October 24, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 10/24/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Kennedy secretly crafts health care plan - From his sickbed, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has secretly been orchestrating meetings with lobbyists and lawmakers from both parties to craft legislation that would greet the new president with a plan to provide affordable medical coverage to all Americans, a measure he has called "the cause of my life." (READ MORE)

Stock futures down by 550 points - NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street headed for another precipitous drop Friday as fears of a punishing global recession stirred panic among investors and sent world financial markets into a tailspin. The Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 550 points, the maximum allowed price change. (READ MORE)

Congress rips Greenspan for crisis - In four hours of questioning before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the man once called "Maestro" for his mastery of nuance and ability to smoothly guide the economy through treacherous shoals acknowledged for the first time to making mistakes and misjudgments that contributed to what he called a "once-in-a-century credit tsunami." (READ MORE)

Beijing pays little heed to U.S. rhetoric - BEIJING The U.S. presidential race traditionally has been a time for tough talk on China, and a period of unease for the Chinese leadership as it waits to see whether words become actions. (READ MORE)

Pension-rescue fund seen as still strong - The government's pension-rescue fund suffered heavy losses in the stock market this year but has still managed to lower its deficit to $12 billion, leaving it strong enough to protect American workers' pensions in the short term even if several major companies fail during the burgeoning economic crisis, the chief of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. told The Washington Times on Thursday. (READ MORE)

Obama's 'firsts' may make history, and victory - He would be the nation's first black president, and many people want to be a part of the momentum. A record turnout is expected. And witness the thousands who show up at an Obama uber-rally, knowing that years hence, they might say to some wide-eyed listener, "You know, I was there." (READ MORE)

AIG Has Used Much of Its $123 Billion Bailout Loan - The troubled insurance giant American International Group already has consumed three-quarters of a federal $123 billion rescue loan, a little more than a month after the government stepped in to save the company from bankruptcy. (READ MORE)

Ideology Aside, This Has Been the Year of the Woman - Two months after Sarah Palin joined the GOP ticket, and four months after Hillary Clinton ended her quest for the presidency, 2008 is turning out to be a transformative year for women in politics, according to women leaders across the political spectrum. (READ MORE)

U.S. Cedes Control Over Iraq's Once-Bloody 'Triangle of Death' - BAGHDAD, Oct. 23 -- The U.S. military on Thursday gave Iraqi authorities control of security in most of the "Triangle of Death," an area south of Baghdad that has seen a dramatic turnaround. (READ MORE)

Court Case in Miami Casts Light on Corruption in Venezuela - The Miami trial of a Venezuelan entrepreneur who grew rich doing business with President Hugo Chávez's populist administration has exposed how some top government officials have profited from a corrosive web of corruption in the oil-rich country. (READ MORE)

Another Bubble Bursts - Credit markets have started to thaw, yet stocks and the larger economy keep sliding. What's going on? Among the problems are the reality of recession and the uncertainty over Barack Obama's policies. But the larger story is that the global economy is fast popping its latest monetary bubble, the one over the last 14 months in commodity prices and non-dollar currencies. (READ MORE)

Big Labor Does Gay Marriage - Here's a pop quiz: Who's donated the most money to an effort in California to defeat Proposition 8, an initiative on the November 4 ballot that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the state? A) Gay-advocacy organizations B) Civil-rights groups C) The California Teachers Association If you guessed "C," you understand the nature of modern liberal politics. And if you didn't, perhaps you're wondering what exactly gay marriage has to do with K-12 public education. (READ MORE)

India Shoots for the Moon - The U.S. Congress needs a wake-up call. At the risk of our readers saying the laws of physics forbid any such possibility, we offer the following: On Wednesday India launched a space probe to the moon. The Chandrayaan-I blasted off about dawn from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. (READ MORE)

The Election Choice: Health Care - In few policy arenas are the choices as fundamental as they are for health care. Barack Obama favors increased federal control to build a "universal" system in stages. John McCain prefers to maximize the incentives for individuals and families to buy private health insurance on their own. (READ MORE)

The Future of Term Limits Is in Court - Now that the City Council has approved changing term limits to allow Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to run again, this much is certain: The battle will move to the courtroom. Two lawsuits challenging the move are already in the legal system and more are expected. (READ MORE)

OPEC Orders Cut in Oil Production - VIENNA — The OPEC cartel said Friday that it would reduce its oil production by at least 1.5 million barrels a day to stem what it called “a dramatic collapse” in oil prices as the world economy slows down and oil demand shrinks. (READ MORE)

U.S. Stocks Dive After Rout Overseas - Stocks in the United States picked up a sharp sell-off that started in Asia and Europe. Just minutes after 9:30 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average had already fallen more than 400points. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was off 5.5 percent, and the Nasdaq plunged more than 5 percent as well. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Wesley Pruden: Good old Joe lifts the curtain - The end of the campaign is finally in sight, and fear stalks the land once more. Hillary Clinton has been in Minnesota, campaigning for Al Franken and averting her eyes when he brings out his pornography collection, and sounding the alarm that the vast right-wing media conspiracy is back at work. Evil never takes a holiday. Hillary sees conspirators hiding behind every pumpkin, as the spooks, haints and goblins newly arrived from the nether world descend upon us for their usual Halloween stalking duty. The carpenters, plasterers and plumbers working on the set for Barack Obama's victory-night party are afraid, too. Can they get it finished in time for the official laying on of hands? The Obama campaign considered retrieving the Temple of Zeus from storage in Denver, but thought it not grand enough for the man who says he feels "a righteous wind behind our backs." (He's obviously been talking to Zeus again, or at least the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.) (READ MORE)

Michael Gerson: Casualty of the Surge - The dramatic success of the surge in Iraq is not a central issue in the current presidential race. It did, however, set its shape -- and may help determine its outcome in an unexpected way. John McCain won the nomination of his party, in large part, as a vindicated prophet. After visiting Iraq in the summer of 2003, he argued on "Meet the Press" that "the men and women in the military are doing a superb job. . . . The problem is that they don't have enough resources. There's not enough of them, and we are in a very serious situation, in my view, a race against time." McCain added, "Time is not on our side. People in 125-degree heat with no electricity and no fuel are going to become angry in a big hurry. The sophistication of the attacks on U.S. and allied troops have increased. And what we do in the next several months will determine whether we're in a very difficult situation or not." McCain staked his presidential prospects on a major change in Iraq policy: (READ MORE)

Charles Krauthammer: McCain for President - Contrarian that I am, I'm voting for John McCain. I'm not talking about bucking the polls or the media consensus that it's over before it's over. I'm talking about bucking the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama before they're left out in the cold without a single state dinner for the next four years. I stand athwart the rush of conservative ship-jumpers of every stripe -- neo (Ken Adelman), moderate (Colin Powell), genetic/ironic (Christopher Buckley) and socialist/atheist (Christopher Hitchens) -- yelling "Stop!" I shall have no part of this motley crew. I will go down with the McCain ship. I'd rather lose an election than lose my bearings. First, I'll have no truck with the phony case ginned up to rationalize voting for the most liberal and inexperienced presidential nominee in living memory. The "erratic" temperament issue, for example. (READ MORE)

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Civil War on the Right - Conservatives are at each other's throats, and here's what's revealing about how divided they are: The critics of John McCain and the critics of Sarah Palin represent entirely different camps. One set of critics, skeptical social conservatives, are precisely the people McCain was trying to mollify by picking Palin as his running mate. This includes the faithful of the religious right who remember McCain as their enemy in 2000 and parts of the gun crowd who always saw McCain as soft on their issues. That McCain felt a need to make such an outlandishly risky choice speaks to how insecure his hold was on the core Republican vote. A candidate is supposed to rally the base during the primaries and reach out to the middle at election time. McCain got it backward, and it's hurting him. A Pew Research Center survey this week found that among political independents, Palin's unfavorable rating has almost doubled since mid-September, from 27 to 50 percent. (READ MORE)

Kathleen Parker: Something About Sarah - My husband called it first. Then, a brilliant 75-year-old scholar and raconteur confessed to me over wine: "I'm sexually attracted to her. I don't care that she knows nothing." Finally, writer Robert Draper closed the file on the Sarah Palin mystery with a devastating article in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine: "The Making (and Remaking) of McCain." McCain didn't know her. He didn't vet her. His campaign team had barely an impression. In a bar one night, Draper asked one of McCain's senior advisers: "Leaving aside her actual experience, do you know how informed Governor Palin is about the issues of the day?" The adviser thought a moment and replied: "No, I don't know." Blame the sycamore tree. McCain had met Palin only once -- in February, at the governors' convention in Washington -- before the day he selected her as his running mate. The second time was at his Sedona, Ariz., ranch on Aug. 28, just four days before the GOP convention. (READ MORE)

Alan Reynolds: How's Obama Going to Raise $4.3 Trillion? - The most troublesome tax increases in Barack Obama's plan are not those we can already see but those sure to be announced later, after the election is over and budget realities rear their ugly head. The new president, whoever he is, will start out facing a budget deficit of at least $1 trillion, possibly much more. Sen. Obama has nonetheless promised to devote another $1.32 trillion over the next 10 years to several new or expanded refundable tax credits and a special exemption for seniors, according to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center (TPC). He calls this a "middle-class tax cut," while suggesting the middle class includes 95% of those who work. Mr. Obama's proposed income-based health-insurance subsidies, tax credits for tiny businesses, and expanded Medicaid eligibility would cost another $1.63 trillion, according to the TPC. (READ MORE)

Kimberly Strassel: Business Finally Fights Back - Ten days to election, and they are pouring millions into ads, canvassing neighborhoods, making calls, getting out the vote, enraging Democrats -- all in an effort to turn around a dire political situation. The Republican National Committee? No. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business community is back in politics. After years of contented political gridlock, American companies are now officially horrified at what an all-Democratic Washington intends to inflict on the U.S. economy. The Chamber is throwing its extensive resources at denying the left a filibuster-proof Senate. In doing so, it has stuck its finger in the Democratic leadership's beehive, and is facing retribution. It says something about the momentousness of this race that the Chamber doesn't care. While the trade group has always been a force, over this decade many businesses have inched back from in-your-face politics. They felt comfortable with Republicans in charge. (READ MORE)

Peggy Noonan: 43% Isn't Nothing Obama looks like a winner, but it's not over yet - It's all going fast, the whirl of images on the screen, words on the page, data flashing by. Barack Obama's up here, his lead now in the double digits there. In green rooms on book interviews, I see quietly angry former Reagan staffers, defensive former Bush aides, harried McCain spokesmen, and almost-jaunty Democrats. A network correspondent with a reputation for fairness—no one knows how this reporter votes—came by one day and shrugged with frustration. Everyone asks me about media bias. Of course the media loves Obama, but I can't say it. I didn't take notes, but I think that's word for word. Soon after, I received an email from a different journalist who referred, in passing, to where many journalists stand. Neither of these people is conservative. When nonconservatives see the Obama love, and refer to it without prompting, the Obama love is deep. (READ MORE)

Andrew G. Biggs: Obama Wants Social Security to Be a Welfare Plan - Imagine this: Barack Obama proposes a Social Security payroll tax cut for low earners. Workers earning up to $8,000 per year would receive back the full 6.2% employee share of the 12.4% total payroll tax, up to $500 per year. Workers earning over $8,000 would receive $500 each, with this credit phasing out for individuals earning between $75,000 and $85,000. This tax cut would make an already progressive Social Security program even more redistributive. Under current law, a very low earner receives an inflation-adjusted return on his Social Security taxes of around 4%. That's a good return, given that government bonds are projected to return less than 3% above inflation. A high-earning worker, on the other hand, receives only around a 1.5% rate of return. Under Sen. Obama's proposal, returns for very low earners would rise to around 6% above inflation -- about the same return as on stocks, except with none of the risk. (READ MORE)

Mike Gallagher: Democrats' Phony Plans - The headline on the front page of most of America’s newspapers this week screamed the latest Republican “scandal”: $150,000 spent on Gov. Sarah Palin’s wardrobe!” Get ready for a stream of complaints from Democrats who love engaging in the class warfare rhetoric for which they’re famous. I can hear Barack Obama now: “Here I am fighting for lower and middle class Americans with my (phony) tax plan and the Republicans are off spending $150,000 on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe!” Incidentally, I inserted the word “phony” in Sen. Obama’s hypothetical statement because very few people have seemed to notice that his claim to “cut the taxes of 95% of Americans” is a rope-a-dope fantasy if there ever was one. If nearly 50% of Americans don’t pay any income tax at all, how is he going to “cut” THEIR taxes? That’s an easy one: he’ll have the government write them checks, called tax “credits”, which is another manifestation of his socialist “spread-the-wealth” agenda. (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Boot Murtha: The Change America Deserves - A real referendum on hope and change is taking place in western Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. If the change agent in the race were a Democrat and the status quo defender were a Republican, this battle would be all over the nightly news. The challenger would be heralded as a maverick and photographed with halo effect and angel wings. Instead, the national media have ignored him. The Democratic candidate in this race has devoted his public career to back-scratching, logrolling and self-aggrandizing Beltway politics as usual. The Republican candidate is a fresh-faced newcomer and decorated combat veteran fighting to topple the arrogant old crony. The Democrat supports the pork-stuffed, debt-exploding government bailout for the banking industry. The Republican opposes it. The Democrat supports a raft of illegal-alien amnesty measures. The Republican opposes them. (READ MORE)

John Hawkins: If McCain Wants to Win, He Needs To... - I don't want to spoil all the "happy talk" you're hearing from so many people about how the polls must be wrong because they're telling us something we don't want to hear, but unless the momentum shifts, John McCain is going to lose what may literally turn out to be the most important election of our lifetime. The polls have definitely tightened in the swing states over the last week or so, but not quite enough for McCain to pull it out -- given that Obama is outspending him, has more enthusiastic voters, and may even have a better field operation. That means McCain isn't going to win the election merely by pointing out that Obama hung around with Bill Ayers, by condemning ACORN's massive voter fraud, or by meekly intoning that Obama is a socialist. If McCain wants to come out on top in this election he is going to have to draw much stronger distinctions between himself and Barack Obama and he's going to have to significantly ramp up the intensity of his negative attacks. (READ MORE)

Jonah Goldberg: Racy Content - Transcend means "to move beyond, to surpass." At least that's what I always thought. But I'm beginning to wonder whether it means instead: "Much, much more of the same, only this time really stupid." Exhibit A: the incessant, relentless, click-your-ruby-red-slippers-and-say-it-until-it-comes-true mantra that Barack Obama will magically cause America to "transcend race." One hears and reads this everywhere, but less as an argument than as a prayer, an expression of faith, a "from my lips to The One's ear" sort of thing. It is, of course, total and complete nonsense. According to L.B.O. (Logic Before Obama), transcending race would involve making race less of an issue. Passengers on Spaceship Obama would see race shrink and then vanish in the rearview mirror. Instead, Obama has set off a case of full-blown race dementia among precisely the crowd that swears Obama is leading us out of the racial wilderness. (READ MORE)

Oliver North: Messiah Deficit Disorder - WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday, I was an unwilling eyewitness to a dramatic political event, and it made me wonder where we are headed as a nation. More on that in a moment. First, a little background. There is no doubt that leadership matters. The study of human history provides evidence that empires -- even entire civilizations -- rise and fall on the ideas, virtues and skills (or lack thereof) of great leaders. From Mesopotamia to Europe, those who chronicled the triumphs and failures of great leaders in the Western world measured success based on military prowess and territory conquered. Herodotus detailed how the Persian Empire, built by Darius, eventually succumbed to Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. That vision of leadership began to change in what is now Israel. Old Testament prophets described a Messiah -- a leader and savior who would deliver the Jewish people from their travails. (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Loving America Means Having Small-Town Values - There's a lot of talk this election about anti-Obama dog-whistles and coded racial language. But this essay by Rosa Brooks, on Sarah Palin's recent "pro-America" commnents, really got me thinking: “According to Sarah Palin, she and John McCain ‘believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hardworking, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.’ Um, very, um. ... Yeah.... The GOP code isn't hard to crack: There's the America that might vote for Obama (a suspect America populated by people with liberal notions, big-city ways and, no doubt, dark skin), and then there's the ‘real’ America, where people live in small towns, believe in God and country, and are ... well ... white.” I sometimes don't know what it is with lefttists, but for conservatives to speak of traditional values - heartland values - as racist by default is bothersome, if not sickening. (READ MORE)

Dafydd: Clinton's Smoking Fannie - Friend Lee has gone big-game hunting, and he bagged a major trophy: A smoking-gun article from the New York Times, September 30th, 1999, that settles once and for all who is to blame for the current economic collapse. The title of the article says it all: Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending. First, let's settle the evidently still "open question" of who was behind the move to lend too much money to people who had no ability to repay it: “Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.” The article notes that "banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers." Then it quotes our good friend Franklin Delano Raines, who it identifies only as "Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer." (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Tight money - AP: Democrat Barack Obama saw a sudden dip in his fund-raising. From the Associated Press: “Obama, the Democratic nominee, spent more than $105 million during the first two weeks of October, according to new campaign finance reports. He reported raising only $36 million for his campaign during that period, about half the fund-raising pace he enjoyed in September.” While I realize that Obama has to spend it all by Nov. 4, he is on pace to spend less in the second half of the race than in the first. And it looks as though he has twice as much to spend as Republican John McCain. Except for this, “His more recent report showed he had taken no share from a joint Obama-Democratic Party victory fund that raised about $27 million during the same October period.” Which is compared to this, “McCain and the Republican National Committee reported having a combined $84 million as of last week to spend before Election Day.” (READ MORE)

GayPatriotWest: Bobby Sherman Democrats - A scene in the movie Dick captures a pop culture phenomenon of the early 1970s. Arlene Lorenzo (Michelle Williams), as did countless teenage girls across the nation in the Nixon era, plastered images of singer and teen heartthrob, Bobby Sherman, all over her bedroom wall. (Later, she’d replace Sherman’s pictures with those of Richard Nixon, only to rip those down when she becomes disenchanted with the then-President.) I often think of the Bobby Sherman phenomenon when I see the iconic image of Barack Obama plastered to the rear window or bumper of a car — or on someone’s T-shirt. I can’t recall any other political candidate whose bumper sticker featured his image. Sometimes, it seems more a personality cult than political campaign. Talking to certain Obama supporters, I really do get the sense this is more a cult than a campaign. I ask them to name something he has accomplished in office. Well, he was a community organizer. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: ACORN voter registration effort “wildly exaggerated” - ACORN and its “affiliate”, Project Vote, claimed that they have registered over 1.3 million new voters in this election cycle. Even when counting Mickey Mouse and the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Times found that ACORN lied about its efforts. Instead, the number comes to a third of their claims, at best: “On Oct. 6, the community organizing group Acorn and an affiliated charity called Project Vote announced with jubilation that they had registered 1.3 million new voters. But it turns out the claim was a wild exaggeration, and the real number of newly registered voters nationwide is closer to 450,000, Project Vote’s executive director, Michael Slater, said in an interview. The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors, Mr. Slater acknowledged.” That 30% figure is what ACORN admits. The various county boards that have had to investigate ACORN’s work would probably have a higher estimate. ACORN’s work in more than a dozen states, with tens of thousands of registrations in some individual instances, has prompted criminal investigations into fraud and forgery. (READ MORE)

Scott Johnson: What did Della Ware? - Yesterday we noted the Obama's campaign's acceptance of credit card contributions made via the Internet under false names and addresses in "Who is John Galt?" Many readers wrote to confirm the experiment conducted by our reader under the names John Galt, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Bill Ayers at obviously phony addresses. At the same time, the contributions of "John Galt" and all the rest were rejected without fail by the McCain campaign. How could this be? Mark Steyn and many readers (thanks to all) wrote to explain that the Obama campaign has chosen to reject, and the McCain campaign has chosen to adopt, the Address Verification System, or AVS. It is a simple tool that prevents credit card fraud. As Steyn observed, "the AVS security checks most merchant processors use to screen out fraudulent transactions (and, incidentally, overseas customers) were intentionally disabled by the Obama campaign -- and thus their web donation page enables fraudulent (and/or foreign) donations." (READ MORE)

John Hinderaker: She's Not Rich - The last 24 hours have been consumed by a media feeding frenzy over the fact that the Republican National Committee spent approximately $150,000 on clothes and makeup for Sarah Palin and her family. This is being peddled as though it were some kind of scandal. As a threshold matter, one wonders why: it's not as though tax dollars were being wasted. Why is it anyone's business? It isn't, actually. For what it's worth, the clothes don't belong to Palin, they belong to the RNC, and when the campaign is over they most likely will be auctioned off at a profit. So why are our reporters so obsessed with this pathetic non-story? Why are they not concerned with how much money Joe Biden spent on his hair-plugs? Why haven't they breathlessly told us how much money Hillary Clinton's wardrobe, plus her cosmetic surgery and Botox, cost? Why haven't they focused on Barack Obama's wardrobe? His clothes are so stylish that he was on the cover of GQ: (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: The Question of G-d in a Post-Modern World - One of the first posts I ever wrote on this site was Political Deification, in which I began to lay out the thesis that there exists a deep seated psychological need to believe in a G-d. I suggested that those who do not believe in G-d simply replace their belief in a deity with a belief in various ideas that take its place and serve the same purpose. This was aptly summarized by G. K. Chesterton's famous comment: “'The trouble, when people cease to believe in God, will not be that they will believe in nothing but that they will believe in anything.'” Our minds form from a kernel that is irrational. Our rationality is a very late (ie, recent) development. The beginnings of a belief in the uniqueness of the individual can be traced back to Paleolithic burial ceremonies, inferred from ancient interments. For 95% of the time homo sapiens has existed our mental life was dominated by the irrational. (READ MORE)

Steve Schippert: Obama Online Campaign Facilitating Fraud - Earlier this week, we looked at the Obama campaign's continued concealment of its small donors list. The manner in which many of the small donations are made is equally concerning, as it enables the very fraud and illegal contributions we are concerned about. Well, thanks to Mark Steyn, whose intellectual curiosity apparently surpasses that of the entire staff at the New York Times, we see precisely why the Obama campaign dares not publish the list of small donors. Because ""Della Ware" of "12345 No Way" had managed to make a campaign donation to the fraud-friendly Obama website but not to the McCain site." How? “If they'd really wanted ‘to be fair’, the Times would have pointed out that, in order to accept donations from ‘Della Ware’ and ‘Saddam Hussein’ et al, the Obama website had, intentionally, to disable all the default security settings on their credit-card processing.” (READ MORE)

Harmless Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Arrogance of Power - Have you ever known someone that thinks they’re indispensible? These are the folks that think they’re the only one who can finish a project the “right” way, or only one who really “understands” the issues, or that their proposed “solution” is the only one that will really work. You see a lot of these folks in leadership positions. They’re generally well-intentioned, highly-motivated, and extremely competent folks. But for some reason, they develop a kind of myopic arrogance that leads them to believe their way is the only way, or their view is the only view. I don’t know if it’s the exercise of authority or power that leads to the growth of this arrogant belief in their own power, or if it is something in the person’s makeup. But, I do know that someone who is a great leader never thinks they’re indispensible. Great leaders are confident in them selves, and may even be a bit arrogant, but they are not arrogant in their power. (READ MORE)

J. D. Pendry: Trust me… - Have you ever held a job that required a simple background investigation or a security clearance? For much of my time in the Army, my duties required that I have a top secret security clearance. The special background investigation conducted to get and then maintain a top secret security clearance is quite extensive. One must provide 15 years of personal history consisting of references, credit records, relatives, neighbors, affiliations with organizations, workplaces, schools and you name it - and they are all checked. Each 5 years thereafter, all of the information must be updated and checked again. Your life is an open book and if you try to hide any of that your security clearance is lost and you could face serious criminal charges for hiding it. Some of my military jobs required that I be trusted with critically sensitive national security information. The security clearances, which gave me access to information that certainly would damage our national security if it ended up in the wrong hands, was not as high as a Whitehouse level security clearance. (READ MORE)

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