Wednesday, October 08, 2008

McCain Won the Debate, Hands Down, No Contest

Here’s a prediction: If the networks are still around in all their glorious gory (sic) in four years, the winner of the first presidential debate will be the Democratic nominee. He or she will go on to win the second and the third debate, this streak being interrupted only by the victory in his/her own right of the Democratic vice presidential nominee during of ’12 veep debates.

And here’s another prediction. If the pompous cast of liberals at ABC are still made up of the same group of clueless windbags in 2016, the Democrats will be the hands down winners of the entire debating season. In fact, if Robert Byrd, Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi ever form their own baseball team, you may as well cancel the World Series, as the outcome will be a foregone conclusion, at least in the eyes of the media. Indeed, who needs Roger Clemens at the mound when you can have Charlie Rangel?

Among the past debates that Democrats “won,” at least as far as the talking heads were concerned, was the second Reagan-Mondale debate, the one in which President Reagan decided “not to capitalize on the youth and inexperience of (his) opponent.” That debate is legendary now, and not exactly as a smashing success for Mondale. But at the time, the network pundits declared Fritz the winner.

Here’s another debate that the talking heads once saw fit to award the Democrats: The 1980 debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, the “there you go again” debate. Yes, I’m serious. No, I’m not drunk. Neither were they. They’re just media liberals.

The agenda driven crowd also gave Al Gore the win in all three debates in 2000, and this great victory helped Al Gore go from plus 8 in the polls to minus 4 during the same time period. In 2004 they rightly awarded the first debate to John Kerry, but then wrongly awarded the last two to him as well. Their analysis that year is even more shocking than their 1980 call when one watches the third debate in that series (the one in which Kerry attacks Cheney’s daughter as Bush delivers the funniest line in recent presidential sparring history).

Which brings us to last night’s debate:

McCain rocked the house.

Yes, he could have done more. He should have exposed Obama’s “tax cut” to 95% of Americans as the lie that it is. Yes, the marginal rates would be cut under the current incarnation of Obama’s proposal, but anyone earning slightly over 100K would see a 6% tax increase on part of their earnings and who knows how much seniors and anyone who owns stock would have to pay on their investment savings. Families selling their primary home after less than two years would also face higher taxes. And that’s just the beginning.

Similarly, when Obama made the outlandish claim that that McCain’s $5,000 tax rebate for purchase of health insurance amounts to “one hand giveth and the other hand taketh” or some other spin, McCain should have told Obama that he was “almost as funny and as big a distortion as your economic package is, Senator,” or something along that line. It is spin. The McCain plan gives people $5,000 to purchase $2,000 or so of insurance. Only the most elaborate plans in the nation would receive a net negative. The average American would save thousands. Of course, expect Obama to try to block that in the Senate, assuming he isn’t offered a more attractive position from his friends in the Weather Underground.

All in all, McCain’s attacks need to be sharper and more on point, especially when countering those lies with the simple truth. And yes, he must strive to do so in the last debate. After all, it’s not “simple truth” if it’s not simple.

But that doesn’t change the following:

- McCain was sharper, livelier and more pronounced at all times than Obama, the latter giving off the impression that someone had been short on Nyquil the night before (though even Obama looked positively vigorous compared with Biden last week, who also “won” his debate according to ABC - which he did if his goal was to drag his ticket down, as shown by the CBS poll conducted in its aftermath)

- McCain, not Obama, hit hard on foreign policy and came across as a real Commander in Chief. Add to that; one who shows understanding and caring for our soldiers on the ground

- McCain, not Obama, was the only one to offer anything of substance on the economy. Even the talking heads marveled over this fact, saying that McCain’s new proposal would be tomorrow’s headlines. Of course, they still saw no irony in giving the night to Obama

- McCain was in touch with voters while Obama’s performance was more robotic than even the general demeanor of his Obamaton followers, assuming that such a thing is possible.

All in all, McCain was in control, had clear ideas and connected with voters. Obama, in turn, allowed chronic insomniacs to get a good night’s sleep. And that was his only accomplishment in last night’s debate.

As for the media, don’t worry. If Dan Quayle had been a Democrat in 1988, Lloyd Bentsen would have been said to have “blown it” with “an over the top attack” in “one of the worst displays of presidential politics.”

At least the media is finally getting their act together. In 2000 and 2004 they awarded 5 out of 6 debates to Bush (all but the 1st in 2004), only to change their minds hours later. This year, they know that the Greek templed one must not be denied his (perceived) victory for even one minute. The trouble for them is that no one is paying attention to their amateurish analysis antics any more. And that’s good news for America.

Thoughts on the OJ Simpson Appeal

OJ Simpson is a character I’d rather not write about. I do not expect my comments to be appreciated by most, though I suspect that conservatives, who typically have a better grasp of fairness and logical understanding, will be more receptive to the points that will be laid out herein than will others.

Judicial activism threatens innocents. Allowing a judge to be biased and to administer revenge for a previous acquittal, no matter what the circumstances, is a dangerous precedent that threatens innocents as well. It’s judicial activism run amok and amounts to the shirking of the important duty of judges, those whose responsibility it is to uphold the laws and the tenets that the Founding Fathers saw fit to ensure as a safeguard for innocents.

If any defendant is, in any case, seen to be clearly guilty of a past crime for which they were acquitting, ignoring that verdict and seeking to punish them twofold for a future offense is not only wrong and not only against the law. It’s against the very cornerstone of the legal tenets set to safeguard innocents and sets a dangerous precedent whereby a judge can become accustomed to allowing personal biases influence his or her decisions.

Not only are OJ and the far less controversial C.J. Stewart at stake. Such activism is what led to real innocents being ensnared in prosecutorial overreach. When Healthsouth founder Richard Scrushy won acquittal on charges involving his business based on the facts, at a time when juries were generally hostile to CEOs, the facts of the case played little role in the next step that prosecutors took. Upset over their lost, they accused Scrushy of bribing former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. All Siegelman had done was to appoint Scrushy, a donor, to the board of a hospital regulatory board that Scrushy had previously been appointed to by three prior administrations. Yet because prosecutors had presented flimsy “evidence” against Scrushy and Siegelman before, and lost (dropping the criminal charges themselves a day after they were brought in Siegelman’s case), they were bent on getting them no matter what, and were allowed to do so as justice slept. All would have been avoided if the tenets of fairness and justice had been insisted upon.

When a local judge decides, rightly or wrongly, that a person is guilty of other crimes, acting on it and not recusing oneself in such a case is both harmful and dangerous. In the case of OJ Simpson, and especially in that of C.J. Stewart, who would have been given probation for the same acts had they been committed with another lead participant, that principle must hold true as well. Slippery slopes are very real and a just system of law accounts for that.

There’s a reason for double jeopardy laws in particular and no one is worth breaking them, certainly not OJ. The reason for this is that a) it prevents an innocent person from fear of retrial and b) a murderer should be put to death swiftly and humanely, not tortured through a never ending process. Charging OJ with crimes that carry sentences similar to murder, in a case that would be treated as a disturbance of the peace under normal circumstances, violates the spirit of double jeopardy. He was essentially convicted for the murder he had previously been acquitted of.

Yes, the first jury should have been an honorable one (but likewise, so should the second), the government should have been more competent and a whole other host of facts are true. But US law, the tenets that safeguard the innocent and the longstanding principle of no double jeopardy should not and must not be broken for the sake of going after one OJ Simpson.

Breeching those tenets led to the wrongful conviction of a former governor. Society must err on the side of mercy as the law provides (in OJ’s case, one didn’t even need to “err” just to uphold the law as it is written) and there are reasons for that, the least of which is not protecting the innocent. Most importantly, there needs to be a quick remedy against judicial overreach when the liberty of a defendant is at stake. Because there was no such remedy, it took over a year for Siegelman to be released when he was ensnared in a similar act of overreach, one that was, in his case, totally unwarranted (it should be noted that 3 judges threw out over 100 charges and the lead prosecutor was married to his rival’s campaign manager).

Double jeopardy wasn’t the only law violated in the Simpson case. A judge cannot decide to be exceedingly harsh on a defendant for past crimes of which they were acquitted. In OJ’s case, prosecutors cut deals involving no prison time for all others defendants involved in the case. In other words, they deemed no one involved to be a risk to society. Well that’s what prisons are for, people who pose serious criminal risk to society and who cannot be easily rehabilitated otherwise. Sentencing someone to jail, such as C.J. Stewart (the real human tragedy in that trial) for refusing to accept a plea deal is amoral, unjust and a threat to a fair society. And breaking the law and its tenets in order to “get” OJ runs a greater risk for society as well. Especially as similar tactics have previously been used unfairly against others.

I can’t stand OJ. But we do need to protect society. And that means safeguarding the tenets that protect the falsely accused, tenets which must be upheld universally, so that there’s no room for guesswork, as guesswork is the very thing that has ensnared innocents in the past.

May G-d protect all.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Marion Thorpe, MD, Congressional Opponent of Alcee Hastings, Derides the Bailout

Exclusive Statement by Marion Thorpe, Congressional Candidate for FL-23 to MythDebunker

Late last week, members of both parties saw fit to set aside $700 billion to bailout banks and other financial institutions that had acted recklessly. To be sure, some of their actions were caused by improper interference on the part of the government to begin with, prompting them to issue reckless loans that in the end did nothing to help people save money nor accumulate wealth. Categorically, the banks that are now in trouble far exceeded their mandate and, as such, their problems are in large part of their own making.

As an active Republican within the African-American Community, I have often preached the need for (and benefits of) personal responsibility. My message has been simple and straightforward: Self-reliance is the duty and birthright of every American. As such, I am shocked and dismayed by the wholesale bailout of financial institutions that have not placed this basic tenet above of their own survival.

Throughout America, there are many individuals and small businesses that have enjoyed far less privilege than those entities that will benefit most from this bailout. If the government, Democrats and Republicans alike, are so enthralled with the notion of bailing out faulty corporations at any cost, perhaps they should start with small businesses that are the bedrock of jobs, and often of family life, in our nation.

While the Republican additions to the initial legislation provided at least some benefit to the middle class, and are a great improvement over the original proposal, the entire philosophy behind the bailout is flimsy and highly unlikely to produce substantive outcomes. Most importantly, we must ask ourselves what this action will teach our children.

The answer is easy to deduce, as follows: The message that this bailout sends to our youth indicates that personal responsibility no longer matters. I am profoundly disappointed that my opponent, the Honorable Alcee Hastings, who has claimed to represent the interests of his constituents since first being elected in 1992, is a strong proponent of the bailout, including the original Democratic bill which was full of insidious measures that helped large corporations but did nothing for the middle class.

The people of US Congressional District 23 need a clear signal that our government will heretofore facilitate conditions that promote the success and independence of hard working families, not bail out large banks that make bad decisions. While the Democratic proposal was shocking, and Republican support for it constitutes an unfortunate act of folly, Mr. Hastings’ support of both bills is unfathomable.

Having immersed myself in District 23 for the last 5 years, I know the real struggles facing our community. For this reason, I highly support and promote personal responsibility as the soundest method of correcting the multiple deficits of our community. You have my word that my Congressional vote will be cast in a manner that helps small family businesses in the district survive during tough times while simultaneously ensuring that my people thrive in all parts of US Congressional District 23.

See more at

Friday, October 03, 2008

Gov. Palin Was Great, Now Some Pointers For McCain

Despite the talking heads, who would have awarded the night to the pompous, condescending, finger wagging Sen. Biden had he spent the entire night doing a rendition of Porky Pig (which would have been characterized on TV news shows as “down to earth and in touch with all creatures of the world”), Gov. Palin blew her opponent away. When one talking head read off a script that had either been penned or at least planned before the debate had even taken place, George Stephanopoulos was visibly surprised and almost demanded an explanation. Of course, that was right after the debate, before he and other media men will have had a chance to “see the light.”

The media will play back supposed “highlights.” They will play up Biden’s best line and Palin’s worst. Yet even then, the two will be almost on par. Any fair analysis shows Biden as whipped, beaten and ready for a starring role in an arthritis pain commercial, and Palin connecting with voters, sharing their concern and having the facts on her side. But don’t expect a fair analysis coming from the Obama war room known as the network editing division.

What will also be interesting is whether media “fact checkers” who’ve taken great delight in twisting some of Palin’s truthful statements while ignoring those of the Obama camp will give Biden a pass not only on his wild assertions that Obama didn’t vote to defund the troops, that he shares McCain’s record on taxes and that he hadn’t advocated a kumbaya dinner with Ahmadinejad or his ludicrous assertion that Obama had been anything but opposed to the successful and needed surge, but also on his outlandish claim that the Vice President has no authority as presiding officer of the Senate except in the case of a tie vote.

While it’s well known that the Vice President can only cast a vote in the case of a tie, this has no bearing on his or her constitutional duty as presiding officer of that body. In fact, the President pro tempore is given that title because his presiding role over the Senate is only temporary, i.e. when the Vice President is absent. After 35 plus years in that body, Biden knows this. Otherwise he’s too ignorant to serve. Yet he even needed to distort that fact in an attempt to play a cheap game of gotcha, albeit one in which he came up being the fool.

If one thing is clear it should be this: If John McCain had chosen a modern day saint for the vice presidency, the selection would have been attacked by the media as the mixing of religion and politics. By contrast, if Barack Obama had chosen Charles Manson as his running mate, the media would have heralded his compassion and belief in the self growth of man. But that said, I didn’t actually expect Obama to pick the worst senator out of 50 or so crabby men, a former presidential candidate whose campaign disintegrated after he was found to be plagiarizing speeches of then UK Labour leader Neil Kinnock and a known friend of Iranian mullahs or for McCain to pick the governor with the highest approval rating in any state of the nation and a reformer who took the ax to her party’s establishment and to their pet projects. But those were the selections and true to form, the media acts as if the opposite had occurred.

So it’s no wonder that some of the talking heads have decided to give the night to Biden. What is amazing is that many others felt they couldn’t, and for good reason. By any standard Palin won the debate hands down.

Yet there’s still more she could have done (as even the best performance can be improved on) and John McCain can learn from these in his future debates:

Palin could have, and McCain should, go after Biden and the Democrats on Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae. Gov. Palin did mention the Democrats’ attempts to block regulation of those agencies, but neither she nor anyone else in the campaign have yet painted the clear and truly accurate picture of how as far back as 2003 Republicans tried to reign in these two agencies, both largely run by prominent Democratic political retirees, and how Democratic senators blocked these attempts at reform.

Palin mentioned her experience as a business leader and as an oil and gas regulator. That was great, but she could have gone even farther with that one. Again, paint a picture. Mention how Washington is full of oil lobbyists. Mention how Democrats have blocked energy independence and drilling legislation for 14 years, first with stall tactics while in the minority and then with outright refusal to act when they became the majority. Mention how Palin took oil companies to task and made them fight competitively, forcing them to compete along the lines of what’s best for American consumers.

Stress Palin’s (and John McCain’s) real experience as a reformer. Few new faces have been able to topple a party establishment. Cite real examples of ethics reform passed and proud accomplishments. The gubernatorial plane on ebay is a great starting place and McCain’s own accomplishments (fighting tobacco, being a lone voice for campaign finance reform, etc.) play well to undecideds.

When Biden made that planned emotional play (and as tragic, terrible and unfortunate as his experience was, as deserving of our personal prayers as he is that he be spared from any further sorrow, mentioning his tragedy was a planned and politically calculated move, it being his last card in a debate in which he performed terribly), Palin should have countered with her own touching life story. That said, she did well in not responding directly to his emotional play. But she would have gained by bringing up her own story a few minutes or a few questions later.

That said, Palin did an excellent job. Her mention of the fact that she is the first governor of any state to form a special sub-cabinet on climate change is true and will go over well with independents. On all other matters the McCain-Palin campaign needs to paint a bold, clear and concise picture of what they have done in the past and what they will do in the future.

Unlike their opponents, both McCain and Palin have accomplishments and facts on their side. They just need to articulate them well (and point to the true record of the other side). Last night was at least a good start.

Obama’s Scandalous BankUnited Appearance

Sen. Barack Obama Graces BankUnited on the Day it Fired Over Half its Compliance Staff, Gave New Duties to Regional Manager Recently Arrested for Drug Possession and Possibly Planned to Cancel Quarterly Interest Payments to Seniors

See entire column at
Obama’s Scandalous BankUnited Appearance

Charlie Gibson Goes From Most Respected Anchor to Foolish Disgrace

It’s well known and well documented that Charlie Gibson is liberal. But he generally seems to be a well meaning, likeable liberal. He has only a cursory view of the economy, of geopolitics, in truth, of any significant issue, and a disinterest in all things military. But he’s a genuinely nice man, albeit one who is tremendously influenced, at least as far as politics is concerned, by the spiteful New York elites.

When the left has a cause celebre, he will regularly join hands with them, but on his terms, in a milder and gentler, and hopefully more fair manner. But his interview with vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was way over the top. In fact, it was downright hypocritical.

I understand where Charlie is coming from. For months, the media has been lulled into the false notion that Obama, their newest hero in a long line of leftist cult personalities, was inevitable. And for a few years now, they’ve propagated a sense that Democrats would finally gain the White House after eight long years on the sidelines.

Electoral victories of Democrats is a matter the media elites take immensely personal. Bill Clinton’s victory in ’92 was seen as their victory, the ascension to power of all children of the 60s (although Clinton is more conservative than they are, we must bear in mind that perception always trumps reality when it comes to the whimsical allegiances of superficial media elites) . Their fierce allegiance has now transferred to their replacement hero, Obama, who is far more radical than Clinton ever was and who may be even more radical than the media elites are themselves.

So it’s understandable that they’re personally upset. What’s not excusable is that they’ve, in effect, walked off the job. They’re refusing to report and have instead assumed the role of attack dogs for their campaign of choice. Yes, they’ve favored, lied and manipulated the news for years, many times in very inexcusable ways. But they never campaigned as overtly for or against a campaign as they are now. They’ve never been so full of bile as they are today. They’ve never acted as outrageously and been so openly spiteful as they are with their anti-Palin, pro-Obama crusade. And in the process, they’ve thrown their integrity straight out the window.

Joining their ranks is the once respected Charlie Gibson. He’s done similar things before and his biases are very much a reality. But the sad thing is not that he was never as overtly biased as he is now, as is the case with the rest of the media. The truly sad part is that the level of nastiness and hypocrisy displayed by him is uncharacteristic and is a blemish on an otherwise fairly decent career (as decent as one can expect from one in today’s mass media).

His interview with Gov. Palin reached the point of insanity. It also displayed profound hypocrisy. He asked her whether she hesitated when asked to be John McCain’s running mate. When she replied in the negative, saying that she wanted to help in any way Sen. McCain felt best, Gibson actually asked her whether this didn’t show “hubris” on her part.

But where was Gibson when Barack Obama announced his run for the presidency in Nov. 2006 (after Time Magazine had done a cover story that October urging him to do so), at a time that he had less Senate experience than Palin has been Governor? And does anyone doubt the reaction of the media should Obama have chosen the governor with the highest approval rating in America as his running mate. We can agree there’s not much doubt what their reaction would have been.

Gibson and the media also fail to recognize the significance of Alaska’s proximity to Russia (failing to do so because they don’t want to). There’s a reason John McCain brought up the point. A few years ago, Vladimir Putin laid claim to the entire North Pole. As a result, any governor of Alaska is thrown head first into national security issues and international affairs even before they take office.

Even ABC’s “Fact Checker” got in on the game, playing fast and loose with the “facts.” When Gov. Palin said that “many vice presidents throughout history” would answer “no” the question of whether they had met with foreign leaders. “Fact” Checker Jake Tapper had a problem with that and deemed it “false.” He cited George H. W. Bush, Mondale, Al Gore and Dan Quayle as examples of vice presidents with great foreign policy experience (a stretch, to say the least, in many of the above cases). Of course, Palin’s statement was true and applies categorically to over 80% of past vice presidents.

But it gets even more ridiculous. Gov. Palin has more foreign policy experience to become Vice President than then Gov. Bill Clinton had when he became President. The same can be said of many recent presidents, with the only exception since Nixon being George H. W. Bush. Before that, with the exception of Eisenhower one needs to go back to James Buchanan to find a President with major foreign policy experience prior to assuming office (before him we’re looking at Martin Van Buren and John Quincy Adams, but you get the point).

This is the same media that pushed Mitt Romney as being a highly qualified vice presidential selection (namely because he had the biggest problem with independents). Romney had little more executive experience than Palin and business acumen does not usually translate into a knack for formulating good policy. Moreover, the same media that’s bashing Palin is also the same media that was touting Tim Kaine as a running mate for Obama just a few short weeks ago. Kaine has about a year’s more experience than Palin, with a far lower approval rating and less than a hundredth of what to show for his time in office than does Sarah Palin. Neither Romney nor Kaine took on the establishment of their state and their combined approval rating would only possibly equal that of Gov. Palin’s alone.

Governor Palin revamped a state and shook up an establishment. She’s shown good judgment and a will to work for the people. It’s not without reason that she enjoys a higher approval rating in her state than any other governor in the nation, stemming back to well before she was being considered as McCain’s vice presidential nominee. And the media needs to get over it.

Simply put, the media needs to stop acting like pigs in lipstick. (Speaking of which, Obama knew full well how his remarks would have been taken. The laughter with which his remarks were met by the crowd should have also made him think that one over.) Media elites need to start doing their jobs, or at least start pretending to do so.