Newt Gingrich video interview on foreign policy, socialism, Thatcher, Reagan, etc.

Just about two years ago, former of Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich dropped the into the office of the Orange County Register for an hour long discussion about politics, government and public policy. Viewing the video again gives good insights to Newt’s positions and principles, then and now. Below is part 1 of 5:

Newt Gingrich Interview Part 2
Newt Gingrich Interview Part 3
Newt Gingrich Interview Part 4
Newt Gingrich Interview Part 5

Rick Perry Bows Out Today – Endorses Gingrich for President

In a very eloquent farewell, Texas Governor Rick Perry thanked his wife, family and impressive list of endorsers and bowed out of the race for the Republican nomination for President.  In doing so, he endorsed Newt Gingrich for President, giving Newt a significant lift just two days before the important South Carolina primary election, where Gingrich is already getting a little traction against front runner Willard “Mitt” Romney.  Recent polls have Romney at about 34%, Newt at 26%, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in statistical tie at 14% and Perry at about 4%.  Whether Perry’s numbers in South Carolina will entirely transfer to Newt remains to be seen, however, if Gingrich is increasingly seen as the only capable “anti-Romney” candidate, his hopes to beat Romney are surely improved by Perry’s endorsement gesture.

And here is a point that might be missed in the mainstream media reports on the significance of the Perry endorsement of Gingrich today.  Texas will have a huge load of delegates to the Republican National Convention this August.  In my opinion, the Perry endorsement is most significant for Newt in the likelihood he will gain most of those delegates, if he can hang in there in opposing Romney thru the Texas primary later in the Spring.  If Rick Santorum can now be brought to terms with Newt, Romney could end up having a real race on his hands.  It is also of interest that according to news reports this morning, “recapitulations” of the Iowa caucus vote appear to show Santorum as the actual vote winner there, thus robbing the media of the often stated claim that Romney is the only candidate for the Republican nomination to have won both Iowa and New Hampshire.  If Newt finishes close to Romney on Saturday, we could be in for a lengthy battle for the Republican nomination, with Newt gaining, Romney treading the same 25%-30%, and Ron Paul fading as the nomination moves on to larger states where his crank foreign policy ideas become more widely known and opposed.

Will Desparate Obama Dump Biden to Win Re-election?

With polls showing the generic Republican opponent, even Ron Paul, neck-and-neck with Barack Obama in the Presidential election, is it possible that Obama will eject his loyal Vice-President, Delaware’s Joe Biden, from the Democrat ticket and turn to another more popular Democrat to try to improve his chances of re-election?  The idea is not fantasy, and the tough guys behind Obama in his Chicago Machine of managers may very well urge him to make such a move if he continues to decline to dangerous levels in public opinion.

Several scenarios have apparently been under consideration. Last summer the New York Post reported that its sources were urging Obama to drop Biden and pick New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had just had a big policy “victory” in instituting a gay marriage law.  The Post also cited a prediction by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown that Obama would indeed pick Cuomo to replace Biden, who would be offered the Secretary of State job to replace Hillary Clinton as a consolation.  Earlier speculation included that Hillary herself might replace Biden, but that was ended when Clinton told NBC News in October that it was not “even in the realm of possibility and in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done am amazingly good job.”

But Obama’s and his back-room managers’ loyalty to Biden might not be the same as Hillary’s.  Last month Biden made quite a gaffaw in the minds of many when he said “the Taliban per se is not our enemy.”   Several prominent Democrats criticized Biden including former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, who called on Obama to drop Biden from the ticket in 2012 as a result of the foreign policy embarrassment.  While Obama’s aides were effusively denying any thoughts of replacing Biden last summer, more recently they have been less out-front in their defense of him.

Regardless, Biden, 69, has been clear in stating to the press that he will indeed still be on the Democrat ticket with Obama.  But just a few days ago New York Times columnist Bill Keller wrote that it was time for Obama to “seriously” consider replacing Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton.  Keller’s scenario would have Hillary step down as Secretary of State later this spring and giving her title to the Vice-President, who would for a time be Secretary of State and Vice-President.  Then at the Democratic Convention, Obama would make a great gesture towards his formal rival and nominate her to be Vice-President.  She would be free of her duties at the State Department and could barnstorm the country with Bill Clinton in tow to help Obama win his re-election.  When that happened, former Vice-President Biden would be allowed to stay in the administration as the incumbent Secretary of State.  From 2012 to 2016, the dominant forces and faces in his administration would be Obama, Hillary, and you got it, Second Man Bill Clinton, who would probably get an office in the White House Executive Office Building.

It does sound like fantasy, but so did the thought of Obama becoming President, just four years ago.


Nevada prostitutes favor Ron Paul in survey; raising funds for Paul at brothel

Prostitution is legal in the counties just outside Las Vegas, and CNN International reported last night that one area brothel, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and its hookers, are so impressed with Ron Paul’s “principled stand on personal liberties” that they are collecting campaign contributions for him from customers.  The story has been just below the national media radar screen until the last few days, however, about four days ago Nevada’s best known brothel owner, Dennis Hof, sent out a press release, according to Daily Cos,  that explained that in a Presidential preference survey of 500 Nevada hookers,  Ron Paul came in first place.  “A lot of them supported Obama” last time, said Hof.

Romney looks Presidential, Paul looks like his devoted attack dog, at New Hampshire debate

To his credit, Williard “Mitt” Romney looked “presidential” at last night’s New Hampshire debate, staying on his themes of jobs and the economy, and national defense, taking a shot at John Huntsman for his “appeasement” attitude to trade with China, and turning back inane attempts by ABC News questioners George Stephanopolis and Diane Sawyer to force him to answer ridiculous social-issue questions, such as whether or not he favored a constitutional amendment to allow states to ban birth control.  In fact, many of the questions the ABC panel threw at the candidates were intended to divide them among themselves rather than give them a chance to articulate their own visions for America, and both Romney and Gingrich did good jobs “not taking the bait” and shifting focus back to the sad state of affairs our county finds itself in at the hands of Barack Obama, and the things that need to be done to improve our economy and national defense.  In fact, Gingrich did the best job of turning the tables when, almost in exasperation, he told Sawyer that she and the national media were asking the wrong questions and queried her about why the media itself is not asking, in the social issue realm, for example, about the Obama Administration’s prejudice against the Catholic Church and its relief services unrelated to abortion, because of the Church’s own stand on abortion, and whether that is a proper policy of Obama.

ABC’s turning the debate into a show for almost 15 minutes on the legality of contraception (which no Republican candidate has challenged at all) was a sad statement of the lengths the national news media will go to help Barack Obama by taking the focus off the really more pressing issues for America, the ones Barack Obama has so obviously failed on, and the ones that could propel Obama’s Republican opponent into the White House.

However, the national news media and Mitt Romney, the most liberal of the major Republican candidates for president, had an ally on stage for those who want Barack Obama to win the presidency, and that was Ron Paul.  Paul was more than aggressive in tearing down an honorable man, Rick Santorum, during the debate; lashing away at Santorum as a “big spender” (not quite) and not standing down from his claim that Santorum was a “corrupt” politician and lobbyist after he left government service.  There is absolutely no substance to a claim that Santorum was “corrupt,” but Paul, whose strategy is to throw mud at every good conservative alternative to Romney (and not attack the more liberal Romney himself) serves only to bring the chances of a real conservative alternative down.  Ron Paul has become Mitt Romney’s attack dog, his jester, his clown, and at last night’s debate all Romney had to do was smile, hands in his pockets, as he stood between Paul and Santorum and Paul rattled off venom after venom against Santorum, forcing Santorum to respond to Paul’s quack claims and thus allow the “heat” of the debate to be taken off the more liberal vote-leader Romney, where it belonged.  Paul embarrassed himself to thoughtful Republicans even more by not backing off calling Newt Gingrich a “chickhawk” regarding military service.  A candid look at the development of the Republican presidential campaign shows Paul relentlessly attacking Texas Governor Rick Perry, assisting in his demise, then relentlessly attacking Newt Gingrich, assisting in his undoing in Iowa, and now his punching bag is Rick Santorum.  When will Paul start attacking the liberal candidate, Mitt Romney?  Does Paul have some secret deal with Romney to pave the way to his nomination?  (Think about that, Paul supporters!) With Santorum’s votes depressed in New Hampshire, the only candidate really helped is Mitt Romney, because Paul has absolutely no chance of winning the nomination and then winning the Presidency on top of it.  (If you doubt me on the latter point, just think of how our whole nation would react in favor or disfavor of Paul, the day after he finished a two-hour debate with Barack Obama on national security issues.  Paul’s vapid platitudes about being friendly with terrorists and Iran, and how the killing of Osama bin Laden was illegal, would crash the entire Republican ticket across the nation.)

The fact is that conservatives have three candidates for president now: Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry; and Ron Paul is against all three of them, viciously.  That is a fact, and it is a fact that only helps two people: Mitt Romney’s campaign to win the Republican nomination, and Barack Obama’s campaign to be re-elected.

What Gingrich, Perry and Santorum need to do is settle on one of them as the consensus conservative candidate for President, let that person take Romney on directly, and the other two should commit themselves to serving the ultimate defeat of Barack Obama by riding Ron Paul out of the Republican party for good and back into the Libertarian Party where he belongs, and where he received less that 1/2 of 1% of the vote in 46 states as their Presidential candidate in 1988, where he pledged himself to abolish the CIA and the FBI, along with the Center for Disease Control, and other unconventional ideas calculated to get himself less than 1% of the vote.  That’s my opinion, what’s yours?

Courtesy nmfbihop, Flickr

Karma’s A Boomerang

You’re Barnes & Noble.  For decades, you’ve done one thing extremely well:  sell books.  You’ve also published books, branched out into selling calendars, children’s toys, and other stuff, but you are first and foremost a bookseller.

Only one problem.  People are buying books online.  Your business model is in deep trouble, as evidence by the collapse of your biggest competitors, most recently, Borders Books and Music.

So you develop an e-reader called the Nook, and now the profitability of your company is tied to the success of that device.  The only problem is that you thought people would like a black-and-white device that can only read books, and you bet your 2011 Christmas season on that assumption.

Which proved wrong.

So now you’re stuck in a device/tablet/e-reader/whatever-you-want-to-call-it race with your biggest competitor, Amazon, which took its name from the world’s biggest river, because its goal has always been to be the world’s greatest river of goods.

Amazon’s multicolor, multitasking the Kindle Fire was a heck of a lot more popular than your Nook.

And now you have to spend money you don’t have to keep on competing with newer iterations of the Kindle, just to stay alive.

In other words, you’re competing against a much stronger player with much greater market share in a universe that has nothing to do with your core competency, selling books.

I used to have a girlfriend who liked to say, “Karma’s a boomerang,” especially when something bad happened to someone she didn’t like.

Barnes & Noble used to have one big bookstore on Fifth Avenue and 18th Street in Manhattan.  Then it expanded to another neighborhoods and other cities.  It would put in a huge Barnes & Noble superstore into places within blocks of highly successful local, privately owned bookstores.

Which it then destroyed, because Barnes & Noble had the financial strength the privately owned bookstores lacked.

Barnes & Noble took the bold step of dramatically discounting national best sellers, taking advantage of its greater buying power.  The smaller stores couldn’t afford to compete with that market share-stealing move, and one by one, the lights went out.

But then Barnes & Noble was stuck with massive, expensive bookstores in urban neighborhoods where people, who had once bought books at privately owned bookstores and then bought them at B&N superstores, now either bought books online or didn’t buy them at all.

And then Barnes & Noble had to close those stores and fire all the employees, leaving those once bookish neighborhoods with no bookstores at all.

And now Barnes & Noble finds itself on the other end of the squeeze.  The same way B&N’s smaller competitors couldn’t keep up with its financial power, as it created larger stores with deeper discounts, now B&N is in “arms race” with a stronger, wealthier competitor, Amazon, as the Nook is forced to face off against the Kindle.

My then-girlfriend was right.  Karma is indeed a boomerang.  B&N can compete for a while against Amazon and the Kindle, but ultimately B&N is doomed to sputter and die.

This is tragic for booklovers, of course, who are the biggest losers in this whole battle.  Even today, my local Barnes & Noble has replaced some of its bookracks with non-book gifts, toys, and all sorts of things you never would have gone to a bookstore to buy.

A year ago, B&N nearly sold itself out to Liberty Media, which owns, among other things, QVC.  Perhaps the idea was that Barnes & Noble’s brick-and-mortar stores could become outlets for QVC goods like jewelry or health and beauty items.  That deal fell through.

Liberty may now buy the entire Nook business from Barnes & Noble, allowing B&N a graceful escape from its technological struggles with Amazon.  What Liberty sees in the device is beyond me, but I don’t run multi-gazillion dollar retailers.  I’m sure they have a good reason for wanting to buy something that doesn’t sell as well as its developer had hoped.

But even if that deal went through, B&N would still have to compete with Amazon to sell books.  And they’ll have the same uphill struggle to face that they once imposed on their smaller competitors, back when B&N sought out and destroyed some of America’s greatest neighborhood booksellers.

Karma’s a boomerang.  Especially when B&N is playing with fire…with the Kindle Fire, that is.

(New York Times best selling author Michael Levin runs, America’s leading provider of ghostwritten business books.)


S.F. “political judge” Sandoval lets Assemblywoman Hayashi off the felony hook for shoplifting

Today Gerardo Sandoval, a partisan Democrat politician elected to the until now nonpartisan San Francisco Superior Court, by campaigning as a partisan Democrat, reduced Democrat Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s felony theft case to a misdemeanor in spite of the District Attorney’s previous position that the theft of $2,400 in clothing by Hayashi from the Union Square Neiman-Marcus was serious and should be treated as a felony.  Hayashi, who had previously been specifically excused from today’s court proceeding and was not expected to attend the hearing today, made a stealth appearance and quickly plead “no contest,” and was sentenced to three years probation and a small fine.  Taking the plea means Hayashi can now serve out her full term in the Assembly, as a felony conviction, which would have surely happened otherwise, would have required her to resign from the Assembly.

Hayashi’s and now Sandoval’s actions are symptomatic of an arrogance among Democratic politicians in California that they are in charge and that they can get away with just about anything, justice be damned.  In Sandoval’s case, the arrogance includes even apparent unethical ex parte communications in a criminal prosecution of a favored politician to coordinate a stealth visit in court to cop a plea.  A sleepy San Francisco media should be outraged.  Both Assemblywoman Hayashi’s actions (and “no contest” conviction) in stealing clothing from a California retail business, and Judge Sandoval’s actions in extending special favor to a fellow Democrat (whose husband is also an Alameda County Judge, just as Judge Sandoval’s wife is a professional political fundraiser for Democrats) serves to further undermine the confidence of Californians in their governmental institutions, including the impartiality of the judiciary.  Not just Hayashi, but her Judge Sandoval, should be ashamed of themselves.

Update:  Hayashi’s attorney claimed a “benign brain tumor” caused her shoplifting:

(Editor’s note: no actual evidence of a benign brain tumor, or its propensity to cause shoplifting, was ever entered into evidence in open court in the Hayashi case before her plea of “no contest” to the charges.  If any such benign tumor could have caused the Assemblywoman to shoplift, that allegedly exculpatory fact would have properly been submitted as an issue for a jury to decide, and Hayashi could be found “not guilty” by reason of a “shoplifting causing” benign brain tumor if a jury was convinced by the scientific evidence presented.  However, the “no contest” plea of Hayashi, coupled with the judge’s reduction of charges, now allows Hayashi to continue to serve in the Assembly regardless of the crime and avoids an actual test of her attorney’s unsupported excuse claim in court.)










Judge Sandoval and Governor Brown

Updated: Will Democrat Judge Sandoval further delay Democrat Assemblywoman’s shoplifting trial?

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s felony theft prosecution by the San Francisco District Attorney for stealing over $2,000 in merchandize from the Union Square Neiman-Marcus store has seen two delays now in simply setting a date for a preliminary hearing.  Some observers believe the delays in what would otherwise be a very routine shoplifting case are occurring because the Judge handling the case, Gerardo Sandoval, is himself a partisan Democrat and elected official, having served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and who was not only endorsed by the Democratic Party for his judge election, but who used the partisan endorsement in the nonpartisan race for judge in mass advertising, an action considered by many judges as unprincipled.  Because of his evident partisanship, Sandoval is seen as giving special privileges to fellow Democrat Hayashi so she can buy time to stay in the Assembly as long as possible.  This is because if Hayashi is convicted of the shoplifting (which will surely happen in a quick trial if the case gets to a jury) she will have to resign from the Assembly, and her seat will become vacant (for a period until a special election is held) thus threatening the Democrats near super-majority hold on the lower house of the Legislature.  Sandoval has also excused Hayashi from even having to personally attend the two hearings already held.

The Hayashi felony theft case is now scheduled to be in Sandoval’s court again this Friday, January 6, where attorneys for the prosecution and defense are supposed to agree with the judge on a date for a preliminary hearing.  Under state law, Hayashi must personally attend the preliminary hearing, Sandoval cannot excuse Hayashi again from that one.  After giving Hayashi two excusals and two delays, the big question for this Friday is, will Sandoval continue to allow the game playing or get down to the people’s business of dispensing justice?  The case is not complicated at all.  A third delay in simply setting a preliminary hearing date would be ridiculous and a grave offense to the judicial system.

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi mug shot courtesy San Francisco Police Department

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Photo credit urbriancl, Flickr

Utah Bans Happy Hour – another good reason to stay in California

A new law adopted by the State of Utah that became effective on New Year’s day bans daily alcoholic drink specials.  Californian’s can rest assured that our state legislature has not banned our happy hour Margarita specials.  At least not yet.

Courtesy babblingdweed, Flickr

Michael Dukakis to campaign for Brad Sherman against Howard Berman in Los Angeles Congressional District

Michael Dukakis, the liberal former Governor of Massachusetts who gave convicted first-degree murderer Willie Horton a prison furlough during which Horton raped a woman in Maryland, and the candidate for President in 1988 who blew his chances to beat George H.W. Bush by infamously campaigning from the turret of an M1 Abrams tank, will be a “featured guest” at a fundraiser for Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Ca.) in Studio City on January 19.  Because of redistricting the two incumbent Congressmen, Sherman and Howard Berman, must face off against each other for one to stay in Congress.  The race promises to be a very intense one, as under California’s new “open primary” system where the two top vote getters run against each other in the November general election, rather than the top nominees of political parties, this is a race where two incumbent Democrats may actually have to run against each other twice in 2012, once in the primary and again in the general elections.  Berman and Sherman have similar views and a similar voting record on most issues and their battle is symptomatic of the failure of the new “open primary” system to offer a competition of ideas for voters as opposed to limited choice between political personalities, which simply invites more negative campaigning, something voters repeatedly tell pollsters they dislike in election campaigns.