Friday, September 28, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) The Communist Party in China has expelled Bo Xilai. Bo maintains a very strong power base in China and the party needed to handle him delicately. You may remember that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai has been implicated in the murder of Neil Heywood, a British businessman. In addition, complaints of rampant sexual harassment and abuse as well as the ubiquitous "corruption" charges were levelled against Bo. Obviously, he had to go and ahead of the party congress on November 8, but the punishment had to be moderated as Bo is the scion Bo Yibo, one of the legendary Eight Elders of the Chinese communist party (Deng Xiaoping was another).
2) In other "expelled" news, the Beach Boys have dropped founding members Al Jardine...and Brian Wilson! WTF? This is not unlike The Beatles kicking out George Harrison and John Lennon (either of which would have been a loss, but both?) This is very confusing, and I'm sure this story will develop over time. I have a confession to make: I'm a huge Beach Boys fan, particularly of their early stuff up through the Surf's Up album. So this is like hearing a childhood idol has been arrested for something.
3) Your weekly mass killing.
4) Here's a SCOTUS case that's sure to cause controversy: Is affirmative action necessary if a) a school choses students based on academics and b) the school is still achieving diversity? Oddly, as an alumnus of a specialized high school grappling with this precise issue, how to achieve diversity in a school that requires standardized testing, this is of particular concern to me.
5) I'm thinking that maybe Bill Clinton's next job will be President Emeritus of the planet. There are so many places he could assist in these times of trouble.
6) Attention President Obama: this is how you do it.
7) Happy birthday, Critical Mass!
8) Say goodbye to Olympus cameras. Yes, it's only a small stake, but Sony has its own line of digital cameras and they wouldn't help a rival unless they planned on using them or owning them.
9) If you need a feel-good story today to cheer you up, here. His life story will be a movie, albeit made for TV, but it's a terrific story of a pretty great guy making good by doing good and having it all come back to him. I mean, really, how many major league pitchers write children's books or climb Kilimanjaro (both of which he's done)?
10) How bad are Mitt Romney's chances? David Brooks has stopped writing about politics.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Closing Door

Not that I believe Mitt Romney ever stood a chance of beating President Obama, for myriad reasons, but I think you can stick a fork in him right now, and we still have five weeks left.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, Mitt Romney currently appears to be losing the presidential election, and his problems are especially acute in Ohio, the state no Republican has ever won the presidency without. A new New York Times poll Wednesday put Romney a shocking 10 points behind Obama; even the most optimistic Democrats have a hard time believing the president, who won Ohio by less than 5 points in 2008, could win the state by 10 this time around. The most optimistic Republicans, for their part, do not believe any polls at all these days, since, in a highly suspicious coincidence, they are nearly unanimous in showing Romney behind.

Seeing the candidates campaign in the state back-to-back, as I did, neatly illustrated the divergent mood between the two camps -- one flailing, one on a confident roll. The Obama campaign is clicking on all cylinders, consistent, smoothly choreographed and slickly produced; Romney's appearances are a jumble, his tone of voice pleading to the point of desperation, his speech constantly improvised from a Frankenstinian array of spare messaging parts, never quite gelling into a focused whole. Obama's crowds are a Bieber-like fan-throng; Romney's are only passionately angry. A visitor from another planet who didn't speak a word of any human language could tell which one was up and which was down.

Indeed, things are so bleak for Romney that Obama is going to test out a trope that I had hoped would be employed more forcefully earlier: it's unAmerican to support Romney and his off-shoring of money and jobs:

"It's time for a new economic patriotism, rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class," Obama says in conclusion." Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney's and decide for yourself."

In a nation that is struggling to achieve even a moderate reduction in unemployment numbers, that a whole cadre of wealth remains in offshore bank accounts and investments is treasonous. Obama doesn't come out and say this, but it's in between the lines: a strong, thriving middle class doesn't have access to Bermuda hedge funds, Caymans private equity funds, or Swiss bank accounts, and a weak middle class doubly not.

Romney had seven years, literally, to uncouple himself from those investments (or at least dump them into a blind trust) because he had to know they'd be an issue and defending by saying "you're just jealous" doesn't change the fact that mobsters and other criminals use those same facilities for the same reason: to hide money.

Add to that the very real gaffes Romney commits on a weekly basis, from the primaries all the way to this past week, and you have the makings of a real sewer hole of a campaign.

Indeed, Romney's stench is so palpable, it's even infesting apparent jokes. This is the same benchmark the McCain/Palin campaign breached when Tina Fey satired "I can see Russia from my house!" It wasn't a Palin quote, but it described the situation so accurately that it stuck.

How desperate have things become for Republicans? They've resorted to blaming the pollsters.

Oh yes. It's not that Romney has been a terrible campaigner or that Romney was just a bad choice, no, it's the pollsters who somehow have conspired to show Romney flailing like a Little Leaguer facing CC Sabathia.

Because goodness knows, there's no competition to get it right and earliest! The long term effects of this kind of conspiring would be not only tragic, it would be actionable by any shareholders.

Here we have another example of the Republican anathema to science and mathematics. For the GOP, God's poll tells them otherwise because they pray nightly for a miracle.

I'm afraid that door is closing too. About the only miracle that could possibly save Romney is during the debates, where Barack Obama unmasks as Osama bin Laden. And even then, Romney would still trail by three in Ohio.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mitt Might Want To Shut Up

It's bad enough that Mitt Romney has stuffed his foot in his mouth all the way up to his hip on any number of occasions, but yesterday's criticism of President Obama for not being forthright enough on the attacks in Libya is treading dangerously close to treason.
Mitt Romney accused President Obama of failing to level with the American people by refusing to label the Sept. 11 attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya as an act of terrorism.

"I think they want to do their very best to keep the people of America from understanding what happened," Romney said Tuesday in an interview with Fox News in Ohio. "We expect candor. We expect transparency, particularly as it relates to terrorism."

Some White House officials, including Press Secretary Jay Carney, have described the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as an act of terrorism, but Obama has said only that it was something more than a "mob action." The administration has said that some of those who killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans "may have had connections" to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an offshoot of the terrorist network that is active in eastern Libya.

Mitt, in case you missed the class in Harvard or whatever pitiful excuse of a school you went to-- I say that, because it's obvious you learned nothing in there-- this is called "diplomacy." For the leader of a nation engaged in a delicate surgical operation in a hostile region of the world, this is how you proceed: you let the underlings rail about "terrorism" and "Al Qaeda," but the President must remain neutral until hard evidence, and I stress hard evidence, is presented that indeed, Al Qaeda or some other terror organization was behind the plot.

To speak otherwise is both futile and inflammatory. Much like your comments yesterday.

Now, I understand that you have to cling to whatever miniscule hope you have to unseat Obama, but you're starting to grasp at straws where the other end, if pulled out, could lead to a serious landslide as you climb that slippery slope.

Already, the Libyan president has moved against domestic militias, ordering the army into oversee their work. It's clear he believes there is more to this attack than just a movie on YouTube. At least one of the militias was responsible for organizing the demonstration at the Benghazi compound.

It's hard to say that's a terror attack, even if the evidence suggests it was. And that's why Obama won't.


To put pressure on him to reveal more of his thoughts could put the entire "Arab Spring Project," designed to protect Israel as well as American interests in the region, into peril. As a friend of Israel, you know this already.

So shut up and let the man do his job, mmmmmmmmmmmmK?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Apology Necessary

It looks like Obama is going to hit 'em and hit 'em hard:

Foreign policy is taking on new urgency in the presidential campaign as President Barack Obama prepares to address the United Nations amid a resurgence of unrest in the Muslim world and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, intensifies his criticism of the White House's approach to the region.

The president will condemn in his speech Tuesday to the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly the anti-Muslim video that sparked protests, according to excerpts of his speech. Violence in Libya led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, after a storming of a U.S. consulate in Libya.

Mr. Obama will refer to Mr. Stevens multiple times in his speech, citing the ambassador's approach to the region to challenge the U.N. to denounce the violence that has taken hold there and to underscore the values the U.S. is seeking to promote abroad with its policy toward the Arab Spring.

Mr. Obama also will stress the importance of those in the region condemning slander against Christians and Jews, people familiar with his speech said.

Mitt Romney, of course, stuck his head out his Learjet window and shouted down prematurely:

Mr. Romney accused the president Monday of playing down tumult in the Middle East, saying the U.S. needs to exert stronger leadership and that the president needs to do more to shape events abroad.

This is what they believe, believe it or not. It doesn't matter that the US has been instrumental in freeing Arab nations left and right. It doesn't matter that we do this at great risk and peril to not only our own populace, but those of Israel and Turkey, and by extension, NATO and Russia and China.

No. We have to walk around the globe like it's our own private Muscle Beach, flexing and preening (key word, that) like a musclebound oaf.

Diplomacy, peace and real security only come about when you respect the sovereignty and rights of the peoples of other nations. It only takes one side to say "Today, I will not commit war," and war will end eventually. If the goal is peace, then the less the army is used, the better the chances of achieving it.

True strength comes not from deploying troops at the drop of a hat, or against people who hold no harm towards us. I don't know that anyone disagrees with the original intent of a war in Afghanistan: to root out and destroy Al Qaeda and its allies.

And had that been the first war since World War II, I don't think anyone could find fault in deploying troops there. We would have been viewed as just and right, and would be dealing now from a position of world strength, our word being the only weapon needing deployment.

Unfortunately, this nation has a large segment of "fapscists," people who believe that regimenting the world in all senses of the world is the best way to achieve peace and security, when it only generates resentment and hatred. And then they'll say "they hate us for our freedom."

They don't hate us for our freedoms. They hate us because we don't want them to have that freedom.

The only apologies that America needs to make is that these asshats are dense and douchey but are allowed a megaphone instead of a kazoo.


Wall Street Journal: Beyond "Damnable Lies"

They cite "statistics" that have no bearing on the conversation. An example:
Either Mr. Obama inherited the largest deficit in American history or he won the 1944 election, but both can't be true. The biggest annual deficit the modern government has ever run was in 1943, equal to 30.3% of the economy, to mobilize for World War II. The next biggest years were the following two, at 22.7% and 21.5%, to win it.
Dollar figures, douchenozzle. He's not lying, you are, because you know what he means but choose to ignore it.

If I Was A Betting Man...

...I would not bet against this being manmade.