Monday, 5 November 2012

Further little snapshots:

From the guys at Gay Patriot: Out-of-touch Obama. An article focussing mostly on economic realities and perceptions. You're going to have a hard time labelling this lot as typical Republican homophobes, and an even harder time doing it to their faces. Some will no doubt call them as suffering from "internalised homophobia", which seems to be code for "Gays who don't agree with my viewpoints or do what I think they ought to be doing".

"We Leave Nobody Behind." Pundit and Pundette bring Obama's words on Hurricane Sandy back to haunt him with regards to Benghazi, where repeated security drawdowns prior to the event (against advice) and multiple calls for help unanswered on the night led to four men getting left behind, two of whom went out of their way to fight (and in the end die) valiantly trying to fulfil that promise for the other two.

Speaking of words that come back to haunt, taken from's Monday November 5th wrapup, this editorial cartoon (copied and posted here in case the link drops), encapsulates (and mocks) perfectly the sort of verbal sophistry and populism by which Obama was elevated to the Presidency.


 How's that healing going now, Mr President?

From the guys (mostly, it seems) at Ace of Spades HQ:

CNN: The Election Is Totally Tied If You Assume D+11, Nearly 60% Higher Democratic Advantage Than In Perfect Storm Year 2008

They're quoting CNN's "tie", but highlighting something else - the stated biases of the respondents to the polls. Polls at the moment are like statistics, worse than lies or damned lies, but this sort of gross oversampling needed to get an even result seems to speak volumes in a race where a couple of percent advantage in the popular vote allegedly equates to a definite Electoral College win. In the words of one of the replies:

It translates to a sentence. "Obama to get ass-reaming, without lube"

Metaphorically speaking, yes. On a less brutal note:

If we do this tomorrow, we cement his legacy as a darker Carter with bigger ears.

This comparison (Obama and Carter) has been out there for some time. Meanwhile, others perceive more at stake than the survival of ridiculously profitable cartoon birds, cheap oral contraceptives and same-sex marriages (on which the President conveniently backflipped once he had his gay donors' money, according to the GayPatriot guys):

OK, I've taken some action. I've sent an email to the people in my neighborhood urging them to vote, and offering transportation to anyone that may need it. (I live in a neighborhood with more than a few elderly, so that's a distinct possibility.)  Sure, I'll miss work, if I have to. My seven year-old daughter is already $70,000 in debt, so this election is kind of important to me. 

Says it all really.

Back to those polls again, which might be so unreliable as to be useless or worse. How unreliable?

I actually got a call yesterday. We're registered democrats and all the caller asked me was if we were going to vote this year. That was it, I said yes and they said okay, bye. They didn't ask me who we were voting for because I wanted them to so bad so that I could say Romney. I didn't get the chance. We're a family of 9 votes for Romney but before we were democrats, we are military....

Is Obama's campaign being planned and managed by a bunch of people who think that all registered Democrats are automatically going to vote that way? One would hope they'd be more professional than that.  Here are nine votes which are definitely not going to go that way. If this is happening in even a small proportion of nominally Democrat households, there's a big shock coming tomorrow night. Of course we have no information on who was running that poll and what was being done with the information.

I could go on giving vignettes on why this is potentially going to be a Republican victory. There is a small possibility that if it is one, it will be a victory of such staggering proportions that some Democrats will probably have a psychological breakdown.

How well will Obama handle defeat? Will he go graciously, like the "decent and honourable man" John McCain defended prior to the 2008 election? Or will the worst fears of the indefensibly paranoid be confirmed, as he channels his spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright and screams from his pulpit in spittle-flecked rage and orders his people to "Get Whitey"?

The answer doubtlessly lies somewhere in between. I would prefer one towards the gentlemanly end. And yet, things such as the keying of Republicans' cars, and the mental ejaculations on Twitter threatening riot and violence if Romney should win, give me pause.

Little snapshots.

There are many reasons why some Romney/Ryan supporters would like to think they have this in the bag. I hope they're right, but the best advice could be given by E.E. Smith's character Roderick Kinnison at the end of "First Lensman". To paraphrase, "NO CELEBRATION until it's in the bag or the other guy concedes."

That being said, let's sample some of the posts. Note that the language at Ace of Spades HQ is unmoderated, and people say exactly what they think. These are people who will defend their First Amendment with the tools granted them by the Second until their dying breath, and I think I would be dealing them and their Constitution a grave insult if I attempted to moderate it here.

Since 2009 when he said, "the police acted stupidly" he's been under 50%. There was a precipitous drop for him and aside from "fake bumps" he's been there ever since. Essentially, four years of being under 50%. 

Couldn't save Kennedy's seat in MA. 

Couldn't fill a ballroom in NYC - 2010 

Slaughter in 2010 all over the country 

Couldn't fill a stadium at the DNC. 

Big Bird, Sandra Fluke, Vajajay DNC rallies bomb. 

200 people at a Stevie Wonder event. 

80,000 drops to 4,000 in Ohio. 

People walking out on the JEF's speech in VA 

He's a loser. End of story. 

Let the Romney/Ryan Landslide commence.

JEF, I'm told, stands for "jug-eared fuck", i.e. Obama. At least they're going after his ears rather than his melanin excess. In fact, while there's a lot of "Communist" and "traitor" being thrown about, and while there are quite a few who paint him as a closeted effeminate homosexual (based on his body language) and possibly still tripping on the marijuana he was apparently notorious ("the choom gang") for smoking as a young man, I don't think I've seen "nigger" used at all. Either they're too polite to say it, even with the insults they're throwing around, or his race simply doesn't matter to them, or is so secondary to all his other perceived failings that it is of no account.

Here's another:

Hardly any SCOAMF signs.

I was looking to glom one last night to put up after the polls close as "riot protection"...but there weren't any to be found...

...and this is Palm Beach county... blue as it gets in FL...
...and my development of 800+ houses is 80% black...
...and there are no Obama signs...

And NONE of the local youth are running around with Obama t-shirts on. In 08' you couldn't swing a 2x4 without hitting some idiot teen wearing a SCOAMF t-shirt in this neighborhood.

SCOAMF = Stuttering Clusterfuck of a Miserable Failure. Again, Obama (particularly after his teleprompter-less blunder at the First Presidential Debate). And again, all the emphasis on performance and none of it on melanin.

This post is interesting, because it reflects things that others on the same site have been reporting. The massive wave of public adulation that Obama rode into the Presidency on has, if their observations are anything to go on, taken a massive hit. In an allegedly tight race, this isn't good news for him. On the other hand, it's bad news to hear of Romney/Ryan-sticker-bearing cars being "keyed", of the signs being stolen and vandalised and defaecated on... these are not the markers of civilised people with a tolerance of opposing viewpoints, which is the image supposedly "enlightened" Democrats appear to be projecting onto their side.

The next one is more rational:

I know because of where we need to be on the ground.

We'll outperform election day as they are cannibalizing their voters in EV.

EV being Early Voting. In other words, the trick is to get all the loyal Democrats out to try to establish either a narrow race or a slight winning margin, demoralise Republican voters and trick them into staying home and not fighting a futile battle. Unfortunately, anger at Obama's perceived failures (the economy, health-care reform, a failure to even comprehend his nation's mood on things like gay marriage and abortion, foreign policy - including the hideous fuckup that Libya recently became - and so forth) means that this effect is diluted somewhat. Combined with indicators that point to lower Democrat turnout overall (it's difficult for it to get better than it was in 2008, and it needs to be for an Obama win), this doesn't argue well for the incumbent to win either. He might be a nose ahead or near-level now, but if he's run out of dedicated supporters by tomorrow afternoon he's utterly screwed. 

Some may whine that New Jersey and New York State deserve "extra time" to get their votes in, but let's face it - they knew Hurricane Sandy was coming for days, and they could have sent in their early ballots in that time.

Also completely screwed, in many ways, are the alphabet soup of news broadcasters who have been almost silent on the Benghazi fiasco and many other things, when until late 2008 they couldn't fall over themselves fast enough to comment on the smallest mistakes that George W. Bush was making. There will be a reckoning there. Fox and CBS will have covered themselves with glory to be the only ones to cover that in any reasonable detail, Fox most of all, but there are a lot of supposedly tolerant, supposedly educated people out there who automatically take anything that only Fox reports as unreliable. Sometimes it's what you don't report that says more about you as a news service than how or what you actually put out. But if you look at Chris Matthews' (MSNBC) explosion of rage at Obama after the first Presidential Debate, you might find it easy to agree with the next post:

"Further prediction: when it's over, and their loss is obvious, the media is going to turn on the Scoamf in ways we can't quite imagine. " 

Someone else responded in the negative because:

 They really do believe that anyone who criticizes TFG is a racist. 

(TFG = "That fucking guy." Again, Obama. Again, no reference to race within the body of the insult.) 

But we have already seen Matthews go ballistic when Obama fails to perform according to his expectations. I think there are going to be a lot of people going ballistic like this if Romney wins. It's going to be incoherent rage, lashing out at everything and everyone except the concept that Obama was voted out because the American people did not like the job he was doing.

Many of them are going to be lashing out through guilt at having been taken for fools for the last four years.

More if there's time later (there probably won't be), but it's been an interesting campaign to watch. It will be an interesting day (and night) tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

On the United States Presidential Election...

This year, in the closing part of President Obama's first (and I must unfortunately say, hopefully LAST) term in office, we have seen the allegedly abrupt sacking and burning of the US embassy, the murder of the US ambassador (allegedly preceded by brutal sodomy), and the attribution of blame placed upon an "anti-Muslim video", concerning which the President of the United States spoke publicly, saying: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

His nation's Bill of Rights contains the First Amendment to the US Constitution. That text reads: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Those who slander the Prophet of Islam are free to do so under the moral, philosophical and legal charter of the Constitution of the nation he was elected to govern. The maker of that video was arrested in the middle of the night, soon after the Embassy attack, on the pretext of trivial parole violations and awaits trial. In a way, the President has betrayed the moral and philosophical heritage, and has found a convenient excuse to skirt the legal aspect.

This is also the President who took advantage of a process his predecessor had started, using methods he himself professed to deplore and vowed to end, in order to have Osama bin Laden killed on the soil of a supposed ally. That same President seems to have fallen down on the job over the decision (or absence thereof) to dispatch a rescue mission to the assistance of operatives of his government who were sorely pressed in Libya on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

In addition, cables from the Ambassador pointed to an increase in Al Qaeda activity in that nation and requested an increase of security services, whereas what actually happened was the reverse - security elements which were present were withdrawn, and when help was repeatedly requested by men fighting for their lives on the ground, it was not sent. It has since come out that Al Qaeda-related operatives claimed responsibility for the attack while the "video" narrative was still very much alive.

The failure here depends on facts which may not come to light until after the election, when they should be known already so that the US electorate can decide on his and his administration's fitness to govern (which is exactly why the Republicans are "politicising" the matter - THAT'S THEIR JOB). At best, there is a terrible fumbling and dropping of the ball which saw no rescue launched when rescue might have been possible. At worst, the accusations range all the way up to Obama either giving a positive "no-fire" order affecting air assets already present or allowing someone else (whom?) to give it on his behalf.

The family of the dead are grossly unhappy with the responses of the President and the Vice-President, and are convinced that their son was left to die. In addition, his economic performance falls far short of his promises. He has presided over multiple failures of government-supported "green" energy whilst failing to secure or expand existing energy-generation options, and the cost of petroleum (and most shipped goods including food) has risen sharply, as have unemployment and the number of people on food stamps. His electoral campaign this year has been negative, divisive and destructive. "Voting is the best revenge." Revenge for what, Mr President?

The last four years have been a litany of economic, political and diplomatic failure for the greatest nation on Earth. On that basis alone, Mr Obama deserves removal from his position - not for the colour of his skin, but for the content of his character. 

Were I American, I would happily vote for Thomas Sowell to replace him. At the moment, however, the alternative choice is Mitt Romney - a man with proven records in the creation of wealth, the successful administration of failing enterprises, and the governance of a US State. His stated aim is to do the same thing all over again, for his entire nation. His opponents demonise him as a demagogue, a racist, a sexist and a homophobe; a man under whom women, blacks and gays would suffer horribly.

 I believe this is all bullshit, and that his opponents are playing the man because they cannot play the ball. I think he will make a good President. I wish him success on Tuesday night.

The alternative is, in my opinion, a United States which by the end of a second Obama term will be financially, morally, diplomatically and industrially broken, and I don't like the thought of who might fill the power vacuum left behind. It is a United States in which universal health care, government-sponsored contraception, gay marriage and all sorts of other social-progressive causes which are being pushed as reasons not to vote Republican will be rendered irrelevant by national bankruptcy and social upheaval. If you think Romney is bad news, wait until the Islamists or the Russians or the Chinese are calling the shots.

This election has implications beyond the borders of the United States of America, which is why I have taken the time to write all of this.

For the first time, I really fear for the future of my children. What sort of world have I brought them into?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Bad Karma.

Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

 Approximately 16 of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range luxury hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey last night when water from Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge apparently breached the port and submerged the vehicles. As Jalopnik has exclusively learned, the cars then caught fire and burned to the ground. Our source tells us they were “first submerged in a storm surge and then caught fire, exploded.” This wouldn’t be the first time the vehicles, which use a small gasoline engine to charge batteries that provide energy to two electric motors, had an issue with sudden combustion. The vehicle, despite only being in limited production, has already experienced numerous fires due to equipment failures and electrical shorts. How, exactly, they caught fire after being submerged in sea water is unclear. It’s possible the salt water caused a short that led to a fire. Calls to Fisker and the Port Newark Container Terminal have not been returned as of publication time. 

 UPDATE: Fisker released the following statement: “It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy. We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time. We have confidence in the Fisker Karma and safety is our primary concern. While we intend to find the cause as quickly as possible, storm damage has restricted access to the port. We will issue a further statement once the root cause has been determined.”

 The root cause is sounding a lot like either badly flawed basic design or issues with quality control, and it's not the first time these cars have been fingered as having serious problems. There have been repeated recalls over a number of issues; and while these are not necessarily connected with the drive system, it doesn't inspire confidence in the vehicle.

 I think it's fair enough to have a reasonable quantity of experimental primarily- or all-electric cars out on the road to gain experience, but the market isn't really going to go for them until you can pile two adults, two school-age kids, a dog and the luggage in, drive 400km to a holiday destination at highway speeds, and recharge inside five minutes for the final leg or the return trip.

Until such time as storage and recharge technology can match that requirement, all-electric cars and electric-dominant hybrids are going to be no more than playthings. On top of that, with a ticket price of over a hundred thousand US dollars, your reliability figures should be approaching a hundred percent, not wallowing in the "we're still trying to work out why it spontaneously catches fire sometimes" ballpark, and with recalls left, right and centre. Sensible people who cough up five-figure sums for cars* do so for makes that are both prestigious and reliable.

Asking (and continuing to ask) that sort of money for a bug-ridden prototype with multiple, ongoing quality-control and reliability issues is asking to fail. No wonder the US Government has (at least temporarily) pulled the Green teat out of Fisker's mouth. They deserve to fail for building worthless shit and fleecing the buyers for the privilege of owning it. Still, you know what they say about a fool and his money. Thing is, if they took out the battery/electric stuff, put in a bigger and gutsier petrol engine and paid a bit of attention to their QC in the redesign process, I reckon they could slash the price (and probably the weight too; as "subcompact" sports cars go, that thing is morbidly obese for the power it generates) and have themselves a nice little sporter that would sell like hot-cakes. Then they might be able to afford some basic research into getting the electric model right. "Green" energy investments (see "Solyndra" among others) haven't had a very good record so far, and if - as appears likely - things change on November 6 of this year, I suspect the whole concept of government money being pushed in this sort of direction is about to get shitcanned.

 Source here via here.

 * = If such people even exist. House prices where I live generally start at a hundred thousand dollars, and to pay that much for an automobile is in my opinion simply absurd. I used to work next to a Porsche dealership, and every day I'd walk past the place, looking at cars which I couldn't afford with my entire mortgage and wondering what sort of person would be so stupid as to take out a loan for that purpose. If you've got more money than God and a quarter-million plus for a used car is just petty cash to you, fine; otherwise, there are probably far better and wiser things you could be doing with money you've borrowed in the first place.