Friday, October 31, 2008

On the Death of Journalism

“To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.” — Barack Obama in his memoir, Dreams From My Father; and a statement widely ignored by the allegedly mainstream media.

On the Death of Journalism
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 31, 2008

While the conversation between Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher has gotten more of a workout than Joan Rivers plastic surgeon, all one needed to do was read the words of the junior senator from Illinois in his book Dreams From My Father or review his words spoken in television and radio interviews over the past seven years.

Yet this material has been glossed over, ignored and covered up by the mainstream media in an effort to protect “their” candidate and help give him the coronation they have been attempting to coordinate since they threw senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) under the media bus. People seem to have forgotten that McCain was the media darling of the 2000 campaign primary season as top competitor to then Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, back at el ranchero, the Obama-Biden team continues to not make headlines for the numerous statements coming out of their collective mouths and for the information that has not come out of their campaign. Within the past week the Obama threshold of tax increase safety has summarily been lowered from the initial high water mark of $250,000, to $200,000 over the weekend of October 25-26, to the $150,000 as said by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) during a speech earlier this week, to the $120,000 uttered by Obama surrogate Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) on October 31 – which was no treat and most definitely a trick being played on the American taxpayer.

So, Senator Obama, what is the figure that you will settle upon for drawing the line in the sand where your tax increases will start affecting people? I probably should not have dared to ask the anointed one that hardball question because now I am subject to having my taxes audited, my garbage rooted through and perhaps my neighbors questioned about my comings and goings along with my personal habits, a al Joe the Plumber, who has been put through the wringer.

The treatment of Joe the Plumber by the Obama campaign is downright sinister and McCarthyesque – another Joe, just so people don’t mistake him for Eugene McCarthy. So, while the media is doing Obama’s bidding – one only need examine the statistics – the Obama campaign is punishing various media outlets who are not part of the Obama-media love fest.

Case in point; look at the treatment meted out to WFTV Orlando, FL news anchor Barbara West. Like Joe the Plumber, West dared to ask tough questions of Biden last weekend when she queried the VP nominee about Obama’s economic plans. Biden asked if the questions were a joke and wanted to know who wrote the questions for her. Following the interview the Obama campaign promptly cancelled the upcoming interview Jill Biden was to have with the Orlando station and blacklisted the station at least through Election Day. After taking their ball and going home to sulk, the Obama campaign subsequently banished the reporters from the Washington Times, New York Post and Dallas Morning News all for committing the heinous crime of endorsing John McCain. The Obama campaign alleged that it needed to make room on the campaign airplane for other publications’ reporters. OK, but why those three publications?

Numerous reporters who have traveled with the Obama campaign have indicated how aloof and distant the presidential nominee is with the media, while, interestingly enough, although no longer the media darling, McCain is much more at ease with the media traveling with his campaign. If this is the type of behavior one can expect from an Obama administration, his may be the most closed and cloistered in history – and that’s saying something recalling the animus Richard Nixon had for the press.

Regarding the statistics alluded to earlier, independent research has indicated that during the weeks following the two party’s national conventions, negative news reports about McCain versus those about Obama run over 74 percent against McCain and only about 15 percent against Obama on all media outlets combined, save for Fox News where negative reports about both candidates run 40 percent each. Now that’s fair and balanced.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Times is so deep in the tank for the Obama campaign that it refuses to release a video it possesses of a 2003 banquet at which Obama toasted and talked positively about so-called professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) spokesman. Khalidi is also described as a friend of Obama’s, something neither man has denied. Yet, not only does the left-leaning Times not feel obligated to give the public an opportunity to judge for themselves, but virtually all media outlets, save for Fox News and conservative talk radio hosts, have given Obama a pass regarding his relationships with so many other questionable sorts.

The alleged mainstream media has accepted at face value the superficial and rather suspect explanations lobbed by Obama regarding his relationships with Weather Underground, unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, Obama’s 20-plus year pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the incendiary Reverend Michael Phleger and political fixer and felon Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Apparently the media did not deem it important to report that Obama gave praise, in print, to a book Ayers wrote. Politics indeed makes strange bedfellows, but these are people who hopefully will not find themselves in the Lincoln Bedroom during an Obama administration, or any other, for that matter.

And don’t forget that while the New York Times wrote their “expose” about Cindy McCain’s admitted addiction to painkillers years ago, that alleged paper of record said nothing of the cocaine use admitted by Senator Obama. Don’t lose sight of the hammering GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin took because the party bought her a new $150,000 wardrobe. This did not come out of the pockets of the taxpayers or the government, and, if any of the reporting media outlets bothered to look past their own noses, they would have learned that the wardrobe was either being donated or returned after its use. To be fair, the notion of returning the wardrobe is akin to a free rental and no doubt the stores at which the clothing was purchased would cost some poor salesperson a nice piece of commission. Donating the entire wardrobe or auctioning it off for charity would have made the most sense.

Clearly, the media is fixated on blasting the GOP at every turn and giving a free pass to the Democrats – even when Senator Biden opens his mouth to insert an entire shoe store. On Sunday, October 19 at a campaign event in Seattle, Biden said, “Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Now there’s a confidence booster sure to send chills down the spines off all Americans. John Kennedy was tested via the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961, but to borrow phrase with credit to the late Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Kennedy served in the United States Navy during World War II. Kennedy served in the United States Congress from 1947-53 when he moved to the United States Senate having won election to that body in 1952 and reelection in 1958 before running for president in 1960, whereas Obama worked a little more than 140 days in the Senate before declaring his presidential intentions. Yet, the media all but ignored Biden’s remarks. For the most part, it is via McCain campaign ads that anyone sees Biden’s frightening predictions.

And where was the media questioning of the Democratic VP nominee when he said paying taxes is patriotic, when he said that Senator Clinton would be a better vice presidential candidate and when he said about the top of his own ticket, Senator Obama, that the presidency does not lend itself to on the job training? Only on Fox News and some conservative talk radio programs are such issues discussed, but Obama does not appear on those programs to answer the tough questions.

Was the media on a collective holiday when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared the election over several weeks ago? It is widely known that Pelosi was on holiday after gaveling the House out of session before discussing the energy crisis in order to return home to sell books. Has anyone seen Pelosi’s book? Me neither.

What about when Senator Obama said that American troops overseas were “air-raiding villages and killing civilians?” Only McCain campaign ads provide that information to the public. The media has also given Obama a pass regarding his comments about Iran, North Korea and Venezuela being tiny countries that don’t pose a serious threat. Wow, now there’s a serious case of naïveté in the foreign policy arena. Again, and this is sounding more and more like a broken record – these are Obama’s words and little, if any, questioning is taking place to challenge a man vying to be Commander in Chief. Having said he would sit down with the leaders of those countries as well as Castro’s Cuba without preconditions, something Senator Clinton said she would not do, why hasn’t the media, save for Fox News, publicized this more? A president willing to sit down with the leader of a rogue nation calling Israel a “stinking corpse” and wanting to wipe the Jewish state off the map sounds more like an Appeaser in Chief, not a Commander in Chief – a 21st Century Neville Chamberlain.

Last, but certainly not least, where the media has completely folded like a cheap tent is in closing their eyes to the information they have not gathered. Either they refuse to do their homework because they are so deep into the Obama tank or they are simply incompetent. Either way, they should cease to identify themselves as journalists. Even political southpaw Dan Rather said the media’s double standard is standard operating procedure. Days after Rather’s enlightened remark, during a CNN interview with Governor Palin, the reporter agreed with the GOP VP nominee that there is indeed a media double standard and bias. I wonder if that reporter is still employed by CNN.
  1. Occidental College records – Not released
  2. Columbia University records – Not released
  3. Columbia Thesis paper – Not available
  4. Harvard College records – Not released
Selective Service Registration – Not released
  6. Medical records – Not released
  7. Illinois State Senate schedule – Not available
  8. Law practice client list – Not released
Certified copy of original birth certificate – Not released
10. Embossed, signed, paper certification of live birth – Not released
11. Harvard Law Review articles published – None
12. University of Chicago scholarly articles – None
Record of Baptism – Not released or not available
14. Illinois State Senate records – Not available

That list is what should keep people up nights wondering how this great nation could possibly elect a person to the highest office of the land on Tuesday with so many unanswered questions. Overall, the media is an intellectually dishonest industry that should not take it upon itself to anoint the next president, but instead provide as much unbiased information as possible to allow the voters, one in seven of whom claims to still be undecided, a clear path to making the best decision they can without being unduly influenced.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Scarier Than Halloween

Obama Scarier Than Halloween
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 27, 2008

Halloween may be observed on Friday around this great nation, but scarier is the ghoulish potential for the United States to be haunted for the next four years by Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The chills running up the nation’s collective spines must be mind numbingly frightening.

While children take to the streets in search of tricks and treats, consider the tricks that an Obama administration will surely play on a mostly unsuspecting nation. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made a most appropriate Halloween analogy so simple that when children are asked about this, they will give an answer so resounding, their advice should be heeded. Huckabee likened Obama’s “spread the wealth around” mantra to this – ask your children if they think it would be appropriate if all those trick or treaters who took the time to get decked out in costumes, took the time to go door to door collecting their sweet treats, were forced to give half of their take to the children who stayed at home and did not put in the effort.

It’s like the insurance commercial slogan, “so simple a…”. Well, that commercial has been seen enough. What has not been seen is the truth behind the Obama economic policy. He is not looking to fix the economy. He is seeking to redistribute income – like a demented Robin Hood. In his standard stump speech Obama reminds those listening that taxes will not be raised on anyone earning $250,000 or less. Yet, just this past weekend in Obama commercials, approved by the candidate himself, after all, he said so, that figure is now reduced to $200,000. Seems more people will see their tax liability increase under Obama. What will it be by inauguration day - $150,000? $100,000? Where does it end Senator?

Another aspect of the alleged Obama economic recovery calls for the end of the Bush tax cuts. That, my friends, is an increase in taxes for many more people. Add to that, Obama first said 95 percent of Americans would not endure tax increases, then he shifted gears to 95 percent of working Americans would not endure tax increases. Judging from the aforementioned information, that just doesn’t seem plausible.

Obama also talks about growing the economy from the bottom up. Now, I’m no Milton Friedman, of Blessed memory, but plants and trees with solid roots and fortification can grow from the bottom up, not the economy. Obama wants to add to the tax burden of corporate America. Who does he think will bear the burden of those increases? People like Joe the Plumber and Sanford the writer will when corporations raise the prices on the goods and services they produce and sell. In order to maintain their profit margins, employment will be reduced putting Joe the Plumber out of work unable to buy those products. This vicious cycle will lead to catastrophic results.

Giving handouts to those at the bottom rung will not fix what ails the economy. Raising the tax on capital gains will not fix the economy either. But that is not Obama’s goal. He is not seeking to fix the economy, but instead redistribute the wealth of those hard working risk takers who struggled to buy their own businesses and invest in companies that may or may not succeed. Why is the government entitled to suck off the success of the risk taker in America? Why are those who have not made an effort entitled to a piece of the pie that someone else baked after planting the seeds and growing the fruit? That is not how America works. We the people do have a responsibility for those persons who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves – that’s the compassionate part of conservatism. But endlessly priming the pump will only produce an empty pump. The haves will be discouraged from producing more and more only to be allowed to keep less and less. Then the have nots will wonder why the well has run dry.

Obama should take a page from President John F. Kennedy. So many have incorrectly compared the two Democrats, at least Obama could emulate something Kennedy did – lower tax rates. Yes, that’s right, for those who do not remember or do not want to be reminded, JFK lowered tax rates and that spurred the economy. People had more disposable income, they did just that, and new jobs were created, thus adding to the federal coffers due to the increase in tax revenue collected because more people paid into the system. And, by the way, Obama is nothing like Kennedy. JFK served in the US Navy during World War II, garnered a seat in Congress, served three terms prior to being elected to the Senate, twice, then running for president. Obama served a mere 140 working days in the Senate before announcing his White House aspirations.

Obama is not alone here. On October 21 Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) said, “There’s a lot of rich people out there whom we can tax.” Apparently what’s yours is his. And yet, Frank will win reelection, with at least 60 percent of the vote. One of the many problems with Congress is that while it has a lower approval rating that President Bush, people claim to distrust the body politic, but like their own representative.

Yet the notion of a veto-proof government with the Democrats controlling the White House, the Senate and the Congress, and virtually no checks on it is not what democracy is all about. The Founding Fathers created a democratic republic. They no doubt would be horrified by what government has become – a bloated sow, spending money it has little to no constitutional right to spend, kissing the collective behinds of lobbyists and special interest groups from coast to coast and ignoring the call of the people. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty as charged here.

Congress approved a bailout of Wall Street – signed on to by both Senator Obama and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Has it worked? No. Will it? No. Why not? Because the people opposed it and the market continues slumping toward a cozy corner of Hell due to a sheer lack of confidence and a fear of the unknown. With all of Obama’s proposed economic hocus pocus, there is a rampant fear causing a tremendous sell off. The advice I gave last week still holds, don’t panic, don’t sell. Not because of any confidence in an Obama administration, but instead knowing that the market is cyclical and will recover in spite of the occupant at
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Perhaps former President Bill Clinton was right when he said “it’s the economy, stupid.” That said, the nation needs an economic face lift from the top down, not social engineering that will cripple the economy and perhaps bankrupt a nation. Let’s not turn into Iceland.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama's Mondale Moment

Obama’s Mondale Moment
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 16, 2008

While Ohio resident Joe Wurzelbacher a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber” enjoyed his Andy Warhol moment, don’t lose sight of the fact that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) had his Mondale moment uttering the words, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Walter “Fritz” Mondale sunk his own battleship as the Democratic Party’s standard bearer in 1984 when, during one of the debates with President Ronald Reagan, he admitted he would raise taxes on the American people. Granted, Mondale had little chance of defeating the enormously popular Reagan, who did so much to restore faith in America, reinvigorate the economy and bring the Cold War to a victorious conclusion, but to brazenly say he would raise taxes seemed the last nail in Mondale’s political coffin.

Obama, on the other hand, has a lead, thanks to the mainstream media swimming in the deep end of the the Obama tank, praising his every move from sitting up in the morning to not being able to bowl, because to do so would tarnish his halo and make him seem like one of the folks.

Obama leads because the Democratic Congress has done nothing to help fix the economy, although every time government touches something it turns to crap. Perfect example, the recent government bailout of Wall Street. The average American opposed this and told their individual members of their collective outrage. Sadly, neither Obama nor Senator John McCain (R-AZ) listened to their constituents, and the stock market responded negatively. And why? Consumer confidence waned on the heels of a Congressional decision not supported by the people.

Now, as far as the stock market doing its best impression of the Titanic, simply follow this advice: don’t panic, don’t sell. Losses are on paper until one opts to sell. One sells when one panics. There is no reason to panic, unless Obama becomes the next Commander in Chief, and even then, the market moves in cycles and will make a comeback, replacing the temporarily lost wealth. In fact, anyone who can afford to buy, should probably do so.

But, while the alleged mainstream media downplays, or even ignores outright, Obama’s connections to unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers of the Weather Underground, Reverend Jeremiah Wright – the Obamas’ pastor for more than two decades until recently, Father Michael Pfleger and Louis Farrakhan, all of whom have made viciously incendiary remarks for years, in an effort to remain on point by talking about the key issues of this campaign, Obama’s remark about “spreading the wealth around,” must not be overlooked.

The media can ignore ACORN and its nutty practices of attempting to hijack the election with thousands of illegally registered voters and that organization can claim its accusers are simply being racist in an attempt to keep the poor and downtrodden from voting. Obama, by the way, is inexorably linked to ACORN as he represented them as their attorney and has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the allegedly non-partisan organization. ACORN also receives thousands upon thousands of federal tax dollars to conduct their activities, many of which are suspect and have been identified as such by people within the organization.

There is nothing racist about the various state secretaries of state and attorneys general – Democrat and Republican alike – doing their jobs and ensuring a fraud-free election by verifying the veracity of each voter registration form that slides across their desks. It is not racist to investigate an organization that hires released felons to register voters already registered to vote in another jurisdiction. It is not racist to investigate an organization submitting falsified voter registration forms in the names of the deceased, fictional characters or sports figures registered elsewhere. It is not racist to investigate an organization that registers voters multiple times with different addresses and phone social security numbers. For all the good intentions of ACORN to legitimately register qualified potential voters, more than a few bad nuts have tarnished the entire tree, as the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The cries of racism have been the mantra of the Obama campaign and its supporters whenever legitimate criticism is levied at the presidential candidate by any opposition or seemingly negative news report. Senator Obama himself lobbed the first volley of racial accusations in a preemptory strike, preparing his supporters for what he said would come from his opponents. Obama repeated in speech after speech, and appearance after appearance, that his opponents will say he has a funny sounding name, that he doesn’t look like the presidents on the money, and, oh, by the way, did you know he’s black?

Guess what Senator Obama, everyone knows you are black, and most people just don’t care. Most Americans care about the red, white and blue – they salute the flag every day, and pray that our troops are safe and performing their duties honorably – the duties, for which, you, Senator Obama voted to stop funding.

Most Americans care about the green – how little they will take home and how much will be taken from them if you occupy the White House starting next January. After all, this is what you told Joe the Plumber – “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Maybe to you and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) who believes tax increases are a demonstration of patriotism, but not to the rest of America – that mainstream, clinging to their guns and religion rest of America that you, Senator Obama so disparaged while enjoying brie and chardonnay with your San Francisco pals. (With apologies to my Republican friend Ruth who could live on chardonnay – a black Republican, by the way.)

The claims of racism are tossed around like a salad so cavalierly as to devalue the word’s true meaning and diminish the long suffering of, and strident gains made by the workers of the Civil Right Movement – the men and women – black, white, Jew and Gentile who marched, protested and even died for a cause greater than themselves. No wonder Senator McCain is so disturbed by the remarks made by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and by Senator Obama’s unwillingness to repudiate them.

This time, Senator Obama, your own words are what will hold you back. Joe the Plumber asked if your alleged economic recovery plan would tax him more. Here is an individual who has worked hard to the point where he is trying to buy his own business. By doing so, Joe will no doubt employ people, provide them with health insurance and take the personal risk of his own sweat equity and capital to make the business succeed. The last thing Joe needs is for Uncle Sam to clamp down and take a bigger bite simply because Joe took the risks and succeeded.

“It’s not that I want to punish your success,” Obama said to Joe. “I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance for success too. My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” continued Obama, as if reading from the book of Marx, and not Groucho either. This is classic socialism that Obama is advocating. In this country people earn their own success and some people are just more successful than others. Those folks who wish to give up more of their own wealth to help others, great – G-d Bless them for that, but it is certainly not government’s place to take it from people simply to “spread the wealth around.”

Just to give Senator Obama a brief economics lesson, raising taxes thwarts success, diminishes returns on investments, gives consumers less money with which to consume leading to job loss and companies going out of business, which in turn produces less tax revenue for the Senator’s pork projects.

Many people have compared Obama to former president Jimmy Carter for his foreign policy naivete. Well, this completes the ticket with Obama’s Mondale moment demonstrating his economic naivete as well.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nation Burns While Congress Fiddles

Nation Burns While Congress Fiddles
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
October 12, 2008

A la Nero, fiddling while Rome burned, so too, the nation burns as Congress fiddles while not in session.

The Democratic-lead Congress said they will work on solving the current economic crisis after Election Day. This is clearly a partisan tactic in hopes the stock market continues spiraling toward hell costing Americans – Democrats and Republicans alike, billions of hard-earned pension dollars – thus handing the White House to Senator Obama (D-IL).

President Bush, who has been less than proactive, should call Congress back into session to actually do their jobs. And although Bush has an approval rating hovering around 30 percent, Congress has an approval rating of roughly a miniscule 13 percent. The problem – when surveyed, most people applaud their own member of Congress, but condemn the body as a whole.

Sadly, the body as a whole needs to be changed – on both sides of the aisle, save for a precious few members, who are stand up folks. Problem is, incumbency is a virtual lock on reelection – in higher percentages than in Russia, of all places.

If members of Congress enjoy these long, paid breaks out of session, they should be given a permanent break – send them home on November 4 – for good. Remember, Congress, like a diaper, needs to be changed often, and typically for the same reason.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.