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Posts Tagged ‘Obama

The Last Stand

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Let me give you the state of the race today. We have 22 days to go. We’re 6 points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.

What America needs in this hour is a fighter; someone who puts all his cards on the table and trusts the judgment of the American people. I come from a long line of McCains who believed that to love America is to fight for her. I have fought for you most of my life. There are other ways to love this country, but I’ve never been the kind to do it from the sidelines.”

Where to start?

1. I’m a conservative. I want McCain to win, based upon my value system, and the fact that things around me are already far too liberal. It makes me want to go kick a puppy or something, and assert my right-wingedness.

2. I’m a realist, I don’t think that McCain will win. Obama has had the media sucking from the teat of the most attractive candidate since JFK. Mainstream media is decidedly against McCain, and since they control the information that the public see, there’s little hope.

3. I admire McCain for all that he’s done. Being a fellow Naval Academy grad, that’s enough for me to respect him. I’m not one to underestimate anyone, but I doubt Obama would have lasted the first week of Plebe summer, not to mention Dark Tuesday. The Golden Boy would have found out that he’s not so golden at all, at least for a few years (if he made it). Then he probably would have been made into the poster child of the Navy.

4. A friend of mine has been insisting to me that McCain’s time being tortured is not relevant to his qualifications as President. Does this make someone automatically qualified? Nope, the years of senior Senatorial work helps. But to suggest the fact that the man turned down release, knowing that he would be brutally tortured even more lends him some credibility in my eyes. Anyone who thinks otherwise just simply isn’t worth my time, because they’ll never get it.

5. This is undoubtedly “The Last Stand”.  Regrettably, this is as determined as I’ve ever seen the media to quash it. To me, it’ll be one of the great mysteries of my life how someone with so little practical experience leading or in government, with such disturbing historical ties, and with such extremist views (Universal healthcare + income redistribution EQUALS communism; It’s that simple. Open your eyes.) will be elected over a literally battle hardened, experienced leader, who just might be able to bring us back to the free-market days that we were founded on. Americans have proven just how stupid they really are. He’s handsome, and he has a rich baritone voice. He makes me get all tingly. He’s got my vote.  Look at McCain.  He’s old and crinkly.  Gross.

*note – to all you liberals out there who really think all that stuff (the communism stuff, that is) is a good idea… well… that’s up to you I suppose. All that I ask is that you don’t vote for someone because you’re infatuated with him, which is what most of my generation has become.


Written by DMN

October 14, 2008 at 3:37 am

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Taken in full from The Volokh Conspiracy, and author David Bernstein. For those of you who don’t know, the Volokh Conspiracy is a largely libertarian/conservative blog, with some very notable contributors.

More on Obama as a Product of a Particular Liberal Culture:

On Saturday, I wrote that Obama’s ties to Ayers and Wright, and his apparent lack of self-consciousness about these ties and how they might affect his political career, “suggest to me NOT that Obama agrees with their views, but that he is the product of a particular intellectual culture that finds the likes of Wright and Ayers to be no more objectionable, and likely less so, than the likes of Tom Coburn, or, perhaps, a Rush Limbaugh.”

Some readers might be a bit mystified as to what I was getting at. Well, consider Obama’s years at Harvard Law. I attended Yale Law School the same years that Obama attended Harvard, and I had friends at Harvard, so I have some idea about the general intellectual culture that the institution (which was not dissimilar to Yale’s culture).

That culture considered extreme leftists (known as “progressives”) to be within mainstream political discourse, but run-of-the-mill conservatives (known as “reactionaries”) to be, at best, on the fringe. Consider that conservative lawyer and Obama Harvard Law classmate Brad Berenson praised Obama as president of the Harvard Law Review because “Whatever his politics, we felt he would give us a fair shake”. Are there many places in America where mainstream conservatives like Berenson have had to worry about being treated fairly because of their politics, and where a “boss” will get praise simply for not treating them like pariahs? But Obama won support and praise simply for giving conservatives a “fair shake,” with no question that people on the extreme left were entitled to such treatment.

Now consider Obama’s answer when asked at a debate about Ayers:

“George, but this is an example of what I’m talking about. 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. The fact is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who, during his campaign, once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.”

So, it seems that in Obama’s mind, he’s an open-minded guy because he’s as willing to be friends with a law-abiding conservative Republican senator as with an extreme leftist unrepentant former domestic terrorist–just as he was considered open-minded at Harvard for treating a mainstream conservative Berenson as a non-pariah. It is this attitude that is a reflection of the political culture of elite liberal east coast schools, and liberal univeristy ghettos such as Hyde Park, and is also reflected in Obama’s infamous “clinging to guns and religion” remark.

Being in the academy myself, I know many people who share Obama’s outlook, or who are even more left-wing. Many of them are fine individuals, write thoughtful and interesting scholarship, are a pleasure to engage with in conversation, and respect my work and my ideas, even if they think some of my views are rather loony. Like them, Obama may very well be a fine, thoughtful, individual, willing to engage with people and ideas despite his natural instinct to recoil. But that doesn’t mean I’d want to be governed by them, or him, and Obama’s 100% liberal voting record in the Senate is likely a far better indication of his underlying ideology than his willingness to be polite to Berenson and Coburn.

My commentary:

First of all, I’m a frequent visitor of the blog over at the Conspiracy, and I think that anyone who’s interested in law or politics should be too. The level of thought occuring over there is might higher than in the normal newspaper, and the things that are reported are things that have substance. They may report on something random, but it’s important because there will be a trial about it that might significantly change established law.

Now, on to Obama. Now I haven’t gone to Harvard or Yale, but I am at a top 20 law school in (roughly) the North East region. What’s the political climate like, might you ask? The climate is such that extreme liberals are considered the “far” (but not extreme) left. Conservatives are seen as… wait, we have conservatives at this school? Clearly, all socially and intellectually elite people are liberals! So essentially, I find Mr. Bernstein’s thoughts accurate. It’s like the political spectrum has been shifted a standard deviation to the left. Moderates are seen as conservatives. Conservatives are generally stared at like they don’t belong, and in disbelief that they could be such heartless bastards.

Written by DMN

October 6, 2008 at 11:29 pm

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“Former Republican Rep. Jim Leach endorsed Barack Obama’s White House bid Tuesday, and said he hopes the Illinois senator considers a former GOP ally of rival John McCain as his running mate.”

Now wouldn’t that be interesting.

My personal analysis:

Obama has been preaching about avoiding divisiveness and seeking unity since his 2004 keynote speech at the DNC.  Ideally, that’s a great thing, and I’m all for it.  Having both parties on his ticket would be revolutionary, and would seemingly build towards the afore mentioned goals.  However, I see a couple of fundamental flaws.

1.  He’s not anywhere near the middle regarding his views.  I’m not really referring to what he says, but rather how he’s voted.  At this point in the race, both sides are still pandering to their respective voter bases and will say what needs to be said to secure their relative blocks of votes, so that makes me go back to his documented voting patterns, which are hardcore liberal.  I’m fine with that, but it’s not really conducive to inspiring unity and avoiding divisiveness if you’re pairing up with a conservative.

2.  Regardless of how many warm and fuzzies Obama inspires (which, admittedly are substantial), if you are a conservative, you cannot fundamentally support Obama and his policies.  His documented stances on issues stand in direct contrast with conservative ones.  So… if you actually pick a member of the GOP, it just won’t work politically.

What’s the purpose of the VP?  To stand in for the President in a time of emergency.  I’d imagine the reason you pick a person of the same party is that if such an emergency happens, you don’t want all sorts of wacky things happening when the new person takes over, like a new political party having the presidency and therefor the support for new policies, etc.  You want someone who reinforces the former President’s policies, not rips them down.  To me, an opposing party VP would somewhat defeat the purpose.

Thoughts?  I’d love to hear some other points of view!

Written by DMN

August 13, 2008 at 12:06 am

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Quoted from the Wall Street Journal. This is why I’m a libertarian. Free-market economics for the win!

What Is a ‘Windfall’ Profit?
August 4, 2008; Page A12

The “windfall profits” tax is back, with Barack Obama stumping again to apply it to a handful of big oil companies. Which raises a few questions: What is a “windfall” profit anyway? How does it differ from your everyday, run of the mill profit? Is it some absolute number, a matter of return on equity or sales — or does it merely depend on who earns it?

Enquiring entrepreneurs want to know. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s “emergency” plan, announced on Friday, doesn’t offer any clarity. To pay for “stimulus” checks of $1,000 for families and $500 for individuals, the Senator says government would take “a reasonable share” of oil company profits.
[Barack Obama]

Mr. Obama didn’t bother to define “reasonable,” and neither did Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, when he recently declared that “The oil companies need to know that there is a limit on how much profit they can take in this economy.” Really? This extraordinary redefinition of free-market success could use some parsing.

Take Exxon Mobil, which on Thursday reported the highest quarterly profit ever and is the main target of any “windfall” tax surcharge. Yet if its profits are at record highs, its tax bills are already at record highs too. Between 2003 and 2007, Exxon paid $64.7 billion in U.S. taxes, exceeding its after-tax U.S. earnings by more than $19 billion. That sounds like a government windfall to us, but perhaps we’re missing some Obama-Durbin business subtlety.

Maybe they have in mind profit margins as a percentage of sales. Yet by that standard Exxon’s profits don’t seem so large. Exxon’s profit margin stood at 10% for 2007, which is hardly out of line with the oil and gas industry average of 8.3%, or the 8.9% for U.S. manufacturing (excluding the sputtering auto makers).

If that’s what constitutes windfall profits, most of corporate America would qualify. Take aerospace or machinery — both 8.2% in 2007. Chemicals had an average margin of 12.7%. Computers: 13.7%. Electronics and appliances: 14.5%. Pharmaceuticals (18.4%) and beverages and tobacco (19.1%) round out the Census Bureau’s industry rankings. The latter two double the returns of Big Oil, though of course government has already became a tacit shareholder in Big Tobacco through the various legal settlements that guarantee a revenue stream for years to come.

In a tax bill on oil earlier this summer, no fewer than 51 Senators voted to impose a 25% windfall tax on a U.S.-based oil company whose profits grew by more than 10% in a single year and wasn’t investing enough in “renewable” energy. This suggests that a windfall is defined by profits growing too fast. No one knows where that 10% came from, besides political convenience. But if 10% is the new standard, the tech industry is going to have to rethink its growth arc. So will LG, the electronics company, which saw its profits grow by 505% in 2007. Abbott Laboratories hit 110%.

If Senator Obama is as exercised about “outrageous” profits as he says he is, he might also have to turn on a few liberal darlings. Oh, say, Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett’s outfit pulled in $11 billion last year, up 29% from 2006. Its profit margin — if that’s the relevant figure — was 11.47%, which beats out the American oil majors.

Or consider Google, which earned a mere $4.2 billion but at a whopping 25.3% margin. Google earns far more from each of its sales dollars than does Exxon, but why doesn’t Mr. Obama consider its advertising-search windfall worthy of special taxation?

The fun part about this game is anyone can play. Jim Johnson, formerly of Fannie Mae and formerly a political fixer for Mr. Obama, reaped a windfall before Fannie’s multibillion-dollar accounting scandal. Bill Clinton took down as much as $15 million working as a rainmaker for billionaire financier Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies. This may be the very definition of “windfall.”

General Electric profits by investing in the alternative energy technology that Mr. Obama says Congress should subsidize even more heavily than it already does. GE’s profit margin in 2007 was 10.3%, about the same as profiteering Exxon’s. Private-equity shops like Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, which recently hired Al Gore, also invest in alternative energy start-ups, though they keep their margins to themselves. We can safely assume their profits are lofty, much like those of George Soros’s investment funds.

The point isn’t that these folks (other than Mr. Clinton) have something to apologize for, or that these firms are somehow more “deserving” of windfall tax extortion than Big Oil. The point is that what constitutes an abnormal profit is entirely arbitrary. It is in the eye of the political beholder, who is usually looking to soak some unpopular business. In other words, a windfall is nothing more than a profit earned by a business that some politician dislikes. And a tax on that profit is merely a form of politically motivated expropriation.

It’s what politicians do in Venezuela, not in a free country.

Written by DMN

August 10, 2008 at 10:41 pm

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Liberal Bias? Just Maybe?

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Since the New York Times refused to publish McCain’s response to Obama’s “Plan for Iraq”, I’m posting it here. Yeah, there’s no vast liberal bias in the media at all… Could you imagine if the NYT refused to publish Obama’s letter to the editor? There would be claims of racism, and some sort of “vast right wing conspiracy”. Oh yeah, the editor of the times is a former Clinton administration staffer. It amazes and disgusts me that all three major network anchors are in the Middle East right now suckling from the teat of the Obama campaign. It’s like he’s the only candidate. In the past 4 months, McCain has been all over the world, including the Middle East. Some networks didn’t even send reporters.

The Rejected Editorial

In January 2007, when General David Petraeus took command in Iraq, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80% to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation now is full of hope, but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.

Progress has been due primarily to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Senator Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent. “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

Now Senator Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted.

Perhaps he is unaware that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.” Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks. More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists. Nor do they measure Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s new-found willingness to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City?actions that have done much to dispel suspicions of sectarianism.

The success of the surge has not changed Senator Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale. In a New York Times op-ed and a speech this week, he offered his “plan for Iraq” in advance of his first “fact finding” trip to that country in more than three years. It consisted of the same old proposal to pull all of our troops out within 16 months. In 2007 he wanted to withdraw because he thought the war was lost. If we had taken his advice, it would have been. Now he wants to withdraw because he thinks Iraqis no longer need our assistance.

To make this point, he mangles the evidence. He makes it sound as if Prime Minister Maliki has endorsed the Obama timetable, when all he has said is that he would like a plan for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops at some unspecified point in the future.

Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military’s readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said that he would consult our commanders on the ground and Iraqi leaders, but he did no such thing before releasing his “plan for Iraq.” Perhaps that’s because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. During the course of eight visits to Iraq, I have heard many times from our troops what Major General Jeffrey Hammond, commander of coalition forces in Baghdad, recently said: that leaving based on a timetable would be “very dangerous.”

The danger is that extremists supported by Al Qaeda and Iran could stage a comeback, as they have in the past when we’ve had too few troops in Iraq. Senator Obama seems to have learned nothing from recent history. I find it ironic that he is emulating the worst mistake of the Bush administration by waving the “Mission Accomplished” banner prematurely.

I am also dismayed that he never talks about winning the war?only of ending it. But if we don’t win the war, our enemies will. A triumph for the terrorists would be a disaster for us. That is something I will not allow to happen as president. Instead I will continue implementing a proven counterinsurgency strategy not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan with the goal of creating stable, secure, self-sustaining democratic allies.

Written by DMN

July 22, 2008 at 7:46 am

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