As Venezuela slowly starves and the economy has all but shut down, guess who the richest person in the country might be?
The daughter of Hugo Chavez, the former president who once declared ‘being rich is bad,’ may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets.
Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports.
The figure would make Gabriela Chavez wealthier than media mogul Gustavo Cisneros, whom Forbes named the wealthiest Venezuelan earlier this year with $3.6billion in assets.
I know … purely a coincidence. But it does prove, if true, that socialism does pay … those in charge (I’m sure this wasn’t something he saved up from his army pay). The rest? They get stores with nothing on the shelves and hyper-inflation. Brilliant.
Jazz Shaw is thinking Hillary may shrug off email flap (he’s speaking purely in a political sense, not if someone grows a pair and actually arrests and indicts her):
The bottom line is that there are a significant number of Americans out there – mostly Democrats, but not all – who seem to be telling us, yes, you’ve made your point. Hillary is all those things you said she was. But what the heck. I’ll vote for her. And one of the major reasons for this is that this email server story simply isn’t resonating with people.
Well, to be fair, it’s not resonating with those people. The reason it isn’t resonating with other people is they really haven’t heard much about it thanks to the media. But for those that have, they want the allegations investigated. Look, yellow dog Democrats are going to vote for their particular yellow dog – regardless of the cur’s pedigree, problems or evidence against it. In this case I think Clinton will find a minion to take the fall, and, in effect, will shrug it off. But that doesn’t change Shaw’s point … even if she’s in prison orange, those people will vote for her.
Megan McArdle talks about the nonsense that is going on at colleges everywhere. That is the cosseting of the student body who have become so fearful of ideas that they don’t like that they invoke “safety” as their concern.
Students demanding that campus life be bowdlerized to preserve their peace of mind seem to believe that the best way to deal with trauma is to avoid any mention of it. But Lukianoff and Haidt argue that this is exactly backward; chronic avoidance breeds terror. The current climate on campus is a recipe for producing fearful adults who are going to have difficulty coping in an adult world. It’s as if we were trying to prepare the next generation of American citizens by keeping them in kindergarten until the age of 23.
I’m not sure that anyone should be surprised. These are the kids who come from the era of everyone gets a trophy and we don’t keep score so the other team won’t feel bad. Why in the world would any one expect anything else from them. When they finally gain the halls of ivy, they’re conditioned to eschew competition. So the idea of competing ideas, especially ideas they’re not comfortable with, is terrifying.
They’ll do great in the real world, won’t they?
Meanwhile, on another planet:
If Vice President Joe Biden makes the leap into the Democratic presidential race, he could promise that he would serve just one term in the White House, journalist and author Carl Bernstein said Friday.
“And one thing that I keep hearing about Biden is that if he were to declare and say, because age is such a problem for him if he does, I want to be a one-term president. I want to serve for four years, unite Washington. I’ve dealt with the Republicans in Congress all my public life,” Bernstein told CNN’s “New Day.”
“I think there’s a conversation going on to that effect among his aides and friends,” he said. “It could light fire to the current political environment.”
It would be a back-fire, if anything. Anyway, the circus could use one more clown.
Okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun, but I lived through Jimmy Carter, and I’d take that mess again in a heartbeat over the one we’re currently living through.
It’s always interesting to read what is being said about Obama and the Democrats, especially by some of the usual cheerleaders for that bunch. Here’s Michael O’Brien of NBC News:
“President Barack Obama’s seemingly hands-off management style is raising fresh questions and concerns that could upend his second-term legacy. Claims by the administration and other Democrats that Obama didn’t know about sensitive matters in his own administration — such as problems with the health care website and revelations of National Security Agency surveillance on foreign leaders — have many in Washington scratching their heads.”
More: “Even Democratic allies of the administration question why Obama didn’t know about the serious problems, and express concern about his personal response. ‘I think he might have been better off by standing up and saying this happened up on my watch and take responsibility for it. I think that’s better than saying he didn’t know,’ said veteran Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. ‘I think people expect the president, on his signature program, to be on top of it.’”
“Confronted with missteps in his own administration, President Barack Obama has frequently pleaded ignorance — suggesting he could not be at fault about things he did not know,” AP writes. “It’s an argument with clear benefits but also inherent risks for the White House. Used too often, the tactic emboldens critics who claim the president is incompetent, detached and not fully in control. Eager to protect Obama’s time and concentration, his aides deliberate intensively about what to tell the president, current and former White House officials said. His advisers act as a triage team for an endless flood of information coming into the White House, continually making decisions about which snippets of data Obama might need.”
“Upend his second-term legacy?” Yeah, that’s what is important … his legacy. And if I had to guess, his legacy is not going to be one any president would want to claim.
Secondly, his “hands-off management style” isn’t that at all – it’s a lack of leadership. The man isn’t a leader in any sense of the word. He hasn’t a clue how to lead. He’s a petulant autocrat who fumes when he doesn’t get his way and blames everyone but himself when his programs fail.
Finally, he’s Richard Nixon II – out of touch and surrounded with advisors who are afraid to tell him the truth. That’s what all that “triage” nonsense is about. His advisors filter incoming information and then spin what they want him to see as positively as possible. He’s in the bunker and thinks he has more divisions than he really does, if the analogy makes any sense to you.
Oh, and his approval ratings are at an all time low. What we’re watching is the implosion of a presidency, such that it was. If there’s anything positive about it, Barack Obama has finally proven the Peter Principle to be false. He certainly rose well above his level of competency. That would be funny if he was in any other job. Instead, it’s just plain dangerous.
Meanwhile the Vice President’s clown car continues to roll: merrily on its way:
“Neither he and I are technology geeks, and we assumed that it was up and ready to run.”
Because, you know, leaders always assume and never check. That’s how they become so successful.
Obviously, even Joe Biden is not dumb enough to call it the official propaganda arm, but apparently you “social media” types are, well, illegitimate:
Biden said that it was important for the media to dissuade the American public from the idea that the Obama administration was prepared to do something unconstitutional on guns.
“To be very blunt with you, we’re counting on all of you, the legitimate news media to cover these discussions because the truth is that times have changed,” Biden added, warning that people would continue to “misrepresent” the White House’s plans for gun control.
“The social media that exists out there, the tragedies that have occurred, the Supreme Court decision affirming that its an individual right to bear arms – all give a lie to the argument that what we’re trying to do is somehow unconstitutional, or somehow goes after the legitimate right to own and bear arms and to hunt and protect yourselves,” Biden added.
Of course, Joe Biden has never been known to tell a whopper, has he?
And yes, he thinks we’re all idiots out here in flyover land.
A couple of things have been on my mind recently, and this seeme like as good a time as any to get them off my chest. So, I’ll just skip from subject to subject until I get tired. But, I might as well start off with current events.
I guess most of you saw the debate between Eddie Munster and Smirky McAngry this week. Joe Biden’s ability to sit there and lie so magisterially and with such confident assurance really is something to behold. Like when he declared that he voted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both of which, of course, he voted for. He just boldly asserts this utter crap, and nobody ever calls him on it.
"You know, Joe, I got a copy of the Congressional Record lying around somewhere that says you did vote to approve the AUMF in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And you voted back in 98—during Operation Desert Fox—to make removing Saddam Hussein from power the policy of the United States Government. Oh, and by the way, not that it’s relevant at the moment, back in ’83, you voted to approve a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. You think you might want to backtrack on your last statement, there, Joe?"
During the debate, Joe’s smirk struck me as exactly the kind of condescending arrogance that, if it was coming at you from anyone else, you’d want to erase with an overhand right. His whole schtick was irritating. The constant interruptions, the yelling, and the condescending laughing were exactly the kinds of things that, if you pull ’em on some guy in a bar argument, will get your ass kicked.
The Left loved it, of course. They thought Good Ol’ Joe was finally sticking it to the wingnuts. And why shouldn’t they? Anytime anyone says anything nasty about them, their vaginas get all hurty, and they start moaning about "civility". But that’s not a rule they’re all that interested in, themselves. Some Lefty dolt on twitter thought that, considering Ryan’s position on abortion, his daughter should get "f*cked and pregnant when she’s 13".
Though, really, that’s pretty tame stuff compared to what comes over the transom at Michelle Malkin or Sister Toldjah.
It’s just amazing to me that these Lefties, who see themselves as the good guys, and the oh-so-compassionate defenders of the downtrodden, have these deep wells of rage that come spewing out at the first opportunity.
Amazing, but not surprising, really, because the political divide in this country really isn’t about politics anymore. It’s a battle of Good Vs. Evil. They are the forces of cosmic justice, and if you disagree with them, then you’re "the other", and not really as fully human as they are. Your disagreement is proof of your moral deficiency.
And, hey, there are people on the Right who feel the same way about lefties. I don’t think Lefties are bad people, necessarily. I do think they tend to be dumber than a bag of hammers, though.
Which is why I really don’t see us all living together in the same country much longer.
We don’t even speak the same language anymore. For instance, take the term "fairness". To me that refers to a process that is impartial, and predictable. If the process receives input X, then output Y tends to result. To a Progressive, fairness is a result. The process is immaterial, as long as it produces equal results. If it doesn’t, the process is flawed.
Those aren’t anything like the same thing. If we don’t even share concepts, there’s no way we’ll ever be satisfied with governing each other.
By the way, who was Biden thinking would be impressed by his debate performance, other than Obama fanboys? Who was he trying to convince?
I mean, usually, when you want to persuade people to join you in a cause, you don’t try to irritate the crap out of them. You try to appeal to them through reason, good feeling, and moral persuasion. Smirky didn’t try to do much of that.
Maybe the whole point of Joe’s performance was to reassure the base that the Obama team was willing to fight hard. But if you’re four weeks out from an election and you’re still trying to motivate your base, then you’re probably in a fair amount of trouble.
The Lefties were just ecstatic that Joe was so Rude to Paul Ryan. They think that’s exactly what he deserves: rudeness, and arrogant condescension. Because, it’s not like he’s really a human being, or anything.
There were some big spikes in consumer confidence this week. Despite rising food and gas prices—the CPI rose 1.1% last month on those two items alone—and despite 20 million or so people not having jobs, folks seemed to have more confidence in the future.
The funny thing is that the consumer confidence surveys for this week were all taken after Obama got shelled by Romney in the first presidential debate. I wonder if that spike in consumer confidence popped up because people think there’s a better chance that Obama will be heading back to Chicago in January? Or, maybe even a leading indicator of that?
Baseball is designed to break your heart. I just watched the Cardinals come back from a 6-0 deficit to go ahead 9-7 in a 4-run 9th inning and beat the Nationals. Why won’t the Cardinals just die, for God’s sake?
I’ve spent my whole life hating the Cardinals. If I were to find an actual cardinal in the forest, twittering with happiness in the dappled sunlight, and I could get it to fly gently into my hand, I would squeeze it until I heard all its little bones break like tiny little twigs.
Then I would cackle with glee.
In answer to the title’s question, it depends on what Biden saw as his mission.
Many of the election experts out there believe there are only 4 to 5% of the people left to convince they need to vote for a particular side. And through the years, VP debates have had little effect in that regard.
So, was Biden’s mission to convince those few percent of voters still deciding or was it something else?
If it was to convince, I think Joe Biden did a very poor job. As you’ll see in various news stories where polls and interviews with independents are included, he was considered to be rude, condescending and kind of weird, laughing at inappropriate times, etc.
But what if the mission was to fire up his base … a base that has been devastated by the performance of President Obama in the first presidential debate?
If so, he was likely effective. The base doesn’t care if he’s rude or condescending … in fact, that’s what they demand. What others call rudeness and condescension, they’re already calling “passion”. No great surprise there.
I think Jokin’ Joe’s job last night was to go out there and try to again rebuild some enthusiasm within the base. And with that mission, no matter how distasteful or disturbing his performance was to others, he probably succeeded. He wanted to fire up a little “Joementum”. Facts and figures? Hey, who cares, throw whatever against the wall and see what sticks. His job wasn’t to be right or wonky … his job was to be aggressive, overbearing and loud. Apparently that’s what many on the left equate with a good debate performance.
Remember, as we’ve mentioned any number of times, in close elections it’s about “enthusiasm”. Obama’s debate performance threw cold water on already waning Democratic enthusiasm. Joe Biden has attempted to relight the fire under the enthusiasm pot.
Performance wise, it depends on where you come from, politically, as to how you rate their performances. Most of the instant polls, less CBS, gave a slight margin of victory to Ryan. Both sides are claiming victory today. No great surprise.
Substance? Was anyone even paying attention to substance. Numbers and stats flew willy-nilly. There were a few good barbs from both sides. And, of course, the fact checkers will be out in force today. But does it matter?
I’m going to be interested to see the numbers of viewers for the debate as opposed to those who chose Thursday night football or a MLB playoff game. My guess is they’ll out draw the debate.
I was sitting at my grandson’s concert last night and I overheard two women behind me talking. One said someone had ask her if she was going to watch the debate and she’d answered “no”. “I already know who I’m voting for”, she said. And, incidentally it’s not the incumbent. The other woman agreed with her.
Another thought. Perhaps the Biden performance was his way to displaying to Obama what he thought he should do in his next debate. If so, it’s bad advise (something for which Biden is somewhat infamous). While Biden can sort of, kind of, get away with it because, well, that’s what you expect from Biden, it would be horribly out of character for Obama. It would also show a level of desperation that I don’t think Obama wants to portray. And, given the Biden performance, my guess is Romney would be ready for it.
Anyway, an interesting if mostly inconsequential debate. Ryan got to present himself to the American people unfiltered by anything but Biden’s sarcasm and sometimes loony laughing and he seems to have done fairly well if the insta polls are to be believed.
I think that’s pretty well the best he could have hoped for.
Biden? He did his job as he understood it and he probably succeeded as well. How this will all translate come November 6 is anyone’s guess, but if history is to be believed, it won’t have much effect at all.
I am on record saying that Joe Biden is full of crap when he tried to sell Obama’s decision to okay the raid that killed bin Laden as “gutsy”. Biden’s claim is that had the raid failed, his presidency would have been over.
Nonsense. We’d have simply never heard about it. There was no risk to Obama or his presidency to okay the raid and tremendous upside (which he continues to try to cash in on) if it succeeded. Most reasonable people know and understand that. It is the usual Biden hubris.
But, this new claim which has been floated by Big Peace is also nonsense. The claim is a memo that authorized the raid also was used to cover the President’s rear if it failed. Here’s the memo that is being touted as proof:
Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.
The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.
The decision to shift operational command to McRaven is being characterized as a CYA move by the president who, if the raid failed, would or could throw McRaven under the bus.
What was done is exactly what should have been done by standard operating procedure for any operation – unless, of course, you want people who have no situational awareness, haven’t been in on the planning and are thousands of miles away, making minute-to-minute operational decisions. You know LBJ designating targets in North Vietnam or Jimmy Carter trying to run the Iranian operation.
Of course you give operational control to the operational commander for heaven sake. He’s the guy who has planned, rehearsed and is most familiar with the operation. He knows the operators, he knows the terrain, he has helped configure the force, he knows the best time to go in.
He is the guy best qualified to have operational control and the shift noted at 10:45 am means at that point it was up to the best qualified man to make the call “go”.
The sort of nonsense that Big Peace is running is, unfortunately, done out of apparent ignorance. This is not a story. It has nothing to do with CYA. It is how operations are done. When the command authority, who retains the right to make the decision of “go” or “no go”, makes the decision to proceed they then hand the operation off to the operational commander.
That’s what was done here. It was the correct thing to do.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am no fan of Obama’s. And I remember when he criticized another campaign for using bin Laden to “score political points”. But this sort of attack is just nonsense.
You have to love this guy:
"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,"
Of course, Osama bin Laden would be dead and GM “alive” if Chauncey Gardiner had been president (or VP for that matter … oh, wait).
But don’t tell Joe that.
From the Vice President at a fundraiser in New Jersey, these quotes have come out of pool reports:
You can go back 500 years. You cannot find a more audacious plan. Never knowing for certain. We never had more than a 48 percent probability that he was there.
With all due respect to our SEAL brethren, I only had to go back a few decades to the Son Tay raid. So I’ll write the VP’s remark off as the typical hubris and hyperbole of politics and the usual historic ignorance (see Rutherford B. Hayes) this crew displays fairly routinely(“D-day? No biggie”). No real surprise there.
But, then this – and by the way, this is what all the hubris and hyperbole were leading up too:
Do any one of you have a doubt that if that raid failed that this guy would be a one-term president?
That’s right … politics. This is an attempt to equate saying “yes” to the raid while sitting in a room in DC to the courage necessary to execute the raid. That supposedly risking your political future is akin to actually risking your life in the raid. This is an attempt to frame a decision that really wasn’t very tough at all into an agonizing, courageous and risky choice.
This guy is willing to do the right thing and risk losing.
Two points. “This guy” didn’t risk anything. My guess is had the raid failed, we’d never have heard about it in terms of an attempt to get ‘bin Laden’. In fact, we’d likely have only heard of it as an attempt to get a “high level” al Qaeda operative, if that. And, there was no real decision to be made and most Americans know it. The only bad choice he could have made was to not go after him, learn later he was there and have that information go public.
THEN he’d have been a one-term president. THEN he would have actually risked something.
Oh and finally:
“Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” he said, according to the pool report. “Think about it.”
I have. Trust me.
In another version of the “pushing granny over the cliff” scare which typified the resistance mounted by Democrats to Social Security reform, VP Joe Biden is out there trying to scare the people about crime in order to spend more on shoring up the Democratic base (more political cronyism) to be found in teacher’s and public servant’s unions:
“Murder will continue to rise, rape will continue to rise, all crimes will continue to rise,” if the Democrats agenda isn’t passed, he added.
Because, you know, there’s a direct correlation between murder, rape and the number of cops on the beat.
Except both murder and rape stats have been in a downward trend since 2006. In 2006 the murder rate per 100,000 was 5.7, rape 30.9.
In 2010 the rate for murder was 4.8 and rape 27.5. In the two intervening years, those numbers continued to fall. And we all know we’ve been in the recession for at least 3 years and there have been cutbacks in police during that time.
So, unsurprisingly Biden is wrong and is pushing a myth (they’ll “continue rising”) when in fact, the stats show a steady drop for the past 4 years.
But he’s shameless in his fact free attack:
Then in the same speech he wished Republicans were themselves rape victims. “I wish they had some notion of what it was like to be on the other side of a gun, or [to have] a 200-pound man standing over you, telling you to submit.”
Amazing. Vice President of the US and trying to pull this political hackery complete with the usual scare tactics off. Of course, look at his boss.
As I pointed out yesterday, taken singly, polls indicate a snapshot in time. Taken collectively and analyzed, they provide trends. And those trends combined with the trends in other polls can mean good news or big trouble for incumbent politicians.
In the case of Barack Obama, they’ve repeatedly promised trouble. The latest? Public opinion on the state of the economy.
Three years after a financial crisis pushed the country deep into recession, an overwhelming number of Americans – 90% – say that economic conditions remain poor.
The number, reported Friday in a new CNN/ORC International Poll, is the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency and a significant increase from the 81% who said conditions were poor in June.
Of course when politicians see polls like this they look for whatever good news they can find:
For a White House now fully engaged in re-election efforts, there is one shred of good news: More than two and half years after inauguration day, Americans are still more likely to blame former President George W. Bush for current economic conditions.
The public has a bit of a incorrect view of the matter but such is life:
Asked which administration is to blame, 52% of Americans blame the previous Republican regime, while only 32% point a finger at Obama and Democrats.
There wasn’t a “Republican regime”. There was a Democratic Congress for the final two years of the Bush presidency. And, of course, while 52% may still blame Bush, didn’t they hire Obama to fix the economy?
Meanwhile, enter Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, with his usual wonderful timing, blurts out the political truth:
“There’s a lot of people in Florida that have good reason to be upset because they’ve lost jobs. Even though 50 some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that’s not relevant,” Biden told WLRN’s Phil Latzman.
“What’s relevant is, we’re in charge. And right now, we are the ones in charge, and it’s gotten better but it hasn’t gotten good enough. And in states like Florida it’s even been more stagnant because of the real estate market. I don’t blame them for being mad. We’re in charge, and they’re angry.”
That’s right – three years in, for better or worse, it’s their economy. Biden finally has one right. Now it’s up to the GOP to push that point home. And 3 years of pitiful performance is going to see the “Bush’s fault” excuse wear thin.
Of course the final poll comes in November of 2012. That’s the time this administration has to change the direction of the economy and the growing perception of poor leadership and a lack of viable solutions. The economy is indeed theirs, and political opponents will make sure that everyone knows they’ve been in charge (2 years with a Democratic Congress at the most critical juncture) while the economy has performed so dismally.
It’s all there in the record.