Monday, October 31, 2011

Herman Cain: The Sexual Harassment Smear

By now you’ve probably heard Politico is alleging that two women claim Herman Cain harassed them in the 1990s when he was head of the Restaurant Association. This is a classic smear. Journalists with left wing sympathies dig up anonymous sources who claim a rising Republican is guilty of some nebulous crime. They provide no details and won’t reveal the names of the accusers. They imply guilt by saying Cain bought them off. Now they heap scorn upon him, not for the supposed crime, of which they presume he is guilty, but his failure to defend himself to their satisfaction.

This is, pardon my French, bullshit.

Let’s look at the elements. First, we have the nature of the allegations. Politico accuses Cain of sexual harassment. But sexual harassment is an extremely broad category of conduct that can run all the way up to rape. Thus, it is vital to identify the exact conduct. Of course they don’t. Why don’t they? They claim they can’t because of settlement agreements, but that’s a lie as I’ll discuss. The real reason they don’t state the allegations is because there are no worthwhile allegations here and they are hoping the public will think the worst.

These events (assuming they even happened) happened in the 1990s, the heyday of the fake sexual harassment claim. Spurred on by Anita Hill’s own fantasy claims, the 1990s saw spurious well-after-the-fact claims made for things like: telling dirty jokes, asking out on dates, complimenting clothing, excluding from lunches and outside activities with male colleagues, having a racy calendar, looking at the “victim” in ways the victim felt were inappropriate, etc. Also, keep in mind, this was the same time feminists were claiming that “all sex is rape,” that most women had been date-raped, and that women should be allowed to say “no” after the fact. Thus, a reputable journalist not looking to smear a candidate would say more than “harassment” because they would not want to give a false impression.

And let’s look at the reason they claim they can’t say more: the settlement agreement.

First, a five figure settlement is a joke. In fact, it means the claims were baseless because it means the association settled just to avoid the attorneys fees. And again, let me note that we don’t know what the settlement actually is because Politico wants you to think the worst. Rather than hearing “it was $10,000” (the amount grocery stores pay fake slip and fall fraudsters to go away) you’re supposed to think it’s up to $100,000.

Secondly, in the law you hear a phrase all the time: “sword and shield.” What this means is that the law does not allow a person to use the law to attack another person and then to turn around and hide behind that same law when the person counterattacks. This smear is a classic example of such an abuse. What I mean is this: on the one hand, Politico refuses to release the names of the accusers, the details of their allegations or the settlement amount. Thus, they have in effect made it impossible to verify the truth of these allegations by hiding behind the settlement confidentiality provision. But then they turn around and lynch Cain for failing to explain away these allegations, i.e. for failing to violate the same confidentiality provision behind which they are hiding. That is a smear.

Moreover, Politico is lying. These agreements not only require confidentiality of the terms and the allegations made therein, but they also require confidentiality of the agreement itself. When Politico’s unidentified witnesses mentioned the agreement, mentioned the type of allegations, mentioned that there was a settlement, and mentioned that it was five-figure settlement, they violated that agreement. In other words, they have broken the agreement already and hiding behind the idea that they can’t say more without breaking the agreement is a lie. . . and Politico knows that.

Not to mention, I have yet to see Politico mention that the Restaurant Association will have denied any liability in the settlement. Which I can guarantee you they did. Not mentioning that, but instead saying that the Association has refused to comment (as they should) is another smear.

Let’s be clear here. The MSM and left hate and fear strong, smart, capable, conservative blacks. They will do and say whatever it takes to destroy them. And their favorite method is to scream “sexual harassment” because it plays into the racist stereotype of black males as sexual predators. This is usually followed by accusing them of lying about their education, before they start a whisper campaign that this particular black man “likes white women.” That is the bigoted pattern and that is what Politico has started here.

And as you would expect, the usual suspects are already at work. Women’s groups who plucked out their own eyes to avoid seeing Clinton’s constant harassment are demanding blood. Leftist journalists who spent last week telling us that Republican support for Cain proved we are racists because we want a black man “who knows his place” (MSNBC), are now in a feeding frenzy about the out of control sexual predator. And establishment types like Karl Rove are trying to tear Cain down by claiming Cain has refused to answer whether or not this is true. For the record, here is Cain's “evasion”:
“It is totally baseless and totally false. Never have I ever committed any kind of sexual harassment.”
I guess Rove lacks comprehension skills. . . or integrity.

This is a smear and should make you angry, even if you aren’t a Cain supporter. This is exactly the kind of smear the right needs to stand up to and reject. This is shameful.

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KKK Grand Wizard Gives OWS Thumbs Up

By their friends shall ye know them. The Occupy Wall Street hate mob has a new champion. Riding in on his white horse and white sheet is former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. The Democratic Party is going back to its roots in the Old South. Duke joins Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders in praising the OWS people. Duke is just a little more direct in his finger-pointing.

Duke has made a widely-viewed video in which he says: "I cheer the men and women on the streets condemning the international banks that hold American financially hostage. These Wall Street banks are not the product of free enterprise, they are the product of crime." And lest you miss exactly who he's talking about, he adds: "Zionist owners of the predatory banks made more shekels while Americans have lost up to fifty percent of their savings." Well, at least he didn't say the Jews stabbed us in the back.

The rampant antisemitism in the Occupy mobs has been largely downplayed or completely ignored by the mainstream media. Though antisemitic signs and speeches have become ubiquitous at each of the Occupy sites, Duke must have felt they needed a professional Jew-hater to give the mob focus. Duke adds an exclamation point to his view of the "spontaneous" demonstrations with: "Whenever there's a billion dollar fraud, there's a Jew involved." I've read similar things in Mein Kampf, or maybe it was the New York Times.

There hasn't been this much joy among the crypto-Nazis since the America First movement of the 1930s. But there's no corresponding German-American Bund to bolster the movement (the Germans have largely put their worst antisemitism behind them). So enter the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke points the finger at the Zionist bankers in general, and Ben "Shalom" Bernanke in particular. "Yes, occupy Wall Street. Finally, Americans are rising up and it feels great." The weather in New York City has turned chilly, so maybe Duke can warm them up with a few gigantic burning crosses.

I'm not quite sure what Duke makes of the fact that the black, communist former Obama czar Van Jones is making similar statements. Duke may just figure he'll take on the Jews first, and handle the African-Americans later. Besides, "those black bankers" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Papist Oppressors Strike Again

I'm just curious. What part of Catholic University did they not understand? Basking in the glory of his earlier complaint against Catholic University of America for sexual discrimination after the school banned co-ed dormitories, vexatious litigator John Banzhaf filed a complaint with the Washington D.C. Office of Human Rights on behalf of Muslim students offended by crucifixes and statues of Jesus and Mary.

For those of you not conversant in Latin, the school's emblem (shown) reads: "Keep those Muslims down," or something like that. Banzhaf is a lawyer and a law instructor at neighboring George Washington University Law School. It's unclear what his beef is with Catholic University, but he seems to prefer it as a target of his wrath. It is also unclear whether or not he represents any actual Muslims attending Catholic University. In a real lawsuit, he could not file on his own behalf, but the bureaucratic meanderings of "human rights" commissions are not saddled with any such restrictions. As a human being, he automatically has standing to file a complaint.

Banzhaf claims that the Muslim students are offended because they have to meditate in the school's chapel, and at the cathedral that shines over the entire campus. That cathedral is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. "It shouldn't be too difficult somewhere on the campus for the university to set aside a small room where Muslims can pray without having to stare up and be looked down upon by a cross of Jesus," says Banzhaf. Gee, it also shouldn't be difficult for Muslims to find other universities which don't have "Catholic" in their name.

I sent my younger daughter to California Lutheran University, largely because it had a good curriculum, was semi-affordable and local, and, well, Lutheran. Had she chosen Catholic University, I would have expected her not to be offended by Catholic iconography. Even less would I have expected her to nail 95 Theses on the door of the cathedral. We already did that, we made our point, and besides, it would be just plain rude. I would also think it rude of her to demand that a special place be set aside on campus for her and her fellow religionists to contemplate Luther's sermon on grace or recite Luther's small catechism sans crucifixes.

But somehow Banzhaf thinks that Catholic University should strip the walls of Catholic iconography, cover up the crosses which adorn the larger buildings, and set up special rooms with footbaths and alcoves to worship Allah. At least he didn't object to the crescent moon embedded in the university's coat of arms. Never mind that there are three Muslim centers within two miles of the university. Banzhaf wants Catholic University to be more like Harvard, where secularism reins supreme. Of course he knows that Harvard was founded originally to train Anglican pastors and missionaries. And he also knows that if you work hard enough at it, you can alter the very foundations of a university.

It is important to note that Catholic University is a private school. How a private school can be regulated by state school standards is anyone's guess. The only argument that holds any water at all is that the school, like almost every other major private university in the nation, seeks and accepts funding from multiple sources including the federal government. So what? It doesn't impose religious demands on people who could choose hundreds of other schools to attend. Planned Parenthood finessed that issue fairly successfully by claiming any federal funds received are used for purposes other than abortion. Catholic University has the same argument available to it: Federal funds are used only for secular instruction, and the religious portions are funded by private and Church resources.

The federal funds argument doesn't work very well for Banzhaf. He doesn't want religion removed from the school, he simply wants a Catholic university to impose special privileges and spaces for a different religion. He appears to want to use secular reasoning and secular institutions to advance religion. Or so it seems. In actuality, he simply wants to harm a school dedicated to the Christian faith by using Muslims as his stalking-horses. The ultimate goal is to get God out of the universities entirely, or alternatively to impose Islam as a co-equal religion in private religious institutions.

Catholic University has so far avoided the full-blown secularization of some other Catholic universities such as Notre Dame, or Protestant schools such as Wesleyan. The school accepts qualified students with little consideration of their religion (it does give preference for those planning to enter the Catholic priesthood). More importantly, it does not refuse admission to anyone based on religion. The school clearly has a religious flavor throughout the campus, but it's hard to see how Muslims should be any more offended by the atmosphere than I would be during a visit to the Vatican.

At least one Muslim student at the university doesn't think that Banzhaf speaks for him. Wiaam Al Salmi praises the school for its diversity and tolerance, saying: "The community here is very respectful of other religions and I feel free to openly practice mine. Even though it's a Catholic school, a lot of its teachings are very similar to Islam. It teaches respect, community service, love worship, etc. which are things that Islam also teaches." I'm guessing that Banzhaf (and more than a few ayatollahs and imams) would say that Al Salmi is living proof that Catholicism is already working its nefarious plot on him.

I'm guessing that most of you reading this article are asking yourselves "is this complaint ridiculous or what?" I'm also willing to bet you came to that conclusion in about thirty seconds without a lot of agonizing over subtleties. But you and I are not dealing with the D.C. Office of Human Rights. Rather than simply rejecting the complaint on its face as it should have, the office has taken the complaint seriously and says it needs at least sixty days to think the whole thing over. I am praying (yes, praying) that for once a school will stand its ground and take this issue all the way to the Supreme Court if the idiots at the Human Rights office make a finding in favor of Banzhaf and his Judas goats.
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The Great (film) Debates vol. 13

With Obama's approval ratings approaching 0.0% like a Delta House GPA, we need a replacement. And there's nowhere better to look for said replacement than Hollywood!

Who is your favorite Hollywood (film/TV) President?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street...No More -1%'ers!

OWS in the Snow

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these...yada, yada, yada..."
- Me

They will never go away. In the beginning everyone with a sign and a gripe was welcomed. As one person described "If you put every liberal and progessive idea into a giant blender, the result would be Occupy Wall Street". As the Occupy Wall Street "movement" has progressed, so have the donations. Money and goods have been pouring in from all over the country. It was reported this week in the New York Post, that our intrepid Occupiers at Zuccotti Park have raised over $450,000 in cash plus about the same amount in donated services and goods like cold weather tents, clothes, and organic food. By my estimation, they have acculumated almost $1 million worth of cash and goods. [Doesn't that put them in the same category of the "rich"?] All of the goods are being stored in a large space donated by United Federation of Teachers and the cash is being stored in Amalgamated Bank. Imagine, they are using a bank to hold their money! A former hotel chef has been cooking all of their meals from the donated organic food (roasted organic chicken with rice and seasonal organic vegetables) at a donated kitchen facility at a local church. Kumbaya, My Lord...Kumbaya!

Well, I'm thinking that our Occupiers missed the Sesame Street episodes on "sharing". In the last few weeks, word has spread far and wide about all the free clothes, sleeping bags, and good eats available to anyone who wants it. So, lucky for the Occupiers, reinforcements to the movement have been arriving from all over the region to add their voices to the Peoples' Microphone. I call them the "-1%'ers". Yes, -1%'ers are not just the white, disaffected upper middle class Occupiers. These are the hardcore homeless looking for a meal, a warm sleeping bag, and maybe a some shoes without holes. You'd think that these -1%'ers would be welcomed as the living, breathing examples of the what the evil, rich 1%'ers have done to this country. Well, surprise, our little Socialists/Communists/Up With The Downtrodden Occupiers do not like their new compatriots one bit. How dare they want the free food and clothing that they have worked so hard to acquire! How dare these -1%ers want a free warm sleeping bag or tent to sleep in! It's THEIR free stuff, not for the homeless! It has gotten so bad that even the OWS kitchen crew went on strike. They are tired of feeding the undeserving homeless who are only there to get a hot meal. So, they put their collectivist feet down and will only be serving brown rice, beans, and PBJ sandwiches three times a day to the "real" Occupiers only. Who would have thought that the real people in need, the -1%'ers, would be such a nuisance? Of course, what's to become of all those donated organic free-range chickens and seasonal vegetables? I'm guessing that the next donation will be a warm place for the Occupying "management" to dine homeless-free.

And in other OWS news, the NY Fire Department went in yesterday morning and removed all of the gas powered generators citing safety violations. The Occupiers were using the gasoline and bio-fueled generators to power all of their Wall Street Investor/Inventor-made computers, heaters, cell phones and keep their food warm. Interesting timing as it was just one day ahead of our first hardcore Nor'Easter of the season. But all is not lost. A company in Massachusetts has offered to replace them with five bicycle-powered generators next week. I am hoping that the NY Buildings Department will move in next week and order them to take down the Shantytown tarps and tents. And so the Occupation continues...
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Friday, October 28, 2011

My Favorite Obscure Horror Films

In honor of Halloween being Monday night, I thought I’d put together a list of great horror movies you can use to creep yourselves out. Boo! But rather than list the usual suspects like The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist, and Alien, I thought I'd give you some more obscure films that I truly love.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

The One That Got Away

Shown are President Bobby Jindal and his lovely wife entering the White House for his inaugural ball in 2013. I can fantasize, can't I? Louisiana Governor Jindal has made it clear that he has no intention of running for the office during this election cycle, and I'm more than a little disappointed. We don't do endorsements in primary elections, but I can still extol his virtues for future reference since he simply isn't going to run this time.

Jindal's stunning reelection victory this past weekend in Louisiana created a lot of buzz in the blogosphere, including but not limited to The American Spectator and National Review. He won with a two-thirds vote in an all-party election in which he faced nine opponents. In other words, he got twice as many votes as all his opponents combined. He also won in a state which was previously heavily Democratic, and which he has helped to convert to a substantially Republican state.

So I'm going to play a little fantasy politics and tell you why I thought Jindal was the ideal candidate to beat Obama. Simply put, he steals all of those things that got Obama elected, but with the addition of real accomplishment and a genuinely conservative political point of view. The superfluous things that worked for Obama work for Jindal. He is young. He is dynamic. He's a riveting public speaker (forget that terrible response to the State of the Union address he gave two years ago). He obviously appeals to a broad spectrum of voters, including both wealthy and poor whites. Louisiana is not a microcosm of America, but the recent election certainly indicated he is a candidate who can appeal to a growingly multi-ethnic America in states that not long ago still had Jim Crow laws.

Obama would not be able to use his semi-subtle racism against Jindal, because Jindal "doesn't look like other Presidents" either. At the same time, Jindal has never used race or ethnicity to advance his cause. He truly would be a post-racial President. Older voters like myself can simply like him for all the things he is and has done, but younger voters are much more in tune with multiculturalism. Obama says "celebrate diversity." Jindal says "respect diversity, support unity." Jindal is as American as apple pie curry.

Obama constantly spoke about his education. Jindal rarely does. But the leftist intellectual elite constantly brought the subject up in the Obama/McCain election. That wouldn't happen in a Jindal/Obama matchup. Let's take a quick look. Obama attended Occidental College (definitely), Columbia University (allegedly), and moved on to become the editor of the Harvard Law Review without ever having written a single scholarly article for the Review himself. His records are sealed, and nobody seems to remember him at either Columbia or Harvard Law.

Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants, was born Piyush Jindal in Baton Rouge, but chose to be called "Bobby" from an early age. His brilliance showed early. He graduated from Baton Rouge Magnet School (for really smart kids). But he wasn't all brains. He was an accomplished tennis player. In his "spare time" he started a computer newsletter, a retail candy business, and a mail order software business. He never had a job as a community organizer. He was too busy gaining both real life experience, an understanding of business, and a remarkable education which is all public record. No sealed academic records here.

Jindal was one of fifty high school students nationally to be chosen for a special pre-medical honors program at elite Ivy League Brown University. He graduated, with honors, in two majors--public policy and biology. As a standout scholar, he was recruited by both Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School, with full scholarships to both. Instead, he chose to attend Oxford University, where he received a master's degree in political science with an emphasis in health policy. He received an award at Oxford for a thesis on "needs-based health care." He turned down a PhD scholarship program at Oxford, deciding it was time to return to the United States and get a job as a political and public health consultant with the firm of McKinsey and Company.

I think we know who would end up with the mucky end of the stick in an "I'm smarter than you" contest with the pseudo-intellectual and questionably-credentialed Obama. But early on, Jindal realized that the academic credentials were all well and good, but if he didn't want to be a college professor, it was time to get out into the real world. At age 25, Jindal was tapped by Louisiana Governor Mike Foster to be the head of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals. Combining his academic credentials with a practical sense of how public money ought to be spent, Jindal spent three years at the job. When he came into the job, Louisiana DHH was experiencing a $400 million dollar deficit with Medicaid and bankruptcy. At the end of his watch, that same department had a $220 million dollar surplus.

Jindal went on to many more achievements, using government to promote and bolster private investment and innovation before being elected America's first Indian-American governor. In the deep South, no less. As a Congressman, he had earned rave reviews, even from Democrats, for his involvement in private enterprise solutions to the Katrina disaster. He rolled up his sleeves as governor, and personally oversaw the relief efforts after hurricane Gustav, and took on Obama for the President's failure to do anything more than talk about the BP oil spill. He had proposed works projects which may have prevented much of the spill from arriving on Louisiana shores, but got zero cooperation from the federal government.

Compare Jindal's Louisiana to Obama's DC. Lately, it seems like a scandal erupts two or three times a week on Obama's watch. He uses back door politics and Chicago-style thuggery to get his way. His Justice Department is a politicized, racialized mess, and his Attorney General is apparently complicit in the sneaky Fast and Furious operation which turned deadly. Louisiana, on the other hand, had been one of the crookedest states in the union, with its most famous demagogue Huey P. Long planning to run for President. Jindal himself has never been touched by personal or political scandal, and his administration cleaned up the state house and the legislature with new and seriously-enforced ethics rules.

Jindal has a fine way of being very conservative, but without appearing to be overly-partisan. He seems to be able to whip Democrats into line without making grandstand headlines about how he conquered the "enemy." He defeats recalcitrant legislators by persuasion and savvy political maneuvering. He appears boyish while possessing the political acumen of a very experienced old pol.

On top of it all, Jindal can deride Obamacare from both the intellectual and practical high ground. His experience with Louisiana's DHH and his position as Bill Clinton's Medicare commission chairman give him bipartisan credentials as the man who could come up with a genuine solution for the medically uninsured without the dangerous economic consequences of Obamacare. He favors interstate contracts and portable insurance from state to state while opening the market to private insurers across state lines. As Quinn Hillyer said in his American Spectator article, "he can explain 'premium support' and market solutions better than anyone in the business, especially in a debate, where--unlike a formal speech setting (remember the State of the Union response)--Jindal absolutely sparkles." Jindal is a true policy wonk without sounding the least bit wonkish.

Jindal has proven himself to be an economic conservative cost-cutter and efficiency-increaser. He also has solid social conservative views, but doesn't spend valuable time beating opponents over the head with the Bible. Again, he persuades and maneuvers rather than making a donnybrook out of the issues. But he knows that the economy will be the true issue for his state and the national government at election time. The libertarian/conservative CATO Institute gave Jindal an "A" on fiscal policy, citing the increase in efficient Louisiana public services while cutting state spending by 26%. He has bent on a few interim special taxes in order to bring legislators into his fold, but his basic philosophy is to reduce taxes, increase efficiency, cut spending. He has succeeded at all three.

Before the current candidates announced their intentions to run, I had visions of Jindal wiping the floor with Obama in debates on the economy, statism, and rabid egalitarianism. I won't get that chance now. Jindal has declared in no uncertain terms that he will not seek the presidency in 2012. To prove his steadfastness in avoiding the nomination, he has endorsed fellow Governor Rick Perry. I'll keep my own counsel on that choice, but I would rather have seen Jindal do it for himself and all of us. Maybe next time.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

European Elfcation

By the Boiler Room Elves

Elves live to travel, especially Boiler Elves. From touring boiler plants in Brazil to fact-finding missions at plush resorts in the Caribbean to top secret visits to an ocketsleigh-ray actory-fay in ina-Chay, we just can’t get enough. In fact, we just returned from London, where we attended the Elf Professional International Cookie Accounting Conference (EPICAC.) The topics this year have been somewhat disheartening:

- Biscuits, Cookies & Shortbread: The Crumbling World of Multi-national Baking
- Emerging Markets and Sugar Quality
- Baked Goods at Tea Time - A Necessity? (an extremely heretical stance even to question, mind you, but not surprising in this day of cutbacks)
As we listened to lectures on chocolate chip depreciation recapture, our minds started to wander, and we found ourselves thinking - does it really matter if Europe collapses?

Europe teeters on the edge. Everything south of Germany is broke. No one wants to throw good Elf Marks after bad Euros. European banks are near collapse. Britain just had riots and now their government is fighting to keep Britons from voting to take back power from Brussels. Government after government seems ready to collapse, and the headlines scream about the end of Europe. Even Alan Greenspan said yesterday that the European Union is doomed to fail.

In our networking sessions at the conference, we met several elves whose lives have changed because of the crisis. One elf from Portugal, well into his maple years, told us he hoped to retire quietly to his kitchen, but was now forced to start anew in the UK. Carlo, an elf from Italy had been happily making a living as an actor until about a year ago. Now he works in England as a waiter. The cookie buyers guilds’ profit forecasts were way down. A consultant from Baker & McElfzie, said his firm had been driven to branch out into teacakes and muffins. (How the mighty have fallen...) Difficult times, my friends, difficult times.

But this is how capitalism works and what Europe doesn’t seem to understand. When people stop buying red and white candy canes, you innovate and give them red and white and green. If the candy cane market dries up altogether, you find something new to do for a living. You don’t wait for another handout from another government because your red-and-white candy cane union needs their 6 weeks of paid vacation and retirement at age 50. The USA never went as far as Europe down that path, and you can see the pain we’re having just trying to back away.

There’s no doubt a collapse of Europe would be bad for stock markets, big companies, European governments, and red-tape makers everywhere. It’s going to get uglier before it gets better, but in the long run, the whole world will be better off if every country just takes its medicine.

Of course, you know the old conventional wisdom -- “as goes Europe, so goes the North Pole.” The North Pole’s Santa-based economy is admittedly highly export oriented and its biggest market is Europe. Even America, the land of the soon to be free again and the home of the Boiler Room Elves does a lot of business with Europe. We elves would like to see Europe grow strong again. Will it take a complete collapse to do set them straight?

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Big Trouble In Little Obamatown

Barack Obama made another campaign fundraising trip to San Francisco on Tuesday. But it bore little resemblance to his past royal progresses. He usually has an excited crowd inside his favorite gathering spot--the W Hotel--with seats costing between $2500 and $35,000. He got a few of those people, but many of his regulars were in an angry crowd outside the hotel.

Bear with me. I have to comment on Obama's choice of hotels. San Francisco has some of the most beautiful and historic hotels in America. The Fairmont. The Mark Hopkins. The Clift. The Palace. The St. Francis. The Drake. But the nouveau riche Obama and his staff prefer the W. It's South of Market Street (nicknamed SOMA by the wannabe hip crowd), where we old-time San Franciscans still picture skid row and broken-down warehouses. It's in SOMA near MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art). It has a certain ring to it. Millions spent on redevelopment haven't changed our minds, but the yuppies love it.

The hotel advertises itself as "green, hip, stylish, upscale, and forward-looking." It's pure kitsch as far as I'm concerned. The yuppies, who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, simply can't tell the difference between fad and fashion. Much like Obama himself. They can order a $200 steak, but they still put their elbows on the table, hold their utensils like weapons, and talk with their mouths full, sometimes in mangled French. The dining room sounds more like Madison Square Garden during a heavyweight boxing match than an elegant place to dine. And who names a hotel "W?" Is it located between the V and X hotels?

I won't even comment on the three-story tall "pneumatic" sculpture of a reclining lodger which looms over the Disneyland-like entrance. I feel better now, so I'll go on with the actual topic. The cause du jour that turned the usually Obama-friendly crowd hostile is the Keystone XL pipeline. Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of Esprit de Corps clothes, stood outside with the crowd and railed against the 1700 mile pipeline from Canada to Texas refineries. It will end the world as we know it. It will destroy the migration and mating habits of the caribou and kill off the remaining polar bear population. Oh, wait. Wrong pipeline. That was the Alaska pipeline.

Tompkins Buell attended the last Obama fundraiser inside the W, at $7500 per plate. But she's out with the folks on the street this time. In 2010, fellow protester David des Jardins, an IT consultant, gave Obama and the Democrats $60,000. This time, he joined hands with Tompkins Buell outside and said "The concern of the donor community is that he really doesn't get the picture of how important this is." They missed the point that importing oil from Canada is a green Obama initiative so we don't destroy the world by drilling for oil ourselves. Brazil was too far, and at least we have a border with Canada.

But they weren't alone in the roiling crowd. The antiwar protesters were there as well. Republicans are giving Obama grudging credit for knocking off a few of the leaders of terror organizations in the Middle East. But this crowd is having none of it. Many were highly-indignant about the lengthy detention of US soldier and alleged traitor Bradley Manning (accused of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks). The Occupy SF gang also took time out from demonstrating in the financial district to come down and take a few shots (metaphorical, of course) at Obama. There was also a CAIR contingent, furious about Obama's perfidious attacks on Muslims.

But the biggest and richest contingent was the anti-Keystone contingent. There was Michael Kieschnick, CEO of CREDO Mobile and Working Assets. That company and its executives have given Obama and progressive, green causes over $60 million. This time he refused to pay the freight for a seat inside at the luncheon, and stood on the street with the rest of the gang. Standing next to him was usual luncheon/dinner attendee Heidi Hess, who contributed $4,600 to Obama's 2008 campaign, but says she doubts she'll contribute this time: "It depends on what kind of president he is. I've been disappointed on a lot of issues." If she doesn't know what kind of president he is now, she never will.

Last, but not least, is the gay/medical marijuana crowd. Led by state Assemblything Tom Ammiano, former SF Supervisor and apostle of Harvey Milk (and former stand-up comic), their portion of the crowd held up protest signs, inhaled, got well, and ate carloads of Doritos. Said Ammiano: "I am part of the loyal opposition to Obama. I want him to rein in the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice and federal prosecutors are acting like thugs by threatening medical marijuana dispensaries." Sweet Jesus!

This is a strong indication that there's trouble in paradise. Obama has been trying to appeal to his base by issuing executive orders for left wing causes, thereby avoiding that pesky Congress and Constitution stuff. Apparently, his efforts have not been entirely successful. These people will never vote for a Republican, but if they sit on their hands on election day, the hardcore votes of the left may be lost to him. Besides, San Francisco has candidates galore from fringe groups like the Peace and Freedom Party and the Green Party. Maybe they'll vote for Cindy Sheehan.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Great Scene: Poltergeist

Every once in awhile, a movie scene really stands out. Today I want to talk about such a scene. This is a truly brilliant speech from the film Poltergeist, where Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) the medium explains what has happened to Carol Anne. This speech is incredible. In fact, it makes THE film.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Hispanics Foil Democratic Race Dreams

You’ve all heard America is destined to become an Hispanic country, right? The Democrats are in fact counting on that to stay relevant. They’re hoping to get Hispanics to buy into racial identity politics and then vote exclusively for their race-hustling party. But there are three flaws with this plan.
Flaw One: Bad Demographics
The argument works like this: in 1980, there were 30 million Hispanics in the US. By 2000, there were 45 million. If you draw a straight line between those points and extend it to the future, there will be 104 million in 2040 and they will be the new majority. But as I first mentioned in May of last year (LINK), there are serious flaws with this.

First, this assumes Hispanics are having huge numbers of children. The truth is that most of the population growth in Hispanic ranks has been the result of illegal immigration, not from births. Indeed, 12 million of the 15 million growth in the last twenty years was pure illegal immigration. So it’s immigration that matters.

But illegal immigration can’t continue at this rate because Mexico is running out of Mexicans. Mexico accounts for most illegal immigrants. But Mexico’s birthrate is in free fall. In the past decade alone, it has fallen 20% (from 24 birth per 1,000 persons to 19), and it keeps right on falling. Mexico, like Europe, is starting to suffer from a birth shortage and, consequently, a worker shortage. That means there won’t be waves of millions of Mexicans sneaking across the border in each of the next 3-4 decades. So instead of having 104 million Hispanics in 2040 as expected, the US is more likely to have 60 million -- which won’t be anywhere near a majority in a country of 350 million people.
Flaw Two: The Race Baiting Ain’t Working
But even beyond the pending illegal-immigrant-supply shortage, something interesting just happened with the last Census. To the race industry’s horror, “whites” suddenly jumped by 12.1 million people (to 223.6 million or 72% of the population). What could account for this?

What happened is the number of Hispanics who identified themselves as Hispanic went down 5% and the number of Hispanics who identified themselves as “white” increased 5%. Overall, 53% of Hispanics now identify themselves as “white,” while 37% identify themselves as “some other race” (the choice on the form) with the rest selecting other races such as black.

What this means is that Hispanics are doing what the Irish, the Jews, the Polish, and everyone else who is now considered “white” did -- they are identifying with the larger group and trying to fit in. They are joining the melting pot. And American-born children of Hispanics are even more likely to identify themselves as “white.”

This is horrible news for the Democrats, because the whole idea behind racial identity politics is to make people think they are part of an oppressed group. If people see themselves as black, white, Hispanic, etc., then it’s easy to get them believing in group rights. But Hispanics aren’t buying it.
Flaw Three: Escape The Plantation
Finally, there have been a number of articles lately by shocked journalists who can’t understand where all these conservative blacks have come from? It turns out the racist Tea Party got them all elected. Oh my! In fact, these articles have pointed out that in each case where a black (or minority) candidate won a Republican primary, it was with Tea Party backing over an establishment Republican honkey.

In effect, genuine diversity has finally arrived on the right and it’s the Tea Party that caused it because. . . imagine this. . . Tea Party people vote for people whose ideas they like, not people whose color they like! The Democrats are shocked.

This is a huge step toward smashing the idea of racial identity politics in this country. As more and more conservative blacks, Asians, Indians and Hispanics get elected into office, the idea that you need to be a Democrat if you are one of these people will simply fall apart. And that will be the final nail in the coffin of the Democratic Hispanic-America strategy.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2012 Campaign Weekly Round Up!

Lots of interesting news this week from the 2012 Campaign, one item in particular has me truly fascinated. . . a debate! Then there’s the other stuff. Bachmann continues to implode. Perry offers a plan to entrench liberalism. Santorum has indigestion. And George Will slapped Mitt Romney. Read on. . .

Item One: Lincoln Douglas II (electric boogaloo)! The big COOL news is this: Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain have agreed to engage in a “modified Lincoln-Douglas debate” in Texas on November 5.

Bill O’Sullivan, the treasurer of the Texas Tea Party Patriots explains that: “We initially wanted a forum with all of the candidates. But when we heard Gingrich say he wanted a more serious debate, like the Lincoln–Douglas debates, we wanted to do that, especially since watching the recent superficial debates has been frustrating.”

The debate will involve both men going back and forth, “in a respectful way,” with no moderator. Sadly, no network has agreed to broadcast this debate (HINT: INTERNET BILL!!!), but I would LOVE to see this.

Item Two: Flatsnake Oil Rick Perry. Last week Rick Perry told us he wants a flat tax. This week he finally released the rate. Who knows what next week's fortune cookie might bring?! His plan apparently calls for a 20% flat tax with a $12,500 deduction per individual OR household (plus all the usual deductions). This is a HORRIBLE idea:
○ 1) This makes the problem of 47% of Americans not paying any taxes much worse. This plan takes at least another 48 million people off the tax roles, which increases the number who pay no taxes to 62%. Way to entrench liberalism Rick!

○ 2) This doesn’t produce anywhere near the income needed. Hence, it is fantasy meant to dazzle you only. Do not take internally.

○ 3) This creates a massive marriage penalty, something Republicans worked for decades to fix.

○ 4) Perry's deductions only apply if you aren't rich, which he defines as making $500,000 a year. In other words, Perry plays right into the Democrats' class warfare strategy.

○ 5) Ricky also doesn't address what constitutes income or valid deductions, which is where people with lobbyist blood (like Perry) make sure their friends like GE pay no taxes.
Somebody drag Rick back to Texas before he hurts himself.

Item Three: Irritable Bowel. Ricky Santorum says a Ron Paul nomination would “give me indigestion.” Ironically, that’s how I feel about Santorum. . . only the pain would be lower and involves too many tacos. In fact, I would prefer the rollercoaster of a Paul presidency and his attempts to dismantle the government to the stifling idiocy of a Santorum presidency and his Jihad against the scary, essence-sapping homosexuals in our midsts.

Item : Mutiny On The Bachmann. For months now, Bachmann has been experiencing a steady flow of staffers quitting her campaign. Many have taken the highly-unusual step of calling her a liar on the way out. Indeed, I recall one of her senior Congressional staffers very politely explaining that he still supported her, but he just got sick of trying to explain away her constant lies and fictions to the press.

Now Bachmann’s entire New Hampshire staff has quit on her and badmouthed her in the process. She promptly went on the radio and denied this had happened and tried to blame other campaigns for smearing her, going so far as to say that she had “called the New Hampshire staff” and they “said that isn't true.” This was yet another lie. So yesterday, the ex-staff released a letter in which they describe the campaign as “rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel.”

Item : Duller Than Dirt Squared. George F. Will has always struck me as the dullest man alive. In fact, I’m pretty sure the first question doctors ask about coma patients is “were they listening to Will?” So when the Willster tells you someone else is dull, you should listen. You’ve probably stumbled upon the essence of dull, or at least dull extract. Will just slammed Mitt Romney by describing him as the GOP’s own Michael Dukakis: “[Cain] is rising as more and more Republicans come to the conclusion that the Republican Party has found its Michael Dukakis -- a technocratic Massachusetts governor running on competence, not ideology.” Ouch! Careful George, Mitt might strongly disagree with your premise in a very stern letter.

Item : Rolling In The Mud. I can't tell you how little I respect Karl Rove. If he gives you an opinion, you can put money on it being wrong. He’s now after Herman Cain because that's how Rove stays relevant. To that end, he’s declaring Cain “finished” because of five “gaffes” Cain supposedly made. Three of these involve foreign policy minutia, which doesn’t resonate with people. And the other two are Rove’s interpretation of Cain’s statements and require you to assume Cain doesn’t know the difference between “pro-life” and “pro-choice” and doesn’t understand his own 9-9-9 plan. Obviously, this is bull.

However, Herm is making a mistake: he’s letting the establishment’s yammering heads get him frustrated and he’s shooting back. Cain needs to ignore them and stay positive -- counterattacking should be done by Cain's friends, not Cain. When the candidate gets dragged down into the mud, they cannot win no matter what they say. So let the pigs like Rove wallow . . . no one listens to them anyway.

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Biting The Hand That Fed You

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has shown his perfidy on more than one occasion in the past. He has relied for monetary and military support from the United States. He has also relied on the fact that two administrations have treated Afghanistan as a partner rather than as a conquered nation. Unlike the Emperor of Japan and the Nazi high command at the end of WW II, Karzai has been handled as if he were a co-conqueror.

Without the cooperation of the United States government, Karzai has been treating with the very Taliban who destroyed Afghanistan and paved the way for Al Qaeda to launch its attacks on the Unites States and its allies. And now, in the face of the Obama administration's cut-and-run disengagement policy, Karzai has been emboldened to choose sides in a possible confrontation between America and Pakistan.

Many of the legislators in Kabul have issued stronger condemnations of Karzai's embrace of the Taliban and Pakistan than our own government. Karzai's exact statement was: "If fighting starts between Pakistan and the United States, we are beside Pakistan. If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan's help, Afghanistan will be there with you." The statement was made on a Pakistani television station this past Saturday.

Both the American government and the legislators in Kabul have been saying repeatedly that Pakistan is providing sanctuary to militant groups which have launched attacks in and on Afghanistan. Factions of the Taliban and Al Qaeda associates have been camping out on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, executing incursions into Afghanistan on a regular basis. The Afghan interior minister blamed the sanctuary and Pakistani encouragement of militancy for the recent assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin.

The United States has never made any statement that would appear to suggest a war between the U.S. and Pakistan. But Karzai latched onto the statement by American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that said that if Islamabad is unwilling to take the fight to Al Qaeda and the Taliban/Pakistani terrorist group Haqqani, the U.S. would show them how to rid Pakistan of safe havens for the terrorists. Rather than wait for further diplomatic developments, Karzai hopped in as if the U.S. had just given Pakistan the ultimatum of total surrender or war. And he has chosen his ally in advance.

Despite clear language from the State Department saying that the U.S. has no intention of deploying ground troops in Pakistan, both the U.S. and NATO have been conducting operations designed to disrupt terrorist operations in Kabul and along the Afghan border with Pakistan. Some of those missions have utilized drones to take out Haqqani and Taliban strongholds in Pakistan. The increasingly-Islamist Pakistani government has expressed hurt feeling and some anger over the drone attacks, but is not about to go to war with the United States over them. In fact it seems that to protect their own rear ends, they decry the surgical strikes while secretly hoping the U.S. will do the job they're afraid to do.

So the question becomes, is Karzai serious or is he just maneuvering to polish his credentials with the Taliban, Haqqani, and major factions in the Pakistani government? It's easy to take sides in a war which is highly unlikely ever to occur. Karzai's recent overtures to Pakistan's mortal enemy India adds extra confusion to the formula. But people who play with other people's fire tend to get burned. It is entirely unnecessary to point out the hypocrisy and ingratitude of a leader who is in power thanks largely to the United States and its military. As the old saying goes, Karzai has all the fine traits of a bedbug except loyalty.

I suppose my next question is, if this continues through the final American withdrawal in 2014, how long before the Taliban and to a lesser-extent Haqqani string Karzai up in the central square in Kabul? I know I won't be conducting memorial services for him.

Note: On Monday, Karzai tried to talk his way out of his self-created mess. He claimed that his remarks were "taken out of context" and "mistranslated." If he ever needs a new job, he could move to the United States and become a non-apology apology writer for politicians caught with their pants down and their hands in the cookie jar. Karzai doesn't realize that with instant global communications and the worldwide web, it's just no longer possible to make a major policy statement to a particular audience and say the opposite to another audience without getting caught. Likewise, nobody with an IQ above room temperature is buying into the "mistranslation" baloney.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

San Francisco Politics--Chicago West

You all know that San Francisco politics reflect a city that is one step away from a loony bin. But not only are San Francisco politicians slightly nuts, they're often crooks. And among their talents are raising campaign funds which appear on the surface to be legal. But are they? We report, you decide.

Gavin Newsom resigned as mayor to become California's Lieutenant Governor after the 2010 elections. The Board of Supervisors appointed Supervisor Ed Lee to the position, to reign until the 2012 elections. Lee played reluctant virgin, but took the position after pledging he would not run for the position. That lasted until April of 2011, at which point he declared his candidacy for mayor. He quickly discovered how people working at or near minimum wage could make campaign contributions which are, shall we say, generous.

Lee received $500 from a cashier at a restaurant, with matching donations from a cook and a secretary at the same restaurant. A "helper" from the restaurant contributed $100. Oh, the restaurant is the Far East Cafe in Chinatown, owned by the Lee family. Companies cannot contribute directly to a mayoral campaign, but it doesn't seem to have slowed Lee down. Instead, he received large donations from ordinary employees at several companies allied with the Lee Family Association. Twelve employees at Kin Wo Construction bundled $2920. Ten of the employees contributed between $100 and $500, with the company accountant being one of the $500 contributors. At Cannon Constructors, another ally of the Lee Family Association, one project manager and four construction workers ponied up $500 each.

When asked about the oddly-large and numerous contributions, Lee's campaign manager avoided a direct answer at first, saying "any suggestion of impropriety is insulting and unfair." As for the Far East contributors, the spokesman said "it's a good sized entity, and I'm quite certain the staff can afford the contributions--the employees are quite generous."

Supervisor Bevan Dufty (he's the gay candidate, not that there's anything wrong with that) got forty contributions over $100 from Castro Street bartenders, including $500 each from three separate bar employees. Dufty's answer to the question about large donations from average people was "I held fundraisers at 90% of San Francisco's gay bars, and I have no reason to believe that any of the contributions are suspect. Even being a bar back (bartender's assistant), with tips, it's a good career."

Phil Ting got five $500 donations from the employees at Archway Property Services, a firm which manages properties in the Tenderloin slums. Just before Ting faced the same interviewer, he returned three of the $500 checks, but gave no explanation of either the returned checks or the ability of the other two employees to come up with $500 each.

Michela Alioto-Pier had forty contributors who gave her $500 each. Half of the contributors are listed as unemployed. Others include a contributor with an address down the Peninsula, and another from Beverly Hills. Alioto-Pier's spokesman finessed the question with "a lot of people know Michela has the best plan for job creation and they are contributing for an investment in their future." I'm guessing the job-creation involves future jobs at City Hall. Alioto-Pier is the granddaughter of former mayor Joe Alioto. No word yet about contributions from employees at Alioto's Restaurant on Fisherman's wharf. Her spokesman insists she was meticulous in following campaign laws.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera received eleven contributions of $500 each from employees of ProVen Management, another construction firm. On Herrera's watch, the city attorney's office settled three contract disputes favorably toward ProVen. He also received several large donations from employees of the printing firm that produces his "Herrera por Alcalde" signs for use in the heavily-Hispanic Mission District. No conflict of interest there, huh? Herrera's spokesman says "if any of our donors admit to being reimbursed cash for their contributions, Dennis Herrera himself will be the first to call for an investigation of it." I guess he won't do anything if they don't admit it.

Current State Senator, and former San Francisco Supervisor Leland Yee got eleven donations of $500 each from five workers at a Peninsula business in Colma named Lucky Chances Casino. Even a card dealer and a poker referee came up with $250 each. I suppose they get good tips too. Five workers from American Airporter and Airport Express SF, businesses that shuttle passengers to San Francisco airport, also came up with $500 each. Yee's spokesman was adamant that the source of the funds was legitimate: "We absolutely vet every check that we get to ensure the person who donated it did it of their own free will, and using their own funds." That's reassuring.

The Republican candidate in the race did not respond to questions. Oh, wait. There is no Republican candidate in the race. They're all Democrats.

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Should The Democrats Embrace OWS?

OccupyWallStreet (OWS) is the new Tea Party, right?! That’s what the Democratic Party wants to believe. But are the Democrats making a mistake embracing these idiot malingerers sleeping in their own feces. Yep. And now one Democratic pollster is alarmed.

The Democrats have been busy embracing the OWS “movement” because they think this represents a leftist Tea Party. They think OWS can be transformed into a broad national movement which will energize dispirited Democratic voters, just as the Tea Party breathed life into conservatives. Thus, Pelosi, Obama, Frank and the rest are out there praising these idiots and trying to reshape their confused message into standard Democratic talking points.

But things aren’t going so well. An AP poll the other day found that only 39% of the public supports the OWS protestors, and that poll's sample was skewed about 17% to the left. Moreover, almost all of that 39% comes from Democratic and Socialist ranks. So is it really a good idea for the Democrats to embrace OWS?

That’s what Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen wanted to find out. So he sent a researcher wading into the crowds (presumably in a biohazard suit) to conduct face to face interviews with 198 of them. What he found was not a new Tea Party of the left. Instead, he found an angry bunch of clueless leftists who hate you. And he thinks Obama/Pelosi are making a “critical error in embracing” these fools and it could cost them the election:
[T]he Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people. . . . What binds a large majority of the protesters together is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.
Specifically, he found they have a distinct hard-core leftist ideology:
● More than half of these protestors (52%) are professional protestors.

● 98% support civil disobedience to achieve their goals and 32% support violence.

● Schoen found no Republicans or conservatives. 50% are Democrats, socialists or anarchists. Most of the rest claimed no party. But 74% of them voted for Obama in 2008, and about the same are likely to vote for him again in 2012. The other quarter say they won’t vote at all in 2012.

● 77% want to raise taxes on “the rich” and 36% want to raise taxes on everyone.

● 73% oppose free trade and support protectionism.

● 65% think government has a “moral responsibility” to provide guaranteed healthcare and college education.
And check out these views as well:
● 40% blame corporations or capitalism for the nation’s problems. Another 6% blame “income inequality”, which is a proxy for “capitalism” on the left.

● 7% blame the nation’s problems on Bush.

● 2% blame military spending.

● 15% blame the American people, those fools.

● 2% blame the Tea Party.

● And strangely, 21% blame “partisanship”. . . said the highly partisan crowd. I actually interpret this either as a code word for imposing a single-party government or they think this is what the public wants to hear.
Their goals include:
● 4% Dissolution of our representative democracy/capitalist system

● 4% Radical redistribution of wealth

● 7% Direct Democracy

● 9% Mobilizing Progressives

● 4% Single payer health care

● 4% Pulling out of Afghanistan immediately
They're hypocrites too. They claim to speak for the unemployed but 85% are employed or students. They claim to oppose Wall Street, yet 49% supported TARP. They claim to hate capitalism, but 68% want more money.

Finally, we have this entertaining note. Apparently, the OWS drummers are upset. The fascists who run the leaderless protest “are becoming the government we’re trying to protest,” whined a 19-year old, feces-covered inbred. “They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said another pothead, before he added this bit of racism: “They suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”

What has upset them? Apparently, the OWS organizers have imposed a “tax” and are taking the money the drummers are “earning” fleecing passing idiots. This has upset the drummers, who feel they aren’t getting anything in return for the taxes being taken from them. . . no irony there, nope, none at all.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

So Long, Been Good To Know Ya

Moderate Democrats who have decided to hang up their spurs can't resist taking a parting shot at their peerless leader, Barack Hussein Obama. The latest is normally-quiet California Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-18th District), who seemed to be empowered by the freedom to speak his mind that incumbency and political necessity denied him. He let the current left-leaning Democratic Party have it, but aimed most of his ire at the Leader Who Doesn't Lead.

Rep. Cardoza will be leaving his position at the end of his term in 2012. He represents the area in and around Fresno. His district has been among the hardest hit by the collapse of the housing market and crippling government regulation of the agricultural Central Valley by use of the Endangered Species Act. Unemployment rates in California are about 12%, but certain areas within Rep. Cardoza's district have hit rates as high as 37%. Foreclosure notices are nearly double the rate for the state, brown burned-out fields that were once lush green agricultural powerhouses are ubiquitous, and the human misery index is off the charts.

Cardoza has had an easy time winning elections in the district as a moderate, or Blue Dog Democrat. He was first elected in 2002, and sailed through that and the next three election cycles. 2010, however, was a whole different story. In a district that has been heavily Democrat for decades, he barely squeaked by. His fellow Blue Dog in the adjacent district, Jim Costa, experienced the same difficulty. To add insult to injury, the two moderates have had their districts realigned by the California Redistricting Commission, and would both now be running in the same district.

Cardoza began his letter of resignation by pointing out that the President and his mouthpiece in California Nancy Pelosi have left no room in the Democratic tent for old-fashioned moderates. Cardoza had fought against Obamacare and railed about the pressure being put on Blue Dogs to go along with the economy-destroying socialized medical care bill. In the end, he caved. Both Cardoza and fellow Blue Dog Jim Costa voted against electing San Fran Nan House Minority Leader after the national drubbing the Democrats took in 2010. Both complained that Pelosi refused even to talk with them about anything which might slow the progressive agenda. Both begged Obama to rein in his EPA and allow farmers to get sufficient water to revitalize the Central Valley breadbasket.

Cardoza made multiple pleas for Obama to tour the Central Valley with him so he could see the devastation created by failed liberal government policies. Obama preferred fund-raisers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and didn't respond to a single one of Cardoza's requests. In 2010, Cardoza pointed the finger at Obama, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in regard to the governmentally-imposed drought. "I repeatedly called upon your departments to mitigate the devastating economic impacts of court decisions and environmental regulations that had altered water flow into the rich agricultural area."

Cardoza is joined in his anger and frustration by fellow moderates Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Arkansas), who have also announced they will not run for reelection in 2012. The Blue Dogs had previously held fifty-four Democratic seats, but after the 2010 elections, their number was reduced to twenty-five.

With these three resignations, the moderates (some of them members of Bill Clinton's defunct "third way" Democratic Leadership Council) will be down to twenty-two. Other Blue Dogs are making similar sounds. Interestingly, Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi have been gleefully trying to eviscerate the Republican Party for being dragged to the far right, without noticing how badly her Democratic drag to the far left is hurting her own party.

Of the housing crisis, Cardoza charged Obama with inaction and a failure to understand the needs of the unemployed and bankrupt citizens of the Central Valley. He accused Obama of being far more interested in making speeches and raising reelection money than tending to his job as Chief Executive. In a statement much harsher than would ordinarily be expected even from a maverick Democrat, Cardoza said: "Looking back on disappointments, I am dismayed by the Administration's failure to understand and effectively address the current housing foreclosure crisis. Home foreclosures are destroying communities and crushing our economy, and the Administration's inaction is infuriating."

Cardoza also bemoaned the hypocrisy of the progressive Democrat calls for civility in politics while attacking Republicans as racists, homophobes, haters of the poor, and even Nazis. A Democratic strategist who demanded anonymity reported to the Washington Post that "this [Cardoza's statement] is beyond odd, and clearly a reflection of Democrats' frustration with this president and his administration."

Warning of extreme partisanship in both parties, but particularly his own, Cardoza concluded with: "For our country to change course, voters must aggressively punish extreme partisanship and rhetoric when they cast their ballots." California is a lost cause for moderation for at least the foreseeable future, and it's sad to see an honorable member of the Democratic party throw up his hands in frustration and head for the exit. It is not a sure thing that a Republican will replace him during the 2012 election cycle, and any Democrat is certainly going to be to the left of Cardoza.
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The Great (film) Debates vol. 12

Now I'm told actresses are important to films too these days. Who knew?! Since we did actors last week, let's see what people think about these so-called "actresses" this week.

Who is your favorite modern actress and what is their best role?

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Question: What would you ask?

It's a slow news day in New York. Now that the #Occupiers are settling in for their second month, let's talk about something else for awhile...

Question: If Commentarama was hosting one of the thirteen remaining Republican Presidential Candidates' debates, what would you ask?
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Film Friday: Screamers (1995)

I like Screamers. It’s a decent science fiction film about machines turning on man. The story is unique and inspired and the plot handles the story well. There really isn’t anything about this film I would change. Yet, I can’t call it a great film. In fact, if I were to rate it, I’d give it a solid B. I find that fascinating.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Busting Adbusters and Occupy Wall Street

We finally got past Foreskin Man's antisemitic campaign to ban infant circumcision when a state court declared the San Francisco and Santa Monica ordinances in violation of California law and a violation of First Amendment religious protection. But never fear. The new antisemitism is alive and well and occupying Wall Street.

In a previous post, I mentioned that much of the early organizational impetus for the "spontaneous" Occupy Wall Street movement came from Nazi collaborator and currency manipulator George Soros in Adbusters, the Canadian magazine which first started organizing people to descend on New York City (see: Twitter Twits). But Georgie Boy is the puppetmaster who likes to stay hidden behind the screen. The real brains and major funder behind the magazine and the public image of Adbusters is retired Wall Street stock trader Robert Halper.

It seems that Halper subscribes to two dicta: "There's no antisemite like an old antisemite," and "I got mine, f--- you." Halper still lives in luxury in Upper West Side New York City, near his old haunts at the New York Mercantile Exchange (he is a former VP of that organization) and various other Wall Street locations. He continues to lob missiles and missals at the voraciousness of Wall Street, but as of this writing has not donned sackloth and ashes nor given away all his wealth to the unwashed poor occupying the sidewalks of New York.

But he did write Adbusters a check for $20,000. His checks to the magazine are usually between $50,000 and $75,000. Don't take my word for it. My source is The New York Times (absent my editorial comments, of course): He Made It On Wall Street.

Halper and his magazine claim to be solely anti-corporation and anti-capitalism, but there is a much darker side to their dogma. Their most famous headline from 2004 in an article about American neo-conservatives was entitled "Why Won't Anyone Say They Are Jewish?" At age 54, Halper is not as experienced as Soros at disguising his antisemitism, and in fact at times seems to take pride in it. Both Soros and Halper know how to manipulate currency and manipulate ignorant people.

Adbusters has run articles that are often distinctly anti-Israel and at the same time covertly antisemitic (in the sense that "antisemitic" means "anti-Jewish"). Following up on its suggestion that all, or nearly all, neo-conservatives are Jewish, it then blamed the Iraq war on them. Some time later, it blamed the Israelis for the violence in Palestine. It even managed to suggest that the Holocaust Museum's images of the Warsaw Ghetto were somehow ironically symbolic of the way Israel treats the Palestinians in Gaza. Much of what Adbusters prints is allegedly political humor. It ain't funny.

The Wall Street occupiers have multiple inchoate and unfathomable "causes" to promote, and it's impossible to say honestly that its main theme is antisemitism. But it is certainly a major motif. Dozens of antisemitic and anti-Israel placards (many of them professionally-printed, out-of-town shall we say?). We all know in our heart of hearts that Wall Street=Jewish=rich=bankers=conspiracy. Don't we? When these signs and rabid antisemitic speakers show up to stoke the mob's anger at almost everything, the mainstream media yawns. The crowd does nothing to to quell the bigots.

When a few racists showed up at Tea Party rallies, the Partiers exercised their own right to expel them and loudly denounce them. Yet unlike the Wall Street situation, the MSM treated the Tea Party rallies as if they were huge convocations of a newly-revitalized Ku Klux Klan. Liberals and other Democrats also ignore the antisemitism being displayed at the Occupy rallies nationwide, preferring to claim that these are spontaneous, peaceful demonstrations expressing frustration with the current economic conditions. Grassroots, don't you know?

Among the prominent Democrats supporting and encouraging the Occupy mobs are Nancy Pelosi (who called the Tea Party "astroturf"), Hillary Clinton (and her occasional husband Bill Clinton), and The One, Barack Obama himself. The ignorant, self-centered, half-assed socialism being espoused by the potentially-dangerous mob now has a strong historical "enemy" to aim its anger at. The Jews did it. We're all poor and downtrodden because of those Wall Street Jews. Most disgusting of all, Democratic leaders want the votes of these know-nothings so badly that they completely ignore or downplay the resurgence of American antisemitism.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Falling-Out Among Thieves?

Teamsters Union President Jimmy Hoffa (the one who isn't among the missing) has threatened the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats that the Teamsters will "hold them accountable" for passing the three free trade agreements that had languished on President Obama's desk for over two years.

How he plans to do that is yet to be determined. Cement overshoes, perhaps? Does he plan on singling out Obama only, or will he need a large cement mixer for the Democrats who voted for the agreements as well? At least now I know why the Fox Movie Channel keeps showing Blood Feud, the TV mini-series about the elder Hoffa and Bobby Kennedy. There hasn't been this much bad blood between the big union and a Democratic administration since 1968.

Hoffa (who prefers to be called James P. Hoffa) did lay out part of his plan. He said "the Teamsters will hold members of Congress accountable at the ballot box for their votes on these damaging trade deals." How democratic. He went on to say: "Our representatives just voted to damage our economy, raise unemployment and lower workers' wages. These trade deals protect the profit of multinationals at the expense of American working families."

Obama, in contrast, signed the bills the moment they were returned to him. He said that the agreements would support tens of thousands of American jobs while protecting the environment, workers' rights and intellectual property rights. Rather than simply remove trade barriers such as tariffs, the agreements require mutual cooperation in raising the standards for labor and the environment in the three contracting nations. They didn't simply open up additional markets in America for the products coming from the three nations (Colombia, Panama, and South Korea) without corresponding concessions. For a more complete discussion of the trade agreements and Obama's belated support for them, go here.

Several think tanks on both the left and right estimate that the free trade agreements will produce about 77,000 new jobs in America and make American products more appealing to the other three nations. Hoffa wasn't going to take that lying down, so he attempted to pander to his Occupy Wall Street counterparts by saying: "This is one of the reasons people are marching in the streets of dozens of American cities. Their government is betraying them, and they're furious."

How real this dispute is remains to be seen. Hoffa may just be trying to shore up support among his own cadres and those of the other big unions. He may very well have spoken with Obama and told him "don't worry, we're just putting on a show, but we're still in the tank for you." After all, who else is his union going to support in 2012? The Republicans? The Blue Dog Democrats? The battle between his father and Bobby Kennedy was much more personal, so Jimmy the Elder's support of Richard Nixon is not likely to repeat itself with Jimmy the Lesser.
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Our Overseas Military Presence

To give you a quick update on the 2012 election, Perry now claims he wants a flat tax at some unknown rate. Perry's supporters seem really blind to how poorly he’s coming across. Cain says he will go on the attack in the next debate because the other candidates “are getting on my last nerve.” Palin thinks Newt won the other night. And Politico wants to convince us that the race is between Perry and Romney. But the guy I want to talk about today is Paul.

In the last two debates, Paul has said the US has 900 military bases overseas in 130 countries. This struck me as likely true, but also highly misleading, as I will explain.

Looking this up, I found the US actually has military personnel in 148 different countries. That doesn’t surprise me. We also have 662 installations outside the country. That doesn’t surprise me either. And I’m not going to quibble about 900 versus 662: either number is huge and within the same order of magnitude.

So Paul is correct, right? Sort of. He is technically correct about the numbers. But I think he is implying something much bigger than the reality. When Paul says the military has bases in these countries, it sounds a lot like we have an active military presence sitting on self-contained “bases” in almost every country. In effect, it sounds like we have occupied every country in the world.

But that’s not really what is going on. The truth is that only 13 countries host more than 1,000 troops: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan, Bahrain, Djibouti, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Most of the rest have only a handful of troops, typically in single digits.

So what are they doing? That’s impossible to determine for sure, but most likely they are guarding embassies. There are about 30 Marines at the embassy in Moscow, plus some other officers from the other services. So let’s exclude any country with fewer than 40 military personnel from this list on the assumption they are just embassy staff.

Suddenly we are only in 19 countries, 13 of which are in Europe. . . where we are part of NATO.

The 662 bases is misleading too. All but 32 of those bases are either small sites or owned on paper only. For example, some of these sites are apparently nothing more than unmanned radio towers. One site listed in Canada is only 144 square feet -- a 12x12 room, just like our “base” in North Korea is just a room with two guards assigned.

Thus, when Paul says we have 900 military bases overseas in 130 countries, he is technically correct (give or take). But what he’s really should be saying to not be misleading is: we have 32 military bases overseas in 19 countries. That doesn’t quite have the same punch.

I don’t subscribe to isolationism at all. Isolationism is a horrible policy because it eliminates your ability to control your destiny and it turns you into a victim of circumstance. And ignoring a bully never works.

But I do agree with Paul to this extent -- I would like to see a stronger analysis on why we are in each region. I get Asia, for example. If we pulled out of Asia, China would dominate the region, Japan would re-arm and go nuclear, and war would probably break out in the Koreas, between China and Taiwan, and between China and Vietnam. That would be very bad for the US. And I understand we’re in Europe mainly to keep bases needed to transport troops. But why are we in Africa, South America or throughout the Middle East?

I think those are valid questions.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Villains?! We Don't Need No Stinking Villains!

We’ve spoken a couple times about the need to create conflict in stories. The easiest way to create conflict is to introduce a villain. A villain is a character who acts maliciously and spends the film either trying to destroy the hero or doing something evil which the hero must try to stop. Lately, all Hollywood films have villains. But you don’t actually need a villain.

Click Here To Read Article/Comments at CommentaramaFilms [+]

Jokers To The Left of Me, Clowns To The Right

Last night’s debate was a disgrace. Newt tried to blame CNN at the end for using a back and forth format that encouraged bickering. He’s wrong. CNN had nothing to do with it. Several candidates (including Newt) made conscious decisions to act like jackasses. They acted disgracefully and honestly need to drop out.

Winner: Obama. The big winner last night was Obama as the Republicans as a group came across like liars, fools and angry children. Also, our biggest idiots (Santorum, Bachmann) both fell for Obama’s Iran-Mexico diversion even as everyone else on the planet has decided Holder made it up. Bravo.

Not Loser: Mitt Romney. If you look at Romney in isolation, he came across as knowledgeable and well-briefed, and defended himself well. On the minus side, I don’t recall anything he said and he never came across as conservative. But the real problem last night was the nastiness of the entire debate. This was a debate filled with cheap shots, lies, unprofessional conduct and childish behavior. Even though his performance was solid, Romney gets downgraded for guilt by association because no one looked good. I do, however, give Romney a slight win over Cain because Romney seemed more in control.

Not Loser: Herman Cain. Cain was smart, knowledgeable and relentlessly positive. He defended himself well and always remained a gentleman. He displayed his sense of humor about electrifying the fence to Mexico and during the unfair attacks on his 9-9-9 plan. He proposed a real healthcare solution (not just “repeal ObamaCare”), i.e. allowing insurance across state borders, loser pays laws, and allowing patients and doctors to make decisions. And he refused to apologize for telling the OccupyWallStreet kids that it’s their own fault they don’t have jobs -- he said they should blame Obama, not bankers.

But the mud was too thick last night. Each of the others used numbers from a leftist think tank and liberal arguments to attack his 9-9-9 plan. It was bizarre to hear conservative Ron Paul defend progressive tax rates. Bachmann and Santorum falsely claimed Cain’s sales tax is a VAT. Newt pretended it was hopelessly complex. And Romney and Perry tried to mix in state taxes to confuse the plan. Essentially, seven supposed conservatives either knowingly lied or used the liberal ideas they have themselves criticized to attack a solidly conservative plan. Even worse, these attacks were done in smarmy, condescending ways. It was shameful. I thought the pile-on effect hurt Cain, though CNN's Gloria Borger thought Cain defended himself extremely well.

A bigger problem came when he suggested he would negotiate with terrorists. He actually said he would consider a hostage trade for a captured American soldier depending on the circumstances -- and the truth is every leader negotiates with terrorists. But since this was hypocrite night, the others jumped on this even though they would do the exact same thing. Cain backpedaled. He should have stood his ground. The public can accept views with which they disagree, but they don’t like backpedaling. Cain also seemed to backpedal on the TARP issue. He says he supported the concept, but not the execution. Personally, I don’t think that plays well for a man who is known as a straight shooter.

Ron Paul: Not much new to report here. Paul wants to bring the troops home from Korea and Japan, causing an arms race in Asia. Other than that, he was mostly right all night, but still 10% insane. Last night’s secret word was “inflation.”

Loser: Newt. Newt reminded us why people don’t like or trust him. He claims to be an outsider, yet he attacked Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and then advocated “targeted” tinkering with the current code instead. Welcome back to K Street Newt, we missed you.

Then he got caught lying about supporting the individual mandate for health insurance when he attacked Romney for including such a mandate in RomneyCare. Romney shot back saying he got the idea from Newt. Newt acted outraged and called that “a lie.” Except it wasn’t. Newt danced for a while and then had to admit he did in fact support and advocate the idea. And he tried to explain his lie away by saying Romney had falsely said “Newt” came up with the idea when it was really “Newt AND the Heritage Foundation.” Only a corrupt politician would think that’s a valid distinction.

Newt also pandered to the Religious Right by saying he wouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t pray. . . though he didn’t specify how many minutes of prayer are required. Finally, he tried to blame Anderson Cooper for his own misbehavior and that of the other children.

Total Loser: Rick Perry. Perry’s performance was pathetic. He interrupted and spoke over people. He took nasty cheap shots all night and even went back to the same ones after they were discredited. He got booed repeatedly. He kept talking about his “plan,” which he apparently released last week or might release next week, depending on which Perry you believe. The only economic idea he could mention was drilling for oil. He tried to attack Romney for hiring illegal aliens, which turned out to be a contracted lawn service and then tried to leverage this into making himself sound tough on illegal immigration -- until Romney pointed out that Perry wrote an editorial supporting amnesty. Perry also got caught lying about supporting TARP. He tried to blame all of Texas’ problems on the federal government, but offered no solutions. He smugly tried to redefine conservatism to fit him. And he tried to go toe to toe with Romney in verbal gotcha and got destroyed. The boy is stoopid. Rick needs to find an exit strategy pronto.

Total Loser: Michele Bachmann. Bachmann is proving to be a politician in the worst sense. She's a clueless hypocrite who doesn't understand the Constitution. She's incapable of answering direct questions. Her whole platform depends on emotional appeals based on irrelevancies. And worst of all, she speaks in disingenuous generalities and then attacks anyone who won’t ante up to her pandering. Here are some examples.

She attacked Cain’s 9-9-9 plan for being too extreme and then proposed eliminating the entire tax code. Huh? And as usual, she gave no hint what she would replace it with. Why? Two reasons. First, she doesn’t have a clue. Secondly, the only thing it could be replaced with is a sales tax. . . like the one she keeps slamming Herman Cain for proposing. Also, despite being a former attorney for the IRS (which actually means nothing -- she was just a debt collector), she doesn’t understand the difference between corporate income tax, a sales tax and a value added tax. And after attacking Cain's 9-9-9 plan for “raising taxes on millions of people,” she then said she wants 100% of Americans to pay taxes -- which would raise taxes on at least 145 million people. Also note that she hasn't proposed even a hint of a plan how she would do this.

Bachmann jumped on Cain for the supposed “negotiate with terrorists” thing even after he clarified his statement and denied that’s what he meant. Then she tried to one-up herself by stupidly claiming she’s so tough she wants to demand “reimbursement” from Iraq and Libya for what it cost us to invade both countries -- that's how World War II started.

She also dubiously claimed she will ban immigrants from getting “any government benefits” (which would violate the Constitution) and she equally dubiously claimed she could fix the “anchor baby” problem through legislation without changing the 14th Amendment.

Total Loser: Rick Santorum. Santorum is a disgrace. He's a whiny fake who tries to disrupt the other candidates by talking over them, by mischaracterizing their statements and plans, by hitting them with liberal talking points, and by making illogical, disingenuous, contradictory and hypocritical attacks. All he’s done is poison the debates. And for the record, while Rick claims he’s the only one ever to win in a swing state (cough cough Romney and Bachmann) and he claims he did better than Bush, let me remind you how his last election went: 2006 Bob Casey 59%, Rick Santorum 41%. Get bent Rick.
What really struck me last night was the difference between the professional politicians and the businessmen. The businessmen kept trying to promote their ideas and tried to stay positive, though Cain succeeded more than Romney at that. The professionals (excluding Paul) used gotcha questions, false logic, cynical emotional appeals, lies, distortions and distinctions so fine they were nonexistent. They were angry. They offered nothing but the same old, same old. And frankly, it made me sick watching them. Am I wrong?

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