complimentary. So I wrote a comment:


    Evidently you don't know what natural gas is used for in America. It is not for base load, it is for peaker plants. Wind and natural gas are dispatchable in the same time frame. About 15 minutes. So if the wind is blowing you can shut down the peakers. When the wind declines you can start them up again.

    In addition distributed wind can supply about 20% of nameplate rating as base load. Not bad since a wind plant delivers about 33% of nameplate rating on average.

    Love your flex fuel plan for autos. Your understanding of the electrical generation market indicates further study is required.


    Let me add here that using natural gas for home heating is its most efficient use. Wind would lower natural gas demand and thus lower heating bills. That would be a good thing.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:03 PM | Comments (18)

    Blazing Economies

    It is interesting how the US news media describes the German economy of the last year.

    The Italian economy, chronically stagnant over the last decade, shrank in the second quarter by 0.3 percent, according to the government data.

    Another quarter of decline would mark the country's fourth recession -- defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth -- in a decade.

    More bad news appears increasingly likely this coming week in the form of data on growth in Germany and the 15-nation euro area.

    Many economists believe the German economy, the engine of the region, may have contracted in the second quarter after blazing ahead by 1.5 percent in the first three months of the year. Much of that growth reflected technical factors like construction projects that will not be repeated. But the European Central Bank said Thursday that the fall-off in growth also stemmed from higher energy prices and cooling demand for German exports worldwide.

    Got that a 1.5% growth rate in Germany is described as blazing.

    And how has the growth rate the US been described lately?

    'The fact that there was technical growth in GDP in no way alters our view that the economy has fallen into recession,' Bear Stearns (nyse: BSC - news - people ) economist John Ryding said in a research note.

    'Indeed, the popular definition that a recession is two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth is not used by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in dating recessions,' he pointed out.

    The NBER is considered the official arbiter of recessions and defines the R-word this way: 'A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.'

    In a 2001 paper, the NBER said it 'gives relatively little weight to real GDP because it is only measured quarterly and it is subject to continuing, large revisions'. In fact, NBER considers job and income growth more important than GDP.

    Although there were two quarters of negative growth in 2001, those quarters were not consecutive. The NBER still named that period of downturn a recession.

    While Rupkey said the U.S. should see at least one quarter of negative growth before naming a recession, others say meager growth will suffice for such a call.

    'For the U.S. economy, which can potentially grow at about 2.75 pct, consistent growth below 1.0 pct should be considered recessionary,' said Aneta Markowska of Societe General.

    'There's nothing magical about staying above zero,' said L. Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think-tank in Washington.

    'Despite the barely-positive growth, we are almost certainly in a recession,' he said.

    Got that? German growth at a 1.5% annual rate is considered blazing. Any American rate below 2.75% is sluggish. Any rate below 1% is a recession.

    I'm glad to know the new definitions. I wonder what the financial arbiters will be calling the Italian contraction? I think the term most common will be "minor correction". Why? Because Europe is creamy goodness and America is evil incarnate where the moguls of finance are bleeding the poor for their own personal gain where as the Europeans have just made a few minor mistakes.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Update: 10 August 008 0751z

    vantastic5 in the comments at Power and Control advises me that the German economy really did grow a blazing 1.5% in the first quarter. What happened? They got a years worth of growth (for Germany) in the first quarter. After that the economy was and will be essentially flat. The Financial Times reports:

    Germany's economy has performed robustly compared with other industrialised countries, with 2.5 per cent growth last year and 1.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth in the first three months of 2008.

    However, second-quarter growth is expected to be significantly lower, the German finance ministry conceded this week, owing to high energy prices and inflation, the strong euro and the weak international economy.

    Industrial production fell in May by 2.4 per cent - its largest monthly drop in a decade - and a second-quarter contraction in gross domestic product of 0.4 per cent was likely, according to an economists' poll published on Wednesday by Reuters.

    The German government has forecast that growth will fall to 1.7 per cent this year and 1.2 per cent in 2009.

    Welcome Instapundit readers. I have more on the meltdown of the European economy and the rise of the American economy at Market Break.

    posted by Simon at 04:58 PM | Comments (27)

    Market Break

    The Financial Times of London has the story:

    US stocks soared on Friday as the dollar saw its biggest one-day jump against the euro in eight years and oil prices plunged.

    The moves marked a key reversal of a trend that many investors had followed profitably for months - betting that high commodity prices would keep the dollar weak.

    The dollar reached its highest in five months against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, while oil fell more than $5 to $114.87, 22 per cent below its record high of $147.27 last month. The S&P 500 closed 2.4 per cent higher in New York.

    The shift in sentiment was triggered by Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, who warned on Thursday that third-quarter eurozone growth would be "particularly weak". This sparked talk that the ECB would be forced to abandon its hawkish policy stance and start cutting interest rates, thereby weakening the euro.

    "This is the watershed week for the US dollar," said Marc Chandler, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. "The magnitude of the dollar's moves and the breaking of key technical levels suggest that a major shift in the outlook towards the dollar is occurring as massive positions are adjusted." Other analysts described the widespread buying of dollars as "capitulation".

    Wasn't Obama calling for a strengthening of the dollar the other day? I think he got his wish. Before the government could do anything.

    It also looks like the US economy is holding its own.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. business productivity rose solidly in the second quarter as companies cut jobs to cope with rising costs, helping curb inflation pressures while also keeping a tight grip on stocks of unsold goods.

    A Labor Department report on Friday showed worker efficiency, or output per employee, gained at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the second quarter.

    While slower than the first quarter's 2.6 percent gain, analysts said it was strong enough that Federal Reserve policy-makers may be able to keep interest rates low into 2009 to bolster growth.

    The Fed said on Tuesday that it considered inflation risks "of significant concern" but held its benchmark federal funds rate at 2 percent. Labor costs rose at only half the rate in the second quarter as in the first quarter.

    It is hard to say what this will mean. Lower oil prices? Probably. Higher trade deficit? Yep. American consumers with more buying power? Yep. Lower inflation? Likely. Recession? Not likely. Economic slow down in China? Possible.

    Now add in one other factor that makes Europe shaky. The war between Russia and Georgia.

    MOSCOW -- Russia and Georgia, once united under a single Soviet banner but now sworn enemies, were on the brink of all-out war as Russian troops and tanks surrounded the capital city of the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia after a day and night of bloody clashes.

    Russia ordered its troops into the rebel southern republic a day after Georgian forces were sent in to seize the region, which declared independence after a 1992 civil war.

    Fighting reportedly raged into the night with Georgia's Interior Ministry saying early today that warplanes attacked three Georgian military bases and key facilities for shipping oil to the West.

    After more than a day of violence, Russian news media reported overnight shelling of the regional capital, Tskhinvali. They said Georgian forces were responsible.

    So besides the economic fundamentals you have what is known as the flight to safety. "Pack your ermines" time as William Burroughs would say.

    In addition there is the mortgage melt down going on in Europe. Let us start with the British version.

    Britons have come to an uncomfortable realization in the last few weeks: after 17 years of uninterrupted growth, the British economy is moving closer to recession, and may already be in one.

    Figures released on Thursday by HBOS, Britain's largest mortgage lender, showed the housing market slump, which has been dragging down consumer confidence, is gathering pace. The average price of a property fell 8.8 percent in the 12 months ended July 31, the biggest drop since the company started tracking prices in 1983. Repossessions, bankruptcies and unemployment, though at relative lows, have started to creep up in the last three months.

    The Bank of England, the nation' s central bank, is unable to lower interest rates to keep the economy growing because inflation looms. It left lending rates unchanged at its meeting on Thursday.

    Now many economists are predicting the situation will drastically deteriorate over the next six months, leaving Britain to face a longer, more painful downturn than the United States.

    And just months ago they were laughing at us for our stupidity. Heh.

    How about the Spanish property market? Here is a report from the end of March this year.

    Spain's once-booming property market is in freefall, official statistics have revealed for the first time.

    The announcement that house sales had plunged has dashed government hopes for a "soft landing" in the sector that has driven the Spanish economy for more than a decade.

    The buying and selling of homes fell by 27 per cent in January compared with the same period last year, Spain's National Statistical Institute (INE) announced yesterday. The collapse coincided with a 25 per cent fall in the granting of mortgages, the biggest drop since 2004. The size of individual mortgages has also fallen, by nearly 4 per cent, as providers fear for the security of their loans.

    There are also problems in Ireland and a number of other European housing markets. So while the US is slowly coming out of its slump Europe is going into one.

    Where will all this end? Probably with the US stronger than ever. Especially with a lot of very interesting new technology coming out of US Labs in a month. For instance there will be a final report in the next few months giving the results of fusion experiments now going on in New Mexico. If the results are positive expect a further boost to the US economy because it could mean practical fusion power in as little as five years. It would also mean a decline in the long term prospects for oil. Cheap electrical power or even cheap steam could provide a very big boost to oil shale and tar sand extraction and conversion. It would also make ethanol cheaper by reducing the cost of distillation.

    The future is so bright I gotta wear shades.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:14 PM | Comments (1)

    Money Doesn't Matter

    It apprears that there is a group backing Obama that intends to scare the big money away from McCain's campaign.

    Nearly 10,000 of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes across the country will probably receive a foreboding "warning" letter in the mail next week.

    The letter is an opening shot across the bow from an unusual new outside political group on the left that is poised to engage in hardball tactics to prevent similar groups on the right from getting off the ground this fall.

    Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, the newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.

    Is it likely to work?
    ...Ed Patru, a spokesman for Freedom's Watch, scoffed at Mr. Matzzie's plan.

    "This idea sounds even more sloppily thought out than his last venture, which, of course, went belly-up for lack of financial support," Mr. Patru said.

    "I doubt anyone will be intimidated by him," he said, "but if it gives anyone pause, they are always welcome to give to Freedom's Watch -- all of our donors are entitled to complete anonymity by law."

    Indeed, anonymity is a potential obstacle to the group's efforts. Outside political groups organized as 501(c)4 entities, including Accountable America, do not have to disclose the names of their donors.

    Chris LaCivita, a Republican strategist who helped organize the Swift Boat effort, said Mr. Matzzie's group was likely to have the opposite effect on potential donors, firing them up instead of discouraging them.

    "They're not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left," Mr. LaCivita said.

    So it is liable to backfire. Just what I would expect. Americans are not easy to intimidate. We are the descendants of outlaws, misfits, and revolutionaries. People not easily pushed around.

    There are operatives in the Obama campaign who believe money matters.

    Democrats say that Mr Obama needs to accomplish two critical things on his return next week. First, he must put on a good event to announce the selection of his running mate. Second, his speech at the party convention in Denver must be exceptional.

    In contrast to the jittery nerves among Democrats in general, the Obama campaign conveys serene confidence that it will accomplish both. Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant, says: "If he pulls off a good convention, as you would expect him to do, then he will go into the general election with a serious money advantage over John McCain."

    And yet I remember Obama out spending Hillary 3 to 1 and 4 to 1 in some of the primary campaigns and despite that Hillary came out with wins.

    The Obama campaign is not factoring in the Internet 2.0 where money is not a significant factor and people with small change (heh) can get on YouTube or other video services and create ads that millions will watch, post to blogs, and e-mail to their friends. Heck Paris Hilton even did an add that the Republicans piggy backed on. And none of this counts as campaign donations.

    The guys worrying about money in this campaign are fighting the wrong war. The key in this campaign is internet time. Speed of response. The French had a bigger Army than the Germans at the start of WW2. How did the Germans beat the French? They beat them with speed, blitzkrieg. Lightning war.

    Here are some links to anti-Obama videos produced by independents.

    Leave Barak Alone
    Changing Grove Parc
    Jon Stewart on "Playing the Race Card"
    Paris Hilton Has An Energy Plan
    Kiss Him Good-bye
    The John McCain Campaign On You Tube
    NoBama For Beginners
    Just Say No Deal
    More From Just Say No Deal
    The Art of Hypocracy
    Chicago Style
    Talking About Change
    Glass Ceiling

    As you can see money doesn't mean much this election season. The important issues for the campaigns this season are interest and time. Obama took the early lead, but McCain is coming back strong with the efforts of his campaign and the efforts of people not connected with any campaign.

    And what is the first rule for advertising? You can only sell to those interested in buying. From what I can see the electorate is not buying Obama. If that is the case it does not matter how much selling he does.


    London American has been collecting these videos and many of the links were gotten from his site. There are loads more there. No Quarter also has a nice selection of videos.

    H/T Instapundit and Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)

    Explain this "war" if you can

    Dennis was absolutely right to observe that I "would have posted something on this story if [I] weren't still hip deep in the big move to Michigan." The story (involving a mayor and his wife who were apparently mailed a package of marijuana as part of a scam, then subjected to a gruesome home invasion in which their dogs were killed by a cowardly SWAT agents who doubtless consider themselves "warriors") is an absolute outrage.

    The word "warriors" is in quotes because I think the war on drugs is a perversion of warfare -- which is supposed to involve mutual combat. The drug "war" simply involves government forces attacking civilians. While this case attracted attention mainly because it involved a mayor, it is yet another numbing example of deadly police state tactics being deployed against non-violent "suspects" in the war against human appetites, and it's just outrageous. We are all at risk. Anyone can mail a package to anyone, just as anyone's home can be raided because of a bureaucratic mistake. No violent crime, no threat to the public safety, is necessary to trigger deadly force. Because, while drug crimes do not involve violence (and not legitimate targets of violent home invasions) these days, the innocent have everything to fear.

    Think you can defend yourself? Think again. As Dennis pointed out,
    Cory Maye,

    still sits in prison because a cop knocked down the wrong door in the middle of the night. He had received the death penalty for defending himself, but the ruling was overturned.
    When these things happen, people get angry, and perhaps out of a sense of hopeless rage, they resort to Nazi comparisons, as did the mayor's neighbor:
    Robert Kovalchik, a neighbor and Calvo's high school history teacher at Parkdale High School, said he was shocked that county officials had not apologized.

    "This smacks of something from Nazi Germany," Kovalchik said.

    I don't think the raid itself would be evocative of Nazi Germany if there were a way to hold rogue SWAT officers accountable for their thuggish conduct.

    No system is ever perfect, and mistakes can happen anywhere and at any time. It's the callused lack of accountability that resembles totalitarianism. Frankly, it scares the crap out of me that these things keep recurring:

    Calvo said he wants federal officials to examine policies that he said have led Prince George's police officials to serve warrants on wrong addresses and kill family pets before.

    In once such case, Prince George's sheriff's deputies executed a warrant on the home of Frank and Pamela Myers of Accokeek in November. The Myers told sheriffs that they had the wrong address as their dog began barking from the yard. The couple asked if they could retrieve their dog, but deputies refused. Minutes later, two shots were fired and the dog was killed, according to a notice of a tort claims filed by attorney Michael J. Winkelman. The Myers were never charged and nothing was seized from their house.

    I think such victims should be awarded punitive damages against the officers and the county. Perhaps if governments realized they could be bankrupted, they'd be more careful.

    Anyway, while I didn't have time to blog about this until now, I did have time for a standard, garden variety conversation about it of the sort I've had before, because I want to understand what drives the drug war mindset. However, I find that it comes down to two completely different and irreconcilable mindsets. One mindset really cares about the personal immorality of other people, and wants to use government to police it, and the other which either doesn't care, or else (as in my case) doesn't think it's the government's business.

    What I have never, ever been able to understand is why people care so much that they want to use state violence to police unhealthy or immoral appetites. To understand why people think the way they do, I try to put myself in their position, and in a case like this, I have to ask, simply,

    Why should I care whether my neighbor smokes pot?

    Why would I care? Can anyone help?

    Seriously, I might as well care about his personal sex life. Or what he eats. Unless he's eating human victims or screwing children, it just doesn't make sense for me to care. Well, in the sense that I might care about anyone's health issues I might care, but not enough to invoke the power of the state. Even if he weighed 600 lbs., I don't believe in jailing people for gluttony. Unless he's threatening my safety or keeping me awake, or else he's my friend and comes to me for advice or something, my neighbor's lifestyle and health issues just aren't my business or concern. Nor are mine his.

    What is it that makes people think they should be? It's an important question, for it's what drives the "war on drugs," and other misguided "wars" to reform humanity.

    From a religious perspective, I realize we're all sinners (although I can't find marijuana in the Ten Commandments), but that doesn't quite explain the mystery.

    UPDATE: Richard Miniter looks at the related issue of outdoor (yes I am serious) smoking bans, and thinks the problem comes down to Puritanism:

    Puritans are people who want to live according to a strict moral code of their own devising and want to make you live their way too.
    Above all, they seem psychologically incapable of minding their own business. As Miniter notes, modern, godless Puritans are no longer constrained by having to come up with religious rationalizations:
    ...The modern form, what I call"hippie-Puritanism," has one innovation: it is godless. That means that the last check of Puritan ambition is gone. With God went the idea that other people are ends, not means. The rest of us are simply extras in their private movie of moral vanity.

    Now L.A. and a host of other cities (some disturbingly east of the earthquake zone) are considering outdoor smoking bans. They have already banned smoking in offices, eateries, bars and beaches. Outdoors is next. Followed by a ban on smoking in your private car.

    What is behind this Puritan impulse? Public health, you say. Well, that is what they always say. Witches were problems of moral health (the witches, not the witch hunters', mind you) and alcohol was destructive to mind, body and society....

    Once again, I don't smoke, but these crackpots make me feel like brandishing cigarettes.

    Even where smoking is banned, there's still a right to carry.

    UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge comments on the double standard, noting that this case mainly received attention because it might have happened to reporters.

    ...The Washington Post or NY Times reporters look at this case and immediately think: "It could happen to me!" So the story gets saturation coverage--even in Great Britain!

    Meanwhile, the MSM ignores the plight of African-American and Latino minority communities caught in the War on Drugs' crossfire between paramilitary SWAT stormtroopers and gang thugs. How many brown and black families per year are terrorized by cops erroneously executing no knock warrants on the wrong premises? We don't know because the media only pays attention to collateral damage from the War on Drugs when it happens to people like Mayor Calvo.

    Via Glenn Reynolds, who adds,
    Indeed. Look how little traction the Cory Maye case has gotten, outside of blogs and Reason magazine.
    One of the many ironies of the "war on drugs" is that so many people are willing to turn a blind eye as long as it doesn't happen in their neighborhood.

    This smug elitism borders on outright racism, and reminds me of the memorable line from Don Zaluchi in The Godfather:

    ...In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people, the coloreds. They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls.
    A hell of a way to run (or report) a war....

    MORE: Speaking of animals, am I alone in noticing that when police shoot dogs in these raids, the amount of sympathy generated depends on whether it's the "right" breed of dog?

    "A Labrador?" "Why, that could happen to my dog!"

    But don't other dog owners love their dogs?

    (I point this out only because it's tough for me to forget Coco can be shot by the police with impunity -- simply because she's a "pit bull.")

    posted by Eric at 09:57 AM | Comments (9)

    Obama On Taxes

    posted by Simon at 09:23 AM | Comments (2)

    Nine Years

    From the comments at The Herald Sun in an article by Andrew Bolt.

    markusbondi replied to Rose of Rose Bay
    Fri 08 Aug 08 (01:42pm)

    Irrelevant Rosey.

    It is proven that all socialist powers fall 9 years after hosting an Olympiad. Despite any misgivings at the time....

    It is written in the destruction of socialist destiny that Commie China will fall in 2017; 9 years after hosting the Olympics.

    National Socialist Germany fell in 1945; 9 years after the '36 Olympics.

    Socialist Soviet Union's rotten murderous core collapsed in 89... NINE years after the Moscow Olympics.

    You read it here foist.

    I nominate NKorea for next Olympics. Then Cuba. Then Sydney, again; just to clean house.

    Interesting theory. I hope I live to see it.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:02 AM | Comments (2)


    Super snooping technology is on the rise, as I just learned via an emailed link to a piece about "Desi" -- a new fingerprinting technology that can discern whatever you have touched:

    With a new analytical technique, a fingerprint can now reveal much more than the identity of a person. It can now also identify what the person has been touching: drugs, explosives or poisons, for example.
    It can probably reveal even more than that -- what you've eaten, who you've had sex with (and maybe what kind of sex....), whether you've handled weapons. In short, your entire, um, lifestyle.
    Writing in Friday's issue of the journal Science, R. Graham Cooks, a professor of chemistry at Purdue University, and his colleagues describe how a laboratory technique, mass spectrometry, could find a wider application in crime investigations.

    The equipment to perform such tests is already commercially available, although prohibitively expensive for all but the largest crime laboratories. Smaller, cheaper, portable versions of such analyzers are probably only a couple of years away.

    From a courtroom drama perspective, what's really cool about this is that not only does it find the incriminating evidence, but it shows the it neatly framed in a fingerprint:
    Because the spatial resolution is on the order of the width of a human hair, the Desi technique did not just detect the presence of, for instance, cocaine, but literally showed a pattern of cocaine in the shape of the fingerprint, leaving no doubt who had left the cocaine behind.

    Fortunately, we live in a free country where the police would need a search warrant to run these kinds of tests.

    But the Constitution does not apply to private employers:

    Instead of drug tests, a company could surreptitiously check for illegal drug use by its employees by analyzing computer keyboards after the workers have gone home, for instance.

    Perhaps the sale of plastic gloves should be banned.

    At least to minors!

    posted by Eric at 08:44 AM | Comments (3)

    Leave Barak Alone

    posted by Simon at 07:52 AM | Comments (5)

    Democrats Praising McCain

    Even Obama has good things to say about McCain. Of course this won't help him with hard core Republicans who believe electing a Marxist is better than electing McCain. I have a different opinion.

    posted by Simon at 07:11 AM | Comments (1)

    Muhammad Ali On The Canvas

    Did you know that the word canvas was derived from cannabis? Well, I digress. Even before I have started. How is that for lack of discipline? Now on to the heart of the matter. Patrick Buchanan (yeah I know) has an interesting column on this past week in Presidential politics.

    Barack Obama just had the worst week since his beloved pastor, Jeremiah Wright, decided to expatiate on black liberation theology at the National Press Club.

    Coming off his royal progress through the Near and Middle East, Berlin, Paris and London, Barack had surged to a nine-point lead in the Gallup tracking poll. By Friday, he was back to a dead heat with a 72-year-old opponent with none of his natural skills, in a year when grocers are pulling Republican brands off the shelves.

    For all its gracelessness, the McCain campaign, given openings by Barack, stepped in and put Muhammad Ali on the canvas.

    The first opening was the clumsiness with which Barack dealt with a planned visit to wounded U.S. troops in Landshul, Germany.

    While the first half of his foreign trip, to Afghanistan and Iraq, was official, the European tour was campaign related. Yet, it was on this leg that a visit to wounded U.S. soldiers had been scheduled. As campaigning in a military hospital is prohibited, the visit was canceled.

    But, instead of going ahead and visiting the troops alone, without aides, press or cameras, Barack bailed out and flew on to Paris.

    Wait til his wife finds out. Fooling around with Paris. Oh? Not that Paris? Never mind. I guess she comes into the story later.
    This left the McCain folks an opening to paint Obama as a cold-hearted opportunist avid to visit a military hospital only if he could bring in press and cameras to record his compassion.

    Enraged Obama aides savagely accused McCain of running a dishonorable campaign. This reflex reaction, and the ugly brawl that ensued, made some Americans think less of Obama, but many more forget what a success his foreign trip had been.

    Came then the Paris-Britney ad. This opens with shots of the wayward blondes, then of Barack, presuming to equate the three as vacuous, insubstantial and aimless. Purpose: Disparage Barack's rock-star popularity and turn it into something laughable.

    While the ad seemed both defensive and non-credible, too much of a stretch to be believed -- even Republicans derided it as "childish" -- it apparently acted as something of a matador's cape snapped in front of an already tormented Obama.

    Stung, Barack retorted: "What they're going to try is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills you know. He's risky."

    Barack was accusing the McCain campaign of implying he is risky because he is black.

    This was the opening Rick Davis of McCain's campaign needed to deliver a vicious uppercut to Obama's jaw, charging him with "playing the race card ... from the bottom of the deck." Added Davis, this was "divisive, negative, shameful and wrong." McCain, sadly, agreed.

    With that, both benches cleared.

    Saturday, Bob Herbert of The New York Times charged McCain and the Republican Party with producing ads that are "slimy ... foul, poisonous ... designed to exploit the hostility, anxiety and resentment of the many white Americans who are still freakishly hung up on the idea of black men rising above their station and becoming sexually involved with white women."

    Sunday, Gene Robinson of The Washington Post accused McCain of "running a desperate, ugly campaign."

    The Britney-Paris ad calling Obama "the biggest celebrity in the world" was an attempt to "turn Obama's popularity into a flaw."

    Now, undeniably, McCain's ad was designed to minimize and mock Obama's popularity as a modern form of Beatlemania.

    But what is wrong with that?

    On the weekend, the McCain folks released another ad. Called "The One," it features Barack's grandiose pronouncements about who he is, what he means to mankind and the marvelous miracles that await our messiah's arrival -- and twins him with Moses (Charlton Heston) parting the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments."

    The effectiveness of the ad is that people laugh with it, and so doing, laugh at the perceived pretentiousness of Barack Obama.

    In a week, Barack, an object of media homage on his trip abroad, has become an object of mockery in much of Middle America. Though his media allies may howl racism, most Americans tend more and more to dismiss this. That card has been played so often it's dog-eared.

    And Barack's raising the race issue anew seems suicidal. When one is winning the black vote 94 to 1, does it make sense to keep pushing into the face of the 87 percent of Americans who are Asian, Hispanic and Caucasian that the next president will definitely not be one of you?

    Barack has not been reticent about playing the race card. In fact Jon Stewart of Comedy Central, no Republican, has made fun of Barack and others supporting his campaign doing just that.

    It looks like McCain is On His Six and is not going to give up his position. And Pat didn't even mention Obama's underinflation problem. It looks like the air is leaking out of his campaign. Not only is he on the canvas he can't seem to catch a breath of air.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:52 AM | Comments (0)

    Obama's Favorite Positions

    Comenter Lisa Nolan at Classical Values left a link to a site that looks at Barack Obama's positions on various issues. Lisa has her own favorites.

    Obama SUPPORTS The US Paying a "Global Tax"
    Obama OPPOSES Traditional Marriage
    Obama SUPPORTS Partial-Birth Abortion
    Obama OPPOSES Domestic Oil Production (or did he just flip to McCain's position on that?)
    Obama SUPPORTS Doubling the Capital Gains Tax
    Here are some of my favorites.

    There are no short term answers to bringing down gas prices says Obama. YouTube Video. That was in April. He does have an answer now. Take oil out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That was quick.

    Here is another good one. Don't trust bloggers or other people's opinions because people lie. I think he is trying to reduce my traffic and ruin my reputation (such as it is).

    This one is hilarious (and possibly true). Ralph Nader says Obama is running for Bush's third term. If you believe that why not get the real deal and vote McCain? Or Nader? Depending on how you feel about a third term for Bush.

    There is lots more. Have a look.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:35 AM | Comments (0)

    More Carol McCain

    It has come to my attention that Carol McCain has donated to her ex-husband John's campaign. She also works for The American Beverage Association Political Action Committee. If it is the same Carol McCain. The American Beverage Association represents soft drink bottlers. They have a link on their main page to another page called Straight Talk. It is about selling soda in schools.

    It appears that the The American Beverage Association Political Action Committee gives to Republicans and Democrats. None to John McCain. They did make a $5,000 contribution to the Blue Dog Political Action Committee. Blue Dogs are conservative Democrats.

    William Ball who works for the Loeffler Group is a McCain national security advisor. One of the clients of the Loeffler Group is the American Beverage Association.

    What do I take away from all this? John and Cindy through their friends have seen to it that Carol has a job. One that may help him, on the margins, in politics. Considering that Carol worked for Ronald Reagan, I'd say Carol is doing what she likes and is helping her ex-husband. Good for Carol. Good for John and Cindy.

    Now the question is: What is Obama doing for his grandmother. Besides throwing her under the bus?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:16 AM | Comments (3)

    Shades of Cory Maye

    I can't help but think that Eric would have posted something on this story if he weren't still hip deep in the big move to Michigan, so I'll take a small crack at it myself, though I see that it's created some buzz throughout the blogosphere.

    There's no better place to start than the lead to the story from the Baltimore Sun:

    When the shooting stopped, two dogs lay dead. A mayor sat in his boxers, hands bound behind his back. His handcuffed mother-in-law was sprawled on the kitchen floor, lying beside the body of one of the family pets that police had killed before her eyes.
    It seems that the Sheriff's office had intercepted a package of marijuana addressed to the mayor's wife and, without notifying the local police, initiated not a raid but a home invasion.

    As for the marijuana, it was apparently part of a scam: have it delivered to the "wrong" address, then pick it up later. The perpetrators have since been arrested, and yet two dogs are dead and an innocent family terrorized, humiliated, and treated like criminals.

    But something about this makes me sick: I have no doubt that the outrage will swell (as it should), reparations shall be made (as they should), and that changes may be made (in this locality at least) as they should, after so a flagrant a case of unconstitutional procedure.

    But what makes me more sick is that Cory Maye still sits in prison because a cop knocked down the wrong door in the middle of the night. He had received the death penalty for defending himself, but the ruling was overturned.

    And there he sits, forgotten.

    Continue reading "Shades of Cory Maye"

    posted by Dennis at 10:04 PM | Comments (4)

    John McCain YouTube Hero

    It seems that in the last two weeks John McCain has taken the lead in YouTube hits.

    Paris Hilton may think John McCain is just a "wrinkly white-haired guy," but the Republican presidential candidate apparently has figured out the younger generation just fine. Over the past two weeks, his "celebrity" attacks have stomped Democratic presidential opponent Sen. Barack Obama in YouTube hits.

    Mr. McCain has pumped out a series of brutal yet entertaining attack ads and Web videos mocking the press and Mr. Obama, and the combination of wit and insult has pushed his YouTube channel to the sixth most watched on the site this week. Mr. McCain has beat Mr. Obama's channel for seven straight days and 11 of the past 14 days, in a signal he intends to compete for the YouTube vote.

    That is a giant reversal. Mr. Obama had been quadrupling Mr. McCain's YouTube views and beat him every day since February, according to TubeMogul, which tracks online video viewing.

    "I want to know who he hired. They went from recycling their TV ads to like putting out these witty shorts," said David Burch, marketing manager for TubeMogul.

    Wretchard at The Belmont Club thinks McCain was laying low until Obama defined himself in a way that defied a reversal. The One. If Obama is no longer The One then his followers come to their senses. What happens when followers find their god has feet of clay? They destroy the idol. This will be very interesting to watch. And ugly.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:01 PM | Comments (2)

    Changing Grove Parc

    The video is a telling look at how the man who would be King treats his subjects. Robbing from the poor and giving to the rich. Chicago style.

    Obama was a community organizer in Grove Parc. I wonder why we are not hearing from the people there about Obama's wonderfulness? Maybe he represents change they don't believe in.


    Karl in an e-mail tells me there are more videos. Have a look.

    posted by Simon at 02:51 PM | Comments (2)

    On His Six

    Wretchard of the Belmont Club has an interesting take on my piece Obama Be. My favorite is:

    ...McCain the old attack pilot is on Barack's six and BHO's no Alinsky.
    Go read the whole thing.

    H/T linearthinker

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

    Hello from Ann Arbor!

    Finally, a small window of time for a quickie blog post!

    While I'm at the new abode in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I have not yet reached the "living out of moving boxes" stage, because the moving truck doesn't arrive until Friday. However, I did get my computer set up in the basement, so, for now, this is what the Ann Arbor headquarters of Classical Values looks like:


    Note the custom chair design; I have no furniture, so I'm sitting on an overturned trashcan that someone kindly left here.

    Have to say, I already miss the Philadelphia Inquirer. Much as I liked to criticize it, it provided much food for this blog, and I still feel a hunger for local news. This morning I subscribed to the Detroit Free Press, but delivery hasn't started yet, and I'm unfamiliar with the paper.

    Philadelphia is only a day's drive away, and if I get homesick I can always check out the Inquirer's web site, but I suspect that over time my interest in the antics of Philadelphia politicians will fade. There are always human interest stories, though. Like today's writeup of a man who was so distracted by talking on his cell phone that he was fatally struck by a SEPTA train:

    On Tuesday, Sobon was sitting on the tracks when he was struck by the R3 West Trenton train about 10:25 p.m., Middletown Police Officer Michael Lubold said.

    Sobon had been with a few friends behind a house on nearby Virginia Avenue and left to talk on his cell phone, Lubold said.

    Meanwhile, the R3 train was making its second-to-last stop at the Langhorne station just minutes away, and began traveling west, Lubold said.

    The engineer told police that he first thought there was debris on the tracks and that he applied the emergency brake. When the train came within 300 feet of Sobon, the engineer noticed him and blew the train's horn.

    Initially, Sobon did not move. When he tried to move, it was too late. The engineer told police he believed Sobon was on his cell phone at the time.

    Police have ruled out suicide, Lubold said, but will await a toxicology report after his autopsy, scheduled for today.

    Amazing. And not merely a Philadelphia issue. The dangers posed by cell phones are everywhere.

    And the lesson to be learned is a universal truth: do not talk on your cell phone while sitting on the railroad tracks!

    Maybe there should be a law.

    Come to think of it, maybe it should also be illegal to blog while sitting on trashcans.

    posted by Eric at 08:41 AM | Comments (8)

    Gauging Your Tires

    It appears that Republicans do agree that gauging your tires is a good thing. They are selling (at a hefty profit I might add) and giving away custom engraved tire gauges.

    Obama's Energy Plan

    Politico has the story.

    McCain aides are distributing them to the campaign's travelling press corps and back at the HQ they're offering Obama tire gauges in exchange for donors who send in $25.

    "John McCain says we need offshore oil drilling and we need it now," says campaign manager Rick Davis in an email to supporters. "Senator Barack Obama has consistently opposed offshore drilling - calling it a "gimmick." Senator Obama's solution to high gas prices is telling Americans to make sure their tires are inflated."

    The story goes on to call this effort a gimmick. Does that mean Obama's energy plan is a gimmick? If not where are Obama's tire gauges? Doesn't he want to do something right now about the energy crisis? Or is he just all talk?

    Me? I like the Paris Hilton/Republican Plan. All the above. Drill now to get us through the tough times and reduce our dependence on foreign oil while we work on solutions and make efforts to roll those solutions out.

    It looks like John McCain's Campaign is still inside Obama's OODA loop. The fighter pilot is on Obama's tail and he is not giving up his position. It also looks like McCain's Campaign is having a lot of fun. Obama is supposed to be really internet savvy and McCain is a dunce about the net. Yet it is McCain's campaign which is operating on Internet time and Obama's which is plodding along. My guess? Obama has too much money and the things that come with that. Too many layers of management. I guess Obama never learned about economy of force during his study of military matters.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)

    Carol McCain

    All this will probably come out as the election progresses so I thought it might be a good idea to look at the story of John's first wife Carol.

    Before John McCain's tour of duty in Vietnam, he married Carol Shepp, a model from Philadelphia. On his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam in 1967, McCain was shot down and captured.

    While he was imprisoned, Carol was in an auto wreck (1969), thrown through her car's windshield and left seriously injured. Despite her injures, she refused to allow her POW husband to be notified about her condition, fearing that such news would not be good for him while he was being held prisoner.

    When McCain returned to the United States in 1973 after more than five years as a prisoner of war, he found his wife was a different person. The accident "left her 4 inches shorter and on crutches, and she had gained a good deal of weight."

    Yearning to make the grade of admiral, McCain enrolled in the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. and underwent physical therapy in order to fly again. The Navy excused his permanent disabilities and reinstated him to flight status, effectively positioning him for promotion.

    In his book, The Nightingale's Song, Robert Timberg chronicled McCain's post-Vietnam military assignments and some of his "adulterous" behavior leading to his divorce from Carol and marriage to Cindy Hensley.

    Well that is going to look bad. In fact it is bad. Of course the counter to that is our previous Democrat President. Bill Clinton.
    In 1979 at a military reception in Honolulu, McCain met Cindy Hensley, an attractive 25-year-old woman from a very wealthy politically-connected Arizona family. Cindy's father, Jim, founded the Hensley and Company, the nation's third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor.

    McCain described their first meeting, "She was lovely, intelligent and charming, 17 years my junior but poised and confident. I monopolized her attention the entire time, taking care to prevent anyone else from intruding on our conversation. When it came time to leave the party, I persuaded her to join me for drinks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. By the evening's end, I was in love."

    While still married to Carol, McCain began an adulterous relationship with Cindy. He married Cindy in May 1980 -- just a month after dumping Carol and securing a divorce. The newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii.

    McCain followed his young, millionairess wife back to Arizona where her father helped catapult McCain into politics.

    That is pretty romantic. Except that he was married.

    Subsequently McCain divorced Carol and married Cindy. So how did John treat his ex-wife in the divorce settlement? To get the dates right consider that this was written in 2000.

    John McCain gave up his interest in two homes and agreed to pay $1,625 a month in alimony and child support when he divorced his first wife 20 years ago, court records show.

    The senator and Republican presidential candidate divorced his wife Carol in 1980 when he was a Navy captain with a home of record in Orange Park, Fla., about 12 miles south of Jacksonville.

    McCain, 63, gave her his interest in homes in Alexandria, Va., and South Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., according to records of the divorce settlement obtained by The Associated Press and other newspapers.

    The Arizona senator agreed to give her their furnishings, $1,325 a month in alimony, $300 in child support. He also agreed to pay an additional $500 monthly if she couldn't find a job.

    She was subsequently employed in the Reagan White House, according to George "Bud" Day, McCain's attorney during the divorce. Day also was one McCain's cellmates when they were prisoners of war in Vietnam.

    Carol McCain, who has remained friendly with her former husband, did not immediately return a phone call to her Virginia home Thursday seeking comment.

    So how does Carol feel about John these days?
    Another friend added: 'Carol didn't fight him. She felt her infirmity made her an impediment to him. She justified his actions because of all he had gone through. She used to say, "He just wants to make up for lost time."'

    Indeed, to many in their circle the saddest part of the break-up was Carol's decision to resign herself to losing a man she says she still adores.

    Friends confirm she has remained friends with McCain and backed him in all his campaigns. 'He was very generous to her in the divorce but of course he could afford to be, since he was marrying Cindy,' one observed.

    McCain transferred the Florida beach house to Carol and gave her the right to live in their jointly-owned townhouse in the Washington suburb of Alexandria. He also agreed to pay her alimony and child support.

    I don't know if this will rank up there with Obama's divorce of the revered Wright, his long associations with terrorist Bill Ayres, his seeking out Marxist professors, or his learning a social conscience from Communist Frank Marshall Davis, but it is going to hurt.

    One way to neuter this would be for him to bring Carol along with him for a while on the campaign trail. I hope he does. She deserves it.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers. You might also like this bit of satire about McCain and and his wife Cindy where Paris Hilton plays a featured part.

    posted by Simon at 05:51 AM | Comments (95)

    Too Much Pressure

    EE Times Asia has a story about Olympic Torches for the masses.

    When viewers around the world turn on their TVs on Aug. 8 to watch the opening ceremony of Beijing Summer Olympics, only few will be aware of a behind-the-scenes controversy quietly brewing in China over the use of MEMS-equipped electronic toy torches in the stadium.

    This tempest in a teapot represents both China's desire to put the nation's best foot forward and its government's intention to quash even the slightest hint of potential political dissidence.

    Suspense is building around a single question: Will the Chinese Olympic Committee allow spectators during the opening ceremony to use the Waving Torch--a replica of the Olympic Torch designed to spell out messages in midair when spectators wave them rapidly back and forth? Officials are thought to be concerned that the programmable torches might be hacked.

    What kind of hacks were they afraid of? Maybe a torch that spelled out "Free Tibet" or some other equally scary phrase.

    The Olympics was supposed to highlight the entry of China into the modern world. What it is really highlighting is that China is a repressive regime afraid of the opinions of its people and much of the Western world.

    It high lights the problem of all repressive regimes. When you have a pressure cooker with steam up it is best to let the pressure off slowly or you get accidents. Taiwan and South Korea accomplished this. It will be interesting to see if the People's Republic of China can. If they become a failed state there will be a host of problems especially considering their significant Muslim population.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:21 AM | Comments (1)

    A Captive Of Big Air

    I just saw a cute comment at Althouse about Obama's plan to inflate our way out of the energy crisis.

    Whip Underinflation Now

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:16 AM | Comments (1)

    Juhah Benjamin On Obama's Birth Certificate

    Judah Benjamin has some thoughts on the Obama birth certificate controversy.

    Remember that this is a unique situation in the History of the USA and only the Republicans have any relevant experience in this area. Until he is the Candidate the only place in which an objection could be lodged would be Illinois. Subsequent to his candidacy any State is open.

    It is not for me to verify facts about Senator Obama; it seems to have been made either difficult or impossible for me to do so. It is up to Senator Obama to verify the facts. He has not done so, he has not tried to do so, all that he has done is to create more doubt. And if you are supporting him you should demand that he does and not insult those who actually ask for answers to which every single citizen in the USA is entitled.

    This reminds me of the Form 180 controversy surrounding John Kerry. Obama like Kerry could put this question to rest by releasing the relevant documents. Obama has not done so. What has he got to hide?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:13 AM | Comments (4)

    Affirmative Action

    The commenters over at Althouse are having a lot of fun with the politically correct crowd. I joined in and had some fun too.

    Zach, just because black people sometimes call each other "niggers" doesn't make it ok for white people to do that.
    What ever happened to equal opportunity? Don't leftys believe in that any more?

    It looks like us whiteys need a lot of affirmative action in this department.

    Wait 'til we start marching. You'll be sorry.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 02:08 AM | Comments (0)

    Do You Have A Friend In Weed?

    My friend linearthinker sent me this bit about your government in action. I know to a lot of you this may seem stupid, but there you have it. Your government in action.

    The City of Weed sounds like something akin to Homer Simpson's Land of Chocolate, but honestly it's just a city in California named after a guy named Abner Weed who founded the town in the late 19th century by picking up land cheap when he dropped a few hundred bucks for a lumber mill near Mt. Shasta. Of course, everything is relative and a few hundred bucks was a considerable sum back then, but I digress... the City of Weed is really known for very few things, one of which is its name. The city founders don't go out of their way to trade in on that name, but plenty of collegiate adventurers have traveled far and wide to have their picture taken next to just about any sign or banner that has Weed, CA. displayed on it. The town's essentially one big in-joke for the 420 crowd and is frequently showcased for a few guffaws on late-night TV monologues, but among its various claims to fame is the current tussle the town is having with the Feds over its... beer.

    The Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. is a small microbrewery with big ideas on how to cash in on their location in the town of Weed (they're located on College Ave. which must say something about higher education... haw haw haw, but that's how it goes in good ol' Weed... bad puns, accidental or not, seem to be the coin of the realm in this quiet little mountain town). They frequently have fun with the town's image via their Shastafarian Ale and distinctive labeling on the bottles. What got them in trouble with the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, as the AP and Los Angeles Times recently reported, is their bottle caps which declare "Try Legal Weed" and a play on that old stoner motto "A Friend in [with] Weed is a Friend Indeed." As you can see here, the caps are obviously having a laugh at the perception of the town's image. Weed is, as the LA Times put it is " no counterculture haven," but still the overall perception persists, so why not have fun with it, right? Well, the Feds, in their drug-war-addled reasoning, see things in shades of black and white rather than gray, and insist that the brewery and the brewery's owner, Vaune Dillmann, are purposefully crossing the line and selling something illegal, or at least putting forth the idea that something illegal might reside in that bottle along with the frothy suds of Mt. Shasta Brewery's Lemurian Lager. As you can see, the law is clearly being broken here:

    A Friend In Weed
    I dunno about you, but I really fail to see the federal offense.
    I think this is a very blatant attempt by the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to make themselves look totally stupid. Or more like stupider than usual. I think they have a very good chance of succeeding. One point not noted in the above rant. The owner of the brewery, Vaune Dillmann, is a former cop.

    BTW may I suggest a visit to the blog at the first link above. There are some totally awesome pictures of a rather scantily clad Mary Louise Parker in some interesting poses illustrating the evils of sex, drugs, and alcohol, which it seems the government has no interest in. The pictures that is. The proprietor of the blog has some theories about why that is.

    And if you want to have some of that beer before the Feds take it off the market (or at least a souvenir bottle cap) may I suggest contacting the brewery. Link at the above mentioned blog.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:36 PM | Comments (2)

    Playing Cards

    Jon Stewart is not endorsed by this blog. He speaks strictly for himself. And he is damn funny.

    Let me add that once one of your major campaign tactics hits the comedy circuit it is over. Or as some one pointed out in a blog comment I recently came across, Obama has done more for race relations in this country than any one since Martin Luther King Jr. He has taken faux cries of racism used for intimidation off the table. I'm not sure that was his intention, but he deserves the credit any way. Good for him. Or maybe not so good for him. Depending.

    posted by Simon at 02:25 AM | Comments (1)

    Totally Hot
    See more funny videos at Funny or Die

    Today, in a totally surprise announcement, Paris Hilton says that she is endorsing herself for President. As part of that announcement she has unveiled her energy plan. New technology and drill, drill drill. Given her previous work it is no surprise she is totally behind drilling.

    The McCain campaign says they are thrilled to have her in the race. A McCain spokesperson who wishes to remain anonymous says they will make room in their schedule for a private meeting to discuss the issues. The spokesperson says that they are looking forward to a meeting with or without Cindy depending on Ms. Hilton's preferences. He said the hours between 9PM and 6AM are open on any day Paris prefers. He said discussing drilling is especially important since it will relieve much of the stress on the economy.

    Another McCain spokesman said on the record:

    McCain's spokesperson Tucker Bounds tells TMZ that on the subject of energy, Paris is deeper than Barack. He says, "Sounds like Paris is taking the 'All of the Above' energy approach that John McCain has advocated -- both alternatives and drilling. Perhaps the reality is that Paris has a more substantive energy plan than Barack Obama."
    The Obama campaign has yet to respond to these startling developments. Michelle could not be reached for comments.

    H/T Hot Air

    posted by Simon at 11:00 PM | Comments (5)

    Not A Citizen?

    Commenter Jane at Just One Minute posted this interesting e-mail she received.
    Barack Obama is not a legal U.S. natural-born citizen according to the law on the books at the time of his birth, which falls between December 24, 1952, to November 13, 1986. Federal Law requires that the office of President requires a natural-born citizen if the child was not born to two U.S. Citizen parents. This is what exempts John McCain, though he was born in the US Panama Canal Zone.

    US Law very clearly states: ". . . If only one parent is a U.S. Citizen at the time of one's birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for minimum ten years, five of which must be after the age of 16." Barack Obama's father was not a U.S. Citizen is a fact.

    Obama's mother was only 18 when Obama was born. This means even though she had been a U.S. Citizen for 10 years, (or citizen of Hawaii being a territory), his mother fails the test for at-least-5-years- prior-to Barack Obama's birth, but-after-age-16.

    In essence, Mother alone is not old enough to qualify her son for automatic U.S. Citizenship. At most, 2 years elapsed from his mother turning 16 to the time of Barack Obama's birth when she was 18. His mother would have needed to have been 16 + 5 = 21 years old at the time of Barack Obama's birth for him to be a natural-born citizen. Barack Obama was already 3 years old at the time his mother would have needed to be to allow him natural citizenship from his only U.S. Citizen parent. Obama should have been naturalized as a citizen . . . but that would disqualify him from holding the office.

    Now I'm starting to see why the birth certificate issue is so important. It would list his father. It also explains Bill Clinton's statement: "I never was mad at Sen. Obama. I think everybody's got a right to run for president who qualifies under the Constitution.

    Which may mean the forgery issue re: the birth certificate is a red herring. The real issue is who is your daddy?

    So the question is: was Hawaii a State when Obama was born? He says he is 46 years old. That would be 1962. Hawaii became a State on August 21, 1959. Well that blows that theory. If he was born in the USA he is an American citizen. Period.

    OTOH commenter Sarah had this to say:

    As a genealogist, I could not list Barack Obama Sr. as the legal father since he was never "legally" married to Barack's mother. He was already married. So technically Barack would be considered illegitimate, a more complicated matter back in 1961 than today.

    Texas Darlin did a post about adoption when the adoptive parent is Indonesian and how if the child is under 5, citizenship reverts to Indonesia, over 5, dual citizenship, which is not recognized by Indonesia, but is by the U.S.

    The answer lies somewhere in the illegitimate birth and possible subsequent adoption by Soetoro.

    Texas Darlin looks at the citizenship angle from the adoption point of view.

    1. Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, with the legal name Barack Hussein Obama II, and Barack H. Obama Sr. was identified as his legal father. [NOTE: an alternative theory, that Obama was born in Canada, is still being researched.]

    2. Obama was adopted by Lolo Soetoro in Hawaii sometime around 1965-1966.

    3. As part of the adoption procedure, pursuant to Hawaiian law, Obama's original Birth Certificate (BC) was sealed, and a new Birth Certificate was issued with his new name, Barry Soetoro, and the name of his new father, Lolo Soetoro.

    4. Mother and son joined Soetoro in Indonesia, where Barry Soetoro was registered in school as Lolo's son, a Muslim, and a citizen of Indonesia.

    5. After approximately 4 years, Barry Soetoro returned to Hawaii as a U.S. citizen to live with his grandparents, the Dunhams, and attend private school.

    6. At some point before his 18th birthday, he most likely changed his legal name back to Barack Hussein Obama, but his Birth Certificate would not have been modified again unless there was another adoption (by the Dunhams, for example).

    What does all this mean? Maybe nothing.

    All Barry has to do to scotch the rumors is to release his birth records.

    If he does have dual citizenship that will cause him problems with a lot of the electorate. If he is not an American citizen it is all over for him.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:36 PM | Comments (7)

    The Bloom Is Off The Rose

    Take a look at this report excerpted here and then watch the video.
    Barack Obama has lost ground among some of his strongest bases of support, including young people, women, Democrats and independents, according to a new ATV/Zogby poll.

    The Illinois Democrat has also lost some support among African-Americans and Hispanics, where his lead over Republican John McCain has shrunk, and among Catholics, where he's lost his lead.

    The net result, pollster John Zogby found, is a race that's neck and neck, with McCain supported by 42 percent; Obama by 41 percent; Libertarian Bob Barr by 2 percent; and independent Ralph Nader by 2 percent. Another 13 percent supported other candidates or were undedcided.

    Zogby called the results a "notable turnaround" from a July survey he did that showed Obama leading by 46-36.

    May I also add that Obama is losing support with people. Put a fork in him. He is done.

    And then there is this HuffPo piece which looks at Obama's personal problems which can be summed up: there is no there there. Obama is a far left guy (read Marxist), who ran a moderate far left primary campaign and is now adopting a great many of McCain's positions with caveats. As the HuffPo points out, America is a moderate right country (in terms of American politics) and McCain is right in the center of the American political demographic. Which is why many on the right don't like him. Still, when the choice is a Scoop Jackson Democrat or a Marxist the right is going to go with Scoop every time.

    As to "Change we can believe in" I think Obama is correct on that without reservation. He is a weather vane blowin' in the wind. It has gotten to the point that not even his supporters know where he stands. Add in the dirty deeds he did to win the primary and it is obvious Obama has made a lot of enemies and is not making any headway with people he now wants to be his friends.

    The only question now is: will it hurt the Democrats in the down ticket races. My guess? Yes. Will it be enough to change control of Congress? Too early to tell.

    H/T Instapundit and Instapundit

    Update: 05 Aug 008 1805z

    Instapundit links to an article in The Nation that lists the changes Obama followers can believe in. It is a socialist environmentalist laundry list. Almost every one of which Obama has qualified or repudiated recently. Evidently the recent changes are not ones they can believe in.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers. You might also like Obama Be.

    posted by Simon at 12:44 PM | Comments (24)

    Runnin On Empty

    H/T Instapundit

    posted by Simon at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

    Obama Birth Certificate Issue Heats Up

    Texas Darlin takes a look at the Obama birth certificate issue and has a few words on the matter.

    Techdude's latest report, written exclusively for the TexasDarlin blog, is mind-blowing. This report responds to critics; solves the "security border" mystery; AND exposes THE SMOKING GUN that will be conclusive in proving that the Certificate of Live Birth (COLB) proffered by Barack Obama on his official campaign website IS FAKE.

    I am grateful to Techdude for his dedication to the truth, as I am to Polarik, Michele (who donated her COLB), Judah Benjamin, JimJ, the No Quarter team, and everyone who supports our efforts.

    I have no opinion one way or the other at this time. Every time I see a point made in the comments pro or con I am swayed. So my opinion on the matter is not worth a damn. However, Bill Clinton had a very interesting thing to say about Obama. From Atlas Shrugs:
    ...Bill Clinton made an intriguing turn of phrase when he said, during a trip to Africa: "I never was mad at Sen. Obama," the former president said. "I think everybody's got a right to run for president who qualifies under the Constitution. And I'd be the last person to begrudge anybody their ambition." Even Snopes has accepted that Obama cannot qualify for the presidency based on his mother's citizenship. He must be born in the United States to be a "natural born citizen." If this latest analysis is borne out as true, and the certificate of live birth was derived from a lady, whether it's his sister or not, Sen. Obama will have a lot of explaining to do.
    You can read more on this at Israeli Insider and No Quarter.

    The first comment at Texas Darlin is interesting too: (edited to make the url work.)

    I just came across this news item, and it made me wonder if it might have some play in the discussions over Obama's mother's marriage and Obama's birth. Barack Obama Sr. 's third wife was named Ruth Nidesand, and her surving son (Barack Jr.'s step-brother) is named Mark Ndesandjo. Here's what the TimesOnline says in part about Mark: "Obama, however, refers to him simply as 'my brother' and says he was the only uncontested heir after their father, a Kenyan, died in a car crash in 1982. " How could Barack Jr.'s step-brother be the only "uncontested heir" of his father? Why were people contesting Barack Jr.? Was he considered illegitimate as an heir, as it appears? Or am I reading this in the wrong way?
    Interesting. I wonder if it makes any difference? What are the rules of citizenship if his mother's marriage was not legal?

    Curiouser and curiouser. Some one ask Alice. I think she'll know. When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead...

    Update: 05 Aug 008 1237z

    Larry Johnson says that Obama's sister, Maya Kassandra Soetoro, is the name on the birth certificate that some one has allegedly altered to be Obama's birth certificate. Larry says:

    Here's the simple summary-an authentic COLB was used as a template to create the so-called "birth certificate" that was first posted at Daily Kos and the official Barack Obama campaign site. Why doesn't Barack come clean with his own, genuine Certificate of Live Birth? We do not know for sure but it appears that the name listed is that of BARRY SOETORO. Barry Obama was adopted by Lolo Soetoro and, by virtue of that adoption, was registered as Barry Soetoro in Hawaii.

    Barry aka Barrack has some "splaining" to do (to quote Ricky Ricardo).

    You can find more details at Texas Darlin.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:14 PM | Comments (11)

    Tall Tales

    Lovely video. I must take exception to one point. I do not believe America was founded as a Christian Nation. On the other points I am in agreement.

    Keep your eyes open for the frequent appearance of a Puma. It refers to Party Unity My Ass. A slogan of Hillary supporters who are none too happy with the primary campaign Obama ran. There is a blog called PUMA PAC where they hang out. There are about 300 blogs in the PUMA network.

    posted by Simon at 02:40 PM | Comments (7)

    Obama Be

    Team Obama has figured out a way to stop his slide in the polls. Summer Camp.

    The BHO campaign has sent out emails to me and probably millions of other lucky recipients encouraging us to sign up for a local "Camp Obama" (,, a two-day session where we'd learn how to be effective organizers for the campaign. Hopefully a citizen reporter will sign up to report back with a critical eye, but for now all we have are the positive and very many negative connotations brought to mind. You can see a full copy of the email here, and if you want to be creeped out even more see the description of last year's "camps" here:
    Rivals of Obama know that while he may at times appear to channel Martin Luther King Jr., his methods sometimes give evidence of his allegiance to [Saul Alinsky], who shunned starry-eyed idealists and recommended purging do-gooders from organizations. Alinsky wanted results. And his methods often forced the hands of elected officials... It's not enough to want to help others, [an Obama campaign staffer] says. These campers need to focus on people's self-interests. What do they want? How can Obama help them? ..."We want you to stop thinking about Barack Obama and be Barack Obama," she says.
    Did some one say Clone Wars?

    Obama has taken Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers and turned it into a national campaign. Can you say reparations?

    So let us have a look at Alinsky's handbook Rules For Radicals. Just so we can see the train coming and get off the tracks. Here is a list of the rules.

    RULE 1:"Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have." Power is derived from 2 main sources - money and people. "Have-Nots" must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)
    That would explain a lot of the current campaign's dynamics. Obama is running on the idea that a lot of people fear being called racists. If that fear is not there then his campaign has no power. McCain has neutered that whole line of attack. It may play well among the latte liberals (Tom Wolfe called them the radical chic) but it will not play well against the original anti-slavery party (Abe Lincoln was a Republican).

    RULE 2: "Never go outside the expertise of your people." It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don't address the "real" issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)
    This would explain Obama's One note campaign: "I'm Black. Vote for me or we will brand you a racist." All his other policy positions are amendable (see flip-flop, Obama). Obama might not know math, science, economics, or any number of other things. He does know race and so does his base.

    RULE 3: "Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy." Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
    Again. This may work for latte liberals but Clinton supporters (whose husband was touted as the first "black" President) are not buying it. Did I mention that Republicans were the original anti-racist party?

    RULE 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity's very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
    There may be racists in the Republican Party (as there are racists in the Democrat Party). McCain is not one of them. His strength is as the strength of ten because his heart is pure.

    RULE 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)
    This has been turned against Obama with McCain's "Paris Hilton" ad and his "The One" ad.

    RULE 6: "A good tactic is one your people enjoy." They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid "un-fun" activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)
    Evidently the Obama Campaign and his mighty minions love calling people racists. I don't see any fun in that. Only sadness. However, to each his own.

    RULE 7: "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag." Don't become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)
    So far the Obama campaign has been a one note campaign. Besides any tactic that is over used wears out its welcome. The "cry wolf" syndrome. I wonder which way they can turn now? The post racialist candidate has been branded a racialist. Where do they go from here?

    RULE 8: "Keep the pressure on. Never let up." Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)
    Well they have to find pressure points. Places where the pressure is effective. So what are Obama's choices? Anti-surge? The surge is working. McCain was way out front on that one. More drilling for oil? McCain was at least a month ahead of Obama on that one and Obama's statement was not unequivocal. He wants limited drilling. McCain placed no such limits on his policy. Higher taxes? That has been death for any candidate pushing that proposition hard. So what can he come up with that will keep his team on side and make advances on his opposition? This is going to be interesting to watch.

    RULE 9: "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself." Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists' minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)
    Ah yes. "We will call you a racist if you keep attacking our positions. How is that working out Barry? That threat is gone. He is going to have to come up with a new one. Fear of labeling McCain a war monger? I think Obama is weak on that. He called for pulling out of Iraq and attacks on Pakistan in August of 2007. He labeled McCain McSame. So what has Bush done? Well he has attacked the terrorists in Pakistan and threatened further attacks if Pakistan didn't straighten out. Preempting Obama's whole line on that front. I wonder if Bush and McSame are working together? They are both Republicans. What are the odds? In any case warmongering does not play well to Obama's base. He will have to tread lightly. So far he has not come out with "we were right all along" on this one. No need to remind the base about it, because for him it is a double edged sword.

    RULE 10: "If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management's wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)
    How is that racism thing working out? McCain has refused to take the bait. In turn he has counter attacked making Obama look obsessed with race. And he is obsessed with race. Just read his books.

    RULE 11: "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)
    Of course the alternative to racism is the post racialist candidate. Obama needed to present himself as anti-racist not anti-white. He screwed the pooch on that one with this primary attacks on Clinton. Ooops.

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)
    Well he has gone after McCain in particular AND the Republicans in general. McCain blunted the attack, and counter attacked. Republicans are not buying it at all.

    McCain, the fighter pilot, has gotten inside Obama's OODA loop. Something the Navy teaches fighter pilots to do.

    The OODA Loop, often called Boyd's Cycle, is a creation of Col. John Boyd, USAF (Ret.). Col. Boyd was a student of tactical operations and observed a similarity in many battles and campaigns. He noted that in many of the engagements, one side presented the other with a series of unexpected and threatening situations with which they had not been able to keep pace. The slower side was eventually defeated. What Col. Boyd observed was the fact that conflicts are time competitive.
    Elections are nothing if they are not time competitive. Evidently the "freezing of the opponent" that Alinsky recommends has not worked on McCain. He was not frozen. Once that happened McCain was operating inside Obama's decision loop.

    Evidently Boyd is beating Alinsky. Or to put it another way. The fighter pilot is beating the community organizer. As a Navy man myself, I'm not surprised.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers. You might also like Obama's Axelrod Busted

    posted by Simon at 07:42 AM | Comments (43)

    The Cadaver Is Getting The Best Of Them

    I recently did a post on how a number of Democrats view the McCain campaign so far. Here is my favorite quote from the long list of quotes:

    After Axelrod swiftboated Hillary, I tell you, he has no play book for the GE. For such a "brilliant team" they are struggling with a cadaver and the cadaver is getting the best of them.
    Evidently there is still some life in the old cadaver yet.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)

    Obama's Axelrod Is Busted

    There is a discussion going on at Talk Left (which has banned me as a commenter - boo frickin hoo) about Obama playing the race card. Some of the comments are quite amusing. I'm going to pick the best of the lot (something like 200+ in the lot) and post them so you needn't spend as much time in the fever swamps as I did.

    The bigger irony
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:15:15 AM EST

    to me is that the Very Serious charge against the Clintons initially, by Josh Marshall very strongly and by others in actual media, was that the Clintons were dropping subtle racialized hints precisely in order to provoke a defensive reaction from Obama on race so that he would end up having to define himself as a black man (which of course nobody had noticed up to that point).

    And now here we are in the general, and who starts talking about race with zero provocation?

    Huh. Maybe McCain would
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:31:35 AM EST

    not have noticed that Obama never had a whit of experience -- in the military, on a committee, even one where he showed up -- for CiC. That's what an Obaman in my family told me when blaming Senator Clinton, she of armed services committees and such, for bringing Obama's inexperience to McCain's attention.


    Ludacris still on his iPod, even though Obama said
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:08:19 AM EST

    he was concerned about his daughters hearing those types of lyrics (but Ludacris is a "great talent" and a "great businessman.) Notice they had a spokesperson denounce the lyrics of the latest rap, where he called Hillary a b**.

    Have you noticed how Michelle and BO
    by Shainzona on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:54:05 AM EST

    slip out of their "Harvard diction" into AA speak when they appear before certain audiences? I remember seeing one video of Michelle (I think in SC) when you would have thought she was right off the streets of some big city, talking about "folks" and "you know".

    It was. It was also very wrong of
    by masslib on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:25:17 AM EST

    Obama to run around SC and imply to african american audiences that the Clintons were trying to "hoodwink", "bamboozle" and play them the ole "hokey doke". I think BC was pissed and he handled it poorly.

    Well stated!
    by EL seattle on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:52 AM EST

    I agree completely that "Yes, it was racial but not racist."

    They say that when you're carrying a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. This campaign is bound to have a lot of challenges for the Obama team. Some of these challenges are not related to race at all. Some are slightly related to race. And some will actually be racist matters. But for folks to cry "racist!" at every problem is as productive as using a hammer to fix a crack in a windshield.

    They are quite a pair of actors/frauds.

    and the revisiting
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:07:45 AM EST

    of how the media played the race card against the Clintons with Obama is yet another unfortunate and angry reminder to those who supported Clinton just what kind of candidate Obama really is and how the Clintons were unfairly and savagely maligned.

    Not exactly the best way to get all aboard the Unity Express. Funny, though, how it looks like the underside of a bus.


    And to shut down legitimate criticism
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:26:56 AM EST

    by making opponents fear they will be portrayed as racists. I have heard several pundits say that calling Obama arrogant is racist, even though this was and is a common criticism of Bush.

    Ah, must have been pundits here
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:42:41 AM EST

    coming to visit TL when they tied up threads with the same line here the last couple of days, saying that "arrogant" is racist.

    Unfortunately, I know a lot of arrogant folks. Wait 'til I tell them that they're black.

    Bet they will be shocked
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:49:47 AM EST

    to find that out.

    And Dems fight back
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:47:28 AM EST

    by whining about Paris and Britney in the ads.

    Didn't obama compare himself
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:43:21 AM EST

    Paris or Britney waaaay back when?

    Yes, he compared himself to Paris Hilton
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:45:27 AM EST

    a week after he got into the Senate. The link is on an earlier thread. Haven't seen it in media yet . . . but give it time. McCain camp has got it, I betcha.

    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:44:26 AM EST

    he will give a speech today to explain it all and the followers will be grateful and everything will be ok.

    He will speak about being taken out of context and he will say that America has changed in re to race and he is grateful for that. He will state that this is the Old politics of the Republicans and McCain and he is for changing that. He will accuse McCain of dividing America when we all have to stick together. Then he will offer many comparisons to McCain and Bush and old politics.

    In the end, everything will be okay and he will be hailed for his exceptional speech on Aug 2, 2008.

    This is the crap I knew
    by Stellaaa on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:05:13 AM EST

    was going to happen. McCain now dominates the discussion and swoops all the Democratic issues under the table. Adios, replay Gore and Kerry.

    After Axelrod swiftboated Hillary, I tell you, he has no play book for the GE. For such a "brilliant team" they are struggling with a cadaver and the cadaver is getting the best of them.

    by cmugirl on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:13 AM EST

    If this theme continues, it is not good for Obama. Many people, who are not racists, but just plain, regular people of all stripes, do not like hearing that they are considered racists. If that is the subtext coming from the Obama camp (And I believe it is - "If you don't for Obama, you must be a racist"), then people are going to think twice about voting for him -even those who might be disposed to do so.

    Trying to make people feel guilty for something they haven't done or don't feel is a sure fire way to tick them off.

    The race narrative you propose
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:43:49 AM EST

    is the same assuage-white-latte-liberal-guilt undercurrent that did work well for him in the primaries.

    But now it's the GE. That riff does not work nearly so well with the general voting population, since the major demos that are susceptible to it are already supporting him, and made up a much higher percentage of Democratic voters than they do the general population.

    Since that sub rosa meme has already been circulating for 6 months and has not been successful in garnering any significant additional support so far, it seems unlikely to be a winner going forward.

    Yep, gays next
    by lambertstrether on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:40:36 AM EST

    Too bad Obama threw them under the bus, too, Reverend McClurkin.

    Unless there's a subtext I've already missed.

    He already threw "no off shore" drilling
    by Radix on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:01:05 AM EST

    under the bus. A big win for McCain, I might add.

    I believe obama just "modified" his
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:02:15 AM EST

    stance on off-shore drilling. Could "modified" be code word for flip-flopped?

    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:04:37 AM EST

    It was just a "refinement." And everyone agrees we need more oil refining.

    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:47:36 PM EST

    "They want to win on a 'platform' of vague hopey-changey rhetoric, Millenial self-esteem boosterism, latte liberal white guilt expiation, and rapidly shiftable political platitudes regarding bread-and-butter issues."

    This is not a political platform. It is an Oprah/Dr Phil show.

    Obama is not running on ideas or policy. He is running on Hallmark card slogans like lets hold hands and get along.

    This is why he is constantly flip flopping. He doesn't really stand for anything other than getting along. Which means if drilling will make us get along let drill!

    This is the opposite of the FDR model. His presidency was based on ideas and policies. He was not worried about getting along. He didn't care if the republicans hated him.

    Whew. That is more than enough for one day. Maybe two weeks. I think the consensus of these lefties is that the race card has been played and it can't be played again unless the deck gets reshuffled. i.e. Hillary gets the nod or in 2012.

    I think Obama has dropped another point in the polls and the race (har) is all tied up. That is a very bad Omen for the Obama campaign this early in the season.

    Obama has a very big handicap. He has only been in significant campaigns against Democrat opponents. (Alan Keyes was/is not significant) He doesn't know how to campaign against a serious Republican. Campaign tactics that work in Chicago and other Democrat enclaves (New York - Elliot Spitzer) are not going to work nation wide. Some one needs to tell Axelrod.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 08:07 PM | Comments (2)

    Goodbye Pennsylvania

    I'm finalizing loose odds and ends, and just about ready to hit the road. So, barring a major unanticipated event, I think this will be my last post from my Pennsylvania home. (Emotional. Ugh.)

    Whether I'll be set up to blog tomorrow from the new location is another matter. This whole move has been insane, as I've had to sort through, archive, and pack three households worth of stuff. My punishment for hanging onto my parents' stuff after they died. Like me, they were, um, accumulators. Nothing wrong with generations of accumulation, unless you have to move. (Seriously, I would not wish the past two weeks on anyone except maybe Osama bin Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

    Speaking of accumulating, I found something in the basement I hadn't thought about in nearly a decade:


    It's a still-sealed 3 gallon stoneware jug full of 1883 Rye whiskey. My father had it for many decades, and he used to joke that "one of these days" we should open it up "for a special occasion" and try it. One of these days never came, special occasions came and went, and the ancient rye remained sealed and forgotten.

    Who knows whether one of these days will ever arrive? I'll have to think about that one of these days.

    Hopefully, the next post will be from my new home.

    posted by Eric at 06:06 PM | Comments (3)

    Something To Worry About

    John Tierney ask folks to leave comments about what big problems people should be worrying about. Here is what I worry about:

    I worry about people who worry about Lebensraum. You know, too many humans on the planet.

    I'd keep a close watch on those boys.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

    Higher Gas Prices Are Killing GM

    Megam McArdle is discussing GM's woes.

    GM has declared a stunning loss--over $15 billion dollars. Their cash position has fallen by about 10% since last year. That cash cushion used to comfort analysts, the notion being that GM had the reserves to ride out a long rough spell. Now liquidity fears are firming up. I'd put the probability of a GM bankruptcy in the next 10 years at 50%.

    The company is scrambling to retool for small cars, and I'm sure we'll hear a loud chorus of voices saying that GM did this to themselves by becoming so dependent on light trucks. Well, they did, but I'm not sure it's fair to blame management.

    The Unions want to maximize employment and the Wagner Act gives them lots of clout. What union is going to allow labor saving machinery in a plant that replaces workers? They are after all Labor Unions. They don't collect dues from robots.

    And then we have the Democrats - those great supporters of unions - preventing the drilling for American oil making the prices sky rocket. Now where do American car companies make their profits? Big vehicles which use a lot of fuel. Americans want those vehicles if the price of fuel is not too high.

    What is the Democrat response? Well they are no longer the party of labor. Their support from labor is an anachronism. They are now the party of Ultimate Greens. You know that party. The one that says that there are too many humans consuming too much stuff and it has to stop. Right now.

    And you know, in the whole comment section at Megan's post every one is saying it is labor or it is management. No one (except me) has said anything about higher oil prices.

    Let me add that the American auto industry is booming. Just look at who and where. It is foreign companies locating in right to work states. American auto companies are unable to take advantage of the laws in those states because the union will not let them. Where is the profit in that for them?

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 09:57 AM | Comments (1)

    Democrat Energy Plan
    Democrat Energy Plan

    H/T Gateway Pundit

    posted by Simon at 08:32 AM | Comments (1)

    War Stories - 3

    Q and O has the details.

    As Emanuel notes, the odds were set. 500 vs. 70. Even so, Emanuel entitled his article, "An Alamo With a Different Ending." The 500 terrorists apparently didn't realize they were attacking US Army paratroopers.

    The unit in question was 2nd Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, led by 1LT Jonathan Brostrom.

    The first RPG and machine gun fire came at dawn, strategically striking the forward operating base's mortar pit. The insurgents next sighted their RPGs on the tow truck inside the combat outpost, taking it out. That was around 4:30 a.m.

    This was not a haphazard attack. The reportedly 500 insurgents fought from several positions. They aimed to overrun the new base. The U.S. soldiers knew it and fought like hell. They knew their lives were on the line.

    The next target was the FOB's observation post, where nine soldiers were positioned on a tiny hill about 50 to 75 meters from the base. Of those nine, five died, and at least three others -- Spc. Tyler Stafford among them -- were wounded.

    When the attack began, Stafford grabbed his M-240 machine gun off a north-facing sandbag wall and moved it to an east-facing sandbag wall. Moments later, RPGs struck the north-facing wall, knocking Stafford out of the fighting position and wounding another soldier.

    Go read the whole thing to find out what happened.

    H/T Irons in the Fire

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)

    The Pence Report

    Congressman Mike Pence gives an after action report on yesterday's after hours session on oil drilling that took place on the House floor after the session was adjourned by Speaker Pelosi.

    ...we had a hundred people, a hundred people signed up to give speeches at the end of the day, which is a very, very ordinary way to end a day on Capitol Hill, with members giving us speeches that are five minutes in length each. This time, there were so many Republicans outraged that we were leaving for a five week paid vacation without having had an up or down vote on give the American people more access to American oil, you know, we had about half of the Republicans in Congress were going to speak if we went all the way to Midnight. But then they brought their motion to adjourn, they adjourned and shut the whole thing down. And quite frankly, Congressman Tom Price of Georgia and I, who were kind of organizing some of those speakers, looked at each other and said well, cameras are off, lights are off, but you know what? There's still Americans up in the Gallery. Let's have at it. And before it was over, more than fifty Republicans in Congress came to the floor, spoke from their hearts, standing ovations all day long. And by all indications, we got the message across to the American people that the Republicans in Congress want to be working, and we want to be working to give the American people greater access to our domestic reserves.
    There is more and it is a very interesting read.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:58 PM | Comments (1)

    In Ten Years We Won't Need Any

    Democrats keep telling us that if we open the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling we won't get any oil out of it for ten years (the real number is two or three years). Are they trying to tell us we won't be needing oil for our vehicles in ten years? I'd like to see the plan.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

    Winning Hearts and Minds

    If you would like to help this clinic out, here is a list of supplies needed and where to send them.

    Here is a link to the video if you want to do your own post on the clinic:

    posted by Simon at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

    Not Playing With A Full Deck

    Obama has been playing the race card a lot lately. The McCain camp is hitting back hard. Very hard

    "The McCain campaign was compelled to respond to this outrageous attack because we will not allow John McCain to be smeared by Senator Obama as a racist for offering legitimate criticism," he said. "We have waited for months with a sick feeling knowing this moment would come because we watched it incur with President Clinton. Say whatever you want about President Clinton, his record on this issue is above reproach."

    In the Democratic primary campaign, Mr. Obama's supporters at several occasions accused the Clinton campaign of using racially charged tactics, particularly after Mr. Clinton equated Mr. Obama's victory in the South Carolina primary with the Rev. Jesse Jackson's victory in the nominating contest there in 1988. Mr. Clinton himself then complained in a radio interview in April that the Obama campaign had "played the race card on me."

    A not so subtle reminder for the PUMA crowd. Which is Democrat speak for Party Unity My Ass. In other words Hillary supporters.

    And it appears that Obama is tanking in the polls. This is not going to help. I did a Bounce Check after Obama returned from his Ego Trip to Europe and found that Obama didn't get any bounce from that trip. Now his numbers are falling. My guess is that Team Obama is starting to run scared. Well playing the race card didn't help. That means he is at least one card short of a full deck.

    My prediction? Obama is going to take a lot of Democrats down with him in November. Denver is going to be one ugly place for the Democrat Convention at the end of the month.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 04:00 AM | Comments (1)

    Unforced Errors

    I like the McCain Campaign so far.

    Jab. Jab. Jab. Obama throws a round house. McCain then lands a solid punch.

    McCain is peeling off the Obama voters. A half percent every day. That will put Obama 15 points down by 1 Sept. I think with the dynamics of this campaign too much fear in one dose will not work.

    The unforced errors are starting to make Obama look like an amateur. Which he is.

    In other words McCain is making Obama self destruct.

    And just wait for the Dem Convention. A significant number of Dems HATE Obama. Where as the Rs respect McCain and just hate his policies. Lots of opportunities there which McCain capitalized on with his reminder of Obama's race baiting Clinton.

    I think people will look back on Friday, 1 August and say that it was the turning point.

    Inspired by a column by Dick Morris.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 03:55 AM | Comments (1)

    House Republicans In Revolt Over Energy Bill

    Breaking News: House Republican are holding an after session session to try to get House Speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi to bring the House Back in Session to debate the Republican plan to open the waters of the Outer Continental Shelf of the US for oil exploration and production. Speaker Pelosi has ordered the lights, air conditioning, and CSPAN shut off. Here are some quotes from the links below provided by the commenters at Just One Minute.

    Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the dimly lit chamber is a "vision of the future by the Democrat Party: The lights are out, there's no power, and the air conditioning is gonna go off soon."

    Update: A GOP staffer just informed me that post-adjournment protests by the minority party are not unprecedented. The Democrats did it back in 1995, when the Republicans were in control. Democrats placed a big photo in the speaker's chair of then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wearing a diaper. Republicans note they are being more respectful this time.

    Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who was on a plane headed home, went back to the Capitol, walking on to the floor dragging his luggage. He got a standing ovation.

    Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) called it a "new Boston Tea Party!"

    Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said he was "not leaving until we call this Congress back into session and vote for energy independence."

    House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking

    Dems turn out the lights but GOP won't go home Part II

    GOP talkathon Part III: No shirt? No tie? No problem

    GOP revival: Twittering the House revolt; Hoekstra: "Our voices can't be shut down"

    Blackout: Pelosi turns off the lights as GOP demands action on drilling; Update: Video added; Update: Pelosi moves to shut it down?

    House Adjourns, But Republicans Linger to Bash Democrats on Energy

    Video via Instapundit

    CSPAN2 has intermittent coverage

    Contact Your Government:

    House of Representatives
    The Senate
    The President

    posted by Simon at 05:36 PM | Comments (2)

    The One

    posted by Simon at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

    A New Kind Of Solar Cell

    The boffins are at it again They have just invented a new kind of solar cell that produces hydrogen from salt water.

    In Situ Formation of an Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst in Neutral Water Containing Phosphate and Co2+

    Matthew W. Kanan 1 and Daniel G. Nocera 1*

    The utilization of solar energy on a large scale requires its storage. In natural photosynthesis, energy from sunlight is used to rearrange the bonds of water to O2 and H2-equivalents. The realization of artificial systems that perform similar "water splitting" requires catalysts that produce O2 from water without the need for excessive driving potentials. Here, we report such a catalyst that forms upon the oxidative polarization of an inert indium tin oxide electrode in phosphate-buffered water containing Co2+. A variety of analytical techniques indicates the presence of phosphate in an approximate 1:2 ratio with cobalt in this material. The pH dependence of the catalytic activity also implicates HPO42- as the proton acceptor in the O2- producing reaction. This catalyst not only forms in situ from earth-abundant materials but also operates in neutral water under ambient conditions.

    There are two possible flies in this ointment.

    Indium is not abundant.


    It will be interesting to see if this can be manufactured at a reasonable cost.

    The New York Times has more.

    H/T Just One Minute

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Update 02 Aug 008 1415z

    Commenter Bill Woods tells me that this is not a solar cell but a more efficient way to separate hydrogen from oxygen. He is right.

    posted by Simon at 01:10 PM | Comments (3)

    Battling Against Wealth Increases

    The truth has finally come out. Officially. Greens think more wealth is a bad idea.

    Environmental campaigners, citing government-commissioned research, have said that the UK's claimed carbon emissions figures are "a big lie". The analysis adds carbon burdens associated with offshore manufactures, shipping and aviation to the UK total, and - according to the activists - shows that economic growth and carbon emissions are inextricably linked, and that the UK is actually responsible for much more greenhouse gas than it admits.

    John Barrett, one of the authors of the reports by the Stockholm Environment Institute at York (SEI-Y) for the government and campaign group WWF*, was quoted by the BBC today:

    "We are constantly battling against increases of wealth... There's a very fundamental problem here that no one really wants to talk about."
    I believe that is going to make greens really popular with the poor people of Britain and the rest of the world.

    I do think he has a point though. Have a look at this chart. A country's wealth correlates very well with its CO2 output. Except for a few resource extraction countries like Bahrain and Libya which actually put out more CO2 per dollar of wealth than average.

    Next the greens will be telling us that poverty is good for people. That not is going to sell well. Not well at all.


    Commenter lkdemott at Power and Control has this to add:

    "Next the greens will be telling us that poverty is good for people."

    With one small change, I think most greens will agree with the statement:

    "Next the greens will be telling us that poverty is good for other people."

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    Welcome Instapundit readers.

    posted by Simon at 12:35 PM | Comments (14)

    A Song For Obama

    Commenter bgates at Just One Minute has run with a suggestion of mine and written an outstanding song parody.

    I see a White House and I want it painted black
    No Clintons anymore they both can kiss my sack
    I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
    I have to turn my head or Michelle will break my nose
    I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
    Idling with my entourage but Al Gore cuts me slack
    I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
    They're in the media and ignore all my mistakes
    I look inside myself and see my heart is black
    Prob'ly because every day I smoke more than one pack
    Maybe soon I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
    I'll just claim those bitter rubes could not vote for a black

    No more will I be showing up at Trinity
    Turns out they hate whitey, hey man, it was news to me
    If I look cool enough in front of these Germans
    Maybe I can say I won before November comes

    I see a White House and I want it painted black
    Anyone who criticizes me is smoking crack
    I am a symbol of what's good in this country
    That's why I sometimes seem to lack humility
    Hmm, hmm, hmm,...
    I wanna see it painted, painted black
    Black as night, black as coal
    I want Republicans blotted out from the sky
    I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

    Outstanding bgates.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

    Obama Is An Airhead

    Eric at Classical Values discourses on Obama's prescription for saving gasoline.

    I have been so engaged in the move (truly the most harrowing one of my life) that I have barely been able to keep abreast of news developments, much less blog about them.

    But that did not mean that I missed Barack Obama's fascinating assertion about tire inflation.

    Via Ace, the exact quote:

    "we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling if everybody was just inflating their tires."
    So Obama is an airhead?

    I thought every one knew.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

    China - The Most Racist Country In The World

    La Shawn Barber has a bit up about the racism of global warming. It is no joke.

    On Tuesday, liberal Congressman James Clyburn spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to kick off the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, sponsored by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The left-leaning think tank created the Commission to Engage African-Americans on Climate Change to encourage blacks to join the global warming debate.

    "It is critical our community be an integral and active part of the debate because African Americans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change economically, socially and through our health and well-being," Clyburn said.

    With no Klansman to defend against or whites-only signs to tear down, certain blacks are consumed with searching for racism in a single glance or an innocuous comment or on a magazine cover or under rocks. In this case, they looked for and found racism in the skies.

    That would make China whose CO2 output now surpasses America's the most racist country in the world.

    H/T Instapundit

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 10:57 AM | Comments (4)

    Obama Gives McCain Some Help

    The Obama camp has a new blog up The Low Road Express, which discusses McCain's "distortions" of Obama's words. This is the print version of WORM which stands for What Obama Really Meant. Here is one of my favorites from Cincinnati Enquirer.

    The McCain ad's claim that Obama says 'he'll raise taxes on electricity' is based on an interview Obama gave to a San Antonio newspaper in February in which he said 'what we ought to tax is a dirty energy like coal, and, to a lesser extent, natural gas.'
    And raising taxes on our two chief sources of electrical energy won't raise prices?

    So what is the paper's answer to this? They say McCain is for the same cap and trade tax raising policies Obama supports. Evidently they have not been keeping up. McCain Is Taking Economics Lessons.

    ...on deep background, this senior McCain advisor told me I was correct: no cap-and-trade. In other words, this central-planning, regulatory, tax-and-spend disaster, which did not appear in Mac's two recent speeches, has been eradicated entirely -- even from the detailed policy document that hardly anybody will ever read.
    Evidently the advisor was right. None of our betters in the press have read it. Nor has any one from the Obama camp.

    Fortunately you have me to help you keep an eye on things.

    Did I mention McCain was looking into the near term prospects (good) for fusion a year ago? That is something else the press is unaware of.

    Cross Posted at Power and Control

    posted by Simon at 05:21 AM | Comments (0)

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