Sunday Browsing

Without question, Barack Obama has mastered new media better than any national candidate I’ve seen to date.  From an effective web presence to his own iPhone app., he’s clearly taking advantage of today’s communications technologies.

But, his online fundraising is raising some questions, as reported in the Toledo Blade:

Mr. Good Will – who lists his employer as "Loving" and his profession as "You" – has contributed 1,000 times to the Barack Obama campaign.

All the contributions have been in amounts of $25 or less. But they add up to $17,375 – far more than the legal limit of $4,600. That’s $2,300 each for the primary and general election campaigns.
Kenneth Timmerman, a reporter for NewsMax, a conservative Web site, discovered Mr. Good Will when he reviewed 1.4 million individual contributions in the latest Federal Elections Commission master file for the Obama campaign.
Mr. Good Will said he was from Austin, Texas. When I called directory assistance, they could find no listing for him.
Mr. Doodad Pro made 786 contributions for a total of $19,500. Like Mr. Good Will, Mr. Pro lists his employer as "Loving" and his profession as "You." Mr. Pro said he is from Nunda, N.Y. Directory assistance found no listing for him either.
Mr. Obama has raised a whopping $223 million in contributions of less than $200. Candidates are not required to disclose the names of those who contribute less than $200, and Mr. Obama has not. John McCain has made his complete donor database available online. …

We ought to be concerned about this.  Whether it’s simply a matter of circumventing the rules, or something more frightening like foreign investment in the US Presidential election, it’s clear that something is wrong with this picture.

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During the whole bailout mess, we heard quite a bit from Congressman Bawney Fwank about why this is a good deal for America.  I still don’t think it is; at best, it’s good like amputating a gangrenous limb is good.  It’s going to be ugly and painful, even if necessary to save our economy (about which I’m not at all certain).

But everyone should also be aware of Bawney’s conflict of interest, and how he perhaps helped us into the mess to begin with.

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RC brought up an interesting point the other day, before the House and Senate passed Bailout 2.0.  We’ve made loans to other countries for years, and nothing happens when they default.  So, what would happen if we defaulted on China?  Anything?

RC actually had her own bailout solution: ask the 500 wealthiest Americans (or 1,000) if they’d be willing to pitch in the capital for the bailout.  Give THEM the oversight control, and agree that any profits they earned would be 100% TAX EXEMPT.  I’d have a lot more confidence in Warren Buffet’s expertise to manage his way out of this mess than anyone on Capitol Hill.  And, since it would be their money, they could do whatever is necessary to turn things around.

I’m betting that the profit motive would work much better than a thousand miles of red tape.

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