Friday, October 31, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama . . .

An Iraq Veteran has a personal message for Barack Obama

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Fold Post and a Challenge

OK, I should be working my part-time job, but this morning there are two things on my mind and I wanted to share them with anyone who wants to read them. I know you are out there.

Yesterday I was listening to that evil Dave Ramsey, you know the Christian Conservative Financial Adviser who believes we are all responsible for our on financial destiny? He supposedly received this email from one of his callers, it goes as follows and this was how I remembered what was said:

Man goes into a fancy restaurant, has a fabulous meal, received great service from the server, receives the check. While eating his fabulous meal he decides to test Senator Obama's, "Spread the Wealth" plan. Man pays the check, informs the server that his 10.00 tip is going to be given to the homeless guy on the sidewalk to "spread the wealth." Server has a fit and tells the man that he worked for that tip, but the man goes to the homeless guy on the street who needed the 10.00. Moral of the story, if you aren't having a hissy fit yet, you probably will if you don't vote for a Conservative!

Now the second thing I have on my mind is sort of a financial challenge of sorts. I know there are bloggers out there who have told me that they don't like hypotheticals, don't exactly understand that, they aren't dangerous, but let's just say that Senator Obama, God forbid, is elected, remember the election isn't over just yet and you qualify for the 95% of Americans who receive his glorious tax cut. (Thank you sir, may I have another?)

What is your financial plan for the money that each of you save in taxes to prepare for your future, to prepare for the next emergency?

Each of us is in charge and responsible for our own destiny, the government cannot do it for us. Oh I forgot, the hypothetical was Senator Obama was elected, I guess we don't have to be responsible, he does think the government IS the ANSWER. VN8

Any Democrats want to relocate?

Global Warming Strikes Again!

October 30, 2008

Record snow storm triggers delays

Snow flurries throughout the night and early morning caused numerous delays for travellers using Switzerland's rail system on Thursday.

A heavy, wet snow snapped trees, which fell across tracks. The most affected regions included Zurich, Schaffhausen in the north and the areas around the Gotthard pass in central Switzerland.

Passengers moving between Spiez and Interlaken south of Bern were forced to take buses when rail service there was interrupted around 7am. Broken branches and trees blocked roads.

Farmers in the Bernese Oberland also awoke to snow-related problems. Damaged fences allowed their cows to wander freely.

According to MeteoNews, the Swiss lowlands received the most snow for any October since records began. Zurich received 20cm, beating a record of 14cm set in 1939.

Trains were largely running on time again by 9am.

The Fraud Probe Continues

Hall adviser fired, linked to Ohio voting fraud probe

By Alexa James
Times Herald-Record
October 29, 2008

NEW PALTZ — Congressman John Hall (D-Dover Plains) fired one of his long-time campaign advisers Tuesday, after learning that she’s embroiled in voter fraud investigations in Ohio.

Amy Little, 49, has been a registered Democrat in New York since 1991, and Ulster County election officials said she voted in the party primary here in February.

But in October, Little registered to vote in Ohio. On her registration paperwork, she indicated she moved from her home at 142 Guilford Schoolhouse Road in New Paltz to a place at 1979 N. 4th St. in Columbus, near Ohio State University.

That Ohio address also doubles as headquarters for a grassroots get-out-the-vote group called Vote Today Ohio. The organization’s pro-Obama Web site says it targets “young people from campus/urban centers” and drives them to early voting sights in Ohio. The group also offers housing to out-of-town members.

Franklin County Board of Elections officials said four people, including Little, registered from Vote Today Ohio’s address in October, just before the state’s deadline. Little requested an absentee ballot, which election officials said she has submitted.

According to Ohio election laws, voters must reside in the state at least 30 days prior to the election and must intend to stay there after November.

“It can’t be a temporary location that you just moved to for work, such as people who would come to Ohio from out of state to work on a political campaign,” said Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the county board of elections.

Little insists she’s playing by the rules. “I’ve been living in Ohio,” she said, when reached on her home phone in New Paltz Wednesday morning. “I have no intention of voting in New York,” she said, before cutting off the conversation, saying she had a flight to catch to Ohio.

Spokeswoman Pam Kapoor, with Vote Today Ohio, said Little moved into the group’s headquarters a couple months ago, along with several other "core members."

Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Ron O’Brien confirmed that Little’s name and address are under scrutiny.

Franklin County Board of Elections Director Michael Stinziano said his office has about 160 allegations pending, including “many” directed at Little and Vote Today Ohio. Election fraud in Ohio is a felony.

Rep. Hall’s campaign isn’t waiting for a verdict. The freshman congressman, who’s running for re-election in the 19th district, heard about Little’s problems Tuesday. “The moment we heard about it, her campaign consulting contract was terminated,” said Campaign Director, Susan Spear.

Hall's campaign paid Little $11,139 in consulting and travel fees over the last nine months. The payments were sent to her New Paltz address.

Where's the tape Dude?

( – Rashid Khalidi, the Columbia University professor whose friendship with Sen. Barack Obama is raising questions, says he was never a spokesman for the PLO, but his strong PLO leanings were evident at a time when Yasser Arafat’s group was mounting terror attacks in Israel and causing mayhem in Lebanon.

And while Khalidi may not have been speaking on behalf of the PLO, during interviews he occasionally used the word “we” when speaking of the organization.

In one 1981 interview, Khalidi referred to the exiled PLO’s growing standing among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, saying “we have built up tremendous links with the Palestinians ‘on the inside’ in different ways. We can render them services … we’ve never been stronger there, and the trend is continuing.”

Sen. John McCain’s campaign has urged the Los Angeles Times to release a video reportedly showing Obama speaking at an event in Chicago about his friendship with Khalidi.

The newspaper last April reported on the 2003 event, which took place when Khalidi was leaving Chicago for a new job, a professorship of Arab studies, at Columbia University.

“Speaking to the crowd, Obama reminisced about meals prepared by Khalidi’s wife, Mona, and conversations that had challenged his thinking,” the LA Times said.

“His many talks with the Khalidis, Obama said, had been ‘consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases … It’s for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation – a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid’s dinner table,’ but around ‘this entire world.’”

The newspaper said Khalidi had praised Obama, “telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat.”

The report also mentioned that the event had been filmed and said that “a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.”

After conservative bloggers raised questions about the unaired videotape, the McCain campaign issued a statement Tuesday.

“A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi,” said campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb.

“The election is one week away, and it’s unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job – make information public.”

LA Times editor Russ Stanton in a statement said that paper had not published the video “because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it. The Times keeps its promises to sources.”

Attacks, atrocities

Obama’s relationship with Khalidi has become an issue because during his campaign for president, the Illinois senator has portrayed himself as strongly pro-Israel.

Khalidi has denied being a spokesman for the PLO during his years in Lebanon, when he taught political studies at the American University of Beirut in the second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s.

During that period, the PLO was based in the Lebanese capital, having been expelled from Jordan after an abortive attempt to topple King Hussein. In Beirut Arafat’s group established a “state within a state” taking over entire residential areas, setting up roadblocks, and extorting protection taxes. The PLO became a party to Lebanon’s civil war, backing Muslims against Maronite Christians.

PLO atrocities against Christians reached a climax in early 1976, when PLO fighters killed 582 inhabitants of the Christian town of Damour, south of Beirut, before turning it into a stronghold. According to published accounts, the terrorists pillaged and ransacked the town and its churches, desecrated a Maronite cemetery by digging up and robbing corpses, and used the interior of the St. Elias Church for a shooting range and a garage for PLO vehicles.

From its Lebanon stronghold, the PLO mounted cross-border terrorist attacks against Israel, culminating in a deadly assault that cost the lives of 35 Israeli civilians. Israel retaliated by sending in the army in 1978, pushing the PLO out of southern Lebanon. PLO shelling of northern Israel continued until Israel’s invasion in 1982 led to the PLO’s final expulsion from Lebanon, and it relocated to Tunisia.

Khalidi began teaching in Beirut in 1976, the year of the Damour massacre.

Excerpt from New York Times report published on June 11, 1979.
Over the following years, he was quoted a number of times in media reports, giving a Palestinian perspective on events.

On June 11, 1979, a New York Times report assessed Palestinian views of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty signed that March, following the Camp David accord the previous year.

Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat was the first of Israel’s enemies to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state, officially recognizing Israel, and many Palestinians worried about the implications for the PLO’s armed campaign.

The New York Times story, by Youssef Ibrahim quoted Khalidi – whom it called “a professor of political science who is close to [Arafat’s faction] Fatah” – as saying, “We are in a make-it-or-break-it period.”

“If we don’t turn the tide, if what Sadat is doing is not decisively repudiated, if the idea that Sadat has brought peace is allowed to stick without regard to Palestinian rights, then we are done in,” Khalidi said.

‘We’ve never been stronger’

On January 6, 1981 the Christian Science Monitor quoted Khalidi – a professor of political science “with good access to the PLO leadership” – in a report examining the incoming Reagan administration’s Mideast options.

If a “hard-line anti-Palestinian view” dominated the Reagan administration, he said, then “[t]he PLO will probably perceive the new administration as basically hostile – possibly more hostile than the Carter administration.”

Khalidi in the story appeared at least highly supportive of the PLO, if not actually speaking on its behalf. He also seemed to refer to the PLO as “we” on occasion.

“All you’ll see during the coming period of stalemate, which is all you can attain without the PLO, is the PLO getting stronger and stronger internally,” he said.

“It is already happening. When was the last time people inside the Palestinian movement solved their differences with guns? A long time ago – apart from executing traitors. We are much more mature these days – the most sophisticated political constituency in the Arab world.”

Arguing that the PLO’s standing among Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza had grown, he said, “Quite apart from the politics of it, we have built up tremendous links with the Palestinians ‘on the inside’ in different ways. We can render them services, often through our compatriots in the West, that King Hussein, for example, could never match. We’ve never been stronger there, and the trend is continuing.”

Another Christian Science Monitor story, on June 2, 1981, referred to “Rashid Khalidi of the Institute of Palestinian Studies” (apparently a reference to the Institute for Palestine Studies, an institution set up in Lebanon in the 1960s. In 1971 it launched its Journal of Palestine Studies, a publication Khalidi has written for on occasion since then. He is its current editor.)

Khalidi was quoted again by the New York Times in April 26, 1982 – two months before Israel invaded Lebanon – when a report by Thomas L. Friedman described him as “a Palestinian professor at the American University of Beirut.”

At the time the PLO was under pressure from the Lebanese government not to provoke an Israeli reaction to its attacks. Khalidi commented on PLO strategies, again using the word “we.”

“If we break the cease-fire now it would not only play into Israel’s hands but would also divert world attention away from the popular uprising on the West Bank, which is equally important to the PLO’s long-term objectives,” Khalidi said.

On June 9, 1982, three days after Israel invaded, another Friedman report for the New York Times described Khalidi as “a director of the Palestinian press agency, Wafa,” and quoted him as saying the Israelis were out to “crush the PLO.”

Wafa was a PLO-owned and PLO-funded news agency. Khalidi’s wife, Mona, worked for Wafa when they lived in Beirut. She currently works for Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Wafa remains today the news agency of the Palestinian National Authority, the self-rule administration set up by Arafat after the Oslo Accords enabled him to return to the disputed territories.

Obamessiah's First 100 days!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
By Patrick J. Buchanan

Undeniably, a powerful tide is running for the Democratic Party, with one week left to Election Day.

Bush's approval rating is 27 percent, just above Richard Nixon's Watergate nadir and almost down to Carter-Truman lows. After each of those presidents reached their floors -- in 1952, 1974, 1980 -- the opposition party captured the White House.

Moreover, 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans think the nation is on the wrong course, and since mid-September, when McCain was still slightly ahead, the Dow has lost 4,000 points -- $5 trillion to $6 trillion in value.

Leading now by eight points in an average of national polls, Barack Obama has other advantages.

Not a single blue state is regarded as imperiled or even a toss-up, while Obama leads in six crucial red states: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado. Should McCain lose one of the six, he would have to win Pennsylvania to compensate for the lost electoral votes. But the latest Pennsylvania polls show Barack with a double-digit lead.

Lately moving into the toss-up category are Nevada, North Dakota, Montana and Indiana. All voted twice for George W. Bush.

Not only is Obama ahead in the state and national polls, he has more money, is running far more ads, has a superior organization on the ground, attracts larger crowds, and has greater enthusiasm and more media in camp. And new voter registrations heavily favor the Democrats.

Though Congress is regarded by Americans with a disdain bordering on disgust -- five of six Americans think it has done a poor job -- Democratic majorities are certain to grow. Indeed, with Democrats favored by 10 points over Republicans, Nancy Pelosi's majority could grow by 25 seats and Harry Reid could find himself with a filibuster-proof majority of 60 senators.

Democrats already have 49, plus two independents: Socialist Bernie Sanders and Independent Joe Lieberman. Their challengers are now ahead in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oregon and Colorado, with a chance of picking up Georgia, Alaska, Kentucky and Mississippi.

We may be looking at a reverse of 1980, when Reagan won a 10-point victory over Jimmy Carter, and Republicans took the Senate and, working with Boll Weevil Democrats, effective control of the House.

With his tax cuts, defense buildup and rollback policy against the "Evil Empire," Reagan gave us some of the best years of our lives, culminating in America's epochal victory in the Cold War.

What does the triumvirate of Obama-Pelosi-Reid offer?

Rep. Barney Frank is calling for new tax hikes on the most successful and a 25 percent across-the-board slash in national defense. Sen. John Kerry is talking up new and massive federal spending, a la FDR's New Deal. Specifically, we can almost surely expect:

-- Swift amnesty for 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens and a drive to make them citizens and register them, as in the Bill Clinton years. This will mean that Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona will soon move out of reach for GOP presidential candidates, as has California.

-- Border security will go on the backburner, and America will have a virtual open border with a Mexico of 110 million.

-- Taxes will be raised on the top 5 percent of wage-earners, who now carry 60 percent of the U.S. income tax burden, and tens of millions of checks will be sent out to the 40 percent of wage-earners who pay no federal income tax. Like the man said, redistribute the wealth, spread it around.

-- Social Security taxes will be raised on the most successful among us, and capital gains taxes will be raised from 15 percent to 20 percent. The Bush tax cuts will be repealed, and death taxes reimposed.

-- Two or three more liberal activists of the Ruth Bader Ginsberg-John Paul Stevens stripe will be named to the Supreme Court. U.S. district and appellate courts will be stacked with "progressives."

-- Special protections for homosexuals will be written into all civil rights laws, and gays and lesbians in the military will be invited to come out of the closet. "Don't ask, don't tell" will be dead.

-- The homosexual marriages that state judges have forced California, Massachusetts and Connecticut to recognize, an Obama Congress or Obama court will require all 50 states to recognize.

-- A "Freedom of Choice Act" nullifying all state restrictions on abortions will be enacted. America will become the most pro-abortion nation on earth.

-- Affirmative action -- hiring and promotions based on race, sex and sexual orientation until specified quotas are reached -- will be rigorously enforced throughout the U.S. government and private sector.

-- Universal health insurance will be enacted, covering legal and illegal immigrants, providing another powerful magnet for the world to come to America, if necessary by breaching her borders.

-- A federal bailout of states and municipalities to keep state and local governments spending up could come in December or early next year.

-- The first trillion-dollar deficit will be run in the first year of an Obama presidency. It will be the first of many.

Welcome to Obamaland!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Democrat Bites the Dust . . .

A speechwriter for Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on why she’s voting McCain.

by Wendy Button

Since I started writing speeches more than ten years ago, I have always believed in the Democratic Party. Not anymore. Not after the election of 2008. This transformation has been swift and complete and since I’m a woman writing in the election of 2008, “very emotional.”

When I entered this campaign, it was at the 2006 Edwards staff Christmas party. My name tag read “Millie Worker.” When former Senator John Edwards read it, he laughed and said, “That makes you like my parent.” He went on to say, “Would you please come down to Chapel Hill so we can talk about what’s coming up.” I sat in John and Elizabeth’s living room for two and half hours. I left North Carolina, energized about politics for the first time in months.

Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates.

I didn’t hear from anyone for three weeks.

When I finally received the official offer, it was the kind of political offer that said, “Go away.” That happens. It’s their campaign and I just assumed that I had been pushed out. The problem was that I had canceled a number of freelance writing jobs because I had assumed that when John said, “Start right away” I would. I needed a job right away and so I took the one in front of me with Senator Barack Obama.

When we first met, Obama and I had a nice conversation about speeches and writing, and at the end of the meeting I handed him a pocket-sized bottle of Grey Poupon mustard so he wouldn’t have to ask staff if it was okay to put it on his hamburger. At the bottom of the bottle was the logo for “The South Beach Diet” and he snapped, “Oh so you read People magazine.” He seemed to think that I was commenting on his bathing suit picture.

I helped with his announcement speech and others. I worked in the Senate when he was in D.C. One day after a hearing on Darfur, we were walking back to the office. I was still hobbling from a very bad ankle injury and in a very kind and gentle way he offered his arm when we approached the stairs. But later in debate preps and phone conversations and meetings, I realized that I had made a mistake. I didn’t belong. No matter how hard I tried, my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

See campaigns get complicated when you’ve written for so many Democrats. Not only had I written for Senator Edwards, but I had also been Senator Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter. Senator Joe Biden is a “good looking” man and his care after my father almost died from an aneurysm is the kind of kindness you never forget. When I saw Edwards at a traffic light in D.C. about a year after our meeting, he asked for help and I did and it was an honor to help him with his concession speech. And when the primary ended, it was a privilege to help Michelle Obama with a stump speech, be considered as a speechwriter for the V.P. nominee again, and send friends in Chicago ideas until the financial crisis hit. This is what the Democratic Party has been for me; it’s family. Now, it doesn’t even feel like a distant cousin.

This drift started on a personal level with the fall of former Senator John Edwards. It got stronger during the Democratic National Convention when I counted the substantive mentions of poverty on one hand and a whole bunch of bad canned partisan lines against Senator John McCain. Some faith was lifted after Senator Hillary Clinton’s grace during a difficult hour. But that faith was dashed when I saw that someone had raided the Caligula set and planted the old columns at Invesco Field.

The final straw came the other week when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (a.k.a Joe the Plumber) asked a question about higher taxes for small businesses. Instead of celebrating his aspirations, they were mocked. He wasn’t “a real plumber,” and “They’re fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund manager,” and the patronizing, “I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the Plumber.”

Having worked in politics, I know that absolutely none of this is on the level. This back and forth is posturing, a charade, and a political game. These lines are what I refer to as “hooker lines”—a sure thing to get applause and the press to scribble as if they’re reporting meaningful news.

As the nation slouches toward disaster, the level of political discourse is unworthy of this moment in history. We have Republicans raising Ayers and Democrats fostering ageism with “erratic” and jokes about Depends. Sexism. Racism. Ageism and maybe some Socialism have all made their ugly cameos in election 2008. It’s not inspiring. Perhaps this is why I found the initial mocking of Joe so offensive and I realized an old line applied: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”

The party I believed in wouldn’t look down on working people under any circumstance. And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations.

Our economy is in the tank for many complicated reasons, especially because people don’t have enough money. So let them keep it. Let businesses keep it so they can create jobs and stay here and weather this storm. And yet, the Democratic ideology remains the same. Our approach to problems—big government solutions paid for by taxing the rich and big and smaller companies—is just as tired and out of date as trickle down economics. How about a novel approach that simply finds a sane way to stop the bleeding?

That’s not exactly the philosophy of a Democrat. Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign from Joe the Plumber to the bitter comments, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. At first, certain Democrats and the press called Senator Clinton “dishonest.” They went after her cleavage. They said her experience as First Lady consisted of having tea parties. There was no outrage over “Bros before Hoes” or “Iron My Shirt.” Did Senator Clinton make mistakes? Of course. She’s human.

But here we are about a week out and it’s déjà vu all over again. Really, front-page news is how the Republican National Committee paid for Governor Sarah Palin’s wardrobe? Where’s the op-ed about how Obama tucks in his shirt when he plays basketball or how Senator Biden buttons the top button on his golf shirt?

Oh right, this story goes to the sincerity of her Hockey Mom persona. What planet am I living on? Everyone knows that when it comes to appearance, there’s a double standard for women politicians. Remember the speech Speaker Pelosi gave on the floor the day of the bailout vote? Check out how many stories commented on her hair that day and how many mentioned Congressman Barney Frank’s.

Here we are discussing Governor Palin’s clothes—oh wait, now we’re on to the make-up—not what either man is going to do to save our economy. This isn’t an accident. It is part of a manufactured narrative that she is stupid.

Governor Palin and I don’t agree on a lot of things, mostly social issues. But I have grown to appreciate the Governor. I was one of those initial skeptics and would laugh at the pictures. Not anymore. When someone takes on a corrupt political machine and a sitting governor, that is not done by someone with a low I.Q. or a moral core made of tissue paper. When someone fights her way to get scholarships and work her way through college even in a jagged line, that shows determination and humility you can’t learn from reading Reinhold Niebuhr. When a mother brings her son with special needs onto the national stage with love, honesty, and pride, that gives hope to families like mine as my older brother lives with a mental disability. And when someone can sit on a stage during the Sarah Palin rap on Saturday Night Live, put her hands in the air and watch someone in a moose costume get shot—that’s a sign of both humor and humanity.

Has she made mistakes? Of course, she’s human too. But the attention paid to her mistakes has been unprecedented compared to Senator Obama’s “57 states” remarks or Senator Biden using a version of the Samuel Johnson quote, “There’s nothing like a hanging in the morning to focus a man’s thoughts.”

But thank God for election 2008. We can talk about the wardrobe and make-up even though most people don’t understand the details about Senator Obama’s plan with Iraq. When he says, “all combat troops,” he’s not talking about all troops—it leaves a residual force of as large as 55,000 indefinitely. That’s not ending the war; that’s half a war.

I was dead wrong about the surge and thought it would be a disaster. Senator John McCain led when many of us were ready to quit. Yet we march on as if nothing has changed, wedded to an old plan, and that too is a long way from the Democratic Party.

I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women and working people as just part of the new kind of politics. It’s wrong and someone has to say that. And also say that the Democratic Party’s talking points—that Senator John McCain is just four more years of the same and that he’s President Bush—are now just hooker lines that fit a very effective and perhaps wave-winning political argument…doesn’t mean they’re true. After all, he is the only one who’s worked in a bipartisan way on big challenges.

Before I cast my vote, I will correct my party affiliation and change it to No Party or Independent. Then, in the spirit of election 2008, I’ll get a manicure, pedicure, and my hair done. Might as well look pretty when I am unemployed in a city swimming with “D’s.”

Whatever inspiration I had in Chapel Hill two years ago is gone. When people say how excited they are about this election, I can now say, “Maybe for you. But I lost my home.”

How many times did you vote?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How the Electoral College Works

(I'm sure in the coming days we will probably hear a tremendous amount of interest in the Electoral College, it occurs every General Election and I believe the framers of the Constitution got it right! VN8)

Every four years, on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, millions of U.S. citizens go to local voting booths to elect, among other officials, the next president and vice president of their country. Their votes will be recorded and counted, and winners will be declared.

But the results of the popular vote are not guaranteed to stand because the Electoral College has not cast its vote.

For some of you, this might be a bit shocking. You could be thinking, "Whoa, seriously?" But for many of you, you're probably immediately thinking of the 2000 U.S. presidential election -- Gore won the popular vote (more Americans voted for him), but Bush actually won the presidency, because he was awarded the majority of the votes in the Electoral College.

In this article, we'll explain how this interesting system works. How is it that a candidate could win more votes overall and yet not be elected? What would happen if there were a tie in the Electoral College? Who then would elect the president?

You will find out about the past elections that weren't decided on Election Day but weeks later, when the Electoral College met, and some that weren't decided until months later. You'll also learn about the strange election of the first son of a former president to win the presidency.­

History of the Electoral College

The Electoral College is a controversial mechanism of presidential elections that was created by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as a compromise for the presidential election process. At the time, some politicians believed a purely popular election was too reckless, while others objected to giving Congress the power to select the president. The compromise was to set up an Electoral College system that allowed voters to vote for electors, who would then cast their votes for candidates, a system described in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution.

Selecting Electors

If you're wondering how someone becomes an elector, it turns out it's not the exact same process across the board. It can actually differ from state to state. In general, though, the two most common ways are:

* The elector is nominated by his or her state party committee (perhaps to reward many years of service to the party).
* The elector "campaigns" for a spot and the decision is made during a vote held at the state's party convention.

There's the how, but what about the "what" -- as in, "What are the required qualifications of an elector?" There really aren't any. According to the National Archives and Records (NARA) Web site, "the U.S. Constitution contains very few provisions relating to the qualifications of electors." While the constitution doesn't dictate what an elector should know or be able to do, it does suggest who or what an elector cannot be:

* He or she cannot be a Representative or Senator
* He or she cannot be a high-ranking U.S. official in a position of "trust or profit"
* He or she cannot be someone who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the U.S.

Now, what about the "who?" Who is it that gets nominated or voted in and assigned to the post?

Usually, electors are people who are highly politically active in their party (be it Democrat, Green, Libertarian, Republican ...) or connected somehow to the political arena, such as: activists, party leaders, elected officials of the state and even people who have ties (political and/or personal) to the Presidential candidates, themselves.

So, we've covered the how, what and who -- but that's not all! There's still faithless electors, winner-takes-all and the district system to consider...

"Faithless Electors"
It turns out there is no federal law that requires an elector to vote according to their pledge (to their respective party). And so, more than a few electors have cast their votes without following the popular vote or their party. These electors are called "faithless electors."

In response to these faithless electors' actions, several states have created laws to enforce an elector's pledge to his or her party vote or the popular vote. Some states even go the extra step to assess a misdemeanor charge and a fine to such actions. For example, the state of North Carolina charges a fine of $10,000 to faithless electors.

It's important to note, that although these states have created these laws, a large number of scholars believe that such state-level laws hold no true bearing and would not survive constitutional challenge.

Electoral College Voting

The final electors for each state are voted on by the state's residents on voting day. In many states, the electors' names are printed on the ballots -- where those names "sit" depends on the state. For example, the electors could be listed directly under the presidential candidates' names (Democrats with the Democratic nominee, Libertarians with the Libertarian nominee, Republicans with the Republican nominee and so on) or simply grouped by party somewhere else on the ballot. And, of course, the names might not even be listed at all. Essentially, it is the electors who get voted "in" who end up casting the "real" vote. Hold on, it seems like the last two sentences don't go together, "How can someone be voted "in" if they're not even on a ballot?" Consider this information from the Department of the Secretary of State for North Carolina:

Under North Carolina General Statute § 163-209, the names of candidates for electors of President and Vice-President nominated by any political party recognized in this State under North Carolina General Statute § 163-96 or by any unaffiliated candidate for President of the United States who has qualified to have his name printed on the general election ballot under North Carolina General Statute § 163-122 must be filed with the Secretary of State. A vote for the candidates for President and Vice-President named on the ballot is a vote for the electors of the party or unaffiliated candidate by which those candidates for elector were nominated and whose names have been filed with the Secretary of State.

The key is this part, "A vote for the candidates for President and Vice-President named on the ballot is a vote for the electors..." This is the case for 48 states -- it's known as the "winner-take-all system." The other system, known as the "district system," is observed in both Maine and Nebraska. In these states, two electors' votes are made based on the candidate who received the most votes statewide. The remaining electoral votes go by congressional districts, awarding the vote to the candidate who received the most votes in each district.

Now, in regard to "winner-take-all" states, keep in mind what we said in the last section: Most of the time, electors cast their votes for the candidate who has received the most votes in that particular state. However, there have been times when electors have voted contrary to the people's decision, which is entirely legal. Although if you do vote against your party, you'll most likely be simultaneously forfeiting your post as elector and you may even incur a hefty fine -- see the sidebar on faithless electors.

Distribution of 2008 Electoral Votes

State 2008
Alabama 9
Alaska 3
Arizona 10
Arkansas 6
California 55
Colorado 9
Connecticut 7
Delaware 3
D.C. 3
Florida 27
Georgia 15
Hawaii 4
Idaho 4
Illinois 21
Indiana 11
Iowa 7
Kansas 6
Kentucky 8
Louisiana 9
Maine 4
Maryland 10
Massachusetts 12
Michigan 17
Minnesota 10
Mississippi 6
Missouri 11
Montana 3
Nebraska 5
Nevada 5
New Hampshire 4
New Jersey 15
New Mexico 5
New York 31
North Carolina 15
North Dakota 3
Ohio 20
Oklahoma 7
Oregon 7
Pennsylvania 21
Rhode Island 4
South Carolina 8
South Dakota 3
Tennessee 11
Texas 34
Utah 5
Vermont 3
Virginia 13
Washington 11
West Virginia 5
Wisconsin 10
Wyoming 3

Under the electoral college system, each state is assigned a specific number of votes that is proportional to its population, so that each state's power is representative of its population. These figures will most likely change after the 2010 Census.

Electoral College Results

In most presidential elections, a candidate who wins the popular vote will also receive the majority of the electoral votes, but this is not always the case. There have been four presidents who have won an election with fewer popular votes than their opponent but more electoral votes.

Here are the four elections when the candidate who led the popular vote did not win the office:

* 1824: John Quincy Adams, the son of former President John Adams, received more than 38,000 fewer votes than Andrew Jackson, but neither candidate won a majority of the Electoral College. Adams was awarded the presidency when the election was thrown to the House of Representatives.

* 1876: Nearly unanimous support from small states gave Rutherford B. Hayes a one-vote margin in the Electoral College, despite the fact that he lost the popular vote to Samuel J. Tilden by 264,000 votes. Hayes carried five out of the six smallest states (excluding Delaware). These five states plus Colorado gave Hayes 22 electoral votes with only 109,000 popular votes. At the time, Colorado had been just been admitted to the Union and decided to appoint electors instead of holding elections. So, Hayes won Colorado's three electoral votes with zero popular votes. It was the only time in U.S. history that small state support has decided an election.

* 1888: Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote by 95,713 votes to Grover Cleveland, but won the electoral vote by 65. In this instance, some say the Electoral College worked the way it is designed to work by preventing a candidate from winning an election based on support from one region of the country. The South overwhelmingly supported Cleveland, and he won by more than 425,000 votes in six southern states. However, in the rest of the country he lost by more than 300,000 votes.

* In 2000, Al Gore received 50,992,335 votes nationwide and George W. Bush received 50,455,156 votes. After Bush was awarded the state of Florida, he had a total of 271 electoral votes, which beat Gore's 266 electoral votes.

Today, a candidate must receive 270 of the 538 votes to win the election. In cases where no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the decision is thrown to the House of Representatives by virtue of the 12th Amendment. The House then selects the president by majority vote with each state delegation receiving one vote to cast for the three candidates who received the most electoral votes.

Here are the two elections that were decided by the House of Representatives:

* 1801: Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, both Democrat-Republicans, received the same number of electoral votes, despite the fact that Burr was running as a vice presidential candidate, not for the presidency. Following 36 successive votes in the House, Jefferson was finally elected president.
* 1825: As mentioned above, Andrew Jackson received a majority of the popular vote over John Quincy Adams, but neither man received a 131-vote majority of electoral votes needed at the time to claim the presidency. Adams won the House vote on the first ballot.

The Electoral College Debate

Proponents of the Electoral College say that the system served its purpose in the elections we talked about, despite the fact that the candidate who won the popular vote didn't always win the election. The Electoral College is a block, or weighed, voting system that is designed to give more power to the states with more votes, but allows for small states to swing an election, as happened in 1876. Under this system, each state is assigned a specific number of votes that is proportional to its population, so that each state's power is representative of its population. So, while winning the popular vote may not ensure a candidate's victory, a candidate must gain popular support of a particular state to win the votes in that state. The goal of any candidate is to put together the right combination of states that will give him or her 270 electoral votes.

Obama's Education Groups Funded Controversial Organizations in the '90s, Tax Returns Show

Barack Obama's boards gave tens of thousands to ACORN and more than $1 million to racially charged organizations, a study of tax returns shows.

Maxim Lott
October 27, 2008

The Annenberg Challenge and the Woods Fund of Chicago funded numerous controversial groups while Barack Obama served on their boards between 1995 and 2002, an analysis of their tax returns shows.

In 2001, when Obama was a part-time director of The Woods Fund of Chicago, it gave $75,000 to ACORN, the voter registration group now under investigation for voter fraud in 12 states.

The Woods Fund also gave $6,000 to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, which Obama attended. The reason for the donation to the church is unclear -- it is simply listed as "for special purposes" in the group's IRS tax form.

It gave a further $60,000 to the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University, which was founded and run by Bernardine Dohrn, the wife of domestic terrorist William Ayers and, with her husband, a former member of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground.

Other controversial donations that year included $50,000 to the Small Schools Network -- which was founded by Ayers and run by Michael Klonsky, a friend of Ayers' and the former chairman of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), an offshoot of the 1960s radical group Students for a Democratic Society -- and $40,000 to the Arab American Action Network, which critics have accused of being anti-Semitic.

The Woods Fund did not respond to questions about the funding.

When Obama co-chaired the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which calls itself "a public-private partnership improving education for 1.5 million urban and rural public school students," it gave to some of the same groups -- partnering with ACORN to manage funding for schools and giving over $1 million to the Small Schools Network.

It also gave nearly $1 million to a group called the South Shore African Village Collaborative, whose goals, according to Annenberg's archived Web site, are "to develop more collegial relationships between teachers and principals. Professional development topics include school leadership, team building, parent and community involvement, developing thematic units, instructional strategies, strategic planning, and distance learning and teleconferencing."

But the group mentions other goals in its grant application to the Annenberg Challenge:

"Our children need to understand the historical context of our struggles for liberation from those forces that seek to destroy us," one page of the application reads.

Click here to see the application.

Stanley Kurtz, a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, found the collaborative's original application when going through Annenberg's archives.

Asked to comment, Yvonne Williams-Kinnison, executive director of the collaborative's parent group, the Coalition for Improved Education in South Shore said, "I don't want to put more fuel on the fire. You can call us back after the election.... I don't want to compromise the position."

Late Afrocentrist scholars Jacob Carruthers and Asa Hilliard were both invited to give SSAVC teachers a training session, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge noted in a report, adding that the "consciousness raising session ... received rave reviews, and has prepared the way for the curriculum readiness survey session."

But Carruthers has been a controversial figure because of inflammatory statements he made in writing.

"The submission to Western civilization and its most outstanding offspring, American civilization, is, in reality, surrender to white supremacy," Carruthers wrote in his 1999 book, "Intellectual Warfare." "Some of us have chosen to reject the culture of our oppressors and recover our disrupted ancestral culture."

In the book, he compared the process of blacks assimilating into American culture with rape.

"We may not be able to get our virginity back after the rape, but we do not have to marry the rapist," Carruthers said.

Hilliard has come under fire for advocating what many consider an extreme Afrocentric curriculum.

He selected the articles for the "African-American Baseline Essays" published in 1987 and first used in the Portland, Ore., school district. The essays have been criticized for claiming, among other things, that ancient Egyptians were the first to discover manned flight and the theory of evolution.

An Obama spokesman called investigation of these ties "pathetic."

"This is another pathetic attempt by FOX News to distract voters from the economic challenges facing this nation by patching together tenuous links to smear Barack Obama," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt told

"The Annenberg Challenge was a bipartisan organization dedicated to improving the performance of students and teachers in Chicago Public Schools that was funded by a Republican philanthropist who was friends with President Reagan and launched by Republican Gov. Jim Edgar."

But Kurtz says those founders of the Annenberg Challenge would not have known the details about to whom their Chicago office -- one of 18 around the country -- was giving money.

"If you read Ayers' proposal to Annenberg, it doesn't sound radical. But if you actually read Ayers' education writings, they are very radical indeed," Kurtz said. "Ayers, like so many other savvy professors, knows enough not to state his actual views frankly when applying for money. But you can find the truth in his writings."

The controversial donations make up only a small portion of the overall amount doled out by the Annenberg and Woods funds. The Woods Fund gave over $3.5 million to 115 different groups in 2001, and the Annenberg Chellenge dispensed nearly $11 million to 63 groups at its height in 1999.

Most of the groups are mainstream and well respected, ranging from the Jazz Institute of Chicago to the Successful Schools Project.

But Kurtz says that this should not obscure what he describes as controversial donations.

"If John McCain had given to white supremacist groups and people said, 'Hey, the majority of funding didn't go to supremacist groups' -- that wouldn't even cut the ice," Kurtz said.

"I feel certain [Obama] knew about these radical groups," Kurtz said. "We know that he read the applications because he made statements about the quality of proposals."

Worse than Ayers and Wright?

Barack Obama's most troubling radical association may be his friendship and political and financial alliance with Rashid Khalidi, described by the New York Times and more reliable sources as a former spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization, whose Black September arm carried out the 1972 murders at the Munich Olympics, the murder of American Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel, and other terrorist acts. (Khalidi denies having been an "employee" of the PLO.) Fox News did an extended piece on Obama's relationship with Khalidi; here is part of it:

Gateway Pundit has much, much more, including this nugget: the Lost Angeles Times has video footage of Obama toasting Khalidi at Khalidi's "going-away party" from Chicago to Columbia. The event has been described as a "Jew-bash," but the Times refuses to release its video. Also, it appears that Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi are close friends and political allies--with each other, as well as with Barack Obama. Maybe this helps to explain why Iran has endorsed Obama for President.

Maybe one of these days a reporter will ask Obama what it was about his conversations with Khalidi that he found so educational. Would it be Khalidi's musings on the most effective way to murder an American Ambassador with a sub-machine gun? Or on how to terrorize an Olympic Village? Why, exactly, has Obama provided funding for a notorious apologist for Islamic terrorism? Maybe such questions will be asked once Obama is safely ensconsed in the White House.


Victor Davis Hanson
October 28, 2008

I remain convinced that the continuing furor over (as opposed to disagreement with) Palin still originates in large part from class, cultural, and geographical disdain. So I am struck how often criticism of Palin could be more than equally applied to both Obama and Biden--but rarely is. I would be curious to collate Mrs. Palin's undergraduate transcript with that of Mr. Obama's, but learn that would be impossible since for some unknown reason the latter at Columbia is under lock and key. No comment on Mr. Biden's, since long ago we learned that the senator is not factual in his recall of matters academic.

Anti-intellectual and anti-enlightenment? Anyone who collates the rantings of Rev. Wright, the 20-year erstwhile spiritual advisor to Mr. Obama (whom 'I could no more disown than ....' ) would find discourses on crackpot anti-black middle-classness, strange new bombs primed to hunt down blacks and Arabs, and something called black liberation theology that is on an intellectual par with phrenology. If one were to review the lunatic groups that received money from the Chicago Anneberg Challenge or the Woods Fund, one could infer that neither logic nor facts weighed into Obama's decision-making.

Scholarship? I know of no legal scholarly papers published by Obama, either as an editor at Harvard Law Review or a lecturer at the Chicago Law School; what little op-ed commentary he has written (cf. his post 9/11 essay) is on par with Michelle Obama's Princeton thesis. His memoirs are well crafted, but their content is ignored since it offers a logical explanation for everyone from Wright to Ayers, and everything from redistribution to racialism.

Both Obama's and Biden's historical recall is at times frightening (e.g., We liberated Auschwitz; the largely Anglo-American Berlin Airflift was a world effort; FDR went on TV as President in 1929; Hezbollah is out of Lebanon; etc.).

Their popular notion of science often turns puerile (checking for proper tire pressure substitutes for the energy captured by tapping into billions of barrels in reserves of new oil; we are not to burn coal--when it currently supplies half the power for our electrical generation and we sit atop the world's largest coal reserves, etc.). If we turn to math, we learn there are either 57 or 47 states, and J-O-B-S is a three-letter word.

And while Ms. Palin is donating her clothes to charity, I am not sure that Team Obama can do the same with the now discarded multimillion-dollar faux-Greek columns and pediments or the now obsolete vero possumus seal.

I have no problem with admitting (thankfully) that Palin is no Adlai Stevenson, but why do others apparently assume that Obama or Biden is?

I am Joe the Plumber!

(THINK before you VOTE! VN8)

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Letter to the Editor

(Do we want a US President that receives a ringing endorsement from communist Fidel Castro? I mean come on, think about it, why would a communist be excited about BO? VN8)

Shame, Cubed

Three separate reasons to be appalled, each more disgusting than the last.

By Bill Whittle
October 27, 2008

The Drudge Report this morning led off with a link to audio of Barack Obama on WBEZ, a Chicago public radio station. And this time, Barack Obama was not eight years old when the bomb went off.

Speaking on a call-in radio show in 2001, you can hear Senator Obama say things that should profoundly shock any American — or at least those who have not taken the time to dig deeply enough into this man’s beliefs and affiliations.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Barack Obama, in 2001:

You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.

A caller then helpfully asks: “The gentleman made the point that the Warren Court wasn’t terribly radical. My question is (with economic changes)… my question is, is it too late for that kind of reparative work, economically, and is that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to change place?”

Obama replies:

You know, I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way. [snip] You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. You know, the court is just not very good at it, and politically, it’s just very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard.

So I think that, although you can craft theoretical justifications for it, legally, you know, I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.”

There is nothing vague or ambiguous about this. Nothing.

From the top: “…The Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.”

If the second highlighted phrase had been there without the first, Obama’s defenders would have bent over backwards trying to spin the meaning of “political and economic justice.” We all know what political and economic justice means, because Barack Obama has already made it crystal clear a second earlier: It means redistribution of wealth. Not the creation of wealth and certainly not the creation of opportunity, but simply taking money from the successful and hard-working and distributing it to those whom the government decides “deserve” it.

This redistribution of wealth, he states, “essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time.” It is an administrative task. Not suitable for the courts. More suitable for the chief executive.

Now that’s just garden-variety socialism, which apparently is not a big deal to may voters. So I would appeal to any American who claims to love the Constitution and to revere the Founding Fathers… I will not only appeal to you, I will beg you, as one American citizen to another, to consider this next statement with as much care as you can possibly bring to bear: “And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and [the] Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [it] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

The United States of America — five percent of the world’s population — leads the world economically, militarily, scientifically, and culturally — and by a spectacular margin. Any one of these achievements, taken alone, would be cause for enormous pride. To dominate as we do in all four arenas has no historical precedent. That we have achieved so much in so many areas is due — due entirely — to the structure of our society as outlined in the Constitution of the United States.

The entire purpose of the Constitution was to limit government. That limitation of powers is what has unlocked in America the vast human potential available in any population.

Barack Obama sees that limiting of government not as a lynchpin but rather as a fatal flaw: “…One of the, I think, the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was because the Civil Rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.”

There is no room for wiggle or misunderstanding here. This is not edited copy. There is nothing out of context; for the entire thing is context — the context of what Barack Obama believes. You and I do not have to guess at what he believes or try to interpret what he believes. He says what he believes.

We have, in our storied history, elected Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives and moderates. We have fought, and will continue to fight, pitched battles about how best to govern this nation. But we have never, ever in our 232-year history, elected a president who so completely and openly opposed the idea of limited government, the absolute cornerstone of makes the United States of America unique and exceptional.

If this does not frighten you — regardless of your political affiliation — then you deserve what this man will deliver with both houses of Congress, a filibuster-proof Senate, and, to quote Senator Obama again, “a righteous wind at our backs.”

That a man so clear in his understanding of the Constitution, and so opposed to the basic tenets it provides against tyranny and the abuse of power, can run for president of the United States is shameful enough.

We’re just getting started.

Mercifully shorter than the first, and simply this: I happen to know the person who found this audio. It is an individual person, with no more resources than a desire to know everything that he or she can about who might be the next president of the United States and the most powerful man in the world.

I know that this person does not have teams of highly paid professionals, does not work out of a corner office in a skyscraper in New York, does not have access to all of the subtle and hidden conduits of information … who possesses no network television stations, owns no satellite time, does not receive billions in advertising dollars, and has a staff of exactly one.

I do not blame Barack Obama for believing in wealth distribution. That’s his right as an American. I do blame him for lying about what he believes. But his entire life has been applying for the next job at the expense of the current one. He’s at the end of the line now.

I do, however, blame the press for allowing an individual citizen to do the work that they employ standing armies of so-called professionals for. I know they are capable of this kind of investigative journalism: It only took them a day or two to damage Sarah Palin with wild accusations about her baby’s paternity and less time than that to destroy a man who happened to be playing ball when the Messiah decided to roll up looking for a few more votes on the way to the inevitable coronation.

We no longer have an independent, fair, investigative press. That is abundantly clear to everyone — even the press. It is just another of the facts that they refuse to report, because it does not suit them.

Remember this, America: The press did not break this story. A single citizen, on the Internet did.

There is a special hell for you “journalists” out there, a hell made specifically for you narcissists and elitists who think you have the right to determine which information is passed on to the electorate and which is not.

That hell — your own personal hell — is a fiery lake of irrelevance, blinding clouds of obscurity, and burning, everlasting scorn.

You’ve earned it.

This discovery will hurt Obama much more than Joe the Plumber.

What will be left of my friend, and my friend’s family, I wonder, when the press is finished with them?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Even an eight year old gets it . . .

At the dinner table tonight, my girlfriend Myra and her husband Dale along with their daughters Heidi and Gretel, started talking about Joe the Plumber. Gretel, who is eight years old, couldn't comprehend what it was all about. Dale tried to explain it in terms of $250,000, etc., well, Gretel just couldn't grasp it, so Myra said, "Gretel, you earn $5.00 a week for allowance if you do your chores, right?," she said, "right." "O.K., let's say the government comes in and says you owe them .25 for income taxes on that $5.00," she was with her so far. "Now," Myra says, "let's say you really kick it up a notch and do a bunch of stuff that I didn't even have to ask you to do and I decide to give you $10.00 for your allowance, but Heidi is still earning $5.00 because she is only doing her list (even though I told her she could earn more if she'd do more). Then the government comes in and sees you earning $10.00 a week and says, "O.K., now you owe us $4.00 because your sister didn't earn that much, so we're gonna give her some of your money." Gretel looked at her mother as though she was growing three heads and said, "WELL, THAT'S JUST NOT FAIR!!!," and I said, "Exactly."

(Now if an eight year old can get it, why can't all the liberal Democrats get it? I say it's because of a couple of things, you may be blind, deaf and dumb, you may have too much education and no common sense or you may be jealous, but, if an eight year old can get it, why can't you? When my girlfriend Myra told me this, I said well there's a little Republican in the making! Thank God Almighty! The names of Myra and Dale's children were changed to protect the innocent.

My favorite saying is: If common sense is so common, why don't you have any? VN8)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dr. Krauthammer: Obama can be as partisan as he wants

Special Report w/ Brit Hume
October 23, 2008
FOX News Channel

BRIT HUME, HOST: Well, it was a big deal earlier in the campaign for Barack Obama. In fact, one of the phrases attached to him by his admirers was that he was "post-partisan." And he talked a lot about reaching across the aisle and ending the poisonous atmosphere in Washington.

Talk of that has subsided. Those examples you heard him cite are about the only ones he does cite, and, of course, they are not about reaching across the aisle. They are about allegedly offending interest groups within his own party.

The question I have is, is this idea of bipartisanship simply gone away in this campaign?


When he was running against the other Democrats in the first half of the year, between let's say Iowa and Berlin, and he had to distinguish himself from others with whom he had no real difference in substance, he was the transcendent uniter, the guy who was on the magic carpet tour soaring above ordinary politics.

It worked, and at the time he was going to be a man who would transcend race and region and class and party. That was all part of his appeal.

All of a sudden, as you say, it's disappeared. Why? Two reasons. A, it's a McCain issue. He knows in fighting against McCain, McCain has the real stuff. He's lived it. He has done it. All of these examples Obama brought up are trivial and insubstantial.

Generally speaking, in Illinois and in the Senate, he has been a party man. So why raise an issue that is actually McCain's strength?

Secondly, he doesn't need bipartisanship. There is a wave breaking here, and the Congress will be heavily Democratic. It's conceivable that there is 60 Democrats or almost. He is not going to need any Republicans, so he can be as partisan as he wants.

So it is not an issue he needs, and it's not an issue he's strong on.

MARA LIASSON: I think this issue is so interesting because Barack Obama has a post-partisan aura or a post-partisan persona, but he doesn't have a post-partisan or bipartisan record.

Right now I think Democrats used to extol people, people who were usually Republican who reached across the aisle, but right now they're in a very partisan mood. Look at how readily they accepted Obama's throwing over the public's funding for a campaign. You didn't hear a whimper out of Democrats for that. He has busted all the records.

HUME: Private money, yes. If it were a Republican with all this prize —

LIASSON: And he's raising big money from big donors, you know. About a quarter of his money comes from under $200.

NPR has a poll that's coming out tomorrow morning that asks a very interesting question. They said would you rather have a Republican president be a check on the Democratic congress or Democratic president.

Republican president won by quite a big margin. But when we asked the question again, would you rather have Barack Obama working with a Democratic Congress or John McCain as a check on it, of course, Obama edged out McCain by a very small margin.

So people are still in the mood for this. But I just think that that is not what this campaign is being waged on. There's no doubt that McCain has this all over Obama, but it doesn't seem to be what's moving voters.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Look, Obama was not only the most liberal senator in 2007, he was the fourth most partisan. In other words, the average senator I think he votes with his party about 84 percent, something like that, and he was at 96 percent voting with Democrats.

He raised this thing. He has no record of being bipartisan at all in any serious way, but it sounded good for a while. And now he has dropped it I think for the reason Charles said. Democrats think they will be able to ram everything through. They don't need Republicans.

HUME: I understand that. That seems to scare the public to some extent, as Mara cited.

So should McCain make more of an issue of that, of Obama as a guy who will give in to the Congress, and the Congress will give in to him?

BARNES: I think that's a good issue. But we never see much strategic voting. In other words, people who might like Obama, but when they hear it would be one party rule in Washington, they will vote for McCain. You know, people usually vote for the candidate they like.

BARNES: It's worth linking Obama to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid because they're unpopular.

Left Wing and a Prayer

Mark Steyn
October 21, 2008

Diana West looks at the hopes and prayers of the Obamacons:

Here, taken from a couple of such endorsements, is what I mean:

President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves.

—Christopher Buckley

I sure hope Obama is more open, centrist, sensible—dare I say, Clintonesque—than his liberal record indicates, than his cooperation with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid portends.

—Ken Adelman

In other words, they hope Obama will not revert to Leftist type.

Or, if you like, they're "hoping" he'll "change", and break with what passes for his record - the most liberal in the Senate. Across the pond, my old pal Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, is also full of "hope":

He needs to stick up more vigorously for free trade, and we must hope that any ill-considered new taxes will be thwarted by Congress.

Ah, right. I think Barney Frank answered that one:

I think at this point, there needs to be a focus on an immediate increase in spending and I think this is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat. I do think this is a time for a kind of very important dose of Keynesianism. I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally, I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of this money.

Look, it's not difficult. Barack the Spreader wants to spread Joe the Plumber's wealth around. In fact, every American does that for himself every day of the week, every time he swings by Joe the Butcher, Joe the Baker, Joe the Candlestick Maker, Jolene the Waitress, Jolene the New York Gubernatorial Prostitute, whatever. The question is whether 300 million Americans spreading their wealth around can do it more effectively than Barack and Barney taking it unto themselves to spread it around.

I don't find that hard to answer. If you disagree - if you believe in socialist redistribution from the dynamic sector of the economy to the sclerotic, incompetent and corrupt - then fine: lots of folks in European welfare states and African basket-case dictatorships do as well. But it's hard to have much respect for a pro-Obama "conservative argument" dependent on "hopes" and "prayers" that an Obama-Pelosi-Frank liberal supermajority won't do what they're explicitly saying they will do.

If Ken Adelman thinks the Russians, Chinese and Iranians will be more responsive when Washington embraces an EU foreign policy, fine. If Christopher Buckley is happy with leaving it to Barack'n'Barney to spread his wealth around, great. But to "hope" and "pray" that a President Obama would defy his slim record, his long consistent past and his own Congressional majority is to put your faith in "change" no one can believe in.

McCain for President

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, October 24, 2008

Contrarian that I am, I'm voting for John McCain. I'm not talking about bucking the polls or the media consensus that it's over before it's over. I'm talking about bucking the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama before they're left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years.

I stand athwart the rush of conservative ship-jumpers of every stripe -- neo (Ken Adelman), moderate (Colin Powell), genetic/ironic (Christopher Buckley) and socialist/atheist (Christopher Hitchens) -- yelling "Stop!" I shall have no part of this motley crew. I will go down with the McCain ship. I'd rather lose an election than lose my bearings.

First, I'll have no truck with the phony case ginned up to rationalize voting for the most liberal and inexperienced presidential nominee in living memory. The "erratic" temperament issue, for example. As if McCain's risky and unsuccessful but in no way irrational attempt to tactically maneuver his way through the economic tsunami that came crashing down a month ago renders unfit for office a man who demonstrated the most admirable equanimity and courage in the face of unimaginable pressures as a prisoner of war, and who later steadily navigated innumerable challenges and setbacks, not the least of which was the collapse of his campaign just a year ago.

McCain the "erratic" is a cheap Obama talking point. The 40-year record testifies to McCain the stalwart.

Nor will I countenance the "dirty campaign" pretense. The double standard here is stunning. Obama ran a scurrilous Spanish-language ad falsely associating McCain with anti-Hispanic slurs. Another ad falsely claimed that McCain supports "cutting Social Security benefits in half." And for months Democrats insisted that McCain sought 100 years of war in Iraq.

McCain's critics are offended that he raised the issue of William Ayers. What's astonishing is that Obama was himself not offended by William Ayers.

Moreover, the most remarkable of all tactical choices of this election season is the attack that never was. Out of extreme (and unnecessary) conscientiousness, McCain refused to raise the legitimate issue of Obama's most egregious association -- with the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Dirty campaigning, indeed.

The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.

Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who's been cramming on these issues for the past year, who's never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of "a world that stands as one"), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident?

Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?

There's just no comparison. Obama's own running mate warned this week that Obama's youth and inexperience will invite a crisis -- indeed a crisis "generated" precisely to test him. Can you be serious about national security and vote on Nov. 4 to invite that test?

And how will he pass it? Well, how has he fared on the only two significant foreign policy tests he has faced since he's been in the Senate? The first was the surge. Obama failed spectacularly. He not only opposed it. He tried to denigrate it, stop it and, finally, deny its success.

The second test was Georgia, to which Obama responded instinctively with evenhanded moral equivalence, urging restraint on both sides. McCain did not have to consult his advisers to instantly identify the aggressor.

Today's economic crisis, like every other in our history, will in time pass. But the barbarians will still be at the gates. Whom do you want on the parapet? I'm for the guy who can tell the lion from the lamb.

Want a Donut?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain Hammers Obama's Tax Plan!

I don't want to participate in your type of Patriotism Obama!

Creepier and Creepier

Christoper Orlet
October 23, 2008

Down the street from my office a hip tavern-owner has hung three ginormous portraits of Barack Obama gazing watchfully down Kingshighway. The Warholesque likenesses are eerily reminiscent not so much of campaign billboards, but of the giant portraits of Mao and Stalin that were once fixtures in communist nations.

If the Obama campaign reminds you too of a mass movement of true believers I suspect it is because the candidate himself has encouraged this perception. Early in the campaign the Hopemeister heralded his arrival with this verbal trumpet blast: "We are the ones we've been waiting for!" Since then the terms most frequently associated with Obama and his supporters include "cultish," "messianic," "rock star," "Kool-aid drinkers" and various combinations of the words Obama and robot. One wonders if the Democratic nominee hasn't studied the works of Eric Hoffer and Hannah Arendt to learn what it takes to lead a successful mass movement of true believers.

Our mainstream media has been justly parodied for its blatant love-affair with Obama, most famously on Saturday Night Live. But who can forget MSNBC's Chris Matthews' unintentionally humorous gushing about the "thrill" running up his leg when Obama delivered his acceptance speech after a primary election? And, again, when Tweety (as he's known in the blogosphere) told the New York Observer, "I've been following politics since I was about 5. I've never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament." Even two of our most erudite and cynical political observers, Christopher Buckley and Christopher Hitchens, have been unable to resist Obama's siren call.

Hillary Clinton, who had more mature, if less exuberant followers, was early perplexed by the euphoria surrounding Obama. Last February the Clinton campaign sought to capitalize on the curious behavior of Barack's backers and the weird vibes they were sending by attempting to portray Obama as an empty suit who appealed to the emotions, while Clinton was for those who had a brain, and couldn't be swayed by empty slogans. It didn't work.

Even some Barack supporters admit to being "weirded out" by Obama's followers, particularly the way they refer to their leader in almost reverent terms, the way they rush the stage when he speaks reminiscent of the Beatles at Shea Stadium. For a while there was a rash of fans fainting at Obama rallies, whereupon comedian Larry David quipped, "Sinatra had the same effect on people." Time's Joe Klein admitted "[there is] something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism…of (Obama's) Super Tuesday speech and the recent turn of the Obama campaign." And Joel Stein suggested cause for concern in the Los Angeles Times. "Obamaphilia has gotten creepy. I couldn't figure out if the two canvassers who came to my door Sunday had taken Ecstasy or were just fantasizing about an Obama presidency, but I feared they were going to hug me."

Commenting on the "Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities" of Obama's followers, ABC News' Senior National Correspondent Jack Tapper wrote: "Inspiration is nice. But some folks seem to be getting out of hand." Kathleen Geier worried that "this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity -- the Obama volunteers speak of 'coming to Obama' in the same way born-again Christians talk about 'coming to Jesus.'...So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light…"

Even James Wolcott of Vanity Fair found himself "increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria." But the award for sheer creepiness has to go to a Pyongyangesque video of a group of young children forced to sing a lame bit of doggerel called "Sing for Change." (The Pyongyang mix is available here.)

IN HIS BOOK THE TRUE BELIEVER Eric Hoffer suggested two necessary conditions must be present for a mass movement to flourish: the believer must be frustrated and have faith in some irresistible power. (Hoffer noted the Jacobins believed in the irresistible power of Reason, the communists in Marxist doctrine, and the Nazis in their Führer and his race master race theories.) However to succeed, this power must be joined with a faith in the future. "For the hopeful can draw strength from the most ridiculous sources of power -- a slogan, a word, a button." But fanning discontent can only take one so far. If the true believers are to win, Hoffer said, it will be because they know how to preach hope. Preaching hope pretty well sums up the Obama campaign.

Hoffer's ideas may seem at first blush to perfectly describe Obama's followers, but while they explain the lockstop of their thinking, they do not adequately explain their ends. I suspect these young hipsters genuinely want to change the world in some vague, utopian, environmentally friendly way, and they have deluded themselves into thinking that Obama's big government solutions will do the trick. They are in for a big letdown following if their candidate wins, but that's all part of the maturation process.

Believers in Obama . . .

Thomas Sowell
Monday, October 20, 2008

Telling a friend that the love of his life is a phony and dangerous is not likely to get him to change his mind. But it may cost you a friend.

It is much the same story with true believers in Barack Obama. They have made up their minds and not only don't want to be confused by the facts, they resent being told the facts.

An e-mail from a reader mentioned trying to tell his sister why he was voting against Obama but, when he tried to argue some facts, she cut him short: "You don't like him and I do!" she said. End of discussion.

When one thinks of all the men who have put their lives on the line in battle to defend and preserve this country, it is especially painful to think that there are people living in the safety and comfort of civilian life who cannot be bothered to find out the facts about candidates before voting to put the fate of this nation, and of generations yet to come, in the hands of someone chosen because they like his words or style.

Of the four people running for President and Vice President on the Republican and Democratic tickets, the one we know the least about is the one leading in the polls-- Barack Obama.

Some of Senator Obama's most fervent supporters could not tell you what he has actually done on such issues as crime, education, or financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, much less what he plans to do to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear nation supplying nuclear weapons to the international terrorist networks that it has supplied with other weapons.

The magic word "change" makes specifics unnecessary. If things are going bad, some think that what is needed is blank-check "change."

But history shows any number of countries in crises worse than ours, where "change" turned problems into catastrophes.

In czarist Russia, for example, the economy was worse than ours is today and the First World War was going far worse for the Russians than anything we have faced in Iraq. Moreover, Russians had nothing like the rights of Americans today. So they went for "change."

That "change" brought on a totalitarian regime that made the czars' despotism look like child's play. The Communists killed more people in one year than the czars killed in more than 90 years, not counting the millions who died in a government-created famine in the 1930s.

Other despotic regimes in China, Cuba, and Iran were similarly replaced by people who promised "change" that turned out to be even worse than what went before.

Yet many today seem to assume that if things are bad, "change" will make them better. Specifics don't interest them nearly as much as inspiring rhetoric and a confident style. But many 20th century leaders with inspiring rhetoric and great self-confidence led their followers or their countries into utter disasters.

These ranged from Jim Jones who led hundreds to their deaths in Jonestown to Hitler and Mao who led millions to their deaths.

What specifics do we know about Barack Obama's track record that might give us some clue as to what kinds of "changes" to expect if he is elected?

We know that he opposed the practice of putting violent young felons on trial as adults. We know that he was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it.

We know that Obama opposed attempts to put stricter regulations on Fannie Mae-- and that he was the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae. We know that this very year his campaign sought the advice of disgraced former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines.

Fannie Mae and Raines were at the heart of "the mess in Washington" that Barack Obama claims he is going to clean up under the banner of "change."

The public has been told very little about what this man with the wonderful rhetoric has actually done. What we know is enough to make us wonder about what we don't know. Or it ought to. For the true believers-- which includes many in the media-- it is just a question of whether you like him or not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Changes in the Workplace . . .

(OK, boys and girls, please comment and tell me if these types of changes in your workplace would be satisfactory? I mean let's help those who can't help themselves at work. Some of us just have a tendency to work harder than others, why should those who don't work as hard as us not get their fair share? VN8)

You small business owners out there are preparing for life under a Barack Obama presidency. One of our listeners sent us some new rules for small businesses based on Obama's ideals of change and fairness:

As of November 5, 2008, when President Obama officially becomes president-elect, our company will instill a few new policies which are in keeping with his new, inspiring issues of change and fairness:

1. All salespeople will be pooling their sales and bonuses into a common pool that will be divided equally between all of you. This will serve to give those of you who are under-achieving a "fair shake".

2. All low level workers will be pooling their wages, including overtime, into a common pool, dividing it equally amongst you. This will help those who are "too busy for overtime" to reap the rewards from those who have more spare time and can work extra hours.

3. All top management will now be referred to as "the government." We will not participate in this "pooling" experience because the law doesn't apply to us.

4. The "government" will give eloquent speeches to all employees every week, encouraging its workers to continue to work hard "for the good of all".

5. The employees will be thrilled with these new policies because it's "good to spread the wealth around". Those of you who have underachieved will finally get an opportunity; those of you who have worked hard and had success will feel more "patriotic".

6. The last few people who were hired should clean out their desks. Don't feel bad, though, because President Obama will give you free healthcare, free handouts, free oil for heating your home, free food stamps, and he'll let you stay in your home for as long as you want even if you can't pay your mortgage. If you appeal directly to our democratic congress, you might even get a free flat screen TV and a coupon for free haircuts (shouldn't all Americans be entitled to nice looking hair?)!!!

If for any reason you are not happy with the new policies, you may want to rethink your vote on November 4th.