Post racial

November 24, 2012

I’m still on my post-election vacation, but I have to interrupt it to note an astonishing editorial from the Washington Post. Not so long ago I found the Post to be worth reading despite its liberalism, not so much for being a voice of reason among the left, but for making an effort at least to be fair to their opponents. Those days are now truly past.

The Post editorializes that Republicans are opposing the rumored nomination of Susan Rice, not because of the rampant dishonesty and/or incompetence exposed by Rice’s absurd public statements on the Benghazi attack, but because they are racist:

Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy.

This is really quite astonishing. Could it really be that the Washington Post has no memory of our last Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, another black woman who even happens to share the same last name? If they could remember Condoleeza Rice, they might recall a historical parallel: Her nomination also faced opposition, and although we can’t know her opponents’ hearts, most of them were white males, and every single one of them belonged to the party that historically supported slavery and segregration.

In fact, that’s too kind to the Democrats. Although I believe that most of Condoleeza Rice’s opposition was simple partisanship, there also was an explicitly racist campaign waged against her by prominent liberals. There is nothing remotely of that sort in the opposition to Susan Rice.

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FEMA closed due to weather

November 7, 2012

No joke:

In Staten Island, a printed paper sign taped to the front door of on the center at 6581 Hylan Blvd. at 10:30 a.m. read “FEMA Center Closed Due to Weather.”

The front doors of the disaster recovery center, which is housed inside the Mount Lorretto Catholic Youth Organization, were unlocked, but there was no staff anywhere in sight for at least a half an hour.

And a set of buses which served as a pair of warming centers at the site for the past several days were missing, according to non-FEMA volunteers who continued to hand out supplies from a nearby building despite the storm. Volunteers at a nearby donation distribution center said the buses vanished on Wednesday.

“FEMA packed up and left,” said Louis Giraldi, 47, a volunteer handing out cleaning supplies to victims. “We don’t know where they are, so there’s nothing here but us.”

Obama’s been re-elected, so I guess their work is done.

(Via Instapundit.)


Unbelievable

November 7, 2012

I caught the end of Barack Obama’s victory speech. Incredibly, he’s doing his unity bit again. It’s as if the last six months never happened. Hell, it’s as if the last four years never happened.

In 2008, I was somewhat taken in by the pledge in his victory speech to unify the country. But an acquaintance of mine, a hard leftist, explained that Obama didn’t mean it. “Dream on” were his exact words. He was right. From his very first acts, Obama proceeded to chart the most extreme course that he could, limited only by the residual conscience of a Democratic Congress. He did it in the teeth of public opposition, proclaiming not unity, but “I won.” When people stood up in opposition, he didn’t try to find common ground. No, he vilified them as racists, and even as terrorists.

Months of slander, sarcasm, and demagoguery have done their work, and Obama convinced just enough Americans that a second term for Obama is less risky than taking a chance on Romney. Fine. But America shouldn’t be fooled by the unity bit again. I certainly won’t.


Cassandra’s lament

November 7, 2012

Health care nationalization and financial ruin are now probably irreversible. After tonight, America will survive in some form, but we will never again be the nation we once were.

Even as they run us into the ground, the left will never admit their policies don’t work. I wonder whose fault the next four years will be.


The stakes tomorrow

November 5, 2012

Jerry Pournelle:

We have always known that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It’s worse now, because capture of government is so much more important than it once was. There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time — not during most of your lifetimes, and for much of mine — and it will probably never be true again.


Government priorities

November 5, 2012

A New York man drives to Connecticut to buy gasoline and bring it back to his neighborhood in New York City, but he wasn’t using government-approved containers, the police cited him and confiscated the gasoline. He and his neighbors are out their money, and still don’t have gas.

Because that’s the main problem New York City is facing right now: gas transported in unapproved containers.

The New York Times says that disasters call for big government; this is big government at work.


No, Obama didn’t acknowledge Benghazi was terrorism

November 5, 2012

Obama’s apologists have seized on the fact that Obama’s used the word “terror” in a speech on September 12 as proof that he acknowledged the truth from the beginning. This is nonsense, and moreover, if he did acknowledge the truth on September 12, why did he spend the next month lying to us?

Now CBS has released a video that answers the question conclusively. In an interview later that day, Steve Kroft observed that in Obama’s speech that morning, he “went out of [his] way to avoid the use of the word terrorism”, and asked Obama point-blank if the attack was terrorism. Obama wouldn’t answer:

QED.

(Previous post.) (Via the Corner.)


What went wrong in New York

November 5, 2012

The Sandy recovery effort in New York City’s worst-hit borough, Staten Island, is an absolute mess. This might be part of the reason why:

The [Office of Emergency Management], created by Mayor Rudy Giuliani was intended to do just that [i.e., collect reports and dispatch needed assistance], said a former Giuliani administration official, who asked not to be named criticizing the current mayor. “The real question is why OEM—which was built to manage the battle of the badges in a disaster, that’s why it exists—doesn’t have an evident lead role” in the Sandy response, the former official said. He speculated that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who served under Mayor David Dinkins before returning when Bloomberg took office, “never accepted the legitimacy of OEM,” which was created by the mayor who’d effectively let him go.

A senior administration official asked for comment late Sunday evening contested the Giuliani official’s categorization, but was unable to immediately explain what OEM’s role in the post-Sandy response operation was, or how exactly the chain of command between various city and outside agencies, like FEMA, was constructed.

(In any event, we had only two FEMA sightings over the day while driving over much of the island—a phone number for them written in marker on the back of an OEM trailer at Midland, and eight people wearing FEMA Corps light blue jackets huddled outside a Hess Express, seeming oblivious to or disinterested in the huge line of cars on the road beside them.)

I’m confused! Paul Krugman says FEMA is doing a great job.

Anyway, the piece tells the story of a businessman who was trying to deliver relief supplies, and spent hours driving around Staten Island trying to find a place to take them. Eventually they just went to a suffering neighborhood and handed stuff out.

POSTSCRIPT: This isn’t a conservative piece at all, either. It’s in the Daily Beast, and at one point it goes out of its way gratuitously to insult Fox News.

UPDATE: Giuliani calls the recovery effort “disgraceful”. One of his allegations is that FEMA failed to pre-position supplies of water as they said they would.


Janitor-in-chief

November 5, 2012

Frank J Fleming takes on the erroneous notion that the president is our country’s leader. This is my favorite part:

We have it in our heads that the president of the United States is like the CEO of our country, when in reality his job is more akin to head janitor. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to say that politicians work as hard or are as essential to society as the average janitor. But it’s our job as private citizens to do the main work, and the government is supposed to operate in the background doing minor things that support that work — cleaning up the messes we’re too busy to handle. If the head janitor and his staff do their jobs well, we should barely even notice them.

Yet right now in America we think that this janitor is in charge of everything, and that’s how we ended up with this Obama mess. Everyone went on about how inspiring Obama was — like that matters — and how he was going to solve all our problems — like that was his job. But no one asked the essential question: Can he clean and stay out of our way? Thus we come back four years later and find that the office building we asked him to clean has been burned down, and when we ask him what happened, he gets mad at us and says, “It’s not my fault; it was messy when I started. But don’t worry, I have great plans to really get the company growing these next four years. First off, I went ahead and significantly increased the janitorial budget.”

It’s humor writing, of course, but it really struck a chord with me nevertheless. America’s government is not America, and it drives me crazy when people (like our current president) conflate the two. In the best of times the government is symbiotic with America; today it’s mostly a parasite.


Gun control gets weird

November 4, 2012

Mike Bloomberg puts his anti-gun ideology ahead of disaster relief and common sense:

Mayor Bloomberg has snubbed Borough President Markowitz’s impassioned plea to bring the National Guard to Hurricane Sandy-scarred Brooklyn. . .

“We don’t need it,” Mayor Bloomberg said on Wednesday during a press update on the city’s ongoing Hurricane Sandy cleanup. “The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns.

(Emphasis mine.)

This is bizarre, even from an anti-gun ideologue like Bloomberg. He doesn’t even think the National Guard can be trusted with weapons?

(Via Hot Air.)


Economics 101

November 4, 2012

It’s literally on the first day of a typical introductory economics course that students are typically taught that price caps lead to shortages. Shortage lead to non-price rationing schemes for what supply is available, such as long lines.

Unfortunately, our politicians seem to have less than one day of economics training. Laws against “price gouging” — that is laws that forbid the market to adopt the market-clearing price dictated by supply and demand — are nothing more than price caps, and lead directly to shortages. We see this playing out once again in the wake of Hurricane Sandy:

Without “price gouging” laws, the price would rise, thereby encouraging distributors to ship more gas to the area, and also discouraging people from buying gas they don’t need. Also, it would put a stop to people waiting hours for gas.


Voter suppression

November 4, 2012

The Democrats claim to be concerned about voter suppression, as that is their excuse for vehemently opposing any measure to fight voter fraud, but when faced with bona fide illegal voter suppression, they aren’t interested. I refer, of course, to the administration’s scandalous indifference, if not open hostility, to the voting rights of deployed servicemen.


Do not trust content from Reuters

November 4, 2012

Reuters lies:

As campaign roars to close, Romney and Obama talk “revenge”

Oh yes, Romney and Obama are talking “revenge”, in the sense that Obama is talking revenge and Romney is not.

Reuters released this headline nearly 24 hours ago, and still hasn’t corrected it.

(Via Twitchy.)


They knew

November 3, 2012

One of the most puzzling things about the Obama’s administration’s Benghazi story is how it could have taken them so long to realize what was clear on the very first day: that it was a deliberate terrorist attack. Well, we now know that they knew it on the first day as well.

The CIA linked the 9/11/2012 attack to terrorists in the first 24 hours, and conveyed that information  to Congress on September 13. In fact, they knew that an Al Qaeda affiliate had taken responsibility for the attack after just two hours, while the battle was still ongoing.

But the administration changed its story on September 14, and spent most of the next month blaming a video. Why?

(Previous post.)


Al Qaeda instigated Cairo attack

November 3, 2012

The Obama administration’s story that the Benghazi consulate attack was a the result of an anti-Mohammed video has collapsed in ignominy. But what about the other 9/11/2012 attack, the mob assault on the Cairo embassy? That one really was a response to the video, right?

Wrong. The evidence shows that the Cairo attack too was instigated by Al Qaeda.

(Previous post.) (Via Instapundit.)


Two-face

November 3, 2012

At the third presidential debate, Barack Obama said the upcoming sequester was a bad idea and he would make sure it doesn’t happen. But the very next morning, in an off-the-record interview with the Des Moines Register, he touted the sequester as central to his deficit reduction plans.

So Obama lied; the only question is to whom.

UPDATE: Obama also lied about whose idea the sequester was. He said Republicans insisted on it, when it fact it originated with the Obama administration and with Harry Reid.


Journalistic malpractice

November 3, 2012

I don’t really blame the Houston Chronicle for being taken in by an ill-conceived anti-Obama flyer that turned out to be fabricated. After all, these people are liberals, and it’s consistent with their world view when Republicans seem to be acting stupidly. But these people are also supposedly journalists. Why didn’t they even ask the flyer’s purported producers for comment before running with the story?


Green cronyism

November 3, 2012

The Obama administration denies that any political pressure was brought to bear in the awarding of loans by Obama’s disastrous green energy program. It would be surprising if that denial were true, and newly released emails confirm that it’s not.


Obamacare delenda est

November 3, 2012

How is Obamacare working? Avik Roy has been collecting the consequences from around the country:

  • In Ohio, premiums will rise 55-85%, and 30% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Wisconsin, premiums will rise 30%, and 27% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Colorado, premiums will rise 19%, and 29% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Minnesota, premiums will rise 29%, and 25% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Nevada, premiums will rise 11-30%, and 44% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Florida, 30% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Virginia, 28% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In New Hampshire, 25% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Iowa, 31% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Pennsylvania, 31% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.
  • In Michigan, 31% of doctors will cut service for Medicare patients.

This thing is an atrocity.


Three hours warning

November 3, 2012

A major new revelation in the 9/11/2012 Benghazi debacle: There were intelligence reports that a Libyan militia was gathering weapons and preparing for action three hours before the consulate attack began.

So we didn’t have seven hours to respond before the fight ended, we had ten hours. In fact, with Italy just two hours away, the military could have responded before the fight even began!

Why didn’t the administration respond? Certainly they had good reason for concern. Earlier that day, consulate personnel reported with concern that they had observed their own Libyan security photographing the consulate’s security, and the administration was fully aware that the consulate was vulnerable:

The U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack,” according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.

Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected.

(Previous post.)


“Revenge”

November 3, 2012

Remember that 2004 speech that launched Barack Obama as a national political figure?

It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one. . . There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. . . There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. . . We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

He didn’t mean a word of it. Sure, he could talk the talk during his meteoric ascent, but now, facing the end of his political career, we see how he really is:

The Romney campaign ripped President Obama after the president suggested Friday that supporters take “revenge” by voting against the Republican nominee.

During a speech in Springfield, Ohio, . . . he mentioned Mitt Romney, drawing boos from the crowd. “No, no, no — don’t boo, vote,” Obama said. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”

When his own future is as stake, all that unity stuff is out the window. Now it’s time for revenge.

Of course, it’s not just this year. In 2010, when facing the first political reverses of his political career, he struck a similar tone, calling for Latinos to “punish our enemies”.

UPDATE:

UPDATE: “Obama campaign struggles to explain ‘revenge’ remark.”


Random thoughts on Sandy

November 2, 2012

On NPR yesterday morning, they reported that areas hit by Hurricane Sandy had buses running again, but it would be a while before rail service resumed. After a disaster, being able to drive around obstacles (which cars can, but trains cannot) is a significant advantage.

They also reported that on Long Island many people were staying in their homes, despite having no power or water, so they could protect them from looters. It’s a pity that New York law has made sure that most of those people protecting their homes are unarmed. Natural disasters show the folly of relying completely on the government to protect your property.


Green explosions

November 2, 2012

Fisker Automotive is one of the Obama’s green boondoggles, having collected half a billion dollars in Federal largess. They make overpriced, unreliable electric cars that reportedly can catch fire while being recharged.

Also, they explode when submerged by a flood.

POSTSCRIPT: Fisker’s press release is inadvertently hilarious, containing this line:

We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time.

So you don’t even have to be charging them for them to catch fire, and that’s a good thing?


Facebook censorship

November 2, 2012

Facebook has apologized for censoring a anti-Obama Facebook post. It’s good that they apologized, as far as it goes, but that’s not far. Without explaining how it happened, their apology rings hollow. In particular, I’d like to hear what role the Obama campaign had in the censorship; they have a history of calling for their opponents to be censored.

More generally, however, this incident (and others like it) show the weakness of proprietary social networks for free speech. When you own the medium (say, on your own blog) you can say what you want. When someone else owns it, they can shut you down. Even if they have a policy of allowing free speech, they can renege on that policy at the very moment you’re most interested in speaking, such as just before an election.


By the way

November 2, 2012

Nakoula Nakoula, the filmmaker who was arrested for making a video critical of Mohammed that the Obama administration falsely blamed for the Benghazi attack, is still in jail. After over a month in fail, he finally gets his day in court, just after the election.

RELATED: Hillary Clinton told the father of Charles Woods (the heroic SEAL who was killed by terrorists in Benghazi when the Obama administration refused to lift a finger to help him) that she would see to it that the filmmaker (!) was punished.

(Previous post.)


The media’s cover-up

November 2, 2012

The Benghazi debacle is big news, with new information about the administration’s incompetence and/or indifference coming out almost every day. But the news media wants to talk about anything else, and it’s pretty obvious why.

Most telling is the Sunday morning talk shows, where only Fox News thought the latest revelations were worth discussing. On NBC’s Meet the Press, David Gregory even went so far as to cut off a guess who brought up Benghazi.

UPDATE: John Hinderaker compares New York Times’s treatment of Benghazi to its 2004 drumbeat on the Al Qaqaa, a non-story about an unsecure ammunition dump from which as much as 0.06% of Iraq’s munitions might have been looted. The Times immediately abandoned the story after the 2004 election, tacitly acknowledging its unimportance.

(Previous post.)


Who knew scholarship was so easy?

November 2, 2012

This is pretty funny.


Offensive

November 2, 2012

One of the remarkable things about Barack Obama is his ability to be offended by suggestions that he would do the things that he does:

The president said that he took offense “to some suggestion that, you know, in any way we haven’t tried to make sure the American people knew as information was coming in what we believed happened.”

He spent a month blaming a video for the Benghazi attack when he knew that wasn’t true, but he takes offense at the suggestion that he would do that.

(Previous post.)


The Benghazi debacle

November 2, 2012

We’ve learned a lot about the 9/11/2012 attack during the last week. When the attack began, CIA operators stationed in Benghazi wanted to go to the consulate’s aid. They were ordered, twice, to “stand down”, and leave the consulate’s personnel to face their attackers alone. They disobeyed, went to the consulate and rescued the surviving personnel that they could find. (Tragically, they were not able to located ambassador Chris Stevens.)

Then they fell back to the CIA annex, which thereafter fell under attack. During the firefight that ensued, they requested military support, but that was denied. The firefight did not end until seven hours after the consulate attack began, which means that there was more than enough time to send air support from Italy, just two hours away.

Indeed, one CIA operator was painting targets with a laser designator, suggesting that there were air assets present that were not given permission to fire, but this has not been confirmed. It’s also been suggested that they might have designated targets as a bluff, to buy time by inducing the attackers to move. If so, it might have worked, except that the military did nothing with the time the ruse bought.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, asked why the military sent no assistance, gave this astonishing answer:

[The] basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.

This is utter bullshit. We deploy military force without real-time intelligence all the time. It’s not called the fog of war for nothing! It’s preferable to have real-time intelligence, to be sure, but that’s a luxury one rarely has. We cannot shackle our military that way, and we never do — at least, we never used to.

If we take this idiotic policy seriously — and I truly hope that Panetta is simply lying — it says that we will never reinforce a position that comes under surprise attack. As long as the enemy can finish its attack before we can obtain real-time intelligence, they have nothing to fear from the US military!

Moreover, even if we really had such a stupid policy, Panetta’s defense still isn’t true. Military sources have reported that our drones over Benghazi were unarmed (uh, why?), but that confirms that there were drones overhead, so we did have some real-time intelligence.

Panetta’s effort at a post hoc justification aside, inside reports show an administration deeply ambivalent about responding to the attack:

CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).

“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.” . . .

Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds.

A third potential responder from a counter-terror force stationed in Europe says components of AFICOM — the military’s Africa Command based in Stuttgart, Germany — were working on course of action during the assault. But no plan was put to use.

President Obama, who has frequently boasted about how he, himself, all alone, without anyone else, individually took the brave, lonely responsibility of ordering the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. But now he curiously absents himself from the chain of command, saying “If we find out that there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, then they’ll be held responsible.” He has ordered an investigation. If it reveals who is in charge of our military, I suppose that will be useful.

Someone left our people in Benghazi to die, but whoever that person was, the blame belongs to the man at the top.

(Previous post.)


Genius

November 2, 2012

Barack Obama urges people in Hurricane Sandy’s path to get information from the internet, which is just great advice for those thousands of people without power.


The Waffle House Index

November 2, 2012

Mary Katharine Ham has a very interesting piece on natural disasters, the effectiveness of local aid, the ineffectiveness of FEMA, and the cluelessness of the New York Times. It’s well worth reading.