President Obama
By Dan | November 4, 2008 - 11:50 pm - Posted in Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Uncategorized

Congratulations to Senator Barack Obama on becoming the 44th president.

As I have already mentioned, I am concerned about America’s path in the next few years.  Tonight is not the time for warnings or recriminations.  Tonight is the beginning of the process of unifying our country behind our new leader.

I have few requests of Republicans, Conservatives and fellow right wingers of all stripes:

Let’s not do to Obama what the left did to Bush.  The election is over, and by January 20, Barack Obama will be our president.  That is our system, let’s not whine about the outcome for four years like petulant children.  If you cannot respect the man, respect the office.  We are better than the left because of our respect for the rule of law over the rule of men; let’s show it with class and dignity.

Let’s focus our efforts on growing our talent pool and phrasing a rational, coherent statement for the future of the party.  Now is the time to clean house of the Republicans who cost us this election and endangered the Reagan Revolution.  We’re the opposition now, and we need to present a clear, clean and fiscally responsible alternative to the Democrats.  The saddest part of this election is that, even with Pelosi, Reid and Barney Frank as the face of the Democratic party, the Republicans still lost ground.

Rejoice in the small things.  True John McCain lost, but at least American can’t be called racist.  At least now, Iraq, Gitmo, the war on terror, the economy and job loss number can fairly be put on the Democrats.  We cannot count on the press holding Democrats accountable, but Americans will see progress or failure with their own eyes.  Obama won the keys to the kingdom, we will see what his policies do to it.

Finally, keep the faith.  Laissez faire capitalism is still the best, most efficient economic system.  A strong military abroad and fiscal responsibility at home are still keys to American exceptionalism.  Government never solved a problem without creating a bigger one; we need to stay focused and not compromise our message.  Remind each other what these principles mean to us.  Remember that four years of Carter gave us eight years of Reagan.  His heir is out there.

What McCain Should Say
By Dan | October 16, 2008 - 8:26 am - Posted in Edukashun, Media & Marketing, Op Ed, Politics & Policy

One of the really frustrating things about McCain is that he never seems to follow through on the political points, nor does he defend himself adequately against false attacks.  Last night’s debate certainly provided a few counter examples, but here is what McCain should have said:

Obama says he was 8 years old when Ayers tried to kill innocent people with nail bombs.  McCain should fire back, “really?  Well I was three when Hitler invaded Poland, but I never had him over for afternoon tea.”  It wouldn’t hurt to add “you sanctimonious bastard,” once in a while either.

Obama and Biden like to point out that the average cost of healthcare is $12,000 and McCain wants to tax it, and replace it with a $5000 tax credit.  Obama even said last night that “For the first time in history, you will be taxing people’s health care benefits.  By the way, the average policy costs about $12,000. So if you’ve got $5,000 and it’s going to cost you $12,000, that’s a loss for you.”

McCain should say “Is that the kind of backwards drunken donkey math they teach at Harvard now?  My plan would tax $12,000, true, but the taxpayer receives a $5000 tax credit.  Let me say that slowly tax credit. Unlike you, I do not favor a 100% tax bracket, so the taxes on $12,000, even at the highest tax bracket would be less than $4,000.  My plan would give taxpayers a net tax decrease of at least $1,000.”

Negative Ads
McCain keeps saying that the ads would not be so negative if Obama would have agreed to the townhall debates.  Fair enough, but this is getting old and it’s pretty thin to begin with.  Instead, McCain should say, “Look, I’m sorry if you cannot take criticism well.  I know you’re unaccustomed to it, as the media has given you a free ride over the past two years.  Now, I may lose this election, but the American people need to know who it is they are electing.  If the media won’t address these issues of character, judgment and whom you chose to associate with, I have to.  Today there is a story in the Washington Post claiming that AT&T and Verizon did favors for me by putting up cell towers on my ranch.  Are you kidding?  Obama has acknowledged ties to ACORN, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Antonin Rezko, William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, and these people are investigating cell phone towers in Arizona.  If you’re going to be president, Senator, you need to grow a pair.”

1 Comment
The Rumors of Their Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
By Dan | October 15, 2008 - 12:57 pm - Posted in Best Of, Edukashun, Foreign Affairs, Government, Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Taxes

Recently, many commentators in the mainstream media here in America and abroad have gleefully announced the death of Capitalism and Conservatism.  We are to believe that the Reagan Revolution has been routed like Ewoks without Luke, Leia and Han.

Conservatism and Capitalism, I can assure you, are both alive, though not so well.  These twin pillars saved America and the free world from feckless impotence of Jimmy Carter and the very feckled and potent ambitions of the Soviet Union; they will not crumble in the face of Barney Frank, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi or any other mental midget on the Left.

Conservatism, while not dead, is homeless.  It was run from its home by Republican greed, avarice and incompetence.  I don’t agree with John McCain on much, but we do agree that Republicans came to change Washington, but Washington changed Republicans.  Spending has run unchecked, earmarks and wasteful programs have run rampant.  These new toys have led Republicans to lose their way and compromise their principles.  Perhaps four years in exile will focus the party’s attention and lead to meaningful reform.  It will at least lead to new blood.

Capitalism is not dead, but it has been framed for murder.  Capitalism did not kill your 401(k), Barney Frank did.  Had he, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama and others not allowed (nay, encouraged) two government created behemoths to flood the mortgage market with billions in subprime loans, everyone would have been better off.  Housing prices would have stayed low, banks would have stayed solvent and retirement accounts would have stayed fat.

Laissez faire capitalism remains the most efficient economic theory.  Consider the following: whom would you trust to advise you and negotiate a transaction on your behalf: Warren Buffett or Nancy Pelosi?  Donald Trump or Barney Frank?  Michael Milken or Mark Foley?  Those who have the mental tools to understand the economy make money.  Those who don’t, run for office.  It is the nature of our world that some politicians will be among the dumbest, least informed, greediest, most incompetent of us.  Almost everyone else will do better things with their talents.  This is not to say every politician is completely out of their depth, but I would not bet on a majority of them being smarter than my dog.  The less the government interferes with your life, your business and your finances, the better.

Nonetheless, it is not yet time to “go John Galt.”  This is not the beginning of the end of our way of life, it is end of the beginning.  Together, we have destroyed slavery, fascism, communism and socialism.  Our task now is to destroy modern liberalism.  We must destroy political correctness and nihilism before it destroys us.  We will overcome the soft bigotry of lowered expectations and restore accountability and common sense to the economy, the legal system and the government.

Conservatism and Capitalism are wounded, but they will return stronger than ever.  Patience is a virtue; capitulation is a sacrilege.  In time, we will see the end of the Democratic majority and the Obama administration.  In time, we will see an end to the forced charity of “patriotic” taxes.  We will see the last welfare check cashed.  We will see an end to the tortured twisting of the words in the storied document that governs us.  We will see a government that knows its limits, recognizes its enemies and aids only its allies.  We will see a strong, proud America leading the world, the entire world, into a free, peaceful and democratic future.  We will once again be a shining city on a hill.


Barring a major collapse or a terrorist attack, Barack Obama will be the next president.  He will be aided by a Democrat-controlled Congress, and soon enough a Left-leaning supreme court.  For his ascention, we can blame John McCain; for Congress, we can blame Republican leadership who allowed corruption and greed to infect the Reagan Revolution.  But looking forward, here are some predictions for the coming four years:

Free Speech

The Fairness Doctrine will be re-enacted, driving radio, the last bastion of conservatism, Leftward and, ultimately, into bankruptcy.  President Obama will encourage prosecutors to investigate “unfair, biased and untruthful” comments about government policies.  Conservative bloggers and talk radio show hosts will quietly slip away, and Daily Kos and the Huffington Post will become “mainstream.”  Fox News ratings will initially climb, but President Obama will again deny them access and will continue to slander the network until it becomes marginalized.  If things get really bad, “Sedition” will rejoin the lexicon.

Financial Markets

Reeling from the recent subprime collapse, Wall Street will struggle for several years.  With their pay and benefits curtailed by Congress, Wall Street firms will be unable to hire or retain talented executives.  Those who do take the jobs will be tempted to make money in other, less ethical ways.  Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will merge into the banking sector and the innovative products and ideas that put America at the forefront of finance will dry up.  Some firms will move out of New York, or significantly reduce their presence.  Without the tax revenue from these firms, New York City will begin to collapse as it did in the 1970’s.  The city may be nationalized.

The Broader Economy

Without risk taking on Wall Street, the credit crunch will tighten.  Firms will have little or no incentive to take large risks, and any rewards will be taxed mercilessly.  Several large corporations will fail.  If the government steps in, intervention will be used as an excuse to raise taxes again, just as Clinton did in the early 1990’s.  Layoffs and unemployment will become common place as American companies struggle to meet the demands of President Obama and his union-endorsed wish list.  Higher corporate taxes and increased labor demands will drive manufacturing jobs off-shore.


Obama will raise your taxes.  At first, he will work with Congress to avoid a squeeze of the middle class.  Ultimately, we will be told that taxes are not being raised, we are merely returning to “pre-Bush” levels.  We will also be told that, most Americans will “pay the same as they did under President Reagan.”  This will be a lie, but it will be unchallenged by the press.

Energy & Environment

Offshore oil drilling will be blocked.  Obama has already said that he does not object to $4 per gallon gas, only that the increase occurred so rapidly.  Under the guise of “Global Warming”, oil and gasoline prices will steadily increase as windfall profits taxes and other taxes are passed on to the consumer.  Congress will pass stimulus bill after stimulus bill to offset the cost of heating oil in the winter, and gasoline prices in the summer.  Redistribution of wealth will become a reality.  Meanwhile, $7 per gallon will be the new normal.  What the government doesn’t spend in stimulus packages, it will use to distort the market for alternative energy sources.  These new projects will make Ethanol look like a brilliant idea.  (Incidentally, the next four years will set cold temperature records.  Crops will fail and the price of food will skyrocket.  We will be told that this “climate change” is due to human activity.)  If owning an SUV is not strictly illegal, only Hollywood elites and politicians will be able to afford them.

Terrorism & Foreign Affairs

We will suffer a major terror attack on U.S. soil within the first two years.  This would likely be the case in a McCain administration, but the response will be markedly different.  The Obama response, if there is one, will embolden al Qaeda, who will move from hiding in Aghanistan to ruling Pakistan.  Iran will continue to grow in strength and President Obama, will indeed meet with Ahmedinijad or his successor. Russia will invade Ukraine or Latvia and NATO will fail to react.  Obama will call on the UN to impose sanctions, which they will not.  Our image in Europe will at first grow, but the Obama bounce will be fleeting.  As America’s status as a superpower wanes, we will become West England: tolerable to much of Europe, but not included in their reindeer games.


Obama and Congress will enact comprehensive healthcare reform.  Premiums will first fall, then rise as health insurers begin to first compete with a government program, and then the government program becomes all consuming and yet irrelevant.  There will, indeed, be two Americas as there are two UK’s when it comes to healthcare.  The broader population will be covered by Obamacare, a form of Medicare and SCHIP on steriods.  The premiums will be next to nothing, but the covereage will make people long for HMOs.  Instead of arguing with your insurance company (who can be bullied by the market, Oprah, 60 Minutes and others), you will have to argue with a government bureacrat for whom accountability is as foreign a concept as quantum chromo dynamics.  The rest of America will continue to pay for health care through their employer or directly.  The coverage will be better, but the lack of competition and the government program will raise prices.  Good doctors will become harder to find as government mandates, malpractice claims and insurance headaches drive smart people out of the profession.  Without a profit motive, new drugs are fewer and further between.

Social Issues

Gay marriage will become the law in all 50 states, either by federal fiat or through the Full Faith and Credit Clause.  Whether you agree or disagree, the issue will inflame opinions just as Roe v. Wade has for over thirty years.  A new Supreme Court case will enter the public lexicon, just as Roe did.  Abortion will also continue to be a contentious issue.  Crime and unethical behavior will grow and a “malaise” will infect the country.

The recent market turmoil has produced an astonishingly predictable wave of populism.  Even McCain and Palin are blaming corporate greed and abuse of the public trust.  (To be fair, corporations cannot fairly abuse the public trust as they are formed for the benefit of their own shareholders, not the public.  Somewhere, Ayn Rand is rolling over in her grave.)

The most idiotic line of attack, not surprisingly, is coming from the Democrats.  In an effort to pin the market’s problems on Senator McCain, Obama has pointed to the 1999 Gramm Leach Bliley Act.  The wholly uncontroversial act was passed by nearly unanimous vote and signed into law by Bill Clinton.  Of course, as the lead sponsor, Senator Phil Gramm’s connection with Senator McCain’s campaign gives Barack Obama some Hope® to link the two to the current market problem.

Obama, having no economic experience beyond the begging for, squandering and doling out of tax dollars, is perhaps not familiar with the purpose and history of the Act.  (One of the more entertaining aspects of the last several days has been watching the mental midgets at Daily Kos, the Huffington Post and elsewhere espouse their opinion on GLB.  If asked before the recent market crisis, I would bet most of these people would think Gramm Leach Bliley was professor of Dark Arts at Hogwarts.)

I never thought this would come in handy, but as it turns out, I work with GLB every day, so I do know a little about it.  Which is to say, a great deal more than apparently what Obama and the Democratic party know about it.

GLB overturned a depression era law known as Glass Steagall (and no, that’s not a magical transparent bird from Harry Potter).  Glass Steagall prohibited retail banks (banks that make their money by holding deposits and lending money to consumers) from engaging in insurance and commercial and investment banking (like Goldman Sachs, these banks make their money mostly from investing in and lending money to corporations).  The rationale was simple: during the market crash of 1929, which precipitated the Great Depression, many retail banks failed because their assets were tied up in the stock market.

Glass Steagall did two things: (i) it created the FDIC to insure deposits at retail banks up to now $100,000 and (ii) it prevented banks from exposing themselves to market risks that could again crash the entire system.

Over 60 years later, the economy and the markets had changed.  The Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 had developed strong, robust markets that were, for the most part, self-correcting.  In addition, the Savings and Loan crisis had shown that restricting diversification was not necessarily the best way to prevent bank failures.  In addition, retail banks and large investment houses wanted to be a one-stop shop and compete with one another for the savings and investment accounts of their customers.  All of this lead to the repeal of the second major prong of Glass Steagall.  In a sense, that is all the GLB did: it allowed your checking and savings account to be held at the same place as your insurance policy and your mutual fund.

Obama, however, is now claiming that GLB should be repealed.  He’s flatly wrong.  Repeal of GLB would lead to disaster.  In fact, GLB is operating as the savior today.  Who saved Merrill Lynch from bankruptcy?  The largest bank in the world, Bank of America.  Glass Steagall would have made that illegal.  Who is rumored to be buying Morgan Stanley?  Wachovia, another retail bank that would have been prohibited by Glass Steagall from intervening.  Who is picking up the pieces of Lehman Brothers?  Barclays Bank, a UK bank known primarily for retail banking and credit cards.

Obama’s claim that GLB is the cause of the problem is even more idiotic.  The root cause of the current problem is over aggressive lending by mortgage banks like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Countrywide and a slew of others.  These banks, after being pressured by Congress and President Clinton, made loans to lower income families that everyone knew could never be repaid by their income alone.  The buyers, to the extent they knew what they were doing, were thinking, “I’ll buy a $200,000 house I can’t afford.  I can pay interest only for a few years, then the house will increase in value and sell it at a profit and buy a new house for more money.”  The banks were thinking, “worst case scenario, we foreclose and sell the house for a profit.”  In essence, the banks and the homeowners were betting that housing prices would go up.  They were wrong.  In fact, the fast and loose credit rules further exacerbated the problem by artificially driving up home prices.  If more people can afford a home, home prices become less affordable.  (Note to Dems, this is where the Law of Supply and Demand meets the Law of Unintended Consequences).

So, you may ask, but only if you’re still paying attention, how does this bring down Lehman Brothers, who doesn’t have a mortgage brokerage?  Well, Fannie, Freddie and Countrywide were not content to hold these bad mortgages themselves.  A mortgage is just a promise from some putz to pay over 30 years.  If you’re a mortgage lender, you prefer your money up front (who doesn’t).  So the banks devised a new product called mortgage or asset backed securities (ABSs).  These are a bundle of thousands of mortgages, each with the same or similar terms.  The bank then sells interests in each of the ABS’s to investment banks like Lehman (and Merrill and Morgan Stanley).

The problem is, the ABS’s are only as good as the aggregate credit of the underlying homeowners.  If one or two in a thousand default, no problem.  The losses are offset by the payments from the others.  The only way this could fail is if a lot of buyers started defaulting on their home loans at the same time.  Well, guess what?  When you systematically extend credit to people who can’t afford it, you create systemic risk.  The bottom falls out when the first person can’t sell their home.  The next person to try to sell is facing a buyers market and we race to the bottom.  The fact that baby boomers are all retiring and trying to sell their homes at the same time compounds the problem.

To further complicate matters, the ABS’s were further divided and picked apart and merged with other instruments (like credit default swaps and other derivatives).  All of this means that even the whizkids at Lehman couldn’t figure out what their real risk was.  (Like John McCain, first Lehman, and now the taxpayers don’t know how many homes we all actually own.)  This led to a panic and a run on the investment bank.  Shares plummeted and investors in Lehman products bailed out.  In a sense, this is the exact opposite of the bank failures that lead to the Great Depression.  It wasn’t market speculation that lead to a run on retail banks, but retail banks’ speculative lending that lead to a run on investment banks.

The take home point here is that Gramm Leach Bliley is not the culprit.  Nanny state regulation and do-gooder intentions in the mortgage market are the culprit.  The sooner we realize that altruism is not a valid economic policy, the more we can avoid these messes.

Tire Inflation: More Hot Air
By Dan | July 30, 2008 - 3:59 pm - Posted in Business Section, Edukashun, Government, Liberals, Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Taxes, Weather

Jim Gereghty at the Campaign Spot points out Obama’s flimsy New Math on tire pressure.  I agree with Jim in general, but I think there’s an easier way to make the point.  First, Obama’s connecting this with offshore oil drilling is ridiculous.  That’s like a doctor telling a man with a cold, if you lay down part of the day, you’d cough less and you won’t need so much cough syrup.  Okay, but why don’t I do both, would that be better?

In any event, Obama is claiming that properly inflating tires would have a significant impact on gas prices.  Let’s take Jim’s assumptions and see:


  • The average commuter commutes 33 miles per day;
  • The average car gets 24 mpg (unlikely, but okay);
  • Improper tire pressure decreases efficiency by 2.5 mpg (average of 2-3 mpg);
  • And 1 out of 3 commuters has improper tire pressure.

Take three random commuters: two travel 33 miles each at 24 mpg (1.375 gallons per day) and the other at 21.5 mpg (1.53 gallons).  The evil, unAmerican commuter is wasting .16 gallons per day.

To put into perspective, this means that uninflated tires increase domestic demand by .16 gallons for every 4.125 gallons.  (All three commuters with properly inflated tires would use (1.375 * 3 = ) 4.125 gallons.)   Put another way, this is an effect of less than 4% (.16 / 4.125).

Assuming you believe in the law of supply and demand, a 4% decrease in demand should correspond to at most a 4% decrease in price.  This ignores effects like stockpiling and the cost of the federal beauracracy needed to ensure compliance.  If the average price of gas is now roughly $4.00 per gallon, a 4% decrease would make it $3.84, saving $.16 per gallon.

To sum up, forcing every motorist to properly inflate their tires would save, at most, $.16 per gallon.

In contrast, the federal tax on gasoline is $.184 per gallon.  Wasn’t there a candidate who said that eliminating this tax was a “typical Washington gimmick” that wouldn’t amount to any real savings?

Fire James Hansen
By Dan | June 23, 2008 - 11:38 am - Posted in Legal, Op Ed, Weather

As a former NASA fellow, I know that every NASA employee is required to take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. As an attorney, I know that the very first amendment to the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” The Supreme Court has interpreted that freedom to preclude the courts and every government agency from imposing any prior restraints on speech. In fact, the high court has gone so far as to prohibit otherwise sensible restrictions on the grounds that they would “chill meritorious debate,” meaning that fear of running afoul of the rule might limit public debate over an important issue.

James Hansen doesn’t like debate. He knows that, if we have a fair and open discourse on Global Warming™, he will lose. That is why he is calling on Congress to prosecute oil executives. Yes, the “scientist” who, through thousands of media outlets, has had the unhinged gall to say the government is silencing him, wants that same government to silence the other side of the debate. I suppose if you can’t beat ‘em, prosecute ‘em.

With any luck the fat, bloated morons who “run” the government will ignore this patently illegal request. But nonetheless, NASA should finally fire him. He has clearly violated his oath, he is a distraction to the agency and is waging a propaganda war on tax payer money. He needs to be fired.

The Obama Gaffe Machine Tally Sheet
By Dan | June 3, 2008 - 9:43 pm - Posted in Best Of, Edukashun, Liberals, Op Ed, Politics & Policy

I have decided to keep track of the Obama Gaffe Machine in its ever-expanding work to test the mainstream media’s limits of denial. It has turned out to be a bit more ambitious than I first thought, so it is not yet done. Given the frenzy today, I thought it appropriate to launch a bit early.

Please feel free to comment or suggest new gaffes on the permanent Obama Gaffe page.

Hillary Won’t Quit
By Dan | May 30, 2008 - 11:40 am - Posted in Clinton, Edukashun, Op Ed, Politics & Policy

I find it mildly amusing that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean have all come out in the past two days promising to bring an end to the Democratic presidential campaign next week. While it is true that the party “leaders” can apply pressure to the unaligned super delegates, they cannot apply pressure to Hillary herself. What is needed to end this race is a concession speech from the runner-up. Does anyone really think that is forthcoming?

Let’s look at the carrots and sticks that the Democrats have over Hillary Clinton. First, the sticks:

  • Campaign Debt. Hillary has amassed about $11 million dollars worth of campaign debt that, under McCain-Feingold, she must repay before the nominee is selected at the convention. $11 million is a lot of money, even to the Clintons, but most of it is owed to small suppliers. Has anyone ever accused the Clintons of looking out for the little guy?
  • Obama’s Inevitability. The argument goes: once enough super delegates come to Obama, Hillary will have no choice but to concede to Obama. This argument is so utterly unhinged from the past 4 months, it borders on parody. Hillary Clinton has been mathematically eliminated since just after Super Tuesday. No one reasonably expected Hillary to be able to pull this out without a tremendous Yankees-lose-four-straight-to Boston style collapse by Obama. Once she lost those 10 straight primaries, the end was inevitable. Nothing has changed, and it won’t.
  • Hillary’s Future In the Party. To think that Reid, Pelosi or Dean could threaten the Clintons with any plausible political damage is laughable. Half the time, Reid and Pelosi can’t even get their own colleagues to get behind legislation they themselves are backing. And trust me, Hillary Clinton covets this nomination far more than some farm subsidy.

And now the carrots. Ask yourself, what is it that Hillary Clinton is asking for:

  • Florida and Michigan. If you think this is anything but a cynical ploy, you’re doing it wrong. Hillary does not care one iota about the voters or delegates of Florida and Michigan. How do I know? Before it mattered, her delegates to the DNC voted unanimously to strip both states of their delegates. The only reason Hillary cares about these delegates is that it gives her a reason to take the fight to the convention.
  • The Vice Presidency. As I have mentioned before, Hillary does not want Obama to win. She wants him to fail miserably so that she and Bill can say “We told you so,” in 2012. If that is her strategy, she wants to stay off the ticket to avoid blame, while paying lip service to a united party. She will campaign for Obama, she may even hedge her bets by requesting a Supreme Court spot, a cabinet role or a choice ambassadorship, but she will not join the ticket.
  • A speaking role at the convention. Try and deny her this. This is not even negotiable for Hillary. She will speak at the convention, whether Pelosi, Reid and Dean like it or not. With almost exactly half of the delegates on the floor being Hillary supporters, can you imagine the pandemonium if she is denied a prominent role? Moreover, the media, even with it’s pro-Obama drunken stupor, would have to cover Hillary’s competing press conference(s) and other distractions.

In my opinion, there is just no leverage to force Hillary out of the race. Hillary truly believes that Obama will be exposed before November as the Chicago political operative he is (she would know), and she has faith that McCain will not run for two terms. No matter the numbers, no matter the odds, Hillary will drag this out to the convention. She will make a big speech, a thinly veiled warning to those who vote for Obama. She will force a vote (maybe even several platform votes to embarrass Obama). She will set the stage for four years hence, when her new campaign theme will be “I told you so.”

Obama’s Uncle at Auschwitz
By Dan | May 27, 2008 - 3:56 pm - Posted in Edukashun, Op Ed, Politics & Policy, Stars & Stripes

I had a uncle who was one of the, um, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz, and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family was, is that, when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months. Now, obviously, something had really affected him deeply. But at that time, there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, Las Cruces, New Mexico, May 26, 2008 (Memorial Day).

For those without access to the “right” wing of the internet, I will let you in on an open secret, U.S. troops never entered Auschwitz. The concentration camp at Auschwitz (Poland) was the largest in the German-controlled territories. Being east of Berlin (the furthest advance of U.S. and allied troops), it was liberated by the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Of course, Obama’s recent gaffes on geography may be signs he has “lost his bearings” completely, and he may have forgotten that Poland is east of Germany, just as he forgot that Kentucky borders Illinois. (Obama is apparently channeling Haley Joel Osmet in seeing dead people, so perhaps he’s not fit for the rigors of such a long campaign.)

It is true that the United States Army did, however, liberate several Nazi concentration camps, and I am sure that the horror of uncovering these camps in April of 1945 was overwhelming and lasting. It’s still early days in the latest Obama gaffe/whopper, but time will (hopefully) tell as to whether Obama was (a) merely misstating a (presumably true) family legend (certainly a mere gaffe, confusing Auschwitz with Dachau or another camp); (b) unknowingly repeating a false family legend or (c) making this up out of whole cloth (as he did his “claim on Selma“).

The first two are not so troublesome, as many of us take as gospel that which our grandparents told us (even if they are typical, white racists). For example, my grandmother (not a racist) told me that my late grandfather liberated the town in Italy where she was born. It’s a heart warming story, and I may repeat it in public one day. There’s no reason to issue a FOIA request for Grandpa Al’s records, but then again, I’m not claiming he liberated Auschwitz.

There are some troubling side stories here. There are questions as to whether Obama even has an uncle on that side. In addition, the fact that he would mention his grandfather’s tenuous connection (again to the wrong Nazi camps) in a 2002 speech and this (apparently long lost) uncle’s direct connection in 2008 also undermines the credibility of the uncle’s story. And finally, much like outing grandma as a racist, where is the compassion for this uncle’s suffering? If you had lived through the Great Depression, seen your country attacked by Japan, marched across Europe and Africa, watching your best friends die in combat, only to discover the truly disgusting depths of the human capacity for evil, would you want your slick nephew airing your dirty laundry, bragging about the most trying times of your long life to score political points?

In any case, I am sure that, if and when the media picks up on this gaffe/lie, we will be told that this is a “distraction” meant to keep us from “focusing on the real issues.”

On a less personal scale, of all things not to be taken lightly, the Holocaust should be at the top of anyone’s list. Auschwitz is a name that will live in the annals of evil for as long as humans walk the planet. If you’re going to raise the issue, if you’re going to connect yourself with those who, when earth’s foundation fled, took up arms against evil on Earth, you really need to get your story straight. Those who fought Germany and Japan, those who endured the Bataan Death March, the landings at Normandy, the shivering cold of Bastogne, they all deserve our loyalty and respect. To offhandedly make a claim on their legacy to make political hay is despicable. To fabricate such a claim is neigh treason to their memory.