Formerly Lettters From A Young American

## Monday, October 31, 2011

### LIBYA: Al Qaeda Flag

From Digital Journal:

The flag of al Qaeda flies proudly above the main courthouse in Benghazi, Libya, as Islamic fighters drive round the city's streets at night waving the black al Qaeda flag. The warning words of Col. Gaddafi have come to pass.

Benghazi is now liberated and has been the de facto home of the National Transitional Council. Sherif Elhelwa filed a fascinating report from Benghazi saying
“according to multiple eyewitnesses—myself included—one can now see both the Libyan rebel flag and the flag of al Qaeda fluttering atop Benghazi’s courthouse.” He writes that residents have said “Islamists driving brand-new SUVs and waving the black al Qaeda flag drive the city’s streets at night shouting, ‘Islamiya, Islamiya! No East, nor West.’”

Elhelwa describes the flag as black with a full moon underneath the Arabic inscription “there is no God but Allah.” He said as he took photographs of the flag an Islamic guard approached him and said
"Whomever speaks ill of this flag, we will cut off his tongue. I recommend that you don't publish these. You will bring trouble to yourself.”

From Reuters:

Libya is plunging into a cycle of tribal violence and retribution which, if left unchecked, could undermine the authority of its new leaders, spur new forms of insurgency and throw the country back into chaos.

More than a week after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, anger is on the boil again with what many Libyans see as the inability of the interim government to rein in its brigades and stop a wave of revenge attacks.

Retribution is a byproduct of wars the world over, but Libya is awash with guns and still roamed by gangs of Gaddafi loyalists, meaning that an orgy of revenge could easily shatter its fragile peace and derail attempts to rebuild.
But it gets worse.

As post-Gaddafi euphoria fades, trouble already appears to be brewing in parts of Libya where disgruntled and armed civilians are growing increasingly suspicious of the National Transitional Council and its ability to bring law and order.

"I've seen a lot of revolutions. This is not a revolution, this is chaos," said Ali Mohamed, a 57-year-old former soldier in Gaddafi's army.

"It's all about personal acts of revenge. If there is no stability and security, people will turn against the council."

Southeast of Tripoli, in the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, tribesmen from the powerful Warfalla tribe said their men were already trying to organize themselves into an insurgent movement.

"With so many different and potentially destabilizing actors emerging, the NTC's challenge of bringing about security is immense," Henry Wilkinson, associate director of the Janusian risk advisory group, wrote in a report.

"There is ... a clear risk that unless the NTC can make tangible progress, a cycle of instability may take hold."
It's beginning of the downward spiral into chaos. When Gadhafi was first brought down, I wrote a post about the potential future of Lybia.

Part of what has held the Libyan coalition together, and allowed for western involvement (read: US) and even the support of other Middle Eastern countries like Qatar, was hatred of the Gadhafi regime. The factions and outside influences all had their own agendas, but they shared a common interest in making sure Gadhafi assumed room temperature as soon as possible.

With that common goal out of the picture, I can't see any way for this to end well for the Libyan people. Between the Muslim Brotherhood, the freedom fighters looking for some form of democracy, defectors from the Libyan army, Al Quaeda, Qatar, and the naive western onlookers who assume this is some kind of "Arab Spring," there's too many competing interests to create a peacful transition into a self-governing nation. In other words, I don't see this ending any other way than a bloody civil war that will make the fighting up to this point look tame.

### Herman Cain Denies

From RCP. Cain needs to fire his press people after last night's Weiner-style performance.
"I have never sexually harassed anyone, let's say that. Secondly, I've never sexually harassed anyone, and yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association, and I say falsely, because it turned out, after the investigation, to be baseless. The people mentioned in that article were the ones who would be aware of any misdoings, and they have attested to my integrity and my character. It is totally baseless, and totally false, never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment," Herman Cain told FOX News about claims from Politico that he was involved in the sexual harassment of two former employees.

### More Pain for Cain

Politico has a four-page exclusive story on the presidential hopeful latest hurdle.

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.
The story is ridiculously long for the details provided, which are few, shady, and unconfirmed. I'm predicting a Gloria Alred showing in the next week on this topic, as well as the women, who are  not mentioned in the story "coming forward" to share the sordid details. If the story's true, Cain's shaky campaign is over. If it's not, well, he'd better work darn hard to make sure every American understands how untrue it is.

## Friday, October 28, 2011

### A Compendium of Cain Chaos

Herman Cain. The joke candidate and longshot for the last year. Now the frontrunner, leading Romney by as much as 4 points in some polls.
But as to be expected, heightened numbers equals heightened scrutiny, and some say Cain hasn't been able to stand up to the recent buffeting.

First came Cain's comment on placing an electrified fence along the Mexican border.

He tried to pass it off as a joke (I can't find the full speech so it's hard to see out of context) but regardless, you don't make those kind of comments if you're running for office. It comes off really, really poorly, and simply gave more tinder for the media to use against him.

Second was his seeming "flip-flopping" on the issue of abortion. Cain seemed to tell CNN's Piers Morgan on October 19 he was pro-life personally, but pro-choice in policy, a weasler technique employed by idiot conservatives with no backbone.

First, note the credulous tone in Morgan's voice when he asks "honestly?!" The Cain Train Campaign (hah, that all rhymes!) quickly released a statement reiterating his prolife stance.
“Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.

I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion.

My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.
I think it's safe to say, as some have suggested, this was Cain's attempt to look thoughtful and intellegent. Whoops.

Cain has been decidedly pro-life for years. During his senate campaign in 2004 he went after Roe v. Wade. Cain even recorded radio spots blaming Roe v. Wade and democrats for the high number of black abortions. That, and he donated $1 million of his own money to get black voters to vote pro-life. Cain futher reiterated his pro-life position with the Des Moines Register a few days ago. I am pro-life from conception. Abortions, no exceptions. That has been my official stand from the beginning. What Piers Morgan was trying to do was to pigeonhole me on, “Well, what if this was your granddaughter?” You know what? If it’s my granddaughter? Yes, this is my official position, and it’s always been that. If it’s my granddaughter? I used the word “choice.” And that’s where they jumped all over it. A family will make that choice. I was not talking about the whole big issue. Some conservatives, like John Hayward at Human Events, aren't buying it. But Nancy Keenan, head of NARAL, does. She wrote an open letter to Cain condemning his pro-life stance, claiming he was "100 percent pro life" even in cases of rape and incest. Third, and more recently, was the bizarre ad the campaign just released. Without the "controversial" drag on a cigarette, the ad's just your average political fare: A little uninspiring and flat, but hey, that's politics. But for heaven's sake, why is this getting the kind of attention in the press? Shocker, clean-cut media schmucks: around 20 percent of Americans smoke. Including your beloved president. That being said, it was a pretty dumb move. Cain was already under fire this week, and there was no reason to fan the flames, to to speak, any more. The Colbert Report had a hilarious parody of the ad. (WARNING: Colbert Report material, so view at your own risk. There's no language though...) Dueling economic plans are on the horizon. Rick Perry finally released his economic plan. The struggling candidate is pushing plan that allows people to choose between the current tax code and his new flat tax of 20 percent. The plan has garnered plenty of praise, even from the likes of El Rushbo. Meanwhile, back on the Cain Train, he introduced an "amendment" to the 999 plan, saying individuals below the poverty line would be exempt from the 9 percent income tax part of the plan. They'd be 909-ers. Cain says this part of the plan has been around from the beginning, but he has avoided talking about it for clarity's sake. "We simply chose not to talk about this piece earlier such that we could get people used to the whole concept," he said. It will be beyond fun to watch the two plans square off in the coming debates, assuming Perry doesn't skip out on them. At last we have legitimate, viable economic plans, and republicans are going to look loads more prepared and capable than the current regime. Perry's hoping the tax plan will boost his numbers and get him back into top-tier status. Cain should be worried. The tax plan has been his mantra from the beginning, and now he's got someone trying to muscle in on his territory. All in all, Cain's had a tough last couple of weeks. But you wouldn't know it from the numbers. He's maintained his (albeit shrinking) spot at the top of the pack, though the numbers have yet to catch up with Cain's more recent bumbles. But those are just the national numbers. Romney still holds a formidable lead in New Hampshire and other early primary states. This could be complicated by recent reports emerging that Cain's campaign is disorganized and chaotic, and at times nonexistant. Ex-staffers told the New York Times Cain's method of running a campaign seems to throw a bucket of cold water on his "The Great Problem Solver" image he's trying to portray. Nonetheless, Cain's campaign is taking a step back after the last two weeks. The missteps may not have harmed his poll numbers or popularity just yet, but if he's not careful, it will. “We’re trying to slow down a little bit, make sure he’s rested, make sure he’s focused,” says J.D. Gordon, the campaign’s vice president for communications. The goal is to achieve a “more deliberate pace…so we don’t make those kinds of mistakes.” Gordon says his boss has been doing as many as seven or eight events a day, “and when you do that and don’t use a Teleprompter, sometimes you can make a mistake… People understand he’s not a career politician; he’s very spontaneous, they know how fast he’s going. People give him more leeway than they would someone who’s in Congress or a governor.” For my money, we haven't seen the last of Cain yet. His campaign has been raising money left and right, and if Cain can reset and let his campaign infastructure catch up with his runaway popularity, he could hold his own. ...if he's careful. ### Injured Vet Martyr Allegedly Anti-Marine From Verum Serum: Scott Olsen is the Marine Corps veteran critically injured at Occupy Oakland Tuesday night, during a confrontation between the protesters and the police. The latest news is good: his condition has been upgraded from critical to fair and he is apparently conscious and able to respond to doctors and family members. I sincerely wish him a full recovery, and I also hope that a proper investigation is conducted to determine whether police misconduct is responsible for his injuries. But I ran across something this evening that may add a new dimension to this story. It has been widely reported that Olsen is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. But apparently his opposition to the U.S. military and the Marine Corps in which he served runs a little deeper. The site is no longer live, but Olsen was the founder of IHateTheMarineCorps.com, a private user forum apparently dedicated to bashing the Marine Corps. VS even includes some posts from Olsen, including a response on a Yahoo! Answers message board. The Marine Corps thrives on its image. They convince young men and women that they’re joining a professional military organization. But that’s not the case at all, every Marine knows it, and most have no problem downplaying the bull**** to outsiders so they can protect their “beloved corps”. I noticed some of the other posters have told you not to pay any attention to my site because we’re just a bunch of ********* who couldn’t hack it, right? Maybe not hacking it means we saw through the bull**** and don’t want to take it. Maybe the brainwashing didn’t work on us. I’m not here to tell you if you should join or not. I’m here to advise you to take the people who visit my website just as seriously as anybody who tries to sell you the MC as a good thing. My site is anonymous, these people don’t have to worry about hiding from the MC, or protecting the MC’s image or anything. It is unfiltered truth. Source(s): Former Marine, owner of http://www.ihatethemarinecorps.com ## Wednesday, October 26, 2011 ### A Handy Guide to #OWS Check out Heritage's great guide to Occupy Wall Street's demands, whines complaints, and requests. ### Wastin' Away Again In My ObamaVille From The Other McCain Sorry, Jimmy: Nibblin’ on coffee cake Watchin’ some bum take All of the handouts From some others’ toil Strummin’ my six phones Amidst all the chicken bones Smell those socks? They’re beginnin’ ta boil Wasted away again in my ObamaVille Chanting mic check near the Chase vault, Some people claim That Obama’s to blame, But I know It’s George Bush’s fault Don’t know the reason My toes are a-freezin’ With nuthin’ to show For the whole protest zoo. But Barack is a beauty A Che-lovin’ cutie. How he got there we haven’t a clue. Wasted away again in my ObamaVille Where the cops just told us to halt Some people claim That there’s a rich man to blame But I know It’s my own damn fault. I lit up my hashpipe, And wrote down some more gripes, To share with the media who think we are great. We scream for demands met, That we don’t know what yet, We just down twinkle fingers all grown up debate. Wasted away again in My ObamaVille. Searching for one more reason to march. Some people claim My college major’s to blame, But I know That it can’t be my fault. O did another flip flop, And wont make the seas stop. Rising to cover my beachside commune. But it’s not a deal ender, I’ll just go on a bender, It’s not as if I can’t just sleep in ’till noon. Wasted away again in my ObamaVille. Searching for my Lost drum buddy Earl. Some people claim The evil 1%’s to blame. But if I take Another kool-aid hit, I’ll hurl. ## Friday, October 21, 2011 ### 2012: Pay for Occupation? Tuesday's debate didn't go too hot for Michele Bachmann. She endorsed, among other things, building a double-walled fence with a demarcation zone across the entire southern border of the United States. Who cares if there's a river? We can add crocs and make it a moat! Stuff it full of piranhas! But Mrs. Admiral Ackbar wasn't finished yet. Reimburse the United States? Really? Did she actually just recommend that? A contender (albeit not really a legitimate one) for the presidency of the United States just advocated asking Iraq and Libya to pay us for our uninvited involvement in their national affairs. I'm pretty sure another country already tried that, and it's not something we want to emulate. Allow me to take you back to a time, in the late 80's and early 90's, when the Taliban were freedom fighters. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, think Rambo III (you know, the one where Rambo pours gunpowder into the rebar wound and lights it on fire? Yeah, that Rambo). Afghanistan's king, Zahir Shah, who came to power in the 60's, had begun slowly moving the country toward a democratic system that included a parliament. The move meant more freedom for women, who were no longer require to wear veils and could attend school. But Soviet agents of influence and Comintern (the international organization dedicated to spreading communism worldwide) slowly began developing a stranglehold on the Afghani government and military, and in 1978 they staged a coup, also known as the "Saour Revolution." It was aptly named, as things soured quickly. What began as a civil war quickly turned into Soviet occupation and then a scorched earth policy. Whole towns and villages were rounded up and slaughtered, and the bodies of the dead and dying were buried in mass graves. The Soviets created massive concentration camps, laid millions of landmines that remain a threat to this day, and even dropped booby trapped toys from planes. Thousands of Afghani children were shipped off to the USSR for indoctrination, where they were trained to spy on their parents and then returned. Or at least some of them were. According to the Black Book of Communism, an in-depth collection of communist crimes around the globe by former communists themselves, around 2 million Afghanis died during the Soviet occupation. 90 percent of them were civilians. The book also points out another startling fact. The authors quote from a Les nouvelles d'Afghanistan article, a survey detailing the ways the Soviet Union pillaged the natural resources. In line with the well-established Russian technique, the occupying forces made the country itself pay for the cost of the war. The armies, tanks, and bombings of villages were invoiced and paid for with gas, cotton, and, later, copper and electricity. Iraq and Libya didn't ask for our involvement. Did we help? Yes. But we got involved of our own accord. Trying to get spent defense budget money back by charging the country we aided, a country struggling to get back on its feet and establish some form of "democracy" I might add, is one of the worst ideas to emerge from the Republican field to date, eclipsing even "Turn off the AC" Paul. ### Solyndra: DOE Ensures We Won't Be Getting the Money Back (h/t Heritage) Solyndra, the defunct "solar energy" company the Obama Administration pumped millions of dollars into even after they knew the company was a bad investment. The move was bad enough to launch a Treasury Department investigation into the whole sorry affair. But it gets even better. Now Heritage's Rob Bluey at Scribe is reporting taxpayers won't get a penny back of the over$350 million loan doled out on their behalf.
As I explained in a Friday column in the Washington Examiner, DOE has developed an unprecedented interpretation of the law to allow Solyndra’s private investors to recoup $75 million of their investment before taxpayers are repaid. Heritage Global Partners, which is conducting the auction, told Scribe that the money raised from the upcoming auction “will not be anywhere near”$75 million, meaning the proceeds will go entirely towards repaying Solyndra’s private investors (though later asset sales may exceed that threshold).
In Bluey's article in the Examiner, he explains further how the final slap in the face to the taxpayers went down.
Two Treasury Department officials who testified before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee last week said they had never before seen taxpayers subordinated to private investors in the repayment of a government loan.

Until Solyndra, that is. In February 2011, the Energy Department helped refinance the struggling solar company’s loan in a way that gave private lenders priority in repayment of their loans.

Under the restructuring agreement, the first $75 million of private investment would be repaid before taxpayers saw a dime. Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its investigative subcommittee, respectively, said the restructuring agreement “violated the plain letter of the law.” Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. ### I Sense A Disturbance in the Force As news broke yesterday, first as rumors and finally confirmed fact, that former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi (or is it Mumar Gadafi? Or Qadafi? Wikipedia has this handy guide: ${\color{OliveGreen}\text{M} \begin{cases}\text{u}\\\text{o}\\\text{ou}\end{cases} \begin{cases}\varnothing\\\text{'}\end{cases} \begin{cases}\varnothing\\\text{a}\end{cases} \begin{cases}\text{mm}\\\text{m}\end{cases} \text{a} \text{r}} ~~~~ {\color{MidnightBlue}\begin{cases}\text{Al}\\\text{al}\\\text{El}\\\text{el}\\\varnothing\end{cases} \begin{cases}\text{-}\\\textvisiblespace\\\varnothing\end{cases}} {\color{RedViolet}\begin{cases}\text{Q}\\\text{G}\\\text{K}\\\text{Kh}\end{cases} \text{a} \begin{cases}\text{d}\\\text{dh}\\\text{dd}\\\text{dhdh}\\\text{th}\\\text{zz}\end{cases} \text{a} \begin{cases}\text{f}\\\text{ff}\end{cases} \begin{cases}\text{i}\\\text{y}\end{cases}}$ Hope that helps.) Anyways, as I was saying, as news broke yesterday of Gadhafi's demise, I couldn't shake the feeling this was a step in the very wrong direction. Part of what has held the Libyan coalition together, and allowed for western involvement (read: US) and even the support of other Middle Eastern countries like Qatar, was hatred of the Gadhafi regime. The factions and outside influences all had their own agendas, but they shared a common interest in making sure Gadhafi assumed room temperature as soon as possible. With that common goal out of the picture, I can't see any way for this to end well for the Libyan people. Between the Muslim Brotherhood, the freedom fighters looking for some form of democracy, defectors from the Libyan army, Al Quaeda, Qatar, and the naive western onlookers who assume this is some kind of "Arab Spring," there's too many competing interests to create a peacful transition into a self-governing nation. In other words, I don't see this ending any other way than a bloody civil war that will make the fighting up to this point look tame. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. ## Thursday, October 20, 2011 ### Perry On The Attack Perry's campaign has released a new ad combining footage from Tuesday's debate with news clips showing Romney's pretzeling. Check it out. Will this finally stick to Mr. Teflon? ### A Little Too Far Many of my fellow bloggers have been intensely covering the Occupy Wall Street movement spreading accross the globe. Many of their concerns are legitimate. Anarchists, anti-semitic attitudes and undercurrents, "eat the rich," etc. But sometimes I feel like we go a little too far trying to villify the movement. Like this post from Looking at the Left. The blogger generally did an excellent job covering the Occupy Denver movement, photographing and interviewing plenty of people. But this observation is incorrect. An Occupy Denver community organizer leads the bizarre chanting ritual. Never have I seen anything that comes as close to a mind-control exercise in a free society. The orange tape insignia on this woman’s arm indicates that she is a leader. I was told that any questions I had could be addressed to someone with this type of insignia. When I first saw this militant-looking marking, it reminded me of the Order of the Double-Cross, made famous in the Charlie Chaplin movie, The Great Dictator. Um. That's a hashtag. Remember, Occupy Wall Street likes to think they're an "unorganized" movement started on social media, especially Twitter. We all know the union and organized forces behind them, but again...that's a hashtag. A pound sign. A tic tac toe. It's definitely not a "double cross" or any other such evil imagery. There's plenty of real signs, ideas, t-shirts, and people to criticize in the movement. Let's focus on those rather than attempting to interpret everything these nutcases do as something evil. ## Wednesday, October 19, 2011 ### Obamacare's a Trap! All through the debate I couldn't quite place where I had seen Bachmann's outfit before. Then it struck me. ## Tuesday, October 18, 2011 ### CNN Debate Liveblog 7:59 I've got my cookies, I've got my soda, I've got my laptop, and I've got my TV. It's on. I'm looking for Herman Cain to hold his own, for someone to take on Romney and do some damage, and for Perry to either fall apart or come back swinging. 8:04 "Looks like a maitre d'." My fashion-oriented friend on Bachmann's outfit. She's a fan of the hair though. 8:11 The first question comes from a guy who sounds like Kevin from The Office! 8:12 Thank you Bachmann for pointing out the potential flaw everyone has noted over the past two weeks. 8:14 The 999 program is again the subject of attack. Why on earth do they keep going after him? If they can get to Romney they have a far better chance. 8:14 Rick Santorum: It's great that you have kids and love kids, but that's not an answer to every policy question. 8:17 Perry will be releasing his jobs/tax plan on Friday. 8:18 Herman Cain seems frustrated with the stupid arguments against his 999 plan. 8:19 Paul is worried by Cain's plan. Of all the people to be worried about plans... 8:29 Santorum/Romney catfight! Romney dodges the whole advisors help Obama with Obamacare thing. 8:20 "That's an apple. We're replacing a bunch of oranges." Herman Cain. 8:22 Gingrich says Cain "deserves a lot of credit" for coming up with big ideas. And then proceeds to lay into the plan. 8:23 Bachmann- Every American should pay taxes. She likes the flat tax. 8:25 And the first question job dodged goes to Rick Perry. Oil! This is all he ever talks about. 8:27 Santorum "It's a new term but I've been using it for a long time." 8:30 Romney says the people of Massachusetts like the Romneycare plan. So of course conservatives would love the idea. 8:32 Gingrich- There's a lot more of big government behind your plan than you're willing to admit. Break: The claws have come out. The points the "lesser" candidates are making are good, but they need to be more tactical about how they go about attacking Romney. Let him speak his piece and then lay into him. 8:40 First question back- Is there any part of Obamacare you would keep? 8:42 Mitt Romney, please stop putting your hand on Rick Perry's shoulder. Such a condescending moron! 8:44 "You've got a problem with letting people finish. If you want to be president, you have to learn to let both people speak." - Romney. 8:45 Electric fence question to Herman Cain. He is pro-protecting the border. "Shut the back door so people can come in the front door." Avoids the "electric fence" joke. 8:48 A double walled fence along the whole border?! What about that, uh, river, Bachmann? 8:51 Romney - build a fence, turn off the magnets. Hmm, magnets like free healthcare? 8:55 Way to stick on your message, Cain. 8:58 Anger babies?! 8:59 Santorum shot phrases: Family, faith, children. 9:00 Ron Paul- Turn off the AC! Bring the troops home! 9:03 A friend "Put the nuclear waste on the border! Solve two problems at once!" 9:05 Santorum says people who supported TARP can't fix the housing crisis. He's so cute how hard he tries. 9:08 Fact check: Perry did write the letter in support of TARP. 9:09 Bachmann shot phrase: I'm a mom. 9:10 Cain stands behind his statement about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Says their anger is misdirected. 9:11 Paul- END THE FED! Or rather, blame the fed. Could Romney look more condescending when they show split shots of him listening to other's answers. BREAK II: Cain's holding his own, Romney's starting to look too good for his own good. 9:20 The Mormon question, repackaged. 9:22 Gingrich has no leg to stand on here. Values? He cheated on his wife! 9:23 It's Perry's naptime. This is now not going well for him. 9:25 Defense spending cut time. Turn off the AC! Bachmann brings in assassination attempt by Iran. A hee-nee-us act?! 9:28 I finally figured out where I've seen Bachmann's outfit before! 9:30 Paul says it's time for the troops to come home. We have an "empire." The last empire who went into Afghanistan fell apart. 9:31 I just want to sit and listen to Herman Cain talk. He says we cannot negotiate with terrorists, but then says we have to look at each individual situation. It makes sense, but it's not the most articulate thing he's said. 9:33 Paul says we have lots of weapons and we shouldn't spend more on more weapons. 9:34 Foreign aid question. My International Politics and Policy friend is ranting. Perry just advocated defunding the UN. 9:35 Romney says we need to get the Chinese to do humanitarian aid. Because of course they'll do that if we stop. 9:36 Paul says foreign aid is taking money from poor people and giving it to rich people in poor countries. He would take away all foreign aid, including Israel. As my IPP friend says, he's being pennywise and pound foolish. 9:37 "The biggest problem is the president..." Bachmann's drinking phrase. 9:39 Iraq and Libya should repay us for our involvement? Wow Bachmann, wow. 9:40 Cain says we need to give money to our friends and not to our enemies, and we need to identify which is which. 9:41 Paul "They're not terrorists, they're suspects. We haven't convicted them of anything." Talking about Guantanimo prisoners. Break III: Bachmann is a moron. 9:48 Romney and Perry sparring back and forth about their record as governors. 9:50 Cain "No, I should be president!" 9:51 Romney, we know your record. And yes, the rest of you cute little ones, you think you can be president too. We know. But you can't. Please go away. ## Monday, October 17, 2011 ### Hermain Cain Cain't What?! David Frum over at CNN has penned an article about the Republican primary's newest rising star. In a stroke of originality, the article is titled Why Herman Cain Can't Be President. Can't? That's a pretty definitive statement. There's a lot of commentators who might say he shouldn't. But can't? Frum's beef with Cain is an unoriginal one. If Herman Cain had served as governor of Georgia, or even mayor of Atlanta, he'd be a valid and credible candidate for president of the United States. But here's the trouble: he has not held those offices or any other executive office at any level of government. He did serve on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the 1990s, including two years as chairman -- a distinguished position and an important responsibility, but not one that involves the management of a public agency. Frum thinks executive epxerience is vitally important to a president. According to him, Cain has none, thus he can't be a good president. After all, just look at the current guy. The president's most fundamental job is to run the government. That job is very, very hard. The consequences of a mistake are very, very serious. For that reason, Americans have historically demanded a record of successful accomplishment in public office from their presidential candidates. The current president is an exception to the rule, and -- well -- enough said. Barack Obama became president despite a negligible record in large part as a reaction against the perceived failures of the George W. Bush presidency. Many voters in 2008 made a calculation like: "Obama may never have governed anything. But George W. Bush was a two-term governor of the country's second biggest state, and he got us into Iraq and a terrible recession. So maybe experience doesn't count. Maybe what we need is a different style: somebody more cautious than Bush, somebody who doesn't always go with his gut." Frum doesn't understand why Romney hasn't caught on as the obvious alternative to the inexperienced current administration. From Donald Trump to Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain, the Republican activist base has again and again fixed its hopes on people who have never held an executive public office -- and who defiantly reject the very idea of expertise. Meanwhile Mitt Romney -- the man who saved the 2002 Olympics and who inaugurated the nation's first universal health insurance program as governor of Massachusetts -- can't rise above 25% or so among Republicans. And the seemingly most logical alternative to Romney -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- has collapsed in the polls. Perry may not be the sharpest pencil in the pack, but he can at least claim experience in government. The problem? The Trump, Bachmann and now Cain boomlets reveal a worrying disinclination among some Republicans not to value government management very highly. These voters assume that if a candidate professes the right values, he or she will make the right decisions. Here's a simple survey from Wikipedia of presidents with no "executive" experience (as he defines it, which is executive experience in the political world). George Washington, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama. Of those, many were military leaders, and some, like JFK and Lincoln, only served in legislatures. Herman Cain has been the chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza. He was the chairman and deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Fed of Kansas City. He was CEO and President of the National Restraunt Assocation. He's an associate pastor, for what it's worth. All of that is leadership experience, as far as I'm concerned, and it involves similar people skills to leading a country. Will the learning curve be somewhat steep for him? Possibly, but I have a feeling that he's been prepping for this for a very long time since he decided to run. I'm sure he knows what he's getting himself into. And compared to those with experience in the Republican field, Cain comes off as coherent, intellegent, and ready. Cain also took on President Clinton when the former president introduced his health care plan in 1993. Newsweek credits Cain with transforming the debate. The Clintons would later blame "Harry and Louise", the fictional couple in the ads aired by the insurance industry, for undermining health reform. But the real saboteurs are named Herman and John. Herman Cain is the president of Godfather's Pizza and president-elect of the National Restaurant Association. An articulate entrepreneur, Cain transformed the debate when he challenged Clinton at a town meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. Cain asked the president what he was supposed to say to the workers he would have to lay off because of the cost of the "employer mandate". Clinton responded that there would be plenty of subsidies for small businessmen, but Cain persisted. "Quite honestly, your calculation is inaccurate," he told the president. "In the competitive marketplace it simply doesn't work that way." And if that's not enough, Cain also worked for the Navy in ballistics. If Cain surrounds himself with competent advisors, like he has claimed he will, his "experience" problem is negligeable. Remember, the problem we had with Obama in 2008 wasn't because he had no political experience, but that he had no experience whatsoever beyond a "community organizer" and a state legislator. Frum's conclusion seems to undermine the rest of his article A president who wishes to extend freedom must still staff his or her administration with people who can do their jobs. And the more you reduce government's size, the more important that what remains should work well. Back in 2008, National Review editor Rich Lowry talked about a Republican "competence primary." That year, the Republican field was dominated by candidates who could claim some huge success in government: Romney; New York's crime-fighting former Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and the very effective three-term governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. The race was won by John McCain, the man who had devised and pushed the "surge" strategy that turned around the Iraq war. This time, apparently, the competence primary has been canceled. Too bad. In the depths of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, competence is needed more than ever. Yet Frum fails to mention why Cain can't staff his administration with people who can do their jobs, or why he is incompetent period. Is it not just a tad snobbish to insist that someone must have extensive experience in the special club of politics before he can lead a country? ## Friday, October 14, 2011 ### Police Brutality Begins on Occupy Wall Street Oh the humanity! Some poor soul advocating the murder of bankers and the rise of marxism was run over by a police scooter! After much deliberation and soul-searching, I have decided to post the footage on my blog. But be advised--it is heartwrenching and definitely graphic. Notice any similarities? I'm sure they do! Brothers in solidarity! After all, their complaints are so similar! UPDATE: Which of these videos was staged? ### So THAT's What That Was If you hadn't yet slipped into a catatonic state by the end of the Republican debate on Tuesday, you heard unintellible yelling from the crowd after Santorum answered a question and hammered home his support of marriage in family and blamed their breakdown as a cause of economic woes, which is basically conservative speak for "anti-gay" according to left-wing activists/bloggers (and, let's face it, they're probably right). Apparently, the yelling was from an Iraq War vet. Andrew Vera is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where the debate was held. And apparently he's not too happy about the gay soldier who got booed during the last debate. According to the Concord Patch article: "I said, 'Yeah, right, you say you want American Values back in the American Family, then where were you, when they booed the gay soldier during the last debate,'" Vera emailed in response to Patch questions. "Let's get real. As an Iraq Veteran, I think it's pitiful." Clearly, his passion for justice and his self-sacrifice didn't pay off. "As they pulled me out, I screamed, 'don't taze me, don't taze me." The Advocate wraps up the story (h/t btw): He faces a disorderly conduct charge for his outburst, but he told the Patch he had “no regrets” and that he was motivated by his pride as a veteran. “No regrets at all,” he said. “I served in the U.S. Navy, in support and defense of the Constitution. It’s a living document.” I doubt Mr. Vera would be getting this kind of positive press if he had heckled the President. And because it's so much fun... ## Thursday, October 13, 2011 ### LIFE: House Passes Protect Life Act The bill passed earlier today 251 for and 170 against. According to lifesitenews.com, the bill: will amend the federal health care bill to include protections against federal tax funding of abortion, as well as strengthened conscience rights for health care providers. Sadly, the bill isn't expected to have a longer lifespan than this. The bill is not expected to even receive a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and also faces a veto threat from President Obama. In a statement yesterday, Obama said that he “strongly opposes” the bill because it “intrudes on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care,” claiming the health care bill already preserves federal policy against tax funding for abortion. “H.R. 358 goes well beyond the safeguards found in current law and reinforced in the President’s Executive Order by restricting women’s private insurance choices,” said the White House in a statement Wednesday. “If the President is presented with H.R. 358, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.” One of the most amusing aspects of this story is the Democrats' attempts to defeat it. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the bill during earlier debate, arguing that if it passed, "women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene." "Instead of focusing on jobs, Republicans are continuing to wage their war on women," California Democrat Barbara Lee said on the House floor. Of course. Appeal to the "women will die in the streets" argument! Because it's so coherent and intellectual! But Democrats know that if they debate this issue on intellect alone, or even on true emotional value, they will lose, and lose badly. So they have to resort to distortions and sob stories to keep their slaughterhouses running. And they bury it all under the guise of "protecting women's health." The best snowjob of the century! And lest we be accused of fighting snowjob with empty rhetoric: Less than 3% of abortions are performed because of health of the mother, and 3% are because of health of the unborn child, according to Abortiontv, an abortion statistics aggregate. Speaker Boehner had something else to say about Democrats' accusations. "We've done four or five solid job-creation bills this week and this bill was part of our Pledge to America. We are keeping our word to the American people, and we are going to do it," House Speaker John Boehner said. I wish this bill had the opportunity to gain some traction beyond the House. Defunding is an effective, backdoor way to end taxpayer subsidies to abortion facilities (and did we mention it would help cut the deficit, "This Won't Create Jobs" Democrat?) But with the current regime in place, there's no hope for it, even in the Senate. This whole story makes me pause. Is it worth our time to keep sending these bills through the legislature, knowing they won't ever see the light of day? ### The Name Game Yes, we (I) are (am) still the same people (person). No, the content has not changed. Why the name change, then? Well, a couple of reasons. I got tired of telling people my blog's ridiculously long name that was difficult to remember. I didn't like the fact it was clunky and lacked any level of cleverness or originality. And I was bored with the current name. That's about it. If I decide I don't like it I might change it back. Anyways, keep faithfully reading, all three of you! ## Wednesday, October 12, 2011 ### INTERTUBES ROUNDUP Tim Allen's new show about manliness is popular with viewers but not critics. Washington Post Lucrative child sacrifice business in Uganda goes on unchecked. BBC White House staffers met with Romney advisors to craft Obamacare. Daily Caller Christie, on the other hand, still says it's impossible to compare Romneycare to Obamacare. Hot Air New Hampshire grasping for its only shot at legitimacy, says it may move primary to December 6! The Other McCain/Drudge\ HerMANNNN! Pundit and Pundette Cain Claims Tea Party Poll Allahpundit Issa subpeonas Holder in Fast and Furious (Have no idea what I'm talking about? Sit tight, I'll have a summary of the story to date soon) Fox News Wall Street Journal could be the next to take a hit in the NewsCorp scandal. Guardian Jerry Brown is a [Not Nice Words] The Truth About Guns ????? ## Tuesday, October 11, 2011 ### PBS Debate Liveblog 8:03 A little late to the debate. PBS is way too far down on the tv listings! 8:05 Romney says he'd "be prepared to be a leader" to fix the economic problems. 8:06 Romney says good dems and good repubs should come together to solve the economic problems. 8:07 Perry keeps pushing natural resources. Second time tonight. Maybe new tactic? I haven't heard much from him on that. Blah blah blah. My gosh he rambles! Back to energy. 8:08 Bachmann looks 20 years younger! Accurately blames the federal government for pushing banks to lend below what makes sense. Lays out a pretty well thought out response. I'm impressed. That's not the Bachmann we've seen. 8:11 Gingrich recommends jailing Bernanke and Barney Frank. 8:13 Why on earth does Santorum always look scared? Snide swipe at TX. Says he could get his economic plan to pass tomorrow, that what makes his plan different. Must be nice to have a genie. 8:14 Return of the Herman Cain yellow tie! Yes!! 8:16 Who is this guy? Oh, Huntsman! 8:18 Gingrich says Palin is right about death panels. 8:20 Bachmann says Obama wants Medicare to collapse and get folded into Obamacare. It's something she's stated before. Working on research to confirm/deny that. 8:22 Huntsman says he thought 999 was price of a pizza when he first heard it. 8:23 Cain steps in to respond, muscling his way in. 999. "It will pass because the american people want it to pass." Rich Lowery (not from NR) helped create his 999 program. The plan "didn't come off a pizza box." Mentions other advisors. Avoids giving other names. Apparently this has happened before. 8:27 Romney says bailout saved currency of the country. Even though he dislikes every aspect of it. Says he'd dump Bernanke. Avoids saying he would or would not do a bailout as president. Says we have to take action to protect currency. 8:31 Cain says he agrees with Romney that it was a good conceptual idea. Should have been applied equally. "Implementation was at fault." Apparently he called the bailout a "win-win" back when it was first being discussed. This needs looking into. 8:33 Break. Cain's holding his own. Newt is trying to look relevant. Paul looks angry. As usual. 8:37 Complementary tip to Reagan with a question to the candidates. 8:39 Perry says Balanced Budget Amendment needs to be passed ASAP. 8:42 Bachmann says she was a "leading voice" and a "lone voice" in the wilderness of Washington advocating against raising the debt ceiling. 8:45 WTF? They play an old clip of Cain advocating 999 program! Then talk about Bloomberg analysis (the debate is sponsored by them). He says the problem with that analysis is that its incorrect. 999 expands the base. Handling this amazingly well. Impressing even my snarky friend! Karen Tumulty asks about people paying more for a loaf of bread, milk, or beer. Hello woman! He's throwing out the old code! Cain has the best reactions! 8:47 Bachmann says 999 is a tax plan, not a jobs plan. Uh, duh! Says if you turn 999 plan on it's head, you know what you get. Seriously?! 8:48 Now a clip of Romney talking about taking China to task. I can't decide if I like this format. 8:49 Stupid blogger adding extra space between lines! Hello wordpress! 8:52 Again with the natural resources in America! That's like the fourth time! 8:53 Now we hear from David Cote, CEO of Honeywell. The video screen is amusing. What would be your competitive plan for jobs? Says he wants specifics. THANK YOU DAVE! 8:54 Santorum tries to engage the crowd. They're not buying. Charlie Rose "If you keep mentioning 999 I'm goign to have to go back to Herman Cain every other question." Shot to Cain: "Thank you, thank you," with smug grin. 8:56 Cain says it's not about what can get passed, what can be done to fix the problem. 8:58 Break two. They keep bringing up 999. Other candidates scared much? Cain is teflon so far. 9:06 Candidates get to ask each other questions. Bachmann goes after Perry. Brings up his running Gore's campaign. 9:08 Cain fulfills his promise to go after Romney. Asks if he can name all of 59 points in his 160 page plan and if the plan is simple, fair, and neutral. Romney is teflon, dodges most, answers some. 9:13 Paul goes after Cain as director of reserve of Kansas City. Cain says he never called Paul's people ignorant. Need to look into that. Says he never did what the current federal reserve does. Says his top priority is "999 Jobs Jobs Jobs." 9:17 Perry goes after Romney about Romneycare. Romney tries to distinguish between the two. Pulls "it's for the kids." My kids are more insured than your kids! 9:18 Charlie Rose forgets the alphabet! Romney goes after Bachmann. "I'm the mother of 28 kids!" Says she's a leading critic against Obamacare. Apparently she's queen of the Congress? 9:22 Santorum says Cain is naively giving Washington a tool to for sales tax. He wants to know how Cain will keep government from taking advantage of his plan. Cain says three deterrants. 1. Ask Congress to include a 2/3 majority vote before they can raise the 999 tax. 2. The plan is visible, simple, and transparent and the American people will hold governments feet to the fire. 3. "I will be president and won't sign anything that raises the 999 tax." 9:30 Cain gets asked about Fed chairman. Alan Greenspan he says is one of the best of the last 40 years. Paul responds "Alan Greenspan was a disaster." Receives lots of applause. Hmmm. 9:40 A friend: "Hey look! Rick Perry...I mean George Bush!" Video of Bush talking about owning homes. 9:44 Poverty gap question to Perry. President is a job-killer, Perry says. He's the one causing the disparity. 9:54 That was all she wrote. Not really exciting for a conclusion, but hey, it's the economy, stupid. ### 2012: The Next Debate Will Romney hold his own? Can Perry stop the hemmoraging? Will Herman Cain continue his rise? How bad will Bachmann be? Can anyone else break through? I'll be live blogging the debate tonight. Feel free to check in. I'll be providing my own commentary, as well as the best thoughts from my more snarky friends. ## Monday, October 10, 2011 ### 2012: The Problem of Romney Oh Mitt. You try so hard to be a "value voters" conservative it's kinda cute. But I'm not buying. Candidates who spoke at the Value Voter's Summit this past weekend all hit the major issues that are supposed to appeal to, well, value voters. To win their support, you needed to be able to say "I am pro-life, I am pro-marriage, and I am pro-family. Oh, and down with Obamacare!" Every candidate hit those points in some during their speeches. But it was Romney's contortionist attempts walk the value voter line that caught my attention. A transcript of the speech from Mitt Romney Central: Our values must also encompass the life of an unborn child. There are, of course, strong convictions on both sides of the life issue. Yet, it speaks well of our country that almost all Americans recognize that abortion is a problem. The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good. And in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America. I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. As president, I will end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood. I will protect a health care worker’s right to follow their conscience in their work. And I will nominate judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the law. It is long past time for the Supreme Court to return the issue of abortion back to the states, by overturning Roe v. Wade. Because the good heart of America knows no boundaries, a commitment to protecting life should not stop at the water’s edge. Taking innocent life is always wrong and always tragic, wherever it happens. The compassionate instincts of this country should not be silent in the face of injustices like China’s One-Child Policy. And if I am president, you will never hear me or my vice president tell the Chinese government that we “understand” and won’t “second guess” compulsory sterilization and forced abortion. Ooooooooohhhhh I like to do a little sidestep! Mitt's statement is much more in line with the "safe, legal, and rare" mantra of the left than a value voter's views. Ending funding, overturning Roe v. Wade, and decrying the number of abortions a year are all good things, but it falls far short of what I'm looking for in a pro-life candidate. A simple Wikipedia search (don't hate me professor!) reveals Mitt's pro-life polka has been a long time in the making. Romney attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994. His wife made a$150 contribution to the organization.

When Romney ran against Senator Ted Kennedy in 1994, his advisor Charles Manning told the Boston Herald there were "tiny nauances" of difference between Kennedy's and Romney's views on abortion. In a 1994 debate with Senator Kennedy, Romney said that abortion should be legal, declaring that "regardless of one's beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal."

One of the great things about our nation... is that we're each entitled to have strong personal beliefs, and we encourage other people to do the same. But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.
Romney claims that since then, he has become a changed man. But his speech at the VVS seems to imply otherwise. Most importantly, Romney never expressly says abortion is morally wrong and a form of murder. If he believed that was true, he wouldn't want to hand it over to the states. He would want to end it, like most of the other candidates pledged to do during their speeches (whether they mean it or not is another story).

It's all well and good that he thinks people are entitled to their own opinion, but I doubt he'd say the Grim Sleeper was entitled to his opinion that prostitutes should be murdered in a gruesome fashion.

Do I sound like a single issues voter? Probably. But this issue has affected my generation severely. Those were my friends and classmates that were slaughtered on the altar of convenience. I will not compromise on this issue. Not now. Not ever.

Try as he might, Romney can't convince me he's a "values" candidate. And I hope no one else in the audience was buying it either.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Doug Ross @ Journal

## Saturday, October 8, 2011

### 2012: Midterms and Value Voters

Oh midterms! Why must you make my life miserable and destroy my social and non-academic life? That's why I've dropped off the radar for the past two weeks. But I'm now back with a vengeance, that that starts with the Value Voters Summit that just concluded in DC.
Some passing thoughts on the scene.

Does Ron Paul get angrier and angrier every time he speaks? I think so, but I'm not sure. What I am sure of is the increasing obnoxiousness of ENDTHAFED-ers, the Paulites, the RONPAULs. They come to his speeches, chant his name at every chance (they were up to six by the time he was done with his speech, I think. But I lost count) and are incessantly rude and obnoxious. Are there thoughtful, well-reasoned RONPAUL supporters? Yes. Have I met any? Maybe three.

Eventually, I just took to responding to the Paulbots (h/t The Other McCain) with, "Yeah, we really should stop giving the troops air conditioning!" That was the only thing it took to shut 'em up. I would get the gaped mouth and the angry glare, but I was eventually able to get away in the time it took them to recover from the shock.

And dear lord did he have to win the straw poll?

Poor Rick Perry. This was his big chance and he totally blew it. First with his choice of an introductory speaker, who went on to make totally accurate statements that were totally unnecessary. Second with a speech that eerily rang of Bush. I'm sure he hoped to escape the "Bush III" label, but it didn't work. And he simply came off looking like a slightly arrogant Texan who was decent at spouting the usual conservative platitudes in a totally uninspiring fashion. It appears Perry is looking to be the  meteorite that shoots brightly accross the sky and then crashes unceremoniously into the sea. FAIL.
The Cain Train! It's safe to say every attendee of the weekend's festivities (with the exception of the 600 Paul hacks) was looking for someone to get behind, someone who inspired, motivated, and fired up voters. Most of my friends were tepid supportersd--though I'm sure they'd say observers--of certain candidates, but no one they really wanted to throw their support behind.

And then along came Cain. I saw Herman Cain speak during CPAC, and thought he was a fair speaker at best. Boy was I ever wrong. Cain played the audience like a fiddle. Equal parts baptist preacher, candidate, and comedian, Cain was funny, serious, furious, inspiring, and more. Rather than hand out platitudes in an attempt to feed the base, Cain met his critics head on. He provided practical, tangible policy ideas on areas he has been considered weak, such as foreign policy. He reiterated his 9-9-9 program, while emphatically stating his support for life as well as marriage. No other candidate got the response from the crowd he did. I was lucky enough to find the lone Cain man handing out literature before others did. I chatted him up, and eventually he opened up his suitcase to reveal the motherlode of Cain supplies. As I wandered around in the exhibit hall, I can't tell you how many people asked me where I got the button and then dashed off to get one of their own. It clearly had an impact in the straw poll. After all, Cain did win the straw poll, if you throw out bought votes.

Bummer, Dear Bachmann. And Gingrich. This was your event to set yourselves apart. And Bachmann, you sounded like a broken record. And Gingrich, it's not actually all your fault. Following Cain...I'm sorry.