I saw some conservative blogs asserting that the New Party was founded by the Democratic Socialists of America. I’m not entirely clear on the proof of this. More than one DSA newsletter had a New Party Update, but one of those newsletters discussed “a proposal that Chicago DSA affiliate with the New Party” suggesting an affinity but no clear pre-existing close relationship. The newsletter said that the DSA decided to “explore affiliation” with the New Party, but also with another party. Clearly, they were fellow travelers, but I urge readers to read any assertions of a connection with a skeptical eye.
However, it is clear from the above links that Obama was a member of the New Party; and it is clear that the Democratic Socialists of America were particular fans of Obama’s. The Democratic Socialists endorsed Obama in 1996 and again in 2000 , saying:
Meanwhile, GOP.com is doing an Obama dump. All the Obama scandals you ever wanted to hear about and some you didn’t even know about.
As I have pointed out before, Obama’s associations and affiliations point to two issues:
On the judgement side, Obama worked for an extended period of time in two political projects with an unrepentant terrorist who travels to Chavista schools to advocate the overthrow of democracy.
On the experience side, Obama’s only real administrative experience track record is as dismal as it can get. $160 million of CAC money? gone.
And so is the $75,000 of Woods Fund money that went to Arafat’s crony Rashid Khalidi.
The media’s in bed with Obama.
The problem is, the McCain campaign is out of ideas. It has not proposed any major new idea to provoke public discussion, to excite its base, or to give us all something to vote for. The Republicans appear to be out of gas, and I fear that it is too late to refill the tank. If John McCain offers new policy ideas now they will not be taken seriously because they will seem desperate.
If you doubt me, ask yourself this: What will the McCain administration do in its first 100 days? We know what Barack Obama will do — raise our taxes (or at least my taxes), go about restructuring the healthcare system, re-regulate business from the agencies, try to negotiate his way to peace European-style, accelerate the withdrawal from Iraq, and appoint judges that turn the Constitution upside down. Since I dislike all that stuff (except maybe the health care piece) I am going to vote for McCain, but I am still left with the question, what will John McCain do?
Interestingly, the person who may have that answer is Sarah Palin.
Nicolas Sarkozy won as a maverick in his own party running against both Chirac and the Socialists because he could tell you exactly what he was going to do. Obama’s promised hope, change and economic ruin. It’s time McCain spells out what he’s going to do.
Prairiepundit via Larwyn,
(Special thanks to Larwyn for the links.)
Via Rob Bluey, The Financial Bailout (and the New Resolution Trust Corp.) Must Restore the Markets and Protect the Taxpayer
Two friends and I were discussing the bailout, and as to our opinions, Jonah Goldberg couldn’t have said it better:
Basically, I think the bad paper should stay with the people who bought it. If we need to further capitalize the banks, create short term rules or cobble together other backstops, fine. But Paulson’s plan basically says, “I am the Lord thy God,” and that’s crazy. But it seems to me that Newt and the editors of NR are right when they worry that the Paulson plan essentially opens the door to unending government control of capital markets, which is just crazy. Even if I completely trusted the wisdom of Paulson and his bureaucrats — which I don’t — there’s no way that I trust the Dodds, Franks or the next Treasury secretary. Every day the markets don’t go off the cliff suggests to me that we can do this in stages and that Paulson’s do-it-my-way-or-it’s-the-Dark-Ages-for-us-all argument doesn’t hold water.
MACCALLUM: And what kind of broad approach would you like to see in Latin American? I mean, what is our intelligence like in Latin America, how, you know, sort of beat up are we and ready to deal with this situation that might crop up there?
BERNTSEN: We have a dual track problem there. There’s an assault on democracy in Latin America. You got countries like Venezuela and Bolivia. You know, the Bolivians just PNG’ed our ambassador. Venezuela PNG’ed our ambassador. You had the Bolivians just kick out the Drug Enforcement Agency there.
BERNSTEN: These people are aligning themselves with the Iranians. You’ve got Russian, you know, military exercises jointly with the Venezuelans. So you’re not going to get the level of cooperation that we had in the past. So, you know, we’re going to have to go ahead and push for the re-democratization of Latin America.
Senator McCain has talked about this. He’s talked about having, you know, a broad alliance of democratic nations and it goes back to fundamentals, goes back to the good governments, democracy, and a shared effort to fight against extremists. And it’s a global issue, this isn’t based on Afghanistan. I know we’re all looking at it at Afghanistan now.
Jane also sent an article that mentions little Najoud, YEMEN: Call to improve women’s status. I can not explain why I am so moved by this brave child. May God bless her and keep her.
And the roundup:
CAIR Files FEC Complaint that would make the word jihad illegal.
Moe’s feeling sorry for David Wade today: Biden to Pennsylvania: No Coal for You! and as it turns out, Joe Biden was watching TV during the Great Depression and thought FDR, not Hoover, was president. Can’t wait for the NYT to do a 3,000 word expose on Biden’s mental acuity. Let’s go to the videotape:
UPDATE, Wednesday 24 Sept.
As Victor Davis Hanson says, Had this been Palin, the election would now be over.
The One Million Dollar POS Obama. There’s bad art, and then there’s really bad… er… art.
Time for Ten Things Tuesday.
Special thanks to Maria and Larwyn.
John Templeton answered that question by moving to the Bahamas and starting his Foundation, which grants The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research of Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.
GM Roper posts his Thoughts On The Eleventh Hour, Of The Eleventh Day, Of The Eleventh Month
Ed Morrissey was on TV, and he looks lovely:
Via the NY Sun, Milton Friedman talks about the free enterprise system:
At Jeremayakovka’s, Because The Beautiful Non-Violent Anarchist Revolution Needs A New York Chapter
Gays should be hanged, says Iranian minister:
Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference
Apologists carefully ignore it.
To Understand the Left, Read this Issue of Rolling Stone. And keep an eye on the foul language, too.
At Der Speigel, Peter H. Smith asks Are We Losing Latin America?
This question has been asked for over a century now, and Smith’s not particularly insightful in his opening paragraph:
A new populism is rising across Latin America and Cuba faces what could be a tough transition period. After years of neglect, it’s time for Europe and the United States to reengage a trans-Atlantic dialogue on Latin America.
For starters, while Smith accuses Pres. Bush of totally ignoring Latin America (an arguable point, to say the least), the EU’s not just ignoring but actively neglecting the region, as Smith himself admits
Europe has been unable to grant much time or attention to Latin America. In May 2006 a summit meeting of EU and Latin American heads of state produced elegant declarations that were elegant declarations devoid of meaningful content. Participants solemnly affirmed that “we reiterate our commitment to continue promoting and strengthening our strategic bi-regional association as agreed in previous summits…” As summarized by one prominent newspaper, “A paralyzed Europe collides with a divided Latin America.” The EU-Latin American summits were falling short of expectations. In recent years, the EU has undertaken few significant initiatives. The most notable activity resulted in FTAs with Mexico, in 1997, and Chile, in 2002. The 2006 summit also proclaimed the intention to negotiate a free trade agreement with Central America. In this case, as in the others, the principal goal would be to offset the preferential effects of bilateral FTAs with the United States. In the meantime, the much publicized idea of an FTA between the EU and Mercosur languished for lack of attention – and for lack of commitment on both sides. “To achieve success,” as one observer noted, “the negotiation needs fresh air.”
The EU’s reiterated commitments to continue promoting and strengthening anything and everything, are for the great part reactions to the USA’s bilateral free trade agreements with Latin American countries, among them,
- the Caribbean Basin Initiative of 1983
- the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1992
- other free trade agreements (FTAs) with:
Central American nations,
and of course, Brazil.
All of these are arguable points (not the least of which being that ignorance can be bliss), but the problem I have with Smith’s article is that it views American interests in the region as bad
because they threaten to prejudice European economic interests
What about Latin America’s economic interests?
Unfortunately the EU’s economic interests are predicated on more regulation, more tariffs, more taxes, and more bureaucracy. IF (yes, a big “IF”) the EU were serious about its own, and Latin America’s, economic interests they would concentrate on how to abolish all trade tariffs and farm subsidies.
Which they will never do.
The US and Brazil, by the way, are currently accelerating the process of the DOHA global trade talks which has everything to do with tariffs.
The other article on Latin America is Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s
Castro’s Enemy: The Ethanol Alliance. As I have mentioned previously, the ethanol produced in Brazil is subject to a 54-cents-a-gallon US tarriff. Vargas Llosa correctly states
If the United States wants to boost ethanol consumption and reduce oil-dependency, it needs to make a simple decision — eliminate its 54-cents-a-gallon tariff. Experts tell us that corn-based ethanol, the kind being produced in the United States, is eight times less efficient than Brazil’s sugarcane version of the biofuel. Alessandro Teixeira, Brazil’s point man for his country’s ethanol strategy, insists that “we are the world leader, and if people really want to benefit from our ethanol industry, they have to embrace it in practice, not in theory.” Precisely because corn is much less efficient than sugarcane, the U.S. has been able to replace only about 3 percent of its oil consumption despite a huge government biofuel program.
Vargas Llosa, however, is aware of the DOHA talks,
It is hard to see how the new ethanol alliance will boost the Doha Round of world trade talks, as some commentators are claiming. The principal stumbling block is the fact that developing countries are using American and European protectionism as an excuse to maintain their own barriers in areas such as services. The U.S. ethanol program already has caused an artificial rise in the price of cereals, giving new arguments to developing nations who want to blame the United States for impoverishing them.
Vargas Llosa ends with the real reason to worry about all this government intervention,
It makes me nervous when governments, rather than investors and consumers, decide what we should invest in and what we should consume. But if the ethanol partners want their grand schemes to have a chance at success, then they at least need to start by being consistent.
And that is the lesson of the day for all involved: Latin America, the EU, and the USA.
For more on Latin America and the USA, listen to last Monday’s podcast with Monica Showalter.
So what to think about that new display of wealth, from the new if not very tasteful restaurants to the obscenely expensive cars? Well, it is indeed sudden.
The trend continues: Venezuela’s consumerism flourishes
A key force behind Venezuela’s economic growth has been the oil industry, which accounts for 78 percent of exports and some 14 percent of Venezuela’s gross domestic product. High oil prices also are helping fill government coffers. This year, an estimated 45 percent of government revenues are projected to come from oil.
The consumption trend has touched all social classes, including low-income Venezuelans. A growing state work force, new government benefits, and a rising minimum wage have helped put money in Venezuelans’ pockets, even as high inflation has eaten away at those gains.
The Devil’s Excrement has a post explaining How the robolution cynically flaunts their newly found wealth
Well, let’s look at the issue. All of a sudden, in a few states around Venezuela, Hummers have sprouted around driven by Government officials. Barinas and Carabobo state have been particularly noted for being populated by an inordinate amount of privately owned Hummers, driven by Government officials.
As I posted last January, Chavez had specifically stated that
President Hugo Chavez denied Sunday that his left-leaning government would seize private property — such as second homes or expensive cars — from the wealthy and called on Venezuelans not to fear his accelerated push toward socialism.
Ironically, today, on the same day as the Chavista lifestyle article, a Taiwan news site reports that Venezuela’s policies pose risk for private firms
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s radical policies pose “substantial risk” for private firms and are expected to drive down the South American country’s economic growth in 2007, the world’s leading banking organization said Sunday.
The Institute of International Finance presented the doom-and-gloom outlook for Venezuela in its annual Latin American Regional Overview report released at a conference on the sidelines of the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting, which ends Tuesday.
Nonetheless, Hugo continues to expand in the Caribbean – this time in Trinidad and Tobago.
Where there’s money, politicians follow: Hardly surprising, here in the USA Republicans also lobby for Hugo Chavez.
The problem with Walters’ ‘View’-ish chat with Chavez was that it served Chavez’s ends but offered no benefit to U.S. viewers. The common aim seemed to bash George Bush. But another effect was to strengthen Chavez.
Chavez is South America’s most ruthless dictator, filling jails and repressing freedom. He told Walters he intended to remain in power permanently and added he’d like to run the U.S., too.
But Walters brushed off the signs of megalomania and continued to try to make him seem human. She asked how he felt about marriage and kids, and flattered him with descriptors like ‘intelligent,’ ‘dignified’ and ‘statesmanlike,’ as if any tyrant couldn’t project charm to a gullible newswoman. No dictator rises without it.
As Walters and Chavez java’d and jived, she neglected to ask about the coffee shortages now rife in Venezuela due to Chavez’s economic grip. She didn’t bother to ask about the growing exodus of Venezuelans fleeing to the U.S. And she gave only cursory mention of their plight, deceptively dismissing them — just as Chavez does — as ‘the wealthy.’
Nor did Walters ask about Venezuela’s growing role in the global drug trade, or Chavez’s $4 billion military buildup that directly threatens the U.S.
Dr Sanity looks at the Left’s support of Chavez:
I have often wondered if the political left in the 21st century hasn’t been suffering from some sort of bizarre group manifestation of a pattern of behavior Freud called “the repetition compulsion”. This is a psychodynamic situation where a person repeats a traumatic event or something having to do with it over and over again in an attempt to deal with it. This time, the person says to himself, it will turn out differently.
It never does.
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred looks at his local supporters:
Simply put, the reason so many identify so ferociously with political parties and leaders, is because those leaders offer a sense of values to those people who don’t have a real sense of values. The identification with, and defense of political parties and leaders is perceived by many to a kind of noble and selfless endeavor. Those who so clearly define their lives and meaning to a carefully crafted, staged and managed political identity, see themselves as heroes. Their political leaders offer them a sense of belonging, meaning and most of all, a purpose. More often that not, adopting an ideology is the only source of ‘values’ for many people.
I don’t disagree with Siggy, but as I stated recently, there are six factors that account for Chavez’s support:
First of all, the poor see Hugo as “people like us”. While Hugo, unlike Lula of Brazil, didn’t rise from the underclass, Hugo has convinced them that he is one of them. The prior Venezuelan administrations failed to turn oil money into a means of developing its most valuable resource, its people. And the people know it. Chavez also knows the power of nationalistic propaganda in Latin America, which goes hand-in-hand with anti-Americanism. Additonally, Latin American politics, not just Venezuelan politics, have traditionally been based in the politics of envy. Marxist ideology, with its belief that “the rich are rich because they make us poor” and many variations on this theme, is the mothers’ milk of this mentality. Considering the Venezuelan poor’s experience (see item 2 above), this is not an entirely irrational point of view. Then there’s all-out propaganda, and repression of dissenting views And let’s not underestimate the power of never wanting to admit one is wrong.
As Siggy said, adopting an ideology offers a sense of values. However, one should not totally ignore the harsh economic realities giving rise to the ideology.
So, faced with this economic reality, and realistically considering the unpleasant alternatives, it’s not surprising that people are making economically rational decisions and trying to cash in in Hugo’s party while it lasts.
In a lighter mode, don’t miss the gorgeous orchid slide show Miguel took last weekend.
Update Louisiana Conservative has part 2 of our conversation.
Update 2 VCrisis comments on Pres. Bush’s trip to Latin America:
For a long time I have argued that Latinos are a capitalistic bunch. Although the region’s business environment is one of the world’s toughest, most people rather run their own little ventures than being employed or lead undignified lives as handout recipients. Bush trip came to confirm my argument, for even Lula, allegedly one of Chavez’s staunchest allies in the region, preferred Bush’s ethanol offer over Chavez’s contracts. It goes to show that pragmatism and national interest are above revolutionary humbug for all but the Venezuelan pariah. Argentine’s officials no show in Chavez gig is also a good indication that pretty much all of the region’s leaders avoid antagonizing with Bush unnecessarily, and will not jeopardize for one second the chance to enter into trade agreements with the leader of the world’s largest economy.
Lilek’s smackdown of Arkin is great, but my favorite line comes before Lileks gets to it – it’s about the sixties:
the 60s aren’t seen as The Past; the 60s are a Timeless Vault of Cultural Touchstones, the apotheosis of Western Civ.
Indeed, nowadays a day doesn’t go by without one having to hear the present-day rehashing of 1960s “counterculture values”:
- that tired, old, narcissistic war protestors are speaking “truth to power” when they are actually basking in their own reflections
- that we’re fighting a war in a far-away place, and that it’ll never affect us, even when it obviously does
- that running away won’t have any adverse consequences
- that “saving the earth” matters more than saving unborn children because it’s “our bodies, our selves”
- that “world music” and chick lit are better than anything Dead White Men ever produced
- that angry spinsters bestow deranged women “absolute moral authority” to go kiss petty tyrants in Latin America
- that global orgasms will bring about peace because “all you need is love” (and gad, was there ever a more hollow sentiment than “all you need is love”?)
- that we shouldn’t worry so much about Iran and pay attention to what’s really important – global warming
- that Judeo-Christian values should be despised for the sake of “diversity”
- that America is the cause, alpha and omega, of all evil.
I was hearing this crap back when I was a young fool thirty or forty years ago and, much water under the bridge later, it is disheartening that so many are STILL so deluded.
As Barry Casselman says, the West is in a trance
I am increasingly convinced that the West is in denial of what is truly happening in the world. This self-delusion is the most dangerous response possible to the intense and rapid change all over the planet. This self-denial takes many forms, including obsessions with abstract issues of little real consequence, e.g., animal rights, capital punishment, celebrity gossip, political correctness, etc. It is accompanied by the rise of secular mandates and the suppression of spiritual values. It exhibits excesses of greed that threaten both capitalism and representative government.
The malign forces that conspire against the West (in contrast to the benign forces which only wish to compete with it), however, are not paralyzed. They are moving and growing at great speed.
Pat Santy looks at the myths that fuel the Left’s denial. Neo-neocon examines the political anger firing up the upsurge in Romanticism
There’s an interesting socioeconomic trend to Romanticism: it’s a philosophy that seems to attract a surprising number of the more well-to-do and well-educated
All of these elements are part of the present-day trance.
That the denial is taking the form of 1960s superficiality only adds insult to injury. Those malign forces Casselman mentions don’t simply wait.
Now go read Jeremayakovka, and try to wake up, if you may.
greatest Republican of our time, we should revisit the crucial victory lessons from President Reagan. In all his campaigns for the California governorship and for the Presidency, Reagan demonstrated the timeless value of three essential political characteristics: clarity, cheerfulness and unity. If Republicans manage to emphasize and exemplify these traits they will win in 2008 and beyond and re-enforce their status as the nation’s majority party.
1. CLARITY. Throughout his public career, Reagan associated himself with a handful of simple but profound ideas: government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem; the people deserve lower taxes and less regulation; Communism must be defeated, not accommodated. In his public pronouncements he never varied from these core principles and he never worried about repeating himself, confident in the knowledge that the truth always sounds fresh and appropriate.
Twilight zone at the border.
Sunday June 3, 2007, is ICD 7: International Capitalism Day 2007 I’ve been celebrating all along but on that day I’ll celebrate even more (h/t Maria).
Pakistani Muslim couple tied up, stoned to death – on SUSPICION of committing adultery: the woman was 40, the man, 45. Atlas has more.
Hillary is resentful, but not at Bill. Me, I resent Hillary and all her nagging.
Bruce Kesler fisks NYT theater critic Patricia Cohen: Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism. Methinks Pat’s looking for a spot on the op-ed page, like her predecessor. (h/t Larwyn)
CatHouse Chat asks Why don’t we let them decide?
Speaking of the troops, As for the married troops, they could still get homemade lemon squares.
In praise of oil, via Maria
This is the sunset of the “Age of Aquarius.” Was about time!
Don’t sign me up for one of these, thanks: The lunchtime facelift
A popular fast face-lift is called Sculptra, a 30-minute procedure involving a series of injections (a mix of poly-L-lactic acid material mixed with water) used to stimulate the growth of collagen and provide a gradual increase in skin thickness.
You call it a facelift, I call it a callus.