It got very little play in the press, but President Obama was recently snubbed again on the world stage when 15 Asian nations formed a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership without the United States. Obama had traveled to Phnom Penh in an effort to “sell a US-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China.” He failed.
Add this to a growing list of major failures by Barack Obama on the International Stage. He failed to bring the Olympics to Chicago. He failed to produce progress on the Israel-Palestine front (it’s actually getting worse). He’s failed to create any sort of consensus on what to do about Syria. He has failed to inhibit Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.
There is no doubt that U.S. influence is waning under Obama. Maybe that’s exactly what he wants.
Since we’re all taking a bit of a break post-election, this open thread may serve for a couple of days.
I’m watching two things very closely right now:
Stories on Voter Fraud
Particularly in Allen West’s district. This picture says it all:
Of course, the left would have us believe that the security of our elections is beyond reproach. Move along folks, nothing to see here…
The Petraeus / Benghazi Saga
This is the most interesting story in the news right now, and with good reason. The more information that comes out, the more I am convinced that there is much more to this story yet to be revealed.
Based on the currently available information, it appears that Petraeus may have been blackmailed into supporting the Obama administration’s claim that the Benghazi attack was the result of a YouTube video. At the very least, it’s clear that Petraeus had a reason to not piss off the administration in hopes that he might keep his job despite the affair.
It also appears that since Petraeus stepped up and resigned (at the request of the Obama administration), and did so without incident (so far), that Petraeus may have a larger reason not to make waves. One possibility is that the affair began while he was in the military, which would mean potential prosecution and demotion (which would mean a reduction in retirement pay, I’m sure).
It looks like Petraeus is going to testify to Congress behind closed doors after all. That should be interesting.
I’m also wondering how/why General Allen’s name suddenly started floating around in connection with this story. There’s no reason whatsoever that Allen’s name should have been released. That seems 100% intentional, which begs the question, why? Is Allen being smeared on purpose and, if so, by whom? Why are so many of the military’s top people dropping at the same time?
Is it possible that the Obama administration is intentionally smearing the military as a way to push through military spending cuts? Or some other, even more nefarious purpose?
What say you?
An electoral college computer model which has accurately predicted every Presidential election since 1980 is signaling a landslide victory for Romney in November, 320 to 218.
While media outlets generally call the race with a slight Obama victory, those analyses rely on current polling data and do not take into account how trends will break as the election nears. This model, on the other hand, examines more meaningful data like economic statistics from individual states. It suggests voters hold Democrats responsible for high unemployment, and Republicans responsible for low per-capita income. Democrats tend to lose the White House anytime unemployment is above 5.6%.
It’s worth noting that Dick Morris has been predicting a big Romney win for awhile now.
Of course it’s still too early to truly call this race and anything can happen between now and November. Still, the results of this prediction have to be concerning to the Obama re-election team.
On August 2nd the House released an investigative report on Solyndra, the failed solar energy company, which shows beyond a doubt the Obama administration abused taxpayer dollars for political gain.
Solyndra received a $535 million loan, straight from our pocket, as part of Obama’s “green jobs” strategy. Indeed, Solyndra was considered one of the jewels in Obama’s green recovery crown. When Obama visited the plant in 2010, he highlighted Solyndra as an example of the “right thing to do for the economy,” claiming the plant would employ at least 1,000 high paying jobs.
As is so often the case with lofty oratory, the reality never lived up to the rhetoric.
First, the Obama administration pressured federal reviewers to sign off on Solyndra despite misgivings about the viability of the company and of the government’s loan model. Emails released by the investigators show the Office of Management and Budget responding to White House requests by saying “We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews.” The loan was ultimately approved, clearly under political duress as an OMB staffer remarked “given the time pressure we are under to sign off on Solyndra, we don’t have time to change the model.”
Solyndra’s CEO at the time hailed the “Bank of Washington” for coming to their aid.
It quickly became clear that Solyndra was in peril as it began to miss payments on the loan. A government analysis warned that the company would run out of money in September of 2011 and recommended that the government simply cut its losses. Instead, the government chose to restructure the loan, ultimately wasting MORE of our tax dollars than if they had simply allowed Solyndra to fail.
The investigators released emails which clearly indicate the decision to restructure the loan – which inexplicably put taxpayers LAST to recoup losses – was made for political reasons. One government analyst remarked that a Solyndra failure “would likely be very embarrassing for DOE and the Administration.” Another commented that she was “vastly confused by DOE’s decision to negotiate away their senior position in this transaction.”
The final insult came when White House Chief of Staff Jack Yew, perhaps sensing that Solyndra was beyond saving, decided to wash his hands of any further involvement in the Solyndra restructuring. Let me say that again to be sure it sinks in:
Despite the administration’s self-proclaimed “quite active interest” in securing the loan for Solyndra, just months before it failed, the White House distanced itself from any further decision making.
No doubt so that when it finally failed, they could blame it on OMB / DOE / Bush (which is exactly what they tried to do).
Still undetermined is exactly what role Obama bundler Robert Kaiser played in securing Solyndra’s loan in the first place. Emails show Kaiser “advised associates” on how to secure federal assistance for Solyndra. As it turns out, Kaiser’s family also had a “substantial” financial stake in Solyndra. Coincidence?
This is an example of Chicago Politics at its finest. We have a choice in 2012. Are you voting for four more years of cronyism and abuse of our wallets? “Bank of Washington” my ass… it’s the Bank of We the People. I say we shut the damn doors. #ABO2012
Megan Fox is a great friend of Hillbuzz and an occasional contributor here. She is a “Tea-partyin’ Mamma Grizzly” and a bold and fearless voice. I thank her for that.
Now, we all have a chance to support Megan. Her favorite local talk station is running a “become the next talk star” contest, kind of like American Idol but for local talk radio. Megan made the top 10 finalists and now she needs our help to move on to the top 5!
Helping her out is easy. It took me less than two minutes.
First, go HERE and register an account.
Next, go HERE and scroll down (past the list of candidates) to below the big “VOTE NOW” and choose Megan Fox.
That’s it! Good luck Megan!
Here in the U.S. we have a long tradition of secret ballots, and we feel like our political preference is generally a private matter unless we choose to reveal it to those with whom we interact. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be more wrong about these assumptions.
I first discovered the ugly truth about our political privacy purely on accident while researching the history of campaign finance laws. I’ve always known that campaigns and political organizations are required to disclose their contributors. What I didn’t know is that the entirety of that disclosed information is public record and easily obtainable by anyone with access to the Internet.
Let me introduce you to one of the most potentially dangerous tools on the Internet: The Federal Election Commission’s financial disclosure database. Curious about the political affiliations of your neighbors? How about the businesses you frequent? Just punch in your zip code and prepare to be shocked. Anyone who has contributed $200 or more will be shown with their name, employer, and you can even click through to the filing form to see their home address.
The danger is not so much the fact that the information is collected, or even that it is made public. The danger is in the level of accessibility. Imagine a world where anyone could open up a “Political Contributors” app on their iPhone and, with GPS technology, call up a summary of contributions by party for each nearby address. Imagine if Yelp included a “political affiliation” tag for each business, or a tally of how many employees contributed to each party.
Federal law currently prohibits the use of disclosure records for commercial purposes or to solicit contributions, but the rules on use are kind of wishy-washy. I see a whole lot of loopholes. Plus, it is not clear to me exactly how the FEC would determine that anybody was breaking the law.
The implications are serious. Politically-motivated vandalism could become commonplace, especially as we trend towards greater political division. Local boycotts could become as easy as logging in to an app on your mobile phone. People could even stage protests at businesses who employ too many contributors to a particular party.
Some will say I’m just being paranoid. I concede the possibility. However, you may recall that theft and vandalism already occurs due to campaign signs. For every one person who displays a sign in their yard, there are probably 5 more who have contributed but don’t want their political ideology plastered on their front door. Imagine if it was in the palm of everyone’s hand.
The technology is much closer than many may realize. Just a few days ago, the Obama campaign released an app that shows you nearby Democrat households. Still think I’m paranoid?
As technology improves, the lines of political privacy will continue to blur. Combine this with a growing push for ever-greater disclosure requirements and we’re headed for a dangerous “brown shirt army” situation.
This is not a partisan topic. This should concern everyone. The technology is in its infancy — we can barely imagine the potential in years to come. Entrenched interests on both sides of the aisle will seek to use it to their own advantage, which will ultimately be detrimental to the privacy and freedoms of all of us.
I used to believe that campaign contribution disclosure was generally a good thing. After all, I like to know who guys like George Soros are supporting. Now I’m not so sure.
During my research, I found that one of this nation’s original campaign finance laws (the Tillman Act) was actually created by a notoriously racist Democrat with the purpose of browbeating anti-slavery Republican corporations. As I thought about it, I realized that our current disclosure laws are right on the cusp of allowing the same type of abuse Tillman envisioned. As technology advances, political privacy is going to continue to disappear, unless disclosure laws are repealed or reformed.
What say you?
With the Olympics on everyone’s television, what better way to highlight the true idiocy of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment than with a brand new meme.
Hey Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and all the other gold medalists… in the spirit of President Obama’s theory on human success… you didn’t win that! Somebody else made that happen! After all, you couldn’t possibly have been successful without the roads and bridges that allowed you to reach the pool and the gym! The focus, the training, the countless hours of dedication… that nice but it’s barely a footnote to the contribution of the government!
No rational person would agree with the paragraph above. And yet, millions of dutifully ignorant Obama supporters see nothing wrong with the application of the same theory towards business owners. It’s madness.
Not everyone can be an gold medalist. Can we agree that these exceptional men and women are indeed born with a natural affinity for their sport? Is it OK to acknowledge that nature does play a role in the creation of an Olympic athlete?
Not everyone can be a business owner either. It takes a certain kind of person to be successful in business, and it takes an awful lot of focus and dedication. Well beyond the level of “hard work” that most non-business-owners — including President Obama — assume is necessary.
The great thing about a truly FREE country is that we don’t all have to be superstar athletes or exceptionally wealthy business owners to be successful. But in that same vein, we should not castigate those folks simply because their success is different than ours, or because we feel inadequate by comparison, or “cheated” by the system. No, we should be celebrating the success of American entrepreneurial exceptionalism the same way we celebrate our phenomenal athletes.
Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has posted a new ad accusing Mitt Romney of launching a false attack. The ad plays a clip of Romney quoting Obama’s speech where he said “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The ad then shows text saying Obama never said that. A few seconds later, the ad even plays a clip of Obama saying those exact words.
This is phenomenal. Obama’s campaign is literally calling Romney a “liar” and a “say anything” candidate for quoting Obama’s own speech! The emperor is truly naked folks.
This is also just another example in a growing litany of evidence that whatever terrible thing the Progressive Left accuses the right of doing, they are already doing it themselves.
Click over to YouTube to watch the ad, and then give it a dislike just for fun.
Personally, I think this is a mistake on the part of the Obama campaign. Claiming your guy didn’t say something and then playing your guy saying that exact thing is pretty dumb. It will be interesting to see if the campaign pulls this ad. If they do, you can also catch Beck’s analysis (currently free). He doesn’t show the ad but he does play the audio and then plays Romney’s speech and Obama’s speech side by side.
This whole incident rekindles my theory that the main factor in choosing Biden for Vice President was to give the late night comedians a more obvious target to roast. Obama’s off-prompter gaffe record isn’t exactly stellar. All I know is that Romney better ride this horse as far as it will go because after this, I doubt Obama will go off prompter again through the rest of the campaign.
On the other hand, he seems to be so arrogant that maybe he will and just assume he can lie his way out of it like he’s trying to do here. What say you?
As Tam reported several days ago we’re continuing to experience intermittent server problems. I continue to work on it, tweaking things here and there.
I’ve just made an update to the server today which may address a lot of the issue. However, it might have an unintended side effect of causing general slowness, occasional “page is not available” type messages, etc. Please, if you notice any of these, report it here so I’m aware that it’s happening.
Hagiography. I was not familiar with the word until reading Rick Reilly’s commentary on ESPN where he shares his thoughts on JoePa’s role in the Penn State Sandusky scandal. In this context, “hagiography” is used to mean the anointment or idolization of JoePa — those who bought in to his legacy literally thought he could do no wrong.
Reilly points out that even as the Sandusky scandal was breaking, he and others thought JoePa couldn’t possibly have had knowledge. As he put it, JoePa was “too old and too addled to understand, too grandfatherly and Catholic to get that Sandusky was committing grisly crimes.” For all intents and purposes, they believed Joe Paterno was a saint.
Even now, after the Freeh report has laid bare the extent of the coverup and of Paterno’s depth of knowledge, the Internet is alive with JoePa defenders. I admit that I find myself not wanting to believe the evidence, and I’m not even a Penn State fan. Clearly, the lure of the legend is powerful.
As I read ESPN’s article I was struck by the thought that Obama enjoys similar hagiography as JoePa. Case in point: Chris “thrill up my leg” Matthews recently commented that Obama was basically “perfect.” This from the same guy who said his job was to make Obama a successful president, and once compared Obama to Jesus. The Internet overflows with other examples of the cult-like support of Obama.
I believe that once a person buys in to a legend, in some ways they feel like they become a part of that legend. And they perpetuate and even grow that legend – and their own perceived role within it – through their own retelling. When this happens, their dedication to the legend becomes more powerful than the legend itself.
When people by in to a legend, they become incapable of seeing the truth. Anything which could shatter the legend is willfully ignored. Not just because it would destroy the legend itself, but also because it would mean the person’s investment into said legend would have been false from the beginning.
JoePa, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama. All legends, all recipients of blind hagiography.
The media really should wake up. I firmly believe that our leaders — regardless of party — should be treated tough by the media. Fair, but tough. There is no room for idolatry in a free country.
As the unnamed professor from Reilly’s commentary said, “What you media are doing is dangerous.” Yes, it is dangerous. Idolization allows Obama to be a lazy president and a weaker leader, which damages us both domestically and throughout the world. Media, take a lesson from the blind beatification of JoePa and do your damn job.