Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection: choosing boys over girls, and the consequences of a world full of men
by Mara Hvistendahl
PublicAffairs, New York, 2011
314 pages, $26.99 list; $17.81 street

Mara Hvistendahl has written an important book that highlights the practical consequences and immorality of aborting babies on the basis of their sex, especially aborting girl babies. In the process she unwillingly makes a case for the immorality of aborting babies at all.

Hvistendahl chapter by chapter traces the effect of policies and views that have led to a growing serious imbalance, especially in Asia, of boys over girls. This is due to parents choosing to abort baby girls in order to have at least one son. [In India, for example, there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls and in China 121 boys for every 100 girls. (p. 5) That means that over 10% of Indian men and 20% of Chinese men in the future won’t find a mate.] Consequently, world-wide there are about 160 million women “missing”. Compare that with the concern over the number of deaths due to AIDS–25 million worldwide. AIDS gets 1/4th of global spending on health. (p. 9, 16) That’s the first shoe.

The second shoe is that in much of the world, abortion has succeeded as a brake on population growth beyond the wildest dreams of its promoters. South Korea, for example, has an average birth rate of 1.22 children per woman. (p. 235) Since replacing current population requires something like 2.1 children per woman, South Korea’s population is in a nose dive that portends fewer workers and a contracting economy and inability of the society to economically (and perhaps physically) take care of a rapidly aging population. This is a worldwide problem with most developed nations that promoted population control now facing a population implosion.

In describing causes of these two disasters, Hvistendahl presents important players who brought on a population catastrophe of too few women and too few young people to sustain healthy societies.

Some key organizations:
“On the heels of the meeting [John D.] Rockefeller [III] founded the Population Council. [Hugh] Moore went on to found the Population Crisis Committee. These two organizations, together with the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), helped sell Asian nations on population control, primarily spreading the logic that lower birth rates lead to richer people.” (p. 33)
Modeling the worst kind of colonialism, these UN, Western governmental and private organizations purposefully forced Western thinking and values on weaker peoples against the cultural and religious values of those people. (p. 127-129)

Abortion turned out to be an effective means of promoting population control. And sex selective abortion was accepted as an easy way to introduce abortion into societies that valued boys but had traditionally been opposed to abortion. Hvistendahl points out that among first children, girls and boys are born in nearly equal numbers. But, when it comes to the second and especially the third child girls get aborted in order to make room for the desired son.

The worldwide result of this imbalance, beyond the 160 million female babies now "missing", is sex trafficking in women and girls, bought or kidnapped brides, child brides, and a society more prone to violence because single men are more likely to engage in violent and criminal activity than married men or women.

Other well known key players promoting population control and abortion around the world were political figures like Robert McNamara involved in forced sterilization of millions of men in India (p. 89), George H. W. Bush and Henry Kissinger (p. 127). (Hvistendahl doesn't mention leading Democrats from the Clinton administration, but surely there were.)

Especially influential in helping sex selective abortion were big business corporations like General Electric which garnered attractive profits in marketing ultrasound machines in Asian markets in the 1990's. Ultrasound technology was an easy way to discover the sex of the baby in the womb. Then when GE needed a boost in sales it developed and marketed compact ultrasound machines.
“In 2007, after GE’s market share in China dropped, the multinational introduced a low-end, compact machine that could be hooked up to a PC–-at one-sixth the cost of a conventional device. The compact machine, [Jeffrey R.] Immelt writes, was ‘a hit in rural clinics . . . Today the portable machine is the growth engine of GE’s ultrasound business in China.’” (p. 50)
So, high powered non-profits and social help agencies, United Nations’ and Western governmental agencies, high-powered Western political figures and big business all had a role in aiding and promoting sex selective abortions around the world. Some were inspired by misguided idealism and false fears of the results of growing populations and some were in it for the money. It’s a tawdry tale that Hvistendahl uncovers.

Hvistendahl is a good writer. She packs facts and information into a prose style that flows and carries the reader along. And she uses lots of personal story examples.

But, all the good writing and research, cannot deflect from her major problem. Hvistendahl believes that women have the right to choose whether their babies in the womb live or die. She believes the pro-life movement is wrong and blasts individuals and groups who, in working against sex selective abortion, believe it is wrong because fetuses are human beings with rights. (pp. 239-244)

Why is it okay to abort children because you don’t want that child, but wrong if you abort on the basis of sex? Hvistendahl has a hard time with this. She comes up with two main tries at argument.

1. If a woman doesn’t want to be a parent of a child at a given time time for whatever reason, it’s perfectly all right to abort for no other reason than whim. No questions beyond personal desire are to be asked.

However, if a woman wants to be a parent, then the woman's desires are only valid if they fall within what the left and progressives think are good reasons (congenital disease or some "imperfection" in the baby). Wanting a girl or a boy is not sufficient even though strong personal desire or cultural need may come in to play.

Hvistendahl quotes Mark Hughes "who unveiled embryo screening to help couples avoid passing on devastating diseases" as saying:
"'I went into medicine and into science to diagnose and treat and hopefully cure diseases. . . . Your gender is not a disease, last time I checked.'" (p. 253)
Yet Hvistendahl, in upholding the right to non-sex selective abortion, seems to forget that being a fetus is not a disease either. Not to mention that killing the patient should not be the preferred method of treating and curing diseases. (I'm reminded of a Law and Order episode where SVU Detective Benson yells the supreme damning indictment in the face of a doctor who supposedly was silent about the goings on at Abu Ghraib prison, “Do no harm!” However, no character on the show would ever yell that at a doctor who performed abortions.)

2. Hvistendahl’s second argument is that a child has the right to his or her own independent personhood.
“Bioethicists have mostly abandoned choice and privacy as starting points for thinking about reproduction. These days they talk about a framework that balances the rights of women with the rights of her potential children. Central to the new approach is the premise that every individual has the right to an ‘open future–instead of having expectation foisted on him or her even before birth. Preimplantation sex selection, some theorists now conclude, prioritizes the needs of one generation over another, making having children more about bringing parents satisfaction than about responsibly creating an independent human being.” (p. 200)
A fetus has the right to future independent personhood but not to life. A woman can decide to abort a child if it doesn't bring personal satisfaction, but not to specify characteristics that would bring personal satisfaction. Go figure.

So, what can be done to stop sex selective abortion or, more recently, sex selective in vitro fertilization?

Hvistendahl points to two current strategies.

One is a public information campaign to highlight the value of girls (or boys–U.S. mothers are partial to girls) when women are choosing to have babies of the other sex. Though it has worked somewhat in China and India, Hvistendahl notes it is not a campaign that will work in the U. S. (p. 226-229, 256, 258)

Second, make sex selective abortion criminal activity for the doctor and health professionals involved in it (5 year prison sentence) and any helpers who know what is going on (1 year prison sentence). (p. 244) Wow! Remember when an argument for legalizing abortion was that if you kept it criminalized women would just continue to get dangerous back alley abortions? And now here are pro-choice people suggesting that criminalizing sex selective abortion is the way to go. Who cares about back alley abortions any more.

The desire to limit population by persuasion or force has created a monster. As with declaring blacks sub-human in order to justify enslaving them, babies had to be declared sub-human in order to justify killing them. And mothers had to be given the god-like right of determining life or death in deciding how many and what kind of children they give birth to. Hvistendahl states the central problem succinctly. “In China and California alike, mothers have become their own eugenicists.” (p. 258)

How do you unwind that clock? It will be hard unless mothers again come to feel that the child within in them has a God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Continued talk by leftists and progressives about the right to abort for any reason, other than sex (or other personal attribute) selection, just pounds in belief on the right to abort for any reason, including sex (or other personal attribute) selection. (p. 244)

This is an important book because it puts on the table for discussion the moral and societal crisis caused by the West’s massive promotion of population control and abortion. Kudos to Mara Hvistendahl for an in-depth, well sourced look at the severity of the problem.

H/T Ross Douthat

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Facing Imminent Execution in Iran for Not Recanting Christianity

UPDATE: Photo of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife Tina

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani faces execution as early as Wednesday if he doesn't recant his Christian faith.

From ACLJ:
"Pastor Youcef will be brought to the court for two additional 'hearings' on September 27th and 28th for the sole purpose of being called upon to recant his Christian faith. The ACLJ’s sources report although Pastor Youcef’s attorneys will attempt to appeal the case, there is no guarantee that the provincial court will not act on its own interpretation of Shariah law and execute pastor Youcef as early as Wednesday."
. . .
"It is reported that Pastor Youcef was able to see his children for the first time since March and was in good spirits speaking of how he longed to serve the church upon his release."
From Nina Shea at National Review:
"As early as this week, the British-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports, Iran may execute Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his Christian faith.

"As my colleague Paul Marshall recently wrote, evangelical Pastor Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy because he converted to Christianity. He had been tried and found guilty a year ago, even though the court also found that he had never been a practicing Muslim as an adult. Nadarkhani, from Rasht, on the Caspian Sea, converted to Christianity as a teenager.

"Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict in June, ordered that the pastor be given four chances to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Two hearings for this purpose took place yesterday and today. Two more are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday."

8 Heroes Who Died September 18 to September 24, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

September 18 - Sgt. Timothy D. Sayne, 31, of Reno, Nev., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

- Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano, 30, of Edcouch, Texas, died in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident.

September 21 - Died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with small arms fire. Killed were:
- Spc. Jakob J. Roelli, 24, of Darlington, Wis.; and
- Spc. Robert E. Dyas, 21, of Nampa, Idaho.

September 22 - Sgt. Andy C. Morales, 32, of Longwood, Fla., died in Baghdad, Iraq.

September 23 - Died in Wardak, province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
- Sgt. Rafael E. Bigai Baez, 28, of San Juan, Puerto Rico and
- Pfc. Carlos A. Aparicio, 19, of San Bernadino, Calif.

September 24 - Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz, 22, of Dana Point, Calif., died in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

For 69% of Americans Local Newspapers Not Important

PEW Research Center does a couple of reverses in its analysis of the importance of local newspapers for local news.

First, PEW reports that 69% of Americans say they would not miss or not much miss their local newspaper if it disappeared.
". . . when asked, “If your local newspaper no longer existed, would that have a major impact, a minor impact, or no impact on your ability to keep up with information and news about your local community?” a large majority of Americans, 69%, believe the death of their local newspaper would have no impact (39%) or only a minor impact (30%) on their ability to get local information."
Then PEW notes the contrary point that local newspapers take the top spot in 11 of 16 subject areas.
"Yet when asked about specific local topics and which sources they rely on for that information, it turns out that many adults are quite reliant on newspapers and their websites. Of the 16 specific local topics queried, newspapers ranked as the most, or tied as the most, relied upon source for 11 of the 16."
But, it turns out that the 11 local topics that newspapers won are not topics that most people are interested (e.g., zoning and social services).
"The problem for newspapers is that many of these topics are followed by a relatively small percentage of the public. As noted in Part 2 of this report, just 30% of adults get information about zoning, 35% about social services, 42% about local government, and 43% about real estate. Thus, overall, the total number of Americans who rely on newspapers for the local information that matters to them is smaller than is the case for other platforms such as television."
The cloud gets darker for newspapers with those under 40, where newspapers are the top source for only one area of information: taxes.
"For adults under age 40, newspapers do not hold nearly the same appeal. Consider this stark difference: among all adults, newspapers are the clear top source for seven local topics (and tied with the internet as the top source for four other topics). Yet, among adults under 40 newspapers are the clear top choice for one topic, taxes, are tied with TV news for another topic, crime, and tie with the internet for four other topic areas."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Didn't See It Coming Stories

After the Oregonian editorial board slams those who want to cut taxpayer funding for green energy, their reporter Ted Sickinger writes that the State of Oregon not suffering massive green energy investment losses may be "more lucky than good."
"State [of Oregon] business recruiters courted Solyndra, but came in second to California. They danced with Evergreen Solar, a company that tapped Massachusetts for $58 million in subsidies before collapsing in August. And they dodged another bullet when SprectraWatt, a spinoff of Intel in Oregon, spurned the state's advances for New York, only to declare bankruptcy in August."
Then a recent Gallup poll shows that President Obama's long history of referencing George W. Bush's presidential problems has been counterproductive: "Poll: 56% of surveyed think Barack Obama is worse President, or just as bad, as George W. Bush". Way to tie your wagon to a losing comparison.

Finally, many of those who have been telling us that it is too late for anyone to get in the Republican presidential primary race and that waiting this long is not serious, a big "tease", and merely for self-publicity haven't uttered a peep against Governor Chris Christie's apparent new look at getting into the race. This despite the fact that Christie said he was not ready to be president and had 0% chance of running. Talk about a tease.*
*Though the statement about not being ready to be president would hurt Governor Christie if he did get in, I would like to see him run (and Governor Palin too). Contested primaries are good tests of strengths and weaknesses. They are also helpful in verifying or debunking high hopes of wistful supporters.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

PEW: 4/5ths of Americans Think Press Is Often Influenced by Powerful Special Interests

PEW Research Center reports:

- Almost 2/3rds of Americans say press "[s]tories are often inaccurate".
- More than 3/4ths of Americans say the press "[t]end to favor one side".
- An astounding 4/5ths of Americans say the press are "[o]ften influenced by powerful people and organizations".

Sloppy and biased reporting. Influenced by special interests.

PEW has a slight positive spin in saying that the press is more trusted than political candidates, government and business corporations. Not a high bar to beat.

Who wasn't on the comparison list? Family and friends. In a poll conducted September 8, 2008, Rasmussen found that "46% of voters say they most trust information about the presidential campaign from family and friends as opposed to 32% who trust the information from news reporters more." (Unfortunately the article is now behind a pay wall.)

Also not on the comparison list: military officers, day care providers, auto mechanics, nursing home operators and bankers who all ranked above TV and newspaper reporters in honesty and ethics.

Monday, September 19, 2011

9 Heroes Who Died September 9 to September 18, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan

September 9 - Pfc. Brett E. Wood, 19, of Spencer, Ind., died in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

September 10 - Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd, 36, of Winder, Ga., died in Parvan, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.

Master Sgt. Danial R. Adams
September 13 - Master Sgt. Danial R. Adams, 35, of Portland, Ore., died in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using mortar, machine-gun and small-arms fires. Oregonian obituary:
"Danial R. Adams joined the Army as an infantry man in 1995, when America wasn't at war. He took difficult assignments and passed demanding classes, becoming a Ranger and, in 2005, earning his Green Beret. In 2009, he joined the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

"He had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was leading a team of special forces soldiers on a mission in Wardak province in central eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday when they encountered insurgents and engaged in "a very intense firefight," according to a spokesman for the 10th Special Forces Group. Adams was the only U.S. casualty of that engagement, the spokesman said.

"Adams, who was a promotable Sergeant First Class, was posthumously promoted to Master Sergeant.

"His wife, Melany, and sons, Jeffrey and John, and daughter, Skye, have returned to the United States from Germany to make funeral arrangements. His parents, James and Penny Adams, live in Hillsboro.

"Adams had won a series of commendations reflecting his service in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Among other honors, he was awarded the Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge and the Combat Infantry Badge. He was 35."
September 14 - Sgt. Rodolfo Rodriguez Jr., 26, of Pharr, Texas, died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

September 15 - Sgt. Mycal L. Prince, 28, of Minco, Okla., died in Laghman province, Afghanistan of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.

- Cpl. Michael J. Dutcher, 22, of Asheville, N.C., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

September 17 - Staff Sgt. Michael W. Hosey, 27, of Birmingham, Ala., died in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

- Sgt. Garrick L. Eppinger Jr., 25, of Appleton, Wis., died in Parwan province, Afghanistan.

September 18 - Spc. Chazray C. Clark, 24, of Ecorse, Mich., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sexual Violence, 1800flowers.com, ESPN Radio and the Daily Caller

UPDATE: The ESPN hosts who laughed at Tyson's violent sex talk and apparently agree that white women* have a thing for sex with blacks are:

Mitch Moss
Paul Howard
Seat Williams

H/T Dana Loesch

The Daily Caller posted an article by Jeff Poor which consists basically of vile remarks Mike Tyson made on ESPN Radio. The remarks laughingly call for violent sex with women--especially Sarah Palin. The ESPN Radio interviewers laugh throughout an interview in which Tyson calls for the kind of sex which causes "Pushing her guts up in the back of her head!" or "Just imagine Palin with a big old black stallion ripping. Yeehaw!”

(Update: working link here)

That's the sort of talk one would expect from convicted rapist Mike Tyson, but unfortunately it's also clearly the kind of thing the ESPN radio guys laugh at.

I went to the ESPN radio site, and the link for comments on their programs was sponsored by 1800flowers.com. Not particularly smart for a flower delivery company to be sponsoring shows that promote "rough sex" with women in general and Sarah Palin in particular and laugh about it.

Not great for ESPN either. Not exactly family friendly radio you'd want to listen to with your kids or wife or anyone you hope thinks you are a good and caring person. If this is the kind of thing they laugh at on the air what kind of violence do they think is funny in private comments? The ESPN brand now makes me gag.

Unfortunately the Daily Caller, which may have had good intentions in calling ESPN radio out (but didn't), first posted the comments without the current mild disclaimer which was posted after they got lots of flack from people like Dan Riehl and Greta Van Susteren.
"Editor’s note:

"Many of the quotes in this story are offensive, indeed repulsive, and not suitable for younger readers or those who are easily shocked. They are also newsworthy. Had Tyson used this language to attack virtually any other person in public life, he’d be vilified on the front page of the New York Times. But you won’t read these quotes in the Times. We believe they deserve public scrutiny and condemnation."
Even the disclaimer is clueless. Nothing about ESPN radio interviewers laughing or the promotion of violence against women in general and Sarah Palin in particular. Unfortunately, the Daily Caller guys still don't get how vile this is. Matt K. Lewis, a usually level-headed guy, calls the comments just "inappropriate".

Apparently the people at the Daily Caller are deep in group think and can't see the difference between vile, violent imagery and merely inappropriate language. Like Greta Van Susteren, I can't believe that either Tucker Carlson or Matt K. Lewis would think it only "inappropriate" if the names of their wives or daughters were substituted for Palin's. I'll close with Greta's take which says it well [emphasis in the original].
I really don’t understand my friend Tucker Carlson. He owns the website The Daily Caller and it currently has on its front page the most vile story — referring to a sex act with Governor Sarah Palin as a “womb shifter.” It is even the headline. Do you know what that means? Figure it out It is really vile. It is not just smut…this is violence against women.

The “womb shifter” reference reported in the story is only the tip of the ice berg in terms of the vile nature of the posting. I am sparing you the details. To show you how bad it is, however, I have put a screen grab up of the front page reference on Tucker’s website. (I am deliberately not putting the link up since I am not going to help Tucker be a pig…he apparently can do it all himself without my help.)
. . .
I don’t like it when I see that my friends do disgraceful things – but we need to start calling out even our friends to stop this. Tucker has daughters and a wife and I would think he in particular would not want to be a purveyer of smut (and this is actually more, this is violence against women) and allow this to be posted on his website. There is nothing funny about violence against women and repeating what a thug (I thought – even hoped – Tyson had outgrown that) says on a radio show is also not news. I know he loves his wife and children and would never want this said or reported about them….so why is it ok to report about another? This is not news."
. . .
"In case you have any doubt, there is an easy test as to whether this is deeply wrong. To all you Palin haters out there, ask yourself, would this be ok if this were written about others – eg Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? or Speaker Nancy Pelosi or any other woman leader? or put in the name of your mother….your daughter…your own name…your sister…etc."
. . .
"I hope Tucker does something about this. For starters, he should pull the posting down and then fire anyone who used this bad judgment and was part of posting it. This is not journalism. It is denigrating women."
*“'[I]n life in general you know … everybody got to get that out of their system when they get out of college,' [Tyson] said. 'If you’re a black man, every white girl, every uppity middle class … everybody got to get their share of love.'”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York Times: Joe McGinniss Book Is Nasty, Unsubstantiated, Not Lucid

UPDATE: Joel Pollak shreds McGinniss and his book. Sample:
"[McGinniss's] malevolent accusations evoke George Orwell’s observation on antisemitism: 'Obviously the charges made about Jews are not true. They cannot be true, partly because they cancel out, partly because no one people could have such a monopoly of wickedness.'

"Take McGinniss’s most infamous claim, leaked days before The Rogue appeared in stores–the accusation that Palin had sex with basketball player Glen Rice in 1987. The charge appears in the book exactly one page after McGinniss claims Palin declined to enroll at the Hilo campus of the University of Hawaii because 'the many people of color there made her nervous,' and that she later abandoned the Honolulu campus because '[t]here were people of color…even on Waikiki Beach.' McGinniss attempts to explain the abrupt transition by speculating that she might have become 'a basketball groupie who’d begun to find black men attractive.' And then, on the very next page after that, he quotes an unnamed 'friend' who claimed that Palin 'totally flipped out' about her alleged encounter with Rice: 'I fucked a black man! She was just horrified. She couldn’t believe that she’d done it,' the alleged 'friend' claims (original emphasis).

"Other contradictions recur throughout the book. McGinniss can’t decide, for example, whether Palin was a 'housewife who happened to be governor' (quoting Gary Wheeler, a state employee whose job she cut), or that Palin neglected her maternal duties such that 'the children literally would have a hard time finding enough to eat' (quoting an unnamed 'friend'). The only common theme is McGinniss’s palpable hatred for Palin."

New York Times' reviewer Janet Maslin skewers Joe McGinniss and his new book on Sarah Palin.
"Mr. McGinniss explains that he was shocked, just shocked, at the angry response his presence in Wasilla provoked. But “The Rogue” makes the Palins’ widely publicized anger understandable, even to readers who might have defended his right to set up shop in their neighborhood and soak up the local color. Although most of 'The Rogue' is dated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like “one resident” and 'a friend.'"

And these stories need not be consistent. . . .
. . .

"Mr. McGinniss’s most quotable, inflammatory lines call Ms. Palin a clown, a nitwit, a rabid wolf and a lap dancer — and those aren’t the parts that assail her as a wife and parent.

"He even finds a species of Alaska yenta willing to remark on the condition of the Palins’ toilet, and he too (many of these gossips are men) has a place in 'The Rogue.' A journalist as seasoned as Mr. McGinniss surely knows what these details will do to his credibility regarding the book’s more serious claims."
. . .
[The Rogue] cites the investigation that became known as Troopergate, the questions about her involvement with the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (Mr. McGinniss covered this in a 2009 Portfolio article) and her possible commitment to such extreme theological ideas as dominionism, although here too 'The Rogue' is too busy being nasty to be lucid. Mr. McGinniss suggests both that Ms. Palin is committed to stealth religious control of government, and that she is not sufficiently devout.
. . .
"Mr. McGinniss puts forth a provocative case for doubting Ms. Palin’s account of Trig’s birth, which involved a round trip between Alaska and Texas while she was supposedly in labor. But then he comes to an indefensibly reckless conclusion: 'It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character possible that many Wasillans who’d known Sarah from high school onward told me that even if she had not faked the entire story of her pregnancy and Trig’s birth, it was something she was eminently capable of doing.'"
[emphasis added]
Maslin has only one backhanded compliment for McGinniss, but the target is not the focus of the book, Sarah Palin, but her daughter Bristol:
"There is one area, and only one, in which 'The Rogue' is dead-on. Mr. McGinniss knows how publicity works. He appreciates, not to say emulates, the way members of the Palin family cash in on celebrity and contradict themselves without penalty. He also denounces the press’s willingness to let this happen. How was it possible, he asks, for Ms. Palin’s daughter Bristol to assail Levi Johnston, the father of her son, as being 'obsessed with the limelight,' then turn up herself on 'Dancing With the Stars'"?
[emphasis added]
The New York Times gives McGinniss a well-deserved Bronx cheer.

H/T Byron York

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Palin: Crony Capitalism and the White House

Crony Capitalism on Steroids from GE to Solyndra
by Sarah Palin on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 8:25pm

In my recent speech in Iowa, some eyebrows were raised when I took on our government’s enormous economic problems caused by crony capitalism. As if on cue, just days later President Obama selected someone who exemplifies a major crony capitalism problem to sit next to the First Lady when he delivered his “jobs plan” speech before Congress. He selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as his honored guest.

Having grown up with great respect for GE thanks to stories my grandfather shared with us about his days working for the company and even meeting GE spokesman-at-the-time Ronald Reagan during a company event, I am saddened at GE’s leadership evolution. This corporation is now the poster child of corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

This icon of American industry is a company full of good employees who make some good products (and is the parent company of a huge media outlet), but GE is also a large American corporation that pays virtually no corporate income taxes despite earning worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year, $5.1 billion of it in the United States. In fact, they claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, meaning they received more of our hard earned tax dollars than they contributed. How is that possible? It’s because not only do they shelter their money from taxes, but they also get many tax credits, loans, government grants, and other benefits from the federal government that our smaller businesses couldn’t even imagine being able to profit from.

Joining GE in the pantheon on crony capitalism is another Obama favorite that has been in the news of late: Solyndra. The President hailed this “green energy” company in a speech last May as “the true engine of economic growth.” When he announced the $535 million guarantee to Solyndra, Vice President Biden said that investments like this are “exactly what the Recovery Act is all about.” (Dear God…If the failed Solyndra venture has been what it’s “all about,” then that explains a lot.) As I pointed out in my speech at the Reagan Ranch Center last February: “History has proven again and again, when government picks the winners and losers, we’re stuck with the losers, and we the taxpayers subsidize failure!” And that’s what we’re seeing now, as the FBI raids the solar energy company’s headquarters to glean more information after the company was handed half a billion dollars in “green energy” Stimulus funds from the American taxpayer only to later declare bankruptcy. More than one thousand Solyndra workers lost their jobs. Now as the truth comes out, we discover that the White House was heavily involved in the Department of Energy’s rushed decision to give the Stimulus funds to Solyndra, and they tried to move the money through so quickly they seem to have ignored concerns that the company was not viable. Why would they do this? Perhaps it’s because a large investor in the company (about 35%) is Obama campaign bundler George Kaiser. And with the way the deal is structured, Kaiser will get his debts paid before we the taxpayers see any relief. That is sickening. And that’s how it works: workers lose their jobs, wealthy political cronies stand a good chance of getting their money back, and the U.S. taxpayer gets the shaft. Again.

President Obama has his sights set on raising $1 billion for his reelection campaign. Raising that money won’t be easy. But if you can hand out other people’s money to friends, it must get a whole lot easier. This crony capitalism and government waste is at the heart of our economic problems. It will destroy us if we don’t root it out. It’s not just a Democrat problem or a Republican problem. It’s a problem of our permanent political class. This won’t stop until “we the people” say enough is enough, and we retire the permanent political class that votes for this.

- Sarah Palin

[emphasis added]

Monday, September 12, 2011

8 Heroes Who Died September 4 to September 10, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan

September 4 - Pfc. Christophe J. Marquis, 40, of Tampa, Fla., died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained Aug. 27 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

September 8 - Two soldiers died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Killed were:
- Spc. Koran P. Contreras, 21, of Lawndale, Calif.
- Pfc. Douglas J. Jeffries Jr., 20, of Springville, Calif.

September 9 - Three soldiers died in Paktia, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with small arms fire. Killed were:
- Sgt. Bret D. Isenhower, 26, of Lamar, Okla.,
- Spc. Christopher D. Horton, 26, of Collinsville, Okla., and
- Pfc. Tony J. Potter Jr., 20, of Okmulgee, Okla.

- Petty Officer Brian K. Lundy, 25, of Austin, Texas, died while conducting a dismounted patrol in Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

September 10 - Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Quintana, 30, of Huntington Park, Calif., died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Thomas Anthony Casoria--Hero

I'm stretching the "day" to honor 9/11 heroes to today as well.

Thomas Anthony Casoria
It's too easy to think of the almost 3,000 killed on 9/11 as just numbers. But, they were vibrant people who loved and were loved. And some, like Thomas Anthony Casoria, were heroes. I first posted this in 2006, and I post it again today because it's right to remember and honor men and women like Tommy Casoria.

Thomas Anthony Casoria was killed by Al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001.

Tommy was only 29. He was a firefighter with the New York Fire Department, Engine Company 22. He lived his life in direct opposition to the values of the terrorists. He died trying to save lives.

Tommy responded to the call for help in Tower One of the World Trade Center. Here's what one of his cousins, Jo-Ann Casoria, wrote:
Tommy absolutely loved his job and he loved sharing stories of his workdays with his older brother, Carlo, also a firefighter.


Tommy radioed in his location twice after Tower Two fell. He and two of his "brothers," Vinny Kane and Mike Elferis, were carrying a paraplegic down the stairwell, when a call came in that another firefighter needed aid. Tommy answered that call, as did many others.
Tommy was engaged to be married. Though he never got the chance to spend those happy honeymoon years with his fiancee, Terri, or raise a family, he left a legacy of love and friendship along with his heroism.

One of Tommy's friends, Richard Vitale, wrote:
Let me tell you about Tommy. This man was the funniest guy I ever worked with. It was always a blast. Tommy could simulate anyone's voice with great detail. I never worked with anyone like him. What a great guy! Tommy knew what was right and what was wrong. He never crackled under peer pressure. Even when he tried to work for me for Thanksgiving. He stood strong. That was some reaction we got from the Truck, wasnt it, Tom. Maguire got red as a tomato. I remember when he told me he was going to get married. He was so happy and in Love. What a big smile he had on his face. I teased him about "dont do it", however, I thought what a lucky man to be in love this much. Tommy was respected and loved by everyone.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Understanding Polls and Electability

Poll Insider posted an important series earlier this year on how to win the presidency. Part 1 explains how a candidate's "floor" is the key to understanding electability.
"A 'floor' is a candidate’s guaranteed minimum percentage based on current polling data, accounting for all factors."
Poll Insider applies this understanding of a "floor" to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin:
"Obama’s floor, or guaranteed vote, according to analysis of current polling is 43%. What this means is that 43% of people will vote for Barack Obama no matter who his opponent is. It could be much higher, but probably not any lower. This number is arrived at by reviewing 6 months of polling date from all polling firms. This is Obama’s floor because, depending on his opponent, his support grows or shrinks, but rarely below 43%.

"Sarah Palin’s current floor is determined to be 39% as she typically registers 39% or 40% in head-to-head match-ups against Obama (not counting 3-way race polling). So today, the floor stands at Obama 43% and Palin 39%, or Obama +4. Yes, I know what the skeptics/elites would say to this: 'But Obama always scores much higher than 43% against Palin, duh!' That is true, but the point of determining a floor is to understand a candidate’s solid support. Elites prefer to go light on analysis and heavy on drama. If a poll shows Obama scoring 53% against one candidate and 42% against another, his support is quite volatile, and can be changed as information is acquired."*
Poll Insider goes on to point out that the closeness of these floors of support are in contrast to the overwhelming positive media image of Obama and negative media image of Palin.
"What does this all mean? For one, it is good news for Sarah Palin. Figure that almost all media coverage of Palin for the previous 2 years has been incredibly negative, accusatory, insulting, misleading, and 'downright mean', to quote Michelle Obama. It’s amazing to read something Palin writes or says and see how it is maliciously twisted into a salacious sound bite. Unfortunately most people at this stage know the sound bite, but not what she actually says. Meanwhile, despite being generally inept, but receiving glorious and glowing coverage from the media, Obama’s floor is at a mere 43%. This means that all the positive coverage on the world for Obama and all the negative coverage in the world for Palin results only in a 4 point spread.

"When we toss in candidate favorable/unfavorable opinion we find a very interesting fact. Let’s not pretend that Palin’s current favorables are high. In reality, they shouldn’t be. We have to remember that 80% of the population’s opinion of Palin is currently formed by the media’s representation of her. Or, misrepresentation if you prefer, and I do. But Sarah Palin heavily outperforms her favorability rating, in many cases by 2-1 margins. Meanwhile Obama underperforms his favorable rating, usually by 10-15 percentage points. So far more people will vote for Sarah Palin even with a negative opinion of her while far fewer people with a positive opinion of Obama will vote for him. This only works in Palin’s favor as she is able to make the case for herself and opinions of her arise. If a large percentage of people will vote for her when they do not like her, what happens when the percentage of people who do like her increases dramatically, as will inevitably be the case."
As you can tell this is both an eye opening and thoughtful assessment. The whole series is worth reading. Kudos to Poll Insider.
*In support of this is the famous polling done when Reagan was 34 points behind Carter in the 1980 presidential race. (Carter 65 vs. Reagan 31)

H/T Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion commenter Sandy Daze and RED SOUTH at Free Republic

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tammy Bruce Helps Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter See Their Self-Contradictions

Listen to Tammy Bruce's podcast. Kind, but logically devastating.

I'm with John Nolte who tweeted:
"It only took 9 mins 42 seconds, but I fell in love with @HeyTammyBruce all over again. http://bit.ly/qxWKzo For full context, listen to all."
H/T Josh Painter

New York Sun: Palin Only Key Republican Addressing Union Issue

Yesterday the New York Sun editorialized about the importance of Sarah Palin's response to James P. Hoffa's Labor Day comments and the economic crisis in the country which union households also face:
"It turns out that Mrs. Mrs. Palin understands this issue down to the ground. She brings to it the perspective of being the daughter of two union members and the wife of long-time union member, most recently of the Steelworkers, and is, in her own right, a one-time card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Addressing what she called 'the hard working, patriotic, selfless union brothers and sisters in Michigan and throughout our country,' she warned the rank and file against being taken in by 'union bosses’ thuggery.'

"She was referring to Mr. Hoffa’s deciding to introduce Mr. Obama at the now famous labor rally in Detroit by declaring that labor was his army and ready to march and exhorting, in respect of the Tea Party, 'let’s take these sons of bitches out.' Said she: 'Just because you claim to represent union members doesn’t mean you are on the side of the angels. The greed of too many of these union bosses has all but destroyed the labor movement in this country, helped chase away our jobs, and is killing the American dream.'

"Quoth the Alert Alaskan: 'To see where this leads, look at what’s happening to the working class in our industrialized cities. These cities are going to hell in a hand basket thanks to corruption, crony capitalism, and the union bosses’ greed. The union bosses derive their power from your union dues and their promise to deliver your votes to whichever politician they’re in bed with. They get their power from you, and yet their actions ultimately hurt you. They’re chasing American industry offshore by making outrageous, economically illogical demands that they know will never work. . . .'”
. . .
"There’s more in Mrs. Palin’s full Facebook posting, and if it is a taste of a campaign ahead, the race will be richer for it. For where are the rest of the Republicans? The Drudge Report has been leading with the story all day. Aside from Drudge, Mrs. Palin was way ahead of the press. Where is the Republican presidential field? Some say that Mrs. Palin is just teasing the Republicans and that she won’t run in the end. But right now there is no one else coming at this issue from quite the angle she is — or with the plain spoken news sense."
[emphasis added]

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Paul Gigot and Intellectuals and Society

A central thesis of Thomas Sowell's Intellectuals and Society is that intellectuals have brought untold pain* upon the world because they never have to pay a penalty when they are wrong. Doctors, architects, financial advisors are held to account for failure, but not intellectuals.

Paul Gigot, editor of the editorial pages for the Wall Street Journal, writes:
"Ms. Palin might have been a contender. Had she finished her job as governor, devoted a year or two to learning what she didn't know about the world and economics, built a network of support around the country, and developed a thicker skin about the media, she might now be a formidable candidate. Instead, she chose to be a media celebrity and to play hard-to-get as a candidate. The best thing she could do for her reputation at this point would be to declare once and for all that she isn't running, and then work to support whoever is the GOP nominee."
Might have been a contender? Maybe Mr. Gigot hasn't read the most recent poll on Real Clear Politics that puts Palin in third place even without running. That's what the current ABC/Washington Post poll shows. Does that mean that only those with an above 14% rating (Mitt Romney and Rick Perry) are "contenders"? The ABC/Washington Post poll taken in July about a month before Perry announced had Palin in second, two places ahead of Perry. Actually, Perry polled behind Ron Paul at that point. So, Perry polling way down the list, should never have been considered a "contender"?

Still, Gigot, knowing he will never be penalized for making a false assessment, feels free to say whatever enters his head. He sniffs at hard evidence. Much like Clark Clifford never was penalized for calling Ronald Reagan an "amiable dunce". When you're an intellectual you can make outrageous statements, smear people, and it's all water off a duck's back.

Fortunately greats like Ronald Reagan prove the smearers wrong in the court of history. Still, there is no price that intellectual incompetence brings in the area of political opinion--except the price a society pays for following bad advice.

If Paul Gigot is wrong about Palin, he will never pay a price at the Wall Street Journal or with a lowered reputation among his fellow editors. He'll still lead the Journal's report on the Fox News channel Saturday lineup.

Of course, this is a small smear, as smears go. But, how sad that neither Gigot nor the Wall Street Journal understand that words really do matter and opinions from those in powerful positions should be based at least partially on fact.
*Like the intellectuals who counseled disarmament before World War II or those who thought eugenics and eliminating inferior races and population groups was the key to a successful world order.

UPDATE: The New York Sun has a quite different take and finds Sarah Palin an important, maybe key, voice in the Republican Party right now. (And they use actual evidence for their opinion.):
"There’s more in Mrs. Palin’s full Facebook posting [Welcome, Union Brothers and Sisters], and if it is a taste of a campaign ahead, the race will be richer for it. For where are the rest of the Republicans? The Drudge Report has been leading with the story all day. Aside from Drudge, Mrs. Palin was way ahead of the press. Where is the Republican presidential field? Some say that Mrs. Palin is just teasing the Republicans and that she won’t run in the end. But right now there is no one else coming at this issue from quite the angle she is — or with the plain spoken news sense."
[emphasis added]

Palin: "I fought the corrupt political machine"

Sarah Palin:
"We should not forget that for all his lofty rhetoric, President Obama is a Chicago politician. Graft, cronyism, and quid pro quo are the well-known methods of an infamous Chicago political machine, of which Barack Obama emerged. This corruption isn’t just the result of a few bad apples. It’s the nature of a skewed system that’s typical of one not allowing a level playing field. If one desires opportunity for all, then the only solution is sudden and relentless reform. I know of what I speak. I too served in public office in a state that had a corruption problem. The difference is that I fought the corrupt political machine. Barack Obama used the machine in his state to advance. He never challenged it. And he’s evidently brought the same Chicago “pay-to-play” practices to the White House."
[emphasis added]
A telling comparison.

Monday, September 05, 2011

6 Heroes Who Died August 25 to September 3, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan

August 25 - Killed in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle using an improvised explosive device were:

- Sgt. Devin J. Daniels, 22, of Kuna, Idaho; and
- Sgt. Colby L. Richmond, 28, of Providence, N.C.

August 28 - Spc. Douglas J. Green, 23, of Sterling, Va., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.

- Pfc. Alberto L. Obod Jr., 26, of Orlando, Fla., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered during a vehicle roll-over.

August 31 - Spc. Dennis James Jr., 21 of Deltona, Fla., died from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Wardak province, Afghanistan.

September 3 - Spc. Christopher J. Scott, 21, of Tyrone, N.Y., died at Kandahar province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Does John Fund Have a Political Tin Ear?

Guess we'll find out soon enough if John Fund has a political tin ear since Governor Sarah Palin has indicated that she will make her decision about running in the Republican presidential primary by the end of this month.

Despite Palin's timeline, John Fund has predicted that Palin will not enter the Republican presidential primary but will endorse Governor Rick Perry. He and Matt Continetti are out on the same limb that Palin will not run, though Continetti has a lot more snark and a lot less firmness in his take.

I like John Fund and think he does good work. We'll see if he's as good at predicting as he is at reporting. Though it's interesting to speculate on what makes a reporter known for doing careful research before releasing a story stake his reputation on an unnecessary prediction when he admits he has no first-hand evidence.
"At the risk of being accused of misleading people, let me state that Sarah Palin isn’t running for president.

"No, I don’t have 'inside information,' other than that Sarah Palin has had the time of her life playing the media and political class like a fiddle by making them respond to her every Twitter twitch."
Ricochet has a post up on Fund's article. I'm partial to Peter Robinson over there (as well as his Uncommon Knowledge interview series on the National Review site).

Peter Robinson won me over in his book on Reagan. Robinson was a Reagan speech writer, and the book describes not only Robinson's experiences as a White House speech writer, but ten lessons of life he learned from Reagan. What is especially interesting is that though Robinson admires Reagan, even loves him, and obviously thinks he was a great president, an undercurrent in the book is the struggle to come out and say that Reagan was really, really smart.

Robinson is not an elitist. Still, he has to phrase the things he learned from Reagan in terms of wise lessons in how to live life. Robinson knows his intellectual colleagues would have laughed him out of town if he had said Reagan was brilliant. (Look how long it took for Lincoln to be thought brilliant.)

But brilliant is as brilliant does. Ending the decades long Cold War without firing a shot and bringing the economy back from a misery index (inflation + unemployment) of 20.76 under President Jimmy Carter to 9.57 at the end of Reagan's presidency is nothing short of brilliant.

Robinson's love for Reagan (way before President Obama made it cool for the intellectual class to admire Reagan) and his polite, even caring questioning when he interviews people make him special. He even tries to help his guests climb down from over the top negative statements about others as he did in his interview with Christopher Hitchens (described in chapter four of his book) and with Claire Berlinski (in a 2010 Uncommon Knowledge interview).

Robinson doesn't seem to have a mean or snarky bone in him. I highly recommend How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life. Robinson, James Lileks and Rob Long make a good interviewing/commenting team on the Ricochet podcasts.

Palin Proposes Trading $192 Billion of Current Revenue for a Booming Economy

Instead of a $787 billion stimulus or a 2% payroll tax reduction, would you trade $192 billion (9%) of current federal tax revenue for a booming economy and a low unemployment rate?

In a speech today in Indianola, Iowa, Governor Sarah Palin as part of a plan to get the economy going again proposed eliminating corporate taxes (as well as corporate bailouts). Using 2010 federal revenue figures that would mean giving up $192 billion or 9% in annual federal revenue.

To those not up-to-date on federal revenue statistics, eliminating corporate taxes sounds like a huge change in federal revenues. It's not. Corporate share of U.S. federal taxes has fallen from 30% in the mid-1950's to only 9% in 2010 (see chart below).

graphic from the Financial Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Treasury
For a $192 billion initial change in federal revenues we could jump start a floundering economy and raise individual tax revenues (which accounted for 42% of federal revenues in 2010).

Imagine the increased federal revenue if half of the 14 million currently unemployed were added to the tax rolls (not to mention the federal savings due to being taken off federally subsidized unemployment compensation--or their personal and family happiness at getting a job). Of course, that doesn't take into account the benefits for (or tax revenues from) the more than 14 million underemployed.

According to a White House prediction this week high 9% unemployment will remain this year and next, and nothing like "normal" unemployment (below 6%) return until 2017. A bleak future is the government outlook for employment if current parameters are not changed.

Where are new jobs going to come from? Not from $787 billion stimulus packages or payroll tax holidays which have not worked.

What easier way to bring unemployment down (and raise lots more in individual tax revenue) than by incentivizing corporate employment growth at all levels--especially small business (which is responsible for more than half of U.S. employment and ends up paying the highest tax rates)?

This will also stop the inequity of small business paying lots in taxes while big business pays much less than the official corporate tax rate. Sometimes big corporations pay no taxes and actually get billions in tax benefits (General Electric). The plan has the additional benefit that powerful corporate lobbyists will not be pressuring legislators to vote "no" as they would on current proposals of closing tax "loopholes". This is a win-win.

In fact we might actually see businesses locating to the United States rather than sending jobs and profits to their overseas affiliates.

In the end it isn't fat cats at GE, Google, Comcast or Exxon who pay the corporate taxes anyway. It's you and I, the consumer. If we don't give them money, they don't have income to pay taxes on. They pay their taxes out of money we give them. If (unlike GE), they aren't getting enough money to pay their taxes, they have a simple solution: make us pay more by raising prices.

NOTE: Again, C-SPAN proves why it is my favorite news source. It gives direct access to complete speeches, events and presentations. Thanks, C-SPAN for running Governor Palin's speech in Indianola live and uncut today.

Friday, September 02, 2011

V-J Day (and a 1945 B-25 flight around Japan)

On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. President Truman declared this to be V-J Day.

Among the U.S. troops entering Japan during the occupation was my father, Lt. C. M. Williams, who arrived in Tokyo Bay on September 8, 1945. He and Lt. J. Flavin were the only veteran combat pilots in Japan during the first months of the occupation.* Top U. S. military brass said a veteran battle pilot had to lead the three ship B-25 formation that flew around the perimeter of Japan every day to show force to the Chinese Communists who were taking over China at the time. So, C. M. Williams and J. Flavin alternated leading the daily B-25 formation. But, (in line with sometimes normal top military brass stupidity) they were not allowed to carry ammunition in the B-25's guns!

Here's some footage of the daily B-25 flight around the coast of Japan. My father, the pilot in the first part of the clip, is taking the video of the Japanese coast in the last part of the clip and narrating.

*The other Pacific theater pilots had accumulated enough longevity points to be sent back to the States.

The Undefeated Available on Pay Per View

I and my family just finished watching The Undefeated tonight (on Dish Network Pay Per View).

Stephen K. Bannon has put together an impressive film.

Sarah Palin is just the sort of first-rate person that her supporters have imagined. Actually, she's better than we imagined.

Bannon tells the story of Palin's fight against the good old boys and corrupt government and her amazing accomplishments as governor of Alaska: ACES, AGIA (the largest private sector infrastructure project in North American history), cutting government spending and tripling state savings in a time of plenty.

The second half lightly traces her vice presidential bid but hones in on her personal courage and conservative philosophy. Mark Levin tellingly makes the connection between Palin and the Tea Party and Reagan and the Reagan Revolution. And, then of course, there's the unreasoning, hateful politics of personal destruction that has been aimed at Palin since August of 2008.

The film bogs down just a hair in the middle (when facts about the AGIA deal are laid out), but even though it deals with lots of facts, it moves briskly and compellingly in both the first and last parts. The last section builds to a crescendo with Palin's call to citizen involvement in shaping the nation's destiny.

It makes one feel doubly sorry for the anti-Palin conservative pundits. Imagine how awful it is to have a tin ear about one of the truly great conservatives of our time. Especially when it's your job to have political insight. But, then some of them like too many of their conservative pundit precursors had the same poor track record on Ronald Reagan.

You can pre-order The Undefeated here.