Sunday, November 11, 2012

LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE BRAVE?


 MrChips

Well, folks, in the wake of this disastrous election, the year 2012 cannot end too soon. But, as it winds down, it is incumbent upon us to ask just what kind of nation we have left, and from just what reservoir of fortitude and courage we conservatives can draw the strength to continue. As the shock of Tuesday night lingered into Wednesday, the depression I experienced reached depths I have rarely known, as did the sheer existential angst and fear, so evident, as well, in various conservative chat rooms and blogs that I visited. We were told so often that this election was the big one, that the fate of the country, perhaps the whole world, was at stake, forever. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But is there truth in the assertion? Yes, certainly some.
This election was, indeed, a big one. And yet, it was a close one. I would like to think that we have all recovered sufficiently to realize that Conservatism did not die. Not yet. Obama certainly has no mandate, though he pretends to. Whatever can be said of George W. Bush, at least it can be said, and often has been said, that the first thing he did, after his own slender election, was to recognize the country's division and to extend his hand across the aisle. Of course, they bit it off. How well I recall Ted Kennedy gutting his education bill, and the grand bipartisan effort to reform Social Security, assisted by Moynihan, which lesser men ridiculed and subverted. Bush tried twice, or was it three times, to reign in Fanny and Freddie, giving the lie to Obama’s false claims that "Bush caused the economic crisis," a falsehood which rests primarily upon a rejection of the Democrats' role in causing the economic crisis. But, they had a big role. Similarly, the bailout of GM that Obama loves to take credit for was actually initiated by President Bush; the trouble with it (other than the fact of it) is that he took it in a different direction, helping unions and shafting non-union Delphi employees, while nationalizing the company to an unprecedented extent. And, if there were excessive encroachments upon freedom in the Patriot Act in the wake of 9/11, they seem to pale in comparison to the insidious designs of our current "executive order" White House occupant, who essentially finds Congress irrelevant (e.g. HHS mandates on abortion, the gutting of Welfare, and just about everything the EPA does these days, from land grabs and water confiscations out West, to the innumerable regulations on business . . . well, just talk to any coal miner trying to put food on the table for his family). Our beloved emperor has issued 923 executive orders in three and a half years, up from Bush’s 62 in eight years. And this he did with a Congress he fully controlled for the first two of those years! So much for checks and balances. Montesquieu, anyone?
I have heard the liberal argument that the huge numbers of people on foodstamps, and on welfare, will drop as unemployment drops. But, unemployment has been near 8% or above for four long years. Obama doesn't even meet with the job council he created! It's all for show. And, as for unemployment, the real rate is 15%. The long-tern rate is 22% (the long-term unemployment rate rose to 40.6% in October from 40.1%, i.e. the percentage of the unemployed lasting for 27 consecutive weeks or longer). Millions work part-time without benefits who used to work full-time with benefits. Meanwhile, the first two days after the election, the market dropped 400 points. Thousands off people have been laid off just since Tuesday. Companies are considering thousands more, either because of tax policy or because of Obamacare (or both, considering the draconian penalties in Obamacare on business). A coal company in West Virginia yesterday laid off 150 people. Another in Utah laid off 100. Stryker, a medical device company being taxed under Obamacare, (and a stock in my retirement fund) is eliminating 1,170 positions. Dana Holding, an auto parts company, is laying of 25,000 people worldwide. Boston Scientific 1,400. Medtronic 1,000. AMD 400. Cigna 1,300. Countless others. Lockheed Martin may lay off 123,000 people! And Obamacare could result in tens of thousands of employees being limited to working 28 hours per week as companies avoid penalties. The new norm, I guess.
I have heard liberals ridicule the conservative argument that this election was, as Rush Limbaugh says, about Santa Claus. Free stuff. Well, I ridicule their ridicule. Did you all get your free Obamaphones?! Better hurry! The supply is limited . . . or is it? Obama is the most socialist-minded person we have ever had in the White House. And what is the basis of this socialist mentality? No, it's not the common welfare; it is the concept of Entitlement and government dependence. Food stamps, Obamacare, class warfare . . . When Obama said today so defiantly (far from working together with people, as he ought), that "a majority of Americans agree with my approach," I wanted to scream at the radio, "Not a majority of working Americans!" Screw Obama! Here we have a guy who won by a mere 300,000 (legal?) votes across four states, and by a slim 2.5% nationally. But we now live in a society where those who don't work can vote themselves the wealth of those who do — and all so that we can pay for Sandra Fluke's contraceptives. But that is the vote they are encouraged to make. What else do you think Obama meant by "revenge"?! He hates this country, and by that, I mean that he hates the work ethic of this country. Of course, those responsible for the reelection of his excellency don’t care at all because it does not affect most of them. Obama has gutted Welfare to Work requirements (yes, he has), which along with efforts by the National Labor Relations Board to force unionization on the American workforce and the disincentives to work in Obamacare (I'd be covered if I quit my job) merely serve to make people more and more dependent upon government, which is what Democrats want. It's about power. Theirs. And, ultimately, that kind of Statism has, yes, the tendency to become totalitarian. So, Obama ran his campaign based on giving stuff for free, from birth control to mortgage relief and student loan bailouts to free food and free medical care and who knows what all else, all while painting Romney as the Grinch who wouldn't give you the free stuff.
It's ironic, of course, that I will actually lose my own healthcare. You see, I have inexpensive catastrophic, which will be outlawed. And I cannot afford the expensive plans Obamacare will offer. I have researched this. Just remember me when they come after my house, my bank account, my possessions, because I will never, ever pay the penalty ascribed by the mandate. Never! I will die a free man! [Oh, that's right, the IRS said last month that they would not come after people. How reassuring!]. When liberals dispute that this election was about Santa Claus, their sense of entitlement to “free stuff, remember that it is Obama, after all, who has played the class warfare card so relentlessly. It’s our turn. Working people vs. Freeloaders. If I am to be called a "freeloader" for not buying insurance that I am forced to buy and yet can't afford, and then penalized for it, I feel perfectly comfortable using the term "freeloader" for anyone who lives off of the taxes I pay.
Hell, if the dead can vote (I am avoiding the subject of voter fraud), they can eat, too. I happen to be someone who had his identity stolen at the IRS (identity thefts of social security numbers are up 10-fold under Obama), and I shook my head in disbelief upon learning that 1,500 fraudulent refunds went to one address in Michigan, alone, 900 to another address in Chicago, 700 to each of two other addresses in Florida. No, these were not nursing homes. And that's just last year. Just another example of our wonderfully corrupt government at work. (By the way, $120 million in FEMA money for Hurricane Sandy victims just disappeared. Maybe they'll find it with the $900 million they lost on Solyndra).
I have heard liberals argue that the conservative media is maintaining the divisiveness in our country. It’s our “extremism,” and our “hatred” for Obama. But no, the source of divisiveness lies elsewhere. Oh sure, there are the nuts, reactionaries, troglodytes, but they are not the mainstream of the Conservative majority (I say “majority” because, plainly, we did not get our vote out). It is not Mitt Romney who ran such a disgustingly divisive campaign of personal destruction and class warfare. His campaign argued for jobs, for tax reform, for various economic policies, and was in many respects All-American, and uplifting. Even the ads run by Karl Rove and his people were relatively tame . . . I watched them all; the toughest were on Libya. But accusations of felon, murderer, tax cheat, attacks upon Ann Romney's horse (her therapy for multiple sclerosis), continued lies about Romney tax hikes in the face of fact-checkers, and ads comparing voting for Obama to having sex for the first time? (Gee, no wonder he won the single women's vote). Please. It was all very sleazy. And divisive. And all done with the help of the maintream Media, our very own Pravda, which were all so obviously in the tank for Obama, who remains the least vetted occupant of the White House that we have ever had (I won't call him president) . . . all to the extent that I was frightened by the sheer volume of it, frightened for my country. It is no less troubling when one Google’s anything these days and receives a preponderance of links to liberal web sites. None dare call it conspiracy. But, more to the point, Obama has done nothing but divide, and quite purposefully. The sheer cynicism of his campaign was self-evident. He stood for nothing. And cynicim can claim no mandate. No, not for anything. Let alone that the most influential men in Obama’s life are Saul Alinsky, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Franklin Davis Marshal, if we “hate” him, it is not for those associations, nor for his supposed accidents of birth or undisclosed mysteries about his early life. No, it is because of his actions! He is driving this country, ever so insidiously, in a direction we do not, and cannot, accept! And whatever you think of the Romney campaign, Mitt Romney is a very fine man. And I spit on Obama's treatment of him. Remember that Obama is a man whose political guru, Saul Alinsky, once wrote ““In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt.” I recall no apologies at all. As for Pravda, now that the election is over, they suddenly seem to have discovered Benghazi! Lo and behold! Maybe they will also suddenly discover our unfunded $55 Trillion debt liability. No, I guess not; that won't drive ratings.
I have also heard people, conservatives, talking about Impeachment. Oh, why bother, with a Senate led by a man who does a good imitation of pond scum? But, Benghazi alone would be sufficient. What matters more, is what we do to save ourselves from him. Civil disobedience is one thing. I will be engaging in it quite consciously when I refuse to pay the Obamacare mandate. But, a nation divided cannot stand, and I worry about real violence. Civil wars start in little ways. And I, like so many conservatives, am sick and tired of attacks upon Republicans, and I do mean physical attacks. Unions caught ripping up yard signs, or pissing on them, bricks thrown and gunshots fired into local Republican offices ( I can supply a long list that goes back 30 years, everything from OWS violence – 7,696 Occupy arrests to date – to Tea party activists beaten up by SEIU thugs). Ann Coulter reminds us of the criminal actions of Obama supporters four years ago: some who Mace'd elderly volunteers in a McCain campaign office in Galax, Va., others who threw Molotov cocktails at McCain signs on families' front yards in and around Portland, Ore., another Obama supporter who broke a McCain sign being held by a small middle-aged woman in midtown Manhattan before hitting her in the face with the stick. Then there were the union thugs who threw bricks at buses full of Boy Scouts. This year, let alone that there was an explosion of death threats against Mitt Romney in the last two weeks of the campaign, there he was, our friendly New Black Panther thug standing in front of the same polling place in Philadelphia (thank you, Attorney General Eric Holder). In Virginia, a Romney supporter watched in horror as someone literally torched her Romney/Ryan yard sign. In Florida a WWII veteran had his Romney sign AND his American Flag torched and burned. In Wisconsin, an openly gay Republican campaign volunteer was sent to the hospital by some Leftist nut who labeled him a "traitor," and the son of a Republican State Senator was badly beaten when he attempted to stop people from stealing his own Romney yard sign. The Solipsim of the Left seems to know no bounds of decency. Hell! Yesterday a dead pig wrapped in a Mitt Romney t-shirt was found dumped at the South Bay Republican Party campaign office in Florida. As far as I can tell, most Democrats are wild animals. But, then, Marxists always end up in violence. They rely on violence. It’s the Alinsky way. One can only conclude that the politics of the contemporary Left is absolutely intertwined with either tacit or overt support for violence. Meanwhile, on the Right, either from fears about the 2nd Amendment or from fear, itself, gun sales are up . . . way up. I am not surprised.
You know, if Obama wants us to believe that he is not Hugo Chavez, maybe he should quit kissing up to him. But, Obama does all he can to fan our fears. Can we ever win an election, again? Yes! Believe it! Should we diversify in the direction of Hispanics? Perhaps. But, isn’t it an irony that all of the individual up-by-bootstraps, hard-working Hispanic success stories are Republican (Rubio, Martinez, Fortuno, Sandoval . . .)? Add to them the hard-luck African-American success stories of Condoleeza Rice, Allen West, Mia Love. But, hard work is not what the entitlement class wants. Still, we did not lose by much, my friends. And we are a big tent, already, conservatives and moderates, big enough to win, with far fewer differences among ourselves than what we have with the other party. We should be wary of extremes, but not of principles, traditional values, time-tested truths we keep coming back and back to. Nor, on social issues, should it ever be said that the moral life and behavior of a people is beyond the purview or legitimate interest of government. That is the position only of Libertarians. George F. Will pointed out, for example, that when Roe v. Wade put the stamp of approval on abortion, it unwittingly encouraged it, and to the extent that other restrictive measures had to come to bear. The argument is in the details, when and how to restrict, and where, but since 1973 there have been 50 million legally induced abortions in the U.S. alone. Limiting that is only common sense, let alone an imperative for those of us who believe in the sanctity of life. And let us not forget that there was something else at stake in this election: religious freedom, which the Obama administration is doing its best to destroy. It's contest with the Church over the next few years will be titanic.
No one can seriously argue that the concept of expansive socialism and far-reaching entitlement were ever a component of the founding doctrine of these United States (excuse my Southerner's use of "these"). The Founding Fathers are just dead white guys to some, I suppose. But not to me. Not to us. Yes, times change, but I prefer JFK's call for America to the new cry of "What will my country and government do for me? What am I entitled to?" And that is, indeed, the new cry. We must answer it with a cry of our own, the cry of liberty, the cry of an eagle snatching in its claws the American flag from the grip of those who would trample upon it, asserting that this is, still, the land of the free, and proving once again that this is, God-willing, the home of the brave.

Bob Woodward Shocker: There Is a Way to Raise Revenue AND Lower Tax Rates

NewsBusters.org ^ | November 11, 2012 | Noel Sheppard

Stop the presses! Stop the presses!

The Washington Post's Bob Woodward on The Chris Matthews Show Sunday not only called Democrat visions of balancing the budget by raising taxes on the rich a "fantasy," but he also said "there is a way to...raise more revenue and perhaps lower the rates" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bob Woodward Shocker: There Is a Way to Raise Revenue AND Lower Tax Rates

BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: But there's a fantasy element, unfortunately, in this, about the tax increases for the wealthy. It probably is sensible, good policy. It’s theology, as you know, with the Republicans not to do it, and when you look at the raw numbers, it's kind of only eight percent of the annual deficit. You don’t get enough money, and if you go back to 2010 when it was Obama and Joe Biden who made the agreement with the Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts.
So I would not rule out him giving that just because you're not going to get that much revenue from it. And there are other ways to do it. And the idea that somehow you can put enough Republicans and all the Democrats in the House together won't work because the Democrats will not go along with significant entitlement cuts.
But there is a way to do it and raise more revenue and perhaps lower the rates.
Guess what? This is what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been saying for months.
Is Woodward actually mellowing with age and starting to see the truth about how taxes actually work?
What was also interesting about this is it came as most of Matthews' panel including himself were predictably pushing for taxes to be raised on the wealthy.

As such, I don't often say this, but bravo Bob! Bravo!

Conservatives, We are not outnumbered.

American Thinker ^ | 11/12/2012 | Brian T. Carter

There are at least three options in how conservatives respond to the election results:
First, conservatives can take the Tucker Carlson, David Frum, and Bill Kristol approach by nominating even more moderate Republicans and shamelessly pandering to disparate constituent groups, hoping to cobble together a larger coalition than liberals.
...and toward what end? Abandoning core principles can only undermine conservatives' credibility, and liberals will just choose to demonize right-leaning candidates on other issues. Even if the cave and pander strategy is successful, then what is the difference between the parties? What is achieved?
A variation on this approach is to give up entirely. There was no shortage of conservatives willing to do that late Tuesday.
Second, conservatives can focus on how to approach the electorate who, according to exit polls, really believed that Romney was going to ban the sale of birth control pills and condoms, who favored expanding ObamaCare, and who believed that Bush is still responsible for the economic mess.
A more viable variation on this is, as Sarah Palin pointed out, to realize that media bias is so severe that conservatives can't communicate with voters. By implication, to succeed in future elections, conservatives need to find a way to bypass the liberal "lamestream" media and reach low-information voters who get their news from Comedy Central and MSNBC. Brent Bozell at Media Research Center has spent 25 years trying to combat liberal media bias. Glenn Beck is leading in this direction in creating a new media network. Being a trendsetter and controlling the new "cool" is a daunting task.
Third, conservatives can focus on turning out voters more likely to vote for conservatives. The pre-election polls were correct.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Did the Election Save ObamaCare?

RealityBatsLast.com ^ | November 10, 2012 | Bryce Buchanan

In an imaginary world, government does things efficiently and economically. In that world, you would want government to provide health care.

In the real world, politicians cobbled together a monstrous piece of legislation called Obamacare, with a structure that cannot possibly be efficient or economical.

John C. Goodman at Townhall.com has a superb analysis of what Obamacare will do when reality comes up to bat.

If you read this at the source, you will see links to other supporting information. John Goodman:
The morning after Tuesday’s vote, there is one thing every commentator agreed on. The election of Barack Obama guaranteed that his signature piece of legislation — health reform — can now go forward. Republicans are powerless to stop it.
Yet there is something all these commentators are overlooking. There are six major flaws in ObamaCare. They are so serious that the Democrats are going to have to perform major surgery on the legislation in the next few years, even if all the Republicans do is stand by and twiddle their thumbs.
Here is a brief overview.
ObamaCare is not paid for. At least it’s not paid for in any politically realistic way. As is by now well known, the legislation will lower Medicare spending over the next 10 years by $716 billion in order to fund health insurance for young people. This reduction will primarily consist of lower payments to physicians, hospitals and other providers — reductions that are so severe that they will seriously impair access to care for senior citizens.
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Exerpt...Read the rest here: http://www.realitybatslast.com/2012/11/10/did-the-election-save-obamacare/#comment-213
(Excerpt) Read more at realitybatslast.com ...

Election Postmortem – The Point Everybody is Missing

Flopping Aces ^ | 11-11-12 | Brother Bob



By now everybody knows about the results of Tuesday's elections and we've seen tons of analysis. The predominant themes have been that only in hindsight did Romney run a horrible campaign, that the Tea Party extremism had been rejected by the voters, that this is truly Obama's mandate, all of the Republican forecasting models were horrifically wrong, and that the Republican party's only hope is to make drastic changes to its principles if it hopes to survive. Did I miss anything? It's natural to knee jerk or overreact when something unexpected happens, so I have advice for both sides: don't read too much into this election and base your next moves only on what happened Tuesday.

First, for the Democrats, you weren't given a mandate. You scored some impressive wins on Tuesday, and for that I congratulate you. You kept the presidency in a hard fought campaign. You managed to gain seats in the Senate, including one popular figure from your side in Elizabeth Warren retaking Ted Kennedy's old seat in Massachusetts. You got a referendum passed in Colorado legalizing pot, you got gay marriage ballot initiatives through in three states, and in California several measures to raise taxes and restrict economic freedom also went through. Combine this with President Obama's 333 electoral votes and it looks like you've got a clear mandate that the country is shifting leftward, right?

Not quite. When you look at the battleground states the president's victory only came by roughly 350,000 votes. Yes, I now what the final margin in the overall popular vote was certainly more decisive, but keep in mind that the president also got nine million fewer votes than in 2008. The Republicans gained seats in the House, and now has it's largest margin among Governorships that either party has had in 12 years. Your California measures only made an already hostile business climate even worse by raising taxes and assuring that the unions will still be able to force union members to pay for their political campaigning. Expect more businesses to leave your state and unemployment to rise even more. And be careful with the gay marriage wins - your side seems to be even more prone to overreach than the right is. I'm predicting you'll jump the shark on this issue when someone decides to file a lawsuit against a church that refuses to perform a gay marriage. Sadly you'll succeed in turning public opinion on this issue better than any conservative ever could.

Now for the conservatives. Yes, the Romney campaign was not perfect. I'm not even going to bother linking to any of the myriad of post game analysis articles on what went wrong. If you're reading this post you've probably read more than your share already. The day wasn't a complete disaster for the GOP, as seen by my earlier mention of the House and Governorships. Of course, the presidency was the big prize and the failure to defeat such an incompetent president is painful to say the least. While I've seen no shortage of reasons for Romney's loss to Obama, nobody has seen the most obvious reason that Romney failed - there is simply no way he could have beaten Obama.

(excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

The Voters who stayed Home (bitter pill: Republicans re-elected Obama)

National Review Online ^ | 11/10/12 | McCarthy

The key to understanding the 2012 election is simple: A huge slice of the electorate stayed home.
The punditocracy — which is more of the ruling class than an eye on the ruling class — has naturally decided that this is because Republicans are not enough like Democrats: They need to play more identity politics (in particular, adopt the Left’s embrace of illegal immigration) in order to be viable. But the story is not about who voted; it is about who didn’t vote. In truth, millions of Americans have decided that Republicans are not a viable alternative because they are already too much like Democrats. They are Washington. With no hope that a Romney administration or more Republicans in Congress would change this sad state of affairs, these voters shrugged their shoulders and became non-voters.

“This is the most important election of our lifetime.” That was the ubiquitous rally cry of Republican leaders. The country yawned. About 11 million fewer Americans voted for the two major-party candidates in 2012 — 119 million, down from 130 million in 2008. In fact, even though our population has steadily increased in the last eight years (adding 16 million to the 2004 estimate of 293 million Americans), about 2 million fewer Americans pulled the lever for Obama and Romney than for George W. Bush and John Kerry.

That is staggering.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...

Papa John's CEO John Schnatter Says Company Will Reduce Workers' Hours In Response To Obamacare!


The Huffington Post | By
Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter said he plans on passing the costs of health care reform to his business onto his workers. Schnatter said he will likely reduce workers’ hours, as a result of President Obama's reelection, the Naples News reports. Schnatter made headlines over the summer when he told shareholders that the cost of a Papa John’s pizza will increase by between 11 and 14 cents due to Obamacare.
"I got in a bunch of trouble for this," he said, referring to the comments he made in August, according to Naples News. "That's what you do, is you pass on costs. Unfortunately, I don't think people know what they're going to pay for this."
Schnatter went on to say he's neither in support of, nor against the Affordable Care Act, even admitting that "the good news is 100 percent of the population is going to have health insurance.” But he’s not the only one in the chain restaurant industry to admit that workers hours may be reduced, since Obamacare mandates that only employees that work more than 30 hours per week are covered under their employers health insurance plan. For example, Darden restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, has already experimented with reducing workers hours in anticipation of the legislation.
Others have responded to the added costs of Obamacare more harshly, including Applebee's franchisee owner Zane Tankel who said his company won’t hire new workers because of the law. Just this week, a Georgia business owner also claimed he cut employees due to Obamacare and in fact had specifically laid off those who he thought had voted for President Obama.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Applebee's was not planning on hiring new workers due to Obamacare. It is only Applebee's franchisee Zane Tankel who has taken that stance.

'Pimps Whores & Welfare Brats'



The Huffington Post | By
Ted Nugent On Election Obama Win Twitter RantTed Nugent unleashed a rant on Twitter after Obama won reelection on Tuesday. In this AP photo, he performs on the Great White Buffalo Tour in August.
Detroit rocker and right-winger Ted Nugent was not too happy when President Barack Obama was reelected, so he took to Twitter to denounce the "pimps," "whores" and "welfare brats" who voted for America's "economic [and] spiritual suicide."
Nugent tweeted some choice words on Wednesday after Obama earned four more years in the White House in a landslide victory over GOP candidate Mitt Romney. He bid America "Goodluk" [sic] and good riddance.


Ted Nugent
Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America


Ted Nugent
What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birthcontrol abortions & lives


Ted Nugent
Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools

Nugent's Twitter meltdown does not come as a surprise to some. The Amboy Dukes guitarist has long been a source of controversy for his political commentary.
In April, while speaking at a National Rifle Association convention, Nugent said there are two alternatives for him if the "vile," "evil" and "America-hating" Obama beat Romney. "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year," said Nugent, who has also defended Romney's "47 percent" comment.
Four years earlier, he threatened both Obama and 2008 competitor, Hillary Clinton.
While dressed in camouflage hunting gear and wielding two machine guns during a 2007 concert, Nugent raged: "Obama, he's a piece of sh-t. I told him to suck on my machine gun." Continuing, "Hey Hillary. You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b-tch."
Nugent was not alone in his anti-Obama ranting after the incumbent's victory. Donald Trump called for a "revolution." Former "SNL" cast member Victoria Jackson said "America died." And born-again Christian actor Stephen Baldwin tweeted that God's wrath is now upon the U.S.


The Oracle’s Debacle



BEFORE election night 2000, when he was riding high as “Bush’s brain,” Karl Rove made Olympian pronouncements about a dawning realignment of the electorate and an enduring age of Republican dominance, masterminded by — who else? — Karl Rove.
Earl Wilson/The New York Times
Frank Bruni

On election night 2012, when he was brought low by Mitt Romney’s defeat and the party’s miserable showing in Senate races, he went into denial. It was something to see, something that really will endure, that half-hour or so on Fox News, when he insisted on an alternate reality to the one described by NBC and CBS and even his own Fox colleagues, who were calling the election, correctly, for President Obama. Rove would have none of it, and no wonder. It didn’t just contradict the statements he’d been making for months as a gabby media pundit. It undercut the pose he’d been striking for more than a decade as a lofty political prophet.
In his pout and his pique there were lessons. One is that money, which the political groups that he directs spent oodles and oodles of, doesn’t trump message or spackle over the cracks in a candidate or candidacy. Another is that reality won’t be denied, whether the issue is climate change, which a ludicrous percentage of Republicans at least pretend not to accept, or the country’s diversity, which a self-defeating percentage of them simply ignore.
And yet another is that prophets are people too, blinded by their own self-interest, swayed by their own self-promotion, neither omniscient nor omnipotent. In a political culture that treats its consultants as demigods, this is too often forgotten, by the consultants themselves most of all, and Rove just gave all of us a mesmerizing reminder of that. The oracle suffered a debacle.
He’d begun 2012 as a designated kingmaker, thanks to the successful candidacies he championed in 2010 and the tens of millions of dollars that were pouring into his “super PAC,” American Crossroads, and its affiliate, Crossroads GPS, and that were ready to gush out.
And gush they did. Rove’s groups lavished some $300 million on Republican races, including the presidential campaign, into which they plunked an estimated $127 million on ads in support of Romney. They plunked more than $11 million into the Senate race in Virginia, which Republicans lost, and anywhere from $1 million to $7 million into another nine Senate campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In only one of those races, in Nevada, did the Republican candidate prevail.
This was not lost on Rove’s fellow conservatives. In a statement after the election, the right-wing advocate Richard Viguerie said that in any sane world, Rove “would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again.”
Donald Trump, his Twitter finger itchy and his words ever measured, tweeted: “Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing $400 million this cycle. Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money.”
This cycle illustrated both the limits and the perfidy of money. The sums spent by Crossroads and other groups on negative ads against Sherrod Brown in Ohio, an eminently beatable Democrat running for re-election to the Senate, didn’t infuse his challenger, Josh Mandel, 35, with the maturity and eloquence he badly needed. Brown coasted to victory.
And megadonors and super PACs arguably did Romney more harm than good. It was money from Sheldon Adelson, Newt Gingrich’s backer, that financed some of the most vicious attacks on Romney’s Bain Capital career and laid the groundwork for Democrats’ successful caricature of him as a callous plutocrat. And by keeping Romney’s primary challengers in the game, Adelson and his ilk forced Romney ever further to the right, which would haunt him plenty in the general election.
IF Rove had a firm grip on how all of this was playing out, he didn’t fully cop to it. But then he’s a maestro of the overconfident, in-your-face show. He humbly titled his 2010 memoir “Courage and Consequence” and, on his Web site, lets it be known that the tour for it took him to “110 cities in 90 days.”
I still can’t get over a telephone interview he gave Joe Hagan for an article in New York magazine last year. Fresh off his second divorce, he’s zooming down a Texas road in a car with his younger girlfriend, “a lobbyist rumored to have been Rove’s mistress before his divorce,” Hagan writes. Hagan can hear her “squeals of laughter,” along with Rove’s gloating to her: “Goddangit, baby, we’re making good time!”
“It was totally cavalier,” Hagan told me last week, when I asked him if the timing of the call was accidental and her presence grudgingly revealed. No and no. “I was struck by how arrogant and freewheeling he was in that moment,” Hagan said.
Of course arrogance, or at least self-assurance, is a consultant’s stock in trade. That’s what we buy when we buy advice: not just the content of it but the authority, even the grandiloquence, with which it’s delivered. We exchange the anxiety of autonomy for the comfort of following orders. And Rove gives great orders, rife with arcane historical references and reams of data.
He’s smart and has on many occasions shown a keen understanding of Republicans’ vulnerabilities. The compassion in George W. Bush’s conservatism — the oratorical emphasis on education, the moderate stance on immigration — was a Rove-blessed attempt to keep the party from seeming as harsh as it does now. Rove has warned repeatedly that it mustn’t estrange Latino voters. And he was among the first and loudest Republican leaders to lament the damage that Christine O’Donnell, Sarah Palin and Todd Akin were doing to the party’s brand.
But he either didn’t or couldn’t keep them away in the first place, and as the 2012 campaign progressed, he seemed to get lost in the exaggerated, delusional spin of it all. This culminated in his attempt on election night to refute the Ohio returns and the projection of an Obama victory, prompting the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to ask him if his contrary calculations were just “math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better.”
Two days later, back on Fox News, Rove was still spinning, still in denial. He claimed that Obama won by “suppressing the vote,” but by voter suppression he meant negative ads about Bain. The same kind, mind you, that Adelson once helped circulate.
Rove’s awful election night proved that you can’t buy momentum or create it simply by decreeing it, and that there’s a boundary to what bluster accomplishes. The road he zoomed down in 2012 was toward a potentially diminished place in his party, and Goddangit, baby, he was making good time indeed.

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Pentagon releases Benghazi timeline: took 19 hours to respond!



posted at 8:31 am on November 10, 2012 by Ed Morrissey


Ah, the Friday night news dump, a tradition that transcends party in Washington DC. Is there nothing it can’t underplay? Yesterday, more than two months after the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi left four Americans dead and the American response a confused mess, the Pentagon finally got around to releasing its version of the timeline of military response to the crisis to the Associated Press — when most newspapers and broadcast networks had closed up shop for the day. Small wonder, too, because the timeline showed that it took 19 hours for military assistance to arrive (via Twitchy):
New Pentagon details show that the first U.S. military unit arrived in Libya more than 15 hours after the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was over, and four Americans, including the ambassador, were dead.
A Defense Department timeline obtained by The Associated Press underscores how far the military response lagged behind the Sept. 11 attack, due largely to the long distances the commando teams had to travel to get to Libya.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his top military adviser were notified of the attack about 50 minutes after it began and were about to head into a previously scheduled meeting with President Barack Obama. The meeting quickly turned into a discussion of potential responses to the unfolding situation in Benghazi, where militants had surrounded the consulate and set it on fire. The first wave of the attack at the consulate lasted less than two hours. …
But there have been persistent questions about whether the Pentagon should have moved more rapidly to get troops into Libya or had units closer to the area as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America approached. In particular, there was at least a 19-hour gap between the time when Panetta first ordered military units to prepare to deploy – between midnight and 2 a.m. local time in Tripoli – and the time a Marine anti-terrorism team landed in Tripoli, which as just before 9 p.m.
Why so long? The Pentagon claims that the situation was “murky,” that they didn’t understand whether a hostage situation might develop, and also claimed not to have been aware of any specific threats. That would be news to anyone following the Benghazi story in some depth. Ambassador Chris Stevens warned repeatedly of threats to the Benghazi mission for months, requesting more security. On the day of the attack, three hours before it began and roughly five hours before Stevens was killed, the Benghazi consulate alerted State that radical Islamist terrorists had begun “gathering weapons and gathering steam,” plus a note that their security team of Libyan militia had taken pictures inside the compound for no apparent reason earlier that day.
Put this in the context of the date and place. The attack took place on the anniversary of 9/11, when we expect terrorist activity to take place in celebration of their biggest victory over the US. It took place in Benghazi, where the US government and everyone else knew these terrorist groups acted openly, having been freed from the oppression of the Qaddafi regime by Barack Obama and NATO a year earlier. The Benghazi mission was in the middle of a city that had no effective government control. And the reason that the Pentagon couldn’t anticipate the attack on Benghazi and have its assets positioned for immediate response, with all of the above intel, would be … ?
Panetta said that based on a continuous evaluation of threats, military forces were spread around Europe and the Middle East to deal with a variety of missions. In the months before the attack, he noted, “several hundred reports were received indicating possible threats to U.S. facilities around the world” and noted that there was no advance notice of imminent threats to U.S. personnel or facilities in Benghazi.
If that’s true, then what did the State Department and Hillary Clinton do with all of those warnings from Stevens about Benghazi, including the one from earlier that day? Did Clinton and State never bother to inform Panetta? That seems to be what the Pentagon timeline and the AP’s reporting suggests — that the first time that Panetta thought there was a credible threat against the Benghazi consulate was in the meeting with Obama 50 minutes after the attack started.
John McCain, for one, isn’t buying that explanation:
His explanation, however, did not satisfy McCain. In a statement Friday, McCain said Panetta’s letter, “only confirms what we already knew – that there were no forces at a sufficient alert posture in Europe, Africa or the Middle East to provide timely assistance to our fellow citizens in need in Libya. The letter fails to address the most important question – why not?”
Why not, indeed? Why did the US get caught with its pants down on the anniversary of 9/11 in what had widely been known as Terrorist Central, a situation directly caused by American and NATO intervention in Libya 17 months earlier? State is pointing fingers at the CIA and Pentagon, intel is pointing theirs back to State, and now so is the Pentagon. But this all begins at the White House and an apparent lack of curiosity about the wide-open environment provided to terrorist groups by our decapitation of the Qaddafi regime and the security consequences for American interests.
All of the Friday night document dumps in the world won’t cover for that. And I can’t help but wonder who’s sex scandal will distract from the next Friday night document dump when it occurs.

New solution to Hurricane Sandy: More ethanol!



posted at 7:01 pm on November 10, 2012 by Jazz Shaw


It’s good to see people coming together to help out the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Donations have poured in and first responders have pulled life from the wreckage. Folks from further afield are offering their help as well. Case in point: the ethanol lobby is sure that things will be just peachy on Staten Island if the federal government would just push the ethanol mix in gas up past the already untenable 15% quota they’ve been asking for and turn the dial up to eleven twenty.
Iowa producers ask Obama to allow greater use after Hurricane Sandy
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, renewable fuel producers in Iowa have asked the Obama administration to allow higher amounts of ethanol to be blended in gasoline in the Northeast.
In a letter yesterday to President Obama, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said temporarily allowing up to 20 percent ethanol in gasoline would help lower gas prices for victims of the superstorm. The association urged the administration to waive requirements that gasoline retailers must comply with before selling the higher blends of ethanol.
How thoughtful. Of course, the fact is that higher ethanol blends don’t save people money and this would cost struggling consumers more rather than less. Even fuels with 85% ethanol cost more than gasoline at current market prices. MIT examined these claims over the summer and found them to be laughable. Higher ethanol blends have also been shown to cause demonstrable damage to the engines of the current fleet, reducing the lifespan of cars. (That’s in addition to the quarter million cars lost in the storm surge already.)
Ethanol is less efficient in vehicles, and the damage it causes in smaller engines such as outboard boat motors, is well known. I don’t know how it runs in generators keeping a few lights on in storm tossed coastal areas, but I find it hard to believe that it’s a plus there either. This is one of the worst forms of cheap, political opportunism being foisted on the backs of those already in dire straights. Trying to use the suffering of millions of storm survivors to slip through a hike in ethanol sales is simply shameful.

Right on schedule: Time to go after those awful “price gougers”


posted at 4:01 pm on November 10, 2012 by Erika Johnsen


When allowed to function properly, the free market works very smoothly in bringing people the goods and services they want, in the amount that they want them, and for the price at which they value them. As much as people don’t like hearing it, the laws of supply and demand are no less vital in the event of an emergency — but politicians sure do love to rag on those greedy, profiteering businesses that jack up their prices in the event of a sudden supply shock or demand spike (a.k.a., “price gouging”). Anti-price gouging laws are a huge mistake that hurt the public at large, because all they accomplish is preventing the free market from doing what it does best: Quickly and efficiently adapting to conditions in a way that benefits everyone, and in an emergency especially, price gouging can save lives.
Predictably, of course, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, so begins the outrageous outrage against those who had the audacity to raise prices on things like gasoline and lodging, via NBC:
New Jersey has filed lawsuits against eight businesses for allegedly gouging customers with exorbitant prices in the days after Superstorm Sandy roared ashore, the state’s attorney general said Friday.
The defendants, seven gas stations and a hotel, are accused of hiking their prices from 11 to 59 percent in the days after the storm. One gas station was charging as much as $5.50 a gallon, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. The hotel, a Howard Johnson Express in Parsippany, N.J., allegedly raised its room rates to $119 after the storm, up 32 percent from the top rate of $90 just prior to the storm.
“We have received no indication that these defendants faced costs that would have made these excessive price increases necessary or justifiable. One gas station even paid less per gallon for a shipment of fuel after the storm than it had paid before the storm,” Chiesa said in a statement.
“Justifiable”? “Excessive”? “Exorbitant”? Excuse me, but how is it that any government possesses the all-encompassing knowledge to determine what is and is not an “exorbitant” price? Competition is a much more accurate and efficient regulator than any government can ever be, and perhaps if lawmakers and bureaucrats were wise enough to let the market do its thing, their citizens would be better off.
Lee Doren illustrates a great example with bottled water in the video I’ve posted below, so I’ll flesh this out using the example of hotel lodging. Let’s say you live in an apartment with a few friends in a seaside-town, and you know a big hurricane is coming. You also know that your street is prone to serious flooding and your power will probably go out, so you decide to go check into a hotel in a more inland location for a few days. You batten down the hatches and get the hell out of dodge, but when you arrive at the hotel you planned on, you find that the price of rooms is more expensive than you’d banked on. So, you reevaluate: Maybe you and your friends decide to squeeze into one room instead of paying for two, or maybe you think, well, I do have a friend we could crash with who lives even farther inland if we just drive a bit more. So now, you’re taking up zero or one hotel room whereas you might’ve taken two without the hotel’s “price gouging” — meaning there are more rooms available for the people who come along who might really have no other option.
In a nutshell, price gouging incentivizes people to take only what they really need to survive, meaning that a greater amount of people will be able to get the necessary supplies instead of arriving at the store to find rows of empty shelves. What’s more, high prices can incentivize suppliers to bring more of the sought-after goods into the affected areas.
Ever eager to assume that political intervention is superior to market solutions in allocating resources, New Jersey is currently rationing gasoline in certain areas, which isn’t having much effect on mitigating the shortages and the waiting lines. But, as Holman Jenkins writes in the WSJ, maybe we should all hug a price gouger:
Gas stations post the most visible price in the economy, and are target No. 1 for politicians looking for innocent entrepreneurs to scapegoat. One Florida station owner during Katrina told investigators the universal truth of all gas station owners: He raised prices because he had “too many customers” and was running out of fuel. For his honesty and good sense, he was slapped with the state of Florida’s first gouging subpoena.
… In the aftermath of this week’s storm, how long before the Northeast’s refiners and fuel distributors are back in action? Gasoline may well be in short supply for days or weeks. Nothing would be as therapeutic to the public interest as letting retail prices rise to $5 or $6 or whatever might help motorists make better decisions about whether to fill up or not.
Crackdowns on gouging are plausible only because the advantages of not prosecuting price gougers belong to the category of the unseen—the public can’t see the supplies that would be available but for price-gouging laws. A good statewide New Jersey gasoline panic might correct that myopia, at least for a while.

Obama: More public lands to be closed to shale oil drilling!


by Jazz Shaw


In the final days of the election I made what turned out to be a clearly futile effort to demonstrate that the future of energy production, as well as the associated jobs and economic boost which go with it, could be significantly affected by the outcome. One candidate had a substantially pro-energy policy which included completing the Keystone pipeline and unshackling promising areas of domestic energy development. The other did not. Taking a line from Bruce Willis for a moment… I hate it when I’m right.
The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.
The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration…
Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.
Well, that didn’t take long at all. If you check your watches, that was actually less than 72 hours after the polls closed. Of course, it’s not final yet. There will be a 30 day protest period and a 60 day review, all carefully overseen by the fair minded members of the Obama administration who will certainly be open to…

Oh, who am I kidding? They’re going to ram this through like the Texans blowing past the defensive line of the Jets. So no drilling, leading to no investment by energy companies, no new jobs and decreasing domestic supplies. When you combine that with the already beginning job losses in the coal industry, the picture becomes fairly grim. But America had a choice to make and they apparently chose to stay warm this winter by huddling around the smoldering remains of their hybrid cars.

But it’s not as if we weren’t given fair warning. During the debates, Mitt Romney called out the President on his claims over oil production being up and noting that permits on federal lands had fallen by 36%. Obama responded by saying that the lazy oil companies were sitting on the permits for too long and they needed to “use it or lose it.” Of course, he didn’t mention

How many tea-party supporters voted for Obama?


by

A footnote from the national exit poll that I missed earlier this week. Note to the 11 percent: You’re doing it wrong.



Reuters/Ipsos conducted its own exit poll, based on a massive sample of 40,000 people, and got basically the same result —
12 percent of those who “identify strongly” with the tea party pulled the lever for four more years.
One other detail from the Reuters poll, possibly related, possibly not:
Voters who switched from Republican John McCain in 2008 to Obama in 2012 said their choice was based on which candidate “cares about people like me.” That suggests the Obama campaign may have been successful in painting Romney, a wealthy businessman, as out of touch with average voters, particularly after his leaked remarks about the “47 percent” he said he would not “worry about.”
That squares with Sean Trende’s theory that lots of working-class white voters who were otherwise gettable ended up staying home due to alienation from Romney. A few of them may have been so alienated that they turned out but voted for O. Could help explain the wayward tea partiers here.

Woman Linked to Petraeus Is a West Point Graduate and Lifelong High Achiever


By


WASHINGTON — Paula Broadwell, whose affair with the nation’s C.I.A. director led to his resignation on Friday, was the valedictorian of her high school class and homecoming queen, a fitness champion at West Point with a graduate degree from Harvard, and a model for a machine gun manufacturer.

T. Ortega Gaines/The Charlotte Observer, via Associated Press
Paula Broadwell, who wrote a biography of David H. Petraeus, moved into public view on Friday after an affair with Mr. Petraeus was uncovered.

It may have been those qualities — and a string of achievements that began in her native North Dakota, where she was state student council president, an all-state basketball player and orchestra concertmistress — that drew the attention of David H. Petraeus, the nation’s top spy and a four-star general, as the two spent hours together for a biography of Mr. Petraeus that Ms. Broadwell co-wrote.
Ms. Broadwell’s name burst into public view on Friday evening after Mr. Petraeus resigned abruptly amid an F.B.I. investigation that uncovered evidence of their relationship.

But Ms. Broadwell was hardly shy about her interactions with Mr. Petraeus as she promoted her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” in media appearances earlier this year. She had unusual access, she noted in promotional appearances, taping many of her interviews for her book while running six-minute miles with Mr. Petraeus in the thin mountain air of the Afghan capital.

Ms. Broadwell said in an interview in February that Mr. Petraeus was enjoying his new civilian life at the C.I.A., where he became director in September 2011. “It was a huge growth period for him, because he realized he didn’t have to hide behind the shield of all those medals and stripes on his arm,” she said. Ms. Broadwell was 39 at the time.

Her biography on the Penguin Speakers Bureau Web site says that she is a research associate at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. She received a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

A self-described “soccer mom” and an ironman triathlete, Ms. Broadwell became a fixture on the Washington media scene after the publication of her book about Mr. Petraeus, who is 60. In a Twitter message this summer, she bragged about appearing on a panel at the Aspen Institute, a policy group for deep thinkers.

“Heading 2 @AspenInstitute 4 the Security Forum tomorrow! Panel (media & terrorism) followed by a 1v1 run with Lance Armstrong,” she wrote. “Fired up!”

On her Twitter account, she often commented on the qualities of leadership. “Reason and calm judgment, the qualities specially belonging to a leader. Tacitus,” she wrote. In another message, she said: “A leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it. Truman.”

She also used her Twitter account to denounce speculation in the Drudge Report that Mr. Petraeus would be picked as a running mate by Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president.
Married with two children, she was described in a biography on the Web site of Inspired Women Magazine as a high achiever since high school.

The biography says that Ms. Broadwell received a degree in political geography and systems engineering from West Point, where she was ranked No. 1 over all in fitness in her class. She benefited from a different ranking scale for women, she told a reporter this year. But “I was still in the top 5 percent if I’d been ranked as a male,” she said.

The official Web site for Ms. Broadwell’s book was taken down Friday, but comments from her echoed across the Internet.

“I was driven when I was younger,” she was quoted as saying on the Web site, noting her induction into her high school’s hall of fame. “Driven at West Point where it was much more competitive in that women were competing with men on many levels, and I was driven in the military and at Harvard, both competitive environments.”

“But now,” she is quoted as saying, “as a working mother of two, I realize it is more difficult to compete in certain areas. I think it is important for working moms to recognize that family is the most important.”

On “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart summed up Ms. Broadwell’s book by saying: “I would say the real controversy here is, is he awesome or incredibly awesome?”A short time later, Ms. Broadwell challenged Mr. Stewart to a push-up contest, which she won handily. Mr. Stewart had to pay $1,000 to a veterans’ support group for each push-up she did beyond his total. Ms. Broadwell said that he wrote a check for $20,000 on the spot.

On Friday evening, her house in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., was dark when a reporter rang the doorbell. Two cars were in the home’s carport and an American flag was flying out front.

Viv Bernstein contributed reporting from Charlotte, N.C.