Bailout & the Economy

Today the DJIA went up nearly 500 points. This is only a day after dropping nearly 800 points when Congress did not pass the Bailout. The purported 1 trillion lost with the drop is not an actual lost of dollars but a lost of perceived values.

The stock market is a marker for confidence in the economy. Basically if you believe that economy will grow, then the companies that drive, participate in, or benefit from the growing economy will gain in value. Buying these companies stocks is putting your wallet where your confidence is. But buying these stocks do not in itself drives economic growth until the stock are sold and then reinvested in other companies that need the capital to grow. Growing companies can also obtain the necessary capital from credit, which is leveraged against the perceived or stock values of these companies.

If confidence is low, then less capital is available and growing companies become more dependent on credit. With a credit crunch, then these companies cannot grow as easily. This does not mean a depression unless a substantial number of companies have leveraged loans against their perceived values. When the perceived values drop to less than the value of the loans, then these companies are at risk for bankruptcy. If enough companies suffer this, then the over all economy become at risk for a depression.

Most small businesses are particularly dependent on availability of credit for growth. However, unlike Wall Street small businesses values are more actual rather than perceived. Actual values are calculated based on brick and mortar and bottom line finances. Most small businesses do not exist as publically traded stocks thus there is less overvalued (inflated) or undervalued. In any period when confidence in the stock market is weakened, then the smart investors are even more attentive to actual values.

I would suspect that credit companies and bank would make similar analysis and make better investment, safer investments, and more money would go to business enterprise with actual values than perceived value. These credit companies and banks will still want to make money via their investments in order to offset the cost on interests being paid to depositors. And with the stock market less certain, more capital might be diverted from stock to savings and paying down debts.

All in all, I believe a significant market correction with the current financial crisis may be jarring in the short term but will be better off in the long term.

I believe we should not Bailout or “Rescue” the financial market and let the dead bill stay dead.

McCain & the MSM Re: Palin

I don't think McCain really understand that the mainstream media is not his friend. I think he got culled into a false sense of friendliness when he was a maverick against the Republicans. The media liked him then because he was against other Republicans. But now that he is against the anointed One, he is being treated like a red headed stepchild.

It became clear that he did not understand how he was perceived or being played when Palin was rolled out. Had he understood, he would have anticipated the PDS and prepared for it with a series of adds introducing Palin to the public along with a series of friendly interviews. These should have been done so that for independents, the campaign of disinformation would not and could not take hold. Only after the message regarding who Palin is and what she is about has taken hold should she been introduced to the enemy vis a vis the MSM.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Videos: Clinton, Obama


Federal Bailout Fails

At this point I am against this bailout for a variety of reasons.
1. Washington is broken and we should not continue the politics as is. I am sick and tired of elected official pointing fingers without taking any responsibility for their own culpability. I think at the local level, the elected officials have limited interests and thus reasonable accountability. Once they get to DC they appear to gain greater interests in exchange for less accountability.
2. When it comes to ability and capability, I trust Wall Street more than I trust Congress. On Wall Street CEOs make more money for themselves by enriching their stockholders. This is what it is and should continues be. In Congress Senators/Congressman make more power for themselves by empowering their electorate? Ha ha not! The government does not empower its citizens when it seeks to regulate more and more.
3. On Wall Street there can be no success without failure. I understand that government should protect the people, but this should not be the same as the government being a guarantor of wealth. What has failed on Wall Street is a failure of investment firms to cautiously and meticulously evaluates the risks of the loan packages they bought. They should take responsibility and accountability and accept their own failure.
4. Everything the Congress has touched has turned to mush. This is a corollary to #3. Because there is so little to lose when you are a part of the bureaucracy, there is also little to gain (other than perceived status and power). Smart people to seek to succeed and excel do not go into politics, they go into business. When they sought to extend credit to the underserved, the intention was good, the product has turned out to be crap.
5. Thus I conclude is that it is the best for the country to let the Bailout Bill die. We desperately need to clean house. I am fully confident that the fundamentals of our economy based on ingenuity and hard work remain intact and will not only come out all right, will come through stronger.

Here in VA is how the vote went:
Moran, James(D) = Aye
Cantor, Eric(R) = Aye
Davis, Tom(R) = Aye
Drake, Thelma(R) = No
Forbes, Randy(R) = No
Goode, Virgil(R) = No
Goodlatte, Bob(R) = No
Scott, Robert(D) = No
Wittman, Robert(R) = No
Wolf, Frank(R) = ?


Free Sarah Palin

I know that she is just the VP candidate, but McCain cannot and should not expect her to be his clone. The reason she was successful at the convention and the Republican base is because she was what McCain was not, thus complementing his appeal. This difference is what McCain needs to stress to Independent voters as well from now to November 4. He has kept her under too tight control, and she has too often been his mouth and this needs to end if McCain wants to win.

See also
"It's time to let Palin be Palin" at the WSJ.
"it's time for [McCain] to unshackle Sarah Palin" at American Thinker.


08 President Debate #1

McCain surprisingly strong on the economy in the first third.
McCain should have called Obama out more in the middle third.
McCain was a clear winner in the last third.
Win for McCain.

Update Actual debate analysis from Jay Cost

btw, this was my take home as well:


Palin in NYC

Palin fields some questions from reporters.
“I agree with the Bush administration that we take the fight to them,” she said. “We never again let them come onto our soil and try to destroy not only our democracy but communities like the community of New York. Never again. So yes, I do agree with taking the fight to the terrorists and stopping them over there.”

She deflected a follow-up question about whether she felt the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has inflamed Islamic extremists.

“I think our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan will lead to further security of our nation, again, because the mission is to take the fight over there. Do not let them come over here and attempt again what they accomplished here, and that was some destruction, terrible destruction on that day. But since Sept. 11, Americans are uniting and rebuilding and committing to never letting that happen again.

In response to a question about the bailout package before Congress, she said, “I don't support that until the provisions that Sen. McCain has offered are implemented in Paulson's proposals.

Palin broke her campaign trail media silence after touring several Sept. 11-related sites and delivering a brief statement on the lessons of Sept. 11 in front of a fire house that lost many of its firefighters in the World Trade Center disaster.

“Every American student needs to come through this area so that, especially this younger generation of Americans, to be in a position of never forgetting what happened here and never repeating, never allowing a repeat of what happened here. I wish every American would come through here. I wish every world leader would come through here, and understand what it is that took place here and, more importantly, how America came together and united to commit to never allowing this to happen again. And just to hear from and see these good New Yorkers who are rebuilding not just this but are helping to rebuild America has been very, very inspiring and encouraging. These are the good Americans who are committed to peace and security, and it's been an absolute honor getting to meet these folks today.””

Btw, i don't think she did terribly well with Couric in what has been released so far. I don't think she should be limited to being McCain's cheerleader. She should instead be speaking about what is wrong that needs to be fixed and let McCain declare himself how he is to fix it. She does much better outside his shadow.

McCain and the Economy

Zogby now has McCain up by 2 as opposed to down by 3 last week.
Gallup now has McCain even with Obama after being down by 6 last week.

Are these response to
McCain's leadership/political maneuver?
Uncertainty with Obama?

Regardless, it suggests that there is room for McCain to maneuver when it comes to the economy.

Jay Cost thinks McCain Plays It Like McCain.

I think the risk McCain is taking is that of becoming the fall guy for both the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress. No one in Congress wants to take responsibility for the bailout. The Democrats are afraid that the bailout might not be the right thing. The Republicans don't want it at all, but are afraid it might actually be necessary, so don't want ownership of it. Thus they may all want McCain to take the ball. This also serves as an example why legislators make poor executives.
But whereas they may all be afraid of failure, McCain may see an opportunity for a win.


Bush's Speech on the Financial Crisis

He should have take credit for pushing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddy Mack years ago.

I understand he wants to stay above the partisan bickering in the expectation that Congress would be more likely to follow suit and work together to resolve the bailout debate. Unfortunately Congress is full of incompetent partisan hacks looking out more for their own political advancement than service to Americans. I hope the (Democratic) Congress remain deadlock until a good and clean bailout plan is agreed upon.

I am not against the bailout per se if the bailout is only to buy these depressed home finance packages at a discount.
I am against the bailout if the cost is more government in control and regulation of businesses.

McCain's Campaign and the Financial Crisis

McCain has decided to suspend his campaign inorder to return to Washington DC to help negotiate the terms of the bailout plan. He also suggested that Friday's foreign policy debate be post-phoned. Obama declined not wanting to introduce politics into the bailout discussion. Interesting to note that for Obama, it is all about politics rather than serving the people he was elected to represent.
Bush has since called Obama to DC and Obama has accepted.

What McCain should have done was to
1. Declare he is returning to DC where he is needed. Country first!
2. Declare that in his absence, Palin will continue in his stead to campaign to reform Washington. (This would mock Obama's decision to continue to lead his own campaign).
3. Declare that if the bailout debate succeeds, he will attend the debate on foreign affair. Talk second!
4. Declare that if the bailout debate continues, he could send Palin to debate Obama on foreign affair.

see also the Anchoress.


Palin & Head of States

Today Palin met two head of states, Karzai of Afghanistan and Uribe of Colombia. While I recognize that this in no way make her a foreign policy expert, what i find interesting are those she is scheduled to meet:
Palin is also seeing six other world leaders — Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York this week.

None of these are old alliance leaders. These head of states are all on the forefront of the US global diplomatic engagement efforts.
Karzai from Afghanistan is now the front line confronting Al Qaeda in the War on Terror.
Uribe from Colombia is the US closest ally as we confront Chavez and Venezuela in Latin America. Colombia is also awaiting Congressional approval of a free trade agreement.
Saakashvili from Georgia is on the frontline against a militarily resurgent Russia. Georgia also is a central player in the oil pipeline from Central Asia, something I am sure Palin has a great deal of experience and understanding.
Yushenko from Ukraine is where the next confrontation against Russia would likely occur (most likely political confrontation and influence rather than outright war).
Talabani from Iraq is where the Bush doctrine promoting democracy as a counter to islamofascism is currently playing out successfully.
Zardari from Pakistan is where the islamofascist is currently working to destabilize. It is also where the war in Afghanistan will be won.
and Singh from India, the up and coming economic power that is the world's most populous democracy, a likely counterweight to China's growing influence in Asia, and also a nation under attack from islamofascists.

All of these leaders and their nations are who the US will have to influence and must build stronger relationship with. These things are on the “to do list” for the next administration. Establishing personal rapports with these leaders will serve Palin much better than meeting Harper of Canada, Gordon of UK, Sarkozy of France, Merkel of Germany, or Rudd of Australia. These nations are really already in the "with us" column. Japan and Israel are both currently in political flux but regardless of the outcome, will also remain in the "with us" column. Despite what the press may say, relationship with these nations under Bush has never been stronger.

Whoever chose these head of states for Palin to meet was thinking about her as the Vice President rather than Palin as a Vice President candidate needing to buff up her foreign experience resume. I am impressed with this selection. I am also impressed that these leaders are risking some potential backlash should Obama wins. Perhaps they recognize that even if McCain lose in 08, Palin will likely be an important US player in the years to come.

What is funny is that these are all more essential head of states than Obama has met.


US Government Bailout of the Financial Crisis of 08

I still don't have all the details of the current financial meltdown, or the US government bailout plan. I am not sure anyone does actually. From what i have gathered, there are two main components to this crisis. Firstly a lot of it has to do with bad debt. People were given loans at interests rate that was bound to go up to a point they cannot afford unless the value of their house continues to rise and rise. When the housing market bubble burst, many people were left with loans they cannot pay or can recuperate with sales of the house. Now had the loans been held with the local banks, perhaps arrangement could have been made for refinancing. But a lot of local banks that made the original home loan collected the loans and packaged them for resale (naturally before the housing bubble burst that made these loans worth less). Those that bought the home loan packages themselves repackaged them as investment portfolio for investors. The big investment firms then had a huge loss of value when they held so much of the home loans.

While it might be "a who cares" if large investment banks lost money, the lost money means the write offs are no longer available for other economic endeavors. And continued fear of further credit loss means even good available money are being held onto rather than lent out. Once bitten twice shy. Thus the second element of the meltdown is a loss of financial confidence and credit. Once this reaches a certain scale, continued economic function is threatened.

Why not a fan, partly because i do not know how dire things actually was, i do understand that there comes a certain time when the government does have to step in and halt the meltdown. Currently it appears that at the core of the bailout is the US government will buy these bad loans. The real question then is at what price the US will have to pay for the loan packages and what terms will the US government set in exchange for buying the loans.

What i would like to see is the US government buying these loans at basement-bottom prices. I want these financial companies to take a financial hit to some degree. I do not want the bailout to be bailing out Wall Street; I want the bail out Main Street. Not that I want to punish the financial houses of Wall Street, but investment carry intrinsic risks and they should understand that the role of the government is not to minimize their investment risks. By Main Street i mean the US government should trace back the loans to the original home buyer and refinance the terms of the loans so that those people who bought homes to live in should be able to keep their homes. Once these loans have been rewritten, i am fine with the government holding on to them for the full terms, or sell them to local banks. In this way the government does not own any financial commercial entities and may recuperate some of the cost when, or if, the housing market picks back up. Thus the US would be less likely to become a socialist state.

Regarding the terms of the US intervention, i do not want the US government to significantly increase oversight and regulation of the financial markets. The government may have the money to bailout Wall Street, but the US government does not have the smarts to do better than a de-regulated economy. Sure certain steps and procedures need to be enacted and placed so that this will not happen again. I am just not sure how that would work just yet.

As to limiting the pay of CEOs, on paper it may seem feasible to restrict CEO salary, either to the profit margin of the company or in proportion to its lowest paid employed, I don't think it will be too long before loopholes are discovered and make this attempt useless and potentially harmful. Think of it in terms of professional athletes, as long as the team can afford stars, they should be able to pay them as much as they are deemed valuable and profitable. What might work is to stipulate that all CEO faces "re-election" every so many years by stockholders.

More on the cause of the meltdown from Bloomberg
It is easy to identify the historical turning point that marked the beginning of the end.

Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. At one telling moment in late 2004, captured in an article by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison, the Securities and Exchange Comiission's chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines that Fannie's position on the relevant accounting issue was not even ``on the page'' of allowable interpretations.

Then legislative momentum emerged for an attempt to create a ``world-class regulator'' that would oversee the pair more like banks, imposing strict requirements on their ability to take excessive risks. Politicians who previously had associated themselves proudly with the two accounting miscreants were less eager to be associated with them. The time was ripe.

Greenspan's Warning

The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.''

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

Here is the video:

Palin on Almadinejad

WhatGov Palin would have said had she not been disinvited

I am honored to be with you and with leaders from across this great country — leaders from different faiths and political parties united in a single voice of outrage.

Tomorrow, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come to New York — to the heart of what he calls the Great Satan — and speak freely in this, a country whose demise he has called for.

Ahmadinejad may choose his words carefully, but underneath all of the rhetoric is an agenda that threatens all who seek a safer and freer world. We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator's intentions and to call for action to thwart him.

He must be stopped.

The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a "Final Solution" — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a "stinking corpse" that is "on its way to annihilation." Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.

The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.

The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the "Iranian nation would not retreat one iota" from its nuclear program.

So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.

If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.

But Iran is not only a regional threat; it threatens the entire world. It is the no. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. It sponsors the world's most vicious terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. Together, Iran and its terrorists are responsible for the deaths of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, and in Iraq today. They have murdered Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Muslims who have resisted Iran's desire to dominate the region. They have persecuted countless people simply because they are Jewish.

Iran is responsible for attacks not only on Israelis, but on Jews living as far away as Argentina. Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are part of Iran's official ideology and murder is part of its official policy. Not even Iranian citizens are safe from their government's threat to those who want to live, work, and worship in peace. Politically-motivated abductions, torture, death by stoning, flogging, and amputations are just some of its state-sanctioned punishments.

It is said that the measure of a country is the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. By that standard, the Iranian government is both oppressive and barbaric. Under Ahmadinejad's rule, Iranian women are some of the most vulnerable citizens.

If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed.

If she walks down a public street in clothing that violates the state dress code, she could be arrested.

But in the face of this harsh regime, the Iranian women have shown courage. Despite threats to their lives and their families, Iranian women have sought better treatment through the "One Million Signatures Campaign Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws." The authorities have reacted with predictable barbarism. Last year, women's rights activist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 20 lashes and 10 months in prison for committing the crime of "propaganda against the system." After international protests, the judiciary reduced her sentence to "only" 10 lashes and 36 months in prison and then temporarily suspended her sentence. She still faces the threat of imprisonment.

Earlier this year, Senator Clinton said that "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is in the forefront of that" effort. Senator Clinton argued that part of our response must include stronger sanctions, including the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. John McCain and I could not agree more.

Senator Clinton understands the nature of this threat and what we must do to confront it. This is an issue that should unite all Americans. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!

Only by working together, across national, religious, and political differences, can we alter this regime's dangerous behavior. Iran has many vulnerabilities, including a regime weakened by sanctions and a population eager to embrace opportunities with the West. We must increase economic pressure to change Iran's behavior.

Tomorrow, Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech — a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.

We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the U.N. or with our allies if Iran's allies continue to block action in the U.N. We must start with restrictions on Iran's refined petroleum imports.

We must reduce our dependency on foreign oil to weaken Iran's economic influence.

We must target the regime's assets abroad; bank accounts, investments, and trading partners.

President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.

We must sanction Iran's Central Bank and the Revolutionary Guard Corps — which no one should doubt is a terrorist organization.

Together, we can stop Iran's nuclear program.

Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel's enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain's promise and it is my promise.

Thank you.

See also Jennifer Rubin's report at PJM.
Sources say the axes were out for Palin as soon as Sen. Clinton pulled out because she did not want to attend the same event as the Republican vice presidential candidate. “I have never seen such raw emotion — on both sides,” said someone close to the situation. The groups sponsoring the rally against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at the UN were reportedly told, “it could jeopardize their tax exempt status” if they had Palin and not Clinton or Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden on hand. . . .”It’s an absolute shame that this has happened,” Hikind said. “To threaten organizations … to threaten the Conference of Presidents that if you don’t withdraw the invitation to Gov. Palin we’re going to look into your tax exempt status … that’s McCarthyism.”

and from the AP
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin told supporters Friday that "Democrat partisans" had pressured organizers of an anti-Iran rally in New York next week to withdraw an invitation for her to appear. "This should be an issue that unites all Americans. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, period," Palin said at a rally here. "Unfortunately, some Democrat partisans put politics first and now no elected official can appear. This should not be a matter of partisan politics."



Why he cannot be allowed to become PotUS.

Obama v Petraeus


Palin on Fox 2: Energy, Reform, and Experience.

Another good show by Palin. Some will complain that Hannity was too soft on her. Well let’s think about what is the purpose on a political interview? Most important is to learn more about the interviewee. Did we learn more about Palin? Definitely. We learned what she intends her role to be as vice President: advance energy independence and reform Washington. Energy independence is clearly within her realm of expertise as Governor of Alaska. And this will serve her well even in foreign policy. After all, isn't the thrust of international relation is firstly to enhance trade and secondly alliance for security? The essence of trade is the exchange of resources we need for products we do not. And the most important resource we need currently is energy/oil. And in the process of acquiring the necessary energy resources from the Middle East, Venezuela, or Central Asia, we have put our national security at risk. Maintaining the energy resource perspective in international relation for trade and security is an imperative.
Regarding reform, I am skeptical anyone can reform Washington Beltway culture, at least with Congress as is. The time for reform will likely manifests in 2010, and perhaps take hold in 2012. This is regardless of who wins the 08 election. But the position best able to affect change in DC is the Vice President. The VP can bridge both the executive branch and Congress. Among the four persons running, Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin, only Palin have demonstrated the ability to do so.

Finally I want to share some thoughts regarding the experience argument against Palin. Lets rephrase the question and look at what makes a good leader a good leader. Well certainly his/her stance on issues matter, but if this is all that is expected then he/she will only function as a manager rather than a leader. A good leader is someone who can face unexpected challenge and overcome them. And the important factor to consider is that there will be unexpected challenge waiting in our future. (Such as was 911, and how W came through have endeared him to my heart. Not only did he react in Afghanistan, he then acted in Iraq! And when things did not go as planned or expected in Iraq, he stood firm against the defeatists in Congress as well as the Pentagon!) Thus it is essential that our leader has good judgment. While it is true that experience can lead to good judgment, good judgment is not a derivative of experience! Good judgment requires smarts, insight, resolve, and moral vision. All these things Palin has. Her record as mayor and governor has clearly demonstrated her good judgment.

see also "One of our own made it" at Powerline regarding Palin.


Palin on Fox 1: Personable, Knowledgeable and the Financial Crisis

I think she did very well. She came across as personable, knowledgeable, and enthused and economics, energy, and reform. Her role as VP to push for energy independence and reform will be formidable challenge for anyone to tackle.

For me, she did much better than her Convention Speech because she was so much more substantive!

I want to in particular respond to one of her comment regarding the current financial/Wall Street crisis.
I believe capitalism is the best system to deliver wealth to the people. I recognize though that some will not gain, but all should have the opportunity to prosper. I am for less government regulation and intervention in the economy. If given freedom to act, individuals of ability and vision will produce more than central planning by the central government. Regulation stifles innovation.

A large part of this current financial crisis is due to unreasonably low interest rate by the Feds in order to stimulate the economy of the past several years. (Again, no "good deed" goes unpunished.) But this in itself would have been insufficient to generate the current crisis without active exploitation by certain capitalists. The root of the current financial crisis arise from too much easy money being loaned out to those who could not be reasonably be expected to repay the loan at a standard rate. Were these loans given to help these "underserved" people? I seriously doubt it. Thus these loans were made inorder to make money for the lender. Thus while it may seem trite to blame Wall Street's greed, unchecked greed is an intrinsic part of the problem.

For capitalism to work the capitalists must act with responsibility and respect for their client and customers. But no system is fool proof and I would still much rather suffer the failures of unrestricted greed than the burdensome dictates of faceless bureaucracy.

see also Right Wingsparkle on Biden v. Palin regarding the bail out.

Democratic Party War Room

but not enough "duh"s


Palin & Troopergate

Since Palin was announced, three issues have dogged her. First was her experience. Second was Troopergate. Third was earmarks and the bridge to nowhere. Thus far the earmark as well as the bridge to nowhere issue is fading as an issue as the facts reveal themselves. Next up is Troopergate, and now from Hot Air:
Sarah Palin issued a response to the Troopergate investigation yesterday by releasing internal memoranda that show Walt Monegan got fired for insubordination on budget matters and not because of his refusal to fire Palin’s former brother-in-law. Monegan went behind Palin’s back to attempt to revive a project Palin had vetoed, which “stunned” the Office of Management and Budget Director. On another occasion, Monegan held a press conference with Hollis French to dissent from Palin’s budget priorities — the same Hollis French pushing the ethics complaint against Palin:

Walt Monegan lost his job as public safety director because he resisted Gov. Sarah Palin’s budget policies and showed “outright insubordination,” say papers the governor’s lawyer filed Monday with the state Personnel Board.

It was Palin’s strongest effort yet to snuff allegations she sacked Monegan because he refused to fire a state trooper involved in an ugly divorce with the governor’s sister.

Along with the papers filed Monday were a slew of e-mails from the governor’s office purporting to show Monegan’s “rogue mentality” as a member of Palin’s Cabinet.

In one message, the governor’s budget director, Karen Rehfeld, wrote that she was “stunned and amazed” that Monegan appeared to be working with a powerful state legislator, Anchorage Republican Rep. Kevin Meyer, to seek funding for a project Palin previously had vetoed.

According to the papers filed by Palin’s legal team, that was not the only instance of insubordination from Monegan:

* 12/9/07: Monegan holds a press conference with Hollis French to push his own budget plan.
* 1/29/08: Palin’s staffers have to rework their procedures to keep Monegan from bypassing normal channels for budget requests.
* February 2008: Monegan publicly releases a letter he wrote to Palin supporting a project she vetoed.
* June 26, 2008: Monegan bypassed the governor’s office entirely and contacted Alaska’s Congressional delegation to gain funding for a project.

Seems Palin did the absolutely the right thing to fire him! This "scandal" too will pass. Next up is her experience and thus far, with the earmarks and Troopergate, then her good judgment will guide her well regardless of her experience. Not to mention her success as a Governor.

HT Althouse

Update Laura Ingraham vs David Brooks on Palin, Experience & Elitism


Palin & Earmarks

From the WSJ Palin's Project List Totals $453 Million

It does state that prior to Palin's first year as governor, $350 millions was requested. Her first year it was cut to $257, and for her second year, cut again to $197.
But the rest of the article was rather superficial (surprisingly so for the WSJ).
These projects include more than $130 million in federal funds that would benefit Alaska's fishing industry and an additional $9 million to help Alaska oil companies. She also has sought $4.5 million to upgrade an airport on a Bering Sea island that has a year-round population of less than 100.

Perfunction reveals that "an airport on a Bering Sea island that has a year-round population of less than 100" is
According to this document (PDF; thanks, Ed), the Aleutian backwater that needs an airport upgrade is Adak Island. (Example of more WSJ sloppiness: the amount is $3.2 million, not $4.5 million).

OUTRAGE! How dare Palin attempt to pork up some ghost town speck of rock in the Pacific? Airport to Nowhere indeed! There's no good reason for this federal spending.

Or is there?

Adak Island is the new home port of the newest sensor in the US ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, the one-of-a-kind Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX):

The SBX has been on station off the coast of Adak since early 2007, and played a key role in tracking/targeting the toxic spy satellite shoot-down this past February. Positioned in the North Pacific, the SBX is ready to detect ICBMs launched from Asia towards the US:

[Missile Defense Agency Director] Obering said this radar is so powerful that if it were located in Chesapeake Bay, it could track an object the size of a baseball over San Francisco.

While stationed off Adak, the SBX's crew of 85 will be frequently transiting through the island's airport. With Adak's harsh weather and usually socked-in conditions, it seems that $3.2 million is a small price to pay for the safe transport of this important crew.

Patterico tells us what the other earmarks are for:
“Meets the increased needs under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for developing regional fishery coordinated databases.”

“This is an ongoing effort to collect data on the recreational hailbut fishery that is conducted by federal agencies though relying on the state for data.”

“Provides state funding for management of federal fisheries, including Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands king crab and tanner crab, weathervane scallops and groundfish.”

“To meet federal obligation to enhance Sockeye salmon production, the state operates an enhancement unit at an existing hatercy and conducts fish monitoring. The work is completed cooperatively with the Canadian government.”

“Provides ongoing funding for programs that mitigate that impacts of harvest reductions imposed by the Pacific Salmon Treaty on Alaskan fisheries and coastal communities.”

“Funds Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Northwest Treaty Indian Tribes in meeting federal obligations under Pacific Salmon Treaty.”

“Funds monitoring of ice seal populations in Native Villages, research on species delineation and genetics of harbor seals to understand the declines in population and provide for population restoration, and continues research into Stellar Sea Lion population decline.”

“Allows State of Alaska to monitor Yukon River salmon and provide information necessary to support negotiations between US and Canada under Yukon River Salmon Agreement.”

“To continue necessary airport upgrading after transfer of the Naval Air Station (Adak) to the State.”

“Continued funding to address the challenges of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) as it relates to teacher quality and student achievement. It provides trained, full-release mentors for beginning teachers and principals.”

“Funds State of Alaska for implementation of federal obligations under Yukon River Treaty.”

“To complete a communication facility to support the 168th Air Refueling Wing’s 8 PAA KC 135 aircraft.”

The more I look into her beyond what the MSM are reporting, the more I like her candidacy.
btw, Governors cannot request earmarks, only Congress can.

See also Earmarks, Palin & the Bridge to Nowhere

W: CiC

From Blackfive. Please read it all!
On Dec. 10, 2006, our son, Shawn, was a paratrooper deployed on the outskirts of Baghdad . He was supposed to spend the night in camp, but when a fellow soldier became ill Shawn volunteered to take his place on a nighttime patrol--in the convoy's most exposed position as turret gunner in the lead Humvee. He was killed instantly with two other soldiers when an IED ripped through their vehicle.

I was thinking about that as my family and I sat in the audience listening to the President's speech, looking at the turret on the up-armored Humvee the explosive ordnance disposal flight had put at the edge of the stage as a static display.

When the speech was over and the President was working the crowd line, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see a White House staff member. She asked me and my wife to come with her, because the President wanted to meet us.

Stunned, we grabbed our two sons that were with us and followed her back into a conference room. It was a shock to go from a crowded, noisy hangar, past all of those security people, to find ourselves suddenly alone in a quiet room.

The only thing we could hear was a cell phone vibrating, and noticed that it was coming from the jacket Senator Stevens left on a chair. We didn't answer.

A short time later, the Secret Service opened the door and President Bush walked in. I thought we might get to shake his hand as he went through. But instead, he walked up to my wife with his arms wide, pulled her in for a hug and a kiss, and said, "I wish I could heal the hole in your heart." He then grabbed me for a hug, as well as each of our sons. Then he turned and said, "Everybody out."

A few seconds later, the four of us were completely alone behind closed doors with the President of the United States and not a Secret Service agent in sight.

He said, "Come on, let's sit down and talk." He pulled up a chair at the side of the room, and we sat down next to him. He looked a little tired from his trip, and he noticed that his shoes were scuffed up from leaning over concrete barriers to shake hands and pose for photos. He slumped down the chair, completely relaxed, smiled, and suddenly was no longer the President - he was just a guy with a job, sitting around talking with us like a family member at a barbeque.

For the next 15 or 20 minutes, he talked with us about our son, Iraq , his family, faith, convictions, and shared his feelings about nearing the end of his presidency. He asked each of our teenaged sons what they wanted to do in life and counseled them to set goals, stick to their convictions, and not worry about being the "cool" guy.

He said that he'd taken a lot of heat during his tenure and was under a lot of pressure to do what's politically expedient, but was proud to say that he never sold his soul. Sometimes he laughed, and at others he teared up. He said that what he'll miss most after leaving office will be his role as Commander in Chief.

One of the somber moments was when he thanked us for the opportunity to meet, because he feels a heavy responsibility knowing that our son died because of a decision he made. He was incredibly humble, full of warmth, and completely without pretense. We were seeing the man his family sees.

We couldn't believe how long he was talking to us, but he seemed to be in no hurry whatsoever. In the end, he thanked us again for the visit and for the opportunity to get off his feet for a few minutes. He then said, "Let's get some pictures." The doors flew open, Secret Service and the White House photographer came in, and suddenly he was the President again. We posed for individual pictures as he gave each of us one of his coins, and then he posed for family pictures. A few more thank yous, a few more hugs, and he was gone.

The remarkable thing about the whole event was that he didn't have to see us at all. If he wanted to do more, he could've just given a quick handshake and said, "Thanks for your sacrifice." But he didn't - he put everything and everyone in his life on hold to meet privately with the family of a Private First Class who gave his life in the service of his country.

I recently bought a T shirt with a political message on it for the first time in my life. It was to thank W. I am glad i did.


Palin v Gibson/MSM 2

Some additional thoughts on Palin interview with Gibson this past week as well as with Hannity this comming week.

Bush Doctrine. All head-of-states believe in pre-emption when you have good info that you are about to be attacked (unless you believe the conspiracy that FDR let Pearl Harbor get bombed in order to enter WW2). The difference with W is two fold. Firstly, "if you harbor those who attack us, we have a right to attack you." This is a much more aggressive stance than pre-emption alone. This was his doctrine in his first term but this was a reactive doctrine. Secondly, W's doctrine now also includes support of Democracy as the counter for islamofascist radicalism. He amended it in his second term to include a proactive arm. Whether Palin knew this I cannot say with certainty, but it was clear that Gibson did not.

Gibson. He was likely chosen from the big 4 (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN) because he might have been viewed as the most fair. There has been suggestion that Gibson was chosen by the McCain camp because he was a Republican. Whether he is a Republican or not is irrelevant, or at least too simplistic. Two things should be considered. Firstly is that he is a Washington insider and well entrenched in MSM. Even if he was conscious of elistism from being both I doubt he could counter it. I thought he was more elitist than biased. The fact that Palin is an outsider has rattled the establishment on the right and the left. The Left is just more shrill about it. Secondly, there was significant editing of the interview and what complete transcript is available so far, the broadcast edit clearly suggest bias of the producer, which may not have been clearly anticipated by the McCain camp.

Hannity. I don't think he interviews. He either confronts or re-inforce his own bias. But this interview is not meant to inform the independent voters like the Gibson interview (which was more an introduction to the voters). The Hannity interview is more about rallying the base again as well as reassure the hold out on the right that she is still better than Obama. Both really are just warm up for her real interview which will be against Biden in the VP Debate.

Palin v Gibson/MSM

For those who wondered why the interview was so choppy, it was obviously from editing. And if you wondered what was edited out, here is some of what was edited out.
GIBSON: Let’s start, because we are near Russia, let’s start with Russia and Georgia.

The administration has said we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

PALIN: First off, we’re going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak with him the other day and giving him my commitment, as John McCain’s running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia. And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable and we have to keep…

GIBSON: You believe unprovoked.

PALIN: I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there. I think it was unfortunate. That manifestation that we saw with that invasion of Georgia shows us some steps backwards that Russia has recently taken away from the race toward a more democratic nation with democratic ideals. That’s why we have to keep an eye on Russia.

And, Charlie, you’re in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They’re very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

Sarah Palin on Russia:

We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We’ve learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union.

We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

There is much more from the link, as there are much more we haven't even seen. Palin's answers are even better then I had thought!
Stupid MSM and their bias.

HT: Newsbuster


Feminism: Actions vs Words

Who is more for women in the workplace, Obama or McCain?
Using the public information compiled on the Web site of the non-partisan group Legistorm, Murdock concludes that, on average, women in McCain's office are paid more than the men in McCain's office -- $1.04 for every dollar a man makes. Men in Obama's office make more than women do; female employees make 83 cents for every dollar made by male employees.

Murdock frames this as an issue of pay equity, but it's not really -- if anything, it's more a matter of a "glass ceiling."

(Or, at least, that's what feminist groups would likely be saying if the situations were reversed.)

Only one of Obama's five best-paid Senate staffers is a woman. Of McCain's five best-paid Senate staffers, three are women.

Of Obama's top 20 salaried Senate staffers, seven are women. Of McCain's top 20 salaried Senate staffers, 13 are women.

True that McCain is more senior and may have a larger budget just because he has a larger budget does not mean his women staff will be paid more than his men staff. Nor does it mean that he will have more women on his staff either does it.

Also true that Obama has many high powered women on his staff but that he has women on campaign staff does not mean they outnumber the men, or are paid equivalent.

What this exemplifies is that it would be a mistake for feminists to latch themselves onto political parties rather than endorsing candidates based on their records of feminism. Even if your most valued issue is abortion there are plenty of pro-choice republicans and pro-life democrats. When you are too allied to one party or another, you will eventually be taken for granted. It seems to me this has been the case with the Dems and feminists.

Feminists should broaden your influence by adhering to feminist issues and candidates rather than political parties.

And in this election, it seems to me that McCain is more of the feminist than Obama is.


Commonsense Advice for McCain/Palin

Here are my thoughts on how McCain/Palin could (should?) run their campaign until November 4, 2008.

Firstly, stay above the fray. I love that on the night of Obama's historic speech, McCain aired a congratulatory message to Obama. This was then followed by Palin's acknowledgment of Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton tremendous precedence for women in the campaign for the PotUS office. Even in his acceptance speech, McCain acknowledged Obama's patriotism. People respect and admire politicians who can stay above the bickering and especially those who can be gracious in doing so. All these counter charges regarding lipstick, pig, and fish should be abandoned immediately. They are petty.

Secondly, stay on message. The goal here is to draw into your camp independents. The four messages should be reform, security, energy and opportunity. The reform message should focus on reforming Washington politics. Here both McCain and Palin can really hammer their credentials as proven reformers. And what needs reformation is Washington, not the USA. People are tired of politics as usual in Washington and they want a positive message of reform. This is the change they want, not just change in general, and definitely not change for change sake. Reform also should mean reform of the Republican Party. Here they can talk about "Country over Party" but they have to work to make the Republican Party more attractive. As things stand, even if elected, they will have to work with a democratic congress thus no real Republican initiatives can be taken. The Republican Party must be reformed, rebranded, and resold to the public in order to regain the trust of the American public deliver a better America, and regain control of Congress.

On the security message highlights how you understand the risks abroad with islamofascism, the cost of actions, and the consequences of weakness. Also promise to build our international standing with India, Europe, and Africa. India because India is the world's most populous democracy and will serve as counterweight to China as well as instability in Pakistan. Talk about how you will help the Eastern Europeans by working with the EU and NATO against an increasingly aggressive Russia. And Africa because this region offers opportunity to help those most in need of help. Do not cast this as "rebuilding alliances" because this suggests things are broken. Stay positive because this is a strength McCain can offer that Obama/Biden cannot match! They can only play the defensive. That neither Obama nor Biden supported the Surge suggests they will be weak internationally.

The energy message has two components. The first component is that by drilling here offshore and in Alaska, the US becomes less dependent on Middle East oil. This is also a security issue. Drilling here may not reduce the price of oil now but it will decrease the price of oil in the future and voters will understand this. The second component is that by increasing our alternative energy utilization such as solar, wind, and even nuclear, this will have positive impact on the environment. The improved access to energy will spur the economy and economic opportunities for all Americans. Energy is a top issue among voters.

The opportunity message should focus on three areas: economic opportunities, education opportunities, and personal opportunities. Economic opportunities are about tax cuts, tax break and support for small business. An education opportunity is really about school choice. And personal opportunities are for all Americans to succeed. A component of this, but not emphasized too overtly, is about feminism. Too much will make it appear that Palin was chosen primarily because she is a woman. No more illegal immigrant bashing, more about legal immigrant opportunities. The Hispanic population needs to be courted based on stressing family and dignity of work. No more gay bashing with the marriage definition either. The religious conservative are already on board, no need to pander to them. Instead when the topic is raised, talk about and stress civil union as a mean for all to get legal protection, while also preserving traditional marriage. Again, stay positive.

Thirdly stay on the attack. Do not get petty, continue to ridicule. Maintain a sense of optimism, confidence, and humor. I believe the public will respond equally positive. If the Obama/Biden respond too seriously, they have no sense of humor, or take themselves too seriously. It will be very difficult to maintain a sense of humor or grace when you are on the defensive. Ridicule Obama/Biden hollow message of change, inexperience (the 3 am topic is good), poor judgment (on the Surge, on Biden, on Ayer), pretensions, and the "One" (that he is the MSM darling, and that the darling of foreigners). It will be difficult to ridicule well, but when done well, it is a winner. And the ridicule must be humorous.

In my opinion this will allow McCain/Palin to run a positive campaign with content and humor.

Governor of Alaska

From today's WSJ Editorial page:
One rap on Sarah Palin's qualifications to be Vice President is that she governs one of our least populated states, with a budget of "only" $12 billion and 16,000 full-time state employees. On the other hand, it turns out that the Governor's office in Alaska is one of the country's most powerful.

For more than two decades Thad Beyle, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina, has maintained an index of "institutional powers" in state offices. He rates governorships on potential length of service, budgetary and appointment authority, veto power and other factors. Mr. Beyle's findings for 2008 rate Alaska at 4.1 on a scale of 5. The national average is 3.5.

Only four other states -- Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia -- concentrate as much power in the Governor's office as Alaska does, and only one state (Massachusetts) concentrates more. California may be the nation's most populous state, but its Governor rates as below-average (3.2) in executive authority. This may account in part for Arnold Schwarzenegger's poor legislative track record. The lowest rating goes to Vermont (2.5), where the Governor (remember Howard Dean) is a figurehead compared to Mrs. Palin.

In Alaska, the Governor has line-item veto power over the budget and can only be overridden by a three-quarters majority of the Legislature. In 1992, the year Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was elected President, his state budget was $2 billion and among the smallest in the country. Compared to that, Sarah Palin is an executive giant.

Camille Paglia on frontier women and Sarah Palin is well worth the read.


Former Democrat Senator from Alaska Mike Gravel Defends Palin

Kudos to Senator Mike Gravel for speaking with integrity, honesty, and rising above party politics.

HT Wolf Howling



Earmarks, Palin and the Bridge to Nowhere

Firstly, what are congressional earmarks? per Wikipedia:
Provisions associated with legislation (appropriations or general legislation) that specify certain congressional spending priorities or in revenue bills that apply to a very limited number of individuals or entities. Earmarks may appear in either the legislative text or report language (committee reports accompanying reported bills and joint explanatory statement accompanying a conference report).

And so what is wrong with earmarks? What is wrong is that these federal funds are not critically reviewed for merit or needs, thus potentially wasteful. However, I am skeptical that it is even practical for Congress to review, discuss, and judge each and every earmark for merit or needs. Congress barely has any meaningful debates even on more important issues! If not Congress itself, should some lesser government officials decide on the earmarks? Hell no, because we all know bureaucrats have even less accountability and responsibility to decide this. That just is not and should not be for bureaucrats to decide.

So how do we limit the potential abuse and waste with earmarks? Firstly, they should be listed with the legislator requesting them. Secondly, that all federal earmarks be matched dollar for dollar with State/Local funds. Thirdly, that State/Local funds be spent before federal funds can be spent. Given that State/Local funds have to be spent, I would expect only earmark projects with local needs and support would be funded. No, not a perfect system, but it does place accountability at both the Congressional and the State/Local level. In the end, it will be up to elected leaders to act with good judgment and responsibility when it comes to spending money.

What is Gov. Palin's take on earmarks?
I am not among those who have said "earmarks are nothing more than pork projects being shoveled home by an overeager congressional delegation." I recognize that Congress, which exercises the power of the purse, has the constitutional responsibility to put its mark on the federal budget, including adding funds that the president has not proposed.

Accordingly, my administration has recommended funding for specific projects and programs when there is an important federal purpose and strong citizen support.

This year, we have requested 31 earmarks, down from 54 in 2007. Of these, 27 involve continuing or previous appropriations and four are new requests. The total dollar amount of these requests has been reduced from approximately $550 million in the previous year to just less than $200 million.

I believe this represents a responsible approach to the changing situation in Congress. Some misinterpret this as criticism of our congressional delegation.

In fact, it responds to messages from the Congressional delegation and the Bush administration. They have told us that the number of earmarks in the federal budget will be reduced and that there must be a strong federal purpose underlying each request.

We have also heard that, wherever possible, earmark requests must be accompanied by a state or local match. So, there are state budget consequences that must be considered as well when we ask for federal help.

There is no inconsistency or hypocrisy between my previous statements concerning earmarks and the recommendations my administration made to the delegation on Feb. 15. Specifically, I said earlier that the state would submit no more than 12 new requests, excluding earmarks for ongoing projects and the Alaska National Guard. Our recommendations are consistent with my previous comments and recognize the new budgetary realities in D.C.

Further, I applaud the delegation's decision to post all earmark requests. Posting, along with other reforms, will help insure the open and transparent public process that good government demands.

Regarding your comments concerning earmarks requested by local governments and other Alaska entities, I have never sought to impose my views on their activities. In fact, my D.C. office meets with dozens of local governments and others requesting earmarks and this interaction has always been cooperative and cordial.

Each entity must interpret the new realities in D.C. for itself. The final decisions about which earmark requests to pursue are made by the congressional delegation as our representatives in Congress.

My role at the federal level is simply to submit the most well-conceived earmark requests we can. Of course, since the congressional delegation has told us that they expect state or local matches, requests submitted by others may have implications for the Alaska Legislature as well.

As I have said previously, we can either respond to the changing circumstances in Congress or stick our heads in the sand. For better or worse, earmarks, which represent only about 1 percent of the federal budget, have become a symbol for budgetary discussions in general.

Unfortunately, Alaska has been featured prominently in the debate about reform. By recognizing the necessity for change, we can enhance the state's credibility in the appropriations process and in other areas of federal policy.

One of my goals as governor is making Alaska as self-sufficient as possible. Among other things, that means the ability to develop our natural resources in a responsible manner.

However, I am also mindful of the role that the federal government plays in our state. The federal budget, in its various manifestations, is incredibly important to us, and congressional earmarks are one aspect of this relationship.

I think her take is quite practical and quite reasonable. Here is a statement regarding one earmark in particular that has caused semi-uproar in the news.
Palin: “I told Congress `Thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere'"

This has been challenged in the MSM that she "lied," that she was for the bridge before she was against it.

However, lets hear it from Senator Stevens who signed onto the bridge earmark (Rep Don Young plugged the earmark itself.)
Stevens, who once threatened to resign his Senate seat in 2005 if $223 million for the bridge project was defeated, told reporters today that Palin was never a supporter of the project, which has quickly become a bone of contention in defining the GOP vice-presidential nominee's self proclaimed image as a maverick reformer who took on "the good ol' boys network" of Alaska Republicans.

"I don't remember her ever campaigning for it. As a matter of fact, she was very critical of it at the time. And she took the money and did not use it for the bridge, so you're wrong, as far as I'm concerned," Stevens said today.

And here is from Democrat's page attacking Sen. Stevens earmarking:
Alaska’s delegation caused a national uproar for earmarking $452 million for two expensive bridges near Ketchikan and Anchorage; the amount appropriated would cover only part of the costs. Gov. Palin recently cancelled the Gravina Island Bridge ['Bridge to Nowhere'] near Ketchikan that would have connected the Alaska mainland with Gravina Island (population: 50). The other bridge, named Don Young’s Way and also known as the Knik Arm Bridge, is a proposed two-mile span that would cross Cook Inlet’s Knik Arm and connect Anchorage with undeveloped land in the Mat-Su Borough. Ted’s current chief of staff and former top aides are among those who own land that would benefit from construction of the bridge.

And here is a republication of the Anchorage Daily News from February 8, 2008
Let's count how many things Gov. Sarah Palin's predecessor did that she's undone.

It's quite a list.

The state-owned jet: Sold.

The proposed Gravina Island "bridge to nowhere" and a pioneer road to Juneau: Won't be funded.

And here is the Anchorage Daily News again in March 12, 2008
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is aggravated about what he sees as Gov. Sarah Palin's antagonism toward the earmarks he uses to steer federal money to the state."The fact the state has seen fit to raise the issue of earmarks and the way they handled the bridge money has led to a lot of controversy back here and comment back here about the Alaska delegation and why they seek things the state doesn't want," Stevens said in a recent telephone interview from Washington, D.C.


Palin ruffled feathers when she announced - without giving the delegation advance notice - that the state was killing the Ketchikan bridge to Gravina Island, site of the airport and a few dozen residents.

Palin's office said a state transportation official had earlier told Stevens the project was too expensive. Palin has said the federal funding was short and Congress clearly wasn't going to pay for the rest of such a controversial bridge.

Palin also declared last year that her administration was going to cut back its own earmark requests submitted to the delegation. Her budget director, Karen Rehfeld, wrote, "to enhance the state's credibility," state requests should only be for the most compelling needs.

The state requested earmarks for 31 projects worth just under $200 million this year. Rehfeld said five of them are new and four have been funded intermittently in the past. She said it's down from last year's request of 54 projects for around $550 million.

Thus it seems to me Gov. Palin was completely honest when she declared
“I told Congress `Thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere'"

See also Powerline Blog

Global Warming & Polar ICe

Note: in increase in ice over the past year (left map) is larger than the size of Germany (right map).

HT: No Parasan

Palin tie in:
A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made. .
Another reason to vote for her. Scientific skepicism is healthy. Too bad so many "scientists" put popular fads ahead of critical analysis.



The recent campaign of Hillary Clinton and the current campaign for Sarah Palin has brought the topic of feminism to the forefront for me. I have been amazed at the responses, predominantly from the left, and from a surprising percentage of women, on what they believe feminism is about.

I have always thought that feminism was about supporting a woman's right to become what ever she wants to be. Women should be doctors (over 51% of medical students are now women), lawyers, soldiers, athletes, politicians, and whatever else she desires. And to be a feminist is to support these opportunities for yourself as a woman and for other women.

Apparently I am wrong. According to the left, including leftist women, all it takes to be a feminist is to be a woman who is pro-choice.

Despite becoming the first woman governor of Alaska by running against a corrupt old-boys network, she should not be considered a feminist.
Despite trippling state funds for troubled teens, including pregnant teenagers.
Despite increasing state funds for special needs children to make it easier for their care givers (we all know which sex the care givers tend to be).
Despite advocating abstinence and contraception education.
Nope, she is not a feminist at all. Haven't made anything of herself. Haven't supported other women either.

The left is trapped by their own hypocisy.

Palin Links

From Palin herself:
on Congressional earmarks

Defending Palin:
Palin rumors clearing house
Palin sexism watch
countering Palin smears


Will Hillary Help Obama Now?

There was already a rumor that even before the Biden selection Hillary turned down Obama. At that time, there was already a buzz on why Obama was not leading more in the polls. I am sure that Hillary calculated that Obama could lose 08 thus allowing her to run in 12.
Had she joined him, and Obama/Clinton wins, she could not run till 16. Undoubtedly she recognizes how difficult it would be for a VP of 8 years to run for PotUS.
If the first term is a disaster, then she would have almost no chance in 12 and would have to try again in 16. It would be prohibitively difficult to win in 16 after losing in 12 as VP.
Now if Obama/Biden wins she would actually have a better chance of winning in 16 from outside the administration. And an outside chance even in 12.

This calculus is even more obvious now with Palin.
I would say no chance in hell would Hillary join Obama now.



There should be no question that this man was transformed by the events in Viet Nam. I fully believe he has seen the best and the worse of wars, as well as the depravity of totalitarianism. He can be trusted to lead our country. He will put the best interest of his country ahead of his own.
And Cyndi McCain has lived an extraordinary life as well, one of service and giving back. She will make a fine first lady.

But i do not believe he will likely transform the US. But i do believe that his VP Governor Palin does.

We absolutely need to win this presidential election.
I will be voting for this ticket, not just voting against the other.


Palin & Polls

Two polls of note:
Firstly, from Rasmussen:
Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.

Thirty-nine percent (39%) also believe the GOP vice presidential nominee has better experience to be president of the United States than Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

But 49% give Obama the edge on experience, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey – taken before Palin’s historic speech Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention.

While Republicans and Democrats predictably favor their party’s candidate by overwhelming margins, the experience gap among voters unaffiliated with either party is even narrower than the national totals. Forty-two percent (42%) say Obama has better experience to be president, but 37% say Palin does.

Secondly, from SurveyUSA:
Palin Speech Moves Independents: Results of two nationwide polls conducted by SurveyUSA show Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention on the evening of 09/03/08 has helped the McCain campaign.

24 hours ago, independent voters nationwide were split on whether Palin was an asset or a liability to McCain's campaign. Today, by a 2:1 margin, independents say Palin is an asset. Overnight, the percentage calling the Alaska governor an asset to the campaign climbed 13 points; the percentage calling her a liability fell 17 points.

The numbers are similar among moderates, who 24 hours ago viewed Palin as a liability by an 11 point margin; today, Palin is seen as an asset by an 18 point margin.

Betting Line Changes: 24 hours ago, when asked if they would bet on Obama or McCain becoming president, Obama was a 16:15 favorite; today, it's flipped, and McCain is favored by the same ratio.


Tonight for the first time in my life i made a political donation.
While it went technically to McCain/Palin, it only happened because of Palin.


Palin vs Big Oil

What experience you ask?
Consider this:
Palin came into the governor's office and found a mess on her desk. The oil deal struck by defeated Republican governor Frank Murkowski wasn't working. Through creative accounting by big oil and ambiguous reporting standards, the Murkowski plan just wasn't giving the State of Alaska the pay-off that was expected. So the former mayor of Wasilla (population 9,000, as the MSM always points out) demanded that the agreement be renegotiated and the terms be nailed down. They laughed when she sat down to negotiate, but in the end she had a new deal that delivered 50 percent of the oil revenues to the Alaska Permanent Fund, and enabled Palin to send a check for $1,200 to every qualified Alaskan citizen.

Now one of the major companies involved was BP, a.k.a. British Petroleum, before that, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. It was Anglo-Iranian, at that time a British parastatal (70 percent owned by the British government and the Bank of England) that started the Middle East conflict in 1953. Anglo-Iranian was using creative accounting and payments to dummy corporations to pretend to the Iranian government that there was virtually no profit. They demanded that the Iranian government uphold the original contract made decades before. Prime Minister Mohammed Mossedegh threatened to nationalize Anglo-Iranian. The British responded with a naval blockade of Iranian ports.

The Americans stepped in to help. U.S. Ambassador George McGehee, an experienced former petroleum engineer, and Gen. Richard Walters, the linguistic wizard, huddled with Mossedegh in sessions in Washington and New York. They got him to agree to accept a 50-50 split, a reasonable proposal by the then international standard, similar to the contract that U.S.-owned Aramco had renegotiated with Saudi Arabia. But the British refused. Instead they plotted a coup against the Iranian government, and then prevailed upon on the incoming Eisenhower administration to implement it with the assistance of British agents on the ground. Iranian production was taken over by an international coalition that agreed to the 50-50 split. There was plenty enough blame to go around on all sides, but one of the first acts of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 was to toss out all foreign oil companies and confiscate their assets.

Today BP, the former Anglo-Iranian, is the third largest global energy corporation. It now claims to be privatized, and it is estimated that 70 percent of the shares are owned by British investors. At one time the Kuwait Investment Office held over 21 percent of the shares. It tried, and failed, to merge the two companies, but was blocked by a British government inquiry. Under Prime Minister Thatcher, the company went private and on a spending spree. BP bought up Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio), Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco) and Atlantic Richfield (Arco). BP became a major player in the U.S. petroleum industry, including Prudhoe Bay and the Alaska Pipeline. And despite its advertising campaign trying to suggest that BP means "Beyond Petroleum," the company has one of the worst environmental records in the United States with its refineries blowing up and its pipelines bursting, the result -- as testimony showed -- of parsimonious budgets for maintenance. It is a formidable corporation.

So enter the PTA community organizer from Wasilla. Without preconditions she took on a company that has a market cap of $205 billion and annual revenues of $291 billion in worldwide operations. Its budget is larger than that those of most sovereign countries, yet she won on her terms. If she can outsmart BP, the company that started the Middle East conflict, she can easily outsmart Ahmadinejad, if need be.

Then to follow up that act, she got the Alaskan Legislature to approve development of the TransCanada gas pipeline, a $40 billion deal that will go 1,715 miles from the treatment plant at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the Alberta hub in Canada, from which it will be transferred to the United States. This project had been sitting around for 30 years on hold because the big energy companies didn't think it would be profitable, and their corrupt cronies in the legislature obediently kept it on the shelf. Crusading against corruption and negotiating across the aisle, Palin not only got it passed in record time, but opened up the bidding when the U.S. companies were reluctant to jump in. So she went ahead and awarded the contract to low-bidder TransCanada Alaska, a firm that has already built 36,000 miles of pipelines in North America. As a final fillip, the Governor signed the bill at the Alaska AFL-CIO biennial convention. While Barack Obama's solution to the energy problem is to urge us to check the air in our tires, Palin's solution is to start building a $40 billion gas pipeline, without Federal government assistance.

Read the whole thing!


And here is a very interesting read on Obama

the Bush Economy

Do not let the press or the left disuade you otherwise, the economic outlook is sound.
Economic growth. U.S. output has expanded faster than in most advanced economies since 2000. The IMF reports that real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 2.2% over the period 2001-2008 (including its forecast for the current year). President Bush will leave to his successor an economy 19% larger than the one he inherited from President Clinton. This U.S. expansion compares with 14% by France, 13% by Japan and just 8% by Italy and Germany over the same period.

The latest ICP findings, published by the World Bank in its World Development Indicators 2008, also show that GDP per capita in the U.S. reached $41,813 (in purchasing power parity dollars) in 2005. This was a third higher than the United Kingdom's, 37% above Germany's and 38% more than Japan's.

Household consumption. The ICP study found that the average per-capita consumption of the U.S. population (citizens and illegal immigrants combined) was second only to Luxembourg's, out of 146 countries covered in 2005. The U.S. average was $32,045. This was well above the levels in the UK ($25,155), Canada ($23,526), France ($23,027) and Germany ($21,742). China stood at $1,751.

Health services. The U.S. spends easily the highest amount per capita ($6,657 in 2005) on health, more than double that in Britain. But because of private funding (55% of the total) the burden on the U.S. taxpayer (9.1% of GDP) is kept to similar levels as France and Germany. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 84.7% of the U.S. population was covered by health insurance in 2007, an increase of 3.6 million people over 2006. The uninsured can receive treatment in hospitals at the expense of private insurance holders.

While life expectancy is influenced by lifestyles and not just access to health services, the World Bank nevertheless reports that average life expectancy in the U.S. rose to 78 years in 2006 (the same as Germany's), from 77 in 2000.


Investment has been buoyant under President Bush. According to the ICP, outlays on additions to the fixed assets (machinery and buildings, etc.) of the U.S. economy amounted to $8,018 per capita in 2005 compared to $4,963 in Germany and $4,937 in the U.K. Higher taxes on the upper-income Americans, as proposed by Mr. Obama, are likely to result in lower saving and investment, less entrepreneurial activity and reduced availability of bank credit. Lower-income Americans would be among the losers.


Employment. The U.S. employment rate, measured by the percentage of people of working age (16-65 years) in jobs, has remained high by international standards. The latest OECD figures show a rate of 71.7% in 2006. This was more than five percentage points above the average for the euro area.

The U.S. unemployment rate averaged 4.7% from 2001-2007. This compares with a 5.2% average rate during President Clinton's term of office, and is well below the euro zone average of 8.3% since 2000.

Debt interest payments. The IMF reports that the interest cost of servicing general government debt in the U.S. has averaged 2.0% of GDP annually from 2001-2008, compared with 2.7% in the euro zone. It averaged 3.2% annually when President Clinton was in office.

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been largely absorbed in a relatively small increase in the defense budget (to 4.1% of GDP in 2006 from 3.8% in 1995). A much higher proportion of U.S. income was devoted to the military during World War II and the Korean War.


Bristol Palin

News today is that Palin's daughter Bristol is pregnant.
This will not affect the religious right's enthusiasm for Sarah Palin. McCain apparently knew about it before picking her, which for me raises my opinion of him.
Obama himself was conceived out of wedlock and has told his side to back off.
I seriously doubt his minions would do so. Thus it will be a test for him to see how low he will let his supporters go in pursuing criticism of Sarah Palin herself. What remains at play here are the independent women, men and families with teenage girls. My first impression is that they will sympathize with the Palins and despise those who will attack them.