Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Shifting

TalkLeft revisits the question of whether Barack Obama did or didn't fill out a questionairre whose answers he subsequently said he didn't fully support. The questionairre, according to Obama, was filled out by an aide. The problem was that copies of the original showed up -- with his handwriting. And so TalkLeft reopens the question of whether Obama is a "straight shooter".

Through an aide, Obama, who won the group’s endorsement as well as the statehouse seat, did not dispute that the handwriting was his. But he contended it doesn’t prove he completed, approved — or even read — the latter questionnaire.

“Sen. Obama didn’t fill out these state Senate questionnaires — a staffer did — and there are several answers that didn't reflect his views then or now,” Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama’s campaign, said in an e-mailed statement. “He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn't change the fact that some answers didn't reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do.”

TalkLeft says a review of his record shows a chameleon-like propensity to change. Obama she says, was against the death penalty but created more death penalty eligible crimes afterward; was against gun control but now portrays himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment; was against mandatory minimum sentences but has now had second thoughts; was for the legalization of pot, but now he's not.

But so what?

What's the problem with inconsistency? Aren't politicians supposed to evolve as they learn more? Or should a politician spring full-formed, like some Greek Goddess, with no need for further modification? Talkleft makes the argument for some kind of truth in labeling. After all, if you're picking a candidate off the political supermarket shelf, you want to make sure the label reflects the contents.

Who can know for sure [where Obama stands]? Who wants to take a chance? Hillary's positions aren't much different than Obama's but at least we know where she stands.

That is only partly true. We know where Hillary will stand -- until the next backroom deal is clinched. And John McCain isn't immune from the accusation he's shifted his positions either. So I don't think it is necessarily wrong for a politician to shift positions. The politician elected is sometimes a very different animal from the politician as candidate.

But voters may have a problem with politicians who change their stand out of pure expediency. As when, as it was so often rumored, Bill Clinton used to order up a poll to determine what he should believe on an issue. Or when a politician goes into a closed room with a lobbyist with one set principles and emerges with another. Or still yet when a politician tells several hundred voters a story he has never told anyone else before. Voters don't demand eternal beliefs from a politician but they do hope for a modicum of intellectual honesty.

A politician might change his mind on the issues after being elected. But we expect him/her to do it for a reason. And not simply because.

My guess is that unease which TalkLeft feels about Obama isn't due to the mutability of his positions per se, so much as his apparent willingness to change his tune on the fly like a shapeshifter. That is not a judgment of his positions so much as an indication of his character. Which is exactly what to start with? And so the mystery surrounding Barack Obama's true self becomes deeper. Who is he really besides the Face?





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42 Comments:

Blogger Alexis said...

It is not the lies about a politician's opinion that undermine public trust, but the lies about who a politician truly is. It is not the lies one tells to others that are the most harmful, but the lies one tells to one's self.

It is possible to be mysterious and yet honest. That is very different from a man who is ashamed of his own blood.

4/01/2008 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard TalkLeft seems to believe that the American Public would be happy with Obama's true beliefs: gun confiscation, anti-Death penalty, Marxist control of the economy put forward baldly.

That's a serious misreading of the public mood IMHO made possible by GWB's desire to avoid any public defense of his policies and the clueless and hard left media.

Yes, Chris Matthews has a thrill up his leg for Obama. That hardly says that ordinary people will.

4/01/2008 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

I think as a voter you try to identify what sort of a person a politician is, and relate that image to your own experience.

This is largely a cultural judgment, precisely because we expect politicians to lie quite frequently. I believe Hillary for instance is an inveterate, habitual liar, but I feel very comfortable that I know what sort of person she is. I've met several people who have similar regional and social backgrounds to hers over the years. To me she's authentic even though she's a ghastly sort of person I've always done my best to avoid.

Obama has a much bigger task, both because his background is so unusual, and because the account he gives of it just doesn't add up in so many ways. Many of the things he has said about his past are absurd, turning out to be untrue or both. The ominous conclusion is not that he's a liar, unremarkable for a politician, but that he's choosing to conceal who he really is. That should be unsettling to anyone who's not an unthinking, committed optimist.

4/01/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

We know Obama is hiding his very strong Leftist/Marxist leanings. The only people who are unaware of them are people who rely on the mainstream media for their news and opinion. As far as these sheeple are concerned, Obama is a moderate liberal, therefore he has succeeded in packaging himself well.

It's going to be very difficult to dent that image. Sen. McCain certainly seems to not be the type to do it. He will revert to his usual form, which is to covet the approval of the mainstream media crowd. So, he'll be a gentleman when he campaigns against Obama.

It's going to be up to all the networks outside of the MSM and even the Republican Party establishment to get the word out.

4/01/2008 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Perhaps Barry sent his little girls to the Wright hate shop as punishment to get even with the punishment their livebirths inflicted on Barry and Michelle?
---
Barack Obama and The Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law

The resume that is attached to the questionnaire alerted me to the fact that Senator Obama included on his resume his service on the board of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
I don't know when he joined the Board, but here's a sampling of the cases the CLCCCR handled in the years 1990 to 1996 --
and these are just the ones on the organization's website:

- Hewitt

4/01/2008 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Barry was also on NPR in '96, so if any of those turn up they should be interesting indeed.
---
Two interesting positions he was said to have taken involved banning gunshops within 10 miles of a school, and defending the right of pornshops to locate across the street from schools!
---
...but as with Wright's sermons, he may not have seen some of the questionaires, just written notes on them.
---
Note to Barry:
Try to be more attentive.

4/01/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wright's retirement Dreamhouse, btw, is in a gated community that is
NINETY EIGHT PERCENT WHITE!
...located on a Golf Course.
---
"Practice what you preach"
is evidently not high on Rev Wright's list.

4/01/2008 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Well that's good to hear Doug, it means he doesn't really want to off whitey.

4/01/2008 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

There's a good article about the excellent relief work done by Wal-Mart immediately after Katrina that has gone un-reported posted at the blog "In from the Cold" which is one of the linked blogs listed by Wretchard.

Sorta takes the edge off the company's image as a rapacious, mean-spirited soul-less corporation that some folks have.

4/02/2008 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

My guess is that unease which TalkLeft feels about Obama isn't due to the mutability of his positions per se, so much as his apparent willingness to change his tune on the fly like a shapeshifter. That is not a judgment of his positions so much as an indication of his character. Which is exactly what to start with?

As Winnie would say, "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". None of which bodes in the least well considering all of the potential downsides to this candidate:

1.) Lack of experience

2.) Unacceptable racialism

3.) Possible Muslim sympathies

4.) A severe case of the Waffles

5.) All hat and no cattle

6.) Lack of transparency

Any way you add it up, that's not one helluva set of bona fides.

4/02/2008 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

It appears that Wal-Mart is very bad at public relations.

Wal-Mart's lawsuit against Deborah Shank won’t help the company’s image. Every anti-Wal-Mart outfit in sight has been using this story to fan the flames of contempt toward that company. For example, the AFL-CIO has been crowing over Wal-Mart’s worsening image. This story’s only saving grace is that Wal-Mart has finally dropped its claim – after all the negative press the lawsuit generated in the first place.

Although much of the hatred against Wal-Mart is expressed in terms of economics and social justice, this resentment has more than a little bit of a cultural tone to it. In many respects, support for Barack Obama can be seen as a barometer of cultural resentment against Wal-Mart. And if Wal-Mart continues to play into the hands of its opponents like it did with its lawsuit against Deborah Shank, we might very well wind up with Mr. Obama in the Oval Office.

Much of the early reporting on the Shanks story was done by the Wall Street Journal, which is not known to share the editorial bias of Mother Jones or The Village Voice.

4/02/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

My kind of trade agreement:
Wal-Mart plants seeds of alliance with Latin farmers
---
Wal-Mart has 40 agronomists on staff in Central America who work closely with farmers such as Fermin Pec, who grows radishes, lettuce, cabbage and other vegetables in San Pedro Sacatepequez. “Their pickiness has helped me improve,” Pec says of Wal-Mart's requirements.

4/02/2008 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"During the case, the Shanks also lost one of their three sons when Jeremy, 18, was killed in Iraq last year while serving in the Army."
---
One of the comments said Walmart's Insurance should have gone after the trucker's insurance.
Sounds good, don't know what the lawyers would say.

4/02/2008 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

If we are talking about the left talking about itself, I gotta ask: What's the problem with lying? I had friends on the left who were not at all bothered by Clinton's lies. They expected it. It was a necessary part of getting elected.

These are the three questions the left considers: are you lying to me? Are you lying for me? And: are you aligning your lies with my lies? This is all done for the good of humanity, if they don't say so themselves (and they do). In fact, it reaches a deeper truth.

Or are you talkin' true facts that will hurt :the cause." That's the deeper lie.

Al Gore filled his movie on climate with lies (starting with the Title)and they gave him a Oscar and a Noble Prize for his lying. So their carping at Talkleft is pure politics. I mean, this Obama stuff is pretty run of the mill.

When Al Gore gets the nomination, you think they will care about the lies in his movie? No. It will be about the Deeper Truth.

4/02/2008 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The Ancients taught that there was an Eternal Truth and that the only life worth living was the one that relentlessly pursued knowledge of that Truth.

Moderns teach that truth is what you believe it is at the time, or when expedient, what you can convince others that you believe. No further inquiry required.

Hillary lied about Tuzla although she must have known the event was taped. Did she expect that the dozens of other people who participated in the same event would keep quiet, or is her mind incapable of distinguishing reality from fantasy?

Obama lies whenever it is convenient to do so. He is more successful at convincing others what he might believe, regardless of the facts, and is therefore the better Modern.

We get a raft of people who will be President without the Honor to be treasuer of your local Moose club. The irony is that this is the best system we can expect.

4/02/2008 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Helping Obama Eliminate the Punishment of Childbirth

The Advocate released its Winter quarter issue with the feature story on Planned Parenthood's racist ties, past and present. Video along with audio and transcripts from Live Action's investigation into Planned Parenthood's racism are now available.

4/02/2008 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(planned parenthood got $300 Million taxpayer's dollars last year despite having a billion in the bank!)

4/02/2008 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thank you, Alexis and Doug, for providing further information on Wal-Mart.

I have a feeling that the sprawl of the Wal-Mart organization has room for corrupt devils and a few shining angels along with a much larger portion of jes' plain folks.

One thing you notice when you have some house that needs some painting: Just a tiny dab of black paint added to , for instance, a gallon of white will make a dramatic difference, turning the white distinctly gray. To get that gallon of gray paint back to being indistinguishable from other gallons of pure white, may require dilution with ten or fifteen gallons of pure white.

In contrast, the addition of a dab of white paint to a gallon of black makes almost no detectible difference to its darkness.

I know, it's a cheap metaphor, but it is consistent with the pervasive effect of un-answered greed, lawlessness, rapine, whatnot.

4/02/2008 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

WAL-MART IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.

Wal-Mart is a parasitic and predatory business entity. They represent the dark side of barely legal but unethical capitalistic business practices. Municipalities keen on getting a big-box store in their neighborhood grant them huge tax-credits and other financial incentives only to find that Wal-Mart employees are so underpaid that they become a burden on the local social services network.

------------- BEGIN ARTICLE -------------

A Substantial Number of Wal-Mart Associates earn far below the poverty line
In 2001, sales associates, the most common job in Wal-Mart, earned on average $8.23 an hour for annual wages of $13,861. The 2001 poverty line for a family of three was $14,630. [“Is Wal-Mart Too Powerful?”, Business Week, 10/6/03, US Dept of Health and Human Services 2001 Poverty Guidelines, 2001]

A 2003 wage analysis reported that cashiers, the second most common job, earn approximately $7.92 per hour and work 29 hours a week. This brings in annual wages of only $11,948. [“Statistical Analysis of Gender Patterns in Wal-Mart’s Workforce”, Dr. Richard Drogin 2003]

Wal-Mart Associates don't earn enough to support a family

The average two-person family (one parent and one child) needed $27,948 to meet basic needs in 2005, well above what Wal-Mart reports that its average full-time associate earns. Wal-Mart claimed that its average associate earned $9.68 an hour in 2005. That would make the average associate's annual wages $17,114. [“Basic Family Budget Calculator” online at www.epinet.org]

Wage increases would cost Wal-Mart relatively little

Wal-Mart can cover the cost of a dollar an hour wage increase by raising prices a half penny per dollar. For instance, a $2.00 pair of socks would then cost $2.01. This minimal increase would annually add up to $1,800 for each employee. [Analysis of Wal-Mart Annual Report 2005]

Wal-Mart forces employees to work off-the-clock

Wal-Mart’s 2006 Annual Report reported that the company faced 57 wage and hour lawsuits. Major lawsuits have either been won or are working their way through the legal process in states such as California, Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. [Wal-Mart Annual Report 2006]
In December 2005, a California court ordered Wal-Mart to pay $172 million in damages for failing to provide meal breaks to nearly 116,000 hourly workers as required under state law. Wal-Mart appealed the case. [The New York Times, December 23, 2005]

A Pennsylvania court, also in December 2005, approved a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. by employees in Pennsylvania who say the company pressured them to work off the clock. The class could grow to include nearly 150,000 current or former employees. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 12, 2006 ]

In Pennsylvania, the lead plaintiff alleges she worked through breaks and after quitting time — eight to 12 unpaid hours a month, on average — to meet Wal-Mart’s work demands. “One of Wal-Mart’s undisclosed secrets for its profitability is its creation and implementation of a system that encourages off-the-clock work for its hourly employees,” Dolores Hummel, who worked at a Sam’s Club in Reading from 1992-2002, charged in her suit. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 12, 2006 ]

Your tax dollars pay for Wal-Mart's greed
The estimated total amount of federal assistance for which Wal-Mart employees were eligible in 2004 was $2.5 billion. [The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart, A Report By The Democratic Staff Of The Committee On Education And The Workforce, 2/16/04]

One 200-employee Wal-Mart store may cost federal taxpayers $420,750 per year. This cost comes from the following, on average:

$36,000 a year for free and reduced lunches for just 50 qualifying Wal-Mart families.
$42,000 a year for low-income housing assistance.
$125,000 a year for federal tax credits and deductions for low-income families.
$100,000 a year for the additional expenses for programs for students.
$108,000 a year for the additional federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs (S-CHIP)

$9,750 a year for the additional costs for low income energy assistance.
[The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart, A Report By The Democratic Staff Of The Committee On Education And The Workforce, 2/16/04]

------------- END OF ARTICLE -------------

Wal-Mart’s corporate greed gives capitalism a black eye. This does not even begin to address how their presence instantly dooms dozens of neighborhood mom and pop small businesses. They hollow out the business communities around them and foist their employees upon the local and state social services for health care, food stamps and child care.

I can count the times I’ve shopped at Wal-Mart on one hand. I’m going to do my best never to shop there ever again. They represent the very worst sort of business practices and need to be boycotted by all concerned citizens.

That’s just at home. Make sure to read the linked article about Wal-Mart in China.

4/02/2008 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"punished with a baby"
"Obama's Abortion Extremism"
Hugh Hewitt
From Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson :
Obama's record on abortion is extreme.
He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion -- a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called "too close to infanticide."

Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion.
And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be
"punished with a baby" because of a crisis pregnancy -- hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.

4/02/2008 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Very poor choice of words there, Mr. Obama, kinda slipped out, didn't it--"punished with a baby". Think about that; that says a lot.

4/02/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Nichevo said...

Blogger bobal said...

Well that's good to hear Doug, it means he doesn't really want to off whitey.


I hate to set foot into these waters but...somewhere recently I saw a montage of Wright, HRC, Obama and maybe Meeks? Anyway, maybe it was her makeup or the lighting or something, but other than having rather dull skin tone, I would have said that Wright was maybe one shade darker or lighter than Hillary herself.

Perhaps the Rev. Mr. Wright is afraid the rioters won't know when to stop. Bronzer, Mr. Wright, bronzer! Clairol CAN save your life, if not your soul.


As the legendary jazz great, Thelonious Monk, once said to the other legendary jazz great, (the very light-skinned) Charles Mingus, to shut him up after a while of listening to him rant about black power and black liberation and so forth...

"Are you black, Mingus?"


For that matter, Louis Farrakhan is not terribly dark, if these things matter. Probably not, though it is interesting to recall that Hitler did not exactly exemplify the blond Aryan stereotype.


...okay, now I need a shower. But the Mingus/Monk story was worth sharing.

4/02/2008 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Nichevo said...

Zenster, if you don;t like Wal-Mart, why don't you open your own chain of superstores? It must be very easy since you know just what they should do.

Just call it Welfare-Mart. Guaranteed minimum wages, pensions, 401k, 100% health coverage, day care for everybody cashier, stocker and door greeter. What's not to love? Just add on a couple of cents here, a couple of cents there. No problemo!

In fact, you don't even have to go that far. Just tell Target to do the same thing. That'll surely make Target Number One, don't you think?

Ahh...but then YOU actually DO shop at Target, eh? I do occasionally - no Wal-Marts convenient to NYC for some reason - and I have to tell you, while it used to be better there, I often feel that the lummoxes now running Targets don't deserve whatever wage they do get.

But never mind those fools at Wal-Mart. They don't know what the hell they're doing. How could they? I bet they NEVER answer your colorful letters!

Even though you use the finest Crayolas.

4/02/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

“… And then along comes Barack Obama, with the kinds of gifts that appear in politics but once every few generations. There is a sense of dignity, even majesty, about him, and underneath that ease lies a resolute discipline. It’s not just that he is eloquent - that ability to speak both to you and to speak for you - it’s that he has a quality of thinking and intellectual and emotional honesty that is extraordinary.

Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles. He recognizes that running for president is an opportunity inspire an entire nation.

We need to recover the spiritual and moral direction that should describe our country and ourselves. We see this in Obama, and we see the promise he represents to bring factions together, to achieve again the unity that drives great change and faces difficult and inconvenient, truths and peril. We need to send a message to ourselves and to the world that we truly do stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And in electing an African-American, we also profoundly renounce an ugliness and violence in our national character that have been further stroked by our president in these last eight years.

The similarities between John Kennedy and Barack Obama come to mind easily: the youth, the magnetism, the natural grace, the eloquence, the wit, the intelligence, the hope of a new generation.

But is might be more to the point to view Obama as Lincolnesque in his own origins, his sobriety and what history now demand. Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon “the better angels of our nature”.

Fann S. Wenner
Rolling Stone Magazine

4/02/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Sometimes, the very existence of an institution that has a disproportionate effect in urban and rural areas creates polarization. The economic effect of Wal-Mart on rural areas is far stronger than even its effect on college towns, never mind the cities. City dwellers are accustomed to competition, something that is long gone in much of America.

Wal-Mart does increase the standard of living of the lower classes of society, yet Wal-Mart is also defined by its clientele. This infuriates rural elites who crave a sense of style, who feel shut out of access to their lifestyle through the existence of Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart is the kind of place where shoppers are assumed to be shoplifters, where the greeters and cameras watch your every move. Indeed, Wal-Mart is a magnet for the shoplifting class. Target has strong surveillance too, yet it feels less intrusive, perhaps because the place feels so icy. Now, I understand how stores need to watch people and keep them from stealing the merchandise. Still, it feels insulting when a store assumes you are a criminal because you decided to walk into the store. If you like Big Brother, you’ll love Wal-Mart.

Rural elites, particularly the rural professional classes, loathe Wal-Mart not merely because it puts their favorite stores out of business but because the unspoken message of Wal-Mart is that life doesn’t get any better than what you can buy on its shelves. Because of Wal-Mart and stores like it, that upscale and classy men’s clothing store owned by a local Jewish family has gone out of business and the family left town. Because of Wal-Mart and stores like it, rural professional classes increasingly turn to mail order catalogs. And yes, for those who regard boycotting Wal-Mart as a sacrament, they may actually shop at K-Mart or even Target. To rural professionals, Wal-Mart feels like an institutionalized insult.

To give a sense of proportion to a New Yorker, imagine a gigantic discount store in Manhattan that was thirty blocks long and thirty blocks wide, a megastore that was so big that few shops on the Lower East Side could hope to compete. This store promotes a commercialized Americanism, which means that it adheres to the political correctness of the Christian Right while importing everything it can. It tells its suppliers they will get blacklisted unless they not merely export their manufacturing jobs to China but specifically to the most brutal and abusive sweatshops in China. Yet because of its low prices, it brings in millions of customers and becomes New York’s premier tourist attraction, especially as a one-stop-shop for Europeans who not only shop for bargains but imagine they have found the essence of America at this megastore. Then, because of the low wages, New York’s welfare rolls skyrocket not only because of the low wages but because so many former employees suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Worse than that, imagine the resentment in New York if this megastore not only refused to buy anything from the Atlantic seaboard, but instead imports an extremely low brow culture that sneers at every aspect of New York society.

Lower class people may sneer at the rage of the rural elites, but the anger is real. Wal-Mart consistently lights the fuse.

4/02/2008 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Barack Obama dresses well and his acts classy. Even if he is a black nationalist, even if he is a confidence artist, even if his foreign policy is a disaster and his racial politics are moonshine, he at least dresses the part. He actually pays attention to rural elites. Barack Obama appeals strongly to rural professionals who aspire to high culture, to those who really want to hear “We can do better.” His message resonates principally because he notices people who have been long ignored. This is an Ivy Leaguer who neither affects an “aw shucks” routine (like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) nor sneers at Midwesterners (like Al Gore and John Kerry). Barack Obama is Chicago smooth, and rural professional classes want a politician who is Chicago smooth, a classy man, a well-dressed man who speaks well, looks nice, acts nice, notices them, and wants their votes.

Unlike Karl Rove, Barack Obama does not sneer at people who eat granola or wear Birkenstocks. Barack Obama is willing to get the votes of people who burn incense, listen to New Age music, and practice yoga. He represents a sensibility that one can be a nerd who reads The Tao of Sex while listening to live music at a coffee house and be accepted as normal.

No, I don’t support Barack Obama. Yet, to oppose him effectively, it is important to understand how a man like him can be so appealing. Before any of you sneer at those who would vote for Obama, ask yourself whether you would rather defeat him politically or see him win this election because his voters don’t like your attitude.

4/03/2008 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

“… And then along comes Barack Obama, with the kinds of gifts that appear in politics but once every few generations. There is a sense of dignity, even majesty, about him, and underneath that ease lies a resolute discipline. It’s not just that he is eloquent - that ability to speak both to you and to speak for you - it’s that he has a quality of thinking and intellectual and emotional honesty that is extraordinary.

(God help us. This person is somehow uniquely gifted with a perception that none of us mere mortals could ever hope for. Such RINGING PHRASES! Evidently the writer has never seen Mr. Barack Hussein Obama struggling, sweating, and stammering before the cameras when there's no scripted answer scrolling just out of camera view.)



Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles. He recognizes that running for president is an opportunity inspire an entire nation.

(This writer is the summative climax of the reduction-ad-minimus of the North American attention span. Image is all there needs to be; substance cannot be judged so no attempt is made to do so. The Writer recognizes that pronouncing extravagant judgments on the worthiness of the candidate validates the writer's claim to hyper-omniscience.)



We need to recover the spiritual and moral direction that should describe our country and ourselves. We see this in Obama, and we see the promise he represents to bring factions together, to achieve again the unity that drives great change and faces difficult and inconvenient, truths and peril. We need to send a message to ourselves and to the world that we truly do stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And in electing an African-American, we also profoundly renounce an ugliness and violence in our national character that have been further stroked by our president in these last eight years.

(The Writer in a single stunningly vacuous set of nested assertions the writer suggests a single human has managed to bring the U.S. to a horrific low point in international esteem, and that the only possible recovery is to elevate Obama --- a myth wrapped in an exaggeration enfolded in a fable --- to the presidency. That is, electing a Black person--- Any Black Person, no further credentials required --- will magically solve all America's problems, melt the hearts of our adversaries, and wipe the stain of centuries of American non-Blackness from the history books. If that will take care of America, what will suffice to erase the stain of all the Africans who sold their cousins, rivals, and captives to all the slave traders through all the centuries? Keeping in mind that the colonies of North America were just one destination among hundreds for all the traders.)


The similarities between John Kennedy and Barack Obama come to mind easily: the youth, the magnetism, the natural grace, the eloquence, the wit, the intelligence, the hope of a new generation.

(Sorry. Jack Kennedy could speak with wit and grace in the absence of a teleprompter. Jack Kennedy also was in his view of the world far to the right of any current member of the Democratic Party, and if his policies were to be introduced today, they would actually show that the Republican Party has drifted to the left. Jack Kennedy also was not ashamed of his country's military services, nor of his time in the service.)


But is might be more to the point to view Obama as Lincolnesque in his own origins, his sobriety and what history now demand. Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon “the better angels of our nature”.

(Try, please, Fann S.W., to grasp this one little concept: In order to be Lincolnesque, a person needs to be able to actually articulate a principled position on some actual problem, as Abraham Lincoln did repeatedly during his life. It takes a special sort of adolescent MORON to listen to the vacant platitudes of Barack Hussein Obama and call those uninhabited phrases anything remotely akin to detectible substance.)


Fann S. Wenner 
Rolling Stone Magazine

(I guess budgets have gotten a lot tighter since Rolling Stone used to offer readers the finely crafted lies of Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke.)

4/03/2008 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Nichevo: Zenster, if you don;t like Wal-Mart, why don't you open your own chain of superstores? It must be very easy since you know just what they should do.

Not necessary. Places like Costco do a much better job. Wall Street has consistently pressured Costco to reduce their employee benefits program in order to boost profits. This is something that Costco has refused to do. For that they will get my business.

Nichevo, quite clearly you did not bother to peruse the linked site. Out of our +120 BILLION DOLLAR trade deficit with China, Wal-Mart is a solid 10% of that figure. The combined damage being done by these two predatory entities surpasses description.

4/03/2008 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fiddler, I'm crushed!
I submitted that thinking I might, just by chance, inspire some infidels here to embrace hope and change.
Cynicism rules this sorry outpost.

4/03/2008 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

"Obama has a much bigger task, both because his background is so unusual, and because the account he gives of it just doesn't add up in so many ways. Many of the things he has said about his past are absurd, turning out to be untrue or both. The ominous conclusion is not that he's a liar, unremarkable for a politician, but that he's choosing to conceal who he really is. That should be unsettling to anyone who's not an unthinking, committed optimist."

Okay so we're linking Obama and Walmart? Wow, that is a change! But like Walmart, Obama has nothing to conceal, he (and it) is what it is, changing? Yes. Evolving, constantly, but evolution is not a guarantee of improvement. Just a little different, but little things can be packaged and done right evoke a whole lot of barely related notions, inferences and experiences.
How are they selling this man? How can they stoop so low. Why do "O"s constituents allow them to take such advantage of them.

What the hell is McCain going to use as a counter to such an advertising blitz??

4/03/2008 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Why do "O"s constituents allow them to take such advantage of them.

Imagine a shy girl at the dance. She is beautiful, she is intelligent, and she is ignored. Despite what the mirror tells her, he mother keeps telling her she’s ugly. Then, a cool suave young man comes up to her and asks her to dance. He tells her how much he admires her intellect and tells her how beautiful she is. And this comes from a man who is tall, dark, handsome, and arrogant.

Even if she knows he is a confidence artist, she doesn’t want the illusion to end. She doesn’t want to believe she was conned. She doesn’t want to believe she’s just another sucker. She doesn’t want to admit to herself she was outsmarted. So she continues to believe until a breaking point happens.

Barack Obama has not reached the breaking point with his supporters, while the Clintons are long beyond their breaking point. If Al Gore dropped into the race, half of Hillary Clinton’s supporters would bolt for him while almost none of Obama’s supporters would. This tells me that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is mostly a flag of convenience for Democrats who oppose Barack Obama.

One should also remember the Nader effect. When liberals got wildly upset at Nader voters in 2000, it had a chilling effect on American politics. If liberal arguments were designed to make Nader voters feel guilty, they also had the effect of making it unlikely that a Bush voter would ever change his vote in the future. Instead of accepting that voters get to judge the merits of political factions, certain political factions think they can judge the voters. When liberals rail against the supposedly low intelligence of Bush voters or speculate about the power of fear, Bush voters don’t respond with contrition.

Likewise, while I make harsh (and true) statements about Obama, I think I understand why someone would vote for him. The more one questions the intelligence of an Obama supporter, the more one reinforces his loyalty to Obama. Just as sneering at Bush voters solidified his support, sneering at Obama voters has exactly the same effect. Obama does have a weakness – disrespect toward his voters. It is this basic disrespect that I quickly pick up on. The key is to show Obama followers that one respects their intelligence while showing that Obama does not.

Barack Obama would not have come this far in Democratic Party politics if he didn’t do some things right, and many aspects of his campaign are masterful while his opponents are often clueless. The Obama campaign has been giving away free concert tickets to college students to distract them from attending a Clinton rally. Likewise, Barack Obama used Bill Richardson’s endorsement to banish the Jeremiah Wright story from the front pages. Future political campaigns can learn from these distraction tactics.

The best way to ensure you will be conned is to assume that you are so intelligent or street smart that you can’t be conned. By targeting the most educated parts of our society, Barack Obama also raises the emotional cost for his followers to change their minds. Few people like to admit making a mistake, least of all those whose identity is invested in a belief in their own superior judgment.

4/03/2008 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The more ridiculous and insane an organization's teachings, the greater the emotional cost of apostasy. With the greater emotional cost, an apostate will usually feel embittered and humiliated to know he actually believed in the organization's nonsense, and this feeling of humiliation is precisely what the believer avoids by staying inside the group.

This basic principle applies to both churches and political campaigns. Sneering raises the emotional cost of apostasy and undermines any inclination for the follower to deviate from the orthodoxy of an organization.

4/03/2008 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Is Barack Obama the Messiah?

"... a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany ... and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote for Obama"

- Barack Obama Lebanon, New Hampshire.
January 7, 2008.

---

"We are the ones we've been waiting for.

We are the change that we seek."

- YouTube - Obama, Super Tuesday

---
For the Word has become Flash.

4/04/2008 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


AP Puff Piece on Obama and Rev. Wright


The Associated Press today has one of the most syrupy stories, and it's
about Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ. "A young Barack Obama was searching for answers, and perhaps a place to belong, when he decided to visit a fast-growing church recommended by friends.
What he heard left him in tears."

"The Rev. Jeremiah Wright preached that day about suffering -- about the seemingly endless problems of the world and of individuals.
But he also talked about the importance of hope, the audacity ofbelieving things can be made better.
'Hope is what saves us,' Wright said."

"The church offers a long list of services -- housing and employment programs,
scholarships, a ministry to people with HIV/AIDS -- that mesh well with Obama's political philosophy."

--- Hope continues for an additonal 1000 words... see link above.
---

Axelrod Asked PR Firm to Help Wright's Church

4/04/2008 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll showed that Mr. Obama now leads Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, 47 percent to 42 percent; his lead was 50 percent to 38 percent in late February, when Mr. McCain still faced primary opposition from Mike Huckabee. The latest poll shows Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. McCain, 48 percent to 43 percent, in a similar match-up.


The nationwide telephone poll was conducted with 1,196 registered voters, including

510 Democratic primary voters and 323 Republican primary voters.

4/04/2008 02:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lies of Obama
John Lott's Website
HT - al-Bob Al

4/04/2008 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama Calls A Baby ‘Punishment’ - The Video

4/04/2008 02:59:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

"510 Democratic primary voters and 323 Republican primary voters."

Must not be looking too hard.

4/04/2008 03:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Barack Hussein Obama Marched in AND HELPED ORGANIZE! The Million Man March

By Debbie Schlussel
Well, well, well. This is the kind of Prez you will have in the White House come January, if you do not vote for John McCain:
Barack Hussein Obama not only marched in but helped ORGANIZE the so-called "Million Man March" presided over and led by racist loon Louis Farrakhan in 1995.
(Actually, it was the 100,000 Man March if you use real, non-Ebonics math.)

At the march, Farrakhan and a whole cornucopia of racist lunatics engaged in a torrent of anti-Semitic, anti-White, and anti-American speeches. The event was put on by the Nation of Islam, but Obama's "not a Muslim," so end of story, right?
(Just kidding. April Fools Day was yesterday.)

Read all the details on this latest disturbing B Hussein O info at
Gateway Pundit
and
Bob McCarty .

4/04/2008 03:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


The Obama Bargain


Shelby Steele

4/04/2008 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Nichevo said...

Zenster, Costco has its own issues. (I notice you don't name these "others" besides Costco, and assume that Target and K-Mart pursue policies like Wal-Mart's. I will not assume about their procurement policies, but you haven't said they are all Made-in-USA.)

It is interesting, btw, that Costco does not get any PR benefit from these wonderful HR policies.It would certainly bring in the granola crowd.

Costco requires an annual membership fee. You now cannot even enter the store to see what you're missing. Too bad, poor people! You also cannot buy a single candy bar or spool of thread, you have to buy everything by the job lot. This is also detrimental to the poor.

Wal-Mart innovates, not only in cost-containment procedures, but also in logistics and in other ways such as the sponsoring of biologists to evaluate and optimize the cultivating techniques of agricultural suppliers in places like Peru. Teaching campesinos to do work of a quality acceptable to the USA is, believe it or not, a win-win.

It provides cheaper, better produce to their customers. It also adds value to the suppliers' operations. Even if Wal-Mart stops buying from that grower, the grower still has a better product which is more valuable to someone. It is almost like foreign aid. Never mind their charitable efforts e.g. Katrina, also facilitated by their superior logistics.

As for the trade deficit...

Okay, let's say all that Chinese production came home. Let's say it would cost twice as much to manufacture here. So US consumer have to pay an extra $120bn for their various purchases. Believe it or not, that would be hard on the US consumer.

The problem is that we are not productively efficient enough. I am all for poking evil China any way we can think up. Perhaps the government would like to make policy on that, instead of asking business to do so.

4/04/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Nichevo: The problem is that we are not productively efficient enough.

Horseradish. The United States remains the most productive nation in the world, and U.S. manufacturing has remained the most productive in the world since before 1960.

What's more:

Low-wage countries continue to attract the attention of some manufacturers. However, these low wage countries (China, India, Mexico, Turkey, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland) also have extremely low productivity levels. This is where the unit labor cost comes in—a true measure of economic productivity. For example, wages are considerably lower in China and India (2 to 3 percent of US wages). But productivity is also significantly lower in China and India (12 to 13 percent of US productivity). That means that considerably more labor hours are required to make the same output in China and India than in the US. However, that still makes China’s and India’s unit labor costs lower than in the US—but only 20 percent lower on average. And 20 percent is not really that much when you think about transporting manufactured goods from China and India: The transportation costs, in-transit damage, un-returnable defective products, very long lead times for changes and order quantities, and high inventory levels that have to be maintained here, not to mention the risk of dealing with a country (China) that does not recognize proprietary information, patent, trademark or copyright protections.

China outcompetes other industrial nations by tilting the playing field. Their environmental regulations are almost nonexistent or routinely ignored. Emissions control, waste treatment, hazardous materials disposal, remediation and abatement plus other costly regulatory measures go unheeded.

SIXTEEN OUT OF TWENTY OF THE WORLD'S MOST POLLUTED CITIES ARE IN CHINA.

Furthermore, China manipulates its currency and engages in illegal trade practices. Their routine theft of proprietary information, trade secrets and intellectual property allow them an unfair advantage by circumventing years or even DECADES of costly research and development cycles.

Testimony of Robert Baugh, Executive Director, Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO, Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Currency Manipulation and Labor Violations

The litany of China’s failures to meet its trade obligations is extensive—loans from state banks to industry that are never repaid, extensive currency manipulation, illegal dumping, rampant intellectual property violations, environmental degradation, and massive human rights, religious, and workers’ rights abuses. Compounding these problems is a complete lack of transparency within China. It remains difficult and dangerous to obtain information on workers’ or human rights problems, and the banking and financial systems are closed to outsiders. Additionally, the government of China implements stringent regulations making it a criminal act to reveal information deemed to be a “state secret.” Unfortunately, “state secret” seems to apply to almost anything, including reporting on labor disruptions.

… The deliberate extension of billions of dollars in non-performing loans by China’s central banks has given China another unfair advantage. Simply put, state banks make loans to industry with little expectation those loans will be repaid. Most of these free loans have been transferred to four government-owned asset management corporations (AMCs), so the government budget, rather than the banking system, will bear the costs.


None of this even begins to address the huge ongoing scam of how China can possibly afford to strand overseas shipping containers in America that would build a pile ONE SQUARE MILE in size. This is just another form of asset manipulation that allows China to unfairly undercut other manufacturing nations.

Wealth is generated in only a very few ways. Mining, agriculture and manufacturing. Service economies DO NOT create real wealth. As one economist observed, "We cannot subsist by taking in each others' washing."

China must be made to answer for its rapacious predation upon other economies. Expulsion from the WTO would be a good start. A trade boycott would be even better. Beijing's Mandarins must be thrust from power and the sooner the better for all concerned.

4/06/2008 10:55:00 AM  

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