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    • Obama’s Speech on War with the Islamic State
      Let’s just quickly point out the obvious: air power only works if you have effective ground troops backing it up, or your enemy is easily dissuaded from war by losses of infrastructure. Otherwise it wrecks great destruction, and does little more. To put it simply, this strategy will certainly help those fighting the IS, but [...]
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Post Debate Wrap Up: Droooooonnnnes

Update: Leave it to The Onion:

Obama Takes Out Romney in Mid-Debate Drone Attack

BOCA RATON, FL—Saying that the high-value target represented a major threat to their most vital objectives, Obama administration officials confirmed tonight that former governor Mitt Romney was killed by a predator drone while attending a presidential debate at Lynn University.

[...]

“Our information indicated that the target, who had been recently spotted in Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado, was traveling all around America and had access to a fortune consisting of hundreds of millions of dollars,” a military spokesperson said of the mission to “find and kill” the Detroit-born politician “no matter what the cost.” “When we received credible evidence that Romney was going to be in the vicinity of Lynn University the evening of Oct. 22, we realized our opportunity had arisen.”

Hey!  We’ve got ships that go underwater!
And drones.

Turns out Romney likes drones too, the ultimate rings of Gyges.

Cheap, effective, easy to use.  What’s not to love?  Oh sure, no one intends to abuse them and use them against people who we simply do not like, including our fellow Americans, but that’s what’s going to happen.  There’s nothing to stop us from using them any way we want.  Abuse is inevitable without a moratorium and examination of their threat to our civil liberties.  I’m starting to see a pattern of loss of our liberties at the same time technology is accelerating at a rapid pace.  We are not taking the time to safeguard ourselves before we go gung-ho into the next hot tech thing.

IMHO, war has to be personally expensive so that people will be discrouraged from getting into one.   (Note that  while I don’t love war, I am not a Chomskyesque pacifist.) But drones are like land mines.  The people who exercise the power  to use them don’t have to stick around for the slaughter.  They wash their hands and pick up their joysticks.  Those hits cease to be real people after awhile.  The operators *have* to disconnect eventually or they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs, just like the traders and brokers have to stop thinking about screwing hard working people out of their pension funds.  If they didn’t think about that tomorrow, how would they make the big bucks for their companies and themselves today?

As for who won, neither did.  Mitt and Obama don’t really differ all that much when it comes to foreign policy.  It’s just that their goals are different.

Mitt had Obama in defense mode for a good portion of the middle of the debate when he saw an opening to attack Obama’s domestic policies.  Obama had Mitt on the defensive at the end just because after four years in office, Even a guy as indifferent to the suffering of others as Obama eventually learned something about foreign policy.   Maybe that will make a difference to some people but you’d have to be a hard core, chickenshit Democratic loyalist to find anything worthy or inspiring in Obama’s halting, maze-like, non-sequitor laced sentences that wander off to the desert.  I thought someone would have to send out a search party for the point he was trying to make, assuming there was one.  I didn’t get to watch him much this time but he sounded as dweebish as Dukakis again.

So, anyway, that’s my take on it, for what it’s worth.  As the election gets  nearer I am more and more comfortable voting third party.

Obama running a Corzine campaign?

The polls do not look good.  No, they do not.  Even if you toss out the outlier Gallup poll, the race shouldn’t be this close.  It is beginning to feel like the Democrats were relying on tribalism and identity more than seeing this race as a referendum on Obama’s performance.

I’m looking around the web and it seems like a lot of people are in denial.  They know there’s something wrong but they’re afraid to look or go to the doctor, hoping that come election day, it will have cleared itself up.  I wouldn’t take that attitude if I were them.  Romney may win this thing not because people genuinely want a Republican but because the Democrat is just so uninspiring and contemplating four more years of lackluster performance and capitulation to the Republicans is very depressing and may make them stay home.

The weird thing is that Obama’s campaign is appealing to Republicans and Independents while leaving the Democratic base demoralized.  Who the heck does the Democratic party expect to come to their rescue??  The Lone Ranger?  Are they going to work Bill Clinton into an early grave on the campaign trail?

Anyway, whatever it is, they’d better get on the stick.  The Republicans sure look like they’re playing to win.

 

VP debate tonight and stray thought from 2008

Tonight is the Vice Presidential debate between Joe “the cop between my brain and my mouth is at the donut shop” Biden and Paul “Ayn Rand is my goddess” Ryan.  We should do another live blog but since the body language thing has become chic this year, maybe we should watch and listen this time.  OR, we could turn off the visuals and just listen.

Anyway, it just occurred to me that maybe one of the reasons Barack Obama did so poorly in his first debate appearance this year is because in 2008, he was actually running against Sarah Palin.  Oh sure he was.  That’s all the general campaign was about, how much smarter and more qualified Barack Obama was compared to Sarah Palin.  John McCain hardly entered the picture at all.  I think I noticed it back then too but it didn’t occur to me that this might be why his debate performances in 2008 were not a fiasco.  He was all confident and cocky about beating Sarah, that was the real race that his campaign had set up in everyone’s mind.

Plus, he was running a game of “whack a racist”.  ANY criticism of Obama was twisted to be a racial slur.  It was quite effective.  Combined with his race against Sarah, how was a liberal supposed to effectively evaluate Obama?  Any legitimate criticism of him was muted and he was running against a woman who the left had dehumanized and characterized as the stupidest person on the planet.

This year, it’s different.  Visually, Mitt is very presidential.  He’s a big, tall man with presidential hair and an engaging vital manner.  He’s also a Republican, which in my humble opinion, is unforgivable.  But that’s not the point.  As Obama supposedly believes, debates are sideshows.  From a policy perspective, they’re meaningless.  But I think they serve a purpose that can’t be underrated.  In the modern debate, we get as close as we can to hand to hand combat between chieftains of competing clans.  It *is* physical.  That’s why it was important that Michael Dukakis looked short, that Richard Nixon sweat and that Barack Obama looked like he didn’t want to be there.

It might have also done in Hillary because at 5’7″, she had to look feisty to compete with his taller frame and longer limbs. He took up more space and with a female opponent, he strut his macho stuff and acted dismissively when she talked. It might not have been enough that she was the smartest person in the room who had done her homework and could whip up a policy in 30 seconds flat.  To the liberals and progressives who were afraid of losing again, she had to look more like Boudicca than Hermione Granger.

Boudicca, ass-kicking queen of the Britons
(bears striking resemblance to Julia Gillard)

Nevertheless, she took him on and won her debates with him to such an extent that he refused to debate her again during the primaries after she beat him in Pennsylvania. He sought out a friendlier crowd in NC the next day to lick his wounds, flip her the bird and brush the dirt off his shoulders.  It has often been said that he doesn’t like confrontation and that NC appearance showed that he was much better at acting like the mean BMOC when he was with his adoring fans than taking her on and losing to her again.

It’s been awhile since I read MoDo but I dropped into her column yesterday and she seems to have matured ever so slightly.  She’s not so flip these days, probably because her mancrush in 2008 turned out to be far worse for women that the woman she mocked for two decades.  Maybe she’s learned her lesson.  She also seems more than a little alarmed.  Oh sure, Obama will do better next time.  Someone will have figured out how he’s supposed to debate a real general campaign opponent.  But MoDo suggests it’s more serious than that:

Just as Poppy Bush didn’t try as hard as he should have because he assumed voters would reject Slick Willie, Obama lapsed into not trying because he assumed voters would reject Cayman Mitt.

The president averted his eyes as glittering opportunities passed, even when Romney sent a lob his way with a reference to his accountant.

Obama has been coddled by Valerie Jarrett, the adviser who sat next to Michelle at the debate, instead of the more politically strategic choice of local pols and their spouses. Jarrett believes that everyone must woo the prodigy who deigns to guide us, not the other way around.

At a fund-raising concert in San Francisco Monday night, the president mocked Romney’s star turn, saying “what was being presented wasn’t leadership; that’s salesmanship.”

It is that distaste for salesmanship that caused Obama not to sell or even explain health care and economic policies; and it is that distaste that caused him not to sell himself and his policies at the debate. His latest fund-raising plea is marked “URGENT.” But in refusing to muster his will and energy, and urgently sell his vision, he underscores his own lapses in leadership and undermines arguments for four more years.

The debate was an uncomfortable window into Obama’s style in all things presidential.  What is urgent to you is not an emergency to him.  He’s smaller than we thought, less secure, confident and sure of his experience.  He doesn’t look like the alpha male commanding his clan.  He’s the guy who seeks assistance from the moderator with ingratiating comments.  That Obama doesn’t stand a chance against a real presidential candidate and not the carefully crafted illusions his campaign spun for him to do battle with four years ago.  And that is the weak prince we have had in office for four years while the barbarians knocked down the gates.

In a way, a strong showing by Joe Biden this evening might just do Obama in.

*********************************
And here’s another quote from that MoDo column that I find deeply disturbing:

Once during the 2008 campaign, reading about all the cataclysms jolting the economy and the world, Obama joked to an adviser: “Maybe I should throw the game.”

Can someone confirm whether he really said that?
Unbelievable.

Oh, dear! Mitt was mean to Obama

The left blogosphere is all atwitter today and heading for the fainting couch because Mitt kicked Obama’s ass last night. Did this meme come from the campaign-blogger meeting this morning?   I’m guessing the last thing Obama’s campaign wants is for blue collar women to show up at the polls.  I mean, isn’t what all of those “Romney is a bad dude who doesn’t care about you” exercises have been about all summer and into the fall?  The Obama campaign seems fairly desperate to suppress the blue collar womens’ vote because those women want nothing more than…

… for someone to kick the shit out of Obama.

And last night gave them hope.

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  Those lady voters, and by this, oh best beloveds, he means the former Clintonistas who were royally screwed by Obama last time, they’re too genteel for all the aggressive behavior that Mitt displayed last night?  Oh, my, I think they might have the vapors. They’re delicate, fragile flowers and unfit for such improprieties.  It’s not decent!  We shall whip them into a frenzy of condemnation.  We shall use their more civilized nature to reign Romney in.  He won’t be allowed to do that next time, nosiree.

Fuck that shit.  No one cared about their feelings in 2008 when they were called every nasty thing in the book and Obama trolls stomped on their necks with big hobnailed boots while singing in the rain.  Hell no, back then, the Clintonistas, educated and self-taught, professional and hourly employee, young and old, were tossed into the pile of stupid working class, menopausal, racist idiots.  They were the dirt on Obama’s shoulder.  He had 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.   His speech writers grasped breasts and stuck beer bottles up his opponent’s nose.  They were locked out of caucus sites, harassed and screamed at and called names even I have a problem typing out.  Their votes were trashed and they were told to get in line because they had nowhere else to go.  Remember?  Because WE do.

They wanted nothing more than to work Obama and his assholes over themselves.  But you know, with it being all illegal and stuff, they were more than happy to see Mitt do it by proxy.  Oh sure, some of them may get all dainty and regret that it looked brutal but secretly, they’re delighted.  Maybe Mitt will govern like an asskicker, maybe he won’t.  But as far as the ladies are concerned, he can’t do a whole lot worse than Obama has and if his goal was to motivate these women who Obama has all but written off, then I think it might have gotten their attention. Let’s face it, Obama had permanently alienated these women and was never going to get their votes.  He just needs to prevent Romney from getting them. Suddenly, we’re relevant.

It doesn’t mean they’re all going to run out and vote for Mitt in November.  Some of us haven’t let our anger get the better of our senses.  But if Romney went after Obama last night aggressively, and from his body language, it looked more assertive than aggressive, then indignant moralizing about it today just looks like Obama can’t take it.  Either that or he doesn’t like blue collar women voters any more than Republicans like African Americans in Philadelphia.  One party tries to use the law to keep their undesirables from voting against them at the polls, the other uses social conditioning, psychological manipulation and group dynamics to keep their undesirables from going to the polls to vote against them.

But nobody’s fooled.  Well, after this post, no one will be fooled.

Addendum:  It just occurred to me that until this year, no one had ever really gone for Obama’s jugular in a debate.  In 2008, moderators tiptoed around Obama and everyone went out of their way to self-censor everything they said lest they be accused of being racist.  So, Obama might have gone into that debate expecting the same deference and Mitt blindsided him.

Oh well.  He should have seen that coming.

Presidential Debate Live blog 1: Pete and Repete

Good evening, Conflucians.  It’s that time of the year again when our quadrennial election cluster%^& shifts into high gear.  The operatives have scoured the blogs for all the right buzz words and have carefully crafted sound bites for tonight’s entertainment.

Ah, but we at the Confluence do things differently.  We like to watch the debates without the sound so we can pay close attention to body language.  However, if there are readers out there who want to keep us up to date on what each person said in the timeline, that’s cool too.  Very helpful, in fact, so we can roughly coordinate our impressions with the speaker.

This year’s debate features Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Party affiliation is not helpful this time since Mitt Romney is a relatively moderate Republican posing as a right wing nutcase and Barack Obama is a moderate Republican posing as a Democrat.  Since I don’t really have a dog in this fight (I don’t like either of them), that might be good for my objectivity.  If you feel likewise, join in!  Grab your beer, tune in to your favorite debate channel, set your DVR, or watch it online on C-Span, like I intend to do, and turn the sound off.  I guarantee you won’t miss a thing.  The media will be rerunning the highlights for days and C-Span usually runs the whole thing in its entirety.

Ready.  Set.  Go!

Who cares??

 

If you’re going to build a 90,000 sq ft home, don’t make it look like the Bellagio.
It’s tacky.

So Mitt goes to a fundraiser and tells his donors just what they want to hear.  47% of Americans are lazy, parasites.

In 2008, Obama went to a fundraiser and told his donors just what they wanted to hear. A lot of voters are stupid, gun totin’, knuckle draggers.

You know what this tells me?

Big money donors don’t know squat about what it’s like to live in America without a trust fund and a portfolio of hedge fund investments.  AND they tend to judge books by their covers and their mamas didn’t raise them right.

In other words, these people, and their candidates, have nothing to do with me.

You can elect whoever you want in 2012.  There will be some people who will tell you that picking a specific presidential candidate makes a difference.  Based on how they talk to their donors, I don’t see it that way.  I don’t like either of these people and how they talk to their donors doesn’t phase me in the least.  Last year, I was paying more than enough in taxes to keep a family of four above the poverty line.  This year, I make below the poverty line in income.  So, in a year, I’ve gone from 25 years of responsibility as a drug designer of cancer therapies to a deadbeat, indistinguishable from the trailer trash, high school dropout without teeth who thinks Jerry Springer has high-falutin’ guests.

I think we have the donors to thank for that.

I’ve got more important things to worry about than how clueless a bunch of rich people are.  Their day is coming when they have taken the last bit of value off the top of the mountain and their whole reason for being is suddenly meaningless.  Maybe after that, they’ll realize that they’ve got a problem.

But that is not my concern right now.  And, frankly, I don’t really give a damn.

 

When all you’ve got are metaphors

Paul Krugman is wrong:

Dean Baker has exactly the right metaphor for journalists asking the really dumb “are you better off” question:

Suppose your house is on fire and the firefighters race to the scene. They set up their hoses and start spraying water on the blaze as quickly as possible. After the fire is put out, the courageous news reporter on the scene asks the chief firefighter, “is the house in better shape than when you got here?”

Yes, that would be a really ridiculous question.

A serious reporter asks the fire chief if he had brought a large enough crew, if they enough hoses, if the water pressure was sufficient. That might require some minimal knowledge of how to put out fires.

Obama came to office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. The question should be how well he dealt with that crisis — and in particular whether the man seeking to replace him would have done better.

I am by no means a Ronald Reagan fan. But, WOW — his question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” is exactly the right question to ask whenever a president runs for reelection. I just wish Ted Kennedy had thought to ask it so plainly during his primary run.  It might have saved us all a lot of grief.  Or maybe not. So. Not “really dumb,” not even “dumb” — of course there are other questions to ask but I think we can handle that.

If you can’t run on your record then all you’ve got are metaphors

But, the “dumb” crack is only one weakness in Krugman’s argument. The real weakness is that he’s following what is obviously a Democratic Party Talking Point and discussing Obama’s history as president and his current campaign as if he exists in an alternate universe.

Let’s take a quick side trip to another alternate universe as an example in this post by Vast Left Wing Conspiracy:

Note that amid the various threads that split off from this, Aravosis says at one point: “perhaps it’s more accurate to say country is better off and people would be far worse right now if McCain had won.”

But the question at hand wasn’t “would an alt-reality term by the vanquished opponent have been worse?” It was the traditional query about how American citizens fared under the incumbent’s tenure

(I would encourage you to take a look at Vast Left’s post because — well, you’ll hate yourself later if you don’t)

Krugman blows right past the importance of Obama’s record as president and right into a question that is possibly weirder than than Aravosis’s (although Aravosis totally wins the bizarre metaphor competition.) I’ll repeat:

Obama came to office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. The question should be how well he dealt with that crisis — and in particular whether the man seeking to replace him would have done better.

Does Krugman REALLY expect that voters are supposed to imagine that Romney ran in 2008 and compare that alt-administration against Obama’s? Because I think that’s dumb.

From my point of view (and granted, I’m not an economist) – I have to wonder why 4 years after my house burned down nothing has been done to rebuild it.

And – as Dan H asked, why haven’t the arsonists been prosecuted.

Obama isn’t running against McCain this year (or Romney in 2008!!) – that’s a done deal. He’s running against his own record and Mitt Romney. Which should have been a joke campaign considering Romney’s history of making a personal contribution to raising the unemployment rate.

That Obama is running neck and neck against the guy shows that Unemployment is likely a critical issue in this race. And many of Obama’s 2008 voters aren’t impressed with his record on the issue.

There is a reason that Team Obama is throwing around all these metaphors — it’s all he’s got to offer us.

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