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Did Obama break ethics law? Does anyone care?

The issue seems to be that he accepted speaking fees in violation of Illinois law during his days as a state legislature. This wasn't learned from reading the New York Times, of course, but rather from citizen journalists perusing Obama's tax return.

Now I don't want to make a big deal about these penny-ante speaking fees, because they're not really the issue. The issue is why do have to learn this from bloggers? Does anyone doubt for a second that you would have been able to read about it in the printed pages of your favorite broadsheet had it been Sarah Palin instead of Barack Obama? Or John McCain? Or even Joe the Freakin Plumber?

I don't, and that's my biggest problem with this whole campaign. It's not Obama, it's the way the media has completely abdicated its professional responsibilities on his behalf.


Along with abdicating their professional responsibility to get Sarah Palin to answer questions from reporters (not including journalist Sean Hannity) about her tenure as Wasilla mayor or Alaska governor or that bridge to nowhere she didn't quite say no thanks to or why she's so qualified to be a heartbeat from the Oval Office or the troopergate crapola or her thoughts on the big issues facing the U.S.

"Along with abdicating their professional responsibility to get Sarah Palin to answer questions from reporters (not including journalist Sean Hannity) about her tenure as Wasilla mayor or Alaska governor or that bridge to nowhere she didn't quite say no thanks to or why she's so qualified to be a heartbeat from the Oval Office or the troopergate crapola or her thoughts on the big issues facing the U.S." (Fred)

Well, in their defense, Fred, they spent the first four weeks after Palin was nominated for VP, sliming her (with "maybe she's really Trig's grandma," and "her daughter's upcoming shotgun-wedding") so there wasn't much time for them to do much else. Besides, have I mentioned that most of them were "Humanities" majors in College? TRANSLATION: Very little math = very poor logic skills.

As to "why she's so qualified to be a heartbeat from the Oval Office," AGAIN, there's really no such thing as "political expertise." In fact, I'd go so far as to say, the ONLY difference between winning an election and winning a beauty contest, is that an election doesn't have a "talent portion" and thank God for THAT.

If ANYONE can make an argument against that, I'm certainly open to hear it.

But before you do, just look at all the dim bulb pseudo-elites that've run for national office lately - Kerry (dipshit), GW (nimrod), Gore (goofball), Bush Sr. (dork), add Biden, Dukakis and Mondale to that crew and you don't have a single one of these pseudo-elites that you'd want to bet on in a debate against "Joe the plumber."

Actually, I'd actually pay to see such an event...a "no holds bar debated" between any given pseudo-elite and "Joe the plumber" (JtP)....my favored contest would be between JtP and Al Gore and I'd be betting on Al to wind up spitting his teeth out on the floor like chicklets within five minutes.

I would DEFINITELY pay to see that!

Give me a break.

Using that line of thinking, I propose a really unqualifed duo--JMK/Fred (I'll be the Veep; minimal effort, no heavy lifting and a great big house to fuck around in).

Ironically enough Fred, there are few politicians and fewer still among the pseudo-elites (the Gore's, Kerry's, Bush's, Mondale's, Whitman's Carter's, Dole's, Pelosi's, etc.) who are as into the political issues as are the appx 20% of Americans who (like many of the people around here) follow politics and the issues all year, every year.

Personally, while I wouldn't want to debate the likes of Karl Rove, James Carville or Steve ("the bullet") Schmidt on economics, I KNOW that virtually NONE of the above mentioned politicians could do much more than parrot a few bullet points from these strategists...and I don't believe I'm exxagerating at all about that.

As smarmy and revolting a personality as he is, I believe James Carville could mount a vigorous and perhaps even passionate defense for, not only MORE government intervention and control over the economy, but perhaps even a command economy....and NOT ONE of today's Liberal politicians are any more able to do that than are the likes of BW, PE or any of the other Liberals around here.

I know there are arguments in favor of "the command economy," as I know most of them, as much as I reject them. I believe Laura D'Andrea Tyson did her doctoral thesis on Bulgaria's command economy.

The fact that the most "average" or common American Presidents (Truman, Ike, Reagan and Clinton) have also been its most popular, is almost certainly because ALL of those people rejected the effete (mostly Liberal) pseudo-elites among us.

While Clinton appeared to only reject that in his personal style (having surrounded himself with the likes Reich, Shalala, Reno and Davis) he was also, not only more comfortable with Newt Gingrich, but all his greatest achivements came in collaboration with decidely anti-elitist Gingrich - welfare reform, the Cap Gains cut....even the federal spending cuts that Clinton opposed so vehemently that it resulted in the 1995 government shut-down (who'd that hurt at the time?) were what (1) created all those surpluses down the road and (2) delivered the LOWESZT Misery Index (1998's 6.04) in over forty years (since 1956)!

The fact that Joe the plumber made John McCain's case better than he could and clarified Barack Obama's economic vision in a way he both couldn't (Obama is not a sound-bite guy) and didn't yet want it clarified, sort of proves my point.

In short, "The emporor (in this case our pseudo-elites) really aren't wearing any clothes!"

I think that is, as BW is fond of saying, all too obvious.

You guys are getting desperate :-) Get used to it: "President Barack Obama". Obama will win by a landslide.

P.S. And Barry, dont forget the case of beers :-)

"You guys are getting desperate :-) Get used to it: "President Barack Obama". Obama will win by a landslide." (BW)

What are you talking about?!

Barry's never disparaged BO and to be honest, neither have I.

In fact, since May, I've said that there's a coming economic tsunami (you can look those comments up, I'm sure some like that were posted here) and that a McCain Presidency would only serve to "share the blame." Better to let a Democrat (in this case, Obama) get "Carterized."

As I very recently said right here; I honestly haven't seen all that much personal animus directed toward Barack Obama (BO). If anything, there's been a good deal LESS directed at BO than was directed at G W Bush at the start of his tenure, and that's despite Obama's ties to nefarious figures like Wright, Ayers, ACORN and Rezko.

I don't believe anyone disputes that it was OVER-regulation that caused the current credit crisis - the re-tooled and turbo-charged CRA allowed government to force banks to offer "bad" high-risk/subprime loans (more proof that most "government-elites" didn't take much math, not only did they know nothing about banking, they weren't too strong in the logic dept either). Banks exist to make money for their shareholders, NOT to provide loans to deadbeats who can't afford conventional mortgages. In fact, even Kos founder Markos Moulitsas has assailed the ACORN-led charge for more subprime loans for the poor as bad policy.

Hey! Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The bills for the ill-conceived spring "stimulus package" and the current $700 Billion bailout haven't come due...YET, but they're coming due and we'll all feel it pretty soon.

Chicago's public employees pension system was listed as the most underfunded in the nation, but all public employee pension funds are at risk AND all our Municipalities are taking in less in tax revenues and even places like NYC (with its usually reliable tax base, Manhattan's RE market remains strong) are almost certainly going to see some massive budget cuts and layoffs in many of the public services.

Personally I don't think EITHER one of the current candidate's policies will do anything but make things worse, especially with the already disastrous Pelosi-Reid Congress in power.

In my view, there's very little down side in letting a Barack Obama re-Carterize Liberalism and make "liberal" a dirty word for yet another generation of Americans going forward. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of down side in allowing John McCain to share the blame for the coming economic tsunami.

It would also serve notice on the GOP that Keynesian Republicans are as unacceptable as Keynesian Democrats. In fact, Conservatives/Libertarians SHOULD support Conservative (Blue Dog) Democrats (like me) over Moderate Republicans.

Certainly, Barry seems to be more of a McCain supporter than I am, but I think my outlined scenario makes sense to anyone looking ahead.

Bad times are coming and neither of these two offers much real hope.

Yes, Obama's stated policies would certainly make things a lot worse, BUT, the good thing about that is that that should trigger a swift and sudden shift back to the Supply Side policies that delivered unprecedented prosperity from 1981 - 2007.

"Obama will win by a landslide." (BW)

Looks like it's going to be yet another close race (at least electorally, the Electoral College is another story)...barring, of of course, a deluge of voter fraud from ACORN.

The agregate of all polls shows Obama with about a six point lead two weeks out.

I believe Gore led by nearly ten around the same time in 2000. I have no reason to think that the actual election day results will be within a point (maybe 49.4 to 48.6 with 2% other).

Conspiracy theorists Left and Right claim that "An Obama win may cement far-Left political dominance in this country permanently by (1) eradicating existing voter ID statutes, (2) supporting even encouraging widespread ACORN-led voter fraud, especially in key states, locking up the Electoral College and (3) seeking to stifle any voices on the Right (ie. Talk Radio, etc.)....but I personally don't believe that any of that is practical in any meaningful way. In fact, I'm certain that should an Obama administration preside over double digit Misery Indexes for its first two years (a distinct possibility) some of their loudest critics will well up from the Corporately owned MSM.

"I have no reason BUT to think that the actual election day results will be within a point (maybe 49.4 to 48.6 with 2% other)."

I'd be stunned if the final result was that close. My prediction is, 13 days out, Obama 55% McCain 44%, a thumping.

>My prediction is, 13 days out, Obama 55% McCain 44%, a thumping.

Popular vote?

Well Fred, in every election in recent memory, the more Liberal candidate has been over-estimated.

In 2000 Gore had an agregate 10 point lead within the last two weeks and that turned out to be due entirely to flawed polling - there's no reason to believe that the G W Bush campaign did anything to "surge" during that final period, nor did Gore "blow it in the final days."

The polls were off, that's all....and it's no surprise - they over-estimated Kerry as well.

I think that over-estimation is a major factor. Today the agregate poll index for PA has Obama up 10 points, but his own internal polls show the race to be within two points in the Keystone State (THANKS Murtha!).

Personally, I don't think there's any such thing as the "Bradley Effect."

Tom Bradley ran an inept campaign down the stretch as George Deukmejian ran strong. Couple that with some poor polling and there's the real explanation as to why Bradley lost.

Again, the polls seemed to over-estimate the Liberal candidate, they do that by polling "registered voters" instead of "likely voters" and by over-sampling in more Liberal urban areas.

I believe Gore and Kerry both carried close to 5 point advantages into the weekend before the election and lost, I believe that Obama would have to poll 7 or 8 points on the agregate the weekend before the election to be close to safe, given the wider varaiances in the poll numbers across the agregate.

As the race draws closer I look at Zogby more than most, as he nailed the last two, down the stretch, when Gallup and Rasmussen missed it.

The Electoral College may not be as close as the popular vote.

As I've said (SINCE MAY, by the way), "A McCain win may only serve to share the blame for the coming misfortunes."

At this point, we are a very spoiled nation.

Right now the bills of years of OVER-regulation (the Frank and Dodd re-tooled and turbo-charged Community Reinvestment Act/CRA that forced banks to make over a TRILLION DOLLARS in bad/subprime loans) are coming due and many people are looking anywhere and everywhere for someone to FIX THIS.

This crisis, caused as it is by government action, is unlikely to be fixed by more government action, that’s why no matter which of the current two candidates wins in November, that administration will almost certainly come to be blamed for not living up to their unrealistic promises, and BOTH have made unrealistic promises!

Barack Obama has, in effect, promised Americans a return to Gingrich/Clinton-era prosperity via policies closer to those of the O’Neill/Carter-era.

For instance, is it possible to give 95% of Americans a "tax cut?"

No it's NOT!

Since over 40% of Americans pay NO/ZERO income tax, you can't, because you CAN'T cut zero.

Well, isn't expanding the EITC and giving poorer working Americans a check called a "tax rebate," sort of a "tax cut?"

Again, no it's not! It's excessive and unwarranted welfare spending. At least that's how it's listed on the federal budget - as social spending, which at this point, would increase the already burgeoning national debt...a debt that has risen steadily since WW II.

There’s no reason to expect any different results from Keynesian policies this time than those delivered earlier. In FACT, all our current problems have been exacerbated by Keynesian policies supplanting Supply Side ones – the ill-conceived “stimulus package” of last Spring, the Bush/McCain/Pelosi/Reid supported "SHAMnesty Bill and the current $700 BILLION Bailout, are all examples of misguided Keynesian policies.

From my perspective, given the two terrible choices in this election, perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad thing for an Obama win, as McCain would only serve to "share the blame" for what appears to be a coming and deepening calamity. Most of us haven't felt the pain YET, but it's coming in the form of greatly decreased Municipal revenues, major service cuts in many cities and very possibly a number of Municipal Pension funds going bust.

It wouldn't be the worst thing for America for Obama to be "Carterized" and "liberal" made a dirty word for yet another generation of Americans.

A people who can blame Wall Street for a government created economic disaster (the turbo-charged CRA is the root cause of the current credit crisis) probably need some economic reality-testing, before they can see that "government isn't the solution, it's all too often THE problem."

It's virtually undeniable that the past two years of outright Keynesian policies have been primarily responsible for the current economic meltdown.

Yeah, the smart money has to be on Obama at this point, but I don't believe it'll be anywhere near 55-44 if you're talking popular vote.

That is my bold prediction! At this point! 55-44 popular vote. 375+ electoral vote. Ask me again in a week.

54 - 46 % for Obama

>350 electoral votes for Obama

1 case of beers for me (from Barry).

It was Gore who was behind Bush prior to the 2000 election.



In 2004, the final poll average was 50.0% for Bush, 48.5% for Kerry. It was the early exit polls that were off in favor of Kerry.


Rumor has it obama's bringing paul volcker into his staff. any responses?

>Rumor has it obama's bringing paul volcker into his staff. any responses?

I think he could certainly do worse. What do you think?

I'm cautiously optimistic about his economic picks. I'm currently listening to a podcast interview of Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee with Megan McArdle (on whom I have a mad crush) and so far... well, it's about as good as can be hoped for from a Kos-approved candidate, I suppose.

I'm predicting Obama will try to mollify Republicans by appointing Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Surrender. I'm also predicting said effort to mollify Republicans will fail. :-)

"Rumor has it obama's bringing paul volcker into his staff. any responses?" (Rachel)

A Seventies Redux?

Why NOT?!

Double digit Misery Indexes can't be far behind.

The past sixteen straight years of single digit Misery Indexes have been pretty boring, haven't they?

Carter presided over four years of double digit Misery Indexes (Bush Sr. was the only other post WW II U.S. President to do that).

"Jimma" Carter's got the record however, as his four-year 16.5 average just smashed Bush Sr's paltry 10.5 four-year dalliance with double figures.

I agree with Barry about Megan McArdle, but I'm not sure about any mollification efforts, should BO assume the office (which he's certainly favored to do).

Two years of double digit Misry Indexes and, without question, that administration's (hell, ANY administration's biggest critics) will be in the MSM.

I think he could certainly do worse. What do you think?

Volcker Recession Redux. Obviously, no one has checked V's background as Reagan's Fed Head. Here's wiki's notes about him

However, the change in policy (solving stagflation by raising rates to raise the dollar worth - me) contributed to the significant recession the U.S. economy experienced in the early 1980s, which included the highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression, and Volcker's Fed also elicited the strongest political attacks and most wide-spread protests in the history of the Federal Reserve (unlike any protests experienced since 1922), due to the effects of the high interest rates on the construction and farming sectors, culminating in indebted farmers driving their tractors onto C Street NW and blockading the Eccles Building.

When Reagan came into office, there was a recession and this was it. It also gave grist to the anti-Reagan mill. So assuming Volcker would do the same now (if O is a elected and he has a major voice), Obama will be a gift to the Reps in 2010. Plus, Volcker is 81, which wipes the ageist accusations of McCain off the map.

mind you, Volcker's plan did restrengthen the dollar, but at a painful short term cost.

pps - he was originally elected by jimmy carter

Yeah, Volcker did perhaps overdo it, but do it he did. Mind you, he wouldn't be my first choice, but, like I said, he could do worse.

Like I said, I actually think for the most part that Obama's econ team is pretty good. I'll probably make a post about that when I get some time.

I too, regardless of my doubts about O, am willing to give him six months to see what he plans (results will take a year unless he does something really radical).

My concern is if history repeats itself under Obama/Volcker will O be able to persuade the American people to grin and bear it? If not, we'll hear the complaining all over again,this time to the Reps delight.

Man, I need to get a hobby :)

I would just like to thank McCain for ending all of his chances by picking the unqualified airhead, Moose Jewel, as his running mate. The fact that he won't let her talk without operating her mouth with his hand, and that he feels the need to dress her up like Runway Barbie is even more hilarious.

Chimp is such a drag on the entire GOP ticket that they are all but burning him in effigy at every Repug rally.

The failed conservative "supply side" free-for-all for the rich is finally over.

anonymous: "The failed conservative "supply side" free-for-all for the rich is finally over."

It's thoughtless, malicious comments like these that make it easier for the JC's (JMK) of this world to convince people that his views are not only more practical, but even more compassionate, as he can readilly point to posts like this, that demonstrate the deliberate malice of some of the people who claim to oppose his views.

I'll readilly admit that one of the great problems that Liberalism has labored under is so many misinformed, jealous and vilely malicious people claiming to support that viewpoint. That, and too few people both willing and able to make reasonable, well thought-out and affirmative arguments for it.

JC has long argued that "Many of the people drawn to Liberalism are emotionally damaged, severely neurotic people."

When I look at posts like this, as well as sites like the Daily Kos, the Democratic Underground and even many of the postings on the Huffington Post, I'm often inclined to cede that point.

On the one hand, it makes me sad that such enthusiastic supporters don't seem to realize they're harming their own side, though on the other hand, the thought has crossed my mind that at least some of these people are really plants or trolls who post such vitriol deliberately to undermine the side they claim to support.

All I can say to anonymous, is that while I'm sure you mean well, you're not helping your side in any conceivable way.

A troll ... moi?

Gary, that anonymous poster is Barely Hanging, a moniker I hung around a poster who at one time called himself "Bailey Hankins."

Now he's chosen to post anonymously. I guess it could be argued that retreat is often the prefered course in such situations.

Still, given the inanity of Barely's posts, it's highly unlikely that he'd be a "Conservative plant" trying to undermine Liberal orthodoxy and make Liberals look more unhinged than they actually are....after all, Mike Moore, Al Franken and other such folks do more than an adequate job of that...and I doubt any of those folks are "plants," either.

Barely Hanging recently blamed the current credit crisis on..."The failure of the free market!"

Now, even you've acknowledged, going back over three decades now, that "America hasn't had a free market since around 1912 or 1913."

Ironically enough, the current Republican administration has supported two of the most Keynesian (pro-regulatory) pieces of legislation - Sarbannes-Oxley, which passed through Congress, in the wake of the business scandals that had thrived in the mid to late 1990s, breaking in the summer of 2001, AND the TWO attempts to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with massive federal oversight, both of which failed due to the successful lobbying and strong-arming measures brought to bear by the two rogue GSEs.

Barely doesn't understand the difference between Keynesianism and Supply Side policies, free markets and the regulated market-based economy that America, Western Europe and Japan have had for a very long time now, but he IS consistently, if pathetically amusing.

In fact, one of his more amusing posts was his posting a chart that showed how H-1B Visas exploded from under 50,000 in 1992 to over 1 MILLION by 2001...and then blaming G W Bush, who TWICE lowered the H-1B caps during his administration, for the surge in H-1Bs!

I KNOW you think I should have sympathy for such people, but you, more than most, know how and why that is NOT my nature.

I understand why some people have sympathy for intellectual Leftists who are often the first and primary victims of authoritarian Left-wing regimes, BUT I never could muster such sentiments. In fact, I confess to finding such an irony incredibly amusing.

It's a similar dynamic with Islamification. Ironically enough, it's the irreligious Left (many of whom seem to sympathize with that group as perceived "victims" of ethnic bigotry by social and religious Western Conservatives) who would be the primary and initial targets during the Islamification of any given region.

They are the true and most egregious of "heathen infidels."

Ironically enough, Conservatives, such as myself, are primarily anti-utopian...so I too have see myself as having more of an enemy, or at least a primary enemy in the Western Leftist, who I revile for their soft-centered, weakness.

I see them as a disgrace to the Western tradition, whereas Islamists or jihadists are merely yet another external enemy.

You can begrudgingly respect an enemy, but not a traitor to your own shared traditions.

At any rate, I just wanted to let you know the type of guy who responded to you.

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