Thursday, June 19, 2008

Advice for the Would-Be President

Barack Obama continues to counter rumors the campaign claims it hears that he is a Muslim.

First, let me say that the only place I'm hearing these alleged rumors is from the Obama campaign. The cynic in me is led to believe that the campaign is trying too hard to keep these alleged rumors alive, because A) they are easily refuted and B) they can make it seem to the casual, non-partisan voter that the only reason not to like Obama is that he's a Muslim (which he's not), even though there are plenty of actual reasons not to like him.

So I think that if the campaign were really trying to quell these alleged rumors, and not merely wanting to be seen quelling the alleged rumors, that they should simply drop the alleged matter.

But if it is deemed necessary to put down these alleged rumors, Barack Obama should now be giving pressers to say "I do not wish to alienate peace-loving, mainstream American Muslims, but rather we Christians should be reaching out to all people of faith to build blah blah hopey, changey blah blah.

If he were really interested in dispelling all of these alleged rumors of his allegedly alleged Muslimicity, then stridently insisting on reaching out to Muslims would be the clearest way to do that. Embracing non-terrorist Islam is also good policy, regardless of the motivation for it.

If I, mere political hobbyist, can think of this strategy in 15 seconds, why can't the junior Senator from the great State of Illinois?

At the risk of arguing circuendo, let me suggest that perhaps the campaign finds greater value in swatting straw rumors of its own propagation, and appearing to be the victim of some alleged whispering campaign, than in behaving as would the President of the United States.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Obama's False Hope

Yes, it's a struggle to raise a family, pay the bills, do right by our neighbors, and keep the bottom line of net worth going up. But I do not think that our struggles are anything like those of our forebears who tamed a continent, fought world wars, and passed it all on to us.

Barack Obama, more than most politicians, is making his name on the scurrilous notion that only the government can provide for us. Rather than providing hope, he is actually crushing the hopes of those who follow him. He offers a block of government cheese, when a seven-course meal is waiting for those who will but learn to shop, cook, and set their own tables.

The fact is that while a "sluggish" economy may be a more difficult environment in which to succeed, there are always places that are booming in the midst of the bust. There are always people who need services, and things which need to be made. So even in a tough economy, the will to succeed and the right plan can overcome the obstacles.

And it's supposed to be a struggle. If it were easy, or if success were as simple as choosing it, with no more effort required than for failure, then everyone would do it.

But in this world, and not that fantasy one, the rewards of success, on whatever scale we measure it, are usually in some way proportional to the amount of work, luck, skill, or determination put forth to achieve it. "Get rich quick" schemes usually only enrich the early adopters at the top of some pyramid, and then only until those at the bottom find out. Wealth is built by hard word, saving and investing. Every successful entrepreneur has to face the question, at some point, of whether to spend now to make his life easier or to invest in his business.

And the decision to invest for the future is the essence of virtue. While failing to feed one's family is not virtuous, choosing to plow profits back into the business rather than buying the family a fancy car or new television is.

Something on the order of 100% of the people who have ever lived have had life very much worse than the most desperate American of today. People are capable of surviving and thriving without many things considered essential by moderns. Television, computers, lawnmowers, and even indoor plumbing are not essential to survival, though to one degree or another each is considered so.

Deciding what is a luxury and what is essential will reveal how a person views the future. If the future is seen to contain rewards for which a person needs to work, then he will turn aside from acquiring the nonessential items of personal recreation but will insist on having the items which are required to achieve his goals. A mobile telephone is a frivolous toy in the hands of the slothful, but the link to a future empire for the industrious.

Parents need to instill in their children the belief that success is in their power to achieve if they follow the rules and work harder than the next person. Reward success, and children learn that to get the reward they must work and achieve. That is the wellspring of true self esteem. That's real hope. And it has nothing to do with whether the overall economy is booming or busting, because people succeed in bad times and fail in good ones.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Supreme Court Flunks Civics Test

This post is for those who are glad that the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay are going to be allowed habeas corpus hearings in U.S. Federal Court. Boumedine vs Bush (pdf) was an awful decision. And even if you believe that on the merits that this particular case was decided correctly, none of us should be happy at all about the way it came to be decided. The Supreme Court overstepped its bounds on emotional grounds, and it is doubtful that either of the other branches have the will to tell them so.

The government of the Unitied States is built on a system of checks and balances. One of the balances is that while Congress passes laws, the Courts get to decide how those laws are applied. Since early in the history of the republic, the courts have decided if laws are in accord with the Constitution.

Another of the checks and balance is that Congress gets to decide the makeup of the Judiciary, within limits. In particular, Congress, as set forth in Article III section 2, gets to decide jurisdiction (emphasis mine):

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and
those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original
Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall
have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
This is not a matter for the courts to judge. If Congress passes a bill and the President signs into law a measure exempting some class of cases from Supreme Court jurisdiction, then by the plain text of the Constitution the Court cannot exert authority over that class of cases. Professor Bainbridge agrees.
Although the law here is not well developed, I have always assumed that Congress could strip the courts of jurisidiction to hear even claims that constitutional rights were being violated. Not that that’s a good idea. But it does seem to be what the framers intended.
And yet Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority(pdf), says:
Our basic charter cannot be contracted away like this. The Constitution grants Congress and the President the power to acquire, dispose of, and govern territory, not the power to decide when and where its terms apply.
But as noted, Congress does have the power to limit the Court's jurisdiction, and with the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Tribunals Act, Congress did exactly that.

To illustrate some of the arguments in this matter, and to show why those who side with the Court got it wrong, we take a little side trip to Geneva. A story in the Jun 23, 2008 issue of Newsweek makes some fundamental errors in its analysis, I think primarily because of its full-throttle Bush Derangement. The story says the Bush team "overplayed a winning hand" by, among other things, not giving enough rights to detainees.
Historically, prisoners of war have no rights in U.S. courts. But even so, they are released when the war ends. The War on Terror has no foreseeable end. What's more, since the terrorists don't wear uniforms, it can be hard to discern who the real enemies are. Under the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, prisoners of war have some rights. But after 9/11, hard-liners in the administration decided that terror suspects brought to Guantánamo and various secret prisons around the world lacked any of the protections of the Geneva accords because they were "unlawful combatants."

The Geneva Conventions are supposed to reflect how we treat prisoners we capture in war. At least, we should not be in violation of the Conventions.

The Conventions are multinational treaties adopted among nations desiring to retain a modicum of civilization, even in time of war. To that end, the signatory nations have agreed to treat four classes of people differently when captured during war:
  1. Noncombatants - individuals neither wearing a uniform nor engaging in hostilities
  2. Lawful Combatants - individuals in uniform and subject to chain of command, whether engaging in hostilities or not
  3. Unlawful Combatants - individuals engaging in hostilities but either not wearing a mark or uniform or not subject to command, and in any case, disguising their combatant status
  4. War criminals - those who attack noncombatants or use banned weapons or tactics
Noncombatants are not to be harmed or detained, except as unavoidable in the prosecution of war.

Lawful combatants may be detained to prevent them from engaging in hostilities, but must be provided with food, clothing, medical care, and be permitted to abide by their rank structure. They may not forced to answer questions other than to identify themselves.

Unlawful combatants are 'not to be afforded the same protection as lawful ones, so as to encourage the wearing of uniforms. As Toni Pfanner, Editor-in-Chief of the International Review of the Red Cross, said in his 2004 Military Uniforms and the Law of War:
The legal history of Article 4 (A) of the Third Geneva Convention shows clearly that only irregular forces must fulfil the four criteria in order to qualify as prisoners of war, and that the two categories were separated deliberately. Early on, the Rapporteur of the Special Committee dealing with the question of definition of prisoners of war specified that only militias and volunteers not forming part of the regular armed forces should be subject to thefour criteria [...]

"A fundamental premise of the Geneva Conventions has been that to earn the right to protection as military fighters, soldiers must distinguish themselves from civilians by wearing uniforms and carrying their weapons openly (…). Fighters, who attempt to take advantage of civilians by hiding among them in civilian dress, with their weapons out of view, lose their claim to be treated as soldiers. The law thus attempts to encourage fighters to avoid placing civilians in unconscionable jeopardy."
Two years ago, the Bush Administration responded to criticism from Congress and Court decisions by granting Geneva rights to all prisoners, no matter if they were captured in or out of uniform. This fundamental error, disregarding the very purpose of the Geneva Conventions, led directly to the current situation.

The implications of the Court's decision in Boumedine are ominous. The Supreme Court has arrogated to itself the right to decide its own jurisdiction, contrary to the Constitution. The Court inserted itself into the conduct of our national defense, clearly the prerogative of the Commander-in-Chief. It did it in such a way as to extend the rights reserved for citizens not only to prisoners of war, but to those who by the Geneva Conventions are not even supposed to have the rights accorded POWs. And they did it in disregard of their own precedent.

But my guess is that no one will call them to account.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Barry Facts -- Obama Family Edition

Barack Obama's parents met because they needed medical insurance to get to Selma.

Michelle Obama's parents met because they resented not having a personal trainer who knew the value of fresh fruit.

Jesus once had a Come To Barack moment.

When Barack Obama comes, he will make the oceans salty again.

When Barack Obama comes, children will like going to school again.

When Barack Obama comes, frog legs will taste like chicken.

When Barack Obama comes, judges will know how to write laws.

Barack Obama's uncle grandfather great uncle imaginary friend helped free Auschwitz and Treblinka Buchenwald.

Barack Obama fosters a workplace that is open and sensitive to the personal needs of staff before they are unceremoniously fired for the candidate's mistakes.

Barack Obama feels that it's important to shield his wife from criticism, which is why he asks her to make campaign speeches critical of America.

Barack Obama didn't even know Tony Rezko before they bought a house together.

Barack Obama's birth certificate doesn't say he's not a Muslim.

Barack Obama doesn't wear a helmet when he rides a limousine.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nope and Strange

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The ObaMain Stream Media Strategy

The media narrative of the Obama campaign is that it's an extension of the civil rights movement. This dovetails with the symbolism of Obama as the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's Dream. To that end, there are several elements of strategy that are becoming apparent.

  • Make it about the voters
  • If it must be about the candidates, then make it a referendum on Obama
  • A vote for Obama is a vote for Kennedy and King
While no one exerts active control over the media, as a group they are so collectively taken by Obama that no coordination is necessary beyond that of the campaign going on about its business, with the enthralled press in tow.

The ObaMainStream Media have set up veritable system of aqueducts to carry water for the Chosen One. Some key trunks of this system are that
  1. He has to fight voter racism (while not mentioning how many of his supporters vote for him based on race)
  2. He has to battle *gasp* misinformation spam and
  3. They have to carry his water, because poor widdle Barry is carrying his cross with such good cheer

A Washington Post story in March detailed for us some instances of what it presented as racism faced by the Obama campaign.

For all the hope and excitement Obama's candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed -- and unreported -- this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They've been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they've endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can't fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president.

A white campaign worker was chased by a dog and alleges she was told by a voter that he (or she) would never vote for a black person. Door slamming and running from dogs is the treatment every campaign receives. If you think that's bad, try selling stereos door to door, as I did one summer in college.

A pattern in the WaPo story was that each time an incident is described specifically, a lone campaign worker is there to report it, or the story is second hand. Yes, I question their veracity, and also that of the Post reporter.

When planning in a telemarketing operation, a business or organization must calculate both the positive and negative effects that cold calls to customers (or voters) will have. Spammers and spammy telemarketers are distinguished from human beings in that they don't care about the negatives. They burn through their leads, and if they can get a sale, that's great. But they're also using up good will, and sometimes the cold call will be enough to sour someone completely. Most people do not like telemarketing calls, and many feel no obligation to be polite or even truthful with them, despite empathy for the actual person doing the calling.

Out of the thousands called, only a handful have said they would not vote for him because he's black. And yet these are the ones we hear about, implying that anyone who is against Obama is in that group.

A campaign wishing to unite would be foolish to ignore the negative effects of telemarketing. The Obama campaign instead blames the voters for disliking telemarketing calls.

In his March 18 speech on racism in America, Barack Obama told white America that black America is full of resentment over history. Even more, he said explicitly that he chose to run for president because of that resentment, even though his ancestors were never subject to slavery. And he said, as he has many times in the campaign, that to heal its deep racial problems all America has to do is vote for him. And he appears to feel no shame in asking for votes based not on his character but on the color of his skin.

Now the Obama campaign has found a new way to burn through cash: an elite team of cybergeniuses staffing a war room to combat rumors. Actually, it appears that the purpose of this war room is to draw attention to the false rumors and away from the actual and legitimate problems people have with the candidate.

None of his serious opponents think he's a Muslim or care what his skin color is.

I think the campaign itself keeps the false rumors alive on purpose, as strawmen. They'll do anything to prevent analysis of Obama's actual beliefs instilled in 20 years of listening to Jeremiah Wright, campaign practices learned from Tony Rezko, and lack of legislative achievement. And it keeps them from analyzing the resentment generated by the worship of the whining messiah.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Barack Obama Is a Muslim?

Obama denies being a Muslim. Who says Barack Obama is a Muslim? Who has any proof that Barack Obama is a Muslim?

What kind of Muslim is Obama, if Barack Obama is a Muslim? That's an important question, if the goal is finding out if Barack Obama is a Muslim. If we knew the kind of Muslim Barack Obama were, then we would certainly know for certain that without any doubt Barack Obama is a Muslim.

If Barack Obama is a Muslim, then so is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad.

From the evidence we have, it is not clear that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Barack Obama has never been proved to be a Muslim, and Barack Obama denies being a Muslim.

I think everyone who says Barack Obama is a Muslim should reconsider whether Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Oh, yeah, Barack Obama sucks.

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The Obama-Lieberman Dust-Up

According to Talking Points Memo, an official on the 2006 Joseph Lieberman reelection campaign says that they, in TPM's words, "practically begged Barack Obama to come in and endorse him at a critical moment".

But that was during the Connecticut Democratic primary campaign, which Lieberman lost to political newcomer Ned Lamont.

During the general election, which pitted Lieberman as an independent against Lamont and the Republican nominee (whose name I'm too lazy to look up because it just doesn't matter), Obama endorsed Ned Lamont, and even raised money for him.

What was that about chickens and roosting?

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Nation in Resurgence

It seems that geography is making a comeback in its battle with ideology.

In Iraq, tribal forces have risen up to reclaim control of their territory from the transnational terrorists. Now, via Ace, they would like to show their Afghan counterparts how to do the same.

They would also like to supplant the sectarian Sunni vs Shiite electoral map in Iraq with one based on tribal association.

Some might question the philosophical underpinnings of such a shift, being a move away from using differences in abstract beliefs for political grouping and toward using ancestry. But religious beliefs will still play a big part in Iraqi politics, just inside the tribal system. Arab culture places a high value on paternal authority, and failing to include the tribal organization in the political structure of the country creates at best a dual power structure, and at worst invalidates the democratic one.

In the United States, the Democratic Party primary saw both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama use protectionism in an attempt to curry favor with the voters. But what they are really tapping in to is not some economic theory of harm in selling our products overseas. The source of protectionism's appeal is the fear of globalism, that we will be at the mercy of foreign powers, especially foreign corporate and banking interests.

The world over, it seems the pendulum is swinging away from the imagined, and back to the real. I doubt it will swing very far.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fisking the Obama Rezko Response

I’m saddened by today’s verdict. This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform. I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future.

I’m saddened by today’s verdict.

Why? As Ace says, a jury of his peers has found him guilty. The Obama should be happy that a criminal is out of Illinois politics.

This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew,

Oh, no? Not the one whose office the Obama would drop by just as -- by sheer coincidence -- Middle Eastern money men would be visiting ol' Tony? The Obama helped Rezko rake in donor cash, for which the Obama's campaign was handsomely rewarded. And that help buying his house -- in the real world, people don't do that without some ulterior motive. This is exactly the same guy the Obama knew. Liar.

but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform.

"Reform" -- I don't think that word means what the Obama thinks it means. This spotlights the need to clean house in Illinois government, starting with the Cook County Board, proceeding through the State Senate and its corrupt President Emil Jones, and on through its U.S. Senators and Governor.

I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future.

The first step they could take is to impeach the malfeasant Blagojevich. The second step they could take is to refuse to give Tony Rezko's associates the Electoral College votes from Illinois.

And how about Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fizgerald? Are there any steps he could take "to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future", such as prosecuting those who benefited from Rezko's crimes?

But then, convicting more criminals would make the Obama sad. Especially if it were the Obama himself frog-marching off to Joliet.

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Marine Acquitted of Haditha Charges

[Updated: w/t Gateway Pundit, via Ace]
Lt. Andrew Grayson, accused of ordering evidence destroyed in the Haditha case, has been acquitted. It turns out that the Marine Corps has a policy of not allowing images of corpses to be kept on personal cameras. Grayson was following the book by ordering them deleted.

The Court Martial must also have decided that Grayson did not believe a war crime to have been committed, because evidence of a war crime would have trumped the rules against carrying "trophy" images.

Congressman Jack Murther (D-PA) could not be reached for comment.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Rezco Guilty.


A federal jury has found a prominent political fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty of 16 of 24 counts in his Illinois corruption trial.

Illinois Republicans say:
Now that the trial has come to an end, it's time Rod Blagojevich came clean with the people of Illinois and answered the numerous questions surrounding his involvement with Tony Rezko.

[Update: ABC 7 Chicago has the breakdown:
  • Guilty on 6 of 6 counts wire fraud
  • Guilty on 6 of 9 counts mail/wire fraud
  • Not Guilty on 1 count attempted extortion
  • Guilty on 2 of 6 counts corrupt solicitation
  • Guilty on 2 counts money laundering
The media are already spinning this as not related to Obama, pointing out that neither Obama (D-Chicago) nor Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Chicago) "have been accused of wrongdoing". Officially accused of a crime by the police or prosecutors, that is. But their close association with Rezko make the chances pretty good they were involved in crooked stuff, too.]

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Presidents Govern As They Campaigned

For the most part, presidential candidates will govern the way they campaigned, or as they said they would while campaigning. It's true that many politicians are duplicitous liars who will say anything it takes to get elected. But they do so equally while campaigning and governing, and the President is too visible to change on too much.

There are exceptions, and most politicians break a campaign promise or two, or fail to follow through on their promises, once elected. But few do a dramatic turnaround.

Consider all of the Presidents in the multimedia era, since 1960.

John Kennedy campaigned as a social liberal who was hawkish enough on defense, and in his brief time in office that's how he presided.

I'm not actually that familiar with the Johnson campaign in '64, but I know he contrasted himself with the conservative Goldwater, and as Presidents go he was quite liberal.

Nixon, though he came to prominence as a commie-fighter, campaigned and governed from the middle, with realist foreign policy and activist economics.

Gerald Ford campaigned the way he governed, though we'll never know how he would have changed as an elected President.

Jimmy Carter governed as a witless smile, as we should have expected.

Ronald Reagan governed exactly as he campaigned, by confronting liberalism in all its ignominy.

President G H W Bush campaigned as a caretaker, promising "Read my lips: No New Taxes!". In office he caretook and compromised his way to a huge tax increase, which resulted in fertile economic ground for a Ross Perot candidacy and a Clinton victory.

Bill Clinton was the same guy on the campaign trail in 1992 that we saw in office, and indeed that we see on the campaign trail in 2008.

George W Bush campaigned on "compassionate conservatism", promising education reform and free prescription drugs. While 9/11 took him away from his isolationist foreign policy leanings, he was the same guy all along. And I must note here: the President campaigned as a uniter, who would reach across party lines and not be divisive. That's how he was in office, but he got steamrolled by the unhinged left.

Which brings us to John McCain and Barack Obama.

McCain is campaigning as a centrist. He is a social and fiscal conservative and a war hawk, but with a natural tendency toward bipartisan cooperation. Democrats paint him as Bush's Third Term without noting that habit of compromise, because they also ignore Bush's similar trait. And yet, to the public who know of McCain, it is as a centrist maverick.

McCain will not turn from his bipartisan leanings. As President he will govern from the middle.

Barack Obama has a tendency to make absurd statements and then have to backtrack from them, or to make reasonable, centrist ones and be forced to nuance them into far left ones. He is constantly Changing his wide stances, shifting positions, and Hoping no one notices. He says that to heal the national division on race, all that's needed is to vote for him. As President he would argue for his proposals in the same way, implying or explicitly saying that those who are against him are against racial reconciliation. And he would lose a member of his staff every time he made a gaffe, which during the campaign has occurred several times a week.

Because people don't change that much.

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I Have A Dream Ticket

There is an alluring desire to support Barack Obama because of the color of his skin. Those of us raised in the South in the 60's and 70's remember the rapid change from casual, tacit acknowledgment that blacks were second-class citizens who ought to drink at other fountains and sleep in other hotels, to our national shame at realizing that our ideal of equality for all had been a sham.

When two candidates are equally qualified and able to carry out the duties of some position, Affirmative Action says we should choose the one from the most oppressed (or our least represented) group. The unspoken premise is that people must be seen as members of a group, and not merely as individuals. According to those who favor Affirmative Action, we must atone for the mistreatment of some people in the past by advancing the circumstances of others who happen to look like those we've mistreated.

Similarly, Barack Obama repeatedly makes the same argument. In order to heal the racial divisions among us, we must support him for President. Only by electing a black person may this healing take place. The Democratic Party has chosen him for this, despite fewer Democrats actually voting for him than voted for his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That this argument is the exact antithesis of the desire expressed by Martin Luther King Jr should have need explanation. But apparently it does. For Dr. King said he had a Dream.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

So how can we claim to fulfill the Dream by choosing the candidate based on the color of his skin?

Perhaps it is not so. Perhaps he was chosen based on the minuscule differences between the candidates. Yet once his affiliations and the content of his character became widely known, the primary vote totals broke down on pure demographic lines.

And this was not because people became more racist; rather, the character of the candidate became more widely known. And as it was known, it was disliked.

Now to heal the Party it appears that Hillary Clinton will be sought for Obama's running mate. The symbolism of a white woman playing second fiddle to a black man will be infuriating to feminists; Obama supporters will be unhappy at not being rid of the Clintons, especially after Hillary's mention of Robert Kennedy's assassination.

And Republicans, with their party in tatters, should rejoice. Because the combined negatives of these two on the same ticket is indeed like a dream come true -- for John McCain.
[Minor editing]

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh, Boy!

We get at least 5 more months of Obama stumbling his way along, pumped up by the fawning media,
with the possibility of two or perhaps even three more years of the same. Because after two years of his bumbling incompetence, the media will be so tired of carrying his water (only to be called racist for not doing it well enough) that they will be searching for someone, anyone to deliver us from the Deliverer.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Groups for Obama to Join ... or Not.

Barack Obama resigned his membership in Trinity United Church of Christ. Frank J wonders what groups he will leave next. Clearly some of his associations in the past have served him well at the time, but now are perhaps not generating the kind of support he'll need if he's going to defeat the Bob Barr in November. So I wonder what other groups he will now join?

  • Not MENSA (too populist)
  • Not Mothers Against Drunk Driving (too divisive)
  • He will not join Code Pink (too hawkish)
  • Will now boycott Pizza Hut (for not enough grease on their pizza)
  • Will join La Raza, because he likes the sound of reuniting
  • Will resign from the Senate for limiting their membership to 50
  • Will join U.S. Government because even though they're not spending enough, he can Change that
  • Will denounce the Red Cross for being too political
  • Will join the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), because they're just nice people

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Fowl Return, Make Nest

Afters years of preaching a certain kind of "fairness", the Democratic Party faithful have seen the results. Barack Obama, whose name was not on the ballot in Michigan, was awarded 46% of that State's delegates to the Democratic National Convention, by the convention's Rules and Bylaws Committee. The committee decided that the results of the Florida election should stand, but that the delegates for each State would get half a vote at the national convention.

It was almost justice. It was almost the right decision. But in attempting to achieve fairness, the committee forgot to be fair to the voters. They also acceded to the threats of violence by Obama supporters should the Party "steal" the election from him.

At the root of the problem is the Fallacy of the Golden Mean: if two people disagree, then the truth is somewhere between what each says. But that is clearly not always the case; sometimes people are just wrong.

Fairness, likewise, has come to mean the absence of unpleasant consequences. But justice demands that we receive the consequences of our actions.

The Democratic Party has a means for making the difficult decision over which of their candidates should be their nominee. It's the nominating convention. The process leading up to the convention is not supposed to be manipulated, though no one with an ounce of sense would suppose it not to be manipulated. On Saturday we saw just such manipulation.

Rather than allowing the Florida and Michigan results to stand as the voters cast their ballots, the committee shifted votes around in an attempt to achieve consensus ahead of the convention and avoid violence in the streets. Hillary supporters were deemed less prone to tantrum, it seems.

It is doubtful that the shifting reflects the will of the voters in Michigan and Florida. But it should never have been done at all.

Because the primary process is supposed to win delegates for each candidate, who then go to the convention pledged to that candidate. Candidates are free to drop out and pledge their delegates to another, but those pledges are not binding on the delegates at the convention. After the first round, none of the pledged delegates are bound to the candidates at all, in fact. In subsequent rounds, all of the backroom deals and politicking can be made and delegate votes cast in full accordance with both rules and fairness. Eventually, consensus develops.

But by shifting delegates from one candidate to another, and from "uncommitted" to the front runner, the Democratic party has shown itself to be undemocratic, unjust, unfair, and unable to perform the most basic duty to which it is assigned: picking a nominee.

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