Election 2012 Post-Mortem: When Predictions Go Wrong!

Amir-Iljazi


Menzies House U.S. Politics Editor Michi Iljazi comments on the 2012 election results.

Hello readers! It has been a few months since I have
published a post and for those of you that are reading I want to thank you for your
continued readership of my material and those from all the great contributors
here at Menzies House.

My last
post of 2012 was my pre-election analysis and final predictions for the Presidential
contest, and several of the hotly contested Senate races.
I struggled with
whether or not to make a prediction because sometimes (many times) predictions
are incorrect, and incorrect is an understatement of how the calls in my
pre-election post turned out. That being said, there are a few brief points I
would like to make regarding my last post.


The first point is that these are predictions; I could make them out of thin
air and if I got every one of them correct I’d be a genius based purely on
guessing. Predictions are not statements of fact, they are statements made based
on whatever you choose to base them on at a given point. When I make
predictions (and I make many of them, not just on politics), I do my best to
make them with as much evidence to support it as possible. In each one of my
predictions for how the states would land electorally at the Presidential level,
I used evidence that was available to support the claim. This evidence was
backed up by source material. That doesn’t mean anything except to say I made a
guess, and there was evidence to support the guess, but it doesn’t guarantee an
outcome and never has there been a point during my time with Menzies House that
I have claimed I could make such guarantees, neither has anyone else on my
behalf.

The second point I would like to make is that for many of
the predictions that I got wrong on election night, my GOP Primary analysis and
State Primary predictions were near perfect in terms of predicting outcomes and
not just for winners, but also implications and analysis of the results I was
predicting before those contests took place. In terms of my VP brackets, all I
can say there is I had Paul Ryan in my final four, close but no cigar… as they
say. You can’t be right all the time, certainly if I was I would be in Las
Vegas as opposed to typing this and thanking those of you who are still
supportive enough to read even after I made a very bad prediction. I have
always enjoyed writing for Menzies House and hope to continue to do so for the
foreseeable future.

The final point I want to make is that contrary to what some
have said there are people who are better known, have more experience, and are
paid by those providing the venue for them to make the very same predictions…
who actually had worse 2012 pre-election analysis than I did. These are very
credible individuals who saw some of the same things I did and felt, as I did,
that this wouldn’t be a close election and that it would probably break one way
or another in the final weeks… and they got the break wrong too. This is not an
excuse, merely a point worth making considering the criticism I have gotten not
just from readers, but personal friends who were aware of my prediction as well.

I want to express my thanks again to everyone who still
enjoys reading my posts, and to the critics I say I welcome the commentary and
can admit I was wrong. I don’t mind being wrong, considering I do this for free
and have never asked for anything of anyone at Menzies House except to allow me
to post if they feel my take would be well received from you, the real drivers
of this great venue for thought provoking discussion. I hope to see continued
feedback from those who continue to read the posts and I thank you all so very
much and it is still a pleasure to be able to contribute!

Michi Iljazi is the U.S. Politics Editor of Menzies House. He earned his Master's Degree in Political Science at American University and currently resides in Washington, D.C. He has specialized in longitudinal campaign tracking, voter trends for Federal Races nationwide while working for Washington DC based center-right political advocacy organizations. You may follow him on Twitter at @Michi83

MOLON LABE

Jim

James writes about an historical event of centuries ago. It is informative and indicates how President Obama is pushing his leftist agenda. He has created a festering sore among many Americans who refuse to acquiesce. To quote James, This thing is getting nasty. GC.Ed.

The bumbling Obama, and his clueless vice-president, Biden are stumbling around to take arms away from US citizens.

But judging by the reactions of thousands if not tens of thousands of
women joining gun clubs, carrying sidearms, practicing shooting; and
judging from dozens of organisations quite apart from the huge National
Rifle Association who repeat “Molon Labe” and keep referring to
Lexington on April 19th; and judging by the bumper stickers reading
Molon Labe, it will take bigger men than these two to succeed.

Molon Labe? Lexington?

In 480 BC, a Persian Army reported by Herodotus as numbering two million men and marched to enslave Greece.

King Leonidas of Sparta marched with only three hundred men to Thermopylae to stop him.

A Persian envoy arrived. The envoy explained clearly to Leonidas the
futility of attempting to resist the enormous Persian army, and demanded
that the Spartans lay down their arms.

Leonidas laconically replied, “Molon Labe” – “come and take them.”

In 1775, the British Army had orders to disarm American citizens.
Specifically to capture and destroy “military supplies” – muskets –
reported to be stored.

It made sense. The Irish people, for example, had long been disarmed – it was death for an Irishman to own a weapon.

Molon_labe

Well, it made military sense.

On April 19, 700 regulars entered Lexington as the sun rose. They thought they had the element of surprise.

As the advance guard entered the village of Lexington, about 80
Lexington militiamen emerged from a tavern and stood in ranks on the
village common watching them.

A British officer rode forward, waving his sword, and called out for the
assembled throng to disperse, and may also have ordered them to “lay
down your arms, you damned rebels!”. The American commander instead told
his men to just disperse. None laid down their arms, repeating the
action of the Spartans.

Someone fired a shot – famously “the shot heard round the world,” the
shot which began the American Revolution and which led directly to the
second amendment of the American constitution that citizens will always
have the right to bear arms.

Ancient and modern history, but as the plaque standing at Thermopylae shows, in the consciousness of American men today.

Women too.

An educated American woman tore pages from the Q’uran which offended
her, explained why, and burnt them. She filmed the whole thing and stuck
it on Utube. Nestled in the crook of her arm is a semi-automatic,
artistically made up in a colour she liked and bore the words – Molon
Labe. Come and take it.

A group of men called the Oath Keepers have the same attitude

Oath Keepers is an American nonprofit organization that advocates that
its members (current and former U.S. military and law enforcement)
disobey any orders that they are given if they believe they violate the
Constitution of the United States.They took an oath to uphold and
protect the constitution when they enlisted and that is their basis for
swearing to refuse any command they believe is unconstitutional.

Their
founder is no dummy. He is a Yale Law School graduate and a former US
paratrooper.

They have a pledge – Molon Labe – and list of ten orders they will not obey. Head of the list is this
We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people.

They explain:

The attempt to disarm the people on April 19, 1775 [Lexington] was the
spark of open conflict in the American Revolution. That vile attempt was
an act of war, … Any such order today would also be an act of war
against the American people, and thus an act of treason.

Amazing how historical events throw long shadows.

It is now reported that an ominous question is being asked of US armed
forces officers is this – would you, if ordered, fire on American
citizens?

When the Shah of Persia was asked this about Iranian citizens, he said
No, and he was deposed by the demented Ayatollah Khomeni who has no such
scruples.

This is apparently in the minds of the Oath Keepers and similar.

One sign that has begun to appear on lawns is:

“I’m warning you, Jack,
I’m going to shoot back”

This thing is getting nasty.

Jim McCrudden is a retired lawyer, a scholar of
Dickens, Shakespeare and many others. He lives on the NSW South Coast and has
keen interest in politics.

David Cameron has a Mitt Romney Problem

Dan-WhitfieldDan Whitfield discusses the similarities between David Cameron and Mitt Romney – and how this spells bad news for Cameron:

After Mitt
Romney, the Republican nominee for President was defeated last November, British
political prognosticators predicted that the result was a good omen for David
Cameron and a warning for his opposite number on the Labour benches, Ed
Miliband.

They are wrong.

It’s easy to see
why the experts made such a mistake.  After
all, President Obama won reelection with unemployment hovering at 8% –
something no occupant of the White House has ever done before (the closest was
Ronald Reagan, who was reelected in 1984 with unemployment at 7.2%).  Obama won in spite of the gridlock paralyzing
Washington (for which he is largely responsible), contempt for politicians at
record levels, and smoldering resentment over his reform of the American
healthcare system.

President Obama
also won despite his opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney,
effectively stealing the mantle of change.

Such
similarities to the political situation in the UK will not have gone unnoticed
by Tory High Command.  That's why, on the
surface, President Obama's reelection is delightful news for Cameron.  Even now, perhaps, advice is being poured
into the Prime Minister's ear, urging him to follow the path blazed by the
President.  To win a reelection campaign
of his own, all David Cameron need do is remind voters of the mess he
inherited, emphasize the indicators which point to an economic recovery, and expose
his opponents glaring shortcomings. 
Follow the Obama recipe, and another 5 years in Downing Street beckon.

But a close look
at exit polling should have Conservatives nervous.  It shows that Mitt Romney lost for exactly
the same reasons that have damaged British Tories generally, and David Cameron
in particular.

The Fox News
exit poll showed that by a margin of ten points, voters thought Obama was “more
in touch with people like me.”  By a
whopping 81-18 margin people believed President Obama to be the more empathetic
candidate. Governor Romney did win majorities of voters who wanted “a vision
for the future” (54-45) and “a candidate who shares my values” (55-42), but was
undone by the fact that so many voters believed his policies would favor the
rich, effectively neutralizing his greatest strength: that he was the candidate
best equipped to turn around America's faltering economy.

Thus was
Romney's campaign was undone.  Much has
been written about the changing demographics of America – a worthy topic – but
the bottom line remains that people will not vote for a candidate they do not
like, irrespective of the colour of their skin. 
President Obama had a favorability rating of +7, while Gov. Romney,
suffering from millions of dollars’ worth of unanswered attack ads, had a
negative favorability rating of -3.

In the UK, there
are chilling similarities to Gov. Romney's position and David Cameron's, though
the Prime Minister does outperform the Republican in some crucial polling
questions.

An Ipsos-Mori
poll published just before party conference season in September shows Cameron
trailing by ten points on the issue of who “represents people like me.” And he
clings to a tiny two-point led when voters are asked to choose who “has the
right values.”

There is good
news for Mr. Cameron in the poll: by healthy margins he beats out Mr. Miliband
when voters are asked who is more “Prime Ministerial,” “likeable,” and “a good
person,” although Mr. Miliband does win on the question of “who will protect
British jobs.”

The Prime
Minister therefore is not in as near a bad a position as Gov. Romney, but his
polling numbers show they both share the same problems as a candidate: people
doubt their values, and question both their privilege, and their commitment to
jobs for the middle class.

The similarities
between Romney and Cameron go beyond mere polling.  Both come from what most people would agree
is “the 1%.”  Their upbringings
encompassed the very best schools and colleges, and they enjoy enormous wealth
beyond the means of most families.  Hence
why Mr. Cameron is so sensitive to attacks upon his background: deep down, he
fears they may actually work.  The
polling shows he is correct to hold such fears.

Mitt Romney's
candidacy fell victim to attacks on his character and background which he
inexplicably failed to rebut until the last few weeks of the campaign.  David Cameron, a far better politician, knows
to insulate himself against charges that his policies favor the rich and that
he is out of touch.  Hence the statement,
trotted out by his front bench team, that “we are all in this together,” and
the Prime Minister's reluctance to lower the top rate of income tax during the
negotiations over last year’s budget.

But these
solutions are only temporary.  What is
the answer to the long-term problem that people incorrectly associate
right-of-center parties with policies that favor the elite?  After all, it is parties of the left that
have destroyed state-education in their craven worship of the teaching unions,
thus harming the life-chances of those from the middle class.  And it was left-wing politicians who allowed
giant corporations like GE, Apple, and Google to pay obscenely low levels of
tax, foisting the tax-burden instead on middle class families not as well
connected as the CEOs of leading multinationals.

As in so much in
politics, there is no easy solution.  But
there is cause for optimism: the Republican Party is hungry for power, and its
hunger will compel it to confront the problems which beset the Romney
candidacy.  Already the conservative
media is abuzz with suggestions on how to improve the standing of the GOP.  Tories, with the election of 2015 inching
closer, should pay close heed.   After all, true leaders do not shed their ideology
and flee to the middle ground for safety; they bring the middle ground to them.

Dan Whitfield is a writer living in Washington, DC, specializing in the conservative routes of America’s founding.  Previously Dan worked for the Leadership Institute, America’s largest training organization for conservative activists.

It’s time to place Richard Nixon amongst the greats

Theo_V0A8900

Theo Zographos has more than a passing interest in American politics. Were Richard Milhous Nixon still alive, he would be celebrating his 100th birthday tomorrow, and I dare say rather pleased with theo's kind words about him. GC.Ed.

Tomorrow marks the 100th birthday of Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States. One of the most influential figures of the 20th century, Nixon now needs to be remembered as one of the better American presidents, because a man with his achievements can’t be withheld of his place in history any longer.

There are many people who would say that Nixon has already been rehabilitated in the eyes of Americans and the world. Nixon worked hard post presidency to gain back the respect of the American people, and his death was mourned by a nation. Bill Clinton called on him for advice. Even Hillary, herself a young up and coming lawyer working for the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives during the Watergate hearings, openly met with Nixon whilst first lady. Nixon did have many friends in palaces and parliaments across the world too.

However in my time at university, in my working life and in my political experiences, the overwhelming anecdotal impressions I get from friends and colleagues is that “tricky dicky” was a crook and fraud, morally defunct and a disgrace to politics and government.

Therefore, I would say that the perception of Nixon amongst those who haven’t studied his presidency is of the tricky dicky variety.  

That simply must change because Richard Milhous Nixon was so much more.

In looking at Nixon’s six years in the White House, five extraordinary achievements stand out:

Nixon ended American fighting in Vietnam.

Nixon visited China and the USSR, forging invaluable diplomatic relationships between America and the other superpowers.

Nixon initiated the government’s “War on drugs”, telling the congress in July 1971 that the issue was “public enemy number one.”

Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act, a groundbreaking environmental agenda, and also created the American Environmental Protection Agency.

Nixon ended the national draft.

There are also other distinctive political achievements in his career such as:

Nixon is the only Republican to appear on the national ticket five times.

Nixon was re-elected president by the widest Electoral College and popular vote margin ever up until that time.

Nixon created the Southern strategy for the Republican Party, cementing it as a stronghold for decades to come.

And my favourite: with all odds against him, Nixon surprised friends and foes alike with an incredible comeback and was elected president in 1968.

To many though, these accomplishments are overshadowed by the Watergate scandal. Nixon’s critics say that for any good Nixon may have done, his involvement in the cover up of the break-in at the National offices of the Democratic National Committee, means that Nixon should be condemned, derided even, and maybe even forgotten.

The fact that Nixon never really faced the music only strengthens their disdain for him. Nixon was pardoned by Gerald Ford. He was never able to be prosecuted for any crimes he “may have committed.” However this is a fundamental point. It is sometimes forgotten that Nixon was never impeached. Unlike Bill Clinton, Nixon was humble enough to resign before the presidency was put on such a public trial. 

In the days leading to his resignation in August 1974, Richard Nixon had a job approval rating of 25%, according to Gallup. Bill Clinton, however, at the same point in his presidency, and in the midst of impeachment, faced enormous pressure to resign. Clinton has rehabilitated himself and his presidency is now seen as a golden era for the United States. He left office with one of the highest approval ratings of any departing president. Nixon never had the chance to serve his full term. He was denied the opportunity to win back the public’s support in the way Clinton did.

He was narrowly defeated in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Many thought Nixon was robbed in the 1960 presidential election and that the Kennedys had been the beneficiaries of voter fraud. However Nixon was dutiful enough to not contest the results, knowing that to do so would divide his country. He chose the honourable path.

Nixon was regarded as honourable for much of his career. He who fought courageously in the Alger Hiss case and sadly lost two brothers by his 20th birthday. He also wrote best selling books and was the first ex-president to discontinue his secret service detail, saving the taxpayer $3 million a year during his retirement. Nixon was so devoted to his wife that he couldn’t bear living without her and he died some 10 months after she did. As Wednesday’s centenary milestone passes, Nixon is the man we should be remembering.

Theo Zographos is a Monash Councillor in Melbourne’s south-east and a former Liberal Party candidate who has been a volunteer on various American political campaigns.

The Bush Tax Cuts worked: Exposing the Obama Lies

Sun Yong Kim cover picture

Sun-Yong offers his take on the contentious matter of US politics. The coming days may see moves and shifts from unlikely players as they bid to save the day. GC. Ed.

The central tenet of the current ‘Fiscal Cliff’ negotiations between President Barack Obama and Republican Speaker John Boehner has revolved around the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. It has been contended by President Obama that the Bush Tax Cuts for the so called ‘rich’ should not be extended because they had no effect on stimulating the economy and are the primary reason for the US fiscal situation. Nancy Pelosi perfectly sums up this view through the following remarks:

"I don't see any reason why we should renew a tax cut that only gives a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America, increases the deficit, and doesn't create jobs. That doesn't make any sense.”- Nancy Pelosi, 2009 

Such comments play to a blue collar audience that recently lost jobs at the hands of employers who used taxpayer funded bailouts for their own salary bonuses. However appealing this message of Class Warfare is to some, it fails in reality. Contrary to Nancy Pelosi’s assertions, the Bush Tax Cuts stimulated the US economy and reduced deficit.

Bush Tax Cuts stimulated the economy


Contrary to the Obama fantasy, the Bush Tax Cuts were very effective at stimulated economic growth. Following the introduction of the Tax Cuts, the growth rate increased from 1.7- 4.1%, non-residential fixed investment expanded for 13 consecutive quarters and job growth was uninterrupted for 52 consecutive months. However the benefits of the Bush Tax Cuts also extend to deficit reduction.  

Bush Tax Cuts cut the deficit

Contrary to the left wing media, The Bush tax cuts did not explode the deficit. Subsequent to the Bush Tax Cuts, the deficit was reduced by 60% from 2003-2007 due to federal revenues rising to 18.5% of GDP by 2007, above the long term historical average of 18%. Moreover the Bush deficits averaged just 2% of GDP, one-third less than the average over the prior 50 years. These facts alone warrant the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts; however the political environment remains very challenging. 

Republicans caving to Obama

Given the undeniable facts in favour of extending the Bush Tax Cuts, it is very troubling indeed that the congressional GOP is now caving in to Obama. The Republican House Speaker John Boehner recently proposed a failed ‘Plan B’ to allow the Bush Tax Cuts to expire for those making an income above $1 million USD. Whilst this Republican attempt to raise taxes has failed, it has been rumoured that a compromise deal has been reached between Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate Democrats to let the Bush Tax Cuts on incomes above $400 000 USD. 

The GOP must stand strong

Whilst the temptation to cede to a popular Democrat President is politically hard to resist, the GOP must do all it can to preserve the Bush Era Tax Cuts. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers rely upon the GOP as the last line of defence against a string of tax increases that will form part of the Obama agenda if the GOP cedes on the Bush Tax Cuts. For this reason, it is time that the GOP reaffirm itself to the idea of lower taxes for all by exposing the Obama lies on the Bush Tax Cuts and recommitting itself to the extending the Bush Tax cuts for all. If they don’t, not only will the American Economy go down under but so will the credibility of a once great GOP.

Sun Yong Kim studies Commerce/Law at Macquarie University and is a member of the Young Liberal movement. He has also launched a policy magazine/blog, Aus Solutions. www.aussolutions.com.au

 

Geoff Elliott “reports” on American gun control.

P Lillingston

Philip Lillingston suggests that the gun control debate sparked by the Newtown School shooting in the US might have been better placed on hold until after families had grieved. GC.Ed.

The current Washington correspondent for The Australian, Geoff Elliott, published a piece in the Weekend Australian for the 22-23 December, in which he gave us his report on the aftermath of the tragic Newtown school shooting. 

Newspapers generally make an effort to differentiate between a journalist’s or correspondent’s report and a columnist’s opinion piece. As he is not listed as any of the twenty-nine identified columnists on the website of The Australian, and as he has specifically been placed in one area of the world where news frequently happens, it might be reasonable to say that the role of Mr Elliott is to report the facts happening there rather than to compose what used to be called “think pieces” pontificating on current trends.

Bearing that in mind his article “Defending the right to bear arms” made for interesting reading. To begin with the heading came with a sub heading stating “The gun lobby will fight attacks on the second amendment.” Fair enough. No problem there: he is giving us an introduction as to an unchallengeable truism which will be some aspect of his article. However, together with that it also carried a super-heading declaring “How many innocent victims have to die?” From that we are apparently to take as a given that the right to bear arms goes hand in hand with innocent people dying. If Philip Adams had written that in one of his columns it would have hardly raised an eyebrow because, well, it was Philip Adams. But for a correspondent to imply as truth a highly topical assertion,  and right at the beginning of his report, does make one wonder if he ever gave thought to that Fox News adage “We report, you decide” repeated so often on a news service that he surely must watch in keeping abreast of local events.

In his article he allocates space for a rather spurious argument that because gun control advocates get threatening hate mail (by some so disconnected from reality they equate gun control with pro Islamic and pro minority sentiments) then in America the Second Amendment triumphs over the First Amendment. However his main subject of reporting is how America’s immediate reaction to such tragedies is to give comfort to the victims, rather than to immediately politicise it. 

Mr Elliott hears something “so incomprehensible to an Australian ear” when the governor of a state who had just suffered a mass shooting tragedy criticised a reporter for so soon bringing up gun control, stating, 

“At this point, what it's about is comforting family members … and helping this community heal. And so to those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere”

Our correspondent doesn’t wish to claim sole ownership for this lack of comprehension and attempts to spread it amongst all Australians. But just why would most Australians find temporarily holding back on the political aspects of a tragedy so hard to understand? 

If the young Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik should serve his 21 years in prison and then, upon release, proceed to slaughter another 50 adults and children, do we immediately hector the Norwegians as to why they have such an incredibly dumb sentencing system, or do we send sympathies and allow them, at their own pace, to grieve and bury their dead, before eventually getting around to broaching the issue of possibly reviewing their (inane) sentencing practices. 

 Whenever some callous and despicable murder happens in Australia one can be sure there are always calls for the re-introduction of capital punishment. It has even happened recently with the spate of single women being murdered on Melbourne streets. In such cases the (correct) response from people in authority is that one should not make permanent laws in the heat of the moment. Those that would vote for the death penalty in the same week as news of some new horror, might not necessarily feel that way after time has allowed one to cool off. That Virginia governor, who was not even a right wing Republican, but a Democrat, was not permanently forbidding a gun rights debate, he was simply saying “not at this point”. It was the same tack even the President followed. At Barak Obama’s first news conference after the current tragedy, he spoke of how something had to be done with regards to these school shootings but he specifically did not get political by mentioning who or what might be at fault. That came later. 

When it did come it came with a vengeance for one certain cable news host. Prominent British ex-newspaper editor and now host for a CNN news show, Piers Morgan made international news when interviewing Gun Owners of America Executive Director, Larry Pratt on the Newtown tragedy. Not for some insightful and acute questions which might have left his guest without an answer, but because of his seemingly uncontrolled reaction when given answers by his guest he apparently did not wish to comprehend or otherwise found unsatisfactory. 

Mr Morgan did not enhance his professional journalistic prestige by responding on air to his guest with statements such as “What a ridiculous argument. You have absolutely no coherent argument whatsoever. [You are]… an unbelievably stupid man”.

The theme of Mr Elliott’s whole piece is that the right to bear arms is so ingrained into the American psyche that rational argument to abolish its constitutional support, the second amendment, is impossible.  His attitude to guns is such that it is “So utterly foreign it is stuck in the memory, forever so” that someone is not allowed to discuss the politics of gun control within days of the news of a shooting horror.

Irrespective of the actual virtues or vices of gun control, the irony is that, in the public forum, it currently seems to be the prohibitionist side losing reason to emotion when it comes to discussing bearing arms.

Philip Lillingston is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party

 

 

 

 

Facts behind Obama’s win or Romney’s loss

The analysis is underway in the US as to why Obama won and why Romney lost. Romney may have been doomed from the start. Some may see a similarity between US and Australian politics. 

The big talking point is that President Obama won Blacks, Hispanics, and women. Mitt Romney won men, particularly White men. The margin of victory based on race is extreme. Blacks voted for President Obama some 93%, Hispanics fell in line with 71% support, and women provided 55%. Asians also had high support numbers for President Obama with 73% of the vote.

Read more:www.examiner.com

The perils of spin

Jim

Jim's opinion piece seeks debate on what might have been a cover-up, all at a time of electioneering in the US that may not augur well for the president if given oxygen.

It
is part of legend now in the US that Barack Obama made a “gutsy call”
to kill Osama Bin Laden. With the torrent of lies that flows from the
White House it is difficult to know if he did, in truth, make such a
gutsy call; or it was made for him.

After all, if he did, he went
golfing after making it and had to be brought back to watch the
operation. An official photo clearly shows him in his golf clobber while
the op was going on.

If one buys the story, then what does anyone make of the Benghazi
episode that showed America up as a weak kneed, cowardly, gutless nation
that would not lift a finger to stop the murder of Americans in
Benghazi?

Or is it a brave nation led by a cowering indifferent commander-in-chief more concerned with his political survival?

What is known is that immediately after the attack an armed drone was
above the attacked embassy filming and transmitting the whole thing in
real time – and reportedly – watched by Obama himself. That particular
report has been strongly denied, which is good news for all those who
doesn’t want to think that the White House is staffed by psychopaths.

What also is known is that three times requests for help from the
beleaguered embassy were sent. Three times refused. A bit like St. Peter
denying Christ three times.

The military were actually told to stand down!

Enter Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

These two ex-Navy Seals disobeyed their orders and went off to the
consulate. They exchanged fire with the terrorists, then evacuated
remaining Americans. They searched for but couldn’t find the ambassador.

Again, they asked for military support. The request was denied. Again.

They saved many. They could not save themselves. They were killed.
There was no ‘gutsy call’ this time. Four Americans dead. Killed by policy, killed by spin.

The spin was that the attackers were a spontaneous crowd, angry at a half-baked video clip insulting Mohammad.

The whole might of the White House Bullshit Department was activated to
send Obama onto daytime TV and continue this blatant lie. Ambassador
Susan Rice solemnly repeated the lie over and over. Hillary Clinton,
mistress of misdirection, repeated it. In true Obama style he directed
that the US even publicly apologise!

Clinton, straight faced, swore to the grieving father of Tyrone Woods
that they would ‘get’ the maker of the video that started it all. He
believed her but got suspicious when Obama couldn’t look him in the eye
at the funeral and slipped away from him after a limp damp handshake.

Mr. Woods is now beyond outrage and has forgiven Obama – publicly.
In forgiving Obama, Mr. Woods nailed this cowardly episode to the wall –
for what could he have been forgiving Obama for except deserting his
men?

“Benghazi” would have been synonymous with national dishonour and shame
in years to come were it not that Woods and Doherty saved it.

With their lives.

Jim McCrudden is a retired lawyer, an avid admirer of
Dickens, Shakespeare and many others. He lives on the NSW South Coast, has a
keen interest in politics and sits on local government.

Is America Finished?

T humphries

Tim Humphries asks the question clouding the minds of many – what is America's future.

Like all great operas there is a beginning middle and end. Rumblings
about America's operatic decline continue. In recent times it has lingered in
the media echo chamber, even after the Don Giovanni crescendo of 2008.

Though the discourse of the immediate post GFC period has been concerned
with interlocking partisan debates about whether Neo-liberalism
or Keynesian was the right course, the country and the world
continues to flounder.

Just as the traditional trope of Orwellian nightmare is used to describe
descent into a big brother state, so must the 'gibbonian vision' of  'the decline and fall'
be affixed firmly to the American and European economic lapel in the
wake of the great 'GFC'.

'GFC' is a scary word. It sounds like a disease that must be scanned,
poked, prodded and scanned again. I well remember watching the crisis of AIG,
Lehman Brothers and the other Financial Institutions whose subsequent bailout
left the American taxpayer with a dry, antiseptic aftertaste not dissimilar to
hospital grade ammonia.

Whilst Uncle Sam lay prostrate in the hospital bed gasping for air, the
most amazing thought crossed my mind. What comes next?

For Christians the Biblical account of  'Nebuchadnezzar's dream' in Daniel 2 articulates the
broad 'what’s next' progression from Babylon B.C. 605-539 through to Persia
B.C. 539-331, Greece B.C. 331-168, Rome B.C. 168- A.D. 476 and the fractious
Europe that is known as the 'feet of clay'. What then of that grand secular
Empire whose exceptional-ism finds form in the words Pax
Americana?

Suddenly the preponderance of American power is set in stark
contrast to the propagandized visions of her power so eloquently
articulated by popular culture and the academe. The post World War II vision of
 'American Peace' was magnified by
the fall of the Berlin Wall. However from this point on wards the Western
World fell into a deep political sleep that has been broken by the rude
awakening of 2008-9.

In essence the last 10 years of the 20th Century and the first 10 years
of the 21st Century, mark a fundamental demarcation between the old cold
war verities of  'American Peace'
and the opening of an 'Asymmetric Century'.

This is an Asymmetric Century dominated
by hyper-speed technological advance, rapid financial flows and a
first and third world increasingly polarized by the conjunction of
religio-political guerrilla warfare. A guerrilla war
incidentally that finds form in Iraq, Afghanistan and the incubators
of blow-back across the region.

The question remains unanswered, Is America finished? The current US
election cycle has offered up the definitive truth that there is a generational
disconnection within the US electorate.

With a Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial generation faced with the prospect of
having to pay back the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security bills of the
aging Baby Boomer generation, it looks as if the American Dream may finally be
dead!

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney represent different sides of the same coin.
So where is Liberty to be found? Ron Paul is on the outer, the third party
candidate debates did not get the attention they deserved. All the while the
American Foreign policy juggernaut looks to be gearing up for the next military
incursion into Iran!

It's no wonder traditional conservative writers like Mark Steyn have
moved to the Jeremiah style message of we're all 'rooned!' to get the message
out that the country and the world is facing the very real prospect of economic
and political destruction.

Just like Giovanni, America hasn't repented of her sins and may
well be cast into the fiery pit of hell. I often wonder what staunch
leftist intellectuals like Gore Vidal would say if he jumped out of the grave
to survey the latest attempts to save the American and the World Economy? I told
you so wouldn't be enough.

Ronald Reagan, though not the libertarians’ ideal candidate, did say
something particularly pertinent. He said, “Freedom is never more than one
generation away from extinction”. Has America reached that point in time where
she is past the point of no return?

What hope is there if the human spirit cannot rise to any occasion?
Where have the individualists gone in the age of the nanny state? If the
current election cycle is any guide, will freedom find its voice for a new
generation? With only days left in the current election cycle only time will
tell.

Timothy W. Humphries is an occasional contributor to Menzies House and
is based in Brisbane, Queensland Australia.