Mickey Kaus – a friend whose political perceptions I usually find accurate, sometimes even original – has bought the media line about Mitt Romney being a stiff. On his Daily Caller blog he writes: “If I were conspiracy-minded, I might think the press (or at least The Hill) was trying to sucker Mitt Romney into attempting an Oprah/Bill Clinton ‘I-feel-your-pain’ moment at the town hall debate tonight. If Romney can do that non-artificially and effectively, I’ll be very surprised. Seems more likely to be awkward.”
Actually it’s Romney’s opponent who’s the awkward stiff when it comes to empathy because he’s inauthentic. Romney has spent more personal time actually doing good works for people in tough (read: cancer-ridden) circumstances than any politician I’ve ever heard of. The media declares him to be inauthentic, but if you watch him, he really isn’t.
Via the Vlad Tepes blog: This is how a defender of liberal democracy sounds. [Click for video]
The only known photograph of Winston Churchill and Barack Obama.
CBS News has learned that congressional investigators have issued a subpoena to a former top security official at the US mission in Libya. The official is Lt. Col. Andy Wood, a Utah National Guard Army Green Beret who headed up a Special Forces “Site Security Team” in Libya.
Lt. Col. Andy Wood led a 16-member Special Forces site security team responsible for protecting U.S. personnel in Libya. The subpoena compels Lt. Col. Wood to appear at a House Oversight Committee hearing next week that will examine security decisions leading up to the Sept. 11 Muslim extremist terror assault on the U.S. compound at Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues were killed in the attack.
Lt. Col. Wood has told CBS News and congressional investigators that his 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force called a Mobile Security Deployment team left Libya in August, just one month before the Benghazi assault. Wood says that’s despite the fact that US officials in Libya wanted security increased, not decreased.
Who could blame them? (more at the link)
A woman just tweeted in Spanish: Someone has won, but only a few know who it is. (It has been retweeted endlessly as the world waits.)
Voter turnout in Venezuelan election at 75%
Big exit poll predicts 3 point Capriles victory but other shows Chavez ahead – both on Twitter.
Danny Bolivar @DDbolivar
“@antonioborjas: I’m Venezuelan and I can’t not be calm #HayUnCamino #EleccionesVenezuela #Elecciones2012 http://pic.twitter.com/jhX9oxXk” me neither!
4m SALA DE INFORMACION @saladeinfo
“En el balcón del pueblo en Miraflores, no tienen ningún preparativo para celebrar como en otras elecciones” http://bit.ly/TiNRVr
(TRANS: “The palace of Miraflores isn’t prepared for celebrations like other elections”)
An estimated three million people attended this Carnival Parade in Dusseldorf. Hint: “Der Erloser” translates as “The savior”.
h/t: Jeffrey Weiner
IKEA is now apologizing for its descent into dhimmitude and cooperation with Saudi Arabian authorities and Sharia values by removing all images of women from their catalogue. You know those racy IKEA catalogues with all the hot chicks putting together complicated Swedish furniture while toddlers look on. Maybe they mixed it up with the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
Anyway, given the history of IKEA’s founder, this is no surprise. Nevertheless, that history notwithstanding, there are nowplenty of IKEA stores in Israel, one opening in Haifa not far from where Intel and, soon, Apple will have their headquarters – definitely an area where the locals will understand how to put the furniture together.
Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for Ahmadinejad, gets attacked by refugee Iranians on streets of New York.
h/t Banafsheh Zand
As has been predicted for some time, Iran is finally closing the door and throwing away the key to the World Wide Web. From Reuters today:
Iran plans to switch its citizens onto a domestic Internet network in what officials say is a bid to improve cyber security but which many Iranians fear is the latest way to control their access to the web.
The announcement, made by a government deputy minister on Sunday, came as state television announced Google Inc’s search engine and its email service would be blocked “within a few hours”.
“Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice,” an official identified only by his last name, Khoramabadi, said, without giving further details.
The Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) said Google ban was connected to the anti-Islamic film posted on the company’s YouTube site which has caused outrage throughout the Muslim world. There was no official confirmation.
Iran has one of the biggest Internet filters of any country in the world, preventing normal Iranians from accessing countless sites on the official grounds they are offensive or criminal.
But many Iranians believe the block on sites such as Facebook and YouTube is due to their use in anti-government protests after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad in 2009.
Sites expressing views considered anti-government are also routinely blocked.
Iranians commonly overcome the government filter by using virtual private network (VPN) software that makes the computer appear as if it is based in another country.
But officials have long spoken of creating an Iranian Internet system which would be largely isolated from the World Wide Web.
“In recent days, all governmental agencies and offices … have been connected to the national information network,” deputy communications and technology minister Ali Hakim-Javadi was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
The second phase of the plan would be to connect ordinary Iranians to the national network, he said.
According to Iranian media, the domestic system would be fully implemented by March 2013 but it was not clear whether access to the global Internet would be cut once the Iranian system is rolled out.
Even using VPNs, many Iranians suffered serious problems accessing email and social networking sites in February, ahead of parliamentary elections.
Now if someone would only highjack Ahmadinejad’s plane on the way home.
From the Telegraph:
The new push for a European Union federation, complete with its own head of state and army, is the “final phase” of the destruction of democracy and the nation state, the president of the Czech Republic has warned.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Václav Klaus warns that “two-faced” politicians, including the Conservatives, have opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy, in a flight from accountability and responsibility to their voters.
“We need to think about how to restore our statehood and our sovereignty. That is impossible in a federation. The EU should move in an opposite direction,” he said.
Last week, Germany, France and nine other of Europe’s largest countries called for an end to national vetoes over defence policy as Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, urged the creation of a directly elected EU president “who personally appoints the members of his European government”.
Mr Westerwelle, in a reference to British opposition, called for nation states to be stripped of vetoes on defence to “prevent one single member state from being able to obstruct initiatives” which “could eventually involve a European army”.
In a startling and revelatory initiative at the United Nations, Deputy Israeli FM Danny Ayalon (interviewed by PJTV in 2011 here) has asked for the restitution of Jewish land confiscated by Arabs. It is five times the state of Israel.
Israel has launched a new and controversial diplomatic initiative aimed at placing the plight of Jews in Arab countries on an equal footing with that of Palestinian refugees, insisting that the resolution of both problems is a prerequisite to Middle East peace.
Speaking at special conference convened on Friday at UN headquarters in New York, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said “We will not arrive at peace without solving the refugee problem – but that includes the Jewish refugees. Justice does not lie on just one side and equal measures must be applied to both.”
The first-of-its-kind conference, which was convened over the objections of Arab representatives to the UN, attracted several hundred participants, including Israeli diplomats, senior Jewish organizational leaders, New York State and city politicians and a modest number of other countries’ ambassadors to the UN (8) as well as lower ranking representatives (17). The conference heard Israeli and Jewish officials – as well as eyewitness accounts by Jews whose families had been persecuted and expelled from Arab countries.
Delivering an impassioned speech, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor lambasted Arab leaders who “launched a war of terror, incitement, and expulsion to decimate and destroy their Jewish communities. Their effort was systematic. It was deliberate. It was planned.”
Prosor cited Arab statements inciting to violence as well as official decrees depriving them of their rights. He said that “billions of dollars of their property and assets were seized” and that “the total area of land confiscated from Jews in Arab countries amounts to nearly 40,000 square miles. That is five times the size of Israel.”
Ha’aretz has the rest – and it’s interesting. So far, no response from our State Department. But you knew that.
Well, not really.
But according to a new poll 7% of the Florida Jewish vote has deserted Obama compared to 2008. That doesn’t seem like a lot but remember The Pajama Game: “Seven and a half cents doesn’t mean a helluva lot/ Seven and a half cents doesn’t mean a thing/ But give it to me every hour…”
Or as the poll puts it: A 7% drop in the Jewish vote likely represents over 50,000 votes in a state that the Republicans won in 2000 by fewer than 600 votes.
Hmmm… if you think that’s worth contemplating, how about this? In twenty years or so, the Jewish vote will likely be conservative. Orthodox Jews vote conservative. They’re multiplying. Secular Jews aren’t.
“We’re all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
Mahmoud Salem — aka Sandmonkey — is the well-known and highly-respected Egyptian blogger who was one of the original democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square back when people, including me, wanted to believe in the “Arab Spring.” How naive we were.
I was able to catch up with Mahmoud this evening via Skype to his cell phone in a Cairo suburb for this audio interview. Not surprisingly, the Sandmonkey does not sound optimistic, but, as you will hear, he has not lost his sense of humor, even while calling for heads to roll among “Arabists” at certain Washington think tanks.
(13 minutes long; 12MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this podcast to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 6 MB lo-fi edition. For those whose browsers are incompatible with our streaming audio player, a YouTube version of my interview will be online later this evening. Watch this space for a link.)
Update: Audio-only YouTube clip of interview now online:
As the late Andrew Breitbart demonstrated so well with his untaken offer of one hundred thousand dollars for anyone with proof of Tea Party racism, racism on the right is a monumental canard. But what of the left?
Do Hillary and Obama treat Arabs in a racist manner by infantilizing them? If not, why these constant apologies for an inconsequential video of uncertain provenance when the result is endless murder, violence and mayhem? Why not a direct and grownup condemnation of murder, violence and mayhem?
The truth is this demonstrates how racist Hillary and Barack are in their attitudes toward Arabs. They show them no respect at all. If they did, they would treat them as they should (and unfortunately not always do) grownups in other cultures.
Wasn’t it Ayaan Hirsi Ali who reminded us that as long as you keep treating Muslims like children they will continue to behave like them?
They say everything starts in California and it appears to be that way too when it comes to the omission of Israel in Democratic Party platforms – an “oversight” that, it will be recalled, caused so much consternation during the Charlotte convention.
According to information made known to PJ Media, the California Democratic Party dropped support for Israel altogether from its platform in 2010. Neither did the country appear in 2012.
Here is the California platform for 2004 (bold mine):
“Peace in the Middle East. Champion human rights and democracy for all people as the pillars of our policy in the Middle East. Maintain our commitment to ensuring the security and well being of the State of Israel and to maintaining America’s special relationship with Israel. Support the Palestinian goals of peace, justice, security and a viable independent state, which includes aid for economic development. Promote efforts to root out terrorism without endangering civilians. Encourage direct negotiations for peace that build on the “Road Map” asproposed by the “Quartet” (United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations).”
The California Democratic Party platform for 2012 says simply: “Proactively seek a durable peace treaty in the Middle East.” No mention of Israel or supporting her security.
PJ Media has further heard that longtime former Congresswoman Jane Harman has been under verbal attack by “progressives” at California Democratic Party meetings for her pro-Israel views.
Filmmaker Gwilym McGrew will be on PJTV later this week to discuss these developments.
An article by two psych professors in the WSJ today suggests what most of us who fly frequently already know about our electronic gadgets supposedly threatening plane flights – they don’t.
WAS ALEC BALDWIN RIGHT? When the actor tussled with American Airlines personnel last December over his desire to continue playing a game on his phone during takeoff, he was evicted from the flight. Defying airline safety rules is not a good idea, but was Baldwin perhaps correct not to take the danger seriously?
On Aug. 31, the Federal Aviation Administration requested public comment on its longstanding policy of prohibiting the use of personal electronics during takeoffs and landings. The restrictions date back to 1991 and were motivated in part by anecdotal reports from pilots and flight crews that electronic devices affected an airliner’s navigation equipment or disrupted communication between the cockpit and the ground. Over the years, however, Boeing has been unable to duplicate these problems, and the FAA can only say that the devices’ radio signals “may” interfere with flight operations.
To gather some empirical evidence on this question, we recently conducted an online survey of 492 American adults who have flown in the past year. In this sample, 40% said they did not turn their phones off completely during takeoff and landing on their most recent flight; more than 7% left their phones on, with the Wi-Fi and cellular communications functions active. And 2% pulled a full Baldwin, actively using their phones when they weren’t supposed to.
Consider what these numbers imply. The odds that all 78 of the passengers who travel on an average-size U.S. domestic flight have properly turned off their phones are infinitesimal: less than one in 100 quadrillion, by our rough calculation. If personal electronics are really as dangerous as the FAA rules suggest, navigation and communication would be disrupted every day on domestic flights. But we don’t see that.
Okay, so what do we do if the mega-nannies at the FAA don’t finally do what they should have years ago and cancel this regulation? Civil disobedience? Imagine if every passenger on a plane refused to turn their iPhone off. The stewardesses… excuse me, cabin attendants… would go batty. Good movie scene for Jack Nicholson, no? Hey, maybe I’ll write it.
But this absurd rule does have a weird upside. It’s the only time these days that I ever read a newspaper in dead tree form. I buy one (almost always a WSJ, the only domestic paper even faintly worth the price) before I get on the plane to have something to read for those twenty minutes before I can use my iPad. If they void this rule, I’ll never read a printed newspaper again. Ah, well, maybe that’s not so bad. One less trip to the airplane lavatory necessary to wash the ink off my hands.
And here, for nostalgia sake, the Neil Sedaka version:
h/t Bob Gale
Probably not. But that’s as good an explanation as any of her exploiting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren with an outright lie, claiming Oren said Republican policies toward Israel were “dangerous.” Oren – one of the smartest guys around – would never say anything like that and issued an unequivocal denial. The execrable Wasserman-Schultz then doubled down on her lie and said she had been misquoted. She hadn’t, as an audio tape from Phillip Klein at the Examiner shows. Klein broke this sorry story. Read about it here. Wasserman-Schultz continues to be one of the most wretched figures in American politics. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party dropped reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from its platform. And the beat goes on.
E. B. White and James Thurber must be turning over in their graves at the rancid journalism currently being practiced at the once-mighty New Yorker. Take a look at this from Ryan Lizza:
Tim Russert told me that, according to his sources, Bill Clinton, in an effort to secure an endorsement for Hillary from Ted Kennedy, said to Kennedy, “A few years ago, this guy would have been carrying our bags.”
Whoa. I have no brief for Bill Clinton, whom I consider a liar and a coward (although certainly a better president than Barack Obama), but the levels of hearsay involved in this accusation, redolent of racism, boggle the mind. First of all, as we all know, Russert’s dead. Secondly his sources (who knows how many) are unspecified and for obvious reasons likely to remain so. Why publish it now?
This is journalism so yellow it’s coming down Rizza’s leg. The only explanation I can think of is that The New Yorker is so deeply in the tank for Obama they will do just about anything to tarnish Clinton in case he does something untoward in his upcoming convention speech. If I were Bill, I’d be furious at this. Clinton may be a lot of things, but he’s not a racist.
My first sighting of protesters at the convention this year; I videoed these protesters about five miles from the convention.
[flashvideo file=http://pjmedia.com/tatler/files/2012/08/roger-and-ice-sculpture-edited-8-26-12.flv image=http://pjmedia.com/tatler/files/2012/08/roger-and-ice-sculpture-title-card-8-26-12.jpg /]
The young lady in the video above describes an ice sculpture at the Republican Convention in balmy Tampa on Sunday, containing the words “Middle Class,” to “call attention to the economic situation,” she says. She tells me its artists will be doing the same installation next week at the Democratic Convention as well.
[flashvideo file=http://pjmedia.com/tatler/files/2012/08/roger_at_google_center_gop_convention_8-26-12.flv image=http://pjmedia.com/tatler/files/2012/08/roger_at_google_center_republican_convention_title_card_8-26-12-1.jpg /]
It’s Google’s World, we just live in it.
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Bryan Preston and I are on the scene in Tampa. Bryan demonstrates the daily security passes — but it sounds like he won’t be needing Monday’s pass.
Don’t let the bland title deter you from reading the brilliant and necessary article on Slate “A New Slur” by Ron Rosenbaum. The author’s subject is the increasingly ubiquitous accusation of “Holocaust obsession” used against those who persist in seeing significance in this greatest of all human atrocities. Writes Rosenbaum:
It’s the word “obsessed” that seems problematic to me. It implies a bright line between legitimate interest and something else, something over-intense, feverish, and counterproductive. But where is that line? How much time should we spend worrying about the threat of future Holocausts and genocides, not just those involving Jews.
I’m not just harkening back to the early days of blogging when I urge you to read the whole thing.
The “ever-reliable” Gawker is catering/pandering (your pick) to its semi-demi trendy clientele by jumping into the political fray again with a pseudo-exposé of the Romney/Cayman Islands connection. Liberal Slate is unimpressed: Gawker Publishes Trove of Bain Docs, Financial Reporters Yawn.
Apparently the gossip site was a tad late- to-market with their “breakthrough”. Making matters worse, it turns out that the Gawker Media Group itself is domiciled… you guessed it… in The Caymans! From felixsalmon.com:
Gawker Media has been going through a big corporate revamp over the past year or so. The ultimate parent company has never been in the U.S.: it used to be Blogwire in Hungary, but now Blogwire Hungary has become a subsidiary of a Cayman Islands entity called Gawker Media Group Inc, which also owns various U.S. operations like Gawker Media LLC, Gawker Entertainment LLC, Gawker Technology LLC, and Gawker Sales LLC
Personally, I have nothing against The Caymans. I wouldn’t mind being “domiciled” there myself. But maybe the jeune engagé over at “progressive” Gawker should check the hypocrisy meter before they throw their puerile stones. Otherwise, stick to their beat. We’re all desperate to know which super model has a meth problem.
Outdoing themselves in the misogyny department (well, maybe not – they have a long way to go), the religious psychopaths who run the Islamic Republic of Iran have now banned women from many university courses, inluding English lit and computer science. From the Telegraph:
In a move that has prompted a demand for a UN investigation by Iran’s most celebrated human rights campaigner, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, 36 universities have announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be “single gender” and effectively exclusive to men.
It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country’s religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam.
Senior clerics in Iran’s theocratic regime have become concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women, including declining birth and marriage rates.
Marry a mullah? Wow, there’s a treat. Of course women are outperforming men in US colleges and universities as well, but we don’t have a religion that demands their oppression. Until Islam is reformed, the muslim world will continue its death spiral. Let’s hope it doesn’t take us with it.
Are they going to start deserting Obama the way they are Bashar Assad? Probably not. Assad is a murderer. Obama has just been an atrocious president.
Nevertheless, Niall Ferguson’s attack on Obama for Newsweek, of all places, and The Daily Beast could be the tip of a coming iceberg, even though Ferguson is a former McCain supporter. His analysis of the Obama presidency is so thorough and devastating it cannot be completely ignored by the mainstream media, no matter how much they may wish to.
If I were in the Romney campaign, I would reread the article several times and commit it to memory. The candidate himself should do that too.
What can I say? Talking taxes with Larry Kudlow and David Limbaugh, I felt like the village idiot. I’m about as expert in taxes as I am in astrophysics. On the other hand, I DO pay them, so I have to know something. Regarding astrophysics, I’m still waiting for someone to explain the Higgs boson.
No further comment necessary.
(The rest is up to NBC.)
In a speech today, daffy Vice President Joe Biden wants the US to “lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles”. Earth to Joe: We did, at least for a time until the pesky Japanese got in the way. Of course, that WAS the 20th Century. We are now in the 21st!
Alas, as previously noted, Joe has never been the brightest bulb on the block. But give the guy a break. Perhaps he was channeling his Inner Doris Day. She’s definitely 20th Century.
Or is he just a “Twentieth Century Fox”?
Several key Democratic Party professionals have told PJ Media that Vice President Joseph Biden has become intensely jealous of attention being paid presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Thousands have turned up for Ryan’s speeches while only 600 appeared for Biden’s latest address.
“He’d be tearing his hair out, if he didn’t have to be so careful of the follicles,” said one Democratic professional, speaking under condition of anonymity similar to that given GOP professionals who spoke earlier about Ryan in a Politico article by Alexander Burns, Maggie Haberman, and Jonathan Martin. Biden is known for having had hair transplants while Ryan has a full head of his own.
“They’re sending Joe to secret anger management training. He’s been going berserk because he’s worried people think Ryan is more intelligent than he is,” said another Democrat, again speaking under anonymity and reminding PJ Media of Biden’s unimpressive college record where he ranked 506th of in a class of 688. The vice president has acknowledged plagiarizing while in law school, though he says it was “inadvertent.”
Consideration was being given, the Democrat added, to Biden’s having a “family emergency” in Argentina at the time of his scheduled debate with Ryan.
A third Democrat operative said party professionals were “extremely relieved” by the anonymously sourced Politico article alleging GOP pros thought Ryan a risky nominee. “That’s our best hope,” said the first Dem pro. “If Biden actually had to confront Ryan on substance, it could be a disaster. The vice president’s a bit of dim bulb, as everyone knows.”
As for Politico itself, that Democratic pro continued, “Some people think they’re sleazy because they rely so much on anonymous sources and innuendo, but they’re highly reliable for us when the chips are down. “