Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | October 17, 2012

Er, no, Obama didn’t win the debate last night

We’ve reached a watershed here, where we either live in our own heads affirming reality, regardless of spurious inputs from demagoguery or sentiment, or we give up on reality and let demagoguery and sentiment take over at the decision table.  Did the president pull off a performance last night, in terms of sounding passionate and full of conviction?  To some extent, yes.  Does that mean he won the debate, or even achieved a draw with Romney?  No.

The mainstream media immediately launched a volley of positive soundbites about the president’s performance, but frankly, they were going to do that anyway.  As long as Obama didn’t collapse on the stage, they were going to say he had his mojo back.

The problem is that in order to sound passionate and full of conviction, Obama had to belt out a remarkable string of untruths.  Besides repeating the same tired lies about Romney’s policies that his campaign has been flogging for the last two months, the president simply lied – there’s nothing else to call it – about the trend of drilling permits under his administration (Romney is right; permits have been slashed).

Obama insisted to Romney that he had called the Benghazi attack terrorism on day one, when in fact, he had not.  He lied about the Arizona immigration-enforcement law, repeating a lie the Democrats have persisted in since the law was being debated in the Arizona statehouse.  The law is carefully and explicitly written to prohibit ethnic profiling stops by law-enforcement officers.  Immigration-status checks can only be done in connection with a stop on another, unrelated basis, such as a traffic stop.

Obama did try to assume the moral high ground on Libya with a riff on Americans’ safety and his responsibility, but it was a cringe-worthy performance from the man who waited until after the Benghazi attack to bring diplomatic-mission security up to a normal standard, and who professes, 36 days after the attack, to still be waiting to find out what happened.  If he really doesn’t know, he’s the only one who doesn’t.  His position that we’re still waiting to assess the attack isn’t judicious; it’s absurd.  Mentally substitute George W. Bush for Obama in this scenario, and try to imagine the MSM giving Bush the benefit of the doubt for 36 days and counting.

I had my concerns about Romney’s performance last night, if only a couple.  Probably the biggest was that he tended to put his most powerful material at the end of each statement, and got cut off just as he was articulating it.  The response to the woman who asked about keeping jobs in the US was a case in point: Romney made a rather convoluted case about China as a currency manipulator, and only after dealing with that arcane topic mentioned that if we want to keep America job-friendly, we have to stop regulating ourselves into an economic coma.  He got cut off saying it; that should have been his opening point.  The American people can do something about that.  And whether or not the point about regulation resonated with that particular questioner, it would resonate far and wide among other Americans.

Romney is typically succinct and direct on the economy, and he should apply that style to everything he says in a debate.  He would have made the point about Obama’s own passive investment in China much better by simply stating it outright, rather than repeating the same question to the president – “Have you looked at your pension lately?” – until it began sounding like a second-grader’s taunt.  Just make the assertion, already.  “Mr. President, your pension is invested in China.”  That simple – and, without the weird build-up, slyly devastating.

But rhetorical glitches aside, Romney had substance last night.  He whaled it out of the park on energy and immigration, and came off as genial and presidential.  Interestingly, the Frank Luntz panel saw the same thing.  The MSM’s assessment this morning that the president staged a comeback in this debate is information about the MSM, not about the candidates or the debate.  It’s like they’re narrating some invisible drama that no one else can see.

I don’t think Romney dominated last night’s debate as he did the first one.  But neither did I see the debate as a draw.  Only if it counts as successful communication to use demagoguery to create itch-scratching images for your own base did Obama’s performance equal Romney’s.  Obama’s statements would have had little appeal outside his own base.  And indeed, so many of them were simply false that, to my mind, it requires assuming that your fellow Americans are fools, to think that his communications were probably more effective with them than they were with you.

The constituency for the real Obama is a minority in America, no bigger than the minority that votes for Democrats in every election cycle, and perhaps not that big.  Much of Obama’s 2008 support has peeled away, precisely because there’s no consistency between his actions, his rhetoric, and blunt reality.  Romney came off last night as he did in the first debate:  as someone with experience who does operate on the basis of reality.  For my part, I think the world in which Obama’s oratorical flourishes carried the day exists only inside the heads of MSM pundits.  Reality is giving the rest of us a big-time check.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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Responses

  1. For Rafa — this was in the works already and posted before I saw your comment. Consider it a response, however, and let the wild rumpus begin…

    • No wild rumpus at all. You see it with the eyes of an optimist conservative and I see it with the eyes of a pessimist conservative. In the end, I always hope that you might be right and that I might be wrong, wrong, wrong. In other words, losing this argument to you would be very good news indeed.

      But here is what drives my pessimism…

      “We’ve reached a watershed here, where we either live in our own heads affirming reality, regardless of spurious inputs from demagoguery or sentiment, or we give up on reality and let demagoguery and sentiment take over at the decision table.”

      The answer to that key question will be decided in about three weeks. I have my very deep concerns, however, that the whole act has been kidnapped by the expert political prestidigitators and that the number of citizen-sheep has grown to such a level that nothing short of a gigantic social asteroid can save us from succumbing to the siren’s song of hard-core federal socialism. We are dangerously close to that already. So, unless some cataclysm happens, we will be crashing upon its rocks. That, I’m afraid, almost has to happen before the people of this nation finally realize just how malignant this socio-political tumor is.

      So, now the question should be: on what basis do I say all that and why am I so negative on our immediate future? There are several reasons.

      That we as a nation are even having the argument is a very strong basis for concern. This is more so when one takes even a cursory look at what is happening in Europe and what has always been happening in South and Central America. The old saying about seeing your neighbor’s beard on fire and putting your own to soak just doesn’t seem to apply to American politics, does it? So, again, that we are debating the issue even when we live surrounded by real life examples of what works and what doesn’t is troubling to say the least. And, yet, we still debate and parse the possible impact of long-settled issues like raising taxes, growing the national debt, runaway entitlements, expanding the welfare state and a long list of other topics that have long been resolved to sobriety both here and abroad.

      But the siren’s song is strong as well as malignant. It is so pervasive that here we stand discussing whether sticking a knife on somebody’s neck only six inches constitutes a crime of the same, more or lesser degree than sticking it to the hilt for a full eight inches, never mind that the victim is just as dead either way.

      This parsing and splitting of policy hairs drives me bonkers and while you see a glass half full of good conservative water, I see a glass being overflowed and overwhelmed by socialist poison.

      So, no wild rumpus from me at all. I sincerely hope and wish that you will be proven right, not by Romney being elected, mind you, because even a blind dog finds a bone every once in a while, but by Romney doing even half of all the things he’s said and promised to do and, importantly, by him not doing some of the things he might be tempted to do if he indeed gets elected President.

      But, main characters and top comedians aside, I wonder how the Senate race will end up, if “we” will hold on to the House, if any achieved majority in either place will allow actual governing and if some of the constantly present RINOs will ever be of any real help to any or all truly conservative values.

      But, there I go again with my conservative pessimism…

      rafa

      • Let me also add this: How close are the elections? If we are to believe that pols are a good indicator of how the population is stacking up on the upcoming elections, then we have to say that about 50% of the population is favoring Obama and 50% is favoring Romney. Yes, yes, I know, give or take 2 or 3 percentage points either way. So not to get into a numbers discussion let’s just say that they are more or less evenly split.

        This is so much so that the latest talking point is that the possibility looms that one, Romney, might win the popular vote while the other, Obama, might win the electoral contest. Just like Gore/Bush revisited. But the point remains that it is a close enough election to have both parties worried.

        So, let me convert that to the terms of our now long conversation…

        The gains by the socialists and by the pro-big-government groups have been tremendous. In fact, these gains have yielded very close elections for the past few elections and have reduced the basic argument to a vote for full-blown socialism or for a milder, slower “socialism light”.

        Notice that in this post I am not even parsing the fact that Romney, in much of his political history, has also proven to be pro-government as far as government being the best source for “fixing” what ails our society. Actually, I am granting his side of the equation full conservative values which in and of itself is somewhat of a stretch since many “moderates” and “undecided” will be standing on his side of the field this go around. Moderates and undecided, by the way, are what makes up the socialist light crowd or, to be more accurate, the “Socialism? Sure, but a little bit more slowly, if you please” crowd.

        If you come right down to it, one could also agree that socialism is the fastest growing political segment of the population while true-blue conservatism is probably the fastest declining segment of the population with only a mere 15 to 25 percent of the population embracing this avenue of governance.

        The fight, if you could call it that, is now concentrated not on the two diametrically opposing values, conservatism vs. socialism but on swaying the center to vote one way or another in an effort to somehow regulate the speed mostly but also the degree somewhat by which we socialize our nation.

        This process, one that we both have witnessed during our lifetime, has been slow but steady. That is, after all, the nature of the process of indoctrination that has to take place before a culture and a way of life can be disassembled properly since some values are hard to eradicate. The theory that it takes three or four generations to achieve this appears to be quite true. But, in any case, the media, the school system, Hollywood, the press and their political arms as well as both parties have been busy at doing just that for a long, long time. And, so, what we are seeing now is nothing more than the current state of affairs born of all that surreptitious work of undermining our nation’s soul in order to eventually take over its body.

        So, since we both probably won’t be here to actually witness the ultimate end of our culture, our values and our lifestyle as we once knew them, and since we probably won’t be here to witness the “New America” as designed by its new order, we won’t be able to say to each other “I told you so”. But we can certainly rely on good old mathematical/political projections to predict were we will likely end up. That this is different from where we both wish we would end up is, of course, quite true and beytond discussion.

        And so, I remain in awe of your optimism and of your penchant for putting forth a good face in spite of all the negative things that are happening.

        rafa

  2. Thoroughly terrific analysis, Ms Dyer. My very next step is to post the link all the heck over FB… Thank you very much!!

    “Ask not what your TEA Party can do for you…” ~ DeepWheat

    • I was just over there also to post a link.

    • Thanks, DeepWheat.

  3. The Gallup Poll (no vicious Right wing polling outfit there) from this afternoon says it all for now… Likely voters, normal Lefty 5-9 point French kiss on the sample…

    Romney 51… Obozo 45…

    It isn’t the election but more of the mainline polling organizations are being forced to publish more objective polls… for survival’s sake if anything else.

    Three weeks is a lifetime and a half in politics.

    Maybe if Obummer had picked Candy as his VP candidate….

    Oh, and the comeback should have been:

    “Mr. Obama, your pension is guaranteed, and 100% borrowed from the Chinese. Maybe you’d like to convert that to a 401K plan so you can feel more ‘at one’ with the middle class?”

    Not that I didn’t understand it your way… it was pretty good… but most average clones haven’t a clue where much of anything comes, or where it goes… They just want what they want and they want it now.

    r/TMF

    • “but most average clones haven’t a clue where much of anything comes, or where it goes… They just want what they want and they want it now.”

      Indeed, TMF. But, remember, their vote weighs every bit as much as yours and knowledge, responsibility, patriotism, education, contributions to the community, moral worth, hard work, sacrifice or personal fortitude isn’t graded at all.

      That makes it much more fun, does it not…?

      rafa

  4. Romney has been laboring at this for years and doing a great job now when it matters most. He is a man of excellent character and we all see how evil Obama really is,

  5. Since no ones mentioned it, I’d like to point out that last night an important altercation between the two men happened, that exposed the more dominant ‘alpha’ personality. ‘Undecideds’ especially, base their vote on which candidate has the most ‘mojo’, which candidate exhibits the greater ‘Presidential timber’.

    Early, when Obama tried to interrupt and dominate, Romney stopped him cold, spoke to him in dismissive tones (he was being interrupted and Obama was attempting to improperly seize the conversational ball) and told Obama that it was Romney’s turn and that, “Obama would have his chance”. Obama reaction was to shut up and sit down. That was, in body language, of critical importance in establishing the non-verbal ‘pecking order’ of dominance. In that moment and with that action and demeanor, Obama inadvertently handed over to Romney the reins of governance.

    Regardless of whatever our personal opinion, what counts is that not just the Luntz panel of undecideds but even MSNBC’s (!) panel of undecideds saw Romney as the winner… and if Obama has lost MSNBC’s undecided viewers, stick a fork in him, cause he’s done.

    The next debate is going to be solely about foreign policy and lies is ALL Obama’s got, so if Romney is properly prepared (and he will be), Obama’s going down in flames. Bowing to foreign leaders, alienating our allies, lying about Libya and Israel. Losing Egypt and Al Qaeda on the rise in N. Africa. China flexing its naval muscle in the S. China sea. Russian subs in the Gulf of Mexico. Iran closing in on the bomb, while Obama refuses to draw a ‘red line’ in the sand.

    On every front Obama is vulnerable.

    Now if only Republicans can gain a Senate majority, Romney can start to repair the damage this greatest embarrassment ever has created.

  6. you live in your own private Idaho of a head and are trying to define victory in the thing that’s called a presidential debate in some way other than the way it’s generally understood in order to deny that consensus that Obama clocked Romney last night after flopping in the first.

    • Idaho is a way better place than skanky slimy filthy, dead, serf and bed-bug infested New York City… Washington’s greatest mistake was trying to defend it… It should have been burned and abandoned as cursed land… maybe made a permanent reservation for the Indians who were swindled out of it in the first place…

      Fuster.. you are from another universe, and offer the opinions of a true leftist Euro all comfortable with marginal subsistence living while the super wealthy lords and masters that you vote into office slowly roast you. City people are suicidal when they aren’t homicidal. What they don’t cherish much is life; merely grimy renters begging for scraps from their masters.

      There now you have been properly insulted… if you want to offer an opinion, try being thoughtful and cogent the next time. Your idea of a discussion is the “Argument” sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, except you aren’t funny.

      Tootles…

    • Also… on the debate. Obummer looked like a petulant self-important ass. He repeatedly interrupted, lied, obfuscated, and ultimately had to be rescued by his tag team partner in the sham debate, Crowley… whose first name must really be Hildagard because Candy fits about as well as a size 8 dress would.

      At best, Obozo got a tactical draw, mostly on interruptions and softball lefty leading questions. On substance Romney sliced him off at his scrawny girlish knees.

      Only a braindead kool-aid drinking lefty serf thinks that The One did anything more than do a better job of showing up.

      -Cheers… NOT

    • fuster, fuster, fuster.

      If it’s merely wishful thinking on my part then how do you explain both the Luntz panel and the MSNBC panel of undecideds going to Romney? That fact is hugely indicative of Obama having already lost the election. Denial doesn’t change reality fuster.

      You’re “trying to define victory in the thing that’s called a presidential debate in some way other than the way it’s generally understood”

      Yes, it’s called ‘the undiscovered country’ of psychological and sociological insight. And, if Obama won the debate, then what explanation do you offer (besides silence) for why the undecideds now favor Romney?

      Time will tell if I’m right or you. If me, I wonder whether you’ll have the intellectual honesty acknowledge it? Well, time will answer that question too.

  7. Ms Dyer,

    I have long admired tour efforts from afar — those appearing in the Green Room at HG as well those promoted to the “bigs”.

    I can only add to your salient observations that even The Pantload POTUS’s petulant little “take greatest offense” outburst was deftly played by Romney; I submit Mitt was a practitioner of the old military aphorism, “Live to fight another day”.

    Seeing that he was outgunned (one POTUS and one liberal moderator) he instantly broke off that line of argument because, I’d like to believe, he knew he had planted the seed and it would grow over the next six days and bloom in the final debate — a large, ugly, and stubbornly-rooted weed for Obama to deal with.

    To torture metaphors further, this was like those Saturday afternoon “B” movie serials they used to run in the theaters of my youth. The hero and villain — locked in mortal combat — barrel over the cliff in a flaming automobile to certain death only to have the subsequent episode reveal the hero’s last minute exit.

    Romney has effected such an escape. Obama, I fear, will be the villain who stays with the vehicle as it plummets in flames to the bottom of the yawning canyon.

    Tangentially, we seem to share a common background however oblique: I plied my cold war skills for the Strategic Air Command working on the SIOP a decade before your service.

    I am grateful I made the excursion to your lair; I shall become a frequent visitor, ma’am!

    • Welcome, warplanner. The SAC SIOP fraternity will always be welcome here at TOC. Your “B movie” metaphor hits off last night’s theatrics, I think.

      And I agree that after his initial fight on principle to finish his comment, Romney pocketed that win and decided not to keep pressing the issue when later interruptions inevitably arose. I was pleased to see that. It would have been tin-eared to keep fighting every little slap from Crowley or Obama on speaking time. Romney made his point — and he was able, in spite of interruptions and talk-overs, to get his message out on the later issues. I do think he knew that he just needed to get the words said, and then the pundits would keep them alive.

      Come back often, ya hear?

  8. As usual, I am not as optimistic as our host.

    In the words of a sporting friend, Romney fouled off too many hanging curveballs. And when he did get hits (e.g., Libya, Fast and Furious) he didn’t really get all of the ball. When the President tried to claim that he called this a terrorist act from the beginning, he painted himself in a corner. Romney should have asked why, then, did he have his people go out and tell the lie that it was due to a spontaneous uprising in response to an obscure internet video?

    Or, when Obama confronted him about what he would do in business if someone presented him a proposal without specifics: Just turn that around and say that if some conultant claimed to be able to reduce his costs by half, and he found out that his track record was to double costs and place the company in crushing debt, that guy would be shown the door no matter how glib his presentation.

    What is more troubling is the timidity that causes a candidate to pander to perceived interest groups. An example is the question from the woman that there is a 20% disparity in pay between the sexes and what are you going to do about it? .The answer, of course, is not to institute federal top-down tyranny of wages but let the market handle it. Romney could have said, “Look, I’ll tell you the hard truth. I’m not smart enough to determine what everybody in the country ought to be paid for every job. Neither are you. Neither is President Obama. If you believe, like most liberals, that businesses are greedy and are out to extract every last dime of profit, you know that nobody is going to voluntarily pay 20% more for the same work if he doesn’t have to. If he pays more than he needs to, it is an opportunity for you or some other entrepreneur to come in and undercut his labor costs and hire away his best workers.”

    I know, I know. Honesty like this would probably lose the election. But that is the problem. Winning or losing the debate is decided by what the uninformed masses think, and that might have little relevance to the substantive issues.

    • Yes, Romney might have done better, though in all fairness, we weren’t up on that stage. But he did enough and the panels appear to prove that assertion. Polling over the next few days will nail down whatever ‘bounce’ resulted.

      The 20% disparity question caught my attention too, especially as that statistic is factually untrue. But it would have been counter-productive for Romney to dispute it. We can wish that Romney had handled it better by simply saying that when conditions are truly equal, he strongly supports equal pay. He might then have pointed out that actions speak louder than words and, that if Pres. Obama really supports equal pay, then why does his W.H. have just such a pay disparity? Then sum it up with the acknowledgement that he, Romney, has yet to prove his support but Obama actions have already shown how real his support actually is…and oh by the way, the first Presidential action Obama took was not to sign the Lily Ledbetter Bill but to seal his records…

      Ain’t hindsight great? Just 20/20 every time…

    • The winner of the 2nd debate was….the moderator, Candy Crawley from CNN (Communist Nitwitts Network).

      And, so, we continue to play these games and to lend validity and moral worth to a completely crooked deck.

      At some point or another, the people have to start acting as if these events were serious and as if they actually mattered. Maybe then democracy will actually be seen as something a bit more valuable than an hour and a half of cheap entertainment.

      rafa

  9. Those still dealing with cognitive dissonance might want to try this analysis by a man who not only says that Romney won, but he transformed presidential debates (for the GOP) for good:

    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/10/17/town-haul

    “First of all, he solved the age-old conflict of how to call a President a liar without seeming impudent. This conundrum had bedeviled challengers since the dawn of time. So many times in the past we have seen the Bob Doles and the McCains of the world let the lie fly by while they are too paralyzed by seemliness to take a swat.”

    This author didn’t say it, but it was also pointed out how adroitly Romney connected the Obama deficits to the Bush deficits and pointed out that they were worse. Another also noted that Romney’s summary of Obama’s failures to deal with the economy was exceptionally good.

    The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the current American electorate can still recognize the adult in the room.

    • Wonderfully insightful article. Thanks for bringing our attention to it.

  10. Folks, I wouldn’t relax yet. Obama can still win this election. Voter turnout of the respective political bases is is now probably the decisive factor since we’ve essentially got a dead heat.

    If Romney can drive a stake through the heart of BHO’s foreign policy (Libya and sundry goods, a more intelligent stand on relations with Russia, for example) in Monday’s debatem and do something unexpected like distancing himself from the perception of most voters, both uninformed and well informed, of “champion of the 1%”, it’ll be the last nail in the coffin for BHO’s reelection bid.

    • Despite my assessment that the election now been decided, I suspect we all agree that being overconfident is unwise and potentially fatal. There’s still the potential for an ‘October surprise’ or a ‘wild card’ event that significantly impacts the election.

      Rats fight hardest when cornered and the surge in deaths threats against Romney on twitter is no laughing matter.

      • It’ is very important for Romney to make some more concessions to the sensibilities of Centrist voters GB.

        I really would have liked to hear him say that he would go after the shenanigans going on, mostly in our financial industry for example. I believe that would have gone a long way to counter any arguments of him being concerned solely with the interests of the rich. Most folks don’t have anything against the rich as a class, but is sure does bother me when people abuse their position to make gazillions out of thin air.

        Something is just not right when we will probably have to inform grandma to take a 10% hit on her social security check and health care to save the national economy, while people making megabucks kvetch about a tax rate way below that of Eisenhower…one of the most prosperous periods in our History.

        You can’t have it all I guess

        • Just because you can’t have it all doesn’t mean you give up on creating a more just society. By just, I mean equal opportunity for all, within whatever economic class we reside (the rich shouldn’t have to pay for entitlements for the less well off).

          By just, I mean the same rules and laws for everyone.

          There are valid advantages that wealth brings and then there is the use of wealth to gain unethical leverage, which skirts the spirit of the law, if not the letter of the law.

          So we can agree that, luck aside and all things being equal, that merit and hard work should be properly recompensed.

          We’re all ‘entitled’ to a “fair shake” but no one is entitled to equal results.

          • I find no fault in your comment GB.

            But as it stands, we have a “preexisting condition”. We aint getting out of this 16 trillion dollar hole unless both grandma and Croesus (in addition to the middle class) put their hand deep into their pocket. Neither party will admit it and neither economic plan as stated will solve it. Either we muster up the courage to deal internally with it after the election is over. Seize someone else’s property to pay it off. Or, have the rest of the world impose a solution on us eventually.

            As much as I agree with you , more entitlements for the less well off, and, more tax breaks for the wealthy, don’t add up to a more just society.

            • “more entitlements for the less well off, and, more tax breaks for the wealthy, don’t add up to a more just society.”

              Nor was I suggesting that or even implying that. Nor is Romney suggesting that. He is saying, lets simplify the tax code in a, for the wealthy, revenue neutral manner, wherein tax loopholes and tax breaks are eliminated and tax rates are set at a level that encourages straightforward planning and compliance by the wealthy. I find that admirable.

              “We aint getting out of this 16 trillion dollar hole unless both grandma and Croesus (in addition to the middle class) put their hand deep into their pocket.”

              I don’t agree, at least not entirely. Growth is the path that places the least burden upon the middle class. The right policies will lead to tremendous growth over the coming decades. Plus, elimination of federal entitlements for indefensible programs like PBS, NPR and Planned Parenthood, elimination of entire federal departments like the ‘education’ dept. etc., the elimination of the obscene amount of over regulation currently in force, repeal of Obamacare…to name just a few, can reduce the tax burden needed.

              Yes, our economic hole is great. What’s needed to gain the time necessary to climb out of this hole is investor confidence. The way to gain that confidence is to demonstrate unquestionable commitment to sound fiscal policies.

              • I know you weren’t implying that GB. The reality is that as a nation, we have been doing exactly that for the past forty odd years. Judging by that track record, the prospects of reform, unless we are forced into it, are slim.

                As our hostess has pointed out quite correctly in previous posts, we can’t grow ourselves out of this. Growth is certainly a part of the solution. But debt at 105% of GDP will have to also be addressed with reduced expenditures plus increased revenue. Painful as that may be. Or we could seize some other nation’s/nations’ wealth by any one of several methods, overt armed conflict is not necessarily the only one..

                • Since we are talking about a “just society” why don’t we discuss the fairness and justice of having half the population not contribute anything to it. Why don’t we discuss the fairness and justice of our progressive tax code? The fairness and justice of allowing those that contribute nothing but an insatiable appetite for free goodies and frequent copulation with whomever is willing to bed with them to vote themselves into the pockets of others.

                  The current status quo has nothing to do with fairness or with justice. It certainly does not treat everyone the same or equally and it is in place for the single purpose of giving satisfaction to and for bettering the aspirations of a handful of professional liars that pretend that what they really want is for everyone to contribute their “fair share”.

                  And, besides, to discuss this topic of justice under the dim light of parsing various minute degrees of injustice is to become complicit with the sham.

                  rafa

                  • The 47% who pay no income tax do pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, utility taxes, etc. So its inaccurate to state that they are mere ‘sponges’.

                    The unfairness and injustice of our progressive tax code is indisputable. What would you suggest as an alternative? I lean toward The FairTax Plan myself. I’ve also have yet to see substantive criticism of my plan to Balance the Budget AND Eliminate the Debt!

                    In any society, regardless of makeup, a certain percentage of the most powerful will seek to use their status, power and wealth to unethically benefit themselves. Until human nature changes, greed and selfishness will remain with us.

                    A better and more just society is achievable but utopia only exists in heaven. If the glass is half empty, it is also half full.

                  • In the spirit of dialogue Rafa, to be totally superficial, the rich should be taxed for an additional one trillion a year. the broad middle class for another one trillion, and government expenditures including entitlements have to be cut by one trillion,. for at least five years.

                    That sounds pretty just to me me. But no politician in his right mind would ever propose it :).

                    • TO: jgets and to GB

                      Look, it’s all rather simple (at least to me), although I admit to believing that words do indeed have meanings.

                      “FAIR SHARE” (Obama’s favorite descriptive when talking about raising taxes on a particular and specifically singled out group of our population). “Fair” The word “fair”, in this context, means this: Having a structure that is free of favoritism or bias and one that is ultimately impartial. “Share” A part or portion belonging to, distributed to, contributed by, or owed by a person or group. Put it all together and Obama’s claim is full of it when he says that the rich should pay their fair share. But, back to my point, the progressive tax code is not “fair” either since it burdens certain groups with income biases and is not at all impartial. It also cloaks and protects some groups with income bias and favoritism.

                      “JUST” Something just is something that is honorable and equitable in one’s dealings and actions. It is also something consistent with what is morally right and based on fact or sound reason. A synonym is…”fair”.

                      So, by those definitions, our government, mostly federal but in some cases also local, our federal Congress and all our recent Presidents have not been just with us and we have not been fairly governed. Political crap like the tax code, affirmative action, welfare, etc. all birthrights of the progressive movement in America, by the way, have seen to that.

                      But, amazingly, we are still seriously arguing whether wealth redistribution is “fair” or not and promising, as campaign platforms, mind you, that those that do not pay any income taxes today or that pay a lesser portion of it won’t have their taxes raised in the future if they belong to a pre-determined socio-economic class but that those of another class that pay a disproportionate share will continue to do so solely on the basis of their income.

                      Geez!

                      rafa

              • The right policies will lead to tremendous growth over the coming decades.

                We can’t know that. There’s no way of predicting what will happen in the future. We don’t know what we’ll know down the line. You could say that lowering the tax burden on the productive will raise the standard of living of everyone but taxes are just one piece of the puzzle. And what do you mean by “growth”? If you’re talking about GDP, government expenditures are a component. A state with a complete command economy could show a continuing increase in GDP, especially as measured by its own figures.

                • Two words; technological innovation. We are on the cusp of tremendous technological innovation and progress. Laboratories are exploring and developing technologies, which will substantively impact the fundamentals of growth. That is why we do know that with fiscally sound policies in place, the growth I speak of is a matter of when, not if.

                  Achieving energy independence alone will strongly influence the cost of production. 70% of the US economy is driven by consumer spending. Job growth and rising living standards are synergistic and yes, part of the ‘puzzle’ of a robust economy.

                  Get the fundamentals right however and, when the time is right, you position the nation for growth.

                  • technological innovation… the cusp of tremendous technological innovation and progress… substantively impact the fundamentals of growth…Achieving energy independence… Job growth and rising living standards are synergistic…Get the fundamentals right

                    You’re babbling, pretty much political verbiage and “getting the fundamentals right” implies more central control. If you could look into the future, what would the “growth” and “robust economy” look like? Are you assuming that it would closely resemble that of the booming late ’90s, when the whole world was riding a debt-fueled wave of unsustainable asset appreciation that would eventually crash, eliminating billions in phony wealth? Will the future include the jet packs that’ll transport us to our lucrative jobs in manufacturing what, exactly? Or almost free motor fuel that will power our what kind of automobiles and wide-body jets that we’ll decline entering because there’ll be searches under our toe nails for dangerous weapons?

                    • Hmmmm….Good questions all.
                      :-)

                      rafa

                    • Asking for greater specificity is appropriate, accusing me of “babbling and political verbiage” in a dismissive manner, when you clearly are ignorant of that to which I refer, exposes small mindedness.

                      We can agree that productivity is the ratio of productive output compared to what is required to produce it? So, the higher the ratio of productivity, the greater the real wealth of a society.

                      I was referring to the coming advancements in the G.R.A.I.N. Technologies. Specifically, Genetics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Nanotechnology? The impact of those technologies, 10-20 years away, will be monumental and they are no longer the dreams of SF and Hollywood writers.

                      We are 10-20 years away from the beginning of a veritable explosion in manufacturing productivity resulting from new technologies currently in development in our national labs.

                      And the grain technologies are but the beginning of a Coming Tidal Wave of Change

                      As some have termed it, the “information age” we are now at the beginning of, will be far more revolutionary than either the agricultural or industrial revolutions.

                      Two hundred years from now, it will be commonly accepted that the material and economic problems of mankind where, from a historical perspective, easily solved. It is human nature and man’s inhumanity to man, wherein the challenge truly lies.

                    • “It is human nature and man’s inhumanity to man, wherein the challenge truly lies.”

                      Indeed. as well as controlling sloth, envy, greed and the other basic sins that drive that inhumanity; all of it the favorite tools of ruthless politicians and demagogues. In fact, I just don’t think that a revolution in robotics, even with a Terminator or two thrown in for good measure, will be able to save us from ourselves.

                      And as far as the comming information revolution goes, wait and see how quick the governments of all nations are to jump all over that advancement in order to control it and to use it to rule over us even better and more efficiently than they do now.

                      Man’s power over man will not be denied. And, besides, as you will probably agree, it must be the richness of our souls that gets us through, not the richness of our material and economic advances.

                      rafa

                    • “Our modern civilization has repudiated the sacredness of of institutions and commitments, and therewith the means of achieving a known future. As we have loosened our guaranteed holds on the future, so have we facilitated change and made the future unknown. Clearly, we have far fewer certainties about the future of our civilization than the Chinese once had about the future of theirs. The great problem of our age is that we want things to change more rapidly, and at the same time we want to have a better knowledge of things to come. I do not say a reconciliation of these desires is impossible, but it does raise a problem.”

                      Bertrand de Jouvenel in The Art of Conjecture, like all his work, must reading.

  11. If debate skills are what it takes to make a good president why not a national contest to find the best US debater, many thousands could enter at county debates and work their way up to a Grand National Debate and the winner, determined by Facebook, could then take over the reins. But we all know that the perceived results of the debate are just a small piece in the electoral puzzle. Since unelected bureaucrats really run the country, this whole process is just so much eyewash.

    • Because I’d win… ;-)

      and nobody wants me running things.. short… fat… not particularly good looking… prone to dismissing BS..

      Half Italian… and one of those people who cling to their guns and Bible.

      Think of an actually Conservative Chris Christie…

      r/TMF

    • “Since unelected bureaucrats really run the country,”

      Simplistic answers, conspiracies and paranoia…oh my!

  12. O/T for jgets: I don’t put credence in this report, which seems to have originated with an Arabic newspaper, but I wondered if it was making a splash in any circles you’re familiar with:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=078_1350250734

    • I was aware of the report Optcon and as far as we know it is not true as per the stationing of SU-35′s. The overflight warning is another matter and has more to do with the RoC’s FIR (the Greeks and Israelis have issued similar warnings to the Turks).. And it gets complicated. Syria, oil and gas deposits, EEZ’s, Turco-Israeli relations, you name it,
      Cyprus currently holds the EU rotating presidency, so that pretty much precludes any overt Russian military presence…It would be safe to say that there will be no stationing of aircraft on Cyprus (except an occasional Greek ,French, or Israeli fighter) at this particular point in time…. British bases excluded. If things go to total hell in Syria everybody is gonna want to fly out of Cypriot bases..

      We do know the the Russians are quite pissed, but won’t be goaded into giving certain “Western” circles the pretext to overtly intervene in Syria along the lines of Yugoslavia. In a nutshell. the assessment here is that the “rebels” have lost and that’s why the Turks are upping the ante to drag in the West
      .
      But I must confess, I don’t like where this is headed, or who is in charge of running the show.. .

      • Thanks, jgets. I assumed as much, but figured you would have insight. I don’t see the Russians making big moves like this for the time being. They’re continuing to beef up weaponry and troops in their Southern Military District, but for now, their military presence in the Med itself will continue to focus on the occasional naval love-fest with Greece and intermittent patrols off Syria.

        The next few months come down to whether terrorists or insurgents can make something big happen in (probably) Syria or Libya. If they can’t, I predict everyone else waits to see what happens on 6 November — and if Romney is elected, they variously wait until he’s sworn in, or try to get small things done before he’s sworn in. I don’t see any of Russia, Turkey, or Iran trying to “settle” Syria on their own if Romney will take office in January.

        If Obama is reelected, of course, it’s another story. I think we will be surprised at how quickly things start changing abroad.

        • You are welcome Optcon

          Russian is mobilizing as you point out. It’s a prudent move from her point of view. She won’t instigate anything, but will react forcefully (somewhere) to defend her perceived vital interests. .As you well know, for Russia , this Syria business is a forward defense against the spread of Sunni Muslim extremism in the Caucasus.

          In order for the “rebels” to do something big. it’ll take an overt intervention by the Turks/Saudis/Qataris. Or a deliberate major intervention by the West to impose a “rebel” victory (supplying shoulder fired SAM’s for example?). Then we are all in big trouble. I hope it doesn’t come to that. And God help us if the Turks are dumb enough to intervene alone and drag NATO in .

          In the EASTMED. what the Russians are doing with the Greeks has its uses in maintaining stability in the region, that’s in everybody’s interest.. It isn’t nearly as important as what the Greeks/Cypriots and Israelis are trying to do in the energy sector…and, in the long term, defense. The Greeks are also trying to maintain a channel open to bring(keep?) Egypt on board, if possible.

          Russia has many options in other theaters to counter a setback in Syria without involving her military. I would be very.very wary of the situations in SE Turkey(Kurds), Armenia/Azerbaijan, Lebanon and Iraq. You know that though.

          Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, and Central Asia are also going her way. But that’s to be expected, especially in the Orthodox Christian Slavic states. IMHO probably not a bad thing in the long run. As long as integration with Europe continues.

          Mr. Putin is able enough to handle Russian interests without getting into a dangerous confrontation with the “West”, Can’t say the the same for our current leadership which is actually making a confrontation more likely, probably without realizing it.. And in spite of his Russia comment, I don’t believe Mr. Romney will be so blinded by ideology, or his advisers, that he couldn’t find the mutual interests of the United States and Russia.

          Sorry if my response was a little long :)

        • PS

          You know we got problems when even Rosa Brooks takes BHO’s FP to task. It’s worth a glance, if you haven’t done so already.

          http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/18/the_case_for_intervention

  13. “as you will probably agree, it must be the richness of our souls that gets us through, not the richness of our material and economic advances.” rafa

    I do agree. The term ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ was meant to cover the entire gamut of humanity’s sins.

    I also agree that unethical men will always seek to use any resources, including technological innovation, to their own benefit and ends.

    Fair Laws, a government of checks and balances, unalienable rights, a free and neutral press, a culture of reason, logic and belief in a divine providence and good people willing to stand against injustice are the best weapons against every generations crop of unethical men and women.

    • TO: GB

      “Fair Laws, a government of checks and balances, unalienable rights, a free and neutral press, a culture of reason, logic and belief in a divine providence and good people willing to stand against injustice are the best weapons against every generations crop of unethical men and women.”

      Undeniably so, GB. But the problem, the real problem, is not about knowing what it will take to bring us back from the brink. It is, on the other hand, all about having the people in Washington to take on that task.

      Sorry, but I just don’t see that happening any time soon.

      rafa

      • Nor do I see the resolution of the real problem happening, possibly not even in our lifetime. We are in the midst of a 100 year ‘culture’ war for the hearts and souls of Americans. America is the last, best hope for the avoidance of a high tech dark ages, Orwell’s 1984.

        (Islam ultimately, cannot win its battle with the west)

        To win that culture war requires, more than anything else, making reasoned, compelling arguments as to why the left’s philosophy and solutions are pragmatically flawed and morally bankrupt.

        Post modernism, the catechism of the left, is a nihilistic philosophy and socialism a naive, destructive perversion of the collective good will. It perverts the free will of communion by imposing compulsion, for the ‘greater good’.

        The left’s philosophy and solutions are at odds with economic natural law, human nature and the operative laws of the universe within which we exist, otherwise known as objective reality. It cannot succeed but it can bring untold misery before its demise.

        • GB: You are quite right about everything you are saying. But, socialism bases itself not on the proven realities but on tempting the uneducated, the greedy, the envious and all the others among us that are ready to believe in anything that promises them a free, easy ride.

          Opposing that promise is the one the conservatives make of hard work, responsibility and patience. The child among us, and it’s a fast growing group, will always pick what appears to them to be the easier road. And that is why the socialists are making headway.

          Temptation is always based on empty, shallow promises.

          What never ceases to amaze me is that, with all the bad examples that we have going on around us, there are many, about half the population, that still fall for it hook, line and sinker and, of the half that won’t this time around, about half of that group will fall for it again sometime in the near future because they are “undecided” about how we should proceed and, therefore, they show a marked propensity to falling prey to the temptation of a demagogue’s empty promises.

          Remember, our current president, Barack Hussein Obama, was elected by a majority of voters and it was all done on shallow, empty reasons not on more real-life analysis like the one you make. And, if that’s not true, there are many more that, like BHO, are either folk heroes of the nation (FDR and TR, for instance) or were themselves elected with the expectations of not much more than their known socialist attitudes and promises.

          rafa

  14. Since occasional naval love-fests came up

    Anniversary of the “Battle of Navarino” October 20th 1827.

    Last major naval engagement to be fought solely with ships under sail.

    Turks, Egyptians. Algerians, Tunisians VS. British, French, Russians.

    Result : Allied victory saved Greek Independence. Paving the way for the retreat of the Ottomans (and Islam) from SE Europe. The good old days.


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