Monday, October 29, 2012
As you can see, in 6 out of 9 races, the Gallup estimate is higher than the actual vote percentage that the incumbent receives. In the three races where the incumbent outperformed, the incumbent was a Republican (Reagan, Bush I and Bush II) which could speak to bias in polling results as it is viewed as "uncool" to say you are a Republican. Anyway, on average, Gallup overestimates the incumbent percentage by 1% and a whopping 2.8% for incumbent Democrats. As Obama is polling at 46% in the latest Gallup tracking poll and at 46.8% in the RCP average, he seems to be in deep trouble. He doesn't even poll at 50% in a single poll and in only 3 out of 10 is he even over 47%. My guess is hat on election day, Romney wins big with 52-53% of the popular vote.
What about the electoral vote? First, I highly doubt that if someone gets 52-53% of the vote that he doesn't win the electoral unless he gets something like 100% in California and New York, which Romney clearly won't get. Second, Obama isn't exactly polling over 50% in the battleground states either:
As you can see, Romney seems to have a decent shot of winning NC, FL, VA, CO, OH, NH and even Michigan and then a relatively good shot of also taking IA, WI and PA. If he just takes the states where Obama is polling less than 49%, he is at 295 electoral votes with a map like this:
And if Romney gets all the states where Obama is polling at under 50%, he is at 331 electoral votes with a map that looks like this:
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Soon after he took office, President Barack Obama began a process ultimately designed to reestablish full US diplomatic relations with Iran, including a reopening of embassies, an Israeli daily reported Sunday. The initiative, part of a wider shift in America’s diplomatic orientation, aimed at reaching understandings with Tehran over suspending its nuclear program, Maariv claimed, citing “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”
The initiative led to at least two US-Iran meetings, the report said. Israel was made aware of the contacts, and opposed them.But Iran rebuffed the “diplomatic hand” offered by the White House, Maariv reported. The Islamist regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the US, and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans,” according to an anonymous Israeli source quoted by the paper.The information — the lead item on Maariv’s front page, headlined “Obama offered to renew relations with Iran” — comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that the US and Iran held back channel contacts toward establishing direct talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
As you can see, historically the two lines are generally pretty close. Sometimes we are above capacity (at which time we have inflationary pressures) and sometimes we are below, but generally there is a reversion to the mean. Since Obama took office, however, the lines have essentially become very separated and parallel, which is an unprecedented occurrence.
Now, let's take a look at it another way, in percentage terms:
Usually the economy operates within 2.5 percentage points of potential GDP on both sides and importantly only had one period prior to this recession where real GDP was >5% less than potential, the 1982 recession where we were at a >5% gap for a full 6 quarters. Based on this data we have had 16 full quarters of a >5% gap during the last four years (i.e. every single quarter for the last 4 years) and absolutely no sign that we are going to suddenly stop being in the horrible place we are at anytime soon.
Obama is seriously the worst President in recent memory.
Repeated Requests for Help From Benghazi Were Turned Down by the Obama Administration While Americans were Under Fire
Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a small team who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When they heard the shots fired, they radioed to inform their higher-ups to tell them what they were hearing. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. An hour later, they called again to headquarters and were again told to "stand down."
Woods, Doherty and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The quick reaction force from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the Consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they too were told to stand down. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Specter gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.
According to sources on the ground, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.
"There's a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here," Panetta said Thursday. "But the basic principle here ... is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on."
Fox News has learned that there were two military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the Consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to US officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers.
Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the Consulate began -- a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.
A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the US, finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m. An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the Consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources. The American special operators, Woods, Doherty and at least two others were part of the Global Response Staff, a CIA element, based at the CIA annex and were protecting CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms in Benghazi that had proliferated in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi's fall. Part of their mission was to find the more than 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft. According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Father of Slain Seal: Obama is Insincere and Shaking Hands with Him Was Like Shaking Hands With a Dead Fish
“When [Obama] came over to our little area” at Andrew Air Force Base, says Woods, “he kind of just mumbled, you know, ‘I’m sorry.’ His face was looking at me, but his eyes were looking over my shoulder like he could not look me in the eye. And it was not a sincere, ‘I’m really sorry, you know, that you’re son died,’ but it was totally insincere, more of whining type, ‘I’m sorry.’”Woods says that shaking President Obama’s hands at his son’s memorial service was “like shaking hands with a dead fish.”...“Well, this is what Hillary did,” Woods continues. “She came over and, you know, did the same thing—separately came over and talked with me. I gave her a hug, shook her hand. And she did not appear to be one bit sincere—at all. And you know, she mentioned that the thing about, we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video. That was the first time I had even heard about anything like that.”...
"When I heard, you know, that there's a very good chance that the White House as well as other members of the military knew what was going on and obviously someone had to say, don't go rescue them. Because every person in the military--their first response [would be], we're going to go rescue them. We need to find out who it was that gave that command--do not rescue them."
American liberalism today is in an advanced stage of intellectual decline. Cynical and short sighted interests wrap themselves in the increasingly tattered mantles of sacred ideas. Liberals are right to feel that social justice matters, that the poor should have greater opportunity and that government in a democratic society cannot remain indifferent to the existence of great social evils.
But where liberals in America have the freest hand—in states like New York, California and Illinois—we see incontrovertible evidence that the policies they choose don't have the consequences they predict. California by now should surely be an educational, environmental and social utopia. New York should be a wonder of glorious liberal governance. Illinois should be known far and wide as the state that works.
What's interesting about the governance failures of these states is how comprehensive they are. Other than politicians, union officials and Wall Street investment banks, nobody really benefits from the choices Illinois has made. As the Volker-Ravitch report tells us, even the public sector unions, the architects of many of the state's most destructive policies, are going to get shafted as a result of the bad policies they've supported. They've created a state that simply won't be able to honor its promises to the workers the unions represent.
The French say that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. But it is also true to say that behind every great failure lies a great blunder. Late 20th century American liberalism is wrong about the way the world works. It doesn't understand cause and effect very well. It cannot feed itself. Given full power it cannot design and implement policies that advance the causes it honors. Modern American liberalism can only win Pyrrhic victories, because liberals in power take steps that advance their decline....
In the meantime, it is more than troubling that President Obama seems so unwilling to reflect on the rich experience of liberal failure in his home state. A term or two as governor of Illinois, wrestling with the consequences of liberal decadence for the constituencies he cares most about, might have prepared him for a genuinely historic role. As it is, he is running for re-election as the torchbearer-in-chief of an ideology that has long passed its prime.
Doubts about his opponents (and many of these are well justified) and the lingering nostalgia many Americans still feel for the values and institutions of the liberal past may yet enable the President to squeak out a win next month and if so, I will join his supporters in wishing him well and in prayer that God will give him the wisdom and the strength to lead the country for another four years. But at a time when the overwhelming policy failures of modern American liberalism are undermining the basic viability of three of our greatest states, it is to say the least disappointing that the President wants to nail the national colors to the mast of a sinking ship—and that he has so little to say about the comprehensive failure of the political allies among whom he launched his career.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We've got to strengthen our military long-term. We don't know what the world is going to throw at us down the road. We — we make decisions today in the military that — that will confront challenges we can't imagine. In the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism, for instance. And a year later, 9/11 happened. So, we have to make decisions based upon uncertainty, and that means a strong military. I will not cut our military budget.
That sounds a lot more responsible than simply making snide and juvenile comments doesn't it?
And what is up with the looks that Obama gives Romney? You would have thought that by the third debate he would have found a pleasant face to make while his opponent is talking. Instead it was this intense glaring like he was trying to make Romney burst into flames through the power of his thoughts. That or he did too much PCP. As others have said, it was Romney who looked like the incumbent President while Obama looked like the desperate challenger. I just can't imagine any undecideds going for Obama after that performance. He was unable to paint Romney as a warmonger and was unable to present some vision of the future. For Romney, on the other hand, if any voters were undecided about him strictly because they were worried that he would bring back cowboy diplomacy, their fears would have been allayed last night and they would go for Romney going forward. Romney was also able to negate all those Obama funded negative ads as they just don't match what people see with their own eyes.
Monday, October 22, 2012
On October 3, the RCP average was 46% for Romney and 49.1% for Obama, giving Obama a 3.1% advantage. It's interesting to note that on September 29th, Obama actually had his biggest lead in this average, a lead of 4.3% at which point the polls began to tighten all by themselves. Anyway, after Romney's drubbing of Obama in the greatest debate rout in recent memory, Romney was able to gain the lead by the eve of the VP debate on October 11th. On that day, Romney's RCP average was 47.1% while Obama's was 46.4%, giving Romney a lead of 0.7% with a change of 3.8% from the first poll. While part of the move was undecided voters moving to Romney, most of the move, about 70%, were from people who had been at least leaning towards Obama going into the undecided column.
On October 11, Biden was able to dominate Ryan by constantly interrupting, laughing and smirking during the debate. Ryan simply couldn't get any momentum in his arguments allowing Biden to win on points, though the insta-polls were mixed. By the time of the October 16th debate, Romney actually continued to gain steam, with an RCP average of 47.4%, while Obama regained some of his pissed off fans, climbing back up to 47%. Ryan had clearly not done anything to cause people to view Romney negatively during the debate as the Republican ticket maintained some momentum. Biden on the other hand, was able to stop the bleeding and show there was some fight left in the incumbents. In the end, Romney/Ryan gained 0.3% after the VP debate, while Obama/Biden gained 0.6%, effectively giving them a small but necessary victory.
On October 16, Obama was clearly able to best Romney on points in what I thought was an overly contentious debate. However, there really was no bounce for Obama and if anything, he lost ground a smidge in the post-debate. As of my writing this, Romney is at 47.7% while Obama is at 46.9%, down 0.1% following a debate he supposedly won, while Romney has gained 0.3%. I guess people don't mind it when VP's take their usual role of attack dog but they don't like it when their President looks petty and un-Presidential, as Obama clearly did last week.
So what about tonight? My guess is that Obama tries to tone down his arguments a little bit as he obviously came across as too angry and aggressive. The Democratic strategy of trying to win debates through rudely interrupting their opponents has helped solidify the base but has done nothing to actually help them get the lead. On the eve of the VP debate, Romney had a 0.7 point advantage and now, after two Democratic "victories", he has a 0.8 point lead. Conversely, I think Romney just needs to sound competent and reasonable in order to blunt any polling advantage that Obama could gain from a victory. And I think he should focus on what was done and not done instead of what was said or not said. That way there will be no "check the transcript, Candy" moments. I think talking about how Americans were in a firefight in Benghazi for 7 hours with no support from our military, would be an effective attack on Obama's policy. It's not like he could argue that he didn't know (how could he not know about a real time attack on a US consulate) or that the attack is untrue (as its obvious we did nothing). Hopefully someone clipped Bing West's piece on the issue from today:
On September 11, at about 10 p.m. Libyan time (4 p.m. in Washington), Ambassador Chris Stevens and a small staff were inside our consulate in Benghazi when terrorists attacked. The consulate staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and numerous military headquarters monitored the entire battle in real time via the phone calls from Benghazi and video from a drone overhead.
Our diplomats fought for seven hours without any aid from outside the country. Four Americans died while the Obama national-security team and our military passively watched and listened. The administration is being criticized for ignoring security needs before the attack and for falsely attributing the assault to a mob. But the most severe failure has gone unnoticed: namely, a failure to aid the living.
By 4:30 p.m. Washington time, the main consulate building was on fire and Ambassador Stevens was missing. In response, the embassy in Tripoli launched an aircraft carrying 22 men. Benghazi was 400 miles away.
At 5 p.m., President Obama met with Vice President Biden and Secretary of Defense Panetta in the Oval Office. The U.S. military base in Sigonella, Sicily, was 480 miles away from Benghazi. Stationed at Sigonella were Special Operations Forces, transport aircraft, and attack aircraft — a much more formidable force than 22 men from the embassy.
In the past, presidents had taken immediate actions to protect Americans. In 1984, President Reagan had ordered U.S. pilots to force an airliner carrying terrorists to land at Sigonella. Reagan had acted inside a 90-minute window while the aircraft with the terrorists was in the air. The Obama national-security team had several hours in which to move forces from Sigonella to Benghazi.
Fighter jets could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours. If the attackers were a mob, as intelligence reported, then an F18 in afterburner, roaring like a lion, would unnerve them. This procedure was applied often in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Conversely, if the attackers were terrorists, then the U.S. commandos would eliminate them. But no forces were dispatched from Sigonella....
It is bewildering that no U.S. aircraft ever came to the aid of the defenders. If even one F18 had been on station, it would have detected the location of hostiles firing at night and deterred and attacked the mortar sites. For our top leadership, with all the technological and military tools at their disposal, to have done nothing for seven hours was a joint civilian and military failure of initiative and nerve.
Romney currently has better ratings than Obama on who would handle the economy better, if he is able to land some well placed hits on Obama's handling of foreign policy as well, Romney could lead in that area too and this election might not be close for long.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
Mitt Romney won the first debate clearly and decisively, we know that. But even more he won the days and weeks after the debate, when public opinion congeals in certain directions. It was in the postdebate that people, very much including Democrats, let out for the first time their dismay at Barack Obama and their dislike of the personality he presented.
The vice presidential debate seemed more or less a draw, with Joe Biden maybe having an edge. But it was in the postdebate, in the days afterward, that Mr. Biden seemed to slip, because the national conversation didn't move off his antics—the chuckles, the grimaces, the theatrical strangeness of it all. A draw, or a victory, began to seem like a loss.
Mr. Obama won the second debate Tuesday night with a vigorous, pointed performance. He showed up, fought, landed some blows. It was close and he was joyless, a bit of a toothache, but he emerged in marginally better shape than he entered. But he doesn't seem to be winning the postdebate. No one is talking about his excellence or his stunningly good performance—no one is talking about that. Instead the national conversation has been about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Did the president tell the truth at the time? Was he telling it now? Did Mr. Romney fail to unmask his dishonesty? People are asking what is the truth of the economy, as opposed to the factoids deployed. Have drilling permits on federal lands been cut or not? These issues are not good for the president, and they'll be the subject of discussion up until the next debate.
In the postdebate, the president's win is starting to look like a draw.
At some point after the Hofstra debate, we are going to find out whether a certain part of the old school American political style is now officially gone, or whether Mr. Obama, in ignoring it, paid a certain price. This is how the president started out: "Gov. Romney's says he's got a five-point plan? Gov. Romney doesn't have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That's been his philosophy in the private sector, that's been his philosophy as governor, that's been his philosophy as a presidential candidate." Mr. Romney, the president said, likes a world in which "you can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. You can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, and you still make money."
This was the president of the United States standing with the other major party's presidential candidate and saying things that were harsh and personal—you're selfish and greedy, you care for nothing but yourself, you have no sense of responsibility to others. Later Mr. Obama called Mr. Romney "a good man" who "loves his family," but it sounded pro forma and hollow because it was. He does not think Mr. Romney is a good man: He'd started the evening telling us at some length that he was a bad one.
What the president said at the debate was nothing he hadn't said on the trail. His campaign has been personal, accusatory and manipulative. But there in the room on a tiny stage, for a sitting president to come out with that kind of put-down—I couldn't imagine a JFK doing it, with his cool, or a Jerry Ford with his Midwestern decency, or a Reagan, or the Bushes. When you are president, you don't stand next to an opponent and accuse and attack. You keep a certain almost aesthetic distance. You know the height of the office you hold. You let the debate come to you, and if at some point you get an opening to uncork a joke or a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger criticism, you move.
The president was trying to look strong and commanding, to take control. Did he look strong, or did he look like a hack, like a tough Chicago pol who isn't quite big enough to be where he is?
Romney: The President's Remarks Tonights Are Brought to You by the Letter "O" and the Number 16 Trillion
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Obama Threatened to Veto the Defense Appropriations Bill if Purple Hearts Were Awarded to Fort Hood Victims
November 5, the day before the US Presidential elections will be the third anniversary of the massacre of 13 US soldiers at Ft. Hood by Islamic terrorist, US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.The Obama administration has refused to acknowledged that the attack was a terrorist attack. The Defense Department has insisted on covering up the nature of the attack. The reports it released following the attack failed to mention Hasan's Islamic motivations. Still today the Defense Department insists on defining the massacre as a case of "workplace violence."To advance this fiction, the Defense Department has refused to award Purple Hearts to the families of the soldiers murdered by Hasan, or to those who were wounded in his attack. It has refused to compensate the families of those murdered or the survivors who were incapacitated at the level the US military compensates the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty and soldiers wounded by enemy fire.This year Congress tried to rectify this obscenity by including Purple Heart citations for Ft. Hood casualties in the Defense Appropriations Act.Obama said he would veto the bill, (and thus deny the military funding), if they didn't remove the clause about the medals. That is how far Obama is willing to go to keep up this fiction, cover up the existence of enemy forces within the US military, deny the threat posed to the US by radical Islam, and in the process, punish and dishonor American soldiers who were killed in the line of duty in an act of war against the US by a self-proclaimed "Soldier of Allah."There is no precedent in US history for this sort of behavior by an American president. None.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
According to the court filing, government agents checked that the cellphone detonator on the fake explosives was activated before arresting Quazi Mohammad (does that mean he wasn't a real Mohammad, only quasi?). That's a pretty crappy job. You'd really have to know with 100% certainty that the explosives were fake not to be schvitzing like Lindsey Lohan at a traffic stop.
According to the criminal complaint filed today in the Eastern District of New York, defendant Nafis, a Bangladeshi national, traveled to the United States in January 2012 for the purpose of conducting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Nafis, who reported having overseas connections to al-Qaeda, attempted to recruit individuals to form a terrorist cell inside the United States. Nafis also actively sought out al-Qaeda contacts within the United States to assist him in carrying out an attack. Unbeknownst to Nafis, one of the individuals he attempted to recruit was actually a source for the FBI.
"Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure. The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences. It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant's 'accomplices' were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism," said FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan.
The complaint alleges that Nafis proposed several targets for his attack, including a highranking U.S. official and the New York Stock Exchange.
Ultimately, Nafis decided to conduct a bombing operation against the New York Federal Reserve Bank. In a written statement intended to claim responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Federal Reserve Bank on behalf of al- Qaeda, Nafis wrote that he wanted to "destroy America" and that he believed the most efficient way to accomplish this goal was to target America's economy.
In this statement, Nafis also included quotations from "our beloved Sheikh Osama bin Laden" to justify the fact that Nafis expected that the attack would involve the killing of women and children.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
“The flag is a symbol — an old ironworker’s custom — which is hung if the job went well,” said Rukavina, who said he worked on the Sears Tower antenna in 1978. He’s also worked on the John Hancock Center and New York’s World Trade Center.“I promised my sister, Anna, a year ago I would use the burial flag of her husband, a World War II Navy veteran, when we topped off the antenna,” he told Sneed.“But I didn’t tell anyone I was going to put up the Romney poster. I did that on my own and it was hard going. The wind was blowing like crazy that day,” he said. “But I wanted to make that gesture the last thing I did."“Hey, I’d jump off a building to get Romney elected.”
Monday, October 15, 2012
The next president will oversee whether or not we extend the Bush-era tax cuts or, instead, raise taxes on millions of American families and small businesses. The next President will decide whether we balance our budget by shrinking government and reforming entitlements, orwe balance the budget on the backs of America's job creators.
The next president will likely nominate two or more Justices to the Supreme Court. The next president will be charged with either implementing Obama's federal healthcare takeover or fighting to end it.
In short, at least for me, the stakes are simply too high to not be a part of picking whether it is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney who will make these critical decisions; and on each one of these issues, Mitt Romney is light years better than Barack Obama.
While Barack Obama wants to raise taxes on millions of Americans, Mitt Romney is pledging to fight any tax increase and lower taxes on hard-working American families and businesses.
While Barack Obama will fight to maintain the status quo when it comes to entitlements, all but guaranteeing their insolvency for future generations, Mitt Romney will work to reform them.
While Barack Obama will seek to tax our way out of our $16 trillion fiscal crisis, Mitt Romney will seek to cut spending and decrease the size of the federal government.
While Barack Obama will continue to nominate Supreme Court Justices who see no limits to the power of the federal government, Mitt Romney has pledged to nominate Justices who strictly follow the Constitution and put limits on the power of Washington to control our lives.
While Barack Obama will work to fully implement and complete his federal takeover of the healthcare system, Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free market healthcare reforms that will expand access and lower costs across the system.
When it comes to other issues of importance to libertarians – like civil liberties, ending nation-building, and the failed war on drugs – there isn't an ounce of difference between the two candidates.
For libertarians who want to have a say in electing the next President the choice is clear. Where there are differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the positions advocated by Mitt Romney are far superior to those of Barack Obama.
Also, the structure of the Democratic Party gives automatic frontrunner status, should he chose to run. African Americans make up about 21% of the Democratic party and they voted practically monolithically for Obama in his 2008 against Clinton. This helped Obama win the nomination despite losing whites and Latinos to Clinton handily. Take a look at this graph of the voting share by ethnicity from 2008:
As you can see, because Obama has a relatively large voting bloc in his pocket, he doesn't even have to do that well among the other Democratic groups in order to win. And then lets not forget all the special interest groups that he has paid off over the last four years, many of those who had been in Clinton's pocket in 2008 are now in Obama's, helping his totals further.
Then there is the simple issue of age, while Obama will still be 54 years old as 2016 rolls around, the other candidates mentioned, Hillary Clinton and Biden, will be much older. Hillary will be 68 and Biden will be 73. Try to get the youth to turnout for those dinosaurs. Then of course there will be the quandry of how exactly Clinton and Biden will be able to provide voters with a choice given they have the #2 and #3 positions within the Obama administration right now. Every time they criticize some action of Obama's, someone will probably find some speech in which they defended it. And let's not forget that this all gives the Obama administration added incentive to throw Hillary Clinton and the State Department under the bus for the Benghazi attack right now. A few negative comments and leaks to the press now can have a major impact on her chances in 2016.
Probably the only Democratic candidate who has a hope of unseating Obama were he choose to run again in 2016 is Andrew Cuomo. He has a recognizable name, is a popular governor with administrative experience and has a history of reaching across the aisle to work with and even praise Republicans. He is someone who can argue "do you want to go back to the bad old days of bipartisan bickering of the Obama years or do you want to go with someone who can actually work with Republicans?" Though once again, the math makes it an uphill battle. He really would need to get over 60% of the non-African American vote in the primaries in order to win, which is obviously not an easy thing to do.
Anyway, just thinking.
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Friday, October 12, 2012
When my friend [Ryan] talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in. There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know – we'll know if they start the process of building a weapon.
Now let's take a look at the reality, as eloquently described by Bibi Netanyahu:
And there you have it. Biden continues to depend on our intelligence services, the same ones that he said didn't know the Libya attack was a terrorist attack for two weeks AFTER, to let him know about a secret facility in a country the size of Western Europe. Israel obviously can't take that chance.
In the case of Iran's plans to build a nuclear weapon, the gunpowder is enriched uranium. The fuse is a nuclear detonator.
For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse.
For a country like Iran, it takes many, many years to enrich uranium for a bomb. That requires thousands of centrifuges spinning in tandem in very big industrial plants. Those Iranian plants are visible and they're still vulnerable.
In contrast, Iran could produce the nuclear detonator – the fuse – in a lot less time, maybe under a year, maybe only a few months.
The detonator can be made in a small workshop the size of a classroom. It may be very difficult to find and target that workshop, especially in Iran. That's a country that's bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Britain combined.
The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a warhead or a nuclear device that could be placed in a container ship. Chances are you won't find that facility either.
So in fact the only way that you can credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, is to prevent Iran from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb.
But Ryan still won the debate. Presidential and Vice Presidential debates are not about scoring argumentative points like in some high school debating club, its about perception and how you come across. Ryan came across as youthful, competent (though a little nervous at first) and unflappable. I think part of the Biden strategy was to piss off Ryan so much that he either yelled at Biden or yelled at the moderator to get Biden to stop. As its always the second won to throw a punch who gets flagged in the NFL (and punished on the schoolyard), this could have produced a clip which showed Ryan to be un-Presidential and not ready for the pressure of the office. Instead Ryan turned the other cheek and just kept going, not letting anything stop him. Ryan left the debate without creating a single reason for a voter not to vote for him or creating a viral clip which could cost the campaign a few points by embarrassing Romney. Also, by letting Biden be such an uncontrollable jerk, he pretty much gave Biden enough rope to hang himself, and he did.
Biden came across as incredibly rude and boorish. Someone pointed out, he was the embodiment of the reason that women don't like debating men about politics, they just steamroll right over them. And while not a single exchange from this debate will be remembered come election day, his demeanor (with the emphasis on "mean") will be. People usually remember little things from debates which help send one candidate to victory and the other to defeat. The famous Reagan vs. Carter debate was very close, Reagan only really got the best of Carter twice, once with "there you go again" and the other with his closing statement which asked "are you better off than you were 4 years ago". George H.W. Bush lost against Clinton by looking detached when he checked his watch. Al Gored audibly and rudely sighed when W was talking. What Biden did was several orders of magnitude more memorable than all of those. Essentially instead of lots of little gaffes, which is what people expected, his whole debate style was one very long gaffe. Most people wouldn't even want someone like that in their house, much less a heartbeat away from the White House. Here is what Peggy Noonan wrote which I completely agree with:
Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy!" he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore's sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting.Or this from the always great John Podhoretz:
National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn't work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.
And so the Romney-Ryan ticket emerged ahead. Its momentum was neither stopped nor slowed and likely was pushed forward.
Still don't believe me? Are you clinging to that CBS internet poll which showed that Biden won? Let's just look at history. The problem with instapolls is that it can take time for the impact of a debate performance to set in. Last week's Romney vs. Obama debate was an exception given that everyone on the right and the left thought Romney creamed Obama. Usually things are more subtle and the true impact of a debate isn't felt until after the instapolls. Check out what they were saying the day after the first Presidential debate in 2000 (the one where Gore sighed too much):
Debate aggression can be problematic. In a face-to-face confrontation in front of a huge audience that includes people whose minds aren't yet made up, it's probably better to stick in the shiv with a calm expression and a slight smile.
Recall that Rick Lazio never recovered from the moment when he crossed over to Hillary Clinton's podium during their 2000 senate race and"invaded her space" by thrusting a document at her. Obviously, there was a gender element there that was not at play here, but in truth, everybody has had the experience of tussling with someone exactly like Biden last night.
Biden was every raging older relative you've ever made the mistake of arguing with at a family dinner. When he talked, he talked and talked; when you talked, he laughed in your face and could barely contain himself.
If the others in your family liked what he had to say before he said it, you were surely rooting him on and forgiving of his excesses — but if they didn't, they surely thought he was an unseemly boor.
And those who didn't really have an opinion about the subject under discussion probably just wanted to crawl under the table, which won't lead to fond memories of the belligerent one.
Perhaps even more important, given the nature of politics in the Internet age, Biden's behavior lent itself to second- and third-day ridicule. Just as Howard Dean's "yeearrgh" call in Iowa in 2004 turned him into a laughingstock and Al Gore's sighs and eyerolls made him satirical fodder for "Saturday Night Live," Biden's wild expressions are going to launch a billion YouTubes and still photos and those animated GIFs that will populate Facebook and melt down Twitter and clog Gmail.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's why I'm here: your friendly neighborhood poll flasher. And what did the polls show? Well, all four networks did flash polls of debate watchers last night. Now here's our post-debate poll of polls.
The ABC News poll shows Gore winning the debate by three points, 42 to 39, and that's within the margin of error. Our own CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup flash poll has Gore winning by seven, 48 to 41, also within the margin of error. NBC News, Gore wins by 10. That's significant. CBS News, Gore by 14, also significant.So I think we have the answer: Gore seems to have won by a small to moderate margin.
But what actually happened in the polls? In the CNN tracking poll, Gore went from a 2 point lead the day of the debate to an 8 point deficit less than one week later! The Democrats might have a spring in their step today but they could be crying tomorrow. Now I don't expect too much of a bounce from this, this is a VP debate after all, but in a close race, every point counts.
It should be fun next Tuesday for round 2 of Romney v. Obama. I'm kind of hoping Obama tries the same schtick, in a town hall format that strategy will be nothing but a disaster, especially when running against someone who comes across as a mix of Jimmy Stewart and Mr. Rogers.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
1. We've seen Paul Ryan debate in the past, but they have been in more free form settings, like the healthcare summit, not in formal debates where there are strict time limits. His wonderboy abilities to connect just might not translate to this venue. Remember, Romney wasn't born a good debater as anyone who has seen his 2008 debates will testify. What helped him be able to mop the floor with Obama this year was the fact that he had 23 or so debates facing the debate master, Newt Gingrich, and even won some of them. His skills were pretty much as honed as they could have been. Ryan doesn't have this experience at all, unlike Biden who has run for President twice and this is his second run for VP.
2. Paul Ryan is great talking about Paul Ryan but how will be do having to defend Mitt Romney and not putting his own non-campaign-endorsed feelings into the mix. I've seen plenty a good candidate just get confused by all the consultant speak in their head making them seem nervous, a bit off-kilter and just not sure of themselves. If we start seeing Ryan on stage doing a "oh I can't say that, the Boston folks don't want me to say that" he could very well be toast, looking completely inexperienced for the job. Remember just as many of the people who saw the debate last week saw Romney for the first time, this will be the first time they will be seeing Ryan and first impressions count for a lot. His chances for 2016 (if Romney loses) and 2020 (if he wins) are also at stake tonight.
3. Biden CAN be a good speaker when he wants to be. His DNC speech was much better than Obama's and from what I can tell he usually doesn't have too many gaffes in debates (though some would disagree) or at least ones he doesn't get into too much trouble because of.
4. The moderator had Barack Obama as her wedding guest back in 1991 and later tapped her now ex-husband to be head of the FCC. You would think she would get recused for this but I guess not. She might not be as objective as you would like.
Anyway, we'll see what happens tonight. I don't think Ryan has to outright win to do a good job. He just needs to come across as knowledgeable and caring and do nothing to scare away the women who went towards Romney after last week's debate (many of the polls seem to be swinging because Romney isn't losing women by that much anymore.
The time has come for the Islamic nation to unite around one man for the sake of Jerusalem and Palestine. The Jews have dominated the land, spread corruption on earth, spilled the blood of believers and in their actions profaned holy places, including their own.
Zionists only understand the language of force and will not relent without duress. This will only happen through holy Jihad, high sacrifices and all forms of resistance. The day they realize we will march this path and raise the banner of Jihad for the sake of God, is the day they will relent and stop their tyranny.
Gallup Seems to Have Changed Their Methodology 1 Month Before the Election That Increases the Number of Democrats in Its Sample
Since about the beginning of President Obama's tenure, the Gallup poll has generally been one of the least positive polls for the Democratic party. This has prompted outrage and pressure from the left--even from presidential advisor David Axelrod.
Until, that is, this week. President Obama enjoyed a bounce in his Gallup job approval number after the Democratic National Convention, as was to be expected, but there was a twist: it did not disappear. And while Gallup on average had found Obama's job approval around 47 percent with adults through most of 2012, for the last five weeks it has been regularly above 50 percent. Yesterday, it stood at 53 percent, a number we have not really seen since 2009.
Unusual. So, what's going on? Alan Abramowitz of Huffington Post and The Democratic Strategist noticed that Gallup has increased its share of nonwhites from 27 percent the week of the convention to 32 percent last week, a nearly 20 percent boost. In other words, Gallup seemed to have tweaked its methodology with just weeks to go until Election Day to reflect the criticism that has come from the left.
I should be shocked, but I'm not, not given the history of this corrupt and somewhat fascistic administration. As someone who does models all the time, you can't just change the model midway, because your historical trends will all be gobbledygook, what you would need to do is apply that change in methodology for the history of your model to see how everything would look. Otherwise, you've just manipulated your model to get the answer that you (or your higher ups) want and that seems to be the case here. So tell me again why Jack Welch was crazy for wondering if the Chicago thugs had pressured BLS to change the numbers to their liking? If they could do this to a completely private organization like Gallup, why couldn't they do the same thing with people who actually work for them?
BGA 2012 Annual Luncheon: Lara Logan from Better Government Association on Vimeo.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.
The sight of this arbitrary rearrangement of riches strikes not only at security but [also] at confidence in the equity of the existing distribution of wealth. Those to whom the system brings windfalls, beyond their deserts and even beyond their expectations or desires, become "profiteers," who are the object of the hatred of the bourgeoisie, whom the inflationism has impoverished, not less than of the proletariat.
As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."
ABC News has learned that Eric Nordstrom, the former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, has told congressional investigators that security at the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was "inappropriately low" – and believed that State Department officials stood in the way of his attempts to change that.
Nordstrom and the commander of a 16-member Security Support Team, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, heard that foreign fighters were flowing across the Egyptian border and were making their way across the border to the Libyan city of Derna – which is to the east of Benghazi — and from there were making their way to Benghazi. But State Department officials seemed oblivious to their Benghazi post's vulnerability.
Nordstrom was worried -he did not know how much the Americans could rely on members of a local Libyan militia in Benghazi that provided security — the "17th of February Martyrs Brigade." Mostly merchants and shopkeepers before the war, they seemed eager, but they hadn't much experience and other than a daily $30 stipend for food from the U.S. Embassy, they hadn't been paid in months.
Nordstrom had "no idea if they would respond to an attack," he told investigators.
Nordstrom twice wrote to the State Department – in March and July 2012 — to beef up the presence of American security officers in Benghazi, but neither time was there a response. At no point from December 2011 through July 2012, when he left Libya, were more than three Diplomatic Security Service agents permanently and simultaneously stationed at the Benghazi post.
Nordstrom wanted at least five personnel to be stationed at Benghazi, but the State Department would not allow it. There were American security officers, however, at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, including three Mobile Security Detachments, which were part of the DSS, and a 16-member Security Support Team detailed from Special Operations Command AFRICOM, commanded by Wood. But the State Department would not give him permission to deploy them to be stationed at Benghazi. Deputy Assistant Secretary for international programs Charlene Lamb, in Nordstrom's view, wanted to keep the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi "artificially low," according to a memo for Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.Wood, a former Green Beret, told ABC News that he and other members of the Security Support Team wanted to remain in Libya past their deployment was scheduled to end in August, and that Ambassador Stevens wanted them to remain as well. Nordstrom has said that Lamb told him not to request for the Security Support Team to be extended again.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn't the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars? But, the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people.
I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East.
The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?
The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.
These dictators' atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.
And now, with the never ending Arab Spring, the Arab world has no time for the Palestinians refugees or Palestinian cause, because many Arabs are refugees themselves and under constant attacks from their own forces. Syrians are leaving their own country, not because of the Israeli planes dropping bombs on them. It is the Syrian Air Force which is dropping the bombs. And now, Iraqi Arab Muslims, most intelligent brains, are leaving Iraq for the west. In Yemen, the world's saddest human tragedy play is being written by the Yemenis. In Egypt, the people in Sinai are forgotten.
Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs' sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don't know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn't one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian?
The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.
Another view is that the increase in part-time employment is directly due to the weak recovery, and a sign that it is getting weaker. Surges in part time employment frequently occur in times of economic stress. Consider, for example, all the months in which part time employment rose by 500,000 or more. There are 13 such monthly increases in the BLS data base—Jan 1958, Mar 1958, Jan 1975, May 1980, Oct 1981, Feb 1982, Feb 1991, Sep 2001, Nov 2008, Dec 2008, Feb 2009, Sep 2010, Sep 2012. With two exceptions, every one of these occurred during recessions when the economy was sharply contracting. The two exceptions are in the current recovery, which is another measure of its weakness.
Even more troublesome is that in the past 6 months of the recovery, the entire employment increase was more than accounted for by part time jobs: Total employment rose by 940,000 from March to September and part time employment rose by 941,000. This deterioration in the labor market is consistent with the dip in economic growth to 1.3 percent in the 2nd quarter. It too is not a sign that the economy is improving.
Monday, October 8, 2012
As this illustrates, the most striking benefits are environmental. The report calculates that a cumulative total of 965 million pounds of pesticide have not been used because of the adoption of GM crops. The biggest impacts are from insect-resistant cotton and herbicide-tolerant maize, both of which need fewer sprayings than their conventional equivalents.
The use of less fuel in farming GM crops results in less carbon-dioxide emission. In addition, herbicide-tolerant GM crops can often be grown with little or no plowing in stubble fields that are sprayed with herbicides. The result is to allow more carbon to remain in the soil, since plowing releases carbon as microbial exhalation. Taken together, Messrs. Brookes and Barfoot estimate, this means that the GM crops grown in 2010 had an effect on carbon-dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 8.6 million cars off the road.
There is a rich irony here. The rapidly growing use of shale gas in the U.S. has also driven down carbon-dioxide emissions by replacing coal in the generation of electricity. U.S. carbon emissions are falling so fast they are now back to levels last seen in the 1990s. So the two technologies most reliably and stridently opposed by the environmental movement-genetic modification and fracking-have been the two technologies that most reliably cut carbon emissions.
It is time to change course in the Middle East. That course should be organized around these bedrock principles: America must have confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose and resolve in our might. No friend of America will question our commitment to support them… no enemy that attacks America will question our resolve to defeat them… and no one anywhere, friend or foe, will doubt America's capability to back up our words.
I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region—and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated.
I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security—the world must never see any daylight between our two nations.
I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.
And I will roll back President Obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military. I will make the critical defense investments that we need to remain secure. The decisions we make today will determine our ability to protect America tomorrow. The first purpose of a strong military is to prevent war.
The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916. I will restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year, including three submarines. I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin. And I will call on our NATO allies to keep the greatest military alliance in history strong by honoring their commitment to each devote 2 percent of their GDP to security spending. Today, only 3 of the 28 NATO nations meet this benchmark.
I will make further reforms to our foreign assistance to create incentives for good governance, free enterprise, and greater trade, in the Middle East and beyond. I will organize all assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with responsibility and accountability to prioritize efforts and produce results. I will rally our friends and allies to match our generosity with theirs. And I will make it clear to the recipients of our aid that, in return for our material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government—to respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities… to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary… and to abide by their international commitments to protect our diplomats and our property.
I will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world. The President has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years. I will reverse that failure. I will work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships and establishing new ones.
I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.
In Libya, I will support the Libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.
In Egypt, I will use our influence—including clear conditions on our aid—to urge the new government to represent all Egyptians, to build democratic institutions, and to maintain its peace treaty with Israel. And we must persuade our friends and allies to place similar stipulations on their aid.
In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran—rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.
And in Afghanistan, I will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions in Afghanistan is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11. I will evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation.
Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.
There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region. It is broadly felt by America's friends and allies in other parts of the world as well— in Europe, where Putin's Russia casts a long shadow over young democracies, and where our oldest allies have been told we are "pivoting" away from them … in Asia and across the Pacific, where China's recent assertiveness is sending chills through the region … and here in our own hemisphere, where our neighbors in Latin America want to resist the failed ideology of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers and deepen ties with the United States on trade, energy, and security. But in all of these places, just as in the Middle East, the question is asked: "Where does America stand?"
I know many Americans are asking a different question: "Why us?" I know many Americans are asking whether our country today—with our ailing economy, and our massive debt, and after 11 years at war—is still capable of leading.
I believe that if America does not lead, others will—others who do not share our interests and our values—and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us. America's security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years. I am running for President because I believe the leader of the free world has a duty, to our citizens, and to our friends everywhere, to use America's great influence—wisely, with solemnity and without false pride, but also firmly and actively—to shape events in ways that secure our interests, further our values, prevent conflict, and make the world better—not perfect, but better.
Our friends and allies across the globe do not want less American leadership. They want more—more of our moral support, more of our security cooperation, more of our trade, and more of our assistance in building free societies and thriving economies. So many people across the world still look to America as the best hope of humankind. So many people still have faith in America. We must show them that we still have faith in ourselves—that we have the will and the wisdom to revive our stagnant economy, to roll back our unsustainable debt, to reform our government, to reverse the catastrophic cuts now threatening our national defense, to renew the sources of our great power, and to lead the course of human events.
Sir Winston Churchill once said of George Marshall: "He … always fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement, and disillusion." That is the role our friends want America to play again. And it is the role we must play.
The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
The torch America carries is one of decency and hope. It is not America's torch alone. But it is America's duty – and honor – to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.