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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama: All Spending is Stimulus




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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

President Obama on the Stimulus:
It's the Spending, Stupid

In a recent speech to Congressional Democrats President Barack Obama openly ridiculed Republicans for criticizing the stimulus bill as nothing but spending. He asked, rhetorically, “What do you think a stimulus is? It’s spending — that’s the whole point! Seriously.”

In the broadest sense the president is correct, but all spending is not equal, and all spending is not stimulus. Perhaps he does not know this. His comment was shallow and sophomoric; he sounded like a candidate, not a president.

The entire disagreement between the parties on the stimulus bill boils down to this: Democrats think, as President Obama suggested, the bill is stimulus because it spends a lot of taxpayers’ money. Republicans think it is primarily politically-oriented spending that contains a tremendous amount of social engineering, has many ideological strings attached, is for the most part not timely, and contains only a modicum of actual stimulus. Furthermore, they think it shouldn’t have been shoved through without debate or even time to read the bill before voting on it.

The financial markets agree with the Republican view, as evidenced by the downward trend of the stock market since the inauguration. Financial markets are a bet on the future, and right now the markets are betting against our future. It is a crisis of confidence: the markets have no confidence in the administration’s recovery efforts, of which this so-called stimulus bill is the centerpiece.

In the local daily newspaper last week, Dale McFeatters of the Scripps Howard News Service suggested that the alternative to passing the stimulus bill was to risk the economy crumbling, and wondered why all but three Republicans in Congress voted against the bill?

Mr. McFeatters then proceeded to answer his own question, noting that “the bill contains many programs ... that may be good ideas but aren’t stimulus and should have been tackled through the normal legislative process.”

In fact, the primary Republican opposition to the bill was that so much of it wouldn’t stimulate anything more crucial than Democrat re-election chances, even if all provisions were immediately effective, and many or most were not.

He went on to say that “the stimulus bill is hardly an elegant piece of legislation” but “it does contain genuine stimulus.” He enumerated those parts that he considered actual stimulus, and they totaled about $225 billion, less than 30 percent of the total of $787 billion that the bill authorized.

Perhaps the Republicans think all or most of the dollars in a stimulus bill should actually be focused on stimulating the economy.

Later, Mr. McFeatters said that Republicans were “grumbling” about the bill having too little tax relief for individuals and businesses. He pointed out that, by golly, the bill actually contains a $70 billion fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax, and then added, “which arguably is not stimulus but is something Congress does every year, so there is something to be said for getting it over with.”

Republicans reason that if one of the goals is to give people tax relief it is quicker, simpler and less expensive to just cut payroll taxes for employees and businesses and declare some period of time that income taxes will not be collected. Businesses will suspend the withholding and tax payment process, people start getting their money with the next paycheck, and business costs drop immediately. It will be a tax cut for every worker, income tax payer and employer in the country.

In contrast, the Democrat plan exempts income tax withholding for some employees, but not all, does not cut payroll taxes for employees or employers, and would give a “tax break” to people who don’t pay income taxes. It does not benefit employers, who are, by the way, the ones that we want to encourage to hire all those out-of-work people we keep hearing about when the president repeatedly tells us that we face the worst possible crisis in the entire history of the entire world, or maybe the universe.

Republicans and conservatives have legitimate procedural and policy differences with the president, with Congressional Democrats, and with their stimulus bill, and they are doing precisely the right thing by vociferously opposing it, and countering with what they believe are better and more effective measures.

Mr. Obama’s supporters might prefer to believe that opposition to the stimulus bill is just politics. They seem to think that think Barack Obama is something special — The One, you know — and is therefore due complete deference to his ideas just because he won the election. If you are a “good American,” they suggest, you should just obediently fall in line and support whatever he wants to do.

Such a narrow view ignores two critical realities: First, the president’s liberal agenda contains things that conservatives disagree with and believe are harmful to the country. Why would they want to support such an agenda?

Second, Barack Obama isn’t the savior many believe him to be; he is just a politician with a strong liberal bias and not enough experience, and he happens to be spectacularly wrong on how to fix the country’s problems.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Inherent Fallacies of Socialism

Conservatives well understand the shortcomings of socialism, and have been fighting against efforts of American liberals to move the US even closer to a socialist state.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put it succinctly when she noted that “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money,” which is how socialism works; taking from some and giving to others.

The late Dr. Adrian Rogers, a pastor and conservative writer also had some pertinent observations about socialism. Dr. Rogers enumerated four principles about socialism that are so plainly sensible that one wonders how any intelligent human being can fail to understand them. He said that:

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for but not receive.

The government cannot give to anybody anything the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply the wealth by dividing it.

Most, though not all, of those who support socialist principles are people who have not worked for and earned anything, and/or who feel that the world owes them something. These people have a dramatic misunderstanding of the American ideal, do not accept personal responsibility for their own lives, or lack the courage to try to succeed in life.

They seem to be a growing faction in the United States today, and will eventually be the downfall of a once great nation.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Massive Debt



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545 People

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.
The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses,
provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who is Barack Obama, Really?

The following piece by Oswald Spengler offers a different and fascinating perspective on Barack Obama. It explains much better than I have been able to the nature of the Mr. Obama’s alliance with and fondness for the likes of Jeremiah Wright, James Cone, Malcom X, William Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and other leftists and America haters.

It was written before the election, and unfortunately was apparently not widely distributed at the time. Thanks to John Britt for sending it to me.

Obama's women reveal his secret

"Cherchez la femme," advised Alexander Dumas in: "When you want to uncover an unspecified secret, look for the woman." In the case of Barack Obama, we have two: his late mother, the went-native anthropologist Ann Dunham, and his rancorous wife Michelle. Obama's women reveal his secret: he hates America.

We know less about Senator Obama than about any prospective president in American history. His uplifting rhetoric is empty, as Hillary Clinton helplessly protested. His career bears no trace of his own character, not an article for the Harvard Law Review he edited, or a single piece of legislation. He appears to be an empty vessel filled with the wishful thinking of those around him. But there is a real Barack Obama. No man - least of all one abandoned in infancy by his father - can conceal the imprint of an impassioned mother, or the influence of a brilliant wife.

America is not the embodiment of hope, but the abandonment of one kind of hope in return for another. America is the spirit of creative destruction, selecting immigrants willing to turn their back on the tragedy of their own failing culture in return for a new start. Its creative success is so enormous that its global influence hastens the decline of other cultures. For those on the destruction side of the trade, America is a monster. Between half and nine-tenths of the world's 6,700 spoken languages will become extinct in the next century, and the anguish of dying peoples rises up in a global cry of despair. Some of those who listen to this cry become anthropologists, the curators of soon-to-be extinct cultures; anthropologists who really identify with their subjects marry them. Obama's mother, the University of Hawaii anthropologist Ann Dunham, did so twice.

Obama profiles Americans the way anthropologists interact with primitive peoples. He holds his own view in reserve and emphatically draws out the feelings of others; that is how friends and colleagues describe his modus operandi since his days at the Harvard Law Review, through his years as a community activist in Chicago, and in national politics. Anthropologists, though, proceed from resentment against the devouring culture of America and sympathy with the endangered cultures of the primitive world. Obama inverts the anthropological model: he applies the tools of cultural manipulation out of resentment against America. The president of the United States is a mother's revenge against the America she despised.

Ann Dunham died in 1995, and her character emerges piecemeal from the historical record, to which I will return below. But Michelle Obama is a living witness. Her February 18 comment that she felt proud of her country for the first time caused a minor scandal, and was hastily qualified. But she meant it, and more. The video footage of her remarks shows eyes hooded with rage as she declares: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”

The desperation, frustration and disappointment visible on Michelle Obama's face are not new to the candidate's wife; as Steve Sailer, Rod Dreher and other commentators have noted, they were the theme of her undergraduate thesis, on the subject of "blackness" at Princeton University. No matter what the good intentions of Princeton, which founded her fortunes as a well-paid corporate lawyer, she wrote, "My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'Blackness' than ever before. I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong."

Never underestimate the influence of a wife who bitch-slaps her husband in public. Early in Obama's campaign, Michelle Obama could not restrain herself from belittling the senator. "I have some difficulty reconciling the two images I have of Barack Obama. There's Barack Obama the phenomenon. He's an amazing orator, Harvard Law Review, or whatever it was, law professor, best-selling author, Grammy winner. Pretty amazing, right? And then there's the Barack Obama that lives with me in my house, and that guy's a little less impressive," she told a fundraiser in February 2007.

"For some reason this guy still can't manage to put the butter up when he makes toast, secure the bread so that it doesn't get stale, and his five-year-old is still better at making the bed than he is." New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported at the time, "She added that the TV version of Barack Obama sounded really interesting and that she'd like to meet him sometime." Her handlers have convinced her to be more tactful since then.

"Frustration" and "disappointment" have dogged Michelle Obama these past 20 years, despite her US$300,000 a year salary and corporate board memberships. It is hard for the descendants of slaves not to resent America. They were not voluntary immigrants but kidnap victims, subjected to a century of second-class citizenship even after the Civil War ended slavery. Blackness is not the issue; General Colin Powell, whose parents chose to immigrate to America from the West Indies, saw America just as other immigrants do, as a land of opportunity. Obama's choice of wife is a failsafe indicator of his own sentiments. Spouses do not necessarily share their likes, but they must have their hatreds in common. Obama imbibed this hatred with his mother's milk.

Michelle Obama speaks with greater warmth of her mother-in-law than of her husband. "She was kind of a dreamer, his mother," Michelle Obama was quoted in the January 25 Boston Globe. "She wanted the world to be open to her and her children. And as a result of her naiveté, sometimes they lived on food stamps, because sometimes dreams don't pay the rent. But as a result of her naiveté, Barack got to see the world like most of us don't in this country." How strong the ideological motivation must be of a mother to raise her children on the thin fair in pursuit of a political agenda.

"Naiveté" is a euphemism for Ann Dunham's motivation. Friends describe her as a "fellow traveler", that is, a communist sympathizer, from her youth, according to a March 27, 2007, Chicago Tribune report. Many Americans harbor leftist views, but not many marry into them, twice. Ann Dunham met and married the Kenyan economics student Barack Obama, Sr., at the University of Hawaii in 1960, and in 1967 married the Indonesian student Lolo Soetero. It is unclear why Soetero's student visa was revoked in 1967 - the fact but not the cause are noted in press accounts. But it is probable that the change in government in Indonesia in 1967, in which the leftist leader Sukarno was deposed, was the motivation.

Soetero had been sponsored as a graduate student by one of the most radical of all Third World governments. Sukarno had founded the so-called Non-Aligned Movement as an anti-colonialist turn at the 1955 Bandung Conference in Indonesia. Before deposing him in 1967, Indonesia's military slaughtered 500,000 communists (or unfortunates who were mistaken for communists). When Ann Dunham chose to follow Lolo Soetero to Indonesia in 1967, she brought the six-year-old Barack into the kitchen of anti-colonialist outrage, immediate following one of the worst episodes of civil violence in post-war history.

Dunham's experience in Indonesia provided the material for a doctoral dissertation celebrating the hardiness of local cultures against the encroaching metropolis. It was entitled, "Peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia: surviving against all odds." In this respect Dunham remained within the mainstream of her discipline. Anthropology broke into popular awareness with Margaret Mead's long-discredited Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), which offered a falsified ideal of sexual liberation in the South Pacific as an alternative to the supposedly repressive West. Mead's work was one of the founding documents of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and anthropology faculties stood at the left-wing fringe of American universities.

In the Global South, anthropologists went into the field and took matters a step further. Peru's brutal Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerilla movement was the brainchild of the anthropologist Efrain Morote Best, who headed the University of San Cristobal of Huamanga in Ayacucho, Peru, between 1962 and 1968. Dunham's radicalism was more vicarious; she ended her career as an employee of international organizations.

Barack Obama received at least some instruction in the Islamic faith of his father and went with him to the mosque, but the importance of this experience is vastly overstated by conservative commentators who seek to portray Obama as a Muslim of sorts. Radical anti-Americanism, rather than Islam, was the reigning faith in the Dunham household. In the Muslim world of the 1960s, nationalism rather than radical Islam was the ideology of choice among the enraged. Radical Islam did not emerge as a major political force until the nationalism of a Gamal Abdel Nasser or a Sukarno failed.

Barack Obama is a clever fellow who imbibed hatred of America with his mother's milk, but worked his way up the elite ladder of education and career. He shares the resentment of Muslims against the encroachment of American culture, although not their religion. He has the empathetic skill set of an anthropologist who lives with his subjects, learns their language, and elicits their hopes and fears while remaining at emotional distance. That is, he is the political equivalent of a sociopath. The difference is that he is practicing not on a primitive tribe but on the population of the United States.

There is nothing mysterious about Obama's methods. "A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his audience so that they will think they are as clever as he is," wrote Karl Krauss. Americans are the world's biggest suckers, and laugh at this weakness in their popular culture. Listening to Obama speak, Sinclair Lewis' cynical tent-revivalist Elmer Gantry comes to mind, or, even better, Tyrone Power's portrayal of a carnival mentalist in the 1947 film noire Nightmare Alley. The latter is available for instant viewing at Netflix, and highly recommended as an antidote to having felt uplifted by an Obama speech.

America has the great misfortune to have encountered Obama at the peak of his powers at its worst moment of vulnerability in a generation. With malice aforethought, he has sought out their sore point.

Since the Ronald Reagan boom began in 1984, the year the American stock market doubled, Americans have enjoyed a quarter-century of rising wealth. Even the collapse of the Internet bubble in 2000 did not interrupt the upward trajectory of household assets, as the housing price boom eclipsed the effect of equity market weakness. America's success made it a magnet for the world's savings, and Americans came to believe that they were riding a boom that would last forever, as I wrote recently.

Americans regard upward mobility as a God-given right. America had a double founding, as David Hackett Fischer showed in his 1989 study, Albion's Seed. Two kinds of immigrants founded America: religious dissidents seeking a new Promised Land, and economic opportunists looking to get rich quick. Both elements still are present, but the course of the past quarter-century has made wealth-creation the sine qua non of American life. Now for the first time in a generation Americans have become poorer, and many of them have become much poorer due to the collapse of home prices. Unlike the Reagan years, when cutting the top tax rate from a punitive 70% to a more tolerable 40% was sufficient to start an economic boom, no lever of economic policy is available to fix the problem. Americans have no choice but to work harder, retire later, save more and retrench.

This reversal has provoked a national mood of existential crisis. In Europe, economic downturns do not inspire this kind of soul-searching, for richer are poorer, remain what they always have been. But Americans are what they make of themselves, and the slim makings of 2008 shake their sense of identity. Americans have no institutionalized culture to fall back on. Their national religion has consisted of waves of enthusiasm - "Great Awakenings" – every second generation or so, followed by an interim of apathy. In times of stress they have a baleful susceptibility to hucksters and conmen.

Be afraid - be very afraid. America is at a low point in its fortunes, and feeling sorry for itself. When Barack utters the word "hope", they instead hear, "handout". A cynic might translate the national motto, E pluribus unum, as "something for nothing." Now that the stock market and the housing market have failed to give Americans something for nothing, they want something for nothing from the government. The trouble is that he who gets something for nothing will earn every penny of it, twice over.

The George W Bush administration has squandered a great strategic advantage in a sorry lampoon of nation-building in the Muslim world, and has made enemies out of countries that might have been friendly rivals, notably Russia. Americans question the premise of America's standing as a global superpower, and of the promise of upward mobility and wealth-creation. If elected, Barack Obama will do his utmost to destroy the dual premises of America's standing. It might take the country another generation to recover.

"Evil will oft evil mars", J R R Tolkien wrote. It is conceivable that Barack Obama will destroy himself before he destroys the country. Hatred is a toxic diet even for someone with as strong a stomach as Obama. As he recalled in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father, Obama idealized the Kenyan economist who had married and dumped his mother, and was saddened to learn that Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., was a sullen, drunken polygamist. The elder Obama became a senior official of the government of Kenya after earning a PhD at Harvard. He was an abusive drunk and philanderer whose temper soured his career.

The senior Obama died in a 1982 car crash. Kenyan government officials in those days normally spent their nights drinking themselves stupid at the Pan-Afrique Hotel. Two or three of them would be found with their Mercedes wrapped around a palm tree every morning. During the 1970s I came to know a number of them, mostly British-educated hollow men dying inside of their own hypocrisy and corruption.

Both Obama and the American public should be very careful of what they wish for. As the horrible example of Obama's father shows, there is nothing worse for an embittered outsider manipulating the system from within than to achieve his goals - and nothing can be more terrible for the system. Even those who despise America for its blunders of the past few years should ask themselves whether the world will be a safer place if America retreats into a self-pitying shell.

Michelle Obama's statement

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Caroline for Senator . . .

Of Illinois

by Noemie Emery

Thus far, the young Obama regime has been marred by three major dust-ups relating to three different things: the tax-skipping schemes involving nominees to the Cabinet, the flap over the disposal of his Illinois seat in the Senate, and the disposal of the Senate seat of New York's Hillary Clinton, involving a row among four or more dynasties, in which the Princess of Camelot found herself dissed. Nonetheless, the news that Illinois appointee Roland Burris is now in hot water opens a happy solution: oust the now-tainted Burris from his place in the Senate, and give it to Caroline Kennedy. Caroline doesn't live in the state and knows nothing about it, but this isn't important. For the following reasons, this makes perfect sense:

1. The seat she wanted and didn't get was being vacated by Hillary Clinton, a president's wife who ran for the Senate in New York, though she was born in Illinois and was First Lady of Arkansas, before living for eight years in Washington. Illinois thus offered New York a senator. Since Caroline is a president's daughter who lives in New York, (and lived as a child in Washington), it makes perfect sense that New York should pay back the favor by offering Caroline in return to the state of Obama and Lincoln. You could call it a new form of interstate commerce. Or, turnabout being fair play.

2. Aside from having been Hillary's seat, the seat Caroline wanted was also held by her uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, who, like Hillary, moved to New York for electoral reasons when he found himself at loose ends. Thus, between 1965 and 1968 and between 2001 and 2009, that seat was held in effect by a non-resident, or a resident only by means of ambition, who was also a president's relative. This is an important tradition that should not be allowed to die out, or be restricted to only one polity. Let Illinois share in the fun.

3. Caroline lived as a child in Washington, summered in Massachusetts, wintered in Florida, (and later on Skorpios), and lived most of her life in New York, but this does not mean her connections to Illinois are nonexistent. Her father carried Illinois in 1960, aided (some people think suspiciously so) by the late Mayor Daley; he became a national figure and heartthrob when he lost to Estes Kefauver at the 1956 Chicago convention; and her Uncle Sarge lived there when he was running the Merchandise Mart, once an enormous cash cow for the Kennedy family. A 'return' there could be seen as a move to the family's political roots, or at least to its money. Legacies have been built on much less.

4. According to friends, Caroline's late brother, John Kennedy Jr., was irked at reports Hillary was moving to New York to run for the Senate, and reportedly joked about moving to Arkansas. He died in a plane crash before he could do this. But if Caroline moved to Illinois and the Senate, she would have made good on his threat.

5. She could also annoy Governor Paterson, ex-cousin-in-law Andrew Cuomo, and the dozen or so congresspersons who dumped on her by becoming a senator anyhow, even if out of their state.

6. She could house sit Obama's posh digs in Hyde Park during recess while he is in Washington. She does have $400 million, but in this market even millionaires can use some assistance.

7. Obama could pay off her and her family without further annoying the Cuomos, the Clintons, or Paterson. And Illinois is in no state to complain about anything. She's underwhelming, but unlikely to show up on a perp line. At this point, this is all it can ask.


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Noemie Emery, a WEEKLY STANDARD contributing editor, is the author of Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.


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Stimulus, Spendulus, Robulus


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Your Government at Work:
Censoring AM Talk Radio

Older readers will remember the heyday of radio, those days when AM radio was king, the primary entertainment and information medium. There was no TV, no FM radio, no satellite radio. In those days, there was just AM.

As time passed, television got its start and AM radio’s golden years came to an end. Later, AM faced the further challenge of FM radio, which eventually became the more popular of the two bands, due to superior technical capabilities. As FM radio grew in popularity in the 70s, AM radio’s popularity faded, and nearly died.

There was a huge investment in AM radio by private businesses, many of whom gradually invested in the newer FM technology. But owners didn’t want to just pull the plug on the AM band stations.

Commercial radio stations are successful if their programming attracts listeners in large enough numbers to attract sufficient advertising to pay the bills. Broadcasters experimented with a few new formats on AM, which eventually produced a talk show format that people liked and listened to. AM radio was revived.

Station owners will put any talk program that meets broadcasting standards on the air, as long as it attracts a large enough audience to produce adequate advertising dollars. They don’t care if it’s Rush Limbaugh or Alan Colmes or Bill Bennett or Randi Rhodes, so long as people listen and advertisers buy spots.

Through the years listeners have told station owners through their listening preferences that they like conservative political talk far more than they like liberal political talk, thus conservative shows dominate the medium. This is a choice freely made by listeners in a free and open marketplace.

That may be because more Americans are conservative than liberal; or more conservatives listen to talk radio than liberals; or that conservative programs and hosts are superior to their liberal competitors. However, the listening audience prefers conservative talk programs to their liberal competition, and the “why” doesn’t matter. This should be the end of the discussion, since the issue has been resolved by the consumers of AM radio.

It isn’t.

The people on the short end of the market surveys — liberal Democrats —think it is unfair that they have fewer hours of programming than conservatives, and apparently believe that listeners should not have the programming they have clearly demonstrated they prefer, and some even go so far as to charge that there is some sort of sinister plot by right-wingers.

Unwilling or unable to produce a product that listeners will accept in numbers equal to their competition, they want the government to force balance between hours of conservative talk and hours of liberal talk, and they have chosen to achieve this goal by bringing back the odious governmental control mechanism called, curiously, the “Fairness Doctrine.”

Briefly, the Fairness Doctrine is an outdated (1949) attempt by government to provide balance on public issues in an era when people had far fewer sources for news and information than they have today. The Federal Communications Commission wanted to be sure that broadcasters presented both sides of public interest issues. There may have been justification for this rule in the 50s when there were few cable TV systems, few FM radio stations, no Internet, and fewer print sources. But not today when there are multitudes of news and information sources of all varieties, many of them free for the taking. Anyone who isn’t well informed on important issues these days just isn’t trying.

There is some sympathy in the Congress for reviving the Fairness Doctrine from Senators John Kerry and Dick Durbin and Representatives John Dingell, Dennis Kucinich, and Louise Slaughter. And, in his confirmation hearings Attorney General-designate Eric Holder would not give a straight answer on whether he supports it.

Proponents say this is about fairness, and will try to substantiate that claim by saying that radio airwaves belong to the public and the government has an obligation to see that there is political balance. But commercial broadcasters are private businesses, not government information agents. This is an effort to silence dissenting voices and replace the people’s judgment and free choice with the judgment of the politicians in Washington.

By imposing the Fairness Doctrine on commercial talk radio after the public has made its programming choices, our government is replacing the judgment of listeners with the judgment of Washington politicians.

But Americans can think for themselves; they don’t need a bunch of politicians telling them what they should like or what they can listen to. And more important, the federal government has no business sticking its nose into commercial radio.

By providing people what they want, businesses of all types succeed where their competitors who do not provide customers what they want fail. This is how the free market works. If a successful business model has to be modified because of a government edict to include programming that has proven unsuccessful, AM radio operators can count on advertising income dropping, putting their businesses in jeopardy.

If Big Brother insists on trying to impose “fairness” on AM radio, it had better also get to work on NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and, of course, National Public Radio.

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Cross-posted at American Sentinel and Faultline USA

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Little Bits of Wisdom and Other Things of Interest



The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

- Margaret Thatcher


"
In this world nothing three things are certain: death, taxes and eternal government programs."
- Benjamin Franklin and James Shott

======================

Israeli-Palestinian Politics

Here is all you need to know about Israeli-Palestinian politics:

What happens when a fly falls into a coffee cup?

An Italian - throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.

A German - carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of coffee.

A Frenchman - takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.

A Chinese - eats the fly and throws away the coffee.

A Russian - Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.

An Israeli - sells the coffee to the Frenchman, the fly to the Chinese, drinks tea and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.

A Palestinian - blames the Israeli for the fly falling in his coffee, protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, the German and the Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give away his cup of tea to the Palestinian.

======================

Prosecutors have asked a federal judge to send former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry to jail for failing to file tax returns for eighth time in nine years. He hasn’t paid taxes for eight years straight. So it’s either jail or a Cabinet position in the Obama administration. Take your pick.
- Jay Leno


======================

Great Orators of the Democratic Party

"One man with courage makes a majority."
- Andrew Jackson

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The buck stops here."
- Harry S. Truman

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
"
- John F. Kennedy


And for today's Democrats...

'It depends what your definition of 'IS' is?''
- Bill Clinton

"Those rumors are false .... I believe in the sanctity of marriage."
- John Edwards

"I have campaigned in all 57 states."
- Barack Obama

"You don't need God anymore, you have us democrats."
- Nancy Pelosi

"Paying taxes is voluntary."
- Sen. Harry Reid


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Obama; Stimulus; Bloated Government





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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama’s Honeymoon Ends in Turmoil and Errors

Every new president gets a honeymoon during which he is allowed time to adjust to the new job and the new surroundings, and since President Barack Obama inherited a substantial list of difficult problems, perhaps he ought to get some extra time to get things under control.

Perhaps.

He campaigned as the person that despite his lack of experience had all the answers, the one who was best able to guide the country through its problems, and he created the clear idea through his appeals to hope and change that he could transcend politics, solve the nation’s problems, and restore America’s once-shining image around the world.

That’s a lot to promise, and a lot on which to be judged, even in the early days of your presidency.

Watching his performance in the first three weeks, it is obvious that Mr. Obama is overwhelmed by the circumstances in which he finds himself, and it’s not just the economic crisis that is causing him problems.

Perhaps he was lulled into a false sense of security by the smooth sailing of the campaign and the adulation of the millions who supported and, yes, worshipped him. One gets the distinct impression that he thought being president was going to be much easier than it has been, and as the reality of Washington politics has set in, it clearly is getting the better of our young president.

The candidate who was going to do away with pork-barrel spending, eschew lobbyists in his cabinet and staff, and end corruption has endorsed a pork-laden “stimulus” bill, hired lobbyists for staff and advisory positions and chosen some corrupt, or at least badly flawed, people for important positions.

He has had a terrible time finding people for his cabinet who don’t have a skeleton in their closet, having three of them withdraw prior to their Senate hearings with clouds over their heads, and one more gain Senate approval despite a significant tax avoidance problem.

He has angered both Democrats and the loyal media with some of his early decisions, such abandoning his pledge to impose a windfall profits tax on Big Oil even before being sworn in, and reaching out to Republicans to attract support for the “stimulus” bill by including some of their tax-cutting ideas.

Recently he has resorted to less-than-presidential behavior with his bitter criticism of his predecessor over the economy. The president said last week that "I found this deficit when I showed up. I found this national debt double wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office," he said. But he should remember that the Democrat-controlled Congress had as much to do with the economic crisis as the administration, that part of the deficit is the first stimulus bill that was approved by the Democrat Congress, and that the stimulus bill he supports is nearly as big as the current year deficit.

Perhaps what has Mr. Obama so upset is that he is realizing how much easier it is to criticize from the outside than it is to fix things from the inside. The so-called stimulus package that he so strongly supports is a boondoggle disapproved of by a broad majority of Americans, and roundly opposed by Republicans, making a truly bi-partisan stimulus package a remote dream.

Faced with a widely negative view of the stimulus package, Mr. Obama, who in his inaugural address declared that "we have chosen hope over fear," has abandoned leadership to produce an acceptable stimulus bill in favor of fear-mongering the American people into supporting this foolish spending plan dressed up as a stimulus bill. "A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe,” he warned last week.

Perhaps this statement belies a profound failure to understand the subject. Of opponents of the horribly flawed stimulus bill, who said that we need stimulus, not spending, the President said, "What do you think a stimulus is? It’s spending — that's the whole point! Seriously.”

But all spending is not equal; there is spending to hand out cash to preferred special interests, and there is spending in a responsible fashion that will actually provide a stimulus. The president would do well to understand that.

Apparently determined to plunge ahead, he said voters “didn't vote for the status quo, they sent us here to bring change. We owe it to them to deliver." "This is not my assessment... This is the assessment of the best economists in the country," he said.

But not all of the “best economists” agree with that assessment, as more than 200 of them said publicly several days ago.

What responsible economist would recommend trying to emerge from a recession by funding a condom program, digital TV conversion coupons, STD prevention, child care subsidies, or just giving money out willy-nilly, all of which are features contained in the spending bill. These things may or may not be worthy of federal funding, but they have no business in a measure meant to stimulate the economy.

Given this rocky start, and the broad dissatisfaction he has stirred up, it is safe to say that the honeymoon is over.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Very Good Idea

(Author unknown)

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists, Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right, so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile, slate it up to irreconcilable differences, and go on our own ways.

Here is a model dissolution agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement.

After that it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes. We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.

Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore, and Rosie O'Donnell (you are however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move them).

We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart, and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies, and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's, and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.

You can make nice with Iran, Palestine, and France and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protestors. When our allies or way of life are under assault, we'll provide them job security.

We'll keep our Judeo-Christian Values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, and Shirley McClain. You can have the U.N. But we will no longer be paying the bill. We'll keep the SUV's, pickup trucks, and oversized luxury cars.

You can give everyone healthcare, if you can find any practicing doctors who will follow to your turf.

We'll keep "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and The National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute "Imagine," "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," "Kum Ba Ya" or "We Are the World."

We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty its best shot.

Since it often so offends you we'll keep our history, our name, and our flag. Would you agree to this? If so please pass it along to other like-minded patriots.

In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR on who will need whose help in 15 years.

Sincerely,

John Q. Conservative

P.S. Please take Barbra Streisand.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl: The National Anthem

What is it about singers that prevents them from putting aside their egos long enough to sing their country’s song of praise?

Why are they determined to use our National Anthem as a stage upon which to prove that they are more vocally dexterous than the person who last sang the National Anthem on national television and before thousands of sports fans?

A large number of singers and more than a few sports fans apparently haven’t a clue as to why The Star Spangled Banner is performed prior to sporting events, which is a little odd because if you ask them why the American flag is displayed in schools, government buildings, sport venues, and thousands of public places, there’s a fair chance that most entertainers will actually know why: It’s a symbol of our nation deserving of reverence and respect.

But the National Anthem is viewed as an opportunity not to celebrate our love and respect for the United States as a place we are grateful and fortunate to live, which one should demonstrate by performing it in a dignified and respectful musical manner, it is viewed as an opportunity to demonstrate the singer’s command of every conceivable trill, turn, arpeggio, high note, yodel, and vocal firework, designed more
to impress the audience, to convince the doubting that they are the most nimble singer on the planet, than to show the deserved respect for their country.

It isn’t the singers’ talent in question; it’s their taste and judgment. Those are in dramatically short supply.

Most Americans detest it when some yahoo burns the American flag, but don’t object—and, indeed, seem to enjoy—the destruction of the National Anthem when some self-absorbed entertainer thinks they can do a better job of crafting the melody than Francis Scott Key. But doing what some of these yahoos do to The Star Spangled Banner is comparable to modifying a photograph of Ben Roethlisberger so that he's dressed in pink lace panties and a push-up bra, or by using a magic marker to black out a couple of teeth on a photograph of Michelle Pfieffer. It just isn’t right.

A little advice for future singers who are offered the opportunity to sing The Star Spangled Banner in public: Sing the song straight and unadorned. If you can. It’s a difficult song to sing as written, spanning a melodic range that is a challenge for even talented singers.

So, if you can’t sing it as written, don’t sing it with ruffles and flourishes to cover up
your lack of ability, or to impress the world, just politely decline the offer to perform it in public. And if you can sing it as written, you don’t need to show off. Be proud enough of your pure vocal ability to sing the song as written, confident enough in your professional reputation to sing it as intended by the composer, and be respectful enough of your county to sing its song of praise in a dignified and musical manner.

This year Jenifer Hudson was chosen to sing The National Anthem. As usual, I was suspicious; history was heavily against Ms. Hudson doing an acceptable job. But she did pretty well, mostly avoiding the temptation to “get fancy” with the song. She has a big, pretty voice, and more than enough ability to rise to the musical challenges of the song.

I give her an A- for voice and ability, a solid B for interpretation, and overall an unequivocal B+. And my thanks for maintaining the dignity of the song and showing a reasonable level of respect for it.

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Crime and Punishment: Teaching and Learning Lessons

Life is about many things, but one of the most important is learning. Sometimes we learn through deliberate effort, and sometimes we learn by accident. Sometimes accidental learning is the most effective.

It is usually an accident when as
a child you discover that when if put your hand in a fire, you get burned. That nasty feeling teaches you not to do that again.

As a child, we may have willingly done something that we were told by our parents or some authority figure not to do, or perhaps we failed to do something we were told to do. I learned as a youngster that when mom or dad told me something, I had better listen, or I would not like the consequences.

Some people either have not learned certain lessons, or have not been exposed to situations where they can learn, and the world is plagued by folks who don’t understand the concept of “consequences.” They think they can do pretty much what the please without consequence.

One example is the gangs crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. for the purpose of trafficking in drugs, and in the process injure or kill or kidnap Americans. They do this because they believe the rewards of these actions are greater than the price they may have to pay for doing them. That’s because they haven’t seen what the price is. It is our job as Americans to teach these thugs a lesson, whether it be through government action, or through the action of private citizens who are fed up with this violence, and here is how I propose that be done:

We put people in the trouble areas who will secretly watch for incursions across the border, and when the thugs cross the border, we do not arrest them and bring them into the U.S. justice system where they will be incarcerated, and provided legal counsel and a trial at taxpayer expense. No, we don’t coddle them; we blow them away, and leave the bodies on the Mexican side of the border to leave a strong message for survivors or others looking to get into drug trafficking that you had better not do that. Period.

This is a tough lesson for these creeps, but they asked for it.

It is also simple, inexpensive and effective.

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