January 31, 2009

Obama's panicky Pete moment

In a clear vote of confidence in his own party's massive spending plan, Obama had this to say about the American economy;

"Americans know that our economic recovery will take years -- not months.
But they will have little patience if we allow politics to get in the way
of action, and our economy continues to slide."

What's he doing?

1. Trying to buy time because the GOP won't play ball. It shows a lack of confidence in the stinkulus package being forced upon America that is more a design to push a liberal agenda rather than any type of real plan to save the economy.
2. Trying to convince a Republican, any Republican to play ball by scaring the public into thinking that Republicans are the issue here by playing politics.

Sorry Mr. President, the GOP won't fall for that little trick. At least I hope not. And saying it will take years does not mitigate the fact that your plan will make it take longer than a smarter, quicker, cheaper plan. And from the looks of it, all of those things could be achieved by a plan written on a napkin, with about 10 minutes of REAL thought put into it. (As opposed to contraception will benefit the economy).

GOP 2010 journey begins here - Part 1

How long will it take for the GOP to get itself out of it's current mess? 2010? 2012? 2024? What are the factors that could influence the comeback? This 4 part series will look at the factors that will impact the success or failure of the resurgence of the GOP in the short term, specifically, 2010.

What a wonderful place to be starting from - at least there doesn't seem to be much place worse to end up.

The way back from the wilderness depends on several key factors which can be classified into 2 key types, controllable and uncontrollable. The controllable factors consist of three things; money, message and demographic targeting. The uncontrollable consist of things that cannot be changed no matter what. In this category there are two key factors - (i) which seats are up for election in 2010 and (ii) what is the potential effect of the previous round of redistricting? Of course there is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room in the form of an unknown - what will happen to the economy between now and Nov 2010? That will play a pivotal role as well, and is essentially an uncontrollable - particularly from a Republican perspective.

Part 1 and 2 will focus on the uncontrollable factors in the Senate and House respectively. Part 3 and 4 will focus on the controllable issues.

Senate 2010

At first glance, 2010 appears to shape up no less daunting for conservatives than was 2008. The GOP has to defend 19 seats while the Democrats only need to defend 17 (apparently there is a special election in Delaware, so make that 15). However, each race is a unique case and must be viewed on it's own merits.

Which seats are in play? At a quick glance below, are the results of an early high level analysis. These assessments will change or firm up over the next 18 months.

Republican Seats

Alabama - Shelby (safely Republican).

Alaska - Murkowski (safely Republican unless oil suddenly becomes obsolete this year).

Arizona - McCain (he's going to continue in the state and his only credible opposition would have been Napolitano, who is busy in Obama's cabinet. Safely Republican, though RINO Republican unless McCain's mavericky-ness can now be properly directed towards the teeming Democrat majority).

Florida - Martinez/open (Martinez is retiring. The GOP should enlist the popular Jeb Bush and keep it safely Republican, a somewhat controllable portion (who) of the uncontrollable aspect (which seats) situation.

Georgia - Isakson (moderately safely Republican).

Idaho - Crapo (safely Republican).

Iowa - Grassley (safely Republican unless Grassley decides to retire).

Kansas - Brownback (He's retiring, so this will be open. Sebilius will be a challenge but despite what 538 says, this should remain leaning Republican).

Kentucky - Bunning (Bunning is not wildly popular but this is still moderately safely Republican, in the conservative-leaning state).

Louisiana - Vitter (safely Republican).

Missouri - Bond (A tough hold, but leaning Republican).

New Hampshire - Gregg (Despite Gregg being the sole Republican survivor in NH, his popularity is decent and NH might not be ready to abandon it's independent stature by going 4-0 Democrat. Moderately safe Republican).

North Carolina - Burr (this seat will require a defensive hold-the-line position for the GOP. Burr is no more popular than any of his predecessors, who've had a dismal win-loss record. This seat is effectively neutral and could go either way).

Ohio - Voinovich (the Democrats are probably excited about picking up this one, along with Specter's seat. Of the two, this one is safer and I'd classify it as leaning to moderately safely Republican).

Oklahoma - Coburn (safely Republican, even if the Democratic governor runs against Coburn, the RNC could counter with strong backing).

Pennsylvania - Specter (Specter has health, is a RINO in a blue state, and is vulnerable in the primaries against any conservative Republican, his support is broad enough but shallow. This is a seat begging for a Democratic pick-up. My take is that Specter should be beaten in the primary by a more conservative candidate and then the RNC should work on a grassroots campaign and fight tooth and nail to retain the seat. Tough, but not impossible, especially if the Democrats throw a dud like Chris Matthews at the race).

South Carolina - DeMint (reasonably safely Republican - Democrats have provided no real opponents in South Carolina).

South Dakota - Thune (safely Republican).

Utah - Bennett (safely Republican, unless Bennett becomes ill or retires).

Democrat Seats

Arkansas - Lincoln (Lincoln is popular but the state is trending redder. This should be another target, albeit a tough one).

California - Boxer (unless Arnold tries to run against her, it's safely Democrat, and if he does, she still has the edge. Besides, I can't see Schwarzeneggar leaving California for colder climes).

Colorado - Salazar (this guy is beatable, especially if the economy continues to tank through '09 and into '10. While pundits will say the state is trending Democrat, that is not as black and white an issue as it is portrayed. A quality candidate could take this seat for the GOP).

Connecticut - Dodd (if the GOP can do a better job of connecting Dodd to the scandals that belong with him, this could be an upset pick-up in 2010. It wouldn't be easy, but it'd be worth it - a moral victory in addition to an electoral one. Moderately safely Democrat - for now).

Delaware - Kaufman/Open (no matter how ugly the Democrat appointment may have been or who they run, this is safely Democrat territory).

Hawaii - Inouya (He's getting old and could retire, but Hawaii is Obama's back yard, so it's a pretty sure bet it's safely Democrat no matter who runs).

Illinois - Burris (This seat is tainted, but it's Obama's other back yard, it's Democrat territory. I think unfortunately, Burris is probably safe).

Indiana - Bayh (safely Democrat).Maryland - Mikulski (safely Democrat - Steele might have been able to win, but he's otherwise occupied).

North Dakota - Dorgan (safely Democrat).

Nevada - Reid (Reid will be taking flack from all sides over the next two years, this is a state where if Michael Steele can get organization turned around, the GOP can get the right candidate to run, would be a wonderful pickup. Reid is not popular but the state is slowly trending blue. Still, it's a matter of ground game, and considering Steele's intentions to court Hispanics, this could be an upset. Leaning Democrat).

New York - Schumer (safely Democrat; Guiliani might have made a race of it if he ran. A tanking economy could certainly hurt a high profile Democrat like this as well, but there is a governorship and a weaker NY Democrat senator that the GOP will focus on).

New York - Gillibrand (Given Patterson's appointment of an independent looking Democrat, Guiliani won't run here either now, and is probably looking at the governorship instead. Safely Democrat).

Oregon - Wyden (safely Democrat).

Vermont - Leahy (safely Democrat unless Leahy retires).

Washington - Murray (reasonably safely Democrat).

Wisconsin - Feingold (this one would be nice to take for Republicans but it will take a strong GOP candidate and a weak 2 years in the economy for the popular Feingold to falter).

Tallying the score it looks like this:

Safe Republicans 12, vulnerable Republican 7, Safely Democrat 14, vulnerable Democrat 3.

It would seem fate is still on the side of the Democrats, even given my optimistic view on some of the races. But it's still early, and a tanking economy means that more Democratic seats could become vulnerable. Right now over at the ultra-liberal KOS, they were already salivating last year with anticipation at 2010, given the potential further Democratic shift.

It would seem the Republicans will still have an uphill battle in the Senate in 2010. Congress is a tougher beast to analyze, which Part 2 will touch upon. But there are some silver linings for 2010 that also need to be considered for the GOP in both houses, and we'll look at those in Part 2 also.

Google 'outthinks' itself

Google is MENTAL!!! And it has some scary implications for conservatives.

Everybody surfing the web via google over the last little while has been experiencing Google's wonderful attempt to pre-filter bad websites from a security standpoint (phishing/malware etc.). They filtered EVERY site that came up on a search. At first I thought Google had been hacked, but it turns out it was a Google effort - clearly the issue was a technical one and it appears to have now been fixed, or the update backed out. Nice recovery Google. This will be some great press for you.

I experienced it while trying to do some research on the Senate elections coming in 2010 and it got me thinking again about the issue of the power Google has over surfers.Having that level of control in a monopolistic way when it relates to the free flow of information is dangerous. Isn't that something we fought against with the Soviet bloc and communist China controlling how their peoples were 'informed'? I know that sounds simplistic but there's a greater issue here. I've often Googled news events and found a slight predisposition towards a more liberal slant on stories. Again, no big deal, I know where to find Fox News, Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs etc. But if I didn't I could be unwittingly swayed during searches.

I think it's time for an easily accessible, conservative leaning version of Google. Just to be safe. There's enough Obamabots in the MSM, there's a looming Fairness Doctrine fight that Republicans could lose and the internet needs to remain a safe haven from deliberate manipulation. Google can't be trusted. If they make decisions like deliberately filtering malware - which is reasonable IF IT ACTUALLY WORKS - then how far is it to the step of filtering content they don't like or ultimately content they don't agree with. Another simplistic argument - it's a slippery slope. But why chance it. Conservatives have an uphill battle for the foreseeable future, why succumb to anything that makes our lives more difficult?

RNC Steeled for Battle

The RNC yesterday elected it's first black chairman, Michael Steele, to a two year term. It took 6 ballots to achieve the victory. Steele has a reputation as a centrist but that isn't necessarily a fair assessment. There are a good number of positives that come out of this and the RNC has elected a man who comes ready to bring the fight to the Democrats.

Some positives

After two election cycles (2006 and 2008) of substantial losses in the House and Senate, as well as the White House, Mike Duncan is gone. If nothing else, it proves that Republicans don't reward failure the way Democrats do (e.g. the auto bailouts). More importantly though, the man who was chosen by George Bush is no longer at the helm of the Republican party. He was not the right man for the job. Cleaning house after the defeats, in this case is a good idea.

Michael Steele is the chair of GOPAC, the organization that recruits and trains Republican candidates, he brings that wealth of knowledge to his chairmanship, and potentially a synergy between the two efforts.

He has vowed to fight for every vote, every group - something the RNC has seemed not to think to do at times;

"We're going to say to friend and foe alike: 'We want you to be a part of us, we
want you to with be with us.' And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to
get knocked over," Steele said.

"There is not one inch of ground that we're going to cede to anybody," he added.

"This is the dawn of a new party moving in a new direction with strength and conviction."

That vision is something that indicates he understand there are many areas of untapped voter potential for the GOP.

What's ahead?

Steele has a challenging set of tasks ahead. He's got to improve fundraising, ensure quality candidates for 2010 and beyond, and re-visit the infrastructure and the policies of the RNC to see what's working and what needs fixing. More importantly when Steele talks about making inroads into groups, one of those groups that has to be his starting point is conservatives. There is still a lot of disillusionment among conservative voters that the GOP has left them, or at least taken them for granted. The Republican party has image repair to do, by word and deed, to not only those on the outside but those who form or formed it's core constituency. The proof early on will be in the actions of the new Chair, both words and actions are required.

We've seen Michael Steele on the talk show circuit. He has the words, now let's see him put his ideas into a party in need of revitalization. I believe he can succeed, and I wish him luck. Or, to paraphrase Rush Limbaugh talking about another new leader, I can put it into four words 'I hope he succeeds'.

January 29, 2009

Michelle Malkin Mistaken (partly)

Sorry Michelle, but I think a couple of conclusions you might have reached on the revival of conservatism might be a bit premature. I admire your work and almost universally agree with your opinions. In fact in this case, you are correct - yesterday's vote was a good day for conservatism.

So this might come off as a little nit-picky, but...

1. The Senate will likely be more bi-partisan and could let us conservatives down. The version they are drafting apparently has more Republican buy in than in Congress. That doesn't negate the positive aspects of the Congressional vote, but does mean that the momentum from yesterday may not be carried forward.

2. The final version of the merged House and Senate plans will need to be re-voted on in both houses. Will the same number of GOP representatives vote against it? There's no guarantee, if they've already been given (supposed) cover by voting against it the first time. The party line vote we saw against the stinkulus package may evaporate next time around. It remains to be seen.

3. One day of doing things right does not negate years of poor decisions, while in power or while in opposition. New found principles, while encouraging, do not a trend make. To be fair and draw the distinction, it was a good day for conservatism, but not redemption for the GOP leadership or members in either the House or Senate.

4. While we've now got the high moral ground and opted to wash our hands of an inevitable failure its still buys Democrats time and is not a lose situation for them.

5. There's still a raft of RINOs in the party that have not been purged.

So while you are right about it being a good day for conservatism Michelle, it's not a game changer yet, and it's not re-birth of the GOP. It's a first step, and a baby step at that. Let's keep it in perspective.

January 28, 2009

Obama's No Lose Strategy

The Democrat dominated stinkulus package that Obama is trying to get Republicans to knuckle under on, poses an interesting 4 quadrant strategy for Obama and the Democrats. Interestingly it's almost entirely upside for the Democrats, and the Republicans on the Hill, some at least, seem to be willing to play right into the Democrats' strongest position. That's bad strategy in card games, in Superbowls, in negotiations, in warfare - you name it. The breakdown below is important in terms of explaining Obama's rationale for is actions, how the GOP should react and it's also instructive in terms of the Democrats own thinking regarding the potential success of the stinkulus package.

Below is a 4 quadrant diagram of the situation. There are two interconnected outcomes (1) Whether the Republicans go along with the package (Buy in or opt out), and (2) Whether the stinkulus package succeeds or fails. [Note: Ignore the lack of artistic merit, I'm no artist.]

Obama is meeting Republicans and softly pressuring to avoid listening to Rush and try to work together to get things done. He doesn't need their support to get things done, so why bother? Well it makes sense when you look at the quadrants.

Quadrant 1: The GOP Buys in and the stinkulus package succeeds in halting, or minimizing the recession.

This outcome is a Win/Win - for Democrats. In the end, 2 years from now when elections are heating up, who is going to remember that the Republicans signed on to the package? Do you remember who came in second in the Miss America contest in 2006? Do you care? Who was the 2nd fastest 100m sprinter in the 2008 Olympics after Bolt? In fact you may care more about those thing than politics. So how this scenario plays out for the Democrats is simple - they get to take credit for what is obviously their package anyway. The GOP is dragged along grudgingly but there will be no credit shared in Nov. 2010. It will be positioned as 'The Democrats saved America'. And when the GOP protests that they helped too, the Democrats can say one of two things. Either they say well you did add some small components but we were the real designers and engineers behind the plan, or, they can say, "Yes you did help (in a small way) - and we did what's never been done before - we reached across the aisle and were inclusive in orchestrating this success. That's something you Republicans never did when you were in power and therefore we can be trusted to be bi-partisan and inclusive and you can't. Vote for us."

For Obama, this is a good outcome. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being a great outcome for the Democrats, this would rank as an 8. There is low downside risk to it, (see below).

For Republicans, the outcome ranks a 4. You helped save the economy by buying into a economic pillaging of America that luckily worked, but you get little or no share of the credit.

Net for Dems = +4.

Quadrant 2: The GOP Buys in and the stinkulus package fails to do anything meaningful about the recession.

If the package, as well all expect on the conservative side, fails then this is still not a bad news for Team Obama. They have a great out position here, that goes something like this;

"Look, we all tried here. But these are unprecedented conditions brought about by foolish Republican de-regulation put in play by Bush and his cronies. This reversal of fortune will take more time, and we need a steadier hand at the wheel during these times than the Republicans can provide. Besides, we solicited their input in this thing and tried to be inclusive." The sentence following that can veer into the whole we're more inclusive than they are shtick or into the idea that the reason it's taking longer than expected is BECAUSE of those Republican ideas that are making the recovery slower than it would have been if we just did it on our own. But don't forget, we're bi-partisan.

For Obama this quadrant represents an insurance policy. If the gambit fails, he can spread the blame and then if he wants double down on stinkulus 2.0 more spending and no GOP input. The insurance part means he can lay at least part of the blame at the feet of the GOP (plus Bush as per usual) and mitigate voter anger in 2010 and 2012.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being a great outcome for the Democrats, this would rank as an 6. There is higher downside risk in that the Dems won't escape at least some of the blame, but perhaps spread enough to the GOP to retain the Legislature, even in significant numbers, despite possible losses.

For Republicans, the outcome ranks a 2. You didn't save the economy you sold out your ideas and your base will be even more angry than in 2008, but you get a share of the blame for the failure in the eyes of Independents and moderate voters, thereby minimizing potential gains in the mid-term elections.

Net for Dems = +4.

Quadrant 3: The GOP opts out of signing on to the the stinkulus package and it fails.

Here's a slightly good news scenario for the GOP, unfortunately it comes at the expense of America. As Rush Limbaugh has said, the Democrats tied themselves to failure in Iraq, and put politics ahead of the national interest. Republicans shouldn't be interested in doing that. But this is the worst possible case for the Obama and the Democrats. The blame is predominantly going to be focused on the failed stinkulus package, as it should. Of course the Democrats will fall back on the idea that the GOP so mangled the economy under Bush that their plan needs more time. Or it needs less GOP portions included, so let's cut them out of it and try again. They also have the opportunity to co-opt Rush Limbaugh's argument about them to their own talking points;

"Look, we're seeing the Republicans gleeful at the failure of this because they didn't sign on to it. Obviously they are putting party first and country second. You can't trust these guys." With Obama on message, and a lapdog MSM, they could pull that off far better than the right (since it seems like very few loudspeakers ever picked up Rush's meme and carried it along).

For Obama and the Democrats there is a high risk associated with this outcome - they will still get the lion's share of the blame but on our 1-10 scale this option nets out for Democrats at about a 4.

For Republicans this option also nets out a 4 - it's okay politically because the Dems will get most of the blame and lose seats, but bad for the country, and a potential backlash for not putting country first.

Net for Dems = +0.

Quadrant 4: The GOP opts out of signing on to the the stinkulus package and it succeeds.

For Democrats, this option is a no-brainer. You get 100% of the credit for saving America, saving the whole world economically. The upside is huge. "We did it, they were no help. Our ideas work, the right has no clue what works or what it's doing, they are out of touch with America and with reality. They are dangerous. Love us. Adore us. We are great."

The problem here is that you don't know if the package will work, it's a gamble and Obama knows it. Chuck Schumer knows it. That's why they still want the buy in from the GOP. They can't swing for home run here in case they strike out. You've heard of 'death by 1000 cuts'? That's the approach Democrats are willing to take. Rather than wiping out the GOP entirely in 2010 and 2012, let's work on that incremental march towards socialism and consolidate the gains we made in 2008. It's the safer bet, and it will still represent progress.

The scoring for this one would be Democrats = 10, Republicans = 0. Net for Dems = +10. But it's just too risky. Perhaps they know the plan can't succeed, perhaps they truly believe it will, but are playing it safe.

In any case if you look at the outcomes net positions you have;

Quadrant 1 - Democrats +4

Quadrant 2 - Democrats +4

Quadrant 3 - Democrats +0

Quadrant 4 - Democrats +10

firstly, you can see that this does seem to be a no lose situation for Democrats. At best Republicans break even under Quadrant 3.

Now if you assume anything other than a 50/50 chance of success by 2010 then that has to be reflected in the scoring. Let's say the Democrats think there's a 40% chance the plan will succeed by 2010. Keep in mind their opinion of Bush and as a result, how badly they believe the economy is messed up right now - less than 50% is a reasonable assumption. Many probably think it will take many years to fix, and some probably understand that the stimulus effect being provided by infrastructure doesn't put shovels in the ground right away, so 3+ years seems reasonable.

So if you run a little formula on the scores by quadrant and overlay the outcome probability you get a weighted score;

Quadrant 1 - 4*40% = 1.6

Quadrant 2 - 4*60% = 2.4

Quadrant 3 - 0*60% = 0

Quadrant 4 - 10*40% = 4

What the Democrats have some influence over is GOP opt in. The success is an unknown, which is why we've estimated it by the percentages above. Quadrants 1 & 2 combined (any GOP scenario) equal a score of 4. Whereas Quadrants 3 & 4 combined equal 4. That looks like to the Democrats it should not matter.


either they don't weight the outcomes the same way I have, and perhaps less confident about their messaging or else they think the chance of success of their plan is significantly less than 40%.

The safest scenarios for Obama are quadrant 1 and 2. The GOP opts in and their outcome is positive if the plan succeeds and even more so if it fails.

This is a simple decision box, that might have been used by Obama. The numbers are easy enough to play around with in terms of the Net + by quadrant and the probability of the outcome. Perhaps it's something like the Obama team used, and that's part of why he's trying to appear accommodating. Scarier still is the possibility that the GOP used a similar thought process and are

1) Willing to accept minimized Democrat gains as opposed to the home run option.

2) Don't have the stomach to stand up against what they believe is wrong

3) Are using a stupid decision box like I just did.

The fact of the matter is that the package is likely to fail. Signing on to it has no upside for Republicans. And they can't do anything to stop it. So why support it? Why not stand on principle, expect that it's going to fail and get busy explaining to people how you will be ready to pick up the pieces when it doesn't save America?

When it comes right down to it, you aren't rooting against America by saying you don't think it will work. You input has already been negated by "I won." So state your belief that this is a bad plan, state what you'd do instead and then stand on the sidelines like you are going to have to do anyway for the next few years and wait. Save your breath for where you can have a real say in matters, and will use that opportunity. If the plan succeeds you've taken a risk and lost by playing your hand that way. But you know what that will signal to conservative voters? You think Obama's plan will work, and you know what that means? You're not really conservative after all.

You're all lemmings.

America, you have become a nation of lemmings. The small furry animals are said to stampede en masse off a cliff into the ocean and die. The herd mentality gone astray, turns out to be a myth with respect to the little creatures. But in the case of the United States, socially and politically, that mythical lemming behavior is proudly on display.

That Obamamania is shameless goes without saying. But the blindness that comes with it is astounding. But the mindless drive towards nation suicide is not without it's harbingers. Popular culture should have given us clues a long time ago. Movies become must see events with a momentum not commensurate with the quality of the underlying story. Titanic was no Shakespeare. The same can be said for music. I'm not one to disparage the musical taste of others, though there is a case to be made that quality entertainment has grown sparse. My point about music is the loathsome imprint it has on societal homogeneity. While there are various types of music, popular music has degenerated into a minimal variety of style musically and with regard to the accouterments associated with it (for example, fashions).

Lest you think the damage has been relegated to those inclined towards teenagerdom, think about some of the other areas that homogeneity has spread into American life, and the associated herd mentality that goes along with it - fads, diets, health concerns, all are embraced with the lightning speed of our Internet age. The trend is self fulfilling. A creative commercial on television is mimicked in style by a dozen others until it is no longer is successful. There's more than one way to be successful.

The stock market is another example of herd mentality that frequently gets out of control. The news in the most of the Mainstream Media, identical in content, identical in style, and increasingly vapid in its delivery. Polling opinion as reportable news is laughable. People think that tomatoes should be banned because they are too acidic. That's not news. Tomatoes proven to be too acidic to be healthy for the lining of a human stomach would be news.

The group think inside the Beltway that sees Senators accept pork-barrelling as a norm to be embraced. The headlong rush into climate change hysteria without so much as a sober second thought is yet more proof - disagree or even question it's validity and you are anti-human scum.

And what of the power of celebrity? The power of Oprah? Do you really need her to tell you what books to read, who to vote for, or that you are unknowingly unhappy with some aspect of your life? Or how to diet?

Political Correctness is another great example of conformity. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Oh, right the Fairness Doctrine 2.0 is coming.

And ironically, those that decry conformity are often the worst offenders by conforming to Groupthink or even fashion dictates.

Those things are all lamentable, but not show stoppers. There is however, a serious degree of danger when conformity is embedded in political direction. Bashing Bush was one thing, but following lockstep down the path toward socializing American industry is a form of national suicide. America did not become a superpower by following the path of European socialism. The United States did not go along to get along. It followed its own path, and that's what made it great. That's what got America to the position of economic, military and freedom embracing superpower. Groupthink about change could toss that all away.

Change is more complex than just changing. There are good changes and bad changes. Each idea needs to be examined on its own merits, not just cheered on blindly.

Obama's change is coming and that change looks to include nationalized banking and health care among other things. Are you excited to see the new line of Americars? These are staggeringly huge changes and they are being foisted on the country with dizzying speed. Some sober second thought is in order and it has to be de-coupled from the stinkulous package panic. Fast.

It's ironic that what's featured in the headlong rush to socialism, that 'lemming gene', is exactly what America managed to avoid so successfully during it's two plus centuries of ascendancy. Obama can invoke the image of Republican President Abraham Lincoln and it appears to hold some merit - but only until you examine it more closely. The truth is that as late as JFK, perhaps even Johnson, and most if not all historical Democrat Presidents would be as aghast at the intended direction of President Obama as would have Reagan or Jefferson or Lincoln.

[In case it's necessary to enunciate for the record - I do not believe all Americans are lemmings, just 53.4% of them.]

Rush Limbaugh versus Insanity

While some things might be above President Obama's pay grade, apparently he's not above petty attacks of those who disagree with him philosophically. Never mind that the President elevates Rush Limbaugh by personally dissing him to the Republicans on Capitol Hill. Such foolhardy behavior is not surprising - President Obama has already made some declarative statements that defy the understanding of the weight his words now carry.

In addition to a hostile President, a possible re-visiting of his position on the Fairness Doctrine, Rush now also has to deal with a Congressional Democrat petition and worse still, a spineless GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey complain about Rush in his showdown with Obama.

I've got news for you Rep. Gingrey, Rush is doing your job for you - he's carrying your water. You should be conserving your energy to stand up to the Democrat stinkulus package rather than telling Rush he's not helping. You know what -he's helping and you are too blind to realize it. Your political opponents are the Democrats. If Obama wants Rush to pipe down, don't you think it's helpful to your cause if he pipes up instead? This is so simple it's kindergarten stuff Representative.

We've come to expect anti-conservative venom from the Democrats, and the media, and in the schools. But when the GOP starts focusing it's efforts on Rush instead of standing up for it's principles, well, you have to give yourself a shake.

To paraphrase the youtube video "Leave Rush alone!" He's doing his job, you do yours.

January 27, 2009

They got themselves into this mess

The banks looking for handout candy from the bailout money continue to spin their wheels in a number of ways. Here's a novel idea for the bailout proponents. The banks got themselves into this mess, let them climb their way out. I'm not talking about abandoning the rescue package, I'm talking about restructuring it. The United States government required restructuring details from the auto makers for bridge loans but it doesn't seem to be the case for the banks despite the fact that the dollars involved dwarf the auto loans.

The fact is the federal dollars for banking are either a giant gift to the banking industry on the backs of the taxpayers the banks betrayed thanks to the social engineering of the Community Reinvestment Act, OR it's a massive buy-in (or buy-out) to socialize the banking system. If it's the former, pat yourselves on the back America, you've just made a record-breaking charitable contribution to a non-charity sector of the economy. If it's the latter, well, if you are convinced that the government knows better than the bankers how to run the banks, you've made a smart move.

A lot of people might think that they couldn't do any worse than the bankers who've gotten us into this mess in the first place, but think again.

1) The government created the housing bubble by forcing social engineering based rules on what should be a strictly economic based industry. Dangerous, and ill-planned. As I've mentioned the problem is not deregulation. According to Wikipedia (not an ideal source, but a good synopsis in this case);

The banking industry is a highly regulated industry with detailed and focused regulators. All banks with FDIC-insured deposits have the FDIC as a regulator; however, for examinations,[clarification needed] the Federal Reserve is the primary federal regulator for Fed-member state banks; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) is the primary federal regulator for national banks; and the Office of Thrift Supervision, or OTS, is the primary federal regulator for thrifts. State
non-member banks are examined by the state agencies as well as the FDIC.
National banks have one primary regulator—the OCC.Each regulatory agency has
their own set of rules and regulations to which banks and thrifts must adhere.

They are highly regulated.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) was established in 1979 as a formal interagency body empowered to prescribe uniform principles, standards, and report forms for the federal examination of financial institutions. Although the FFIEC has resulted in a greater degree of regulatory consistency between the agencies, the rules and regulations are constantly changing.

2) The government has proven time and again that the private sector is better at running a business than government. Think UPS vs. FedEx. If you were an investor, trying to plan a nest egg for your future, which of the two would you put your money behind? The government should be in the business of running a government, not running areas of the economy that the private sector is able to engage in with a more productive slant. True the banks have made some mistakes but there are over 8500 banks in America, and roughly 90 in trouble. Of those 90, the number that will actually fail is not 100% . Even if it rises from historical levels, it will not be all 90. Put in perspective, there is a problem larger than historically, but it's not time to panic. There is no need for the frenzied bailout proceedings we are witnessing.

Holistically speaking, the industry has more assets than liabilities. Even if the largest 90 are those in trouble (which is not the case), there is the FDIC, and enough asset to debt ratio to be able to weather the storm. Not with flying colors, but the industry is still net positive in the asset to debt ratio.

So is a rescue package needed? Do the banks need to be nationalized? No. Should they be allowed to fail. Yes, with the proviso that consumers are protected, and that no bank that was forced into bad loans by the CRA rules should be allowed to fail. For those banks the fault lies with the government and so too should the consequences. Do banks need some additional buffer in addition to the FDIC guarantees for customers? Yes - for customers. Other than the provisos mentioned above, let the free market do it's job. If you don't, then as many have pointed out, you are allowing success to be capitalist and failure to be socialist in nature. That's a mixture that is inherently unsustainable, and along with the massive debt that is being run up, it's a recipe for the failure of not just the banks, but of America.

January 26, 2009

First salvo in Fairness Doctrine fight

January 23rd - mark it down. President Obama referenced Rush Limbaugh in a debate with Congressional Republicans about the $1 trillion economic stinkulus package. While it's not directly related to the Fairness Doctrine and more concerned about the debate at hand, specifically the Republican approach to the stinkulus package. But there is subtext with the specific reference that cannot be ignored.

The president responded with a clear signal that he is prepared to ram the bill through without the bipartisan consensus he promised to construct, telling Republican leaders from the House of Representatives: "I won. I'm the president."

He then told them to break free of the confrontational mindset epitomised by Mr Limbaugh, the highest paid talk show host in America. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," Mr Obama said.

His comments followed a blunt attack on him by Mr Limbaugh, who declared on air that he hoped Mr Obama would fail as president because otherwise it will usher in

The first part of the subtext is that there is either Obama's way or the highway. Clearly the bi-partisan facade is already starting to drop. If that continues, there will be some public waning in his approval numbers, which for conservatives is a positive though not as much as being in the minority is a powerful negative.

More importantly though, is that while it has in the past appeared as if President Obama might be resistant to a Democratic Congressional push to re-instate the unfair Fairness Doctrine, it might represent a turning point in either his thinking or his centrist facade. In the battle over the Fairness Doctrine , Rush Limbaugh is front and center with respect to the potential impact.

Tying the two points together it's easy to see the temptation for President Obama to change his stance - don't listen to Rush, I won so we do it my way, and silencing Rush because he's an obstacle to bi-partisanship. Hmmm, maybe the Fairness Doctrine makes some sense to him now.

Rush thankfully, doesn't take things lying down.

Implicit in the the Fairness Doctrine argument is that it promotes bi-partisanship, something that has been sorely lacking in America and is strictly the fault of conservatives. And now, given the sudden need for long overdue bi-partisanship (i.e. getting conservatives to shut up and knuckle under to Democrats because they have all the power and want to remove every speed bump possible), the Fairness Doctrine can only help America, right?

It's enough to make your ears bleed listening to the arrogance, and hypocrisy so blatantly on display, and yet so under-reported because the supposed fairness in media is so firmly rooted in backing the Democrat agenda.

January 25, 2009

Conservative ju-jitsu

If we are required to look at the stimulus package as a fait accomplis then what could we do as a political movement to mitigate the dollar allocation? Firstly, there's the question of how would it be possible to make an impact. In short, if you know the money is gone and a filibuster is either not in the cards and/or of no consequence, then jump in with both feet on the details. Agree to the stimulus package and offer bi-partisan support in the spirit of co-operation and new found newness of the new political conviviality. You've played along with the change portion of the program. See, everybody wants change, even Republicans. We aren't obstructionist, now let's get to work, and work hard on the specifics.

That's where, having bought some goodwill we can make some suggestions that are more constructive (literally) than those of say Robert Reich. He doesn't want bailout money going to white male construction workers. As an aside does that mean all the infrastructure money going to roads would result in highway improvements being completed by women and/or ethnic minorities? I'm just asking, Robert.

So the infrastructure that needs to be built, might that not include the uncompleted 700 mile border fence project? It was only in the $10's of billions. Now that we are going to spend like drunken sailors, or rather, concerned paternalistic federal sponsors of America, let's just up the penny ante on that and build a full fledged 2100 mile wall big enough to secure America's southern border. Or don't we care about illegal immigration and the rule of law?

Speaking of law, what about spending some of it on law enforcement? Officers on the streets is jobs right away rather than in 24 months typical of infrastructure. What about spending some of it on the sciences that have supposedly withered under Bush, but in immediate payoff areas relative to jobs - the Center For Disease Control, NASA. Not wind farm subsidies. How about putting a bunch of that infrastructure money into nuclear power? Energy independence is not going to go away as an issue just because the price of oil has retreated. Or how about subsidizing off-shore drilling or ANWAR drilling? That one won't fly because it's ridiculous to Democrats, but it might be fun to throw out there to make a point about how ludicrous some of their ideas seem to be to us. And we might get another sore winner "I won" moment out of someone on the left, and get some good negative exposure of their better-than-you attitude.

Holistically, this would at least help minimize wasted spending in areas counter productive to conservatives and America. These aren't the ideal conservative solutions to the economy and government but they are legitimate alternatives to worse uses of the super-deficit Americans are all about to swallow. Of course of of this depends on Republicans not being shut out completely.

January 24, 2009

The Impending Doom of Hugo Chavez

For those of us who have been following it, the recent problems that Hugo Chavez has been having with the church come as no surprise.
In late December, the Taiwan News reported the following from AP;

President Hugo Chavez is criticizing a top Roman Catholic leader for
opposing a planned referendum that would end presidential term limits.

Chavez accuses Cardinal Jorge Urosa of "trying to manipulate" public opinion ahead of the vote, which is expected in February.

Urosa has criticized the proposed constitutional amendment, which would let Chavez run for re-election indefinitely.

Voters last year rejected a package of constitutional changes, including an end to term limits.

Urosa says the constitution prevents such a proposal from coming to vote twice in the same presidential term.

Chavez on Sunday said the Catholic leader was wrong and accused him of lying, which he called a "serious sin."

And now there are reports that Hugo Chavez has stepped it up a notch against the church in advance of the referendum, calling the church a tumor. How far away he is from storming the cathedrals is not clear. But it would come as no surprise - once a thug, always a thug.

This could be a potential misstep for Chavez. Chavez believes that Jesus was a great socialist. Many in South America, in this case particularly Venezuela, might feel the same way. But when it comes down to socialism versus the Roman Catholic church, in Latin America it would seem the advantage goes to the church. Particularly true in Venezuela where the church does not lean as left as it does in some other South American nations. In fact, it's arguably conservative.

Of course the Chavez socialist thugocracy doesn't limit itself to the church. Student protesters were tear-gassed. Chavez has been busy trying to consolidate and prolong his power, at the expense of popular support. His support while not yet gone, is increasingly on shaky ground. It may just be a matter of time, before he falls far enough out of favor to lose his grip on power, and perhaps sooner rather than later by continually trying to re-push for the Chavez-forever Constitutional change he keeps losing on.

And then there's the matter oil prices falling helping the slide of Venezuela, and by extension Chavez specifically. Venezuela's nationalized oil industry has relied on increased oil revenue since 2003 prices began skyrocketing. It has supported the national programs, and covered up national structural shortcomings. With that bubble now burst, socialist programs are in need of another source of support. Don't look for the United States banks to bail out the tinpot - the banks have their own worries, and the Community Reinvestment Act doesn't yet extend to Venezuela.
Besides, without Mr. Bush to demonize, President Obama will have to make due. Chavez needs a foreign devil to help prop himself up. It's page 37 on the socialist playbook - blame America and keep your citizenry mad at someone other than yourself. The only other source of support is a short term one - the supposed national surplus, which might just turn out to be nothing more than creative accounting.
Since his last referendum defeat, things have not been all that rosy for Chavez, and in fact even somewhat bizarre, given his issues with his ex-wife.
The last 12 months have been unkind to Mr. Chavez. His humanitarian aid to Hamas may have to be scaled back. His subsidized domestic gas prices may have to disappear. He may end up losing yet again on the referendum to change the Constitution next month. Things look not yet bad, but definitely worsening for the socialist dictator. One thing is for sure, given his apparent need to stay in power, don't expect him to go away without a fight.

January 23, 2009

Ideology by Polling

There are always dangers in the Clintonian modus operendi of using polls to guide policy. There is no room for virtue or integrity or sticking to a belief system by doing so. But there are opportunities to leverage polling to see how you can best proceed in ways that adhere to your ideals. Over at National Review, Alex Lundry has an excellent article on Charting the Political Landscape, which gives advice on what areas Republicans should find their voice, and what areas they should not be too combative, based on polling about ideological self-identification and issues. In other words, where to pick our battles. The polling and analytic offer brilliant insight into the mindset of America.

While I agree with some of his conclusions on which battles to pick, there is one he buckets into compromising on (as opposed to co-operating or standing up against) that political conviction surely has to trump, and that is health care reform. Even though he positions it as forcing a hard compromise, the cost associated with more nationalized freebies represents a future of severe financial consequences. It needs to be one area the Republicans, stand firm. Americans can not afford to be burdened with yet more overhead costs that burden the country financially, especially right now. It represents a failure of basic economics.

The GOP can make things easier for itself by being smarter about campaign financing, understanding demographics, having a better communication strategy and a host of other things. What it cannot afford to do is compromise it's basic principles and become a Democrat-lite party. To do so would only ensure failure. The GOP has to offer it's own vision and it's real, clearly defined alternatives to the Democrat agenda. Caving in on issue after issue is not a winning strategy. And stepping back further from where things fit into Alex Lundry's grid, there are smarter options available that he neglects to discuss that could, and should, be considered.

By having a clear message on health care for example, and being razor sharp in the communication of that message, there lies the opportunity to move the mindset on the grid. Taking the issue from an extreme hope to an indifference or an extreme fear, is a possibility. Can it be done in time before the issue is on the table? That remains to be seen, but it is something conservatives need to get on the ball and start making progress on right away, rather than spinning our wheels in limbo for the next 2 years.

With friends like these, Mr. President

Libyan crackpot Moamer Kadhafi believes America has turned a page with the election of Obama. Great news for America! The once and future terrorist state that knuckled under after Reagan and then later the UN taught them lessons in international behavior, has said America deserves a second chance now. How glorious. Obama's earned a new friend already. One who's probably rubbing his hands at the weakness he expects to be facing for the next four years.

Part of his glee involves the closing of Guantanamo (i.e. potentially freeing up jihad terrorists), withdrawal from Iraq (potentially contributing to regional instability), and a review of policy in Afghanistan (which we know he will end up being disappointed in since President Obama plans to ramp up, not down). It sounds like the making of at best a strained relationship, and at worst, a re-emboldened Kadhafi that supports anti-American terrorism.

If I were Obama who is trying to impress both the center and the left and right, I don't think I would want to reconcile my accomplishments with the backing of a lunatic Libyan dictator in the 'friends' column. No matter how it turns out - Kadhafi pleased or displeased, at least one of the three major voting blocks will be disappointed. If the President plays hardball with Kadhafi, then the left will be upset about the lack of international goodwill in the approach and see it as a go-it-alone style reminiscent of his 'dreaded' predecessor. If he cozies up to Khadafi, then the center and the right will see him as yet another liberal dove on foreign policy, reinforcing a concern of many.

With friends like these in the world, Mr. President, you're going to inevitably bleed some of those supporters who anointed you as savior.

January 22, 2009

Princess Caroline taps out

Caroline Kennedy is opting not to seek the vacated senate seat of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

My take? Yawn.

Why America needs Guantanamo

President Obama has already ordered a stop to all cases related to detainees at Guantanamo for 120 days so his administration can study the situation and determine what they believe to be the best course of action. Likely, despite Obama's frequent feints to the right, demurring to the reality of the situation and the complexity of the issue, it seems more likely now that a shutdown of the facility is a possibility. It could be a feint to the left before coming back to reality, a ploy to please his base wherein he comes out in 4 months and says something to the effect of "we'd like to close it down but the issue is too complex and it's going to take quite some time to resolve, please be patient with us."

It's a mantra the Obama administration will likely come to lean on for just about everything over the next four years. The economy - it's complex, it's going to take time to fix. The environment, yes it's important but we can only make minimal progress until we get this economy sorted out. The Fairness Doctrine - we're working on it, there are kinks to work out. Card check - you know, this darn thing is trickier than we realized. The White House will become an automated voice response system to the left, the center and the right. "We are experiencing an unusually high volume of special interest demands. Your issue is important to us, please be patient. You are issue number 12 in the queue. The approximate wait time for your issue is 2013. Your patience is appreciated." Followed by the elevator music version of Guantanamera.

But the specific issue of Guantanamo is one that hopefully will stay in the queue indefinitely. The case of Maher Arar in Canada is instructive as to why. The case was big news in Canada when it became the subject of a commission of inquiry. Arar was captured after a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002. Arar was rendered to Syria after his capture by U.S. forces. In Syria he apparently had been tortured. Arar was eventually cleared by the Canadian commission and was awarded a $10.5 million settlement. But the Toronto Sun yesterday reported that another Canadian detainee, Omar Khadr who is being held at Guantanamo, shortly after his detainment, identified Arar as someone he had seen at Al Qaida training camps.

That Khadr, a teenager at the time of his capture should be credible as to being involved with Al Qaida is not in question. According to the report in the Toronto Sun,

Parts of a 27-minute video seized by U.S. forces after the firefight shows a
baby-faced, grinning Khadr in the company of al-Qaida leaders helping assemble
and lay improvised explosive devices.
and further,

Khadr described in detail how he had been trained by top al-Qaida figures —
associates of his father — in surveillance techniques and in making and laying
explosive devices aimed at American forces.

His father, who was killed in a raid in Pakistan, ran two agencies that
raised funds for al-Qaida. The Khadr family often stayed with terrorist
financier Osama bin Laden.
Khadr's testimony and other parts of the Sun story, belie the cruel and unusual punishment image the world seems to associate with Guantanamo. More importantly, the explosive evidence associated with the Khadr case, while old but only recently revealed, came from Guantanamo prison refutes the Canadian commission's findings. Guantanamo is serving a purpose, beyond simply detaining potential terrorist thugs. It is helping with intelligence and doing so, in this case at least, in a humane way.

Guantanamo is necessary. Certainly Arar would not have been tortured like he was in Syria. Certainly Khadr would have been less compliant and co-operative under a different detainee location. The fact that the thugs at Guantanamo are not wanted elsewhere should indicate that there is reason for them being there. And in the War on Terror, it is clearing garnering evidence that would be lost upon the likes of the Canadian commission on the Arar case, and likely on the standard due process provided by American courts.
This is a war. The detainees are at least suspected, enemy combatants. To treat them as otherwise is to ignore the reality of the situation. America needs Guantanamo for it's intelligence value, as well as it's detainment of those who pose a threat to the lives of innocent civilians.

January 21, 2009

The obligatory Inauguration post

If I could describe this lib-fest in one word it would be: Yawn. But since this is an opinion blog that requires more than just one word let me try to detail for you the 'highlights' of what transpired. I started out watching MSNBC because I wanted to get the liberal viewpoint. Unfortunately it froze up before the Oath of Office, and mercifully, I was forced (allowed) to switch to Fox. Interestingly, the cleanest feed I could find was from a blogger in India.

There was a throng of "1,2,4 million" in attendance. The real number is of course not known, but certainly there were a lot in attendance. And almost as certainly the MSM will inflate those numbers so that by 2011, they will be talking about the 20 million in attendance at the day of America's re-birth. And of course what liberal love-fest would be complete without a raft of liberal politicians, liberal stars and poetry? The Inauguration of O, did not disappoint on any of those counts.

I believe the MSNBC broadcast was being done primarily by Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. There were some other comments being made but they may not have been in the broadcast center, but rather field corespondents. The commentary was hyperbolic, it was to be expected. Matthews talked about his tingle. He talked about George Bush being an uninteresting President and someone he would not want to read about in the future, unlike other Presidents.

I believe it was Matthews who also chimed in with "This is not like any other inauguration - you can feel that sense of history." And this little gem; "People are in a democracy and they didn't feel like it a few years ago."  After the swearing in, where Roberts and Obama both misspoke slightly, the Inaugural speech itself was underwhelming. It was a mainly a re-hash of many elements from other speeches. Here is video, so you can hear it for yourself

and part 2;

Sure it had the requisite applause breaks, but there was no astoundingly profound statements from the President, and it seemed more politically tinged in parts than you'd expect from a speech meant to set the tone for a Presidency, especially considering the fact that Obama is supposed to be a uniter rather than a divider. At least according to those on the left, where it's okay to demonize Bush but now that it's there guy, we should all come together and rally around the false Messiah.

There was an additional point worth noting, one that was deliberately leaked to the press beforehand (likely so they could re-iterate the talking points) by the likes of David Axelrod and Colin Powell. the speech by the One, was meant to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility. The reason for that is deliberate. It lowers the impossibly high bar Obama has managed to set for himself through the election cycle. Now that he faces the reality of running something for real - besides a campaign, he cannot possibly live up to the expectations he's set. To be fair, he hasn't really set them - people have set them for him, by buying into the vagueness of his message and applying their own visions, hopes and needs onto them.

By emphasizing the responsibility for Americans to do for themselves, he can spread the blame when he doesn't achieve 100% bliss for every American as 'promised'. Yes We Can will ultimately end up being a disillusionment for many Americans when Obama makes choices that don't mesh with their image of his vision, which is really their own.

Another point in his speech meant to do the same thing was to talk up how terrible the situation is for America. He paints a dire picture of an America doomed. That serves two purposes (1) blame Bush in order to lower expectations about how long it will take to climb out of the mess he inherited and (2) allows him to take credit no matter what happens. If the unemployment rate goes to 10%, he can always say, without my plan to save 4 million jobs, it would have been 12%.

His speech is a clever ploy. because it gives him a lot of wiggle room to go back on any promises and ways to deflect blame for failure. Some people will see through it but his core constituencies who are blinded by their passion of the O, will not, particularly the youth who are clearly gullible enough to have voted for him in the first place.

A couple of other points to consider about the day. Firstly, there were an endless number of balls, and dances between the President and First Lady. While it's the other team, I do not begrudge them their moments. They won, let them enjoy it for a day. There's no need to have ill will on a day that was indeed historic in a superficial way. Superficial because as many are quick to point out, skin color is indeed a superficial thing. The character of a man is how he should be judged, not skin color. I agree. So why the historic importance of black President, besides being the first one? Will it diminish cries of racism? Until now was a black President secretly forbidden? The answers to both of those questions is a firm NO. So superficially, it erases arguments that a black man could never be President.

Having given them their moment their is another point to ponder. Fox was gushing along with the other networks. Many conservatives find that curious. Isn't Fox supposed to be at least Fair and Balanced, if not our voice? David Limbaugh warns against conservatives falling prey to the hysteria. It's a good warning, and there seems to be plenty of conservatives drinking the Kool Aid.

But I think I see the Fox and others' rationale behind not dumping on his parade. If they were to do so, it would give the cards to the Democrats to say that conservatives were never on board from the beginning and there was a preconceived plan to derail Obama from the start. that conservatives are going to disagree with the administration on policy is inevitable. So why allow them more ammunition to blame any failure on post-Bush conservatives as well as Bush? It' going to be a steep uphill battle opposing the agenda of the left, we need to not provide them with any ammunition at all to hammer us back with.

Conservatism will outlive the Fairness Doctrine

Take heart conservatives, as unfair as the impending draconian imposition of the Fairness Doctrine may be, it won't last. Not as long as conservatism will last. The ideology is out of the bag, it cannot be stifled forever. Unfortunately the same could be said for Marxism. Someday it will rear it's ugly head in a big way again. Maybe in 100 years or 1000. But despite it's stupendously dismal failure in the Soviet Union, Marxism is unfortunately, not dead. And American conservatism is far, far from dead. Despite being knocked on it's heels by a Democrat 1-2 punch in 2006 and 2008, conservatism is vibrant and will be ready in 2010 to take back some ground from the liberals. The new Chi-coms (no, not Chinese communists, the Chicago communists).

Let's look at the Fairness Doctrine with a little bit of level-headedness. Something it's authors would never do. The idea that a specific medium like talk radio, dominated by conservatives, would be required under the threat of fines, to provide equal time to liberals is in itself unfair. Why? It only applies to the media that the Democrats don't totally own. Specifically talk radio and potentially the Internet. It's the liberal version of Nazi book burnings, and I bet they won't even bat an eye at that, since they believe they are doing humanity's work (I'd say God's work but, well, you know.)

But here's the thing even if they manage to railroad this absurd legislative idea through the House, the Senate and across Obama's desk with a Republican filibuster either non-existent or a mere speed bump along the way, IT WON'T STOP CONSERVATIVES. Why not? Because we're mean, angry SOBs who are zombies of the destruction of freedom. Not really, but it sounds scary.

Seriously though, conservatives should hearken back to our own principles and remember one thing. The Free Market. More specifically, borrowing from the economic treatises of Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations), The Invisible Hand (of zombie death). Boy, I hope some liberals somewhere are reading this and taking the zombie thing seriously.

This is how I see this playing out;

1) The Fairness Doctrine gets passed, in all it's rancid glory.

2) Radio stations, knowing that Air America was a failure (possibly set up to do so, in order to encourage this exact action down the road), decide rather than adding liberals to radio, it's cheaper to throw the conservative shows off the air.

3) The opportunity to take over the Internet media dies at the same time, since it's been included in the legislation as along with some obscure pork barrel project for Hawaii involving a T-shirt factory, gummy bears and $27 Billion in bailout TARP money.

4) The liberals throw a party, snort coke and cheat on their spouses, then lie about it.

5) This is where it gets interesting. The Invisible Hand takes over. People like Rush Limbaugh see that their capacity to educate, entertain, and generate income have been entirely smote by the legislation. They try to find another way to maintain their audience and continue to be heard.

6) The only place they can go is either (a) some medium that has not been invented yet - not possible, or (b) the Mainstream Media because it is not covered in the legislation. Wouldn't that be an interesting turn of events?

7) Conservatives manage to find their way onto television and into print, providing actual competition to liberal domination of the MSM, and bringing an unwanted sense of accuracy to those who'd rather just be pushing their own warped, liberal agenda. And the reason this will happen is because the Invisible Hand yet again - the numbers will bear out the profit-rationale of letting conservatives have an outlet for our ideas. And it doesn't matter if the head of broadcasting for CBS doesn't want conservative views to get air time, Westinghouse can see the dollar signs. Rush has 20 million listeners? Sign him up, he can do even better on TV (with the right production resources behind him every step of the way). Ann Coulter controversial? Great! Michelle Malkin shut out of Twitter now? Get her a prime time show! If the business case makes sense, the ideology floats away.

8) It almost makes sense for conservatives that the travesty of the Fairness Doctrine should happen during the recession. The dollar signs will be all that more appealing to bottom-line-conscious executives.

9) Then the living dead will turn up and try to eat the brains of liberals, only to die of starvation.

Remember, every threat is an opportunity in disguise. Or, a zombie.

January 20, 2009

Democratic hubris

Here's one I wish I was wrong on. Burris is being seated in the Senate. I don't recall who I was Tweeting on Twitter but I said he'd be seated. In fact it might have been in a conversation off line. But the development, even though I'd predicted it, amazes me.

The Huffington Post has this entry on January 12th;

WASHINGTON — Eager to put the scandal-tainted standoff behind them, Senate Democrats accepted Roland Burris as President-elect Barack Obama's Senate successor on Monday and said they expect to swear in the new Illinois senator this week. "He is now the senator-designate from Illinois and, as such, will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a senator-elect," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said in a joint statement.

You think Blagojevich has hubris? It's nothing compared to the Senate Democrats. Decorum prevents me from using the adjectives to describe them that I'd really like to use. But they clearly feel they are above reproach. They clearly have put moral obligation, doing the right thing, and integrity on the back burner in favor of either expediency, party politics or the "let them eat cake" attitude towards Republicans and the electorate in general.

Listen up ladies and gentlemen of the Senate Democrats, as you sew, so shall you reap. It's time we start holding their feet to the fire and not letting up. Anyone involved in this travesty needs to be called on the carpet and absolutely grilled over it. How can the United States proclaim it is the protector of democracy and justice and allow an appointment to a seat that has been made by an impeachment-facing, scandal-ridden, felony-charge-facing soon-to-be-criminal? It can't.

Take pride in yourself as a nation that has traditionally always tried to do the right thing and do not let this stand. If Burris is to be seated, the American public must be reminded every day that his appointment is an affront to democracy. Let me be clear, I am not talking about the man - I know next to nothing about him. But I'd like it to stay that way, because what is flawed here is the process, and those who allowed this to happen. And that would include President Obama. As reported on CNN in December;

"Roland Burris is a good man and a fine public servant, but the Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat," Obama said in a statement.

And then on January 7th, CNN;
"If he gets seated, then I'm going to work with Roland Burris, just like I worked with all the other senators, to make sure that the people of Illinois and the people of the country are served," Obama said.

Which is it? Jim Geraghty at National Review is right - every Obama promise comes with an expiration date. Just in this case it wasn't so much a promise as it was an opinion that expired.

If you think you have a country that honors truth and justice these people need to be held accountable for their contempt for the people of the United States. Next up - Franken gets seated while the legal issues are still unresolved.

January 19, 2009

Eugenics in America?

Eugenics is commonly understood to be the attempt to improve the qualities of the human population through the effort of discouraging people with certain negative traits from reproducing and encouraging people with desirable traits to reproduce. It has become associated with the Nazi Germany attempts to eradicate the Jews, but it was practiced in many other countries. From genocide, to apartheid, to segregation, to something as innocuous as "the beautiful marrying the beautiful", on some level, eugenics has never really disappeared.

Of course it has sinister connotations of racism, and it has rightly fallen into ill repute. But eugenics can take on much more subtle, yet sinister forms, and in a rather mercurial way, it seems it is something that is being practiced by the left today. I'm not implying that Democrats are racists, or have some secret master race belief that motivates their actions. No, what motivates the left is the acquisition and retention of power. And the form of eugenics that takes is not racial but rather socio-political engineering.

In this sense eugenics is about trying to limit conservative voters either in numbers or in participation, while trying to artificially inflate the voter base on the left.

Let's look at some recent examples - many Democrats favor naturalization of illegal immigrants in the belief that it provides them with a stronger lock on the growing Hispanic demographic. Simply put more Hispanics means more Democrats. In a recent article on the World Socialist Web Site there was an article decrying the disenfranchisement of voters with felony convictions and how it disproportionately affects the African American male. Clearly there is a political motivation behind the complaint, despite the couching of phrases that try to paint the United States as a giant gulag. Another example can be found in the ACLU's attempt to allow unidentifiable voters to vote. In the excerpt below the article ties the ACLU challenge to a Democrat challenge that requires voters to be identified in order to vote. Apparently voter fraud is not a concern, but rather something the ACLU regards as an opportunity to rig the game in favor of the left.

ACLU Disappointed With Supreme Court's Voter ID Decision (4/28/2008)
Decision Will Harm Eligible Voters, But Leaves Door Open To Future New Legal Challenges FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; mailto:emedia@aclu.org

WASHINGTON - In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to Indiana's most-restrictive-in-the-nation voter identification law. The American Civil Liberties Union's case, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board - consolidated with Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita - is an appeal of two lower court decisions that upheld the state's law requiring voters to present government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. The ACLU argued that the Indiana law creates an
unconstitutional burden on voting rights.

(Emphasis added).

Then there's ACORN. The penultimate liberal voter eugenics machine of today.

ACORN is neutral? Count how many times they endorse Obama in those previous 2 clips. They complain about disenfranchisement but is it really that or just an effort to keep the game fair? Conservative Dave nailed it.

Then there's conservative voter disenfranchisement. There's something tangible to this:

Eugenics might not be the right word, but it has an appeal in it's application. If people rightly loathe the idea of eugenics, then perhaps conservatives should do what the Democrats do so well - use the language in a way that supports and reinforces your point.

Then again, maybe eugenics fits. What is it all of these efforts have in common? The effort to encourage an increase in liberal voters and/or decrease the turnout of conservative voters. So it may not be eugenics in terms of population management, but it sure seems like an effort to control the voting population. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it just might be a duck.

January 18, 2009

Miracle In Manhattan

It's not political, and it's already old news in today's news cycle, but I still thought I'd add my two cents. I haven't posted anything about the amazing landing on water of an Airbus A320 by US Airways Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger.

What can I post about it though? A great pilot, nerves of steel, inherent human decency of those nearby, and Divine providence meant no that lives were lost. It was the right pilot in the right place at the right time.

Good news is great to see, and this was a good news story all around. There's some raw video footage that's been shown on CNN.

RNC Candidates in their own words

Just a little fodder for the RNC popularity contest;

Saul Anuzis;

Ken Blackwell;

Katon Dawson;

Mike Duncan;

Chip Saltsman;

Michael Steele;

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