Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Racism?

Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child? You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.



Educational Background:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

vs.

John McCain:
United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin:

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism


Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the entire world. You make the call.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Unfit

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the--it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

How To Pick Presidents

In her victory speech after winning the Ohio primary Hillary Clinton said:
"You know, they call Ohio a bellwether state. It’s a battleground state. It’s a state that knows how to pick a president."
She is correct that Ohio plays a significant role in picking presidents. Ohio picked Bush in 2000 and in 2004 by narrow margins—in both instances Ohio’s Electoral College votes determined the election. Ohio remains a large and diverse state that can go either direction in presidential elections. Our Congressional delegation is a mix of republicans and democrats. Ohio is not as representative of the country as it once was (most significantly because the economic downturn has hit Ohio worse than any other state save Michigan). Nevertheless, any presidential candidate for either party will find it difficult to win the White House without winning Ohio.

The problem with Clinton’s statement is that Ohio chose poorly in the last two presidential elections. In tragic lapses of judgment Ohio chose George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004. We never would have had to think about hanging chads or thrown the election to the Supreme Court in 2000 if merely 89,000 Ohio voters had chosen differently that year. It is pointless to speculate about how a President Gore would’ve performed as the 43rd President. But given the stunningly poor performance of the current President it is unlikely that Gore would’ve been comparably disastrous. Regardless of how she feels about Gore, it is shocking that Clinton believes Ohio knows how to pick a President.

I think it is proper to view the Clinton primary victory as consistent with Ohio’s recent presidential judgment. If Bush was strike one and two, I think the Hillary vote was a foul ball straight back over home plate. Let us hope that Ohio doesn’t swing and miss with McCain in November.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Honest Moment?

After touring a genocide memorial in Kigali, Rwanda this week, President Bush said,
"A clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive."

Take a moment is snigger at his awkward turn of phrase, but then take a closer look at the substance of his statement. He likely is just saying something he thinks people say after visiting a memorial to genocide. If only it were truly a moment of reflection brought on by an authentic engagement with awfulness of the suffering in Rwanda (and elsewhere). Although Bush boasts about not be reflective or introspective, there were moments in his Africa visit this week when he seemed genuinely moved by the conditions of those in desperate need. So let us hope that his accidental moment marks the first steps toward acknowledging some culpability for the ongoing suffering of Iraqis. But even if President Bush is unable to recognize how "unbelievably counterproductive" his foreign policy is, we can hope that Americans will take Bush's insight to heart in future foreign policy adventures from Iraq and Iran to Cuba and Columbia.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Big Love

Mitt Romney gave John McCain a Valentine's Day endorsement giving the Arizona Senator almost enough delegates to secure the republican nomination. Just a few weeks ago Romney called McCain "wrong" and "dishonest" and said that McCain is "virtually indistinguishable" from Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. He frequently ridiculed McCain as unknowledge about the economy. So what calculations caused Romney to change his mind?

Romney continued his fearmongering about the global war on jihad and McCain is likely to follow this same tactic of scaring voters into supporting the republican nominee. (McCain even went so far this week as to pander to the pro-waterboarding folks in his party, almost reversing his principled opposition to torture.)

But the cause for Romney's change is that he is running for president in 2012. He still might get a VP nod from McCain which would bolster his 2012 run. Or he is simply trying to score points with the GOP establishment by coming in line with presumptive nominee. Romney does not want to violate Reagan's 11th commandment and if he stands in the way of McCain he might as well be supporting the global jihad. But he, like many self-described conservatives, expect and secretly hope that McCain will lose. They believe that an Obama Administration will pave the way for Romney in 2012 in the same way that Jimmy Carter paved the way for Reagan in 1980. So it was easy for Romney to reverse his previous assessment of McCain and kick-off his 2012 campaign.

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Contemptible

The House of Representatives voted yesterday to hold two high level Bush advisors in contempt for failing to cooperate with a Congressional inquiry into the purge of federal prosecutors in 2006-2007. White House chief of staff Josh Bolten is charged with failing to testify and former White House counsel Harriet Miers is charged with refusing to turn over documents related to the political motivations of the firings.

Republicans staged a walkout because they said the contempt orders were politically motivated. Of course the contempt orders carried a political subtext as did the walkout. But to assert that Congress is political is not an argument. The political posturing is what it is; it should obfuscate an analysis of the substance of the matter.

The republican walkout, however, is designed to avoid the substance of the matter. The democrats are trying to make as much hay as possible, but that is not a reason to ignore the seriousness of Executive branch staffers refusing to cooperate with the Constitutionally mandated oversight responsibility of Congress. The Congress represents We The People and must be vigilant in checking the power of executive branch officials. It is imperative to our judicial system that federal prosecutors serve the law. If the White House puts partisanship over the law it does serious damage to the rule of law. Republicans are failing Congress, the Judiciary, and the country. If Bolten, Meirs, and the White House did nothing unseemly then the move will backfire on the democrats. Open government, the rule of law, and Congressional oversight are far more important than the partisan concerns of the Bush Administration.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sticky Rice

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared before Senate and House committees yesterday to answer questions about the Administration’s intentions in Iraq. After questions about the future of Iraq (and contradictory White House statements relating to Iraq), some Members of Congress brought up the recent study by the Center on Public Integrity that found Rice made at least 56 false statements about the national security threat posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001. The report asserts that Rice’s false statements were part of an orchestrated PR campaign designed to sway public opinion in favor of the invasion. The success of the PR campaign was essential to leading the nation to war. Rice, Cheney, Bush might’ve convinced themselves they were telling a Noble Lie in service of neoconservative dreams, but the fact is, Rice et al led the republic into an unnecessary war under decidedly false pretenses.

When confronted with findings of the report, Rice grew indignant and responded, “I did not at any time make a statement that I knew to be false or that I thought to be false.”

This is a shockingly low standard. The U.S. went to war because Rice wasn’t certain that WMD claims were false?! When a republic is considering war, its leaders should make every effort to find out what is wise and true. Presidential advisors should have higher standards than repeating information they “do not know to be false.” And it is downright despicable to knowingly deploy a glitzy marketing campaign on such dubious pretenses. This Administration has repeatedly dragged out the (incorrect) trope that because there is some doubt (about global warming, biology, smoking causing cancer), we should not act. To go to war with lower evidentiary standards than is required for public health policy verges on evil.

And why didn’t Rice say that her statements were true? Or, that she believed them to be true? Her clever and vigorous protestations are acknowledgments that she now knows her statements were untrue; that she should’ve known they were false at the time.

But she should be truthful, not merely avoid saying things she knows are false. She knows now, and she knew then, that she was not being truthful. “Know to be false”? She knew it wasn’t true, but she couldn’t prove it false. Rice is playing clever with her words. She is defensive because she knows she failed to do the right thing. Maybe she didn’t know it was false. It is logically impossible for Saddam Hussein to prove that he does not have WMD; therefore it is impossible for Rice to know with certainty that she was saying falsehoods. She merely misled and misrepresented. She avoided speaking truthfully and now gets indignant when she is held a little accountable.

Secretary Rice’s doth protest too much, methinks.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

P.S., He's black.

The whisper campaign by Hillary Clinton and her proxies has grown nearly silent since the South Carolina primary when the tactic seemed to backfire. But it was a good test because almost certainly Barack Obama will face similar nasty politicking in the general election. It is heartening that democratic primary/caucus voters have not fallen for those who would appeal to America's lesser tendencies. Nevertheless, the Rove-inspired machine that gave us Swiftboating and McCain's bastard children is certainly going to remind voters that Barack is black. Primaries are good practice for the pressures of the campaign and the office. A significant portion of Obama’s appeal is his comfort in his multiracial skin. In polite company people will ask, ‘is the country ready for a black president?' This is code for, ‘some people are not ready for a black man as president', which is code for a lingering fear of a black planet. Welcome to the terrordome will be the subtext of fear in the republican campaign against Obama. For a taste of what good people will have to endure this fall, we can look to a recent demagogic racial appeal by Governor Huckabee:
You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell 'em what to do with the pole; that's what we'd do.
The language is coded, but it is an authentic old-school racist appeal. The Confederate Battle flag was first flown over the state capitol in 1962 in defiance of the civil rights movement. When Huckabee channels the spirit of the Stars & Bars or Clinton reminds us that he’s black, they are purposefully provoking and exploiting a racialized ugliness that probably will win some votes. We can expect plenty more of that this fall. Let us hope that candidate Obama can move us collectively closer to the better angels of our nature.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Joe McCarthy would be proud


After spending a small fortune, Mitt Romney yesterday bowed out of the GOP presidential nomination contest. It is particularly ironic that the republicans rejected a religiously faithful, enormously successful businessman, with a good suit and beautiful family. In many ways he is the embodiment of what republicans stand for. Unfortunately for Mitt, he came off as smug and pandering. He should have run from his strengths instead of acting like a rabid social conservative. But he felt that GOPers wouldn't trust a Massachusetts governor no matter hope competent at business. So instead of emphasizing his business acumen he acted like an ideologue. So it goes.
As if to emphasize his rejection of pragmatism, he offered up a screed for the Conservative Political Action Committee:
If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. . . And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

Joe McCarthy would be proud. This is probably a signal of the republican campaign to come. Fearmongering over terrorism worked well in 2004 and the republicans seem to be banking on that tactic again. Nevermind that Clinton, Obama, and the democratic Congress are not interested in a quick withdraw from Iraq, it is electorally rewarding to foment fear. So Romney goes out in an embarrassing redux of Red Scare hysteria. We once feared communists in out midst now we are being baited into fearing those who would surrender to terrorism. I am deeply embarrassed for Romney if he actually believes this nonsense.

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