Friday, February 29, 2008

The doctrine of pre-emptive squandering

Geraghty says “game, set and match to CTV” on the Obama campaign's whisper campaign to the Canadian General Consulate in Chicago.

And as for the Canadian government's response to the rhetoric?


Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday the United States should not reopen talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement as the two U.S. Democratic presidential hopefuls have proposed.

Harper warned that renewed talks would give Canada the chance to renegotiate the pact so that it is more favorable to his country.

"If any American government chose to make the mistake of reopening that we would have some things we would want to talk about as well," Harper said.

Trade minister David Emerson said Wednesday it would be unwise for the U.S. to renegotiate NAFTA because the it has a good deal when it comes to access to Canada's oil.

Emerson noted that Canada is the largest energy supplier to the U.S.

And the Democrats belly-ache about Bush squandering the mythic good will the US had after 9/11?

Child’s play.

Obama can pre-squander good will with our next door neighbors, even if he doesn’t mean it.

UPDATE: The squander line is used by Obama himself, here:

In the fall of 2002, those deaf ears were in Washington. They belonged to a President who didn't tell the whole truth to the American people; who disdained diplomacy and bullied allies; and who squandered our unity and the support of the world after 9/11.

"...the Democrats could be in trouble come November"

I had shelved this. But what the hell, since Instapundit used this:
THE LATEST PEW POLL ON IRAQ has J.D. Johannes saying "I told you so!"

Here's the unshelved original...

Powerline’s take on that Pew Poll making the rounds:

    This Pew poll on Americans' attitudes toward Iraq, via Hot Air, is interesting. In my opinion, the most significant finding is this one:

    If Americans really expect us to win in Iraq by a 53% to 39% margin, the Democrats could be in trouble come November, since they are irrevocably committed to defeat.

Someone else has been trying to say that, too.

[VIMH: You said you would be different -- that you wanted to bring change -- that you would not succumb to the old way of doing things in the blogosphere. Yet here you are cynicially using one of the biggest blogs out there two posts in a row -- and NOW INSTAPUNDIT!!! I’m so disillusioned.]

Good point! But really it wasn’t about Powerline (or Instapundit) at all. All I really wanted was to point out a couple of American Thinker blogs I did premised on the idea that 2008 might be hard on the Democrats in November.

[VIMH: Oh, got it. So you weren’t cynically trying to climb on the backs of blogospheric giants. You were just cynically using them to pimp your own material.]



Drinking makes heart grow more sorrowful, study finds

TOKYO (AFP) - The age-old belief goes that alcohol helps people drown their sorrows, but in truth the bottle only makes bad memories linger, a Japanese study said Friday.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo concluded that ethanol -- an intoxicating agent in alcohol -- does not cause memory to decrease, as widely believed, but instead locks it in place.

The researchers, led by pharmacology professor Norio Matsuki, gave mild shocks to lab rats to condition them to fear. As a result, the rats would freeze in terror and curl up the moment they were put in their cages.

Researchers then immediately injected the rats with ethanol or saline. The researchers found that rats with alcohol in their veins froze up for longer, with the fear on average lasting two weeks, compared with rats that did not receive injections.

"If we apply this study to humans, the memories they are trying to get rid of will remain strongly, even if they drink alcohol to try to forget an event they dislike and be in a merry mood for the moment," the study said.

Here’s my question with this article/study.

When they say, “If we apply this study to humans,” – where do I sign up for the free booze?

[VIMH: Are you nuts? You get shocked. They say the rats “freeze in terror and curl up” and “the fear on average lasting two weeks”!]

You’re right. We need to negotiate the amount of free booze before agreeing to take part.

Appearances can be deceiving

Howard Dean claims the Republican field “looks like the 1950s...”

The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former Governor of Vermont contrasted the two parties’ presidential candidates, saying that with a woman and an African-American as the two front-runners, the Democratic field “looks like America,” while the all-white male Republican field “looks like the 1950s and talks like the 1850s.”

And one particularly cynical Democratic campaign acts like it's the 1950s...

“African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom.

“This is the politics of the 1950s,” he complained. “A lot of members are experiencing a lot of ugly stuff. They’re not going to talk about it, but it’s happening.”

And here I was told that the Democrats were hung up on the Vietnam-era.

UPDATE: Powerline finds the NY Times using a 50s reference too:

      In 1955, when WLBT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Miss., did not want to run a network report about racial desegregation, it famously hung up the sign: “Sorry, Cable Trouble.” …

    1955--hey, that was only 53 years ago! These things happen all the time in the South, you know. For the Times, where the South is concerned, it's eternally the 1950s.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What would Obama on the campaign trail call the Obama campaign?

With the obligatory nod to the denials coming from both the Obama campaign and the Canadians, we tackle the easy question regarding the alleged events that the Canadian television station still stands by...

What would Obama on the campaign trail call the Obama campaign?

Obama on the campaign trail:

And in this mission, our rivals won't be one another, and I would assert it won't even be the other party. It's going to be cynicism that we're fighting against.

Too often, this cynicism makes us afraid to say what we believe. It makes us fearful. We don't trust the truth.

It's caused our politics to become small and timid, calculating and cautious. We spend all our time thinking about tactics and maneuvers, knowing that if we spoke the truth, we address the issues with boldness, that we might be labeled -- it might lead to our defeat.

Obama campaign allegedly working the back channels:

Barack has ratcheted up his attacks on NAFTA, but a senior member of his campaign team told a Canadian official not to take his criticisms seriously, CTV News has learned.Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have been critical of the long-standing North American Free Trade Agreement over the course of the Democratic primaries, saying that the deal has cost U.S. workers’ jobs.

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States , and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

What would Obama on the campaign trail call the Obama campaign?


Go Ahead and Call Me a Cynic

Senator Barack Obama has arguably set a new height for inspiring rhetoric on the campaign trail. He has consistently called for an end to the status quo in Washington. He has fervently called on people to replace cynicism with hope. He has ardently stated his goal of bringing “change we can believe in” to the White House as President if he is elected in November.

His time in the Senate, however, should give one pause on not only his ability to make such a sweeping change happen but his willingness to attempt to do so.

In this story in USA Today we learn of Obama’s work to secure tax breaks for a pharmaceutical company that operates in Illinois, while accepting donations from attorneys at the law firm representing it (though not the lobbyists themselves at that firm). The actions taken by Senator Obama are not unusual nor illegal. However, neither are they representative of someone who is on a mission of bringing change to Washington nor of someone wanting to end the influence of lobbyists and special interests there.

We will weave this story, which we will refer to as “Obama in the Senate” with statements Obama has made on the campaign trail.

Senator Barack Obama on the campaign trail:

Over a century later, America needs this kind of leadership more than ever. We need a President who sees government not as a tool to enrich well-connected friends and high-priced lobbyists, but as the defender of fairness and opportunity for every American. That's what this country has always been about, and that's the kind of President I intend to be.

Obama on the campaign trail:

“I am extremely proud of amount of money our campaign has raised, but I’m even more proud of how we did it,” Obama said. “We didn’t take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest group because if we’re going to truly change the way Washington works, we need to break the stranglehold that the lobbyists and special interests have on our democracy.”

Obama in the Senate:

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign has accepted $54,350 from members of a law firm that in 2006 lobbied him to introduce a tax provision for a Japanese drug company with operations in Illinois, according to public records and interviews. The government estimates the provision, which became law in December 2006, will cost the treasury $800,000.

Obama on the campaign trail:

And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It's time to turn the page.

Obama in the Senate:

In May 2006, after the finance committee invited senators to put forward tariff suspension proposals, Obama introduced a bill requested by Astellas Pharma, which was seeking a break on an ingredient it imports from Switzerland.

Astellas employed two lobbyists with the Chicago firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman, Senate records show. Another Katten lawyer had helped the senator set up a blind trust in 2005, campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

The two lobbyists have not contributed to Obama. But their law partners and associates at Katten gave $77,000 to his campaigns since 1999, according to the non-partisan CQ Moneyline.

Obama on the campaign trail:

When big business doesn't like something in the tax code, they can hire a lobbyist to get it changed, but most working people can't afford a high-priced lobbyist. Instead of honoring that core American value - opportunity for all - we've had a system in Washington where our laws and regulations have carved out opportunities for the few.

Obama in the Senate:

At issue is a little-known congressional practice of suspending import taxes on specific products at the request of companies. Typically, Congress passes a tariff bill every two years that includes a variety of such measures.

It's legal and common for members of Congress to accept campaign money from people who have benefited from their actions. Nonetheless, both Democrats [Obama and Clinton] have promised to reduce the influence of corporate interests in Washington, even as they have each raised more than $130 million.

Obama on the campaign trail:

The American people have spoken out, and they are saying we need to move in a new direction... Are you really ready for change? Because if you are ready for change, then we can go ahead and tell the lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda are over.

Obama in the Senate:

Mark Zolno, a Katten partner who represents Astellas, said in a statement that the tariff suspension was a routine matter that arose long before Obama decided to run for president.

So as a Senator, Obama legislates out of cynicism in the same way as everyone else, in the same manner as has long been practiced. He allows lobbyists and special interests to secure tax breaks for big business. But as a Presidential candidate he campaigns on the end of such practices and the promise of hope and change.

If sworn in as President and no longer under the burden of campaigning for the office, which way would President Obama operate?

Obama on the campaign trail:

But we also know that at this moment the cynics can no longer say our hope is false.

It is not without evidence that such a charge is leveled, Senator. It is not without justification that many of us find ourselves very cynical about your message of change – about both your ability and your intent to make the change you promise where it conflicts with your self-interest.

The change you are promising to bring, Senator, is simply not something we can believe in. Not when it is premised on you being the one to deliver it.

Go ahead and call me a cynic -- I deserve it. But so too have you earned my cynicism.

The Voice in My Head

Welcome to the Voice in My Head.

I am a regular commenter at Tom Maguire's JustOneMinute blog, a somewhat less regular contributor to American Thinker and a random commenter on a number of conservative-leaning blogs.

Despite the hospitality of these fine and reputable places -- or rather because they are fine and reputable -- there are a number of ideas not exactly a fit for them that I will deposit here.

[VIMH: Aren't you going to tell everyone the reason for the name of the blog?]
I think you just did.