Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back From Charlotte, Romney's Second Mistake: Libya

   One refreshing contrast from the Republican National Convention, no complaints from the media, Fox so-called News, Rush Limbaugh, or anyone else about anyone at the Democratic National Convention lying.
   Now what can this mean?
   Oh there were the nit pickers of course... those pesky fact checkers that the Romney campaign doesn't bother with.
   But I'll bother with them. Matthew DeLuca of The Daily Beast takes issue with the President stating that America "cut oil imports by one million barrels a day—more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades."
   DeLuca points out that Republicans have pointed out that much of our increase in domestic oil production has taken place on private land vs public land, on which oil and natural gas production has fallen during Obama's time in office.
   I point out... so what?! Who cares where the oil comes from if Obama's statement is true. What, drilling on federal land is some how more virtuous than private land? If so Romney is your candidate, because he wants to open up all of our national parks and sanctuaries to oil and gas exploration, even though we aren't utilizing all of the space currently available to us.
   We need to get off all oil, gas, and coal ASAP anyway, and begin to utilize wind, solar, and hamster power, clean alternatives and inexhaustible sources of energy which will create hundreds of thousands of new, American based jobs that can't be shipped overseas.
   DeLuca also took issue with Barack saying he ended the Iraq war during his term when the Status of Forces Agreement signed by George Bush actually set the date for troop withdrawal. 
   Again I say... so what?! Incoming presidents are under little obligation to follow the commitments made by outgoing presidents (i.e., Ronald Reagan dismantling Carter's solar panels on the White House roof). However, it was Obama who over saw and got the job done. Bottom line; did the Iraq War end under Bush or Obama. Here's a hint, it didn't happen under Bush.
   On and on.
   Here's The Colbert Nation's take on the two conventions:
   And Jon Stewart's take on the odd disparity in Fox so-called News reporting between the two:
   "And that's all I have to say about that." -Forrest Gump

   A week ago yesterday on September 11th, which happened to be the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, angry protestors in Benghazi, Libya,  attacked a ill fortified, rented home that was acting as the U.S. Consulate in that city, and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three other American nationals. Libya of course, is the country that the United States had recently helped to become liberated from the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi almost a year previously.
   Why did they attack? Because some idiot in the United States made a short video/film which denigrated (in a very gross and disgusting manner. The film, made by an ex-producer of soft porn films, has about the same production values of an amature soft core porn film. As a matter of fact it kind of looks like a Saturday Night Live skit gone very, very bad) the Prophet Muhammad, and by extension the entire religion of Islam, which got on You Tube and was subsequently translated into Arabic, and from there viewed in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
   Yes, yes, I know. It is unlikely we Americans would react in a similar manner if someone in Libya made a film making fun of Jesus Christ and the Bible. Hell, we do it ourselves!
   And there are a lot of theories out there as to why the Muslim world would get hopping mad over such a seemingly trivial thing as this (and it has spread to the Muslim world as the map above indicates), and how we should respond, since the governments in these countries are either sanctioning the actions of demonstrators for fear of alienating themselves from their own people, or because they're too weak to do anything about it.
   A lot of my conservative friends on Facebook blame President Obama for this. Of course they do. Because as everyone knows the President of the United States has magical and complete control over the  words and actions over everyone on the planet.
   But the real reason there is such a widespread, energetic and violent reaction to this film is simply because these people don't know any better. Literally.
   These people may be illiterate. They may be poor. They have not been raised in an environment that has a Constitution and a 1st Amendment. They can't fathom the concept of "free speech." If we tell them that in the United States people, within reason, can say practically any bloody thing, or write, or film, any bloody thing they want to without fear of retribution from the government, they say "hùnzhàng!" which means "bull shit!" in Mandarin.
   So if you can't conceive of a government that allows freedom of speech, then a government that allows the production and distribution of such an offensive film must fully sanction it, and  accordingly must be punished, which is what we see happening throughout the Muslim world.
   I must point out not all Muslims are involved, just a small percentage. Actually most Libyans are pro-United States, and have apologized for the attack on Stevens and the other three Americans. 
   But this incident is not what this post is about. What it's about is Mitt Romney's response to this incident.
   Okay, the time line goes something like this. Protests were to occur at the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt as well as in Benghazi. But before that took place a week ago Tuesday, the Cairo embassy staff released a statement addressing the controversy over the movie. The embassy's online statement said that it "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." In other words they were condemning the producers of the film for being intolerant toward other religions, which was perfectly appropriate at that time. Remember now the attack in Benghazi had not yet taken place.
   After the attack did take place, on the night of September 11th, a day that both presidential campaigns had suspended negative attack ads, Mitt Romney called a press conference, and said this, "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
   What?! Really?
   The President hadn't said a word about the attack at that point, yet Romney criticized his administration for sympathizing with a mob that killed four Americans. A horrible and blatantly untrue statement in itself, let alone the fact that Romney had opened his big yap before he knew all of the facts (he didn't even know it was Ambassador Stevens who had been killed), and stuck not one, not two, but both feet and the rest of him right in there until he exploded himself out of his ears.
   And believe me, that's not easy.
   Of course I always defer to the Colbert Nation when these types of situations arise:
   For the record, the next day, September 12th, President Obama addressed the nation from the Rose Garden, with Secretary of State Clinton by his side, and spoke for 10 minutes.
   "Today the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers," he said. "The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We are working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats and I have also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
   We will not waiver in our commitment to see that justice is done for the terrible act and make no mistake justice will be done," he concluded. "But we also know the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers."
   Dear readers, do you see an apology on there somewhere?
   Is it hiding? I can't see one.
   Romney doubled down that day and said he stood by his initial remarks, saying the diplomatic statement from the Cairo embassy was Obama's responsibility, and was "akin," to an apology, which he found disgraceful.
   Oh that Mitt! Only in Republicanland can a condemnation of a film turn into an apology, or something akin to an apology, whatever that means.
   And then the Republican Noise Machine kicked in and all of the Republican pundits called Obama an apologist over and over again, despite the fact that it was patently false, and when told it was false, they kept on repeating it because that's what Republicans do.
   Actually what is happening here is that we have a candidate who didn't get any bump from his VP pick or his convention, in fact maybe the opposite reaction. What we have here is a desperate candidate and campaign. The polls indicate a widening gap between Romney and the President despite the media's tendency to keep it close. What we have here is a bone headed Not-Ready-For-Primetime-Player making an amature mistake big time in front of the entire world.
   As the Colbert Nation indicated above, just about everybody agrees with that assessment, Republicans (those not working for the Romney campaign that is) and Democrats alike (they even woke up Clint Eastwood, who agreed).
   Romney's statements prompted progressive talk show host, Bill Maher to state, "I think this is the week Mitt Romney lost the election." Many others agreed.
   I doubt that this incident, or the Afghanistan gaffe during the convention, or the next big mistake we'll discuss tomorrow, or any one incident will derail Romney's campaign (unless Mitt admits to being a pitchfork baby killer I guess... maybe not even then), because the country's just too polarized right now for that to happen. Too many people already know who it is they are going to vote for no matter what happens (which is why huge influxes of Super PAC money won't make that much difference, sorry Mr. Rove. That money may even have a detrimental affect for their candidate due to Commercial Fatigue). Yet mistake after mistake after mistake has got to take a toll sometime, especially with the small percentage of so-called independent voters in the battleground states that both campaigns are courting.
   The White House yesterday left open the possibility that last week's attack was preplanned, despite statements to the contrary by Susan Rice, our Ambassador to the United Nations.
   According to Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, the attack was planned by al-Qaeda linked foreigners and conducted by Libyans.
   Maybe it was the 40 attackers who used rocket propelled grenades and machine guns that gave them a clue.
   Anyway, Middle Eastern protestors tend to be an excitable bunch. However, if it's true that the attack was indeed preplanned and Libyans were being manipulated into action by other forces with a set agenda, then this is a clear example of how easily that is accomplished... to manipulate ill-informed masses in a particular direction, to do the bidding of others, which are often contrary to the best interests of those being manipulated (i.e., suicide bombers).
   Just like Fox so-called News and its viewers back here in the states!

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