Friday, 5 October 2012

The First Presidential Debate.

Or – How an artless, gormless jerk got his arse kicked.

We…ell, wasn’t that a surprise. I went to bed on Wednesday night thinking the fix was in for Mitt Romney, and oh boy was I ever surprised when I woke up on Thursday morning and read the reports and saw clips of the thing. Almost everybody, even people who had previously been lining up to kiss his arse, thought Obama was fucking dreadful. What happened?, they all asked. How could the man they've idolised for four years for his intelligence and brilliant oratory come to this?

Perhaps this clip offers some explanation. In short, he had no teleprompter and no shielding from searching questions or criticism of his statements in real time. "After four years in the bubble..." the commentator observes.

Al Gore had a different explanation - maybe it's the rarefied air in Denver? Romney did his debate prep there - Obama arrived that afternoon. Etcetera. Which is all very well, but we need to look at two things. One: unless pressurisation standards on Air Force One are markedly different from routine airline practice, he's making all those flights at an equivalent pressure of about six to eight thousand feet - so what does that say about any decisions he might make in flight (including the decision for which the aircraft was constructed - to launch a counterstrike from safe territory if the US suffered a sudden nuclear attack)? Two: Obama did a lot of swanning about on various chat shows etc., time he could perhaps have devoted to going to Denver to acclimatise.

It has also been charged that going through the Republican Primaries recently gave Romney more practice at debates, whereas Obama did not have time to practice. But wait a minute - doesn't being the President, and actually running the country, mean Obama should already be familiar with all the things he knew he'd have to discuss? If he's doing it every day and it's working so well, why should he even need practice? His very job should be the practice. Steve Kates at Catallaxy Files had his own opinion of the mindset of the two men in the lead-up:

Obama is the laziest, least involved President possibly ever. He really cares little about policy and has no taste for the engagement of the political process. He likes the pleasures of office, just doesn’t like what it actually requires, like knowing things in depth and thinking things through to the end.
The debates are, however, the real thing, and he is about to take on someone who knows what he thinks and has developed his ideas in the best way possible, by writing a book. Romney wrote No Apology: Believe in America in 2010 and it showed in the debates he had within the Republican side. He understood each issue and has an articulate and soundly based conservative perspective on every issue that matters. 
Somewhat uncharitable definitely; partisan, true; but this interpretation seems to have been borne out by events. The one was disengaged, unprepared, and regurgitated stock talking points; the other has worked so long and hard on developing his policies that they are graven into his brain and there is no possibility of tripping up or forgetting. Romney has spent his life being a businessman - if you fuck up, you go broke. I'm not sure we have a really clear idea of what Obama was doing before being elected to the Senate, or what the penalties would have been for failure, but what it boils down to is this: he has been protected at every turn by people who deflect all criticism of him as racism, elitism, rampant capitalism run wild, or some other excuse. He has never had to stand up for himself directly. He has never had to explain his ideas off-the-cuff. And on Wednesday night, we saw what the result of that coddling was. The people who adored him, defended him, protected him and justified him at every turn were so shocked that they admitted out loud, possibly for the first time, that their idol had performed inadequately. THAT OBAMA HAD FAILED. 
Perhaps some eyes are now beginning to open.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A collection of Assorted Things.

Professor Bunyip posts the anguished keening of a man who seems unduly disturbed by the upward mobility of those he appears to consider his inferiors:

I AGREE that it's unfair to label the people who live in McMansions as inferior, but to argue that their houses are a healthy sign of wealth is ludicrous. Chris Berg's logic seems to be that ''because we can'' is justification for anything. The flaw lies in the underlying assumption prevalent in much of society that physical assets are, in and of themselves, a good thing; and that the more we have the better off we must be.
        Berg has previously argued that it's OK to use it/spend it/build it now because human ingenuity has and always will find a way to solve any problems we might encounter. Funny thing is, I remember reading about another optimist who happily announced ''peace in our time''. I believe in human ingenuity, too, but perhaps we should consider the possibly that it might not always solve every problem.

Unlike the good Professor, I'm not going to identify the writer of this puerile drivel - you can go to Prof's site if you want that - but I will repeat Prof's observations that the writer appears to live in a very nice part of town and to have quite a substantial monetary recompense for his daily labours.

The writer of this crap has it all backwards. He appears to me to be one of those who has made his way in the world and now wishes to pull the ladder of success (and material reflection of that success) up after him. The more we have, the better off we must be? True, there are people who have everything and are miserable, but for this apparently very well-off person to want to deny others the right to acquire material goods with the money they have earned is rank hypocrisy, with a thin smear of fascism.

As far as the "peace in our time" dig is concerned, Chamberlain was not an optimist - he was a deep pessimist who allowed his distaste for the war his country had won twenty years before to talk him out of a war which might have been fought (and won) at far less ruinous human and material cost at the time of Munich than in late 1939. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, and the writer of the inane drivel reproduced above has clearly not learned his history. Human ingenuity has seen off smallpox, it is well on the way to seeing off polio, and it would see off most other forms of human misery if the Western civilisation that spawned all of these is able to stand against the internal white-anting of people who write this sort of garbage. 

In order for this to happen, Tony Abbott must be Prime Minster of Australia, Mitt Romney must be the US President, Stephen Harper must remain the Canadian Prime Minister, and David Cameron must grow enough of a spine to leave the European Union. The alternative is collapse. I urge the voters of these nations to act accordingly come the next election, and to deliver these four men the emphatic victories they require to save Western civilisation as we understand it. The alternative could well be a new Dark Age.

Also, what is it about the US News media (and in fact the left-wing media in general) that it ignores accounts of Libya issuing warnings that an attack was planned for September 11; that it is willing to glibly swallow the tale that a poorly-produced YouTube video was the motivator for an attack so organised it was carried out with automatic rifles and shoulder-mounted rocket launchers; that it accepts this act without demur as an appropriate level of aggression in response to mere words and pictures, especially when it involved the murder of the US ambassador (I am told that he was sodomized first) and the dragging of his corpse through the streets; that it doesn't even blink when an individual connected with the production of the film is arrested in the middle of the night for "parole violations" (at a very conveniently timed moment)...  What is it about the bulk of the US news media that it glibly swallows for several days the US Govt.'s assertions that this was a "spontaneous demonstration" against the Prophet being offended?

What is it about the US News Media that it ignores its President's proclamation that "The future does not belong to those who offend the Prophet of Islam"? It is not the US President's job to defend the prophet of Islam - it is the US President's job to defend his Constitution, which includes an amendment protecting freedom of expression, without qualification or limitation. If the US President is willing to put other, overseas considerations first, he is no longer fit to be President and the News Media should rightly be calling for his impeachment and/or his electoral obliteration at the upcoming ballot. (The same goes for the Australian Prime Minister - the minute she starts making claims that the criticism or denigration of a religion should not be permitted, she has betrayed the moral, constitutional and philosophical heritage of her nation and in my opinion she must be stood down by the Governess-General pending a general election. This will not happen because the Governess-General was deliberately picked to be the Government's lap-dog, in order to prevent a rerun of the Whitlam sacking.)

And let's not even get onto its refusal to report on the destruction on the ground of a squadron of US jet fighters in Afghanistan.

If the US President had said "The future does not belong to those who offend the Lord Jesus Christ", the (largely) Left-Wing press would have been lining up to savage him. They should be savaging him now, and they should continue to savage him until he is thrown out of the White House by the people whose interests he has spent the last four years betraying - intellectually, morally, philosophically, economically, politically and militarily. He was a polished product, elected to salve the racial guilt of the Left and as an outpouring of their rage against a predecessor who was constitutionally obliged to resign and thus could not actually be defeated. His past is a blank page. It was first cloaked in the near-fellatory public adulation he received in the time prior to his election (the outpouring of emotion at some of the pre-election rallies brings to mind a touchy-feely version of the Nuremberg rallies, without the Jew-hate) and then hidden behind a legalistic wall of his own making once he had attained his position. We have known far, far more about all of his opponents than we have ever known about him, and yet an adoring, almost brainwashed public made him the most powerful man in the world and gave him control of their destinies.

They were not thinking clearly when they did this, and many of them are still not thinking clearly to this day. Some of them are idiots, some of them are too ashamed to admit they made a mistake, and some of them are too scared of their friends and family, such as the retired gentleman whose wife will probably bully him into voting for Obama "to protect her reproductive rights". Sorry, ma'am; but if you're anywhere near your husband's age, then your "reproductive rights" are a non-issue. And if they are, they're an issue between your husband and yourself, not yourself and the US President. And if you can't rely on your husband to respect your reproductive rights, leave him.

(Note: Link references will be added to this article as and when time allows.)