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January 13, 2009

Black Democrat House Whip James Clyburn Places Race Card

One thing that has been apparent for the past year or so is the increasing ability of Democrats and their sycophants to play the race card and get away with it. The latest example of this is reported on by the Wall Street Journal's John Fund in today's Political Diary (subscription required):

Mark Sanford, South Carolina's GOP governor, is having a smackdown with House Democratic Whip James Clyburn over the need for oodles of more federal spending for their state.

The dispute began after Governor Sanford wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he feared the stimulus package being assembled on Capitol Hill would be stuffed with pork. Mr. Clyburn responded by telling the newspaper Roll Call that he favored having federal money bypass governors' offices such as Mr. Sanford's and go directly to the home districts of members of Congress. Mr. Sanford answered by suggesting the Clyburn proposal was merely a way of preserving pork barrel spending "under a growing Christmas tree of earmarks."

Those comments, in turn, stirred the House Democratic leader to say that Mr. Sanford "happens to be a millionaire. He may not need help for the plantation his family owns, but the people whose grandparents and great-grandparents worked those plantations need the help" of the federal government.

Governor Sanford thinks those comments went over the line. "It steps way past not only the truth but any kind of rational explanation of the earmarks [that Mr. Clyburn] is in favor of," he told The Hill newspaper. "You're playing the race card as your way of trying to defend stimulus packages and deficit spending out of Washington, D.C."

Mr. Sanford says the federal spending supported by Mr. Clyburn is anything but free. "The people who will be disproportionately hurt [by the economic damage from excessive deficit spending] are mid-income and low-income people," the governor claimed, saying Mr. Clyburn was "ripping off the very grandparents and grandkids he alleges to support. . . . A deficit is a future tax."

In scoring the exchange, Mr. Sanford wins when it comes to rational argument but points go to Mr. Clyburn for the most clever playing of the race card since, well, Roland Burris trumped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week even while denying he had played the card. Everyone knows that it was Democratic fear of being branded as resistant to a black Senator's appointment that prompted Democrats to cave and allow the Blagojevich appointee to be seated later this week.

Rep. Clyburn is black, by the way.

Expect to see much more of this during the Obama Presidency. Not only will absurdly racist statements such as this by the intellectually and allegorically challenged Rep. Clyburn be both commonplace and allowed to take place unchallenged by the drive-by media, but any criticism of anyone black, especially Obama and any minority member of the Democratic leadership, will be deemed racist.

Welcome to Obama Nation!

Hamas in Their Own Words - Why Isn't This on the Nightly News?

Here's a fascinating compilation put together by MEMRI consisting of statements made by Hamas concerning Israel, the United States, and the quest for a pure Islamic world order.

It's important to note that these aren't random and rare statements that took a lot of digging to find. These are things that are said repeatedly and broadcast frequently all over the Middle East and the world, primarily via the Al-Aqsa and Al-Jazzera TV networks.

It's a shame that we in the United States don't get to see and hear these statements as often as they are said and broadcast on other networks around the world. If that ever were to happen, public opinion on the Palestinian problem, and the War on Terror in general being fought by free nations all across the world, would be vastly different.

Egypt - Hamas, Syria and Iran Are "The New Axis of Evil"

As the usual assortment of anti-Semites, pseudo-intellectuals, terrorist apologists, leftists and Democrats criticize Israel for attempting to eliminate an Iranian terrorist threat masquerading as a nationalist movement, many Arab nations see the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas for what it truly is. An Iranian proxy war which ultimately threatens Arabs more than the Israelis.

Further evidence of this realization comes from a recent analytical report in the Egyptian government newspaper Al-Gumhouriyya. In a translation provided by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), the Egyptian government comes out strongly against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Syria, and gives a more accurate background evaluation on recent developments in the Middle East than the drive-by media will ever allow us to see or hear in the United States.

From MEMRI's summary:

The editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya, Muhammad 'Ali Ibrahim, who is also an Egyptian MP, wrote a series for the paper titled "Hamas, Damascus, Iran - The New Axis of Evil." In the series, he criticized Hamas, Syria, and Iran for their position vis-à-vis Gaza and the opening of the Rafah crossing. Ibrahim stated that Iran and Syria had conspired to keep the Palestinian problem unresolved and to take advantage of it to promote their interests in the region, and argued that Hamas was a tyrannical religious movement which was, like the Nazis in mid-20th-century Europe, pushing its people towards catastrophe by preferring Syria's and Iran's interests to those of the Palestinians.

Also in his articles, Ibrahim came out against Qatar, accusing it of sympathizing with the Iran-Syria axis and of airing anti-Egyptian programs on the Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera. A few days later, the editor of the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yousef, 'Abdallah Kamal, wrote in a similar vein. Both editors called Qatar hypocritical for criticizing Egyptian policy while at the same time attempting to forge ties with Israel and the U.S.

At least the Arab world is starting to get it. It's a war with Iran, stupid! And it's never been about solving the 'Palestinian problem' - it's always been about creating more and more turmoil in the region to benefit a few of the surrounding countries and their sponsors (formerly the Soviet Union, now Iran and Russia). The Palestinian people, and smaller counties like Lebanon, are merely pawns.

And we're going to allow Iran, and thereby its proxies, to get nuclear weapons...

January 09, 2009

Few In The Media Admit That Obama Is Using Scare Tactics

Every morning I receive the e-mail notification of that day's ABC New's "The Note" political newsletter. This morning's edition came as I was reading the transcript of yesterday's speech on the economy by President-elect Barack Obama, which can be found here.

Contrary to the drive-by media's review, the speech - billed as Obama's first major one since the election - is merely another one from his endless campaign, and a poor one at that. Long on the rhetoric of fear and short on specifics, many points and phrases seem to be culled from a Washington Post commentary by Lawrence Summers, dated 12/28/08, Obama's Down Payment - A Stimulus Must Aim for Long-Term Results.

I was struck not only by the absence on any intellectual heft in Obama's speech, but also by its fear-mongering. Disturbingly similar to the tone that we saw from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in September on the financial services bailout, the President-elect warns us that the end is nigh, and unless we act quickly to approve upwards of a trillion dollars in government spending without adequate review by those taxpayers who are responsible for paying for it, the world will end. Scare tactics, pure and simple.

Obama's speech was so negative that I wondered if any of his friends in the media would criticize him for it, as they criticized other Presidents like Presidents Bush and Reagan in the past when they alerted the nation to economic trouble. Instead, for the most part, I found apologies thinly veiled as 'news articles' (Obama Cites Grim Economy At Start, as Past Presidents Have).

But the e-mail that I received from "The Note" this morning surprised me by calling out Obama on what he really was doing:

Barack Obama is using scare tactics as a sales pitch for fast action, but he's meeting immediate resistance from leaders in his own party, as he pushes a massive stimulus bill that's rich with tax cuts, ABC News senior political reporter Rick Klein writes in Friday's Note

And when you go to the actual column itself, The Note, 1/9/09: Obama Pressed From Left on Stimulus, you find not only an accurate summary of what Obama was trying to do, but also an acknowledgment that Obama hasn't even produced one scrap of paper showing what his plan looks like:

It turns out you don’t have to look very hard to find the fault lines in President-elect Barack Obama’s bid for a massive stimulus bill. He tried to scare Congress into acting quickly on Thursday -- and more pressure is coming Friday and beyond -- but there’s still no measure to act on, or even the outlines of one.

It can be argued that the recent bailouts have done nothing to 'save' the economy. They just served to save some favored financial businesses, and punish others. From the precious little we know about Obama's bailout, his plan is going to be a giant modern day TVA, this time designed to enlarge unions. Again, favoritism. This time designed for an electoral advantage.

President-elect Obama has rightly kept his mouth shut over foreign policy issues prior to assuming office. By the time his stimulus package is released, he will probably wish that he had kept his mouth shut about the economy as well.

January 08, 2009

Obama Prepares the Electorate for 2010

There's a fascinating post by James Pethokoukis over at U.S. News & World Report's "Capital Commerce" blog titled Why Obama Will 'Own' the Recession. Pethokoukis shows the extent that Obama (and the media, for that matter) has been going to "Hooverize" the outgoing President Bush - laying the entire blame for this recession at his feet. By doing so, and by prepping the American public for a lengthy and painful recession, the author feels that the President-elect is laying the foundation for the Democrats' platform in 2010 - namely, that Bush left this country in such a mess that the Dems can't be held liable for failing to fix it in 2 years:

For eight decades, Democrats have successfully blamed Republican Herbert Hoover for the decade-long Great Depression. That, even though Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal failed to restore prosperity or dramatically lower unemployment, and his tax increases in 1937 snuffed out a nascent recovery.

Now today's Obamacrats are apparently going to try and Hooverize President Bush in an effort to shield themselves from the potential political fallout of a prolonged recession. It will take years to fix the American economy, Obama says, and years of trillion-dollar budget deficits to do it. And everyday it seems that Team Obama tries to lower economic expectations, such as bearishly predicting that unemployment would hit double-digits.

The not-so-subtle message in the middle of all these pessimistic prognostications: When ya'll go to vote in 2010 and 2012 and a) unemployment is still as high as it's been in decades, b) income growth is sluggish at best, c) the budget deficit is running at a trillion bucks a year, and d) stock prices remain stubbornly low -- hey, don't blame us, you can't rebuild Rome in a day or even in a first term. Remember, Bush really left us a mess.

The incoming administration has apparently learned the  lesson of Bush's big mistake when arguing for the Iraq War, that when embarking on a decision that will define your presidency, it's better to underpromise and overdeliver. Of course, Obama has every reason to honestly believe the economy is going to stay on the mat for a good long time. According to the just-released minutes from the Federal Reserve's December meeting, the central bank now thinks the economy will "decline for 2009 as a whole" and that the jobless rate is "likely to rise significantly into 2010." And in its new forecast, the Congressional Budget Office said the U.S. economy is now in a recession that "will probably be the longest and the deepest since World War II." What's more, the CBO says, the economy will shrink 2.2. percent this year and grow a wimpy 1.5 percent next year as unemployment exceeds 9 percent. Finally, respected Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff just released a paper demonstrating that the aftermaths of financial crises are usually marked by "deep and lasting effects on asset prices, output and employment. Unemployment rises and housing price declines extend out for five and six years, respectively." So the consenus is gloomy.

Pethokoukis, however, doesn't think that this will be successful, even with the help of the drive-by media. He feels, correctly, that Obama and the Democrats will be tampering with the economy so much, especially in the next few months, that if immediate results aren't apparent, voters will start to blame the Dems - if not Obama himself.

For the record, I don't blame Bush for the recession - I blame Congress, especially the Democrats, for meddling in housing and lending practices. This whole mess was created by the housing collapse. Well documented efforts to stave off that collapse by the Bush Administration, which was caused by too easy credit to unqualified borrowers, was stopped in its tracks by the Democrats in Congress, along with more than a few cowardly Republicans - all afraid of being called "racists".

If the housing market had remained healthy, or if it had followed the normal cyclic nature of housing booms and busts of the past, none of the present mess would have occurred.

I do blame the Bush Administration for abandoning free market economics from September 2008 until now, something that the Obama Administration seems intent on continuing.

McCain Gets Back To Destroying the GOP

According to a report in The Hill (A familiar McCain back on old stomping ground), failed Presidential candidate Senator John McCain, fresh off of running a terrible losing campaign, is back to his old tricks up on Capitol Hill:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), fresh off his disappointing bid for the White House, returned to a familiar role in the Senate on Wednesday, shaking up his own party and reaching across the aisle to Democrats.

In a span of hours, McCain told Republicans in a closed-door meeting they needed to tone down the party’s anti-immigration rhetoric, then appeared at a news conference with his old friend Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) to lead a bipartisan call to crack down on earmarks.

“I am tickled pink to be here on stage with him,” said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), who stood with McCain, Feingold and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to call for new transparency requirements for members seeking earmarks. McCaskill was a key supporter of President-elect Obama during his campaign against McCain. Prior to his presidential run, McCain had rattled many in his party by striking deals with Democrats on contentious matters. That included his work with Feingold on the landmark campaign finance law that bears their name, and a failed attempt with Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to pass legislation that would have put millions of illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.

On the second day of the 111th Congress, McCain touched those raw nerves again while embarking on the next chapter in his well-documented political career.

At the all-day, private GOP meeting at the Library of Congress, McCain told colleagues their poor image among Hispanics, which he attributed to bitter intra-party squabbles over immigration reform, dealt his campaign a devastating blow.

No, Senator, you lost not because of immigration, but because you were a terrible candidate - the worst the GOP could have chosen last year, especially against someone like Barack Obama. Besides, you are at your so-called 'best' when attacking conservatives and Republicans. Voters saw through your embracing of the same during your Presidential campaign, and rejected you.

I often felt during last year's campaign that McCain was the lesser of two evils, but just barely. When he lost to Obama, I was not terribly disappointed. I was more alarmed at the losses that the GOP suffered in the House and Senate.

The Republican Party has only itself to blame for the Democrats having control of all seats of power in Washington. John McCain is a part of that problem, not part of the solution.

December 01, 2008

So, Thanksgiving Weekend Retail Sales Did Grow This Year...

After several weeks of drive-by media hand-wringing over the forthcoming collapse of retail sales this Christmas season, starting with Black Friday, the numbers are in. And, as usual, the drive-by media was wrong.

The Washington Post reports this morning that retail sales actually grew 3% over last year's figures to $10.6 billion (Holiday Weekend Shopping Grew Despite Weak Economy, Reports Show). While lower than last year's increase of 8.3% over 2006, it still represents a significant increase - especially when one considers that everyone was predicting a decrease.

Oh, and there's more good news:

Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation, a trade group, said yesterday that about 172 million people have shopped in stores or online since Thursday, spending an average of $372.57 per person for a total of roughly $41 billion. That's a 7.2 percent increase over the same weekend last year, when about 147 million shoppers spent $347.55 per person.

"I would say people were putting off a lot of purchases, waiting for the best deals, knowing that retailers would obviously reward them," said Scott Krugman, NRF spokesman.

That's the bottom line - consumers are going to shop smart this year. They knew that because of the 'panic' over the economy and retail sales, retailers were going to have to offer deep, deep discounts the closer Christmas got.

It's the same reason why I'm going to do most of my shopping starting next week.

November 17, 2008

Kurtz On The Obama Sycophanticism in the Press

In this morning's edition, the Washington Post's media critic Howard Kurtz has a wonderfully disturbing piece on the media's love affair with President-Elect Obama. Disturbing, that is, if you believe that it's not the media place to be cheerleading a particular politician or party.

For the sake of my sanity, I'll suggest that you read the piece for yourself. I'll only provide you with Kurtz's closing, which is excellent:

There is always a level of excitement when a new president is coming to town -- new aides to profile, new policies to dissect, new family members to follow. But can anyone imagine this kind of media frenzy if John McCain had managed to win?

Obama's days of walking on water won't last indefinitely. His chroniclers will need a new story line. And sometime after Jan. 20, they will wade back into reality.


Murdoch On Old Media vs. New Media

Via Instapundit, CNET has a very good report on remarks that the News Corps' Rupert Murdoch made in recent lectures held by the Australian Broadcast Corporation, Murdoch to media: You dug yourself a huge hole.

Because it is Murdoch, the Left will have their usual hissy fit and attempt to ignore what he says. That would be a mistake. Here are a few excerpts:

"My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it's not newspapers that might become obsolete. It's some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper's most precious asset: the bond with its readers."

"The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception."

"It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news-and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened. Today editors are losing this power. The Internet, for example, provides access to thousands of new sources that cover things an editor might ignore. And if you aren't satisfied with that, you can start up your own blog and cover and comment on the news yourself. Journalists like to think of themselves as watchdogs, but they haven't always responded well when the public calls them to account."

Read the whole article. Murdoch is not pessimistic about the future of the newspaper industry - he just thinks that it had to change and adapt. And clean up its own act.

Washington Post on Five Liberal Election Myths

In this morning's Washington Post, Chris Cillizza quickly debunks the following five myths that the mainstream media is trying to promote about Election 2008:

1. The Republican Party suffered a death blow.  Cillizza correctly points out that many of us viewed the potential election of John McCain as the lesser of two evils - that to really rebuild the party, the GOP had to hit rock bottom. That is the only way that we'll purge the ranks of deadwood, aka the brainiacs who got us into this mess in the first place. And Cillizza also correctly points out that the opposition party usually gains seats in the following mid-term election.

2. A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory.  Didn't happen. There was only a statistically insignificant (a point or less) uptick in those constituencies' turnout. The problem for the GOP was that Republicans and conservative didn't turn out to vote for the 'maverick' McCain. He didn't even come close to getting the same share of the bases' vote that President Bush did in 2000 and 2004.

3. Now that they control the White House and Congress, Democrats will usher in a new progressive era. Oh they will try, and Pelosi and Reid will probably overreach. But many new Democrats are in traditionally conservative districts, so they will be hard pressed to go along.

4. A Republican candidate could have won the presidency this year. Here's where I differ with Cillizza - he doubts it, I think that it would have been difficult, but acheivable. Admittedly, the currents (and media) were against the GOP. But all that means is that Obama, if he really is what the media built him up to be, should have won by 20 points going away. He didn't. McCain and his advisors blew it, big time. It's almost as if they didn't want to win the Presidency.

5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.  Here, Cillizza hits the nail on the head, although he should have expressed it more forcefully. Critics are looking at how the pick of Palin affected moderates and independents. But that wasn't the point of picking Palin. McCain was the candidate who 'should' have attracted those in the middle. Palin was picked to get conservatives and the base back in the fold. And she did - giving McCain his brief lead in September. Then the economy blew up and the Senator did what he should have done - briefly suspend his campaign to go to Washington - but followed up by absolutely botching his response to the crisis. Race over. I'd also like to add that had McCain's handlers decided to help Palin rather than hurt her, the race would have been even closer. But it still wouldn't have made up for the inadequacies at the toip of the ticket.

All in all, a fine column. Pretty good to see it coming out of the Washington Post this soon after the election.