The pandering Hillary’s Gas Tax plan that will never become law

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , on May 4, 2008 by plinynovo

Much has been written and said criticizing the economic soundness of Hillary Clinton’s Gas Tax Holiday.  The conventional wisdom is that while it would have no real benefit it is good politics (i.e. good pandering).  Lost in all of this analysis is a simple fact.  She is promising something that she not only knows is bad economics, but is also not going to happen.  This is pandering of the worst sort.  It is one thing to promise something that will have no effect, if you actually plan on doing it – it is quite another to promise something that you have no intention (or in this case power) to do. 


Is Congress going to pass Clinton’s proposal?  Is it going to do so before the summer driving season begins?  If it does, is George W. Bush going to sign a windfall profits tax? The answer is NO to all of these questions.  Additionally, is Clinton going to leave the campaign trail and return to Congress to even push the proposal?  Once again the answer is no.


As a libertarian, I generally like plans to reduce taxes.  However, I would say that this tax amounts to a use fee.  People who drive benefit from highways.  The more you drive, the more you benefit from the roads.  Therefore, in the big scheme of things this is one of the least unfair taxes on the books.  If Clinton really wants to help average Americans, she should focus on what she will do, beginning in January 2009, not promise something she will not and cannot do now.




Ron Paul praises Obama – stops short of an endorsement

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , on May 4, 2008 by plinynovo

Here from CNN, Ron Paul comes close to endorsing Obama.  Good for him.  As I have pointed out before, while Paul and Obama are not in agreement on many issues, when it comes to support for Constitutional government and returning to a reasonable foreign policy – the only home for Paul supporters this year will be in the Obama camp.   CNN states:

(CNN) — Even though Rep. Ron Paul has never officially ended his long shot presidential bid, he’s ready to weigh in on the three remaining major candidates for the White House.

In an interview on The Situation Room, Paul told Wolf Blitzer that endorsing Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, “would really confuse” his supporters “because they know we have a precise program and we have to defend that program.”

Having a Republican win the upcoming presidential election is “secondary” for Paul who is more interested in defending the Constitution, having the country go in what he considers the right direction, having a sound currency, and achieving balanced budgets. Paul parts ways with McCain over McCain’s support for the Iraq war, his approach to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and his willingness to spend federal dollars to support military operations in Iraq.

Instead, Paul favors Sen. Barack Obama because of positions on foreign policy. “But that’s doesn’t mean that’s an endorsement,” Paul quickly added.

Paul recently released a new book titled “The Revolution: a Manifesto.” “Unfortunately, it is revolutionary to talk about obeying the Constitution,” Paul said of the book’s title.

More on Doug Coe’s ‘Family’ – John Baldacci, Hillary Clinton et al

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , , on May 3, 2008 by plinynovo

A little more on Doug Coe’s ‘Family’ is surfacing in the media.  Lance Tarply, writing in an article in the Portland Phoenix, describes Maine Governor John Baldacci’s connections with the group – the Maine Governor lived in the Family’s row house on Capitol Hill when he was a Congressman.  He writes: 


Revelations about the Family/fellowship began emerging last fall with a story by investigative reporter Lisa Getter in the Los Angeles Times. She describes an organization that, while “in the shadows,” has had “extraordinary [political] access and significant influence on foreign affairs for the last 50 years.”

Its accomplishments range from financing an anticommunism film used by the Pentagon in the Cold War to, in recent years, bringing together the warring leaders of the Congo and Rwanda in the first of a string of meetings that led to a peace treaty. The Fellowship (Getter’s preferred label for the group) also has brought several notorious, right-wing Latin American generals to Washington for prayer meetings — men connected to the torture of civilians and CIA-linked death squads.

Getter quotes the group’s long-time leader, Doug Coe, 73, as saying that its mission is to establish a “family of friends” around the world by spreading the word of Jesus to powerful people: “The people that are involved in this association . . . are the worst and the best. Some are total despots. Some are totally religious. You can find what you want to find.”

Members, who carry no cards and are very loosely defined, are required to keep quiet about their activities. But publicly available documents reveal that the Fellowship Foundation — a central legal entity, but far from the only one involved with the group — has an $11-million-a-year budget and a board of directors including Grace Nelson, wife of Florida’s Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson. Its president is Richard Carver, Air Force assistant secretary under President Reagan. Its rich backers include Jerome Lewis, a Denver oilman; Republican contributor Michael Timmis; and Paul Temple, a Maryland investor. Among members, Getter writes, are congressmen who are in charge of the State Department and foreign-aid budgets.

“It’s an incredibly secretive, powerful group that has entree all around the world,” Getter said in an interview about her article. “It has tentacles everywhere.”




The members of Congress who live at C Street, Sharlet writes, are “brothers in Christ just like us, only more powerful. We scrubbed their toilets, hoovered their carpets, polished their silver.” In the interview, he described C Street as a place for “centering your decision-making on Christ.”

Sharlet, in both interview and Harper’s article, sees the Family as a scary institution — not exactly conspiratorial, he said, but behind-the-scenes activists whose work is troubling. Among his observations:

• “The most important thing for them is power,” and the ultimate goal of the Family is “a government built by God.”

• “Doug Coe is one of the most important people on the planet.”

• Coe — whom he described as “frighteningly charismatic” — and his son David Coe, the Family’s heir apparent, refer to the Mafia and Hitler as role models in the acquisition of power, although, in the Family’s case, power is gathered to spread the word of Jesus. “You guys are here to learn how to rule the world,” he quotes David Coe telling the residents at the house — called Ivanwald — where he lived with the other male apprentices/servants.

• The group, although bipartisan, is deeply conservative. While somewhat opposed to institutionalized Christianity, “they have a deep affection for the military” and see themselves as waging “spiritual war.” In his instruction by the Family, he heard about “biblical capitalism” — laissez-faire capitalism. Among those involved, he writes, are many prominent corporate executives as well as John Ashcroft, the attorney general, and Charles Colson, the Nixon aide convicted in the Watergate scandal who became an evangelist.

• In the Family’s prayer groups, or cells, a central idea, Sharlet said, is to cede your life to the authority of the group. Yet membership makes you part of “a chosen, and if you’re in leadership, God has chosen you.” He believed this kind of thinking “starts shifting you rightward.”


 Meanwhile, I ran across this interview with the New York Times, where Hillary Clinton gave some insight into her relationship with the Family.



Senator Clinton: There were many people, both people who I had known a long time and people who I had not known, but came seeking me out and offered their personal support. I got a lot of recommendations about scripture verses to read and about other spiritual readings. I’ve written about this and talked about it a lot, but the parable of the prodigal son as conveyed by Henri Nouwen, made a huge impact on me. The discipline of gratitude was — you just read along sometimes looking for sustenance and support and something jumps out at you and it just really resonated with my beliefs and my sense of what we are called to do. Forgiveness and gratitude are features that I associate with Christ. That to me is part of how one lives as best one can following the example of Christ.


Q: This women’s group that you’ve talked about in the past – they prayed for you, you met with them a few times. I don’t know that much about the group, like how often you guys met, was it really like these small groups that they have in churches in terms of that level of interaction? I also understand that you were a little apprehensive about meeting with them initially and I wondered if you could talk to me about why that was and how that was overcome.

Senator Clinton: As I recall, I was invited to meet with them by a good friend of mine, Linda Lader. I had met a few of the women, but I didn’t know most of the women, and I also was asked to visit with them by Doug Coe, who was and still is, the director of the National Prayer Breakfast and the National Prayer outreach and it was over at their headquarters in Virginia which is kind of a retreat center. And, they invited Tipper and I to come to lunch and I really did it mostly for Linda and Doug who asked me to.

Q: Because you were a little bit wary?

Senator Clinton: Well, you know, I didn’t know. I had friends who prayed for me, I prayed for myself, I prayed for other people, I felt like I was sustained by prayer. Since Bill had decided to run for president I had countless people saying they were praying for us and then once he became president there was a real outpouring of people. But I went, and I’m really glad I did.

It was a wonderful group of women in a bipartisan gathering who really thought that the mean-spiritedness and the negativity that had come to mark so much of our political life was very much counter to their beliefs and so they wanted to lift up Tipper and me and did so at this lunch. And, then they wanted to continue to pray for me. So I met with them periodically, I wouldn’t say regularly, but when our schedules could work out I had them to the White House. Holly Leachman became sort of the real contact person for me in the group and became a friend. It was fascinating because a lot of them were deeply involved in the national prayer group, and I was very touched by their desire to choose me to pray for. And it was a way for me to let go and let them do it and for them to reach out and do it. What was fascinating is that over time a lot of the people who had been part of the most critical and negative attacks on me began to seek me out. The first person who did that was David Kuo. Doug Coe had asked me to come to speak to a dinner that was held the night before the prayer breakfast and most of the people in there were people who were very unsure of how I was or what I stood for but Doug was always very supportive of me. He had me speak at one of the national prayer lunches, he arranged for me to meet Mother Theresa after one of the national prayer breakfasts. And, David came up and asked for my forgiveness, and several other people have done the same.

Q: Was that difficult?

Senator Clinton: It was surprising when it first happened, but it was very moving to me. I was sort of startled because it was in a public place. I was shaking hands and he gave me a long history about who he had worked for and what he had done to attack me and impugn my motives and my character and everything, and I said, of course I forgive you. When I got to the Senate, Sam Brownback sought me out. I wouldn’t have talked about it except that he talked about it, and it was very touching to me. He actually came to see me and said now that we actually know each other, because we had never met before, he said, I really came to ask for your forgiveness. I think that a prayer network often can move us to do things that we might not otherwise do.

Globalization not causing a recession

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Political Philosophy with tags , , on May 3, 2008 by plinynovo

Whether we are entering a recession or not is a question that from a technical economic definition is still debatable.  However what is not an open question is that it feels like a recession and most Americans believe it is one.  That being admitted we are watching the presidential hopefuls pander to the electorate that the cause for the current hardship is “globalization” – by which I include, free trade policies, immigration and out-sourcing, etc..  These same hopefuls then offer remedies of isolationism. 


Blaming Globalization is an easy but misdirected target for our troubles.  As Daniel Griswold points out in an article on the Cato Institute’s website, Globalization has resulted in less not more volatility in the economy.  Clearly, some individuals have been hurt by free trade and immigration and other aspects of globalization, however it is clear that the economy as a whole has benefited greatly from the integration of the world economy.  The candidates should therefore, focus on how to help the individuals who have been displaced, not on the boogeyman of the us versus them which now passes for economic policy discussions in the presidential race.  

Clintonite Says people from Indiana are sh_t, at least they aren’t ‘bitter’

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 2, 2008 by plinynovo

5-3-08 Update:  It appears that clip may have been edited.  I have decided to remove it.


5-2-08  UPDATE:  There has been a lot of back and forth on the web where the clip has been edited.  Until this is sorted out this video should be taken with a grain of salt.


Clinton supporter, Mickey Kantor speaks out on Indiana, in ’92:


The lengths Hillary will go to to win –

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , on May 2, 2008 by plinynovo

An overlooked Newsday article describes the lengths Hillary Clinton will go to win and how after the fact she rewrites history.   In the mid ‘70s Clinton was representing a man accused of raping a 12 year old, attacked the creditability of the girl claiming among other things she sought out older men.  Here is an excerpt. 


“Hillary Rodham Clinton often invokes her “35 years of experience making change” on the campaign trail, recounting her work in the 1970s on behalf of battered and neglected children and impoverished legal-aid clients. but there is a little-known episode Clinton doesn’t mention in her standard campaign speech in which those two principles collided. In 1975, a 27-year-old Hillary Rodham, acting as a court-appointed attorney, attacked the credibility of a 12-year-old girl in mounting an aggressive defense for an indigent client accused of rape in Arkansas – using her child development background to help the defendant.

The case offers a glimpse into the way Clinton deals with crisis. Her approach, then and now, was to immerse herself in even unpleasant tasks with a will to win, an attitude captured in one of her favorite aphorisms: “Bloom where you’re planted.” it also came at a crucial moment in her personal life, less than a year after she followed boyfriend Bill Clinton down to Arkansas – a time when she struggled to gain a foothold in a new state while maintaining her own professional identity.

”Bill was out front,” said Tim Tarvin, one of Rodham’s student assistants at the University of Arkansas Law School legal aid clinic. “But Hillary was running just as hard behind the scenes, battling just as hard for acceptance.” in May 1975, Washington County prosecutor Mahlon Gibson called Rodham, who had taken over the law clinic months earlier, to tell her she’d been appointed to represent a hard-drinking factory worker named Thomas Alfred Taylor, who had requested a female attorney.

In her 2003 autobiography “Living History,” Clinton writes that she initially balked at the assignment, but eventually secured a lenient plea deal for Taylor after a New York-based forensics expert she hired “cast doubt on the evidentiary value of semen and blood samples collected by the sheriff’s office.” however, that account leaves out a significant aspect of her defense strategy – attempting to impugn the credibility of the victim, according to a Newsday examination of court and investigative files and interviews with witnesses, law enforcement officials and the victim. Rodham, records show, questioned the sixth grader’s honesty and claimed she had made false accusations in the past. She implied that the girl often fantasized and sought out “older men” like Taylor, according to a July 1975 affidavit signed “Hillary D. Rodham” in compact cursive.”

Rev. Wright disparages his own color

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election with tags , , on May 1, 2008 by plinynovo

Lost in all of the crazy comments made by Wright before the National Press Club is this statement made at the end of his comments about the Nation of Islam leader. 

“Louis Farrakhan, is not my enemy.  He didn’t put me in chains; he didn’t put me in slavery, and he didn’t make me this color.”  

Is Reverend Jeremiah Wright saying that his enemies made him “this color?”  Is he saying God is his enemy? 

 As he pretends to defend the Black Church, is he criticizing being black?  Is this some evidence of internalized self-hatred? 

 I do not know the answers to these questions, and perhaps no one will save Wright’s future psychologist, should he make the wise decision and seek help.