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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SEPTEMBER 2, 2014
THUMBS DOWN ON MITT – AT 9:21 A.M. ET: There is clearly a boomlet for Mitt Romney, especially among members of the GOP establishment. Not every Republican is enthusiastic. From Marc A. Thiessen at WaPo:
In the 1991 movie “Naked Gun 2 ½,” Police Lt. Frank Drebin drinks away his sorrows in a blues bar while sad music plays and the camera pans across a wall with pictures depicting the worst disasters in history: the Chicago fire . . . the Hindenburg . . . the Titanic . . . and Michael Dukakis.
If they did a remake today, they would replace Dukakis’s picture on the wall with one of another Massachusetts governor: Mitt Romney.
Talk of a Romney 2016 run is heating up. A USA Today poll shows Romney with a huge lead in Iowa, far ahead of 14 other potential GOP candidates. And after months of Shermanesque denials, Romney recently cracked the door open to another presidential bid, telling radio host Hugh Hewitt that “circumstances can change.”
To which I say: Nooooo!
Don’t get me wrong, I wish Mitt Romney were president right now. And apparently so do a majority of Americans. A recent poll found that if the 2012 election were held today, Romney would beat Obama by 53 percent to 44 percent. But those numbers more likely reflect buyer’s remorse with Barack Obama than a sudden longing for a Romney administration. Indeed, the very same poll showed Romney losing to Hillary Clinton by 55 percent to 44 percent — not exactly the result Republicans are looking for in 2016.
Because he presented such a blank canvas, Romney allowed Obama to paint him as an unacceptable alternative. Indeed, he often took the brush in his own hands and did Obama’s job for him. Like when he told auto workers his wife “drives a couple of Cadillacs” . . . or described himself as “severely conservative” (something no actual conservative would say) . . . or declared that “corporations are people, my friend” . . . or offered to bet Texas Gov. Rick Perry “10 thousand bucks” . . . or said “I like being able to fire people” . . . or declared his immigration policy was “self-deportation” . . . or announced “I’m not concerned about the very poor” . . . or dismissed 47 percent of the country as a bunch of moochers “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”
After this series of self-inflicted wounds, little wonder that only 35 percent of Americans said they believed that Romney cared about the poor, and just 38 percent said Romney “cares about people like me.” You can’t win an election when most Americans think you don’t care about them.
Why would Republicans want to relive that debacle? Mitt Romney is an utterly decent man who certainly would have been a much better president than Barack Obama. But he was given a golden opportunity to save the United States from a second Obama term and blew it.
Do Republicans really want to count on him to save the United States from Clinton’s first term?
COMMENT: Those are very provocative and thoughtful points. You play this political game to win. There is no silver medal awarded.
Romney advocates say he already has high name recognition, presidential stature, a proved record of being right, and that he's a much better campaigner than in 2012. I'd have to see him campaign to believe that last point, because it's critical. No doubt he'd make a fine president. But you've got to get there first, and I just hope we're not dealing with another Tom Dewey.
I'm inclined to believe that the party needs new blood at the top. But I'm willing to be convinced if Romney shows that he can take the fight to the enemy, and develop a little more fire in the belly.
THE BRITS ARE SERIOUS – AT 8:41 A.M. ET: Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, continues his campaign to make Britain the leader in fighting terrorism. He puts Barack Obama to shame, although that is fairly easy to do. From Newsmax:
Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday proposed new laws that would give police the power to seize the passports of Britons suspected of having traveled abroad to fight with terrorist groups.
Speaking to Parliament, Cameron said his government is also working on plans to block such suspected British jihadi fighters from re-entering the U.K. The power to monitor such suspects who are already in Britain would also be strengthened.
“What we need is a targeted power to exclude British nationals from the United Kingdom,” the prime minister told lawmakers in London today. “We need to address any potential gap in our armory to keep our country safe.”
The plans to widen Britain's anti-terror laws, which are likely to be approved by parliament, are aimed at preventing attacks by Islamist militants returning from terror training in trouble spots in the Middle East.
Like other Western countries such as the U.S., France and Germany, Britain is worried that citizens who travel abroad to join terror groups could threaten their home country when they return.
Intelligence and security services suspect that around 500 Britons have gone to fight in Syria and potentially Iraq. Cameron has described the extremism posed by the Islamic State group as the biggest security threat of modern times — surpassing that of al-Qaida — and said it poses a direct threat to Europe.
Britain's Home Secretary already has the authority to withhold passports in some cases, but Cameron said more is needed to ensure police at border crossings could act in time when they spot a suspect.
COMMENT: This comes at a moment when a new poll shows that 95% of BBC viewers think multiculturalism has failed. Britain is waking up, and has a prime minister who is doing his part to hurry the waking. Compare please to our First Golfer.
LAWS, LAWS, EVERYWHERE LAWS – AT 8:31 A.M. ET: Democrat Mary Landrieu, running scared for re-election to the U.S. Senate from Louisiana, comes from a famous Louisiana political family. But, uh, there seems to be a bit of bother about where she really lives, and whether she really qualifies for the Senate. I have no idea how far this will go, but it's too juicy to ignore. From Fox:
Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, in a tough re-election bid, is facing mounting legal challenges to her residency status, including a lawsuit filed this weekend by a former Republican challenger.
The suit filed by GOP state Rep. Paul Hollis, who exited the Senate race in July, contends that Landrieu, a Democrat, cannot represent Louisiana because she lives full-time in Washington.
He argues that federal law says only "an inhabitant" of a state can be elected to the U.S. Senate to represent the state.
"Mary L. Landrieu is, in reality, a full-time permanent inhabitant of the District of Columbia. ... (B)y all measurable and legal standards, her actual domicile is her $2.5 million residence on Capitol Hill, the only home she owns," Hollis said in the lawsuit filed Friday in state district court in Baton Rouge...
...Landrieu is registered to vote in Louisiana, using the New Orleans address where her parents live. The house is owned by a trust in which the senator, her eight siblings and their parents share equally.
Residency criticism in 2002 and 2008 failed to unseat Landrieu, whose family has strong New Orleans roots -- her brother Mitch is in his second term as mayor, a job once held by their father, Moon.
Whether Hollis or Maness’ arguments will result in any consequences for the 58-year-old Landrieu remains to be seen.
However, their efforts will likely help Republicans trying to portray Landrieu as a creature of Washington and connect her to fellow Democrat President Obama, who now has low approval ratings.
COMMENT: Landrieu is tied in the polls with her main Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy. In order to win in November, a candidate in Louisiana must get 50% of the vote, or face a runoff. There are several GOP challengers. If Landrieu doesn't hit the 50% mark, she would go into a runoff against, presumably, Cassidy, who would then pick up the votes of the other Republicans who ran.
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:52 P.M. ET:
A CHANCE? – From the Chicago Sun-Times: "The race to defeat one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation is narrowing — with incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin just seven percentage points ahead of Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, according to a new Early & Often Poll. In a year that’s expected to tilt toward Republicans across the nation, Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. Senate, is leading Oberweis, who is making his third run for the Senate, 47.8 percent to 40.5 percent, the survey commissioned by the Sun-Times’ political portal shows. And in the first major survey since an Illinois State Board of Elections ruling allowed the Libertarian Party onto the ballot, candidate Sharon Hansen had a showing of about 4 percent. Another 7.6 percent of those queried said they were undecided..." I'd want to see more polling before believing that our side has a shot in heavily Democratic Illinois, especially since the Chicago machine knows where to find votes, when needed. But if the poll is accurate it may be a sign of good things to come.
LIKE PRESIDENT, LIKE SECRETARY OF STATE – From the Daily Caller: "Secretary of State John Kerry was spotted kiteboarding Monday morning in Nantucket in a photograph obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller. Kerry spent Labor Day enjoying himself while the Obama administration still admittedly has no strategy for dealing with the threat of ISIS in Iraq. Kerry was last seen kiteboarding in mid-August in Nantucket. Kerry’s last documented work-related activity was seen in the pages of Saturday’s New York Times, in the form of an op-ed entitled 'To Defeat Terror, We Need the World’s Help: The Threat of ISIS Demands A Global Coalition.'" What's wrong with these Obamans? Have they never heard the term, "bad image"? Or don't they care?
MAJOR HOME-ECONOMICS NEWS – From BBC: "From 1 September, companies in the EU will be banned from making or importing vacuum cleaners above 1600 watts and it has led to a sharp rise in sales. In one recent study, five of the top seven cleaners had motors of more than 1600 watts." Maybe the public is sending a message: clean beats green. We've read that the European Union will be waging a war on hair dryers, cell phones and other appliances on the ground that they're evil and an assault on Mother Earth. If anyone comes for my powerful vacuum cleaner, they'll have to yank the upholstery nozzle out of my cold, dead hands.
REMARKABLE – AT 10:56 A.M. ET: Michael Barone is one of our best political commentators. I don't think he's always been at the top of his game recently, but he roars back with a superb commentary on the character of Barack Obama. He basically argues, correctly, that Obama has little interest in other people, doesn't really like people, and that these characteristics are dooming his presidency. He compares Obama to Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom are intensely interested in what others think. Here's the key quote, from the Washington Examiner:
The ability to read other people comes more easily if you’re interested in others, curious to learn what makes them tick. It comes harder or not at all if you’re transfixed with your image of yourself.
Which seems to be the case with Barack Obama. Not only is he not much interested in the details of public policy, as Jay Cost argues persuasively in a recent article for the Weekly Standard. He is also, as even his admirers concede, not much inclined to schmooze with other politicians, even his fellow Democrats.
That goes double for Republicans. House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is one of the most transparent and least guileful politicians I’ve encountered. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy and liberal Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., had no difficulty reaching agreement with him on the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.
But Obama has gotten nowhere with him. The president blew up the 2011 grand bargain negotiations by raising the ante late in the game; later budget agreements were left to Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Obama has taken to explaining Republican opposition as the result of “fever” or mental delusion.
Obama is also known to have frosty relations with most foreign leaders. He used to claim to be close to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That hasn’t prevented Erdogan from sidling up to the Muslim Brotherhood and exhibiting blatant anti-semitism.
Obama critics have pointed out his fondness for the first person singular. He said “I,” “me,” or “my” 63 times in his 1,631-word eulogy for Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye. He spoke twice as long about his own family experiences as the heroism for which Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani succeeded in large part because they were curious about other people different from themselves. Barack Obama prefers to look in the mirror.
COMMENT: Very well said. The president is a supreme egotist. He is also an ideologist who cares little about the practical effects of his ideology on people. He dislikes people, and it appears he dislikes Americans a little more than others.
The outrage is that this man has been shielded and protected by a media obsessed with its leftist ideology and its worship of the holy trinity of race, gender, and ethnicity, a trinity jammed down the throats of college students throughout the country.
Some presidents grow in office. Obama has not. He doesn't see any need for growth. How can you improve on perfection?
WHOOPS – AT 10:18 A.M. ET: As usual, Al Gore has some 'splainin' to do. But don't tell him. Let him enjoy his Labor Day weekend, knowing he's at one with Barack Obama. From London's Daily Mail:
The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’
Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change.
But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.
To put it another way, an area the size of Alaska, America’s biggest state, was open water two years ago, but is again now covered by ice.
The most widely used measurements of Arctic ice extent are the daily satellite readings issued by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, which is co-funded by Nasa. These reveal that – while the long-term trend still shows a decline – last Monday, August 25, the area of the Arctic Ocean with at least 15 per cent ice cover was 5.62 million square kilometres.
This was the highest level recorded on that date since 2006 (see graph, right), and represents an increase of 1.71 million square kilometres over the past two years – an impressive 43 per cent.
Other figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute suggest that the growth has been even more dramatic.
Judith Curry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said last night: ‘The Arctic sea ice spiral of death seems to have reversed.’
COMMENT: This doesn't mean that there's no global warming or that human influence isn't present. It does mean that we need vastly better information before we write checks in the trillions of dollars, and wreck our economy, based on the work of theoreticians whose predictions too often have proved wrong, or well off the mark.
You may be sure that there's a great deal of money being made in the global-warming industry, much of it from scientific grants given by those who worship trendiness. And they're egged on by the other trend-catchers in society, from Hollywood stars to pseudo-intellectuals.
I have often called for a Challenger-type commission, composed of people with impeccable reputations, who can determine, regarding global warming, 1) what we know; 2) what we don't know; 3) what we must know to make intelligent decisions. I don't see such a commission coming.
WARNING FROM LONDON – AT 10:03 A.M. ET: Britain is taking the Islamic State threat much more seriously than we are. From Breitbart:
London could be the scene of a Mumbai-style terrorist "spectacular" if Islamist jihadists get their way, British security chiefs have warned. There is growing concern that a list of "soft" targets is being drawn up, and that weapons and explosives have already been smuggled into the country.
The Sun is reporting that the SAS has moved part of its anti-terror team to a forward base near London, amid concerns that a prolonged attack may be staged in that city. MI5 also referred to the Mumbai atrocity of 2008 as a comparison, in which coordinated bombings and shootings took place over four consecutive days, killing 174 and wounding a further 300.
Speaking to The Sun, a source said: "The nightmare scenario is they mount a spectacular attack at a high profile location. They may try to storm a building, take hostages, rig it with explosives or kill at will."
Up to 500 British-born men are understood to have gone abroad in order to fight for the Islamic State (IS). Scotland Yard believes that up to 200 may have already returned, and are concerned that they will have been taught to carry out similar violent attacks on the streets of Britain.
Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that he is considering granting the border patrol new powers to seize passports from suspected jihadists, and introducing of a ban on travelling abroad to fight with IS. A government source has told the media: "We are considering measures to keep the country safe in the face of an increased threat level from Islamist extremism.
COMMENT: Obviously, speculation and fact are different. It's possible nothing at all will happen. But British concern is sound, based on past experience and the logic of the Islamic State. We're being told here that there is no immediate threat, which is the typical line of the Obama administration.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
- Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
of The New York Times.
"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
- Jacques Barzun
"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
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