Did Saddam bagman help Obama buy mansion?

*’Twas the night before elections*

’Twas the night before elections                              
       And all through the town                                      
       Tempers were flaring                                          
       Emotions all up and down!                                     
                                                                     
       I, in my bathrobe                                             
       With a cat in my lap                                          
       Had cut off the TV                                            
       Tired of political crap.                                      
                                                                     
       When all of a sudden                                          
       There arose such a noise                                      
       I peered out of my window                                     
       Saw Obama and his boys                                        
                                                                     
       They had come for my wallet                                   
       They wanted my pay                                            
       To give to the others                                         
       Who had not worked a day!                                     
                                                                     
       He snatched up my money                                       
       And quick as a wink                                           
       Jumped back on his bandwagon                                  
       As I gagged from the stink                                    
                                                                     
       He then rallied his henchmen                                  
       Who were pulling his cart                                     
       I could tell they were out                                    
       To tear my country apart!                                     
                                                                     
       ’ On Fannie, on Freddie,                                      
       On Biden and Ayers!                                           
       On Acorn, On Pelosi’                                          
       He screamed at the pairs!                                     
                                                                     
       They took off for his cause                                   
       And as he flew out of sight                                   
       I heard him laugh at the nation                               
       Who wouldn’t stand up and fight!                              
                                                                     
       So I leave you to think                                       
       On this one final note-                                       
       IF YOU DONT WANT SOCIALISM                                    
       GET OUT AND VOTE!

McCain camp demands L.A. Times release video

McCain camp demands L.A. Times release video

 

John McCain’s campaign is demanding that the Los Angeles Times release a video of a party for a prominent Palestinian activist that Barack Obama attended in 2003.

The Times described the going-away party for former University of Chicago professor, and Obama friend, Rashid Khalidi, in a story in April. The story reported that Palestinians thought they might have a friend in Obama because of his friendships in that community, despite the fact that his positions have never been particularly pro-Palestinian.

“A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi,” said McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb, citing Obama’s friendship with Khalidi, who is now a professor at Columbia University.

He said the video could, among other things, show how Obama responded to a poem recited at the party accusing Israel of “terrorism” and warning of consequences for U.S. support for Israel, which Goldfarb described as “hate speech.”

“The election is one week away, and it’s unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job — make information public,” he said.

The campaign hadn’t previously demanded the video, though conservative bloggers have, and neither other reporters nor McCain’s researchers have been able to dig up a copy.

Khalidi is a controversial figure, reviled by pro-Israel activists, though not a marginal one. A former professor at the University of Chicago, he’s now Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia, and respected by many in academia. He’s been criticized most for saying that Palestinians have a right to resist Israeli occupation and has been described as a former P.L.O. spokesman, a label he has denied.

The paper hasn’t explained its unwillingness to release the video, and Peter Wallsten, who found the tape and wrote about it, declined to discuss it with me last night. He forwarded an e-mail that the paper has sent readers who have complained as conservative blogs raise the issue.

“Over six months ago the Los Angeles Times published a detailed account of the events shown on the videotape. The Times is not suppressing anything. Just the opposite — the L.A. Times brought the matter to light,” wrote the readers’ representative, Jamie Gold.

L.A. Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan wouldn’t discuss the decision not to release the tape in detail.

“When we reported on the tape six months ago, that was our full report,” she said, and asked, “Does Politico release unpublished information?”

The answer to that question is yes — Politico and most news outlets constantly make available videos and documents, after describing them in part, which is why the Times’ decision not to release the video is puzzling. My instinct, and many reporters’, is to share as much source material as possible.

Critics have suggested that the Times is witholding the video for political reasons, but there are other possibilities: competitive reasons, or simply out of tradition. In the mechanics of reporting, there’s another possibility as well. The video may have been given to the paper on the condition it not be released, or releasing it could compromise its source.

But the Times hasn’t explained the move, and the McCain campaign is turning up the heat on a story that, whether or not the tape is released, is a reminder that some of Obama’s Hyde Park friends stand well to the left of his stated positions.

Why Obama Gets Cap-Gains Tax Wrong

Why Obama Gets Cap-Gains Tax Wrong

By JOHN TAMNY | Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:30 PM PT

While the power of tax cuts has been largely marginalized this decade by the Bush administration’s weak-dollar policies, it’s important to remember the impact of taxation on economic activity. Taxes, and capital gains taxes in particular, distort economic incentives for good or bad depending on their direction.

And in Barack Obama’s case, his plan to raise the capital gains rate is an economic negative that he’ll hopefully rethink if elected. Raising the capital gains rate would penalize investment success, push wages down on the margin, and it would help calcify wealth disparities in this country owing to a reluctance of shareholders to spread capital around.

First the obvious. Taxes are nothing more than a price. The higher the tax on any activity, the more expensive it is to engage in same. Looked at from the perspective of capital gains taxes, they are a price placed on investment success, and a tax on risk capital that drives the intrepid investor away from risky investments on the margin.

Ideal Rate: Zero

When we consider that businesses and entrepreneurs are reliant on the willingness of investors to offer up capital in order to grow, the ideal rate when it comes to capital gains is by definition zero.

In many ways a non-existent capital gains rate should appeal to Obama. He clarified to ABC’s Charles Gibson his desire to raise the rate as something rooted in “fairness,” but given the basic truth that there are no wages without capital, the only fair action to take with respect to lower-income workers would be to erase the tax on capital investment.

Abolishment of the rate would increase the amount of capital available for wages, plus it would increase the wage competition for what is always a limited supply of workers.

For those who own shares that have risen in value, the capital gains rate is most problematic. As mentioned, taxes are merely a price, and when the price of selling shares is high, the incentive for investors to defer the sale of appreciated shares rises.

Let It Flow

At first glance the above is unfortunate given the implosions this decade of Enron, Worldcom, Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. to name a few. Politicians regularly talk up the importance of diversification with the aforementioned firms in mind, but with the price of selling potentially set to rise, the reluctance to unload appreciated shares will grow.

Capital gains taxes are a tax on investment diversification, so they work at cross-purposes with a bipartisan Washington consensus in favor of investment diversity.

But probably the greatest, though least spoken of reason for capital gains abolishment is that a vibrant economy is totally reliant on the unfettered flow of capital. When individuals with large share gains are made reluctant to sell due to taxes, the economy is burned twice:

The economy is first harmed by the aforementioned reluctance of individuals to realize gains. This is a problem because it’s through the sale of shares that investors voice their displeasure with the direction taken by company management. If tax distortions make this necessary process less likely, the growth companies of yesteryear will lose out on the all-important price signals telling them they must improve.

Put simply, how many longtime Microsoft, Dell and Cisco shareholders are reluctant to sell solely due to capital gains taxes? If so, how does this help those firms if tax rules give them a distorted and elevated view of the job they’re doing?

Secondly, this reluctance to sell and redeploy capital to the most productive opportunities means tomorrow’s Microsofts potentially go wanting for capital. And when you consider what today’s Microsoft has done for our economy and the world’s, it’s essential that we foster an environment where the best ideas of the future get funding.

Capital gains taxes discourage the above process, whereby stale companies overseeing capital destruction lose out to tomorrow’s winners. This is unfortunate for the economy on its face, and when we remember that Obama seeks to promote economic fairness, capital gains levies once again work at cross-purposes with his goals.

Indeed, taxes on investment gains merely reinforce the existing commercial outlook by virtue of the richest firms of today holding onto capital that would more likely depart in a tax-free environment. If the policy is one of “spreading the wealth around,” then it’s essential to remove the tax barriers that make this result less likely.

Platitudes Come True

On a positive front, Barack Obama, if elected, will be positively restrained in what he does by the political economics of his desire to be a two-term president. That being the case, it is hoped that he’ll cross the aisle on the all-important question of capital gains taxes.

A lower or abolished rate would be a big economic boost all else being equal, plus it would help Obama realize what are now simply campaign platitudes about higher wages and greater economic fairness.

Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior economist with H.C. Wainwright Economics and a senior economic advisor to Toreador Research and Trading.

 

Not President’s Job To Make U.S. Popular

Not President’s Job To Make U.S. Popular

By THOMAS SOWELL | Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Among all the people who are now scrambling to get on the Obama bandwagon, none is likely to impress more people than Colin Powell — especially people who know no more about the specifics of Colin Powell’s actions than the specifics of Barack Obama’s.

Like Ross Perot, Powell once had such support from the American people that there was nothing to stop him from going all the way to White House — and beyond to greatness — except his own shortcomings. Both squandered historic opportunities.

One of the first signs of those shortcomings was Powell’s flip-flop on the issue of racial quotas and preferences. In his memoirs, he opposed such policies. But at the Republican convention, he loudly demanded them, complete with a raised fist, which was hardly his usual style.

Didn’t Speak Up

What he was trying to prove, we may never know. What he did prove was how unreliable he was.

More recently, Powell sat silent while two lives were ruined in a special prosecutor’s zeal to get a conviction in a case involving a noncrime: telling columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.

The full story is told in Novak’s book, “The Prince of Darkness.” What is relevant here is that a New York Times reporter went to jail for refusing to tell who had revealed Ms. Plame’s occupation to her, and White House aide Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury because his memory of what he said did not match the memories of some reporters — whose memories did not match each other’s.

Powell’s Crime?

All the while Powell knew that his own subordinate, Richard Armitage, was the one who told Robert Novak that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. Neither Armitage nor anybody else was convicted for that because there was no crime to convict them of.

The only crimes were those created in the course of the investigation, unless the silence of Armitage and Powell are regarded as moral crimes.

Among the reasons given by Secretary Powell for supporting Obama is that Obama can restore America’s standing with foreign countries.

The idea that the United States must somehow rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the United Nations or NATO or “world opinion” is staggering, even though it is an idea very popular in the mainstream media.

The first duty of a president is to protect American interests — of which survival is No. 1 — regardless of what others may say.

Virtually the whole world condemned Israel when it bombed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear facilities back in 1981. But Israel understood that its survival was more important than international popularity.

Let us hope that today’s Israeli government understands that issue the same way as regards Iran, since ours may not.

Despite the media hype that we need to rehabilitate ourselves in the eyes of the world, the United States of America remains the number one destination of immigrants from around the world, some of whom take desperate chances with their lives to get here, whether across the waters of the Caribbean or by crossing our dangerous southwest desert.

Europe’s Protector

Even when dozens of governments around the world join the United States in coordinated efforts to fight international terrorism, the media will call our actions “unilateral” if some demagogues in France or Germany spout off against us.

The American nuclear umbrella has enabled Western European nations to escape responsibility for their own military survival for more than half a century.

Lack of responsibility has bred irresponsibility, one sign of which are unionized troops in NATO and NATO bomber pilots who have office hours when they will and will not fly, not to mention NATO troops letting American troops handle the really dangerous fighting in Afghanistan.

Maybe the time is overdue for NATO to try to rehabilitate itself and for Americans to stop trying to be “citizens of the world.”

Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate, Inc

Hedge Funds’ Alpha Led To Boom’s Omega

Hedge Funds’ Alpha Led To Boom’s Omega

By DAVID IGNATIUS | Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:30 PM PT

The hedge fund industry coined a term several years ago for the idea that special people (i.e., hedge fund managers) could achieve above-average returns without taking commensurate risk. They called this investment nirvana “alpha,” to distinguish it from the “beta” of average market returns available to ordinary investors who tracked, say, the S&P 500.

It was the ultimate elitist investment philosophy. The premise was that alpha managers were more clever than other people, and could therefore outperform the market. They could do the things that normal investors were cautioned against — time the markets’ ups and downs, engage in speculative short selling, borrow heavily to increase their returns.

These smarter-than-average managers offered their services to richer-than-average investors who could afford the hedge funds’ hefty fees.

This idea of special investment opportunities for the very rich created a kind of cult. Institutional Investor in 2003 began publishing Alpha magazine for the hedge fund mavens. In a taunt to the poor clods of the beta world, the magazine compiled an annual survey of what the leading fund managers were making.

The average compensation for the top 25 managers last year was a jaw-dropping $892 million, up from $532 million in 2006. Five managers “earned” (if that’s the right word) more than $1 billion each.

As the bubble economy expanded, the alpha managers became ever more confident of their ability to defy the fundamentals of the beta marketplace. They began speaking of “portable alpha,” which purported to remove market risk entirely from a portfolio by using futures, swaps, options and short selling. They were claiming, in effect, to have discovered the equivalent of a gravity-free world, an eternal banquet of free lunches.

The idea that you could use financial engineering to achieve high returns on capital with low risk became contagious. It wasn’t enough to grow with the underlying economy and prosper along with everyone else.

Banks and other financial institutions began seeking their own versions of alpha through strategies that sought to beat the averages. A favorite method was pooling traditional, plain-vanilla assets, such as mortgage loans, and turning them into tradable securities.

The players wanted their own slices of alpha: Smarter-than-average bankers could make big fees on securitization; smarter-than-average executives at Fannie Mae could harvest big bonuses.

The seduction was the idea that the risk inherent in individual loans — that pesky beta — would somehow drop out of the equation if the pool was big enough and the paper sold widely enough. Bankers began to talk as if market risk was a dial you could calibrate up or down, to fit your desired level of return.

That make-believe world began to crash in August 2007. Suddenly, there was no market for the paper assets that had been created out of pools of mortgages — because in a falling market, nobody knew what they were worth.

All the smarter-than-average people who had been chasing better-than-average returns began to be frightened. And over the past year, that fear became toxic. It sucked the trust and confidence out of markets; it was like trying to breathe on a planet with no oxygen.

And then the panic: That has been the most unattractive part of this story. The greed side of the alpha world was bad enough, with its $100 million homes and private art galleries. But the fear side has been more destructive. What’s driving the severe financial downturn now is the quest for “alpha security” among the richest and most powerful.

Having made their loot, the very rich are desperate to protect it. So “smart money” has been sitting on its cash — shunning any institution that might be contaminated, even a mighty Lehman Bros. — and refusing to lend for longer than 24 hours.

“Not since the beginning of the First World War has our banking system been so close to collapse,” warned Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, in a recent speech. King, who helped devise the plan for recapitalization of banks that has now been embraced globally, is one of the few heroes in this crisis.

It’s not a pretty sight: People in the financial world tell me about friends who are buying safes in which to store their cash at home; about withdrawals of millions of dollars in currency to prepare for the ultimate meltdown. Now the alpha spirit comes back as hoarding, but with the same premise: I’m special. The rest of the world be damned.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

Media Censors Create Shield Around Obama

Media Censors Create Shield Around Obama

By PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY | Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Big Media have pulled out all their stops in trying to elect Barack Obama by withholding from the American people the truth about his radical record and associates. Big Media, their polls and the presidential debates practically ignored front-burner issues important to millions of Americans.

By excluding abortion and same-sex marriage from national debate, Big Media kept voters from knowing that Obama, as chairman of the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, killed the “Born Alive” bill, thereby depriving babies born alive from botched abortions of medical care and nutrition.

Big Media obviously didn’t want a repetition of Obama’s embarrassing handling of these issues in the Saddleback dialogue.

The issue of illegal aliens was censored out of the presidential debates and other coverage. The voters were kept oblivious to the fact Obama favors giving driver’s licenses to illegals and John McCain does not. This issue is so powerful with the voters that it played a major role in the dumping of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the unprecedented recall of California Gov. Gray Davis. It could have done likewise to Obama.

How many times have you heard that Obama will cut taxes on 95% of Americans? Have you even once heard Big Media tell us that’s a big lie because 40% of Americans don’t pay any federal income taxes at all?

Talking about “95%” means Obama intends to increase government handouts, such as the earned income tax credit, to nontaxpaying Americans. That would surely be compatible with his promise to “spread the wealth around.”

Big Media have threatened to hang a scarlet letter on anyone who dares to mention Obama’s middle name.

Funny thing, in all the years that I spent criticizing the disarmament-appeasement policies of JFK’s and LBJ’s secretary of defense, Robert Strange McNamara, nobody ever said I was unfair to use his strange middle name.

But Obama is different. Big Media have cloaked him with a security blanket that not only protects him from criticism, but also viciously attacks anybody who tells the truth about Obama’s life story in Indonesia, Hawaii, Kenya or Chicago.

On Oct. 15, the New York Times ran a front-page, above-the-fold, pretend-news article threatening McCain that Big Media will not tolerate any negative attacks on Obama, such as talking about Obama’s relationship with the 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers.

The Times warned McCain and his supporters that it is unacceptable to make “strong political attacks” on Obama or be “sharply personal” or even use an “angry tone.” But the voters have a right to know who are and were Obama’s associates. Old adages are still valid: “Birds of a feather flock together” and “A man is known by the company he keeps.”

Why don’t Big Media tell us that Obama launched his political campaign in the Chicago living room of former Weather Underground terrorist Ayers, who was famous for bombing the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon?

Why don’t Big Media tell us about the relationship of Obama on school issues with Ayers, who as a professor of education is now working to replace the three R’s with a fourth: rebellion against the U.S. social and economic structure.

When Sean Hannity aired a program about “Obama and Friends,” the New York Times rushed forth to defend Obama’s ties with Ayers and to attack Hannity’s program as “partisan” and “provocative.” We are apparently not permitted to be partisan or provocative about Obama.

How could Obama sit in a church for 20 years where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright spoke hatefully about whites and cursed America as a racist country? Yet Big Media now claim it is racist for anyone to criticize Obama’s long and personal association with Jeremiah “damn America” Wright.

Why don’t Big Media dissect the revelations and biases in Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” with the same journalistic curiosity they use about Sarah Palin’s wardrobe?

Big Media present Obama as some sort of intellectual, but why don’t we hear about his failure to write anything meaningful for the Harvard Law Review when he was its affirmative-action president?

Why don’t we hear more about Obama’s friendship with the communist Frank Marshall Davis, who was part of a Soviet-sponsored network in Hawaii?

Why aren’t we given details about Obama’s financial relationship with Tony Rezko, the Chicago fixer now in prison?

The source of money has always been fair game for anybody to talk about in political campaigns. Why haven’t Big Media assigned their investigative reporters to trace the hundreds of millions of dollars that may be illegally flowing to the Obama campaign from foreign sources?

Pew Research confirms that 70% of Obama’s media coverage has been positive and 60% of McCain’s has been negative.

Memo to the American people: Will we let Big Media decide this election by censoring the news we have a right to know?

Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate, Inc

Axis Of Bias

Axis Of Bias

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Media: A major newspaper suppresses damning video of Barack Obama partying with pro-terrorism radicals. Meanwhile, Obama punishes news outlets that do their jobs. Fairness Doctrine anyone?


Read More: Media & Culture | Election 2008


 

Los Angeles Times owner Sam Zell must have thought of the Chicago Cubs when he OK’d the layoff of 75 editorial employees this week. Zell owns the lovable loser Cubs, who haven’t won the World Series in a century, and the liberal media are turning into the Cubs of modern communications.

But news-hungry consumers don’t find it lovable when the media elite keep important stories to themselves. John McCain has demanded that the L.A. Times release its videotape of a 2003 farewell party in Chicago at which Obama is said to have grandly toasted guest of honor Rashid Khalidi, the late PLO head Yasser Arafat’s spokesman. (Ex-terrorist Bill Ayers may have been there too.)

But the Times apparently doesn’t think Americans are entitled to see Obama praising a terrorist mouthpiece before they decide whether to make him president for four years. Similarly, major news outlets buried this week’s story of Obama calling for “major redistributive change” in a newly discovered 2001 radio interview.

But if you think we’ve got an unholy alliance between liberal Democrats in Washington and this country’s media elite now, just watch what happens if Obama becomes president with a Democratic Congress — especially if it features a filibuster-proof Senate.

Major Democratic congressional leaders like Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, 2004 presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want the reinstitution of the outdated, pre-Internet “Fairness Doctrine.” They want to counter the news revolution in which blogs and talk radio have taken on the Big Three TV networks.

The Obama campaign claims Obama opposes a new Fairness Doctrine, but City Journal editor Brian C. Anderson doesn’t think a President Obama would veto such a bill. Moreover, Obama and most Democrats want to impose more “local accountability” on broadcasters, “setting up community boards to make their demands known when station licenses come up for renewal,” as Anderson notes.

This measure is “clearly aimed at national syndicators like Clear Channel that offer conservative shows,” Anderson says. “It’s a Fairness Doctrine by subterfuge.” Obama would pair that with relicensing stations every two years instead of the current eight.

We have already seen that Obama’s forces have no scruples about punishing media organizations who do not act as disciples of “The One.” Newswomen with both WFTV in Orlando, Fla., and the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia dared to ask running mate Joseph Biden about Obama’s plans to “spread the wealth,” as he infamously told Ohio’s Joe the Plumber. The Obama campaign let the journalists know they were now personae non grata.

With both the executive and legislative branches firmly in the power of the most liberal leadership ever — Obama, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — it is naive to think they would not move against those who most threaten their prospects in the midterm elections of 2010. And that is Fox News and conservative talk radio, supported by the blogosphere.

The establishment media and liberal Democrats constitute an axis of bias, arming to threaten the free speech of Americans. George Orwell, call your office.

 

Halloween Howl Raiser: Amazon Sells Obama Mask As “Terrorist Costume”

Obama In 1995 Interview: “Wright Represents The Best Of What The Black Church Has To Offer” – With Video