Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Archive for October, 2008

From a crackpot comes a warning

Posted by sanityinjection on October 31, 2008

Far-left wing nut author Erica Jong is in hysterics over the chance that Obama might not win. As reported by the New York Observer,

Jong says her fear that Obama might lose the election has developed into an “obsession. A paralyzing terror. An anxious fever that keeps you awake at night.”….”Yesterday, Jane Fonda sent me an email to tell me that she cried all night and can’t cure her ailing back for all the stress that has reduces her to a bundle of nerves. My back is also suffering from spasms, so much so that I had to see an acupuncturist and get prescriptions for Valium.”…”If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it’s not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets.”

Of course, it’s easy to dismiss such ravings. But we shouldn’t, because Jong, who has the political intelligence of a marmoset, is merely parroting things she has been hearing from her other friends on the Left. Even in the ranting of a psychopath, there can be a grain of truth, and here it is: Jong is warning us that the Obama campaign will not play by the rules if they lose.

Of course, by this I do not mean a civil war or a race war or anything as sensationalist as all that. Anyone who flogs such canards is disgracefully irresponsible. What I mean is this: In a democratic society, we all accept the principle that if you lose the vote, you accept it, congratulate your opponent, and retire to fight another day. If Obama is elected President, you can be sure that’s what the Republicans will do. (Notice that for all her paranoid view of Republicans as evil fascists, Jong is not losing sleep because she thinks *Republicans* will start the civil war if Obama *wins*.)

But Jong is only one of several voices on the left hinting at the fact that if Obama loses, his campaign will not accept it. They believe with a Messianic fervor that the Presidency is their destiny and their right, and that only racism could possibly take it away. Of course, Obama himself will take the high road, but his campaign will demand recounts in every state and his supporters will riot in the streets. Like a child who runs away with the ball when the game doesn’t go their way, they will paralyze our country until our fear of chaos and instability leads us to give in to their demands. Or so they believe.

I know there are many good and decent Obama supporters who will say this is total nonsense. And I hope for all our sakes that they are right and I am wrong. But I am not convinced that they know who their political bedfellows really are.

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The Two Obamas

Posted by sanityinjection on October 31, 2008

Good article by Stuart Taylor Jr. over at the National Journal on the two facets of Barack Obama. Taylor points out that at various times during his career, Obama has presented as either a liberal ideologue or a pragmatic reformer. He argues that, if elected, the success of Obama’s Presidency will depend on which of those identities dominates his Administration:

I agree with Taylor that if Obama turns out to be the practical, bipartisan reformer he is campaigning as, his Presidency could turn out to be a success. However, I very much fear that this is merely the Dr. Jekyll to the left-wing Mr. Hyde that wants to “spread the wealth”.

The truth probably is that Obama himself is torn between the two paths. At heart he is a card-carrying liberal, but he’s very smart, and his head probably keeps telling him that what his heart wants isn’t necessarily going to fly politically or practically. Which will he listen to as President?

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Could the polls be wrong?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

Latest polls show Obama ahead in just about every key state. But the McCain campaign still seems to think they can win this thing. Why?

I think I know why. Consider the following hypothetical statement by a voter in a key state:

“Man, I am so sick of this whole election campaign. People coming by the house, our mailbox full of brochures, ads every five seconds on TV. Damn pollsters keep callin’ my house, I just hang up on them. I can’t wait until the whole thing is over!”

I think we can all agree that this statement represents the views of a decent number of people, probably including some we know. Clearly, their views are not being captured by any polls. Now ask yourself this: Assuming this person votes, who do you think they are likely to vote for? In other words, if this person is sick to death of all the hype, are they likely to vote for or against the candidate who seems to be the King of Hype? If this person is a cynic, are they more likely to vote for Obama or McCain?

I think the McCain campaign is counting on this group of people turning out to vote and voting for McCain. I do not know whether that assumption is right, but if it is, I agree it could make the difference between winning and losing. There are a lot of these people out there.

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Media bias a paper tiger?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

Steven Stark over at the ultraliberal Boston Phoenix admits that the mainstream media is ridiculously biased, but argues convincingly that its power is not great enough to deliver an election:

Incidentally, I’ve read a few of Stark’s columns over the course of the campaign. Somewhat remarkably, he consistently eschews partisan nastiness in favor of thoughtful analysis. Certain more “reputable” liberal publications in New York and Boston could learn a lot from his example.

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McCain and Obama: Comparisons to historical Presidents

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

Sister Benedict and I were talking last night and the subject turned to which past Presidents John McCain and Barack Obama most closely resemble.

For McCain, the obvious parallel seems to be Teddy Roosevelt. McCain often cites Roosevelt as a hero of is, and it’s easy to see why. Both men had a military background and were accused of having a belligerent attitude. Both were famous for their volatile demeanor and their temper. Both had a history of breaking from the Republican party and taking on powerful special interests in pursuit of what they thought was best for their country. Both chose a running mate whose function was to placate the conservative wing of the party.

In the case of Obama, we both thought Woodrow Wilson was a good parallel.  Both came from strong and prestigious academic backgrounds. Both practiced law briefly. Both ran as outsiders, reformers and “peace” candidates. Both had relatively little experience in public office before running for President. Both had a strong belief in the role of the international community in resolving disputes.

It’s interesting to note that both Roosevelt and Wilson were viewed as successful Presidents, but became unpopular by the end of their terms.

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The “Twenty Minutes Obama”

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

Did you watch Barack Obama’s half-hour infomercial last night? If so, what did you think of it?

I admit I didn’t watch it. I’ve watched a fair amount of Senator Obama since his campaign began, and I knew I wasn’t going to change my mind about my vote. I must confess that I found it slightly creepy how many different channels Obama was on at the same time. It reminded me of the propaganda broadcasts in George Orwell’s “1984” that everyone is forced to watch. I started referring to it – as the “Two Minutes Obama” in conversation with my friends.

I admit the metaphor breaks down a little bit. In Orwell’s novel, when the audience sees the image of Big Brother, they chant his initials: “B-B! B-B!”. I’m not sure that a chant of “B.O.! B.O.!” would have quite the same solemn effect 🙂

I can’t help wondering, though – perhaps unfairly – would this be a regular weekly feature of an Obama Presidency? By paying for the airtime as a commercial broadcast, Obama avoids triggering “equal time” opportunities for an opposing response to be aired. Why not continue to do so as President? People will be so much happier when they’re not being confused by multiple viewpoints on the issues…

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Evil walks the earth, part II: Cruelty to animals

Posted by sanityinjection on October 30, 2008

I can think of few crimes as vile as the mistreatment of a helpless animal. It is therefore with great sadness that I must tell you about a vicious attack on the world’s oldest flamingo at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia. Apparently, four teenagers assaulted the bird, which had previously been unafraid of humans and enjoyed coming close to the edge of its enclosure to interact with them. The attack apparently occurred during normal operating hours and was witnessed by other zoo visitors.

Here is a photo of the injured bird, known only as “Flamingo One”:

Its exact age is not known, but it has been at the zoo for 75 years.

It seems clear that the perpetrators simply found it amusing to beat up an animal. I am not sure what is more sickening – the callousness and cruelty of this action, or the brazen way in which they made no attempt to conceal their crime. Studies have shown that violence against animals, if left unchecked, can develop into violence against humans. I sincerely hope that the Australian authorities deal with the attackers as firmly as possible.

Meanwhile, the case should serve as a reminder to us that if we witness an act of cruelty toward an animal, we have a duty to take action and not stand idly by. There can be few purer manifestations of evil in this world than cruelty to animals. If you think that’s overstating the case, take another look at the photo.

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Good God, when will the corporate welfare to automakers end?

Posted by sanityinjection on October 28, 2008

Last month I blogged about the $25 billion in loans that Congress handed to domestic automakers. I criticized this bailout as corporate welfare disguised as a jobs provision, and watched helplessly as the Democrats in control of Congress – the very same people who usually complain about corporate welfare – shepherded it into law, without much opposition from the GOP either.

Now it appears that $25 billion is not enough. GM and Chrysler are asking the feds for an additional $10 billion to help facilitate a proposed merger between the two auto giants. Part of that would include the government paying off $3 billion in pension obligations owed by the companies to their retirees. Are you kidding me?

Everybody knows that mergers, while they may be necessary in order to keep companies afloat, always mean job losses. The people who would benefit from this merger are the companies’ investors, including their CEOs, as well as all the companies that do business with the automakers. But why should the federal government pay to keep them fat and happy? Here’s a thought: What if the automakers actually had to live with the consequences of their failures? Maybe they would be forced to make changes that would allow them to become competitive again, instead of being sheltered and coddled by the government.

Let me be very clear: I am not against a GM-Chrysler merger. I am against having it paid for by the taxpayers while the CEOs ride off into the sunset with preferred stock options and golden parachutes and workers lose their jobs. Have we learned nothing from the behavior of the execs at AIG? How many more times will the taxpayers be robbed to reward incompetence?

The worst part of all is the significant possibility this will sneak through without sufficient media attention, just like the last one did. Then later when the whole thing fails and we, the taxpayers, are on the hook for it, the new Congress and Administration will blame it all on Bush and the previous Congress.

Aren’t we tired of this?

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

A Sanity Injection for President: John McCain

Posted by sanityinjection on October 27, 2008

It has never been the intent of this blog to serve as a mouthpiece for any political party or candidate. I hope that readers of varying political persuasions can find information, entertainment and the chance to offer their voices here. Nevertheless, with only one week remaining before the biggest election in our country’s recent history, I feel that it is time to be clear about my choice for President of the United States. Sanity Injection officially endorses Senator John McCain for President.

It is certainly tempting for independent voters and even some Republicans to consider a vote for Senator Barack Obama. With the war in Iraq and foreign policy in general fading as an issue of concern to voters, this election has become one about the economy. The current economic difficulties seem to deliver a failing grade for the nation’s leadership, and Obama’s message of change resonates with voters who are fearful and looking for someone to lead them toward brighter horizons.

Indeed, Obama possesses many fine qualities for voters to admire. He is intelligent, an astute politican, possessed of remarkable charisma and great rhetorical skill. He projects a quiet confidence combined with the ability to truly inspire even the cynical in a way no other political leader has in the last eight years. Obama’s candidacy, to the extent that he has inspired people to become involved in the politicial process, has had a positive effect regardless of the outcome of the election.

And yet, a closer inspection of Senator Obama leaves me with areas of concern. Does he really represent change? Well yes, as an individual, a young black man with a very different personality and leadership style from our current President. But the policies Senator Obama has made the focus of his campaign (as opposed to those he has paid lip service to such as NAFTA and offshore oil drilling) are not new and different, but have been advocated before by many within his party, which it should be noted has controlled Congress for the past two years as the economy has gone sour. Electing a Democratic President whose views are solidly in line with an even stronger Democratic Congress is not “change” – at least, not change for the better.

Secondly, while Obama has great potential as a leader, his relative youth and inexperience raise questions about his ability to handle the most powerful job in the world. Obama would be the second most inexperienced President since 1900. His rapid, meteoric rise to power, impressive as it is, leaves one searching for anything resembling adversity that Obama has had to overcome. We have virtually nothing to tell us how a President Obama will respond the first time he fails at something, as all Presidents inevitably must. One of President Bush’s worst qualities has been his inability to recognize, admit, and work on his mistakes; we cannot afford to risk more of that in the future.

By contrast, Senator John McCain has been tested by adversity in ways few of us can ever completely appreciate. McCain’s long history of service to his country as a soldier and a legislator leave no doubt as to his readiness for the office of the Presidency. His record is full of instances in which McCain bucked special interests and his own party leadership in order to do what he thought – rightly or wrongly – was best for the country. Senator Obama’s record is empty in this regard.

It is hard to imagine a circumstance a President McCain could face that would faze him compared to what he has already endured in the past. McCain’s much-discussed temper does not control his actions, and has not prevented his long and successful political career. Like his opponent, McCain possesses a healthy sense of humor which helps to keep him balanced, as well as a very real spirit of humility and the ability to criticize his own mistakes- a rarity among politicians.

Finally, I must note that I have personally met Senator McCain on a number of occasions. It is hard to explain the impression that he makes in person – a man who bears the scars of his past, but wears them lightly; whose diminutive, even crippled stature somehow only serves to enhance the quiet strength of his will. The McCain I have walked and talked with is the man who, time and time again sat alone by the bedside of the dying Democrat Mo Udall when all of his other political friends had forgotten him, to gain nothing for himself but simply to quietly be there for a man he viewed as a mentor and a friend, never seeking press coverage.

If the two criteria for selecting a President are one’s character and the record of one’s career of public service, there can be no question that Senator McCain is the better of two above-average choices. Sanity Injection recommends that voters still undecided ask themselves this question: “Of the two candidates, who do I feel is more likely to put the country’s needs ahead of his own personal and political ambitions?” Let that answer guide your vote.

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Even journalists now admit the media is hopelessly biased on the election

Posted by sanityinjection on October 27, 2008

Today’s must-read column is from Michael Malone over at ABC News. Malone, a career journalist, laments that the media’s coverage of this election has become so biased that even Dan Rather thinks it’s gone too far:

Malone gives specific examples of how the mainstream media has treated one candidate very differently than the other – not so much by aggressive reporting of one candidate’s foibles, but by a lack of aggressive reporting of the other’s.

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