Friday, October 31, 2008

Advice for Obama Press Corps: Keep Your 'Chute Handy

As confirmed by's Ben Smith in his corroboration of the story that broke on the Drudge Report last night, the Obama campaign did indeed bump three major newspapers from the press group traveling aboard the candidate's plane.  Although press accounts are not specific, it is assumed that their removal was conducted while the plane was still on the ground.

The Obama campaign indicated that they will try to find seats on campaign buses for the disenfranchised Dallas Morning News, Washington Times and New York Post staff, and that they are encouraging them to travel with Joe Biden. 

(Two major right-leaning newspapers, who now have an axe to grind, riding along with the king of the gaffes?  One would think that Team Obama would be better served in the final days of the election by giving them daily interview sessions with Barack than by placing them within earshot of gaffemaster Joe.)

While it is true that in a similar move, Senator McCain barred Maureen Dowd and Joe Klein from his campaign plane, there is a subtle but important distinction between that punishment and the kind of retribution Obama is meting out. 

Dowd and Klein are columnists.  They write commentary and analysis in their own voice and the result is mainly the opinion of the writer as an individual.  When a columnist gleefully pounds away at a politician, it doesn't seem at all out of bounds for the politician to shut down that one person's access.  Even if the lex talionis - eye for an eye - mode of justice may be harsh, at least it observes some semblance of symmetry.

A newspaper's endorsement of a candidate is a decision more often made by the ownership of the paper, in consultation with the editorial staff, but it is never made by reporters.  The reporting done thus far by the ejected journalists has not been harmful to Obama.  On the contrary, most campaign trail reporting tips toward positive coverage of a candidate as reporters develop a relationship with the candidate they are covering.  Label it human nature or the Helsinki Syndrome, depending on your perspective.

There is no balance in Obama's retaliatory strike and it could say something larger about how he will apply power to other problems that arise.  In international terms, we assign a particular label to people and causes that consider innocents as appropriate tools for conveying political messages.  In domestic terms it is political thuggery and the penchant the Obama camp has for silencing dissent should at least give us a reason to retain skepticism, whether you color yourself red, blue or purple.

The Chicago-style politics of making war on anyone a politician classifies as 'enemies' by hitting their proxies is something that we, as a nation, have been trying to extinguish for more than one hundred years, but the Obama machine is reviving those tactics of naked power and proving that they still work.  He is giving us a sample, a sneak peak of his wilder side.

With the prospect of single-party rule of the federal government, and intimidation of media who are perceived as 'unfriendly' to an Obama administration, more than ever it seems clear that a vote for Obama is a vote for change.  When we realize what the word 'change' really means in Obamaspeak, I only hope that we will be able to change back.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

LA Times: Providing Asylum For Democrat Politicians In Need

Handling of Obama/Khalidi Tape is Handbook for 'Swiss Banking' of Politically Radioactive Material 

As a student of journalism since junior high school, I was indoctrinated in the notion that the great reporters of the American press lived and breathed that thing called 'the story'.  When journalists such as Upton Sinclair and Nellie Bly received information it went into the story, not into the wall safe.  Maybe that's why the Los Angeles Times' refusal to release the infamous and enigmatic Khalidi video strikes me as so odd, even for that paper.

A reporter's right to keep their sources anonymous must be preserved and protected.  It is also not strictly unethical to allow a source to place conditions on how information is used, even though striking such a deal would seem counterproductive to gathering information.  On that score, the Los Angeles Times' refusal to release the controversial video has a sliver of ground on which to stand.  That ability to claim the right to keep the video from the public is, however, elective and not strictly required by law. 

The Times has not claimed that the agreement with the tape's source was contractual or in any way legally binding, but there is the possibility that the manner in which the tape was given to the paper was an orchestrated act intended to give all sides - Obama, the source and the Los Angeles Times - a way to avoid having to reveal the tape's contents to the public, contents which might give American voters a way to assemble a picture of Obama's worldview that does not flatter the candidate.

Since no illegal acts are alleged to have been captured on the video, and we must assume the tape was delivered to the newspaper legally, there is no legal method to pry the material from the Times' icy grip.  If the source gave the newspaper the only public copy of the video, it could conceivably be hidden away for as long as its owners, its custodians and the powerful person appearing on it wish to keep it away from our eyes.

The mystery unfolds further when consulting the article, written by Peter Wallsten and run in the print edition on April 10, 2008, for which the video was used as a reference.  Its main effect on the piece seems to have been to give the Wallsten a way to portray Obama as a cool-headed mediator of Middle Eastern tensions.  This passage appears nine paragraphs into the story:

One speaker likened "Zionist settlers on the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been "blinded by ideology."

Obama adopted a different tone in his comments and called for finding common ground.

That doesn't seem so bad.  Why would the source want to keep that video away from the public?  In fact, with the Obama campaign fighting for their life to maintain the Democrat stranglehold on the Jewish vote in the battleground state of Florida, one would think that a video showing Obama standing up to be the voice of reason in a room full of Arabs would be campaign gold.  Axelrod would be setting up half hourly screenings at every senior center from Pensacola to Boca.

Of course, if there was other material on the video, material that was both relevant to campaign or character issues, and damaging to Obama, the Times would have its own reasons to suppress it lest readers and fellow journalists question the ethics of how the Wallsten article constructed. 

The question arises: Did the LA Times and the source of the tape knowingly enter into an agreement that would give all parties to its hiding a plausible reason to deny the public access to its content?  There is no way to ever answer that question, but the very presence of the question in the minds of readers will very likely  have consequences for a newspaper already on the verge of collapse.

Right now, if the LA Times holds the only copy, there is no safer place to keep it away from the rest of the media and prevent it from damaging the Obama campaign in the final crucial days of this presidential election. 

Where are Liddy and the Plumbers when you need them?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Make Tonight Family Game Night Until 8:30ET, In Defense of Baseball and the American Way

Potentially the Greatest Baseball Blunder Since Buckner in '86

There is no example in American history of a political showcase preempting the World Series, just as there is no example of a sporting event preempting an election.  They are once-in-a-lifetime events, and we previously, collectively, considered them to be greater than an individual.  Now I wonder if we should just insert 'Obama' between baseball and apple pie.

The very fact that the World Series schedule was already established at the time Team Obama made their media buys shows every indication that they are as out of touch as critics contend, but also that they are showing - again - their predictable ability to take their eye off the ball. 

A virtual cone of silence seems to have descended today within the advertising and entertainment trade press on the subject of Obama's infomercial that will air across several networks and is said to have cost the campaign between $3 and $5 million.  Still, I was able to find commentary from PRWeek's Ted McKenna, offering some take on the obvious downside of Obama's media blitz.

Enjoying a major cash advantage over the John McCain campaign, the Obama campaign has been able to place advertising in all sorts of unexpected places of late, including video games. Some political commentators wonder whether there might be a downside for the campaign in potentially irritating voters by the practically ubiquitous Obama advertising.

McKenna references Jeanne Cummings' 'Obama infomercial: Smart politics or risky overkill?' piece ( in which she attempts to make the point that this strategy of a media blitz helps Obama to avoid "the filter of the media".  In fact, it is just as likely that the opposite will occur and that the media will be talking about this for the next few days in the analysis and commentary portion of the story's new cycle. 

Neglecting the realities of the news cycle will not be the greatest effect caused by this larger-than-life blunder.  It will be the backlash of a politicians greatest bugaboo - the loyal sports fan.

I offer the following encapsulated geography lesson for the Democrat nominee's edification.  If anyone has his - or David Axelrod's - email, feel free to forward.

For many baseball fans (the last two World Series games received an a little more than 15 million viewers each) the baseball championship is an destination, not an event - a place to which they have been traveling for months, even years.  Nowhere is that more true than in Philadelphia, a city whose baseball franchise hasn't appeared in a World Series in fifteen years and hasn't been victorious in one since 1980.

The Philadelphia Phillies hail from...  Philadelphia, a large metropolis in the state of Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania is a state in which Senator McCain has been gaining ground in the last week, a state that swung hard for Hillary Clinton and came in weak for Senator Obama in the primaries.

In the opposite dugout are the Tampa Bay Rays, whose fans are clinging on to hope that their team can fend off elimination and possibly play on to win their first championship.  Another point of geographic fact: Tampa Bay is in Florida, a state in which the McCain campaign has been gaining ground in the last week, a state that swung hard for Clinton and came in weak for Obama in the primaries, even though the Democrat Florida primary didn't officially count.

I asked myself a question: If my Seattle Mariners were in the World Series, set to play the clinching game and possibly bring the championship to Jet City, and General Motors showered the broadcasting network with enough cash to bump the baseball game for the airing of a half-hour advertisement for the new Yukon hybrid, I would be furious and it would negatively affect my feelings about GM.

When your name is Lenny Bruce you can get away with showing conceit for your audience, not if your name is Barack Obama.  In battleground states, walking on eggshells is standard operating procedure when you're the front-runner and inconveniencing sports fans just so you can broadcast another political ad that comes following a tsunami of political ads may just be enough of an irritation to sway precious votes.

Or not.  I could be wrong.  But if you were Barack Obama, would you feel like you need to take that chance?   

Senator Obama's has seriously overestimated the public's appetite for political theater, and similar misjudgments have often placed him in hot water during the campaign.  This time, the look for tiny bubbles forming in the pot as the Democrat nominee places himself ahead of the national pastime; and this gives Obama's opponents a chance to drive the temperature to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  Meanwhile, John McCain will continue to smile and point to left field.

Batter up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Save the Date: More Obamacentric Lunacy on Election Day

image It showed up in my inbox late yesterday afternoon.  Invited but still unwelcome, each day I receive the propaganda email distributed by the Obama campaign.  I have learned by experience to keep a supply of air sickness bags in my laptop bag to use in case of rapid lunch loss.

The one sent to me yesterday was different from those preceding it, in that it did not direct me to remind my friends that the RNC is somehow responsible for Biden's gaffes.  Nor did it offer yet one more explanation that the Obama tax plan is not socialist even though it raises taxes on the people who create jobs and makes payments to the poor. 

No, this one was different because in a time of great economic crisis, when all Americans should regard every dollar they earn as precious, Jon Carson - Obama's field marshal - advocated... taking Election Day off?

The text of the email reads:

Bryan --

Ask your Boss. Ask your Professor.

Take Election Day off and volunteer to make history.

Watch this video and sign up to help get out the vote on Tuesday, November 4th:

Watch the video

This election will be decided by what this grassroots movement can accomplish on Election Day.

We have volunteer shifts to fill throughout the day -- make calls, knock on doors, and make sure your fellow voters get to the polls.

No previous experience is required. Sign up now to take the day off and make history on November 4th:

Jon Carson
National Field Director
Obama for America

(I left every single glorious syntax, grammatical and punctuation error intact for your review.  Capitalizing 'Boss' and 'Professor'?  At least Obama isn't running to become the Education President.)

Now I am going to tweak the text, flare the contrast knob and squelch the color a little so it's easier to interpret the black and white in Carson's message.  Cutting through the bull, here's the subtext:

Bryan --

November 4th is "Elect Barack Day'.  There is no higher responsibility than attending to the duty of electing Barack.

If he fails to win election, it could be because you were selfish and chose to fulfill your responsibilities to your families and employers instead of working for Barack, who loves you and wants only good things.

Don't be challenged by a lack of experience in political action.  If you have worked with the homeless or mentally incompetent, or if you can drive a van and know your way around the inner city, you have all the skills required.

Barack gives you permission to do this and he knows that you want him to win.  He also knows when you've been bad or good.  So be good, for goodness sakes, and vote Barack.

Barack thanks you.  May Barack live a long and healthy life.

Thanks be to Barack,

National Field Marshal
Obama for Amerikca

Only in America could freedom of expression open the door for the kind of egotistical charismatic ideologue we have with Obama.  There is too much worship in the politics of Obama, too much call to re-prioritize everyday life and place Obama and his agenda at the forefront of our lives.  Whether it is in the aggressiveness of his plans to fine families who are too poor to buy healthcare but too "affluent" to qualify for state-run programs, or in his expansion of volunteerism (see "community organizing", see "liberal political activism") as an exchange for government subsidized college loans, one feels the chill wind that precedes a shift in the culture. 

What the Obama campaign's "Take the Day Off for Barack" campaign symbolizes is the all-too-familiar double-standard of the candidate and his followers.  On the stump, Obama leans in to the podium when he speaks about the need for America to get back to work, with the exception of days when their services are more useful to him, one man.  Mr. Obama should take a lesson from Star Trek's Mr. Spock who lived by the creed that, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," or, in this case, "The One".

Being elected president may get your picture hung in every government office but leadership of people requires respect for their values, not cultivating a culture of adoration for oneself.

I hope that the McCain campaign team are able to find a way of countering the chilling nature of the superficially innocent "Take the Day Off for Barack" push.  When viewed as a part of a wave of over-the-top Obamacentrism generated by the Illinois senator's campaign, the clear picture emerges of a man whose ego is not restrained by humility, that response in our psyche that balances us and reminds us of our fellow man.  This declaration of Election Day as a pseudo-holiday for Obama sends a tingle through me, but, unlike like some media pundits, mine runs down my spine and not up my leg.

My wish is for McCain to deliberately and loudly call attention to this stunt by cheering Americans to do what they have always done on Election Day - work hard, go to school and vote early.  There is much that is great about this country but our ability to arrange our schedules to both work/study and vote is not an amazing feat.

Put another way, if a person's right to vote isn't important enough for them to a) arrange to vote absentee, or b) plan to waken early enough to get to the polls when they open, or c) take advantage of the atrocious early voting laws in many states to find a window of time that works with their schedule, if none of those opportunities seems convenient enough for them, it would seem that taking Election Day off from work or school would just be an excuse to not work or study.

If Obama's run for the White House is successful, can we expect more Barack-themed holidays?  Will there be 'Volunteer for Barack Days' and 'Get Green with Barack Days'?  Franklin Delano Roosevelt styled himself as the country's omniscient father- America's answer to the USSR's Josef Stalin.  Will Americans be invited to fireside chats hosted by our cool Uncle Barack, broadcast live on from a Starbucks near you?

America deserves better than to be run by an overgrown kid who just wants everyone to ditch school because he's throwing a pool party.  So, please, work on Election Day, vote on Election Day, and but be responsible and cast a ballot for any candidate who isn't whispering in your ear that it's okay to play hookie.

Monday, October 27, 2008

After the Election, How Will We Work to 'Reform' the Media?

imageThe New York Times has dropped even the pretense of applying a delicate coat of sophistication to their bias.  Perhaps this is just a strategy born of the Old Grey Lady's survival impulse, that by leaning hard to the left they might hijack the readership of the Village Voice and thus delay their hastening demise.

The picture accompanying this post was a teaser on the New York Times web edition's Politics main page at midday today.  It wasn't an extraordinary experience, finding an example of liberal bias.  No cause to bring in Mulder and Scully, but was it an accident that the photog was lined up perfectly for the shot that placed Senator McCain's head in the middle of the bold red 'X' that is is, in fact, the Florida state flag? 

Plausible deniability will be the order of the day if some of the bigger blogs notice this image and shake the Times for comment, but it is ultimately the photo editor who chose this one image out of hundreds available of the Republican candidate. 

Since the press has advocated the idea that Americans respond to - or even act on - subtle messages embedded within speech and images, we owe it to them to take a moment and consider the potential message being transmitted by the Times' photo. (It is uncredited, so I'm going to assume it belongs to the Times.)

If memory serves me, the bold red 'X' is used most frequently to label something in need of elimination. It is a shorthand, easy for our eye and mind to interpret and store without conscious thought. 

Is the Times sending out subliminal orders that McCain is to be "eliminated"?  Of course not, but this kind of sophomoric camera work used to be relegated to news blooper segments on The Tonight Show, not applied to the sober business of reporting from the campaign trail. 

Does this kind of juvenile antic really rise to a level worth spending a great deal of time talking about?  Were the Times' photographer to have carefully lined up Senator Obama so that his cranium was centered betwixt a red 'X', would the NAACP or the DNC have anything to say about it?  They would label it inflammatory and say that it might be sending a message that Obama should be targeted and eliminated.  My feeling is that such hypothetical charges would be fair and justified.

The media has truly abused its license in its coverage of this election.  We rely on the media for information and context, and we need it to be stripped as cleanly as possible of bias, or labeled appropriately in the case of commentary or opinion.  Our way of life breaks down without a free and responsible press.  This very fact is what makes reform such a challenging proposition.

One would have thought that reform would have been self-imposed, within media organizations, as the market of ideas began to heat up with the ascendancy of Fox News, talk radio and Internet blogging.  Instead, the traditional media have attacked those new media and the people who consult them for news and information.  The mainstream media are championing the cause of the candidate who is most likely to impose federal guidelines for how the media comment on news, much as the British loyalists of Revolutionary America courted the aristocracy in a vain attempt to gain favor with power as a means of protecting their own way of life.

Our system was built with an elegant attention to checks and balances, to prevent the government ascribing enough power to itself that it would cast aside the "negative liberties" Obama lamented in his 2001 interview on Chicago Public Radio.  All of the bodies of government were placed under the watchful guard of the press, who the government was specifically not allowed to tamper with.  This is as it should be, but then who stands vigilant over the press to ensure that it does not become drunk with its own power?

Brack Obama on the cover of Time MagazineWith the power to shape opinions, set norms, transmit values - all of that glorious sociological material that you should have been learning in your Communications 101 class - the press is only constrained by how much power the public feeds to them by either being an audience of buying advertisers products.  The question for us now is: Are the press acting responsibly, or are they abusing their power?

Place the journalistic and editorial decisions involved in two stories side by side and make a common sense judgment of whether the press is doing their job. 

In the case of Joe the Plumber, as the substance of a story begins to hurt Senator Obama, Joe, who questioned the candidate on the nature of the candidate's economic views has reporters investigating his past, digging for dirt.  His reputation is sullied; he is smeared.

In another case, a single reporter for a small-town newspaper claims to have heard someone yell, "Kill Him," at a McCain-Palin rally.  Although the reporter gives no description of the alleged hate speaker, no other witnesses have reported hearing the remark and Secret Service on the scene do not report hearing or seeing any such event, the story is reported as fact by a variety of willing media sources with the commentary added to imply that the McCain-Palin campaign is generating and tolerating a dangerous culture of hate and violence.

How do we communicate to the communicators that we want balanced reporting?  The answer is... competition and consolidation.  Maybe an editor or two who don't have Carter campaign buttons in their junk drawer.  It would be a start.  Since many papers are losing readers, I would think it might don on one or two to try something... different?  Who knows?  If it worked it might spread to other papers.  My guess is that's what they're afraid of, but I would think that unemployment would scare editors more than the distaste they might have for working alongside people with different points of view.

I am not saying that liberal voices in media are a cancer that needs to be excised.  America is a fabric of competing ideas, but the ideas must compete honestly in order for the system to properly function.  If the 'debate' consists only of contradiction, but does not contain elements of agreement, it fails miserably to arrive at conclusions and only serves to polarize supporters of propositions pro or con.

The media should, at least, be functioning as an impartial referee, sorting through the partisanship to keep both sides honest.  As they currently operate, the media is furthering the endemic apathy (verging on nihilistic compulsion) in the public-at-large.

Still, there are signs that the public wants something different.  The commencement of a purge in traditional print media begins with the rapid downgrading of New York Times bond issues, this in the same time that non-traditional media are thriving.  There will be advancements in how non-traditional media delivers its content that may make it far easier for "small" media to develop the kind of large circulation that big newspapers had at one time.  In the entrepreneurial period, there are always opportunities for new content and forms of presentation to emerge.  In that phase, the public can have its greatest impact on how news is reported.

The need for reform in our media is great. 

The results of a poll done by the Pew Research Center showed that 70% of respondents believed that the media favors Obama to win the upcoming election versus 9% who believe they favor McCain.  (You might be surprised to learn that only 8% feel that the media supports neither candidate, but that is actually the highest percentage since the first time the poll was taken during the 1992 election.)

When the election is over, and the ballots have been counted, vetted, and possibly recounted, a discussion of how consumers of media can effect reform will have to occupy some of our attention, regardless of who will occupy the White House next year.  The abuses of the media in this election have been committed in pursuit of vengeance against a party they don't like, but with reckless disregard to their ultimate duty in our society, the duty to provide for the "public enlightenment ... by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues." (That's excerpted from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.  Context intact.)

The media has a conscience and they know in what instances they have fallen down on their responsibilities.  If they feign amnesia, remind them.  If they promise to do better, hold them to that promise.  Organize a letter-writing campaign to the editor of your least favorite newspaper, detailing stories in which context was tipped to favor one ideology over another.  Offer suggestions for creating balance.  Do anything except doing nothing.

Most importantly, don't take no for an answer and let them know that you want to take their newspaper every morning, but not until they take their job seriously.  We have serious - in some cases, deadly serious - issues to grapple with in the coming years and we need our media news system to be functioning at optimal levels to give us clear information so that we can make sound, informed decisions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Iranian Foreign Minister Threatens Attacks on London... With Non-Existent Nuclear Arsenal?

In browsing Brit Hume's Political Grapevine column this morning on, I found this not-so-surprising morsel:

London Calling

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official says his government should target one of the United States' closest allies to ensure that President Bush does not attack Iran during his final weeks in office.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports Wahid Karimi was quoted as saying, "The last two months of Bush's presidency... will be the worst days of his presidency for Iran and during them he can exploit his power to carry out political adventurism and an ill-conceived operation. If so, how can we restrain him?"

He adds, "The most appropriate means of deterrence that Iran has, in addition to a retaliatory operation in the [Gulf] region, is to take action against London."

What was shocking was the insinuation of transcontinental strikes against the British capital when Iran has never publicly admitted its use of terrorism to advance it's national foreign policy goals, nor has it even made veiled threats to use extra-national groups to do its bidding.  Either this represents a stark change in Iran's policy - embracing the open use of terror as a 'legitimate' form of warfare - or they are signaling some other kind of attacks.

Is there an attack that could be launched on one continent and cause widespread damage in another?  Well, sure, the advanced nations of the world could launch a nuclear strike from a continent away, but Iran isn't in that league.  Right? 

Iran would have to have long-range missile technology as one would expect from a country operating its own space program.  They would need to be within months of developing a nuclear payload.  They would also have to have a military treaty with a powerful - and heavily armed - ally to discourage immediate retaliation. 

If we can't find any evidence of those factors, we can disregard their threats as the rantings of a pariah state.

This looming threat presents a dilemma for Senator Obama, a man who has advocated unilateral disarmament, reductions in defense spending and dismantling our nuclear arsenal?  There is every reason to believe that the next decade or two will present America with her greatest challenges since the Civil War.  The next president will set the tone for how we address those challenges in national security and the economy, and the first leg of any journey establishes its course.  If the first leg of our march through the approaching storm takes us into dangerous territory, such a miscalculation may prove disastrous.

In times of peril, whether they are centered around our corporeal or financial survival, Obama's idealism will only invite conflict.  A case in point is Jimmy Carter, a man who met challenges by using his own worldview as his diplomatic playbook.  During Carter's time in office, Soviet-styled communism gained a foothold or expanded its grip on every continent.  Americans sat helpless and frustrated as our citizens were held hostage for 444 days in Tehran, and the world took note.  As Carter conducted experiments on his own theories on international relations, the real world continued on its course. 

Obama shows striking similarities to Carter in his willingness to make events a testing ground for his idealistic principles.  His attitude toward negotiation - even if he has truly moderated his position from "no preconditions" to something more diplomatically sound - only works if the opposing parties end-game is to achieve diplomatic objectives.

(It sure would have been nice to see his senior thesis on nuclear disarmament negotiations so that we could at least have a basis to begin understanding his philosophy on high-level negotiations.  Alas, he is the only person I know who didn't, out of some vanity, keep a copy laying around.  Come to mention it, even his wife had a copy of hers on the Princeton library shelves, although it was pulled until after the election.)

Just as Chamberlain believed that Hitler's aggression was a tool used to obtain other concessions, it is never safe to assume that war and conquest are not the goal of your enemy.  That is not to say that war is the only end to the troubles with Iran (and please pay attention to Russia skulking along the baseboards) but it does mean that has to be a possibility considered in the calculus of our decision-making process.  It is unclear whether Obama truly understands how to work the formula to arrive at a solution that will protect America.  He shows more interest in proving an academic point.

The first responsibility of our leaders is to define where our national interests lie and act to protect the lives of Americans.  Idealist foreign policies and the leaders who cling to them don't generally cover that territory very well.  We can see that in all occasions when Obama has been asked to provide details for how he would handle foreign affairs.  He points to the past - the Bush years - as the reason America is on unstable ground, but he offers no definition of what our interests are and how he will protect them.

(It can't go without saying that for someone who has railed against the Bush White House and the war in Iraq, he has gratefully accepted the endorsements of an entire cadre of Bush neo-conservatives and General Powell.  If we flip back a few years in our history textbooks you will remember that Powell is the man who "fabricated evidence" according to Jonathan Schwartz writing for Huffington Post on February 5, 2008:

Powell's loyalty to George Bush appears to have extended to a willingness to deceive the United Nations, Americans, and the coalition troops about to be sent to kill and die in Iraq.

Doesn't this completely invalidate Obama's claim that he will be taking the country in a new direction?

Back your regularly-scheduled commentary.)

Without a doubt, there are other issues facing the country, most of them carrying crushing penalties awaiting us if we fail to effectively grapple with them.  The potential of violent conflict supercedes all such issues.  Jefferson wrote "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" as the rights of Man in that necessary order or priority

When we hope for better hearts in our enemies, we give them safe passage to strike at our own.  Without life there is no liberty, no happiness.

Remember the pigeon

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Harris Poll: McCain Preferred by One Percent of French

I can think of no better reason to vote for McCain.

Brevity is the shortest path to truth.  This one speaks for itself.  I grabbed the story from Fox News.

If that didn't do it for you, maybe knowing that the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijiani, would prefer an Obama presidency will tip the scales. You can peruse that tidbit at the Telegraph UK site.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

High Flying Espionage 'Agent' Caught Spying on Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Remember the Pigeon

As rumors swirl around Iran's nuclear program, it was only a matter of time until a spy would be caught in the act of gathering up-close intelligence.  The first prisoner has been taken and we only hope that it will be returned with all of its feathers intact.

You read that right.  The first spy caught inside of Iran during this time of international intrigue was nothing other than a pigeon, as reported by the London Telegraph's online edition.

Iran arrests pigeons 'spying' on nuclear site Iranian security forces have arrested two suspected 'spy pigeons' near the Natanz nuclear facility.By Our Foreign Staff
Last Updated: 7:45PM BST 20 Oct 2008
A pigeon - Iranian security forces have arrested two suspected 'spy pigeons' near the Natanz nuclear facility. One of the pigeons was caught near a rose water production plant in the city of Kashan in Isfahan province, the Etemad Melli newspaper reported. It said that some metal rings and "invisible" strings were attached to the bird, suggesting that it might have been somehow communicating what it had seen with the equipment it was carrying."Early this month, a black pigeon was caught bearing a blue-coated metal ring, with invisible strings," a source told the newspaper.The source gave no further description of the pigeons, nor what their fate might be.Natanz is home to Iran's heavily-bunkered underground uranium enrichment plant, which is also not far from Kashan.The activity at Iran's controversial uranium enrichment facility is the focus of Iran's five-year standoff with the West, which fears it aims to develop nuclear weapons. The Tehran government insists its programme is intended to generate power for civilian use only.Last year, Iran issued a formal protest over the use of espionage by the United States to produce a key intelligence report on the country's controversial nuclear programme.It is also highly suspicious of Israel, whose extensive intelligence activities are not known to include the use of pigeons.

The Western world holds its breath until news of the pigeon's fate is disclosed by Iranian officials.  Word is that Amnesty International and PETA are dispatching a special negotiations team to Tehran.  More details as events unfold.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

US Intelligence Estimates Iranian Nuke by February 2009

Israel's DebkaFile has reported today that US intelligence sources have briefed government leaders - including the two main presidential candidates, Senators McCain and Obama - on recent changes in the national intelligence estimates regarding Iran's nuclear capability.  According to those unconfirmed reports, current estimates indicate that Iran is likely to have built its first nuclear weapon by February of 2009, around the time we will be inaugurating the next president.

This revelation places Senator Biden's tough talking remarks about the challenges Obama would certainly face in a much different - and darker - light.  When Biden received this sensitive information about Iran in his intelligence briefing, he had several choices in how to deal with it.  Abandoning discretion, Joe opted to share his special knowledge with party insiders.

Like a teenaged boy showing his father's girlie magazines to his friends, Biden giddily teases.  In doing so he simultaneously sent a message to voters and our enemies that nothing is secret if it can be used to make Joe look impressive.  America's security is of less importance to Biden than the aggrandizement of the egos of he and his running mate. 

Will Colin Powell be taking calls from reporters this afternoon?  Does he wish to comment on what he thinks an Obama administration should do with a Middle Eastern nation on the verge of obtaining weapons of mass destruction?  Or will he simply pass out from the concussion wave emanating from the collision of karma and déjà vu?

The focus of the campaign is shifting swiftly back to foreign policy.  Economic security is trumped by issues of survival and a nuclear Iran would seem to fall squarely into the latter category.

We have every reason to believe that this threat is real and it places much of what is happening in the world into sharper relief.  We can expect the tone of campaign speeches to become more serious.  McCain must use what he can of media coverage and the Internet to force his opponent  to finally answer questions that he dodged in the first presidential debate. 

  • How do you see our relationship with Russia, considering Russia's recent strengthening of ties with our enemies in key areas of the world?
  • How will you address the issue of leaving Iraq, if Iran becomes a belligerent actor armed with atomic weapons?

And the big one:

  • What will be your criteria for determining when and how to apply the force of the US military?

For those who are worried that Obama may be in trouble if foreign affairs and national security become the point issues in the campaign, put the sleeping pills down.  Obama is a skilled campaigner, surrounded by a team of detail-oriented tacticians.   In fact, make sure to near a television on October 29th, the night of the planned Obamathon across the major networks.  I feel an October Surprise in the wind.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Biden Debuts Obama's 'Speak Loudly and Speak Loudly' Foreign Policy Style

It happened right here in my hometown of Seattle, WA. (Please-Keep-Him-Just-a-)Senator Joe Biden dropped what could become his most serious gaffe of them all.

"Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking," Biden said.

"Remember I said it standing here. if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he's gonna have to make some really tough -- I don't know what the decision's gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it's gonna happen," Biden continued.

Does the Obama-Biden ticket view international terrorism and geopolitics as a kind of Survivor challenge? Machismo has no place in foreign relations because it winds up costing jobs, lives or both.

The hubris of the Obama-Biden ticket has now reached critical mass, Biden's recent remarks outshining even the "take 'em out" bravado displayed by Obama in comments about how to deal with Osama bin Laden in his ilk.

Biden's prediction should entirely erase the perception that he is a skilled diplomat. Loud talk is usually a replacement for a will to act, as most career statesmen will note. I suppose we can expect Joe to next begin conspicuously professing his bedroom prowess for all to hear?

I am now getting a clear vision of what the Obama Doctrine will look like in action and if you have a billowy white shirt, a cutlass and a rope to swing down on your enemies from, you can play along yourself. So much for that Obama rhetoric about the need to repair America's damaged reputation in the world.

It is ironic that Biden and Obama sound hungry to practice the kind of "cowboy diplomacy" that the Bush administration has been accused of, and this may be the beginning of the end. Perhaps this is all designed to generate backwind behind a slogan reaching as-of-yet untapped Obama voters, the Cowboy Left?

We can take our lessons, however, from the great Greek tragedies, in which the mighty are quickly felled by their own pride and arrogance when even their followers can no longer recognize the righteousness in their crusade. Unfortunately, in those stories it takes years for destiny to correct the balance and we only have two weeks.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NYT: Please Be Advised that Voting May Be Hazardous to Your Life, and Your Child's

From the same newspaper that has reported eloquently and abundantly on the bogeyman of Republican use of fear politics, the Old Grey Lady raises her cane to deliver a double-whammy of paranoia to those readers still shackled to the carefully crafted words on her faded pages.

Whammy number one: Polling places may become magnets for violence on the day of the election.

Whammy number two: Wait a second, doesn't your child's school serve as a polling place?

They're pulling out all of the stops, reaching into the deepest recesses of the bag of tricks for what can hypereuphemistically be called "election enhancements" for the Democrat cause.

The implication is made clear in the third paragraph of the piece (emphasis added):

“School districts across the country now spend millions of dollars each year on controlling access to buildings with locked doors and surveillance cameras to keep strangers out,” said Kenneth Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services, an advocacy group, in Cleveland. “In a post-Columbine, post-9/11 world, we shouldn’t be opening the doors at our schools on Election Day, and just hoping everything will be O.K.”

With no evidence indicated in the rest of the article that government law enforcement agencies were in any heightened state of readiness, or had indications of actual planned attacks, this kind of fear-mongering would seem to have only one purpose; to keep people from going to the polls and provide whatever candidate wished to embrace the paranoia a tool to assume a mantle of victimhood for their followers. (If you need a hint to solve the mystery of who might pick it up just do a web search for news items containing terms racial, violence and election to perform your own analysis.)

Then look up "Odinga".

The ability to vote without fear has been what has separated us from less civilized parts of the world where power is consolidated through the manipulation of basic instincts for survival.

Are we to become the "thugocracy" that Michael Barone feels is our future? If the populace responds to the New York Times obvious attempt to spread fear through false mirroring of popular opinion, maybe that is the path we are on.

God save America and her perpetual determination to coddle only one fear - the loss of her freedom - and confront all threats to our liberty.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What's More Important than The Economy?

This report comes from The Debka Review:

Russian live missile fire air exercise near Alaska
DEBKAfile Special Report
4 Oct.: Not since 1984, just before the fall of the Soviet Union, has Russia ventured to launch dozens of nuclear bombers for an exercise in which Tu-95 Bear bombers will fire live cruise missiles. Exercise Stability 2008 will take place Oct.-6-12 over sub-Arctic Russia, uncomfortably close to Alaska.

The exercise is part of a month-long war game described by Russian air force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik as “practicing the strategic deployment of the armed forces including the nuclear triad.”

As part of the exercise, our sources reported exclusively on Oct. 1, that Russian ships armed with nuclear missiles will dock at Syrian ports Oct. 8, on the eve of Yom Kippur, before continuing to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela

Read the full story here.

If you didn't hear anything about this in the media, it's because the entire nation is distracted by the presidential campaign and the economic crisis.  The downplaying of the Russian threat within the dialogue of the election is actually prudent - public statements or shoe-pounding will set a Cold War into high gear and make it harder to pursue other foreign policy strategies.  The media's ignoring of these events, including:

  • The Russian Navy's maneuvers in the Caribbean, also to include live fire missile drills
  • Russian-Venezuelan military cooperation and sales of newest generation military tech to Syria, Iran and Venezuela, to name a few buying nations
  • Russia's intentions to build a space complex in Cuba, a potential back door for military missile hardware and technology
  • A large funding increase to allow Russia to complete the expansion and upgrades of GLONASS, their global satellite navigation system
  • Suspected sales of S-300 anti-aircraft and anti-missile missile systems to Iran, to be used in defense of a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities

There are many reasons to suspect that Russia may have determined that their fastest route to economic strength and international relevance is to become a hegemonic power, in much the same that the United States did in the wake of the Spanish-American War and following World War II.

There will be more posts on this as additional events occur.

Cross-posted at Dancing with Bears.

Deconstructing Obama's Big Con: Tax Cuts + Net Spending Decrease = Budget Nirvana? Never Gonna Happen

The Three-card Monte game is a Beltway mainstay of budget politics. 

  • The President proposes a budget with both increases and cuts to Congress. 
  • The Congress reviews the budget, rejecting cuts and proposing additional spending. 
  • The appearance of debate and budget-wrangling ensues as elected representatives and White House officials offer comments replete with heavy sighs, rolled eyes and furrowed brows. 
  • After much hand-wringing, both sides of the budget "debate" emerge to announce that a budget deal has been reached and the public receive their cue to rejoice and applaud the hard work of Congress.

Obama is thinking ahead and deliberately perpetrating an illusion to the voters about his game plan for the budget.  He is guaranteed that his promise of unspecific spending cuts is not only impossible, but he can promise them without worrying that they will ever affect his ability to spend when tax revenues begin to fall.

Although the Chicago senator's egomania has no apparent bounds, and at times he speak as if President Obama's word alone would have the force of law (reference his comments about revising Canadian trade agreements), and he has never actually participated in the budget process except to vote for passage, even with all of those road signs for our review, he is still aware that any budget he proposes will require approval from a Congress that will possibly have a bullet-proof Democrat supra-majority.

If elected, Obama will not fight Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to follow through on some vague promise he made on the campaign trail, a promise he most likely has no intention of keeping.  By making no specific promises about cuts, he ensures that in 2010 no voter can ask, "Why didn't you cut [insert your own budget gripe here] when you said during the campaign that you would?"

The only exception to a cut has been Obama's repeated reference to how the spending on the war in Iraq has dragged on the economy, implying a withdrawal or significant reduction in military presence.  Even if we give him that one, it can't cover all of the spending he wants to do and we're going to have to have a long debate over how a withdrawal would affect our national security and global interest.

The absence of bullet points in the spending cuts portion of the Obama plan is premeditated.  The strategy is simultaneously brilliant and sinister.

The whole budget song and dance from the Obama campaign is just more empty talk from an empty suit.

Cross-posted on Sound Politics Public Blog.

Video: This is the John McCain I Know and Love

Watch this FoxNews coverage of last night's Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York.  John McCain absolutely flattens the crowd and roasts Obama is sitting a few chairs away on the dais.

I laughed out loud and it renewed my faith in the potential for McCain ability to regain momentum.  Please take the time out of your day to watch the entirety of both videos.  In a time of economic crisis and an uncertain political landscape, this will really cheer you up.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Senator Obama, Chicken or Fish?; Obama: "Both"

Leadership is Understanding That You Can't Have it All

Senator Obama has made perfectly clear in his rhetoric on the campaign trail and his debate performances that he lacks a vital skill required of our leaders - the ability to prioritize.

From last night's debate:

BOB SCHIEFFER: "Given the current economic situation, would either of you now favor controlling health care costs over expanding health care coverage?..."

SENATOR OBAMA: "We've got to do both."

Later that same evening:

SCHIEFFER: "The question is this: the U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on education.  Yet, by every international measurement, in math and science competence, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, we trail most of the countries of the world. 

The implications of this are clearly obvious.  Some even say it poses a threat to our national security.

Do you feel that way and what do you intend to do about it?

OBAMA:  "...what's happened is that there's been a debate between more money or reform, and I think we need both."

The "little guy" of which Obama often speaks - with uninvited paternalism - is going to have to make choices when the economy becomes harsher, as it almost certainly will become.  When a new car seems desirable, but an average American family is only meeting the obligations of their mortgage or rent and other living expenses, they won't have the option of saying, "Both."  Once the bills come due the scat hits the fan.

"Both" is simply an irresponsible answer in any economic times, much less hard ones.

It's easy for Obama to be the party-crasher raiding all of the shrimp on the buffet table because someone else is paying.  If we are unfortunate enough to fail to elect McCain, I am sure he will have  loads of fun finding ways to spend all of our money on his programs.

Most importantly, the Obama Doctrine of Ambivalence obscures from the political agenda Obama and his sycophants have been trying to hide at all costs: pure, unadulterated socialism.  By dodging questions with such an answer, he avoids having to give the American people the truth. 

- Senator Obama proposes billions of dollars in new spending in specific programs.

- He states that he has spending cuts that will make his budget a net spending decrease.

- On each occasion that Obama has been asked to identify where those cuts will be made, he has neglected to give an answer.

- Conclusion A: There are no spending cuts.  We will have only spending increases which with Obama's regressive tax policy will create the need to increase taxes on everyone.

- Conclusion B: The secret of the Obama budget is that he will be getting 100% of his spending paid for by a complete withdrawal from Iraq, and possibly from Afghanistan.  He alluded to that in the first debate.  Our increased spending will be paid for in the bloodbath that will ensue in the Middle East when Obama pulls out prematurely.

Those are just Obama's plans for our money.  What he may be remaining silent about are ideas about how to redesign American lives to fit utopian goals.  The temptation will be strong for government to grapple with the economic crisis, climate change and national security in ways that infringe upon the sovereignty of its citizens.  Will Obama protect those rights?

Whenever I don't have a track record to judge I always fall back on who a person associates with and use that to provide a kind of triangulation of ideology to make an educated guess as to what their policy goals might be.

- Bill Ayers.  Anti-American, domestic terrorist, founder of a radical group wishing to crush American democratic capitalism and raise a system based on the principles of Marx and Lenin.

- Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Preacher who believes in Zionist conspiracies and African identity before American identity of blacks in America.

- Tony Rezko.  Convicted felon and former fundraiser for Obama's earlier political campaigns.  Well versed in the "Chicago Style" of politics; using power to intimidate enemies and squeeze everyone else for the ultimate purpose of maintaining power.   

If American voters can't read these tea leaves for themselves, we are all in big trouble.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.   

Ignore the Media Vultures; Come In From the Rain, Have a Cup of Joe and Take a Look at this Morning's Polls Numbers

One Post-Debate Snap Poll Finds McCain Capturing Majority of Independents

Even among many conservative commentators this morning there seems to be a shift in focus, away from winning and toward dealing with the eventuality of an Obama presidency.

It is not time to drink the Kool-aid, and there are reasons to ignore the funhouse mirror the major media are using to instruct us on what most of our fellow Americans are thinking.

The results of the poll commissioned by and conducted by InsiderAdvantage, with a margin of error of plus/minus 3 points, found that, overall, Obama won last night's debate by a 49-46 margin.  However, among respondents stating no party identification McCain was judged the winner 52-41.  With some states still showing sizable percentages of undecided voters, this may be a ray of light for the McCain campaign.

Polls, as always, should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism, but with the national Rasmussen poll showing McCain pulling to within 4 points for the first time since the end of September it should be enough reason to postpone implementing your Obama Survival Plan.

Cross-posted on Sound Politics Public Blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 The House That Fraud Lives In

No one has done better reporting on the tidal wave of voter fraud than Michelle Malkin.  Please read her lead story this morning that describes how Democrat activists have been using Ohio as a clearing house to register as absentees. 

This really is Chicago-style politics, plain and simple.  All indications are that there may be hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes being cast in Ohio.  The Democrats have disarmed good-natured Republicans to a large degree because of their lunacy in 2000 and 2004 over phantom voter fraud.  We know what the media and the left will do to the GOP if we legally challenge this election.

Has the left won?  Only if we lay down and give up the fight.  Now is not the time to turn the other cheek and be gracious.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

McCain Gives Stage-Setting Speech in Virginia Leading Up to Debate

I don't know how many times Senator McCain can come out of the political coma his campaign keeps lapsing into, but his speech this morning in Virginia Beach, VA, is certainly an indication that John S. Lazarus McCain III is rising once again.

The only place I found the entire speech was on McCain's own website.  Follow this direct link to take you to a page that has a full video and the text of his speech.  The speech begins almost immediately.

(Make sure to watch Governor Palin's expressions of genuine admiration as she listens to the speech from behind him on the stage.)

Intuition guides me to think that if the McCain campaign can wrangle the right kind of media coverage, this speech will be the stage-setter and McCain will carry the momentum into the last debate.  His strategy appears to be to use this last verbal clash to put everything out there, and Obama will not have the "next time" to improve.  Ordinarily, saying that McCain's entire campaign rides on this debate would be considered hyperbole and cliche.  In this case, it is not an exaggeration.

It's no wonder that I couldn't find the speech in its entirety on  Why it wasn't available on, I can't explain.

Is Biden Freelancing at CNN?

imageSomeone needs to remind CNN that in 1933 the US still had yet to experience the worst of the Great Depression.

Should this be filed under "Failed Education System" or "Media Ineptitude"?

First person to comment to the post with even a vague understanding of why this style of reporting is dangerous in a time of economic volatility wins my everlasting respect.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Troopergate: No Common Wisdom Gained from Brame Tragedy?

Putting the Palin's Troopergate "Intervention" into Perspective

Imagine that we are back in the early months of 2003.  Governor Gary Locke has gained personal knowledge of a police chief who may be a danger to his wife, possibly others. Locke brings the full power of his office to bear on having this officer removed from his position and ordered into treatment, thus averting what we know actually happened - the public slaying of Crystal Brame and subsequent public suicide of Tacoma Police Chief David Brame? 

Would we have considered Locke's actions an abuse of power?  Knowing human nature, we would have dragged our governor in front of ethics panels just as Palin's enemies in Alaska are doing to her now.  Because of our hindsight, we know that would have been a wrong thing to do, just as the investigation of Governor Sarah Palin, without consideration of the motivation for her actions, is wrong today.

When you hear people using Troopergate as a reason to attack Palin, take the time to have them remember that in the months following David Brame's psychotic slaughter or his wife we all were enraged at the code of silence that allowed Brame to continue his downward spiral without impedance.  We demanded that the code of loyalty among law enforcement officials not extend to covering for officers who were dangerous.  We told our elected officials that they should have done something.

Where are those close to the Brame tragedy in speaking out in defense of Palin?  They are us, and we are them.  We were all close to that tragedy in the way that it confronted us with the reality that our system had become so reticent and willing to sacrifice a woman's safety in the cause of department unity.

We can use the hindsight gained from that senseless failure of human intuition to see the wisdom in what Palin and her family were doing by challenging a system in Alaska that was not interested in dealing with a violent individual who was authorized to enforce the law with a badge and a gun.  She did the right thing and we must begin standing up for people who do the right thing.  If we do not, we are sending the message that courage will always be punished and more tragedies will follow.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taking Down a Messiah: It's a Grass Roots Thing

There are large numbers of voters out there who have yet to understand the relevance of Senator Obama's associations with left-wing radical extremists. I don't blame them, really, because the on-stage Obama talks like a Clinton Democrat - middle of the road; a staunch defender of the middle class and promoter of America as a global economic force. The accusation that he has a socialist agenda just doesn't seem to fit because, in order for Obama's soul to be wedded to the far left, he would have to be lying (gasp!) about what he truly believes just in order to get elected. This could not happen because, as we all know, politicians never lie in order to fulfill their political ambitions.

The truth is that when you turn down the volume on the Obama "White Noise" Machine (yes, that is a direct reference to Don DeLillo's novel, and if you don't get the reference you should read the book), and examine the path of his rise to power, a realization emerges that Obama is not the skilled politician we are supposed to admire him to be, or he is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Obama's eventual denouncement of Reverend Wright was done only for political expedience, as anyone who reads Obama's Dreams from my Father can learn for themself. (Check it out from the library to avoid putting any more money in Obama's pocket.) He was aware of, and attracted to, the Reverend's extreme beliefs, and they fit in nicely with Obama's own racially-tinted worldview which is described in great, glorious detail in his own words in his best-selling book.

To what extent does Obama share Rev. Wright's feelings about Jews? It isn't entirely clear and Obama has not been outspoken enough in making his differences clear on that specific issue. Perhaps he is satisfied to keep certain communities guessing, using racial politics to his advantage. Or maybe the message he sends to Israel by suggesting that he would meet with Ahmadinejad without pre-conditions is also a coded message of solidarity to the anti-Semitic factions of the left?

Obama's spectacular flamenco dance around the Bill Ayers association is also an amazing display of distraction tactics. Logic and American wisdom are all that is needed to cut through the stagecraft.

If Obama was a mover and a shaker in Chicago politics, and Ayers hosted his coming out party to the Dem apparatus, and he dined on occasion with Ayers and his wife, and he worked on committees with Ayers, and Ayers and his wife were giving interviews to Connie Chung in which they beamed with pride about their terrorist agenda while operating the Weathermen, and Obama was supporting educational programs that paralleled Ayer's own ideas, if all of those things (and more, but I fear that this run-on sentence will soon become lethal) are occurring within the same time scope, is it still plausible for Obama to recite the story that he wasn't aware of Ayers radical beliefs? If so, I think Orwell just lost a side bet with Stalin in the great beyond.

Even with all of the mainstream media assistance, McCain and Palin having turned up the heat on these connections has begun to force the Obama campaign to subject us all to more laughable explanations (see "lies" in your Berlitz Axelrod-to-English Dictionary) and I think the time is right for public common sense to kick in and break the trance in which these snake-charmers have placed millions of Americans.

The event horizon in which undecided voters make decisions is around 4 or 5 days, meaning that whatever the main street or water cooler buzz is in the 5 days leading up to the election will have a large impact on those voters who were not already voting along party lines. Even those who may have professed a decision to choose one candidate over another, might be prone flip-flop depending on late-breaking changes in the conversation.

(Side Note: When you analyze poll numbers, look closely. Obama leads are not as juggernaut-like as one might think from listening to CNN or MSNBC.)

If a late break for McCain is to occur - as happened for Truman and Kennedy - it will come as a result of both campaign efforts and grass roots, friend-to-friend melee. To deny Obama the privilege of making the White House his final stepping stone in a political career that seems to have benefited only Barack Obama, and not the people he has made promises to, each person is going to have to be willing to bravely conduct their own 25-day political campaign.

Unleash the politician within yourself. Be prepared to put your ideas on the line and persuading people you know to consider carefully who they are going to vote for. Keep coming back to this blog and others for talking points. I, for one, will try and give you solid, non-confrontational ways to start these conversations, and we'll avoid the kind of extreme lunacy that turns off the average person. This won't be won by making attacks, it will be won by winning the overall battle of ideas, and that can be done.

Keep coming back in these final weeks of the election season. Send your friends, too. Don't be afraid of ridicule. We all differ in opinions; you have the right to yours, and we all have the responsibility to keep an open mind. Our job is to challenge those open minds that are left in this country and make the case for voting for McCain.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No Handshake, Michelle?

Because of my insistence on removing the influence of television from my home, I had the serendipitous fortune to watch it on  After the debate had ended, the candidates wives came out into the speaking arena and the tension between the two was electric and visible.

Even though Senator McCain and Senator Obama politely shook hands and chatted for a moment, Michelle Obama or Cindy McCain appeared to deliberately avoid making any such appearance of civility.  They actually walked past each other two or three times without so much as glancing in the others direction.

Obviously the attacks are working, on both sides.  Cindy mentioned something about the hostility of the Obama campaign.  We won't hear from Michelle because Mr. Obama and his buddies have muzzled her because that's what men who respect women do.  Right?  Maybe Barack is the one who made it clear to his wife that she was not allowed to shake McCain's hand.

There's something to be said for poise.  Michelle Obama has none.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is the McCain Campaign Playing With Fire With New "Liar" Strategy?

Even if you believe only one of the candidates running for president, it is clear that at least one pair of pants is on fire.

"Liar! liar!" has been both the chorus and refrain from Senator Obama's camp running all the way back to his snatching of the nomination from the jaws of Hillary Clinton. As desperation set in, the McCain-Palin ticket has finally caught on that their straight talk rhetoric begs for straight walk follow-through. McCain has launched an attack against Obama's lies that is short on subtlety and will likely be the deciding skirmish in his campaign for the White House.

When Obama lies - and by that I mean that he denies certain facts, or chooses to play a hide-and-seek game on topics that do not present a strong image to the general public - John and Sarah will no longer avoid using the "L" word. After listening to Biden and Obama smear both of their records and then hold the distortions up for all to see as an example of "lying" on the part of Team Maverick, it's about time they took the gloves off.

I will disclose that I have previously written on the distastefulness of using this potentially slanderous verb - lie - in public discourse. It is the nuclear bomb of political campaigning because of the collateral damage it inflicts by polarizing the electorate and lowering the standards of political discourse.

The verb should only be entered into a campaign when it is clear that a candidate is stubbornly omitting or obfuscating in order to avoid taking any consequences for some action they have taken that the people need to know about. Each politician must make their own
Truman-esque decision and will be judged by the voters on whether the end justified the use of catastrophic rhetorical ordnance.

In my opinion, the preconditions to allow McCain to go on the attack, and not wait for the media to catch Obama in lies, have not only been met, but I believe that he is morally obligated to make these charges.

It's a double jeopardy strategy on McCain's part that will only work if McCain can activate that most valuable portion of the human character - common sense. When confronted with an accusation and uncertain facts, the average person tends to want to fill in the blanks to make some judgment of their own. We are all reporters at heart, and when something stinks we are compelled to find the cause.

So far, the public's ignorance of Obama's messy past and the full weight of his ambitions has not met the stink test, because the mainstream media has done a fantastic job of spraying him down with several cans of air freshener every day. At any moment in the news cycle, Obama and Axelrod can select from the pleasing scents of Katie Couric, Soledad O'Brien, Campbell Brown, and a host of other starry-eyed media cohorts to neutralize their unpleasant campaign aromas.

What McCain must do over the course of the next week - and beginning in tonight's debate - is to hold up a big flashing red neon arrow pointing to the steaming pile that Obama has tried to keep the public from getting a deep whiff of. Even media voices who bathe each morning in Eau de Barack won't fight the public if the common sense wakes them up. Just ask Dan Rather.

It is obvious that McCain is prepared to make his case not only that Obama is lying, but that his cult-like following is beginning to take on some sinister characteristics.

In his speech this morning, McCain said, "I guess [Obama] believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed."

Whoever wrote McCain's speech was deliberately referencing (for those of us in the know) the infamous quote from Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's chief propagandist, who said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." McCain is willing to risk inciting Armageddon in order to alert us to something much more dangerous than the loss of this election. He seeks to alert us to the abandonment of logic that has fueled the insomnia of many freedom-lovers and has seductively ensnared many Obama supporters in a fog of ignorant bliss.

Americans have always been proud of their individualism, their self-proclaimed immunity to nationalism and fascism. Those movements start when the masses begin to follow without question, to subordinate their own instincts and thoughts to the great good of "The Cause". If "The One" can't even submit himself to a mild vetting, he is not fit to lead. Whatever their final ballot choice may be, voters deserve answers.

Cross-posted at the Sound Politics Public Blog