Thursday, October 4, 2012

Romney vs Obama Round 1 (Debate Analysis)

Romney speaks to his opponent. Obama looks like a child being scolded for doing what he knew was wrong.

So, who won that first debate, Governor Romney or Obama? The simple answer rests in this tweet from Kevin Eder:
The culmination of the debate was Obama backpedaling and grasping at straws.

Attempting to analyze the debate from a more objective view, I will examine what I saw as the key points where each candidate scored points. However, I look for where a candidate's stand on issues is closer to my own in addition to where they clearly state their side, deconstruct the opposing view, or present a coherent and reasonable plan. Then there is an examination of the facts and accuracy to take into account.

Before looking at the candidates' performances, let's critique the moderator, Jim Lehrer. I have already seen slack from both sides that Mr. Lehrer was not assertive enough in controlling the debate, allowing some segments to go long while not pressing the candidates to answer the tough questions. I disagree. I liked the job Jim Lehrer did. What Mr. Lehrer accomplished was to allow the debate to be closer to a Lincoln Douglas style debate yet integrate some of the expectations of modern debate formats. He was largely unobtrusive, allowing the candidates to respond completely instead of just in ten second sound bytes. The format and his approach favored neither candidate and allowed each, with their individual oratory styles, to address their talking points. Whether intentional or accidental, Mr. Lehrer accomplished something that was needed, an actual discussion and debate of the topics and issues.

The debate started with opening remarks. Obama used them to talk to his wife, wishing her a happy anniversary and congratulating her on marrying  a man who ended up elected into office.

Obama got his jabs in. He hit Romney with an increased five trillion dollar deficit as well as an increase of two trillion dollars in military expenditures through his plan to close loopholes, reduce deductions, and reduce rates on the "middle and upper classes". Obama claimed it was "simple math".

Obviously Obama failed simple math and basic algebra. His numbers are exaggerated. In addition, it's obvious he does not understand the Laffer Curve, which has proven to work. Increases in people employed and increases in salaries supply a proportionate increase in a taxable base. An increased tax-base means greater revenue, proven to be greater than just increasing the tax rate on a smaller tax-base. That, Obama, is "simple math".

However, Obama was correct in the initial increased deficit if cutting unnecessary and bloated government bureaucratic programs isn't done in conjunction. Therein, however, lies another failure in Obama's reasoning. Obama forgot to include that key variable in his equation.

Obama's other fast-jab was over "Romneycare" as the basis for "Obamacare". Elements of the PPACA do originate with the plan Romney executed into law while Governor. This is one of the main concerns that conservatives and libertarians have with Romney.

We also found out that Obama likes the moniker "Obamacare". Of course he would, since we have already established Obama's acute, clinical narcissism.

By and large, Romney did not sit in a guard position and attempt to deflect Obama's attempted hay-makers. Romney did, in fact, apply a little "Mental Aikido" and turned  those points back onto Obama, displaying his failures. It was  evident in the body language of the candidates. Mitt looked directly at Obama and smiled, then politely but firmly reduced Obama's rhetoric to the point Obama reminded me of the little girl in the movie "Kindergarten Cop" that says "I don' wanna be a powice officer, I'm a pwincess!".

Meanwhile, Obama mostly stared  down at his notes hoping that accurate words would magically appear to save him. They didn't come. So he grimaced  back tears and attempted to let loose with the same inaccurate quips he used when running for the US Senate. Romney threw that hypocrisy back at him, using Obama's own words against him. 

Now, here is my summarized blow-by-blow of the debate:

The first topic was three questions (plus discussion) on Economics.

Obama claimed he grossed five million new jobs created. The current unemployment and workforce participation rates remain strong evidence that is far from true. There are fewer people working now than there were six months into Obama's term. Obama stood by government "investments" (subsidies) to green energy companies (as long as the government can control them, as is a key to fascism). He forgot that the majority of such ventures he directed have resulted in failed business, loss of jobs, and harm to the economy and private sector.

Romney shot back with his five-point plan: 1 - put the US on path to energy independence; 2 - enable open and free trade on a global scale; 3 - increase skills and education programs to make US more competitive on global market; 4 - balance the budget!!!; 5 - champion the small businesses that are the core for progress, employment, economic growth, and opportunity. Then Romney hit with a nice quip, "Trickle down government doesn't work".

Obama then stated he wants to increase federal oversight, funding, and involvement in education, taking over private schools and increasing the number of unionized, government teachers. He also stated  that he wanted to eliminate more of the "middle men" involved in student loans, having students borrow directly from the government instead of private sector lending institutions (fascist takeover of banks). Consider this, if a student is in default on a loan to the government, the federal government can then arrest them and imprison them for failing to pay a debt to the government, just like jailing people for tax evasion. He went on to state that his future plans include investing in more businesses doomed to fail such as Solyndra.

Romney stated the obvious, Obama has no clear nor sound plan. Obama has no plan to cut taxes, only increase them. Obama has crushed  the middle income earners (Romney correctly uses that term instead of the incorrect "middle class". There are no social/income classes in the US, only current income brackets for tax purposes.) Romney then also stated the obvious that many have somehow failed to see over the past several years -- a bloated bureaucracy sucks. Then Romney quipped a zinger at Obama "Unlike you, I like coal!". Romney was referring back to a path of US energy independence.

The next segment of discussion demonstrated  that Obama doesn't understand economics while Romney understands and embraces proven economic theories such as the Laffer Curve and the necessity for job creation in order to grow the economy. Obama just wants to increase dependency upon the government in a form of socialism's modern version of economic slavery.

Obama incorrectly stated that ninety-seven percent of the "middle class" won't see any tax increases. The truth is his increased regulatory taxes on oil and coal are passed along to consumers in the incarnations of higher gasoline prices and higher food prices. Obama also failed to include the twenty-seven new taxes that the PPACA creates, most of which will fall on the middle-income-earners.

On the subject of the National Debt, Obama could do nothing but "blame Bush", despite the evidence that Obama's spending and over one trillion dollar yearly deficits have increased the national debt more in his less than four years than we saw under Bush during his eight years. In fact, Obama has accumulated more national debt while in office than we had under all the presidents, in aggregate, from Washington through Clinton and into the first two years under George W. Bush.

Romney attacked Obama's failures, to which Obama had no real rebuttal. You cannot justify failure. Romney talked about increasing efficiency and sending government programs back where they belong per the Tenth Amendment, at the state and local levels. Romney also stated that he "likes Big Bird". He also stated the hard, simple truth -- federal subsidies to PBS need to be cut. PBS is an NPO and should operate more on donations than on government subsidies. In reality, the government funding PBS and NPR can be construed as a violation of the First Amendment.

Obama attempted a rebuttal stating that he reduced medical fraud. In reality, he did not. He increased the propensity for it to occur under the PPACA. Obama also stated that the approximately top 3% of wage-earners need to fund everything for everybody else.

Romney then confronted Obama on his broken campaign promises and evident failure. He further beat Obama to his knees with the mostly-accurate figure of Obama's plans resulting in a loss of up to 700 Million more private sector jobs, particularly with the implementation of the PPACA.

On healthcare, the debate boiled down to two simple statements. Romney stated that Obamacare sucks, cuts Medicare by $716B, and takes away state and individual rights (including the 15-member "death panel"). Obama countered by stating that more people need to be dependent upon government programs, medicare, and socialist handouts. One more fact Romney raised was that the PPACA was not a bipartisan effort, but a purely socialist bill forced  upon US Citizens without proper representation and against their wills. Of course, Obama's final rebuttal on the PPACA was something to the paraphrased effect of "It's the bomb because I say so".

On the role of government, Obama stated, in summary, that the role of government is to protect the people, keep them safe, and tell them how to live. His statements boiled  down to championing having people stuck working for the government instead of themselves (and forcing government to work for them). He then, inaccurately and ineffectively, attempted to channel Abraham Lincoln but ended up sounding more like Joseph Stalin.

Romney stated, simply, the role of government is plainly and clearly stated in the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. To lead in this country is to first stick to those documents and promote individual natural rights. He then stated that some regulation is necessary to promote that goal. However, government should not regulate things to the point of strangling business or infringing upon those natural rights.

Next, the candidates discussed education policies.

For me, this was the defining point that killed any chance Obama could possibly have tried to garner in earning my vote. Obama wants to increase federal intrusion into public schools, to the level of dictating curricula. In fact, under Obama, public schools have gone so far as to confiscate lunches brought from home and issue substandard lunches as replacements at parental expense. The truth is that since the federal government has increased  its involvement in education that student performance has proportionately decreased even though government school teachers and administrators have received some of the largest salary and benefit increases in comparison to other professions.

Romney made a statement that, in summary, is simple. Romney supports school choice, vouchers, and putting education back in the hands of states. municipalities, and parents where it belongs. It's that simple, Romney is for decreasing the influence of comprachico indoctrination and supports actual education.

Obama attempted a final punch hoping for a knock-out. He obviously failed  to look at his own track record before opening his mouth. He stated "Budgets matter". Yes, Barack, they do. Perhaps you need to heed your own words. How many budgets have passed and been signed into law by you during your tenure? NONE! In fact, Obama's own party has voted down his proposals for spending too much and not cutting enough. Once more, Obama's last proposed budget bill resulted, in the Democrat-dominated Senate, with a vote of ninenty-nine "nays" and ZERO "yays". Obama highlighted  one of his greatest failures. To his own supporters, this should serve as Obama falling on his own sword.

The debate wasn't a blow out like Reagan's against failed president Jimmy Carter. Romney did display class similar to "Dutch's" when he debated Bush Sr. and demanded that the moderator turn Bush's microphone back on so people could hear what he had to say.

This was a slow beat down that resulted in a TKO while Obama threw in the towel before taking the beating he had coming.

I am looking forward to the remaining debates. I thought they were going to be painful to watch. If this was Romney just warming up, the people of this country will have no choice but to acknowledge Obama's failure and the fact four more years of  him in office will result, not in more of  the same, but worse.

Original article at  Mental Aikido

Turkey Approves Military Operations in Syria

After five people were killed, on Wednesday, by badly aimed Syrian weapons fire, Turkey struck back by firing artillery in response.

Several Syrian troops were reportedly killed by the responding fire, which has continued into Thursday.

NATO has condemned the firing into Turkey, whilst Russia has asked Syria to promise it will not happen again.

To add to the situation Turkey's parliament voted, nearly unanimously, to allow for their military to enter into Syria, if anything further happens.

Syria has yet to respond to Turkey's continued two day shelling of their territory.

Blue to Gold: ARMY Sgt 1st Class Aaron A. Henderson

ARMY Sgt 1st Class Aaron A. Henderson, thirty-three, of Houlton, Maine, died October second, at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

Less than a month ago, Jeff Swimm of Houlton had a surprise encounter with his friend and former colleague, Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Henderson.

The two met in a grocery store while Henderson was visiting his family, caught up for a few minutes and exchanged phone numbers. So when Swimm got a text message Monday telling him that Henderson had been severely injured in an improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan, his heart sank. His stomach lurched. He sat at home and wondered if there was anything he could do.

The next morning, he awoke and checked Henderson’s Facebook page. And that’s when he learned the truth. Henderson was dead. There was nothing he could do. "I saw all of the [memorial] messages on his page and I think I cried for about an hour," Swimm said Wednesday. "I mean, I just saw him three weeks ago. It’s crazy. I just saw him."

Henderson, a member of U.S. Army A Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, died Monday at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan from wounds suffered in the attack on Sept. 30 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Henderson was a Special Forces communications sergeant in a company headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky., according to information provided Wednesday by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. This was his fourth deployment in support of combat operations. Henderson completed three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom before his most recent deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Swimm and Henderson met when they were teenagers, having just graduated from high school and taken jobs at a Houlton gas station. Hardworking, kind and close to his family, Henderson had a personality "that just stuck with you," Swimm said Wednesday. "He was quite a character," he said. "We would hang out after work and on weekends sometimes, and we had a lot of fun together. He loved to fish and was really into sports. We worked together for a couple of years."

Lori Weston, community development director for the town of Houlton, said it was Henderson’s "gregarious" character that helped draw him close to her three sons. The friendship meant lots of get-togethers between the two families. Henderson’s mother, Christine, and older brother, Sam, live in Houlton. His father, Dallas, a successful insurance salesman, died in 2010. A beloved figure in the community, Dallas Henderson once jumped into a swollen river behind his office to save two teenagers who had been swept away by the current and were struggling to get to shore.

"Our families just melded together immediately," Weston said. "There were lots of baseball and basketball games. Aaron was just such a unique guy. You felt his presence when he came into a room. When he talked to you, he really talked to you. He focused. He listened. Everyone else and everything else just melted away."

Being a Green Beret was a "natural fit" for Henderson, she said. "He was doing something on a grander scale to help people," she noted. Her three sons are devastated and in disbelief over the death of their friend.

Weston visited the Henderson family Tuesday evening. "Their hearts are shattered," said Weston. "They are still mourning the death of a husband and father. Christine described it as surreal. It's just almost too much to bear."

Henderson had a tight bond with his older brother, she said. "Sam and Aaron weren't just brothers, they were best friends," said Weston. "It was Sam who was first notified that Aaron had been injured. He is inconsolable."

At Hodgdon High School, which Henderson graduated from in 1997, a sign outside the school states: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Henderson family."

On Wednesday morning, WHOU, a Houlton radio station, held a moment of silence on the air before playing music in his memory. Funeral arrangements were pending Wednesday afternoon.

Swimm, reflecting on that last visit in the grocery store, said he told Henderson that the two should get together for a drink the next time he visited. Henderson agreed. Swimm paused as he remembered that final goodbye.