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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Commander-in-Sleaze


Obama's tacky 'I Shot Bin Laden' ad has turned a military triumph into a political disaster


Barack Obama’s “I Shot Bin Laden!” ad might be the worst political move he’s ever made. It tops the list because, unlike his many other foul-ups (50 percent structural youth unemployment, skyrocketing debt, supporting post-birth abortion), this is a rare example of him getting something completely right and then turning it into something horribly wrong. The man is so politically tone deaf he makes Joe Biden look like Machiavelli.
The ad features Bill Clinton celebrating Obama’s decision to send in the SEALs and kill Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. “Suppose the Navy Seals had gone in there and it hadn't been bin Laden?” says Bill. “Suppose they'd been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him, but … he took the harder and the more honourable path and the one that produced, in my opinion, the best result.” A question then flashes up on the screen that asks, “Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?” The ad reminds viewers that Romney once opined that, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” The implication is obvious: Obama killed bin Laden and is a hero; Romney didn’t think it was worth chasing the terrorist and is a girly-man unworthy of the presidency.
Obama deserves all the praise and glory for killing bin Laden; my only regret about the episode is that I didn’t get a chance to pull the trigger myself. And the Pres is wise to use the incident in his election campaign. In the debates, he should answer every point that Romney makes about the sluggish economy with, “Yeah, well I shot bin Laden!”
But Obama made a big mistake when he took an unreservedly good decision and tried to spin it into an attack on Romney. For starters, no one seriously thinks that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have greenlit the raid on bin Laden’s compound – as Mitt said, “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” Nor did the Republican think that capturing the terrorist wasn’t an important job. Obama’s ad quotes Romney rather selectively. In the original interview, he was asked, “Why haven't we caught bin Laden in your opinion?” Mitt replied, “I think, I wouldn't want to over-concentrate on bin Laden. He's one of many, many people who are involved in this global Jihadist effort. He's by no means the only leader. It's a very diverse group – Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and of course different names throughout the world. It's not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person… Global Jihad is not an effort that is being populated by a handful or even a football stadium full of people. It is – it involves millions of people and is going to require a far more comprehensive strategy than a targeted approach for bin laden or a few of his associates.” In other words, whilst the death of bin Laden would be a tactical victory, it is only one small part of the wider strategy to defeat Islamic terrorism. Mitt's nuanced view was confirmed by the fact that the War on Terror didn’t end the day bin Laden died.
Of course, all’s fair in love and politics and it’s hard to fault Obama for using Romney’s words against him. Bush did exactly the same in 2004, repeatedly listing every defense system that Senator John Kerry ever voted against. But by pivoting from “I’ve got balls” to “Romney’s a eunuch” within one 90 second ad, Obama has foolishly moved the debate away from how great at foreign policy he is to just how mean he can be. Hence, Monday’s headlines were John McCain’s remark that “heroes don’t brag,” while most news outlets devoted time to discussing Obama’s ethics. The point surfaced in a heated interview between CNN’s Piers Morgan and the conservative author Jonah Goldberg (dressed not unlike Ron Burgundy). Morgan demanded to know what was wrong with trumpeting Obama’s War on Terror triumph (which, he rightly pointed out, the GOP also did in 2004) and upbraiding Romney for saying something foolish about it. Goldberg’s reply: “It was stupid of the White House to do this because instead of talking about how great Barack Obama was for killing Osama bin Laden, we’re arguing about whether it was appropriate for him to run this political ad.” Precisely. Obama’s decision to make the death of bin Laden not about him but about Romney means that the media will spend the anniversary talking not about bin Laden but about Obama’s excessive partisanship. That’s how you convert a win into a lose.
Furthermore, this ugly ad compels the press to debate just how much Obama understands the cultural politics of the presidency. In the hours after bin Laden’s death, the Pres did the right thing by praising the work of the troops and promising not to “spike the ball” by over-celebrating the incident. But now he’s turned that ball into one giant spike, not only by ramming the bin Laden adventure down the voters’ throats but also by claiming sole responsibility for it. Michael Mukasey points out that it’s traditional for Presidents to ascribe victory to the troops and failure to themselves– recognising that while the Commander-in-Chief is responsible for decision making, it is the man in the field who takes the risks and so deserves the credit.
By contrast, this ad leaves the emotional impression that Obama personally swung into bin Laden’s compound on a rope and took the terrorist down with his own sweet moves. It’s tacky and unpresidential. Consider again Bill Clinton’s words, “Suppose [the SEALs had] been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for [the President].” Actually, it would have been rather more horrible for the American soldiers. Presumably, what Clinton means here is that Obama’s re-election would have been imperiled if he’d made the wrong call. Is that all that motivates this President, the hunger for four more years? If so, his need is so great that it’s causing him to make some bizarre, unforced errors.

115 comments:

  1. it is only May and I have to force myself to listen to Obama speak. It is difficult. The only satisfaction from hearing him is the satisfaction that enough others will come to my opinion and reject him and whatever he represents. (really nothing more than all Obama all the time).

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    1. My wife came to that opinion couple of years ago. Can't stand to listen to him.
      Turns it off. Every time. I give her a brief synopsis once in a while. Even to that she sometimes says quit.

      Heller ahead over Berkley in Nevada Senate race by a few points.

      b

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    2. When Bush tried to grab the glory after the initial success in Iraq, (Mission Accomplished), the left wing media in the USA went ballistic and belittled Bush beyond belief. The shoe is now on the other foot but you wouldn't know it as far as ABC, NBC and CBS are concerned.

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  2. Obama was not only foolish and craven in his attack on Romney , his charade in Afghanistan has sealed the fate for some US soldiers who will become targets from an AQ response to Obama’s triumphalism. They will die for Obama’s political career.

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  3. It has been asserted that this 'ad is effective. I have been reading the debate about this in comments under articles about it in US newspapers. Militant Obama supporters love it and are vitriolic about any criticism. Republicans resent it as a kind of theft.

    The major question is who was the ad aimed at ? It is totally the wrong approach to swing undecided voters who would not be taken in by the 'cheesey' shot of Obama 'making the lonely decision' while looking out of the White House window. With the unspoken subtext to Clintons voice-over ...we democrats hate conflict, oppose detention without trial, abhore and prohibit torture, and all the dirty double crosses and underhanded deals that give up our enemies for punishments but I, Barack Obama will take the 0pprobrium for the means in order that you should see the end of an evil man. I will be the hypocrite so you democrats can remain innocent...that takes balls and Romney doesn't have the balls to aspire to this level of hypocrisy.

    NO. this is an anniversary ad aimed at reinforcing his core supporters. Most of Obama's speeches and actions presently are aimed at clearly defined and separate areas of what has been his support. He has not found a reelection message yet. Hope and change will not work because U.S. has felt the change and has lost the hope.

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  4. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," raved about a speech President Obama made to American troops during his surprise visit to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

    "I imagine being a soldier over there -- this is what you want to hear," Matthews said, as if he was wearing military fatigues.

    Matthews also likened the leadership of President Obama to that of Henry V of England.

    "It was right out of Henry V actually, a touch of Barry, in this case, in the night for those soldiers risking their lives over there," Matthews said.

    "Well that's great stuff. I was so proud of the President there, I must say. This has nothing to do with partisanship; this is the Commander-in-Chief meeting with the troops," Chris Matthews gushed on his program today.

    Matthews continued to express his admiration for Obama, who was in Afghanistan to mark the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death.

    "Congressman [Jim] Moran (D-VA), I was so proud of him there because I imagine being a soldier over there [and] this is what you want to hear. The troops are backed up by the people at home and there you have your Commander-in-Chief there with you personally. It's great stuff," Matthews raved.

    Rep. Moran also had strong praise for Obama, noting he was acting in a way that the Commander-in-Chief "should act" rather than "just by claiming to be" one. Moran said the speech "was not politics" and Obama has not made and will not make this a campaign issue.

    "He is our Commander-in-Chief and not just by claiming to be, but by acting as a Commander-in-Chief should act. This was a Commander-in-Chief's speech. It was not political. It was motivational; it was just exactly what the troops needed to hear and [just] as important, what their families need to hear back home," Moran said.

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    1. Henry V?

      That's ripe.

      Anyway Obama sent Churchill's bust back to England.

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  5. Ah, the republicans hate Everything he says, and does. I thought it was a pretty good political speech.

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  6. It pretty much translated to: I don't like us being here, and I'm getting us out as fast as I can; but, while we're leaving we're going to go ahead and make the world "safe for deemocracee."

    Oh, and in case you haven't heard, "we killed Bin Hidin."

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  7. The speech was aimed at young voters, and people like myself. ie "true, don't give-a-shits."

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  8. “Globally, the near-term additional investment cost of achieving these objectives [cutting greenhouse gas emissions] would amount to USD 5 trillion by 2020, but USD 4 trillion will be saved through lower fossil fuel use over this period. The net costs over the next decade are therefore estimated at over USD 1 trillion.”

    Put it another way, this sum – $4 trillion – makes it very clear just what the fossil industry has to lose by 2020. It could lose four trillion dollars in eight years, or half a trillion dollars a year. Is it any wonder that millions are being thrown around to protect this industry?


    A Lot at Stake

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  9. Can't imagine why the republicans hate "Wind, Solar, and Ethanol" (and/or, Obama) so much. Can you?

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    1. Republicans don't "hate" wind, solar and ethanol, they just don't like boondoogles like Solyandra and many others.

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  10. Republicans hate what their Masters tell them to hate - and that would be "Wind, Solar, and Ethanol."

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  11. And what do Democrats hate? Besides those who disagree with them, because that's a given, correct?

    Everyone I know here in Texas involved in Wind and Solar production are die hard Republicans. They think Ethanol is a joke. So do I.

    But you carry on, Rufus, you and your buddy Matthews, who gets a hard on everytime he gets a whiff of Obama.

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  12. The new Ford Focus is getting about 35 MPG on E85, Gag. It's not a joke. It's just had to fight a devastating war against the Powers That Be.

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  13. .

    I didn't find the ad that objectionable. Sure it took a cheap shot at Romney through a little creative editing but what politician wouldn't do the same given the chance? Besides Romney will have plenty of time to respond and the ad might prove a blunder on Obama's part.

    I found some of Obama's personal speeches on the subject much more objectionable with his constant use of the personal pronouns 'I' and 'My'.

    The way he has handled this reminds me of George Bush; and I am not talking about "Mission Accomplished" but rather some of his sins of omission early in the Iraq war.

    Face it, neither of our past two presidents have acted as either statesman or commander-in-chief but rather merely as a cheap pol.

    They are/were both dicks.

    .

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    1. It's the Cult of Personality that's offensive - and potentially dangerous. The Obama crew did their religious iconography thing in 2008 for which I gave them a conditional pass (young, stupid, eager) but this is the same deal. I shrugged in 2008 but someone needs to put a lid on this crap.

      RE Samuelson

      I added a couple of comments last thread. Quirk and Ash have different points of disagreement. I have closed the Ash line of objection to my satisfaction but to Quirk I would like to add that I am skeptical of any "construct" that equivalences the problem of poverty to the problems of the other groups - middle class, military, business, etc. The role of government relative to poverty (hasn't been well worked through yet I admit) but that role is different than it is for the other groups - where I allow that the Samuelson argument of over-promising has more validity. The "problem" of the disenfranchised is its own issue, not to be lumped with anything else (as a marginalizing tactic?? one has to wonder sometimes) or in order to defend a thesis that is better defended by dropping to poor from the argument.

      Somebody joked "we're not Argentina'. Much of that ha-ha stuff is because the government subsidizes the disenfranchised.

      I am more inclined to accept Samuelson's thesis of over-promising beyond the means of the treasury vis a vis the middle class, business, the military, as long as the demographic of the disenfranchised is reserved for another debate.

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  14. .

    E85? Powers that be?


    Lord love a duck.


    E85 started because of a government mandate. Government fleet sales started the ball rolling.

    Ethanol has come a long way in a short time and it is mostly because of the government pushing it.

    .

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  15. The "mission accomplished" comment was directed to the ship and the personnel on the USS Abe Lincoln, not the Iraqi war. They had been at sea 11 months, longer than the usual 6 months. Ask anyone on that boat and they will tell you their "mission" was "accomplished."

    The Bush haters will never grasp that.

    Once Democrats make up their narrow minds, they don't like being confused with the facts.

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  16. Democrats hate big oil. They love big Pharm and big Insurance. 2 industries that harm this country much more than big oil ever will.

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  17. .

    Gag, the 'reply' button isn't working for me today so I'm writing separate unlinked responses.

    I agree with you about the "Mission Accomplished" meme and only brought it up because that seems to be the first thing brought up by 'most' of his detractors. To me, it's stupid and meaningless.

    That being said, I am one of his other detractors, you might say a 'bush hater'. There is plenty to criticize him for with regard to his launching the war and his subsequent administration of the war; however, my comment above was specific to what I saw as his disregard for the troops early on in the war.

    .

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  18. Bush launched the war on Iraq to protect the PetroDollar. He and many others thought there were WMDs there too, which was another, lesser reason. If he would have found them, he would have been a hero, because the general public understands WMDs. Most have no idea what the PetroDollar is, and how important it is to keeping the US Dollar stable.

    The Bush haters focused on the absence of WMDs, eventhough the PetroDollar was protected.

    Obama launched the Libyan War also to protect the PetroDollar.

    In both cases, the governments of those countries threatened to sell oil in return for a currency other than the PetroDollar.

    So far, the US has not allowed that to happen.

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  19. .

    I am more inclined to accept Samuelson's thesis of over-promising beyond the means of the treasury vis a vis the middle class, business, the military, as long as the demographic of the disenfranchised is reserved for another debate.


    That's perfectly fine with me.

    In the past you have accused me of being anal. I will admit to that (though not to the degree of a Sheldon Cooper). One thing that frustrates and eventually irritates me is starting out a conversation on one subject and before it is terminated having it diverted to another extraneous or tangential issue.

    I much prefer to discuss one subject fully before moving on to another. For me, it helps to have a logical flow to the argument. I have no problem responding to two or more post streams on two or more separate subjects at once but prefer to keep them separate.

    .

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    1. I guess I was confused by the pit bull persistence of the religious debate.

      My mistake.

      Let me put closure on it.

      Samuelson is a dick and his thesis is a thinly veiled attempt to disguise a political agenda with academic stature, following the exact game plan of Wall St. when Glass-Steagall was repealed.

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  20. .

    Gag, my disdain for Bush is much more personal than WMD's and petrodollars.

    .

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  21. The man is so politically tone deaf he makes Joe Biden look like Machiavelli.

    But by pivoting from “I’ve got balls” to “Romney’s a eunuch” within one 90 second ad, Obama has foolishly moved the debate away from how great at foreign policy he is to just how mean he can be.

    This Tim Stanley character is a hoot.

    “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”

    Romney's not bad either.

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  22. .

    Samuelson is a dick and his thesis is a thinly veiled attempt to disguise a political agenda with academic stature, following the exact game plan of Wall St. when Glass-Steagall was repealed.


    A legitimate POV. However, I didn't read it that way. And, based on past columns of his I have read, I will have to disagree.

    .

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  23. "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."...Global Jihad is not an effort that is being populated by a handful or even a football stadium full of people. It is – it involves millions of people and is going to require a far more comprehensive strategy than a targeted approach for bin laden or a few of his associates.” In other words, whilst the death of bin Laden would be a tactical victory, it is only one small part of the wider strategy to defeat Islamic terrorism. Mitt's nuanced view...

    The money paragraph on Jihadist-inspired terrorism. I do not think the allegations of that paragraph have been established - Jihad driven by the masses rather than the head-of-the-snake.

    The former characterization requires "comprehensive strategy" that restricts personal civil liberties in western societies in order to "protect" the collective, including not just ridiculous airplane search protocols but encroachment of privacy.

    The latter formulation suggests that Jihad is driven by a much smaller group of well funded players who have a vested interest in destabilizing the old western powers. People *like* bin Laden who are, of course, much harder to reach.

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  24. I agreed quite strongly with Dubyah on many issues, but I was never convinced that he gave two hoots, and a holler if he ever found OBL.

    It seemed to me that Bush became, as we would say in Poker, "lost in the hand."

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  26. .

    One of the local news stations here has taken to calling the Afghanistan war 'The War on Terror'.

    WiO is right when he calls the American people 'sheeple' but not for the reasons he thinks. It is because the majority of them were so willing to give up their basic rights as citizens (and many of the values I thought America stood for) for government promises to 'protect them' in the name of The War on Terror.

    The last 10 years have proven that the US government (GOP or Dem) will expropriate from the people whatever rights and assume whatever powers they are allowed to.

    .

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  27. Dean Baker, a prominent progressive economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says that most economists believe society often benefits from investments by the wealthy. Baker estimates the ratio is 5 to 1, meaning that for every dollar an investor earns, the public receives the equivalent of $5 of value....Conard concludes that for every dollar an investor gets, the public reaps up to $20 in value. This is crucial to his argument: he thinks it proves that we should all appreciate the vast wealth of others more, because we’re benefiting, proportionally, from it.

    ...

    Google’s contribution is obvious. What about investment banks, with their complicated financial derivatives and overleveraged balance sheets? Conard argues that they make the economy more efficient, too.

    ...

    In 2008 it was large pension funds, insurance companies and other huge institutional investors that withdrew in panic. Conard argues in retrospect that it was these withdrawals that led to the crisis — not, as so many others have argued, an orgy of irresponsible lending. He points to the fact that, according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, banks lost $320 billion through mortgage-backed securities, but withdrawals disproportionately amounted to five times that. This stance, which largely absolves the banks, is not shared by many analysts. Regardless, Conard told me: “The banks did what we wanted them to do. They put short-term money back into the economy. What they didn’t expect is that depositors would withdraw their money, because they hadn’t withdrawn their money en masse since 1929.”

    Conard concedes that the banks made some mistakes, but the important thing now, he says, is to provide them even stronger government support. He advocates creating a new government program that guarantees to bail out the banks if they ever face another run. As for exotic derivatives, Conard doesn’t see a problem. He argues that collateralized-debt obligations, credit-default swaps, mortgage-backed securities and other (now deemed toxic) financial products were fundamentally sound. They were new tools that served a market need for the world’s most sophisticated investors, who bought them in droves. And they didn’t cause the panic anyway, he says; the withdrawals did.

    Even though these big conclusions are at odds with most other accounts, several economists said that they see Conard’s description of the crisis as more than just an apologia for the banking class (though it certainly is that, too). Andrei Shleifer, an influential Harvard economist, told me that he thought Conard was “genuinely fantastic on finance.”

    I'm going to stop there. I'm feeling "lost in the hand."

    Link

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  28. what is OccupationWed May 02, 01:09:00 PM EDT

    If Obama wants credit for killing Bin Laden, then he must also take credit for the loss of a state of the art stealth Helo, a drone (to iran), the killing of American soldiers and the wounding of such.

    The Presidency is not a bowl of cherry to "cherry pick"

    Time to the Imposer in Chief to resign

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  29. Perhaps concentrated wealth will inspire a nation of innovative problem-solvers. But if the view of many economists is right — that it sometimes discourages innovation — then we should worry. While Conard offers deep and well-argued analyses on almost every issue, on this one he resorted to anecdotes and gut feelings.

    Conard's thinking is almost word-for-word what comes out a BC on an almost daily basis. (Little doubt in my mind that he or one of his 'circle' drops a post on occasion.)

    I've made this point before. I'll make it again (see it every day on BC.) The Mensa thinkers *prefer* the tidiness of models that explain the Grand Unified Theory of Everything. The dogmatic certitude of My Way or the Highway. The grey area messiness of normal human life is anathema to them, which is why democracy (yes, yes, liberal republic) in the modern world is under assault, "lost in the hand".

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  30. Congratulations, Max, for making it this far. I got lost in the hand somewhere around the time I found out all those sub-prime, AR Mortgages were being bundled, and sold as "AAA."

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  31. And, that they were being "bought in droves" by the "world’s most sophisticated investors"tm.

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  32. Concentrated Wealth is just another way of saying "Mexico."

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  33. What amazed me -- as a retired military man, was the unusual number of black troops that were "placed" into the crowd that were his back drop. Look at photos of KIAs in Afghanistan and they are alomost all white and Hispanic. The guy has no shame.

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  34. It's the promise of the payoff that supports the risk-taking only this time they didn't pay off enough players.

    I don't see how Romney gets elected, outside of the "doesn't make any difference" argument.

    But if that's true, where's the angst coming from?

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  35. Of course, I think even Mexico has Universal Healthcare. If you're "poor in Mexico" you're not going to, necessarily, get U.S. Quality Healthcare, but you'll get something - which is more than many poor people in the U.S. receive (emergent care, excepted.)

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  36. If you're white, and independent, your default position in a "no real difference" contest is to vote for the "white" guy.

    Obama's job is to paint Romney with a "Republican" brush.

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  37. Not Time Stanley or Steve Chapman level, but damn that's funny.

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  38. Just FYI, don't know where all these typos come from - some kind of auto spell-check I guess that changes things on me or maybe something else.

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  39. But I'll go ahead and take some of Conard's larger point that the "art history majors", as the poster-children for the modern generations, just don't want It as much - lacking in desire and drive. There is some of that in play.

    I "wanted" It when I was younger. Tried several times. Then got old. And the system isn't as forgiving of age so you are really on your own.

    The other thing about drive is that human psychology has a finite capacity for sustaining the level of effort need to push that ball uphill. Depending on wiring, productivity declines after two to three decades. Older people are not positioned for the same level of "work" in the Conard sense.

    "Contribution" is another matter.

    So is "compensation."

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  40. Dragging a past conversation forward:

    "Max (short for Maxine)May 2, 2012 07:59 AM
    RE Viva La Revolutione

    Where do you think the (soon to be defanged) Tea Party got it's talking points??

    RE financial regulation

    The Masters of the Universe have shifted the center of gravity. Very few have noticed.

    Meanwhile, while some idiot is busy fucking up the Obama Part II campaign (David Puffle?) the serious players are packing for a weekend in Venice.

    The Stateless Rich

    And they don't give a rat's @ss about revolution or regulation.

    Max (short for Maxine)May 2, 2012 08:07 AM

    The "lock and load" crowd is one rumble in the jumble of discontent. I was referring to One more point (sometimes takes me awhile to see in what new direction you have completely missed the latest point.)
    another 'narrative', one that is discussing what a 'new' government would look like - limited enfranchisement, greatly reduced entitlements, greatly reduced role for central government, return to isolationist foreign policy, reform of the Federal banking system.

    Institutional (and cultural) failures create lots of platforms.

    Who's to say which ones "take?"

    I never thought I would live long enough to witness that Tea Party debacle of naivete during the last debt ceiling debate.

    "It'll never happen here" certitude belongs to those who carry more Keys to the Kingdom."

    -----------
    A deconstructionist approach might be useful here. Let's start with:

    "One more point (sometimes takes me awhile to see in what new direction you have completely missed the latest point.)"

    My reading comprehenision is usually pretty good but, I admit, to reading things through here quite quickly but my missing the point may have more to do with your meandering style of argument where your stance is hard to discern from others you are citing.

    Are you arguing that, like the "lock and load" crowd, derivatives will bring down financial institutions and this will lead to armed revolution?

    --------

    "RE financial regulation

    The Masters of the Universe have shifted the center of gravity. Very few have noticed."

    To the contrary. The masters of the universe shifted the center of gravity away from regulation and with the help of the 08 crisis many have noticed. Is the US political system now capable of backing up that notice with functional action? I dunno, I hope so but my observation of the last 20 years of US politics suggests it isn't up to the task.

    Will this lead to armed revolution? I don't think so though the rhetoric out of the heartland does give one pause but in the end, as you all seemed to conclude the general public is "sheeple" and sheeple aren't prone to armed uprisings.

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  41. The Americans aren't "sheeple." But, they're not idiots, either. Armed uprisings have a tendency to get everyone killed. Especially the poor bastards doing the uprising.

    Such things are to be avoided if at all possible.

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  42. We have too many elections. There will be no armed uprising.

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    1. There will be if we have too many elections.


      (I'm kidding of course.)

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  43. It's the difference between reading for context, which Rufus seems to do with remarkable and consistent ease, and parsing apart every word like a turnip on your chopping board.

    A: The sky is blue.
    B: What do you mean by blue?
    A: The color blue.
    B: There are many shades, hues and tonalities of "blue" each of which evokes its own specific connotation of reality both virtual and metaphorical although the literal has been badly compromised in recent years from unrestrained anthropomorphic hubris.

    I could go on but you get the gist of it.

    I have identified two revolutionary narratives in this country and there are probably more - the "lock and load" crowd and the "how do we reconstitute government after the revolution" themes. The former has been around for awhile. The latter is new.

    An financial implosion within the global derivatives investment space might be one trigger. Obviously there are many others including but not limited to uncontrolled jihadist terrorism and rogue nations going nuclear, etc.

    ...

    Very few are aware of the risk implicit in the $700 trillion derivatives space (expected to exceed $1.2 quadrillion within one year). The only point of agreement seems to be that the US government will not be regulating this investment space any time soon.

    I'm going to Wal-Mart now.

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  44. Max wrote:

    "Very few are aware of the risk implicit in the $700 trillion derivatives space (expected to exceed $1.2 quadrillion within one year). "

    You remind me a bit of our pal Doug who gets his knickers in a knot and screws himself into the ceiling with worry and fear.

    As I've argued before the headline numbers you cite are misleading but, YES, derivatives pose significant risk. Should they be 'out-lawed'? No! Should the participation and capital requirements of those participating in that space be regulated - Yes! There does seem to be regulation working its way down the pipe offering more limitations on what banks can do in this arena i.e. limiting proprietary trading of deposit taking institutions. Unfortunately the emergency triage applied to the 08 crisis made deposit taking institutions buy investment banks and gave investment banks the same status as deposit taking institutions. It is a mess and that is often what happens when folk act in panic.

    What color did you say th sky was?

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    1. Unfortunately the emergency triage applied to the 08 crisis made deposit taking institutions buy investment banks and gave investment banks the same status as deposit taking institutions.

      Repeal of Glass-Steagall opened that door.

      The road to 2008 was littered with BSD's wearing their most persuasive "what me worry?" demeanors. And it worked, as Roubini and Taleb will testify. Today, both are routinely introduced to audiences as Dr Doom or Dr Gloom, strained smiles all around (And you have the unique distinction of evoking Maria Bartiromo.) Not hip to be concerned anymore. Only little people worry. Armageddon is just an umbrella drink in Hell.

      Certainly in the company of these folks (link.)

      Delete
  45. That parsing is way too damned hard work for a hillbilly.

    We're more of the "lick, and a promise" school.

    ReplyDelete
  46. With respect to headline article of this post:

    I think the Ad worked well for Obama. Guys like Deuce have always hated Obama so they aren't the target. The folk on the left have nowhere else to go but Obama. The prime worry is they won't bother to vote. I don't think the Ad will change their perceptions either way. The center, the target audience, are reminded that Obama has stones (which is big in America), and as a added bonus, they've been introduced to new information that Romney didn't think it was worth going after OBL. It is early days but it re-inforces/establishes Obama's military credentials (unlike Kerry) essentially taking that issue off the table as a minus for him. Now Romney's got to battle being tarred a military lightweight.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Sprinkle a little red pepper on that cucumber, and eat it whole.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Remember, it was in the 2008 New Hampshire Debate when Romney said "the war in Iraq is a mess," and McCain came fresh hammering Romney as just that - "one who would not mind *losing the War.*"

    ReplyDelete
  49. Replies
    1. Hilaaray At Work?

      At last report, stones seem to be lacking in the Chen affair. Though information is sketchy, Chen seems to have been abandoned at a Chinese hospital.

      This is called Obama supports democracy advocates.

      b

      Delete
  50. .

    One has to laugh at those who eschew 'parsing' of a subject yet come up with things like

    Straight back to my argument that handful of big events destabilized a workable system, with the caveat that the big ones - SS and Medicare - are 'reauthorized' benefits (SS being off-budget), not 'promises.'

    Reauthorized benefits vs promises? Parsing? Good lord.

    Likewise, someone mumbling about context who is willing to take the conversation on a particular subject into various different directions within the same post instead of starting a separate post to deal with the new subjects.

    Context? What context?

    To my mind, it suggests a muddled mental process. It reminds me of arguments I have had with women in my life where you start out on one subject and then, at a certain point, the lady unlocks one of those little boxes she has stored away in long-term memory of every time (real or imagined) that you have wronged her and drops a bomb on you. Your first thought is "Damn, where the hell did that come from?"

    Finally, the whole subject of revolution as discussed here in terms of armed revolution is ridiculous. When I referred to 'sheeple', I wasn't talking about the lack of armed revolution. It doesn't take armed revolution to change things in this country. It can be done with a sustained public outcry.

    We've seen a small example with TSA checks. If so many people weren't complaining about the TSA nude x-ray machines, do you think the TSA would have gone to the expense of changing them so that now no physical attributes show up?

    No, when I talk about 'sheeple', I was talking about the people who when told that the govenment might be checking their e-mail or monitoring their calls say, "Hey, if you are not a terrorist, what have you got to fear?"

    It's the complete silence that greets Holder when he says he is doing away with Habeas Corpus for American citizens all in the name of the war on terror.

    It's because of lack of outrage in public or in the press when organizations like the ACLU are unable to bring lawsuits questioning these actions because of lack of standing or on national security grounds.

    The Executive doesn't want these issues to get to court. On the few times it appeared they might make it to court, the Executive usually backs down. The government also doesn't want them to become an issue in a political discussion, one more reason for a gadfly like Ron Paul.

    The government can be pressured into changing but it won't happen while the 'sheeple' bend over like Chip Diller and baa, "Thank you sir, may I have another."

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Finally, the whole subject of revolution as discussed here in terms of armed revolution is ridiculous. When I referred to 'sheeple', I wasn't talking about the lack of armed revolution. It doesn't take armed revolution to change things in this country. It can be done with a sustained public outcry.

      "Damn, where the hell did that come from?"


      Second thought, don't want to know. Keep your little Pandorum demons to yourself.

      Delete
    2. To parse the contextual point, which seems to have gotten lost in all the naval gazing self-absorption: I was raising the issue of Narrative 2, The How to Reconstitute Government After the Revolution theme(s). And I stand by the point. There is a lot of dialogue "out there" about doing things differently after The Reset. Some of it even comes from the Davos crowd, which is a universe of worlds removed from Lock and Load. What's that cheese they serve at the after-event parties?

      Delete
  51. I'm with you, Q.

    I'm still laughing my ass off at Ash thinking Obama has stones. Damn, that was funny.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Looks like Lugar is gonna lose, maybe -

    HERE

    Democracy in action!

    FORWARD!


    b

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  53. Seems you don't understand marketing much Gag. You are like Deuce and nothing Obama does will please you. The target of that Ad, the center, the swing voters, will generally associate the Killing of OBL as something done by someone 'with stones' as opposed to plastic man Romney whom prevaricated and mumbled about it not being worth it. It's marketing my man - defining your opponent for the public before he can.

    ReplyDelete
  54. .

    "Damn, where the hell did that come from?"

    Surprisingly, not all comments offered here are centered on you Max.

    My comment which you highlighted was in response to Ash's reference to armed conflict and sheeple.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprisingly enough I can't read your mind Quirk.

      And the context suggested otherwise.

      Delete
  55. Whatever, Ash (my man). You really come up with some stupid, funny shit.

    Obama was on watch when OBL was killed, that was a good thing to me. He also de-listed the wolf, another good thing, and I stated my approval of both when they happened. In fact, in my opinion de-listing the wolf was more ballsy.

    Him going to AFGN in the middle of the night to talk to the US (in front of a bunch of REMFs) was pure politics, not to mention a very expensive publicity stunt.

    Only the liberals who are drinking the Koolaid would think it was brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I've made no comment about his trip to Afghanistan Gag.

    Quirk, sheeple who don't rise up and shout over issues like you noted are unlikely to grab some arms and revolt.

    ReplyDelete
  57. .

    Delisting the wolves?

    Alright Rag, now you've realy pissed me off.

    As for Obama...

    Vote NLP.



    :)

    .

    ReplyDelete
  58. .

    Quirk, sheeple who don't rise up and shout over issues like you noted are unlikely to grab some arms and revolt.

    Evidently, I didn't make my point well, Ash.

    I agree armed revolution is off the table; the point I tried to make was it doesn't have to be on the table in order to effect change.

    Unfortunately, if you accept the concept behind the 'sheeple' neologism, the change will be a long time coming if at all.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  59. From what I've read about Ideehoe hunters, and wolves, I don't think ol' Lupe is in much danger.

    As for killing that muzzie asshole over there in Yemen, I imagine most people just figured, as I did, that he really, truly needed killin', so to hell with it.

    As for the TSA, most Americans spend a considerable amount of bar-time looking for an opportunity to show their nuts to "somebody," so I doubt that all that many really cared about that, either.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Ash
    You should be careful about grouping Deuce and I. I doubt he takes kindly to it.

    ReplyDelete
  61. You both have a visceral hatred of Obama. That much in comman anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Delisting the wolf was more ballsy. He went against all those morons 'environmentalists' and such.

    I have written a long article for our paper on wolves, at my new doctor's urging, can you believe it. We talked about wolves last visit more than my health.

    She is from around the Santa Cruz, California area and has a discrete diamond in the left side of her nose!

    My article ends with the word POISON.

    b

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    Replies
    1. (in the winter when the bears are asleep.The helicopter gunships are not doing the job)

      b

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  63. I don't hate anyone, Ash. I try very hard not to even use the word. Although, You seem to be rather fond of it.

    ReplyDelete
  64. The only real decision Obama had to make was whether to simply bomb the site, or send in special forces. He put lives at risk sending in the special forces. On the other hand they seem to have gotten a lot of information out of that building. And the certainty that they had actually killed the man.

    b

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  65. It looks, now, like the whole Eurozone is sliding into recession.

    Oil is the same price in Euros as it was in 2008 (the last time the whole Eurozone went into recession.)

    ReplyDelete
  66. .

    You make my point for me Ruf.

    Even if one accepts the legality of killing an American in Yemen, what does one say about Holder who when asked directly 'does that mean you can order the killing of an American citizen in this country without judicial review' refused to answer? We have been on a slippery slope since Bush first launched the war on terror.

    It encroaches on our lives daily. Your mention of Americans indifference to the TSA further makes my point about 'sheeple'.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  67. How would you like your Armageddon, sir? Straight up or on the rocks?

    ReplyDelete
  68. No, Q. It just means most of us aren't as crotchety as you.

    As for Holder - he has no say in the matter. Drone strikes on terrorists in Yemen is way above his pay grade.

    ReplyDelete
  69. .

    Poison.

    :)


    Reminds me of that video that country western star paid to have taken of himself shooting a pet bear he had paid for in a private animal preserve and then posing as if he had actually tracked it instead of saying "Here Bobo", trying to give the impression he was the great white hunter and had been in some kind of actual danger.

    The Idahoan Lucretia Borgia. What a joke.

    And this from the guy claiming Obama has no balls.


    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could get out my four bladed beast slaying man capable Greek spear, but my new hip.....

      b

      Delete
  70. .

    As for Holder - he has no say in the matter. Drone strikes on terrorists in Yemen is way above his pay grade.

    Holder is a paid hack. He's a butt-boy for the Obama administration the same as Mukasey and Gonzales were for Bush.

    You got something questionable constitution-wise? No problem. You just get one of your DOJ political appointees like John Yoo to write an opinion on it justifying it. Problem solved.

    And if someone objects, you argue they don't have standing to bring a case or that the case would harm national security. That usually works. But if it doesn't work, as on the torture issue, you merely backtrack on the policy. We wouldn't want a court precedent that would actually place a limit on the presidential prerogative to have that next letter written.

    And how does it keep working?

    Well, as you said Ruf, no one really gives a shit.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quirk is correct about this.

      b

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  71. You certainly spit nails for someone who doesn't hate gag. I guess you just don't like him then.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Aww, hell, Q. They dropped a little water down Khalid Sheik Muhammed's nose. After he was instrumental in killing 3,000 Americans. Lordy, Lordy.

    You're going to have to find something else to be incensed about. That one just ain't workin'.

    ReplyDelete
  73. This is a big ol' country, Q. With a lot goin' on. We have to give the President a great amount of power. It's a miracle that we've managed to rein the bastards in as well as we have.

    ReplyDelete
  74. He Peirong, one of the activists directly involved in the escape, remained missing Wednesday. The whereabouts of Mr. Chen's nephew—the subject of a manhunt after local authorities in Shandong said Friday he had attacked officials with a knife—was also unclear.

    Officials said that Mr. Chen entered the U.S. Embassy on April 26, several days after his escape, with the help of embassy personnel and that the U.S. helped Mr. Chen on humanitarian grounds because of his foot injury, adding that he scaled no fewer than eight walls during his flight.

    A senior U.S. official declined to address China's demand for an apology for allowing a Chinese citizen into the embassy, but said "this was an extraordinary case, involving exceptional circumstances, and I do not anticipate that it will be repeated." The official added, "we intend to work closely inside the U.S. government to fully insure that our policies are consistent with our values."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Latest news I've read is we abandoned Chen in some hospital, but the situation is still 'fluid'.

      b

      Delete
  75. The most striking sentence of President Obama’s eloquent speech to the nation Tuesday night came very near the end: “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”

    ...

    This doesn’t mean we need to be deploying troops and fighting ground wars all around the globe. After Korea and Vietnam, we conducted the rest of the Cold War without major combat operations.

    ReplyDelete
  76. .

    You're going to have to find something else to be incensed about. That one just ain't workin'.


    No, not really ruf. It gets down to that devolution of values thing I've mentioned before.

    I'll keep getting incensed about this and you can keep dreaming of your next brewski and when they are going to put an E85 pump in down the street.

    .

    ReplyDelete
  77. The complications have more serious and wide-ranging implications if humans cannot resist the temptation to "tweak their digital avatars", which may – as Stuart Armstrong argues – lead us closer to a world of "super-upgraded copies" and "the real game changer, multiple copies or clones".

    "You could copy the best five programmers in the world a million times or the best call centre worker and these copies would simply replace the humans, who would no longer have any economic value," Armstrong says. "Humans would be left to die, face a life on welfare or live under coercive regulation to control the technology."

    ...

    This time it won't just be the rich who benefit, either, as the technology will be made "open source" for everyone to have the choice whether to be digitally immortal or not. And that would be a curse.

    ReplyDelete
  78. As Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said in Michigan last February, “When you can tolerate people who are different, you know what happens? We come together.

    ...

    Want to promote tolerance? Cut government.

    Let different cultural claims fight it out in the appropriate venue, as far away from my tax dollars as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  79. On this day in 1997, Tony Blair became Britain's youngest prime minister in 185 years. He took the position when he was 44 years old.

    ReplyDelete
  80. .

    This is a big ol' country, Q. With a lot goin' on. We have to give the President a great amount of power.



    Constitution: Article 1 Section 9

    The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.


    Good lord, Rufus. Habeas Corpus rights have been aroud for 400 years. They were specifically written into the Constitution and this administration says they can take it away without judicial review on 'suspicion' that you are a terrorist. If you don't see anything wrong with that, there is little point in talking to you. You constantly talk about 2nd Amendment rights. It appears you feel qualified to pick and choose which 'rights' are 'legitimate rights'.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Habeus corpus is THE most basic right. Lincoln suspending it was BIG. So big I can't imagine anyone else has tried.

      I've been a bit busy of late but has anyone tried to seriously suspend it of late? Are you suggesting OBL should have received due process before being executed?

      Delete
    2. Again Quirk has it right.

      I'm a 'right wing extremist' cause I attended a Tea Party, according to someone in the administration though I can't recall who, maybe it was Big Sis.

      And what Quirk said about never seeming to be able to have standing in the courts rings my bell, too.

      b

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    3. Ash, we are talking American citizens.

      b

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    4. And Ash, we all read recently that the 'war on terror' is over, you know that.

      b

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    5. Why? What is the difference in kind vis a vis rights? If OBL were a US Citizen that change anything?

      Delete
  81. Seems we did dump Chen at the hospital, now he is pleading to Obama to get him and his family out of China.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/china-activist-leaves-us-embassy-xinhua-075514246.html

    This has Hillary written all over it.

    Disgusting.

    b

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    Replies
    1. More on Chen

      http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b13c7544-942c-11e1-bb0d-00144feab49a.html#axzz1tlRdm5AG

      b

      Delete
  82. Correct Ash. But near as many nails as you spit at Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  83. This much is clear: Beijing reached an agreement Wednesday with the U.S. under which blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng left the U.S. Embassy. However, the details of the deal, including whether Mr. Chen was coerced to accept by Chinese threats to his family, remain murky.

    ...

    While this case is unusual, it sets an important precedent in U.S.-China relations. Nobody doubts the importance of U.S.-Chinese cooperation on a range of issues, but that cooperation becomes counterproductive when it comes at the expense of the core values America embodies and the Chinese people admire.

    ReplyDelete
  84. I read one article that said Chen could get a few million people out for a rally anytime he wanted, if he was allowed to, which he isn't, of course.

    Maybe Chen will be the spark to something big.

    b

    ReplyDelete
  85. Jerusalem dig results in rare find --

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/05/another-rare-find-in-jerusalem-dig/

    Anyone else having trouble making a Link?


    b

    ReplyDelete
  86. Writing on Monday, Michael Goodwin blasted Team Obama for its Osama bin Laden reelection campaign ad:

    It is fashionable to be jaded about a presidential campaign, to complain there’s nothing new and tune it out. Not this one.

    ...

    Remember this, just days after he was sworn in?

    President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.

    ...

    Remember this passage from The Audacity of Hope:

    [G]enuine bipartisanship...assumes an honest process of give-and-take, and that the quality of the compromise is measured by how well it serves some agreed-upon goal, whether better schools or lower deficits. This in turn assumes that the majority party will be constrained - by an exacting press corps and ultimately an informed electorate - to negotiate in good faith.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Mr Blair has mixed charitable and business projects since his departure from Downing Street and now employs 120 people around the world. He runs five organisations, including the Office of Tony Blair and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, whose gross income last year was £12m.

    ...

    His office stresses that the largest proportion of his time is taken up with his unpaid role as the Quartet Representative to the Middle East, the organisation representing the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

    Mr Blair's appearances in Britain since 2007 have been sparing. He undertook a round of interviews to promote his autobiography, was questioned twice at the Iraq inquiry and was drafted in during the later stages of Labour's 2010 general election campaign.

    ReplyDelete
  88. .

    The attached link is from the Peoples Blog for the Constitution

    The first couple of posts discuss the issue of indefinite detention. About the fourth post down for anyone that is interested has a video of a debate discussing US counterterrorism techniques employed post 9/11.

    The two sides are argued by John Yoo, legal counsel to George Bush's and author of his memos justifying certain torture methods, and Chip Pitts, lawyer and Board President of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and former Chairman of Amnesty International USA.

    The debate runs about 45 minutes but I found it interesting.

    Debating the Constitution

    .

    ReplyDelete
  89. Attorney General Holder may have done something right -

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57426630/107-charged-in-medicare-fraud-busts/

    How the government can keep tabs on all this I don't know.

    b

    45 minutes Quirk? My attention span isn't that long, but I'll try!

    ReplyDelete
  90. “Every single thing that you have ever done is on your hard drive,” she explained

    And, they say, is present at death.

    Actress with super human memory -

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/05/01/seen-at-11-rare-mental-condition-gives-actress-henner-super-human-memory/

    b

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