Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

“The Taliban is on the inside of the building”

That’s an amazing quote.  Jake Tapper, who has done a pretty fair job of chasing the Benghazi debacle through the denials of the administration, reports on the Congressional hearings held yesterday about the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

The former regional security officer in Libya, Eric Nordstrom, recalled talking to a regional director and asking for twelve security agents.

“His response to that was, ‘You are asking for the sun, moon and the stars.’ And my response to him – his name was Jim – ‘Jim, you know what makes most frustrating about this assignment? It is not the hardships, it is not the gunfire, it is not the threats. It is dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me. And I added (sic) it by saying, ‘For me the Taliban is on the inside of the building.’”

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, the commander of a Security Support Team (SST) sent home in August – against his wishes and, he says, the wishes of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens – said “we were fighting a losing battle. We couldn’t even keep what we had.”

Nordstrom agreed, saying, “it was abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. And the question that we would ask is again, ‘How thin does the ice need to get until someone falls through?’”

Patrick Kennedy, a career foreign service officer, claims, on his honor, that the denial wasn’t driven by politics.  And, when questioned, the State Department claimed funds or the lack thereof had nothing to do with it.

So what did?  Why in the world  wouldn’t the request of a regional security chief be filled?  After all, isn’t that what you pay him for, to assess and recommend?  And doesn’t it make sense, unless he’s crying “wolf” every 30 seconds (in which case he should be replaced), to listen to his assessment and err on the side of safety for your people?  That is if politics and money weren’t a factor.

Tapper later confronts Presidential spokesman Jay Carney with a very pointed question:

TAPPER: President Obama shortly after the attacks told “60 Minutes” that regarding Romney’s response to the attack, specifically in Egypt, the president said that Romney has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. Given the fact that so much was made out of the video that apparently had absolutely nothing to do with the attack on Benghazi, that there wasn’t even a protest outside the Benghazi post, didn’t President Obama shoot first and aim later?

Carney, of course, goes into full dissemble and evade mode.  Read the whole exchange, it’s interesting.

Big point?  Tapper’s exactly right.  What we know now, as opposed to what we were told prior too and during the “60 Minutes” broadcast, are totally different.  We went from a spontaneous protest over the anti-Islam video that mophed into a murderous attack on our ambassador there to no protest at all, a planned terrorist attack and all of it having to nothing to do with any video.

We know as a matter of course that the terrorists like to do things on certain anniversaries (it was 9/11) and since this was the year their leader had been killed, it stood to reason something like this would likely happen.

We also learned the US was warned about it 24 hours prior to it happening.  And, as the hearings have pointed out, additional security assets were denied numerous times and an unacceptable security situation was left in place with the ultimate outcome being an attack, the murder of US citizens to include the Ambassador, the compromise of sensitive information and then a massive attempt at coverup.

Obama has a second debate coming up.  It’s the foreign affairs debate.  If this isn’t the topic of the night, then it will be clear he’s being covered for by those moderating the debate.  Fair warning.  Don’t be surprised if that’s the case.  What should also be a topic is Russia’s refusal yesterday to renew it’s nuclear arms treaty with the US (how’s that “reset” working out?) as well as it’s overt and material support of both Syria and Iran, China’s apparent comfort with bullying our ally Japan over some South China Sea islands, why our relationship with Israel is so strained, how well he thinks the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt is working out in terms of the best interests of the US (which is, by the way, why we supposedly conduct foreign policy), and the obvious failure of his Afghanistan “strategy” (announce a surge at the same time you announce the pull out).

If those are actually things which are brought up and he walks off the stage afterward thinking he won, Dems can pack it in.

My guess is we’ll be hearing questions and comments about Bain’s investments in China (they have to be careful there since it seems one of Obama’s campaign finance bundlers is in China), as if that has anything to do with foreign affairs.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong and that dismal foreign affairs record (supposedly his “strength”) of this awful administration is actually brought out that night.

I’ll not be holding my breath though.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

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As the left calls Romney a “liar”, Thomas Sowell exposes the real liar

Pay attention because this is important.

A week or so ago, a video from a 2007 Obama speech surfaced in which he used race baiting tactics to exploit the Hurricane Katrina disaster as proof that Republicans didn’t care for Black Americans.

In his speech — delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn’t use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience — he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.

Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.

Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be “part of the American family.” But the people in New Orleans — predominantly black — “they don’t care about as much,” according to Barack Obama.

Got it?  That was the crux of the speech.  Now remember, when delivered, he was a US Senator.  And remember too that the speech was delivered on the 5th of June, 2007.

Why is that significant?

Here’s why:

Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.

So on the 5th of June, Senator Barack Obama got up and told a lie.  A known falsehood.  The Stafford Act had already been waived.  In the United States Senate.  You know, the body to which he was an elected member?

And if you can believe it, it gets worse:

The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against – repeat, AGAINST — the legislation which included the waiver.

Sowell says:

Some people in the media have tried to dismiss this and other revelations of Barack Obama’s real character that have belatedly come to light as “old news.” But the truth is one thing that never wears out. The Pythagorean Theorem is 2,000 years old, but it can still tell you the distance from home plate to second base (127 ft.) without measuring it. And what happened five years ago can tell a lot about Barack Obama’s character — or lack of character.

I don’t use the word “liar” much.  Politicians stretch facts, spin them to their own advantage, etc.  But there are certain instances when the word is very appropriate.

This is one of them.  And, as Sowell implies, that’s why this isn’t “old news”.

So next time you see the left deploy the  word “liar”, refer them to this “old news” and remind them about “glass houses”.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

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Obama loves the perks of office, but he’s not too crazy about the job

Alana Goodman provides some validation to my assertion that Barack Obama likes the perks of being President, but really isn’t that crazy about the job itself.

First though, some interesting info on debates and Obama:

According to the Times, Obama also deeply dislikes debates. It might be understandable if this was because he found them challenging and outside of his comfort zone. But that’s not what the Times reports. Obama apparently dislikes debates because he views them as “media-driven gamesmanship… something to endure, rather than an opportunity.” In other words, debates are below him. It’s not that he’s a weak debater, it’s that the debate format is too trivial for the likes of Barack Obama.

And, of course, he holds Romney in “disdain”, which likely makes it even harder.  What will be interesting is whether someone who dislikes debates and the person he has to debate can rally and do what is necessary in the next two debates.  Ummm … probably not.

But on to the main point.  Goodman talks about Obama as President failing at the very personal level, a level that requires an ability he just doesn’t seem to have the self-discipline to exercise.  And it isn’t in just one sphere or area.  It is an across the board inability to form relationship with critical demographics and people.

This isn’t the first major aspect of the presidency (and campaigns) that Obama reportedly disdains. George W. Bush wasn’t a fantastic debater, but he was considered a great communicator in person. Obama, in contrast, doesn’t appear to enjoy personal interaction in general. He knocks debates as “gamesmanship,” but he also doesn’t like socializing. And as the New Yorker reported, he’s alienated major donors because he hasn’t been able to build relationships with them.

Obama’s interpersonal struggles have also caused him problems in the policy realm. He dislikes working with members of congress, and his disengagement from the legislative side of the political process has been criticized routinely by both Republicans andDemocrats. The same goes for foreign policy. The New York Times reported that Obama’s difficulty dealing with the Arab Spring has stemmed from his “impatience with old-fashioned back-room diplomacy” and “failure to build close personal relationships with foreign leaders.”

According to Game Change author John Heilemann, Obama is one of those rare politicians who “don’t like people…[and] don’t like politics.”

Goodman asks, “so why is he running for re-election”.  Here’s a politician who doesn’t like politics and doesn’t like people?

See title.  It’s good to be the top dog and enjoy all the perks.  Work?

Yeah, see, that’s for the little people.  I mean he’s never had to work before, why would he want too now?

But give him 4 more years, will you?  He hasn’t had all the Wagyu beef he wants at this point.  And it’s cool having your own airplane at your beck and call if you want to jet off somewhere for dinner.  How cool?  $1.4 billion cool … the cost to taxpayers to keep the president in the style to which he’s become accustomed.

The more we learn about this guy, the less he seems right for the job.  Of course the past 4 years have pretty much proven that, despite Andrew Sullivan’s claim that his record is just sterling, he’s been an abject, incompetent failure.  He hasn’t grown in the job, he’s shrunk.  The debate performance was just his version of a shoulder shrug.  He doesn’t know his job.  How can he debate it?

I got a laugh out of Sullivan’s melt down though (a few actually):

And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying.

It should be.  The guy (and Sullivan) actually thinks he’s done a good job.  Yet, as  Sullivan goes on to say,  somehow in one night, Obama managed to lose the 18 point lead he had among women.  Gee, you think they figured out that he’s still not ready for prime time, even after 4 years of OJT?

But Sullivan does manage to ask the pregnant question of the moment:

How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement?

You don’t.  Not if that image is indeed the first image of the political season like it likely was for many of the almost 70 million who tuned in.

What they saw was a guy on one side who was energized, engaging and articulate.  On the other side they saw the guy who is President.  My guess is they concluded he really didn’t want to be President after that performance.

I think they’re probably right.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

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Economic Statistics for 9 Oct 12

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped more than a point to 92.8, which is generally regarded as a recessionary reading.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook reports a year-on-year sales growth rate of a below trend 1.6% in the latest week. ICSC-Goldman reports slightly better sales, with weekly sales growth at 0.2%, and year-over-year growth at 2.8%.

~
Dale Franks
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New Pew Poll puts Romney in the lead. WaPo questions poll’s validity

Funny stuff.  All of us out here who have been questioning the accuracy of various presidential polls and being called “poll truthers” (lord help you if you question the establishment or authority) now see a poll that favors the GOP candidate being called into question by none other than the Washington Post.

The Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press released a poll that puts Mitt Romney in the lead for the first time in their polling (Rasmussen also released a poll with Romney in the lead).

The Pew poll keys off the first debate, Romney’s big win and says:

In turn, Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46% to 46%) after trailing by nine points (42% to 51%) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters (1,112 likely voters), finds that 67% of Romney’s backers support him strongly, up from 56% last month. For the first time in the campaign, Romney draws as much strong support as does Obama.

“Likely voters”, as we’ve mentioned in the past, is the key demographic.  Forget registered voters.  Among likely voters, Pew is recording a 12 point swing.  That’s pretty significant.  You can hit the Pew link to go through all the particulars.

So what’s WaPo’s disagreement with the poll? Well they don’t really “disagree” so much as imply there might be a problem with the poll’s makeup (you know, the same thing we “poll truthers” have been talking about for months):

That pesky party ID question: The Pew sample for this poll was 36 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 30 percent independent.  That’s a major shift from the organization’s September poll which was 29 percent Republican, 39 percent Democratic and 30 percent independent.  In the 2010 election, the electorate was 36 percent Republican, 36 percent Democratic and 27 percent independent, according to exit polling. In 2008, 39 percent of the electorate identified as Democrats while 32 percent said they were Republicans and 29 percent said they were independents.

So in this poll, Pew was R+5.  That’s different than the D+8 they ran in September.  There’s you 12 point shift.  Of course in 2010, they were completely wrong calling the D/R split even.  Republicans ran a historic blow out during that election taking 60 seats in the House.  In 2008, they were probably slightly undercounting self-identified Democrats.  But not this time as Pew points out in their survey.  Enthusiasm among GOP voters is up.  It isn’t up among Democrats.  And that, one supposes, is the Pew justification for plussing the GOP on this poll.

September polls are notoriously inaccurate.  Polling companies, at least those who want to continue to be taken seriously, refine their models as they approach an election.  This poll appears to be an example of that.  As should be obvious to anyone who pays attention, the excitement, support and enthusiasm Obama enjoyed in 2008 doesn’t exist in this election, at least not anywhere to the degree it did then.  That means the ratios have changed.  Whether or not R+5 is the correct weight polls should give the GOP vote remains to be seen, but it certainly makes a lot more sense than D+8, the number we “poll truthers” were questioning all along.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

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Quote of the Day – Fine Arts and Capitalism edition

Or perhaps it could be called the wages of the liberal cant (Camille Paglia):

Capitalism has its weaknesses. But it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.

[...]

Thus we live in a strange and contradictory culture, where the most talented college students are ideologically indoctrinated with contempt for the economic system that made their freedom, comforts and privileges possible. In the realm of arts and letters, religion is dismissed as reactionary and unhip. The spiritual language even of major abstract artists like Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko is ignored or suppressed.

Thus young artists have been betrayed and stunted by their elders before their careers have even begun. Is it any wonder that our fine arts have become a wasteland?

I’ve truly never understood how one does what is routinely done by those who denounce Capitalism – live on and enjoy it’s benefits while calling for its destruction.  I don’t see how anyone who would describe themselves as intelligent could live with the contradiction.

Unless, of course, they have a completely twisted and warped understanding of what Capitalism is.  And, frankly, that’s precisely from what most of them suffer.  They’re spoon fed this ignorant pap without opposition.  They get the one side.  They have Capitalism defined and characterized as something it’s not and leave believing that definition to be true.

Obviously that mischaracterization would fall mostly within liberal academic pursuits I’m guessing (because they’re unlikely to be pursuing business or economic courses in those pursuits, and thus would never be exposed to what Capitalism is really).  So Paglia’s point makes sense.  These students are indeed “indoctrinated”.  I don’t know how else you describe “teaching” with no balance, with no valid opposing view presented, as anything but indoctrination.

Of course, she describes the result of such a twisted orthodoxy.  Art which must conform to the orthodoxy and, as a result, is mostly rejected by the vast majority of the real world.  It has gone from being “edgy” and “out there” or a “comment on our culture/society/whatever” to being another example of the same old thing – bashing what others hold sacred or dear.  They can’t imagine why others don’t like it or want it.

Of course, when it doesn’t sell, well, that’s Capitalism’s fault.

And why shouldn’t these enlightened few demand subsidies for their “art?”  After all, we have no taste and certainly don’t have the intelligence to discern what is or isn’t profound.  We owe them such support.

Capitalism?  Well that stands in the way, doesn’t it?  It requires they produce something of value to others, not just of value to themselves, doesn’t it.

Down with Capitalism.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

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Charts from hell (for Obama)

It’s worse than you thought and, of course, worse than they projected.  Here’s the updated deficit spending chart:

Check out the gray “actual” numbers for the last two years.  There is nothing trending down.  Reminds one of the promises about unemployment and the “stimulus”, doesn’t it?

As for your part, well, nothing unexpected there – you’re and your kids and their kids are on the hook for a lot more than projected as well:

Yup, let’s give him 4 more years, shall we?  I’m sure his administration could change the direction of this chart as well.  We could “unexpectedly” owe $40,000 each by the time that term finished up.

Obviously it must be me, because I cannot figure out why anyone would contemplate giving such an abject failure another 4 yearshot at making their lives even worse.  It’s time for a little accountability.

Seriously – I believe in second chances, however I don’t believe everyone deserves one.  Barack Obama is one of those who doesn’t deserve a second chance.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 07 Oct 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about the election.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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Stray voltage …

Excuse me while I ramble.

–Are the unemployment numbers “cooked”?  Well, let’s put it this way, the math required to make such a drop possible doesn’t seem to be supportable.  IBD did a little of it for us:

The economy created just 114,000 jobs in September, yet the number of people employed somehow rocketed up by 873,000 and the number of unemployed plummeted by 456,000.

Point?  There weren’t 873k jobs created in September.  But the BLS did manage to find 360k new jobs that somehow weren’t counted, according to them, between March of 2011 and March of 2012.  How convenient.

There may very well have been 456k who were dropped from the unemployment rolls.  In fact, there may have been more.  But the combination of the two numbers is a 1.3 million job swing.  That “swing” is what it would take to drop the unemployment rate that much.  Now it is entirely possible 456k  or more were dropped from the unemployment rolls.  It’s that first number you need to question.

–Have you ever seen a more pathetic performance by a side that lost a debate?  Instead of admitting their guy sucked that night, it turned into a “he lied” or “he cheated” montage that seemed as though every pundit on the left, both on line and off line got one of two alternating sets of talking points.

Look, Obama was terrible that night.  Like I said, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that Obama loves the perks of the office, but isn’t real crazy about the job.  He loves to campaign, but as political Barbie would say, “governing is hard.”  He has no problem accepting accolades, but simply doesn’t believe he should have to do anything to earn them.  And finally, he’s worse than a 3rd grader about trying to blame everyone or everything else for his shortcomings.

That all caught up with him the other night.  For the first time in his life, he had to stand there and face the music about his record.  He was shown how much of a failure he was in no uncertain terms and, frankly, I think he was stunned into a lethargic performance.

2nd debate?  Oh he’s going to be a tiger in that one, but will it matter?  Over 50 million tuned in to watch this last one.  My guess is they’ll be lucky to get half that for the second (I think the VP debate – the anticipation is just, well, overwhelming – will draw more viewers).  The 1st debate was the critical debate.   That is where the undecided went to decide.  Mitt Romney got to talk with them unfiltered by the media.  And of course, the media then had to deny that was the “real” Mitt Romney because they had spent so much time over the intervening weeks building a different one in their narrative.

–Is there more of a scandal right now (Fast and Furious is an ongoing one) than the Benghazi Consulate murders?  We’re fed a line about the attack there being about a video when those of us with more than two brain cells to rub against each other knew, upon hearing even the sketchy early details, that it had nothing to do with a video. For heaven sake it was 9/11 on the year that Osama bin Laden had been killed.  AQ was going to do something and like all organizations with even semi-competent leadership they knew to pick on a place that was incredibly weak.  Thus Benghazi.

We get all sorts of denial from the administration, sticking with the narrative about the video, while it became more apparent as every new detail leaked out that it was anything but a spontaneous demonstration.  Finally, when they could deny it no more, they sorta, kinda admitted it was a terrorist attack.  Well some of them did. Others weren’t sure.

Benghazi had asked the State Department a reported 13 times for extra security … and been denied.  It was about as secure as your house.  It was full of sensitive information.  And all of that has to be assumed to have been compromised (why such information was kept in such an unsecure location remains a mystery, because the media won’t ask).

Finally, the administration sends in the FBI, weeks after the incident and the FBI team stays there a total of 12 hours.  12 freakin’ hours.  You think that bunch is at all interested in getting to the bottom of this?

And don’t forget, this next debate is going to be about how strong Obama is in foreign affairs.

His Middle East initiatives have crashed and burned, China’s feels it can bully our ally Japan and Russia is all but thumbing their nose at us as pertains to Iran, and this is his strong point?

Hate to see his weak point …oh, wait … we’re living it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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