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Scene above: Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
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JULY 27, 2012
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:05 P.M. ET:
OLYMPICS – The Olympics have opened in London, with a bored-looking Queen Elizabeth II presiding over the starting ceremonies. The show was spectacular, although there has been some critical buzz about an overdrawn tribute to Britain's National Health Service, whose level of "service" has been seriously questioned in recent times. But at least we also got James Bond.
ROMNEY ADVANCES – Mitt Romney opened up a five-point lead in the Rasmussen poll, which has to be impressive, considering the fact that Rasmussen polls likely voters. Mitt's progress probably has come as a result of the negative response to Obama's comment that business owners didn't build their businesses themselves. However, Romney stumbled badly in Britain yesterday, in his first foreign trip as presumed Republican candidate for president. Let's see if that affects his poll standings. We should know early next week.
CONTENDER CONTEST – We mentioned that Marco Rubio will be campaigning for Romney during Romney's foreign trip. It turns out that Romney is unleashing virtually all the serious contenders for the VP nod to campaign in his absence. Included in the squad are Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Chris Christie of New Jersey will not be on the trail, and Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire will be doing other campaigning.
SYRIA TRAGEDY CONTINUES – Citizens of Syria's historic city of Aleppo expect a major, bloody battle in the next week, possibly the final great battle of the country's civil war. Aid workers are leaving the city in anticipation of the clash. Casualties are expected to be very high, with the different sides now building their forces. The war grows more complicated by the day, as the Syrian government engages in butchery, while the opposition is reported to be increasingly infiltrated by Islamic extremists. Hard to root for any of them.
July 27, 2012 Permalink
SNIPPET OF THE DAY – AT 3:49 P.M. ET:
"A woman who kept the mummified remains of her boyfriend in her home for more than a year now faces criminal charges. Linda Lou Chase faces multiple counts of forgery, according to the Jackson County prosecutor's office. Police and prosecutors say Chase collected and kept at least $28,000 in social security and pension checks meant for Charles Zigler."
What's the problem here? We have mummified remains in the U.S. Congress, they also take funds that don't belong to them, and we keep sending them back. Double standard, I say.
WE MUST NOT AVERT OUR EYES – AT 10:25 A.M. ET: You'll be seeing that warning more and more at Urgent Agenda. As we enter the main months of our election campaign, let us not forget that enemies of this country will not be resting. They will use the time to build their forces, and plan their next moves. As Arthur Miller wrote, attention must be paid. From the Washington Post:
That is a critical point. What if Iran opened the hostilities? The aggressor has the advantage of surprise and maneuver in the first hours. Many forget that there were more than 50 American warships in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. There were many American fighter aircraft on the ground at nearby bases. Yet look at the damage the Japanese inflicted in the opening minutes. The battleship Arizona was sunk in the first ten minutes of the attack. Planes were destroyed on the ground.
Correct. Most of our weapons systems were not designed for this kind of warfare. Our Navy is primarily an ocean-going force.
COMMENT: This is serious stuff. Very knowledgeable people have written that the Iranian dream is to take out an American aircraft carrier, which would be a grievous, humiliating blow to the United States.
Iran is a historically able nation, not to be underestimated. We now know that Iranian warships have entered the Atlantic. Yes, Iran has a small fleet, but massed vessels, including patrol boats, in a narrow body of water, can inflict enormous damage.
As Iran builds, we continue to "negotiate." We have "negotiated" for years, with no result. Either Iran will get its nuclear bomb, or there'll be some kind of confrontation. I can't think of any third, realistic possibility. But too many Americans are averting their eyes.
July 27, 2012 Permalink
HMM. AN ORGANIZED CAMPAIGN? – AT 9:29 A.M. ET: First Jeb, now Rudy. In the last 48 hours two Republican heavyweights have endorsed Marco Rubio for vice presidential candidate. Is this coincidence, or is it an organized campaign, part of a buildup? By some strange coincidence, Rubio will be campaigning heavily for Romney in the next few days. From The Politico:
COMMENT: It is a bit unusual for major party figures to pump for a particular choice for VP. Rubio happens to be my choice as well. I think he will add dynamism to the ticket, help substantially with Hispanic voters, and bring in his critical state of Florida, the nation's fourth most populous state.
I also think Rubio may be a long shot at this point. Romney tends to favor safer, more conventional choices, like the able senator from Ohio, Rob Portman.
By the way, Condi Rice is out with a piece in the Financial Times that reads like a convention speech. This is not the kind of writing she normally does. She claims she's not interested in the VP slot, but, for an uninterested person, she sure knows how to craft a good political document. Let the intrigue begin.
July 27, 2012 Permalink
HIDDEN DEFECTORS? – AT 9:01 A.M. ET: There is an image, as Investor's Business Daily blogger Andrew Malcolm writes, that each candidate in the presidential election has a solid bloc of voters, and that the election will be won by a small, remaining group of independents in the middle.
But, not so fast. Malcolm notes that some observers see a crack in Obama's armor that has not been widely examined.
COMMENT: Go to the link to see the video. I'd like to know what you think.
July 27, 2012 Permalink
ECONOMY STALLING – AT 8:46 A.M. ET: The latest economic report simply adds to worries that the American economy may be entering a double-dip recession:
COMMENT: By any reasonable standard, this is bad news for Obama. And yet, he retains a substantial resilience in the polls, in part because his opponent has not yet made the case for himself. That is Romney's main job right now. We hope he will pursue it without committing the sort of gaffes he did in London yesterday.
July 27, 2012 Permalink
JULY 26, 2012
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:46 P.M. ET:
GUESS WHO'S COMING TO RAMADAN – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has put Congress on notice to expect some unpleasant characters passing through Washington. With changes in the Mideast, Napolitano made it clear that people who have been on watch lists may suddenly find themselves in meetings with American officials, and welcomed. It's a stunning, disheartening development. We apparently are going to sanitize some pretty bad types in the interest of "diplomacy." It is another step forward for extremists, with whom Obama obviously has some sympathy, and a setback for true democracy advocates.
BIG BOMB AVAILABLE – In an apparent warning to both Iran and Syria, the Pentagon has announced that it now has available the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bomb which contains 5,000 pounds of explosives. The bomb is capable of penetrating deep underground facilities, but it is not known whether it can penetrate the deepest facilities Iran has constructed for its underground nuclear program. Leon Panetta said earlier this year that the weapon had deficiencies in this regard. Still, it is the most powerful conventional weapon we have, and clearly intended to scare the right people.
ANOTHER SETBACK FOR THE WARMER CROWD – Remember the "scientific consensus" on global warming? Ah yes, I remember it well. There are still some people who cling to it, including some guys at NASA. But NASA's claim that the ice of Greenland is experiencing "unprecedented" melting has now been met with a torrent of criticism by real grown-up scientists who note that the episode is actually quite routine in Greenland's history. As one scientist pointed out, there seem to be precedents for a number of unprecedented events.
ROMNEY RAKED OVER THE COALS – It was not a good day for Mitt Romney. As we noted earlier, he started his foreign trip with a whopping gaffe, seeming to question whether Britain was really ready to host the Olympics...which start tomorrow. And Bill Kristol reports that Romney, for some insane reason, has been telling a story about Ronald Reagan ordering that no meetings on national security be held for a particular length of time so he could concentrate on the economy. Kristol notes that Reagan's White House records plainly contradict the story, and wonders why Romney would continue telling it. Romney is gaffe-prone. We thought he'd gotten over it, but more work is needed before he becomes his own worst enemy.
July 26, 2012 Permalink
THIS IS REALLY SICK STUFF – AT 11:14 A.M. ET: Sometimes we get a story we must quote simply to show readers the twisted thinking that is out there, and is treated respectfully. From The Jerusalem Post:
COMMENT: What will we have next, an attempt to cancel Memorial Day in the United States because it might offend the Germans, the Japanese, and Al Qaeda?
In World War II many American Navy officers could not adjust to the Japanese kamikaze. It was simply beyond their comprehension that men would commit suicide rather than try to live. Many officials refused to believe the first stories of the Nazi extermination camps because they could not believe that Germany, a "civilized nation," would do such a thing.
One of our great failures is the failure to understand ideology. Even now, as this is written, instruction manuals within the U.S. Government are being purged of references to Islamic extremism, even though Islamic extremists are our sworn enemies.
And so we have the Palestinian leadership, which sent terrorists to murder Israeli Olympic athletes in cold blood, hailing the refusal of the IOC to hold a minute of silence in memory of those athletes, claiming the memorial would constitute "racism." How low can you go? Pretty low, it seems. The IOC itself has an ugly history, its collusion with the worst dictators being part of its corrupt past. Indeed, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee in the 1930s, Avery Brundage, was openly pro-Nazi, and later, as head of a construction company, got the contract to build the new German embassy in Washington. I only wish we could separate the athletes from the organization.
There is currently a major effort underway by the usual suspects to whitewash the Muslim Brotherhood. It will largely succeed, with the enthusiastic support of the "multiculturalists" in the universities and the press. Our children will pay the price for our failure, once again, to understand ideology.
July 26, 2012 Permalink
LET THE PANDERING BEGIN – AT 9:53 A.M. ET: As some readers know, I started the political end of my career in liberal politics, as a campaign aide to the distinguished senator from Illinois, Paul Douglas, who was also a true war hero, severely wounded at Okinawa. I still have great respect for true liberals, national defense liberals like Mr. Douglas, Scoop Jackson and Stuart Symington. I have little regard for the current crops, who are leftists, not liberals.
Let me relate an incident from the 1960 campaign. I was with Mr. Douglas in an African-American neighborhood. We were parked in the campaign van. A black woman came up to speak with the senator. During the conversation Mr. Douglas said, "I know that democracy hasn't been too kind to your people." The woman's face froze. She replied coldly, "I do all right."
Mr. Douglas later reflected on the incident. He realized, he said, that he had offended the woman by patronizing her, offending her pride. He'd meant well, but it hadn't come off that way.
I thought of that incident when I read this story last night, from AP:
COMMENT: This is just awful. It is pandering at its worst. If I were an African-American I'd feel insulted and patronized.
Also, it is wrong to set up a federal office for the students of only one ethnic group. Obviously, this is just an election-year gimmick to stimulate a lethargic black electorate, but it separates us, rather than unites us. It also stigmatizes. There are plenty of opportunities for black kids today. If they aren't seizing those opportunities, the problem is in upbringing, mentoring and local failure, not in the lack of a federal program.
The mentality of the sixties is really back, isn't it?
July 26, 2012 Permalink
MORE NONSENSE FROM THE CHOSEN ONE – AT 9:06 A.M. ET: Just as Mitt Romney hands the Obama campaign an undeserved gift (see our first post of the morning, below) the president himself delivers a cynical, patronizing speech to the Urban League, aided by unprofessional news reporting that, strangely, always seems to help Obama.
Maybe a little talk about culture, family breakdown, cynical local "leaders," dishonest "programs," might help a bit. This we didn't get from Mr. Hope 'n' Change.
The big, bad NRA again. The president did not have the spine, nor did the reporter writing that piece, to point out something we've discussed here – the rules set down by the very liberal "mental health" establishment, making it virtually impossible for some very disturbing information to be placed in the federal database that governs the purchase of weapons. Some of these rules, often justified on grounds of "privacy," are established be educational institutions, others by law.
Most of the recent mass gun killings in the U.S. have been conducted by students, and they have been protected by privacy rules. The shooter at Virginia Tech was well known for his mental issues. The alleged shooter in the Gabrielle Giffords case had experienced five hostile contacts with campus police in the immediate period before he committed his crime. But those contacts were barred from inclusion in the database. Had they been there, this individual could not have bought the gun he used.
Now we find that the alleged Colorado killer had quite a history. Did no one notice? Or did political correctness and a desire to be "sympathetic" to those with mental "issues" prevent action?
Not much discussion of this, is there?
July 26, 2012 Permalink
UPSETTING, TO SAY THE LEAST – AT 8:47 A.M. ET: Just when we thought Mitt Romney had gotten past his reputation for gaffes, he commits one that is world class, and can seriously damage his presidential prospects.
Ah, how we recall Romney's comment, during the primaries, that his wife drove "a couple of Cadillacs," and other gems that do not endear a candidate to voters.
Now Romney is on a foreign trip, meant to demonstrate that he can play in the big leagues, and restore America's relationship with its allies, marred by Obama's sneering attitude toward old friends. And what does Romney do? He puts his foot in it, big time. As he travels to Britain, our closest friend, he openly casts doubt on whether the country is actually ready to host the Olympics, which start, er, tomorrow. The British press is stunned.
What? This is what you say about Britain when you're trying to show that you want to restore the alliance? Romney was promptly reprimanded, and publicly so, by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Now Romney is backtracking:
COMMENT: Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Thank you, Mitt, for blowing it on your first day abroad. This gaffe will dominate political discussion of your trip, make you look like an amateur, and cost you.
I can just imagine activity at the Democratic National Committee today, as it prepares an ad portraying Romney as out of his depth. His father, Michigan Governor George Romney, destroyed his 1968 campaign for the presidency with another gaffe linked to a foreign trip. The senior Romney said he had been "brainwashed" in Vietnam, a comment that ended his political career.
Now his son commits two gaffes. Ed Miliband is not referred to as "Mr. Leader." This is basic staff work.
Romney was making progress in the last week, hammering Obama for the president's comment about American business owners not building their own businesses. We hope Romney can put this latest episode behind him, but it cannot help.
July 26, 2012 Permalink
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
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