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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Commander in Chief vs Commander of Shift

"You said that, first, we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan. Then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends, which means not only were you wrong, but you were also confusing in sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies."
- President Barack Obama, talking to Gov. Mitt Romney at the third presidential debate, October 22, 2012
We have a Commander in Chief, and his name is Barack Obama. He successfully made the point that if Mitt Romney carries his knack for shuffling his positions into the realm of foreign policy, it will be a disaster for the United States' standing in the world. Unless, of course, like a third world despot, Romney is telling us one thing and telling the rest of the world something entirely different.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

What's so foreign about foreign policy?

In a time when so much of U.S. foreign policy involves our global military footprint, ongoing engagements, waning engagements and threatening engagements, it's easy to think that war is the sole function of that governing platform. Americans are conditioned that way; like a computer that insists on entering a discarded wi-fi password at your favorite cafe, many young voters cannot remember a time when it was not how we operated in war that ran our international relations, but how we manage our peace.

God, and the voters, willing, that period will return soon.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Administration Benghazi story consistent with intelligence docs

IS THE BENGHAZI CONSULATE ATTACK A HATE CRIME?
Fire burns in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi
after the attack there on September 11, 2012.
(Photo credit: Voice of America)

News reports appeared, Friday night, that it was not al-Qaeda that was involved in the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month, but a local militia group that launched the assault after watching the violence in Egypt on television, earlier that day. "The attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo," an unnamed U.S. intelligence official told the Los Angeles Times, in an article published Friday.

In a similar story, the Washington Post's David Ignatius writes, "The senior intelligence official said the analysts’ judgment was based in part on monitoring of some of the Benghazi attackers, which showed they had been watching the Cairo protests live on television and talking about them before they assaulted the consulate."

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Truth slightly distorted - the Republicans' latest cobbled frame

"The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted." -G.C. Lichtenberg, 18th Century scientist and satirist
Word has come, from a piece in New York Magazine, that former President George W. Bush has begun to paint, "making portraits of dogs and arid Texas landscapes" to occupy his time in retirement. It's a good hobby for a 66 year old man to take up, especially one who used to represent a party that makes it its business to hold up a picture of what they want Americans to see, instead of what is actually there.

As Bill Clinton said last week in Las Vegas, in aping Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, over his sudden teleportation (not turn, because it was too sudden a shift to be congruous) from "severely conservative" to the political center, "Who ya gonna believe - me or your own lyin' eyes?"

Whether, as Clinton suggested, moderate Mitt is back, or whether he just rejiggered his campaign because of the influence of of his family, as some have suggested, it seems rather apparent that the Republican party as a whole will continue to carry the hard right's message, even as Mitt distances himself from it.

For the former Massachusetts governor, re-framing is second nature. For the GOP, re-framing is what they do when they want to distort a perceived chink in an opponent's armor or shield their nominee from his own weaknesses.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Romney's Core

English: CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Commi...
Mitt Romney, as CEO of the Salt Lake
Organizing Committee
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Given all the different positions that Mitt Romney has taken throughout his political career, it may be easy to label him a liar and a flip-flopper. But if voters are looking for the "real" Mitt, they will have a hard time trying to peer through the gauzy obfuscations to the man at the core. Mitt plays politics in a carnival funhouse, and one cannot tell with certainty if what they are looking at is the authentic Romney or one of a series of distorted reflections, each intended to please a particular block of voters.

Somewhere in the center of the rotating Romney record that spins on the public life turntable, needle dropping alternately (that's like an iPod shuffle, to you Millennials) on the Senate candidate cut, the Bain cut, Massachusetts governor cut, the 2008 presidential candidate cut, the 2012 GOP primary cut and the 2012 official Republican nominee cut, is a tall, silver spindle that is unmoving and unmovable. It is the axis around which everything that is Mitt Romney swirls.

The first debate, in Denver last week, was the ultimate clue that the Romney campaign is both more and less than it seems. To attribute his polymorphic politics to mere pandering, is to imply a schedule of nefarious plotting by the candidate and his campaign. That is not only antithetical to the moral man he claims to be, it ignores the possibility of a simpler explanation, an Occam's Razor, if you will. It is not only possible, but likely, that he sees no disconnection between his stoic center and the political characters he has trotted out on the stage throughout his life.

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