Wednesday, October 31, 2012

- Aftermath

If I'm not mistaken, these beach houses in Seaside Heights appear to be entombed in sand.

The bay-side of Seaside Heights.
A few Pictures of the devastation. Really nothing to say. I'm in shock.
I'm just getting texts from friends in Pt Pleasant, Locust and Monmouth Beach.
No phone signals yet.


Sea Bright destroyed. See video.

Wall Twp to be without water for a few days...


The Seaside Heights Roller Coaster and the Remains of the Pier.

Mantoloking: The Ocean meets the Bay.

Monday, October 29, 2012

- Then The Lights Went Out...

At roughly 7:50, the lights went out for both Frith and I. He's on the beach and I'm 15 miles away so we figure it must be a substantial outage. Not two minutes later, my brother sent me a text from deep in rural Somerset county to tell me that he had just lost power too. He's about 40 miles away, so we're talking some inconvenience now.

We're on generator power, and Frith and my brother have returned to the era of candle power. My brother also has an electric well pump so he's embracing our European heritage by not bathing. (Actually I think they'll be by tomorrow for the shower.)

Beyond that there's really not much excitement. A few snapped trees, but nothing unexpected. And that's good because coping with a hurricane should be exactly like flying in a jumbo jet. If' it's boring, then you're doing everything right.


For those of you with power and internet access the Daily News Website has some great photography and ad hoc journalism of the flooding.


20 minutes after I took this shot the ocean knocked these concrete benches back.

This is very high ground.  250 feet of beach is under water.  Wind is picking up.  An hour till high tide.

People on lower ground are getting creamed.

I am inside and the wind is rocking this building.  Gusts are moving the building abut two inches.  Unsettling.

The Scale of Sandy's Waves

I have posted the fishing hut at the end of this pier a few times now. I am not going across Ocean Ave., so these iPhone shots are as good as I will do. Keep in mind the shack is 8 feet tall from the pier deck to the roof line. The shot below is a wave that is just starting to break 2 or 3 feet higher than the deck of the pier. So you are seeing the top of the face, without seeing the trough hidden by the wave in front. That wave is probably bigger than 15 feet.

I'll decide in an hour whether I will stay the night. My building lasted through the 1878 Gale. I look out my back window and see the Firehouse. But I am 2 1/2 blocks from these monsters. I will look at how this thing is tracking before I decide what to do.


LOCATION...38.6N 74.0W

That is reeeaalllllyyy low pressure. The eye will pass well south of here. I am staying put. 

- This Is Totally Unrelated To Race

Gangs Plan Hurricane Looting Spree Via Twitter

Scores of Twitter users have flooded the social networking site announcing their plans to go on looting sprees once Hurricane Sandy makes landfall, as the New York National Guard announced it would put troops on duty in Long Island to prevent such activity.

So all you folks in Pennsylvania dutch country had better keep an eye out for bands of marauding Amish gangs (they can be identified by wearing their gang colors of black and white), as there is sure to be trouble.

- Meanwhile Back In Obama's Secret Lair...

Call me paranoid, but this has a very 'Atlas Shrugged' sound to it if you ask me:

President Barack Obama signaled if he wins a second term he would appoint a Secretary of Business to oversee newly-consolidated government agencies, including the Small Business Administration, and predicted “a war” will break out within the Republican Party after the Nov. 6 election.

Who will he appoint I wonder. Maybe Ex SEIU Chief Andy Stern? Maybe Richard Trumka? certainly it will be someone who knows how to get what the Obama administration wants out of the business community right? Maybe he'll take another pass at getting Marxist Van Jones into his cabinet. After all, a second term is his mandate right?

Mind you, I don't really believe it will happen. But if Obama were to get a second term, then the war on American business will proceed at precisely the same pace that it has over the last 4 years. And then heaven help us all.

Bracing for the Eye Down the Shore

About 150 feet of my beach is under water. Much of the beach has been taken away. I am seeing 12 to 14 faces.

The dunes they bulldozed up are just being topped. The towns that are growing dunes will come out of this one looking quite wise. The boardwalks not protected by dunes will be damaged. Probably Avon and parts of Belmar.

I am hearing the storm is tracking northwest. If the eye tracks Point Pleasant or north that will be very good for the barrier Islands and Atlantic City. The biggest surge will be north of the eye.

If the eye tracks over the Shrewsbury River, that will be very bad for New York City. That will put the Sandy Hook to Gateway toilet bowl drain plug scenario in play. Wind is NNE, which shading more to the North. This is good for New York. Looks like she'll keep moving west rather than parking, so the drain plug will pull when that happens.

I am guessing Bloomberg will call for a zone 2 evacuation. There aren't enough School Buses in New York to take care of the worst case.

P.S. I took my toothbrush with me when I headed west.

- Waiting For The End Of The World

"Dear lord I sincerely hope your coming cause you, really started something."

The photo above came from HILN. You may recognize it. It's the bridge that spans the bay from Toms river to Seaside Heights, the latter being out on the barrier islands. It's a before and after designed to illustrate the level of the storm surge caused by low air pressure.

I've expressed cynicism with regard to the media hype. I'm sorry I just can't shake that. I am as close as anyone alive comes to being a professional consumer of news, and I can't start taking these people seriously because the broken clock is finally showing the right time.

With all that said though, believable evidence is filtering in to me, that this will be a big deal. The good news is that with Irene passing by so recently this is now one of the most prepared places in the world. I can't speak to everywhere this storm will have an effect but in this prosperous little corner of NJ, everyone has at least a small backup generator, and is well stocked with emergency supplies.

Commerce is suspended today so I expect we'll be hearing from Frithguild. Maybe he'll take one of those photos out the back of his car window as he flees to safety. You know... the huge wall of water chasing him up the street Hollywood style? Maybe we can Photoshop that German tourist from 9-11 into it.

We are not journalists here and don't pretend to be. But in the interest of our regular readers we'll provide a little local data if it seems interesting.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Worse Than Irene 24 Hours Before it Hit

Now you can see better what I mean when I say 10 foot faces. Tomorrow could be twice this size.

8:00 p.m. Update - The ocean is licking the boardwalk in Asbury Park. The water is now higher than it was with Irene. Probably in excess of 16 feet above mean high tide. Asbury Park is closed for several blocks west of the boardwalk.

2 High tides to go before the peak of the storm and full moon high. The eye is probably seven degrees south and four degrees east from here. It is tracking the Gulf Stream.  Pressure is really low.  With the eneryg from the sunlight tomorrow she will stregnthen.  The wind here turned from NNE to slightly more NE which could pile up more ocean water. All bad signals.

Evil is the word that keeps coming to me for this storm.

This One is Evil

I just took a stroll on the beach. I could hear it roaring from a good 800 yards away. We have had a sustained northeast wind for a good 20 hours or so. The ocean is up I estimate 8 feet or so over ordinary high tide. Right now it is mid-tide.

My beach has lost a good 10 feet to erosion. The foam is several inches thick on the sand. The seas are from the northeast, so the faces a very choppy. I would say eight to 10 foot faces, with an occasional 12 plus footer.

I have never seen it like this with an eye so far away.

Sandy has not been very well organized. However, this morning an eye seems to be forming. She is tracking up the gulf stream, which can certainly add to her power.

Tomorrow we could very easily see 15 to 20 feet above mean high tide. An organized eye wall could put more on top of that.

Worst case is if the eye wall surge that “corks” between Sandy Hook and Gateway National, with a following consistent northeast gale. The winds won’t be as severe as ‘92 - 90 mph sustained - but that storm didn't have an eye. But this bitch has the potential for eye and a sustained northeast gale. It could turn the lower Hudson valley into a giant toilet bowl.

If the eye comes ashore across the NJ barrier islands, I think a breach to the bay is possible. People will die if they stay on the island.

This one is an evil bitch.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

- Holy $HIT!!! THAT is a Journalist!

I think it's safe to say this guy is going to get audited if Obama get's reelected. (And he's going to get stuff thrown at him during his next J-School reunion either way.)

The man's name is Kyle Clark, and he's a local TV journalist in Colorado. Obama signed onto the interviewing assuming he was going to get the typical 'comedy central/MTV' softballs and instead he got this guy. You could knock me over with a feather and Obama looks pretty pissed off too.

- Storm Track Update

The Median track on what is now supposed to be a 'once in hundred years' storm shows landfall being made somewhere between Atlantic City NJ, and the side door of Frithguild's house.

For concerned readers, he's assured me that his car will remain parked at high ground and he'll 'cotton-tail' it out of there the minute enough sea water begins soaking into his blankets to keep him awake.

Friday, October 26, 2012

- The Incredible Shrinking President

Anyone can tell you about Obama's demise, but few can do it with the style of Mark Steyn.

The only comment I have to add is this:

Given the latest evidence regarding the Benghazi attacks I think Obama or his very closest advisers must have been personally responsible for the screw up. It was either him, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett or someone just as close to the top.

And the reason I'm convinced of that is that if it were really some state department hack or a mid level worker-bee from sector 7G of the CIA, then there would be a fall guy already. But instead, the story has moved along for weeks, the evidence has become overwhelming, and the New York Times STILL refuses to cover it.

The only reason I can imagine for such blatant journalistic malpractice (even from the times) is that they're protecting Obama.

- A Strongly Recomended Radio Derb

If you have a strong stomach and a patient heart I'd highly recommend this week's RadioDerb, which is out just a tad early.

It's not our man Derb who is going to infuriate and sicken you. He is, as always, a model of courtesy and good manners. But the stories he discusses in this weeks news will leave you breathless.

The mainstream news hasn't covered the story in any meaningful way, which should tell you all you need to know about the subject.

Lay Off That

Sometimes, when I see something that looks really strange, it takes a close look to really figure it out. I am going to resist the urge to dig deeply today. So I will just leave it up to you readers to punch holes in this one. Tell me I’m wrong.

I have believed for a while that the Tea Party will be a secret weapon this election. A modern American Election is a complicated creature. The last time around, the establishment Republicans little doubt viewed the Tea Party as Michael viewed Fredo – “I’m smart. Not like everybody says, like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!” Sometimes little brothers grow up. Sometimes they do not.

I have seen many stories that showed that the little brother was growing up. Generally, there is respect for Romney’s need for message control. Little brother, it also seems, is learning how to adapt and follow the general theme.

I though this story could be really persuasive. You see Joe Biden is traveling Oshkosh and Kenosha Wisconsin today. Yesterday, Oskosh Corp. issued a press release stating that decreased U.S. Defense Department will require it to reduce its production workforce in Oshkosh from about 4,000 to 3,500. What will Joey say about that?

So I took a quick look at how this story was playing in today’s press. Al Reuters issued a story titled, “Oshkosh profit rises, sales decline on defense orders.” Not one word about layoffs. A Google search for “Oshkosh” shows only 27 stories, without a single story from a major media outlet. So try something yourself. Google “layoff.” Major media outlets are spiking all stories about layoffs.

Paul Ryan has been asked about Ayn Rand as a source of inspiration. Soon after that, it seems, Oshkosh Corporation went Gault. Well done little brother. Let’s see if big brother can keep this one spiked.

- Mistaking Communism For Virtue

As someone who has worked closely his entire career with Chinese men and women - including several with very powerful connections in the Chinese government - and has had a chance to gain a passing understanding of how the Chinese mindset differs from the American, I think there are only 2 surprising things about this story:

1. It's surprising that the New York Times could be so naive to think that a Chinese leader's family isn't enriching itself. (yes... even the NYT)

2. It's surprising that the Chinese government didn't throw the entire Chinese staff of the NYTimes in prison before the story was ever published. (Which should also make the informed reader wonder who is really behind the Times getting all this no doubt closely guarded information).

The principle decision making body in Chinese society is the family. What we call 'corruption' they call 'the fabric of society'. But I guess since their government still wears the 'communist' label, the New York Times thought they were more virtuous in some way.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Of That Persuasion

Persuasion, when done well is evanescent. Somebody in the process of making a decision will best be persuaded when they feel like the smartest person in the room. Walter Williams had a great piece yesterday, where he cited an example of how you can be totally right, but not persuasive. The thematic line in that piece was, “Explaining a phenomenon is the same as giving it moral sanction or justification.” In his example, you could prove all day to an educational elitist that Americans that are descendants of slavery enjoy a better standard of living that those who escaped capture but remained in Africa, but it won’t get you anywhere.

Conservatives tend to think out their predispositions far more than others. So they debate using facts, logical conclusions and sound reasoning. This style of persuasion is often ineffective because the conservative tries to become the smartest person in the room. This leaves the conservative open to being dismissed with claims of arrogance, intolerance, being closed minded and other ad hominem tactics.

The battle for persuasion is won or lost in how the discussion unfolds. The first step is to set the table by defining what you want and the result you don’t want. Then, persuasion takes place best through an awareness of the facts, which you present dramatically as the debate unfolds. The key is to engage the decision maker. You let the debate unfold, stir it up when it falters, and throw in facts that cannot be disputed. Then, if you see someone arrive at the conclusion you want, reinforce it by following them. Leaders are the smartest person in the room.

I have said for a while that Obama can’t win if he loses Pennsylvania. Tom Smith is giving Bob Casey a run for his money, having closed a 20 point gap over the past 45 days. Smith won the first battle by defining himself and his opponent in one stroke. His ads, as described by the press, denounce, in a “pleasant, straightforward demeanor, … what Bob Casey and the political class have done to America.” He dismisses “career politicians” and describes himself as “just a farm boy that got misplaced in the coal mines and started my own business.” Now Smith is running an ad with a man stating as fact, "I was recently laid off at a coal mine like this, because (President) Barack Obama's new regulations forced our mine to close. Sen. Bob Casey supported these regulations, going right along with Obama's war on coal."

Casey’s riposte talks about harm to babies from mercury, but that misses the point. The decision is not about coal mining. It is about whether Casey and Obama are good for the economy. This quite nicely leaves the Pennsylvania voter to feel like the smartest person in the room.

So it is at this moment in the decision that sentiment about Romney becomes so important. This is why Romney is running the campaign that he has run. Maybe the undecided remembers that Romney ad, "Less regulations to keep the lights on at old jobs."  Conservatives may not be happy, but that means that Romney appears more palatable to those who may be persuaded.

- Here's A Song About A Car....

Contrary to Bruce Springsteen's advice, Sandy looks like she's going to be returning to the Jersey shore after all.

RFNJ is about 15 minutes from the beach, tucked into a comfortable little suburban valley between horse farms and apple orchards. But our power is above ground and the trees are mature, so we lose power at the drop of a hat - at least several times a year. Thanks in part to Irene, I have backup power, and backup, backups for things like my sump pump. And we even have a fall back position if we're shut down for weeks. But all that is unlikely even in the worst case.

Frithguild is a bit more exposed, living as he does within sight of the ocean. But he's of hardy "Irish Riviera" stock and is accustomed to such risks, having grown up with them his entire life. At the moment he's unperturbed.

It's funny, I'm not much of a Springsteen fan (even less so since he's become political) but that particular song has always stuck in my head. I can't hear the name Sandy without thinking about it. His 'lies told to young girls' taken in stride, it always seemed to me to be about the community you leave behind when you go on to bigger and better things. It's presented as a sad thing and I guess there is always an element of that, but I've 'quit this scene' a number of times in my life and for me the good parts have always outweighed the bad.

In my case I guess that's really about 'upward mobility'. I realized that if I was going to be successful I needed to do things differently than I was doing them, and that meant doing them in a different place too. That's the price you pay for the upside. And the net effect has always been positive after I got past that sense of loss.

But that doesn't help much when you're feeling alone and isolated in a totally new place where you know next to no one, and are very much an outsider looking in. I remember riding out one storm in my brand new apartment in Hoboken (when I first went to work on Wall Street), even before my phone had been turned on, where the sense of isolation was absolutely palpable. I imagined that if anything serious were to happen to me it would be months before anyone at all even noticed. Not that I regret my choices at all - I really don't. I'm just saying that they haven't been totally without at least temporary costs.

This post is really apropos of nothing I guess, except to give you guys in more remote locations a window on how the locals are feeling about yet another major storm on the Jersey coast. But there are a few things that we have to just learn to deal with in New Jersey whether we like it or not. One is the occasional coastal storm, and another... is Bruce Springsteen. And here we learn to take the good with the bad.

- BUSTED! Voter Fraud

The son of Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. – who serves as the field director for his father’s campaignhas been caught on video advising an undercover reporter how to fraudulently cast ballots in the name of registered voters by forging utility bills and relying on the assistance of Democrat lawyers.
After this story was published today, Patrick Moran announced his immediate resignation from the  Moran for Congress campaign. (WND)

While ProjectVeritas has been very slippery in their application of audio and video documentation, never-the-less, they are willing to keep the issue of ballot fraud on the front burner at all costs.
They'll probably get sued or go to court for this latest revelation.
The first people to shriek that voter fraud died with Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall are always on the left.
As a kid I used to hear stories of the Hudson County Machine and how New Jersey was always ready to deliver votes in certain elections.
In the above example, we have the son of a multi-term Democrat Congressman (or as I like to call them: The New Aristocracy) actually advising on how to get desired results. As you watch - yeah, its a long video - you'll see that there is more to this. We're not talking impacting a local election; we're talkin' national.
Liberals will ignore and deny or argue that the evidence was fruit of the poisonous tree - but Project Veritas is not law enforcement. While liberals have had their "grass-roots" scooby-doo organizations that would cobble evidence of evil conservatism complete with actors that walked off a Benetton commercial, when their people or causes become the target of similar tactic they go "Full-Alinsky".
Some Republicans and self-avowed conservatives will claim that these stunts do more harm than good because they detract from the real issues.
I have to disagree since unfettered voter fraud cuts to the core of of our constitution and embarrasses a nationthat likes to advertise Freedom as its basal element.
"So close to the election" is what they will cry... timing is everything, but voter fraud usually takes place during elections.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

- It's Always "All Political"

There is an awful lot of media noise around these events in Libya so let me break it down as I understand it.

In the days and weeks leading up the attack on our consulate in Benghazi and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, multiple events probably should have led relevant parties in government to increase security. The British consulate, which was originally in the building next door, was evacuated in the first week of September - so they could see the writing on the wall. but on our end, none of that was done.

The most likely reason for this is simply government incompetence which is common under both political parties, but is particularity visible in the age of Obama where expanding your bureau's reach and increasing it's funding (otherwise known in government as making hay when the sun shines) has always been a much higher priority than actually administering government duties.

But to be fair, it's hardly the first time the federal government missed obvious warning signs. Balls get dropped often. And by the time the attack took place on September 11th (I seem to recall that date from somewhere) nothing to protect our consulate or citizens had been done.

Then the attack occurred. It was an organized attack by a heavily armed Al Qaeda affiliate. There was no mob that got out of control or riot in the street. It was just an attack by a terrorist organization - and our Ambassador and several other American citizens were killed. The event ended with the black Al Qaeda flag flying over what used to be a US consulate - not exactly a picture that team Obama wanted to see all over the airwaves running up to a tight election.

The US State department reacted to the attack in the way it almost always does - by rhetorically falling to it's knees and begging forgiveness of the aggrieved Arab Street. There was some confusion because of other riots and protests that were taking place elsewhere in the near east to commemorate the murder of Americans, and the state department officials who issued the apology might not have been perfectly clear what events exactly preceded what.

But when Mitt Romney's campaign issued a statement calling the State department's apology to a bunch of murdering thugs who had just killed a US Ambassador 'shameful', we saw the first real consensus on messaging. The mainstream media, acting in their capacity as Obama's praetorian guard, fell on Romney like a pack of wolves for 'politicizing' the event.

What happened next is disputed. The political right and the few media outlets that have dared to deviate from the liberal consensus, believe that team Obama somehow came up with this story about some Youtube video and a riot gone 'out of control' to lay cover for their obvious mishandling of the issue. They needed to project an image of Obama as a tough decisive leader for reelection purposes.

The left and the Whitehouse though have contended that it was a failure further down the line from Obama. And in the subsequent weeks, have convinced a number of government officials to fall on their sword's for the good of the emperor. But these days, a dead underling rarely stays dead. The Intelligence community and State department have both been thrown "under the bus" by the committee to reelect, and they have both responded by leaking information which indicates that team Obama knew everything in advance, even if the candidate himself didn't. This points the rational observer to see a potential cover-up to achieve a political purpose - but that is as yet, unproven.

One way or the other, the moral of this story is pretty simple to me. For liberals, everything is always political. And meeting a political goal (like getting your people reelected) is always worth any sacrifice, particularly because for liberals, the sacrifice is always someone else's.

"The end justifies the means' is liberal's idea of 'strong political principle'. There are 100 million graves filled with innocent civilians, spread across Europe and Asia that will testify to that fact. And although there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence yet that Obama and his team directly lied to the American people - I think only a fool would doubt that it will be along eventually.

- Smell The Veal....

Obama's intrade numbers going off the cliff.

My experience with intrade is limited, and maybe it's me focusing too much on my own domain since all distributions seem very 'non-normal' to me lately. But as I recall, the probability of a number going from 90 to 80 is much smaller than the probability of a number going from 50 to 20.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

- The Apology Tour

It's no secret that Obama believes in the virtue of the collective. And during his administration he's made it clear how embarrassed and shameful he feels our collective past has been in America. I'm sure he see's this as being "humble".

But humility by definition, can only be a personal virtue. When it's foisted on us by our leaders it's not virtuous humility, it's just collectively humiliating.

This is no leader - this is a man who is giving real leaders what he see's as their comeuppance. More than anything else, he's a man who does not deserve to be in charge of anything.

- Horses And Bayonets : Part 2

The French, Israelis and the Poles are our allies, and it's good to have such loyal friends. But the Brits are more like family.

Except for those odd looking L85's they carry, I think it's pretty easy to see the resemblance.

(Delivered via email from our man Derb - compliments of Danny D.)

- Horses And Bayonets

If a bayonet is such an arcane and useless implement of war, then why do I have to file the bayonet lug off my AR15 to keep it from being an 'assault weapon'? Add one more item to the nearly endless list of liberal contradictions.

Obama has been the commander in chief for nearly a full term, and still doesn't understand the first thing about war. This isn't to say that he doesn't understand killing. He is, after all, the very first Nobel Peace Prize winner to have his own personal "Kill List". (Unless you count Yassar Arafat, but I don't think "all the Jews" counts as an actual list.)

But like all liberals, Obama prefers to sneak up on his victims and give them a knife (or bayonet) in the back rather than getting in a straight up fight. Assassination is more his thing than honest war craft. And that's true even when his assassination is done by seal teams.

He is, in a word, a coward. But he can't help it. He's a liberal. Cowardice and liberalism are two threads of the same cloth. In fact I think it can be said that it's people's lack of the courage to face their own fears that makes them into liberals in the first place. I've never met a brave liberal - not one. They talk tough when they're part of a mob, but get them one on one and they are quick to bow to you, or get on their knees or whatever. Obama is no different.

I watched about half the foreign policy debate, and in the process I learned that the key to our national security is hiring one million more unionized imbeciles to teach in the public schools. (Look for the union label.) Mostly it was a waste of time.

And the reason i think so is that apart from being generally incompetent, and focusing on his 'short game', I don't think Obama has made as much of a hash of foreign policy as he could have. He talked like a liberal when he was campaigning in 2008 - "surrender before defeat" and all that. But when it came time to fight he realized that no one asks the president to risk his neck so he might as well keep the fight going. In that way his policies looked very similar to those of his predecessor.

And the policies Romney is proposing don't sound meaningfully different to me. It's not like he has some secret formula that will solve the middle east problem. It's 5000 years and running of constant headaches in that region, so why should Mitt Romney be spared? It's my hope that under Romney, the actual administration of government will become more efficient (does Mitt even golf?) but we're not setting the bar very high are we? Barry has never run so much as a lemonade stand, and Mitt is an experienced and highly successful executive. Surely it's unfair to even compare their relative competence.

Soldiers are a legitimate and necessary component of the federal government in my view. Using those soldiers to maintain stability overseas and look after US interests also seems to me to be a legitimate use of them. And my principle hope for a Romney administration is that if you don't bow to every two bit thug, and don't wear a pink bike helmet to every state function, then fewer people will think they can get away with kicking sand in your face.

It's a schoolyard truism that if you're willing to use force, you're less likely to need to. Romney will certainly be more willing than Barry Obama of the preemptive Nobel peace prize. Hopefully that willingness will manage to save a few lives.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Foward with New Details

"President Barack Obama was told in his daily intelligence briefing for more than a week after the consulate siege in Benghazi that the assault grew out of a spontaneous protest, despite conflicting reports from witnesses and other sources that began to cast doubt on the accuracy of that assessment almost from the start.

New details about the contents of the President's Daily Brief, which haven't been reported previously, show that the Central Intelligence Agency didn't adjust the classified assessment until Sept. 22, fueling tensions between the administration and the agency."

Thanks to some pretty spectacular sword diving, we now know the incompetence is with the intelligence advisers that sit in the White House.  I feel a whole lot safer now.  

- When No One Is Looking...

Others have mentioned this story, but Mitt never has - not on camera anyway. I think a guy like this will make a better president than notoriously thin skinned and effete Obama.

The Invincible

This is a re-post from June 13, 2012 which I resurrected from cache. It was one of my first few posts here. I mistakenly deleted it, so I hope I am not too presumptuous in putting it back up.  Graphic is new.


RFNJ has been way out front talking about the dim prospects for an Obama reelection. You can put me in the pounded veal camp. Common sense calls for that conclusion, but there is there is an undercurrent from a simpler time, which may move voting opinion in ways the eyeball counters have not considered. I give you the Espionage Act of 1917.

Warfare in the days Congress passed this law involved great unitary actions, which could turn on a small bit of information. British Admiralty intelligence in Room 40 intercepted a May 30, 1916 signal at 14:00 that Admiral Scheer of the German High Seas Fleet sent to his submariners. Admiral Jellicoe used this information, to completely change the dynamics of the largest naval engagement in the history of warfare. Across the pond, Congress learned that secrets matter.

Political campaigns are a kind of warfare, where a big secrets have been enough to make or break a candidacy. Past Presidential campaigns, I think, have steered clear of poking the intelligence community bee hive out of fear of the big secret.

That was then and this is now. Modern military strategy seems to focus upon asymmetry and the damage that swarms of unmanned weapons may achieve. Vast amounts of digital information have changed warfare and politics alike. Yet, intelligence remains as important as ever.

The Obama administration has begun more prosecutions under the Espionage Act of 1917 than any other administration. At the same time, the chattering class now observes that intelligence leaks seem to be strangely selective and geared toward shaping the public image of the President. Men and women in the intelligence services put their lives on the line, with the inviolability of a secret as their only protection. Their community is small, their information is vast and their memories are long. They are also very good at staying hidden.

The days of big information from out of nowhere resulting in fatal damage to a big campaign may be more in the past than in the digital present because public attention is nowhere as unitary as when our information came from singular and iconic sources. Today we have swarms of information. Military planners fear the swarm. I am not so sure big political campaigns have a strategy to defend against an information swarm. This administration does not seem to fear one getting airborne, if you look at how it has used the Espionage Act of 1917 and the trove that law seeks to protect. Perhaps it should.
The battlecruiser HMS Invincible sank in 90 seconds at the Battle of Jutland, after a 12 inch shell penetrated its thinly armored deck. You might say it had thin skin.

The Invincible Pt. 3

So once again somebody in an 8x10 office somewhere in Washington DC let it be known that we had a Predator drone cutting real time feed through the fog of war.

At the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies."  I do not believe they were watching YouTube.

The timing of the release of this information is absolutely masterful. It came just a little bit too late for the Sunday news show talking heads to adjust their talking points. Now here we are day two in the three day news cycle. Time for the President to react. Funny, he has a debate with Mr. Romney schedule to do just that.

As I see it, if we had a Predator watching as our brothers, fathers, mothers and sisters were being murdered, an A-10 would have nipped this whole problem in the bud.

But think about this. You are in a consulate under attack by savages that believe in beheading and rape is the right way to treat an enemy. You know the good guys have a Predator in the air watching over you, so they are pretty close by.

Help never comes.

- An Alpha Male Nation

With international affairs becoming the talk of the day, I think it makes it clear how wise I was to get a couple of other people involved in writing this blog. I'm an economics and finance guy. There is an element of international affairs in that, but it hardly makes me an expert. Except for the fate of Israel (and maybe the Euro) I'm not even really all that interested in it. But I do have one thing to say.

Right now, drudge has a few (just a few) of the photos of Obama bowing to various world leaders up on it's page. I'm sure Obama viewed those episodes as nothing more than good manners, but it wasn't. It was taking a subordinate role. And that role does not suit the character of America, which is an alpha nation.

We are leaders, like it or not. That means high risk, high reward, and having all the other beta nations (like France for instance) envy us our strength. It's harder to be an alpha, but if it's in keeping with your character, it's almost impossible to avoid. That's very true of America. And we should have an alpha male in charge. Obama is no alpha male. He might as well have worn his pink bike helmet when he went on his apology tour.

Obama is a beta. And he can't pretend to be otherwise without exhibiting the typical beta traits. All that bowing was merely him submitting to his most natural instinct. Meanwhile the petulance, the unpredictability of his temper, the thin skin - all are typical of a beta male trying to be more than his instincts would have him be. The thing that would probably make Barry happiest is to step to the back where he can whine and complain with impunity, and let a real man be in charge for a while - like Michelle.

Obama thinks bowing is good manners. If that's so then kissing the sandals of world leaders must be REALLY good manners. If you're a beta, that's how the world looks. Obama wouldn't know this, but it's possible to to be polite without debasing yourself and your nation in the process. It's possible to treat other leaders and other nations as your equal without coming off as rude. That egalitarian tendency suits the American character too since here, each man is sovereign. But Obama has never been able to figure that out.

Mitt Romney is nothing if not well mannered. He's a real man, of good character. In many ways he's typical of the American ideal. He's personally humble and industrious, and has a good clear head on his shoulders. And if elected, he is certainly not going to be going on any bowing tours. When abroad he will insist, (not demand mind you, only beta's feel the need to demand things, but he will politely insist) that the world leaders deal with him - the leader of the world's greatest nation - as an equal. He will present himself as the Alpha male in chief of the Alpha nation. The leader of a nation of leaders.

He will not force foreign leaders to debase themselves, but he will not bow. The leftists in the media will call this posture (both political and physical) an outrage. Let them. We know who they are, and they know we know it. That whining can only come from the back of the pack. It's time for them all to be quiet and let a real man be in charge for a while.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Close the Deal Mitt!

Don't expect Mitt to try to close anything now that somebody in an 8x10 office somewhere in the much maligned Washington Intelligence community fired a 12 inch shell that is hurtling toward the thin skinned HMS Invincible. We have already seen the the dialog unfold. Hillary gets out in front with the tried and true fog of war packaging, which has been somewhat effective.  The story has drawn enough blood for the President to get directly involved by saying that if you find something broken in government, you fix it.

The Romney riposte I think has been perfect. Ryan has been out cracking the story open more broadly by indicting the Obama Mideast foreign policy generally. He has said that Obama has outsourced out foreign policy to the UN, while giving the Russians veto power in Syria, which will lead to greater control for groups like Al-Qaida.  In Lebanon, a Brigadier General has been taken down. I think it likely this bombing is related to the wholesale compromise of intelligence assets because we lost an embassy. Regardless, anyone who thinks goings on in the Mideast are important feels like the smartest guy in the room.  A solid Democrat voting block now is in a position to be persuaded.  Mitt's position here is very wise because if anything erupts in the Mideast, he has the foundation to move with the news flow.

I think Chris Christie is working behind the scenes on Mitt's message control. Obama, in many ways is an opponent like Corzine. I think Mitt's people like their internals and will stick to their plan. Few though Christie would beat Corzine as handily as he did. The Christie campaign was extraordinarily well disciplined and focused on message control. That is how a Republican wins in state with many Democrats and a large number of independents.

Mitt will stay above it all to keep his Presidential appearance. He will not go for a kill in the next debate. He will let Obama kill himself by a death of a thousand cuts.

Mitt is a chalk player. He is the kind of guy who would go to the horse track and show everybody how to do a show parlay.  He would pick the best horse and jockey in each race using some algorithm few understand, then bet each one to come in third. Not very satisfying to conservatives that want red meat. As I see it, if conservatives become very happy at this point in the election process, Romney is in big trouble. The message must be focused on swing voters in swing states.

Although I think Mitt is capable, he will never throw a 97 mph fastball before election day. One swing at pitch like that can be a home run. Romney will pitch Obama down and away, because he goes the opposite way so poorly.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Invincible, Pt. 2

I was thinking of a post I made last July, which I think I just deleted by mistake. I made the point that the Obama Administration has filed more prosecutions under the Espionage Act of 1917 than any other Administration. I thought it particularly unwise to antagonize the intelligence community, which will bite back particularly hard when it will hurt the most.

We all saw the Candy Crowley's riposte about terrorism in Benghazi, which warmed up an already warm issue. So this part of the story recently caught my eye: "The two US officials said the CIA station chief in Libya compiled intelligence reports from eyewitnesses within 24 hours of the assault on the consulate that indicated militants launched the violence, using the pretext of demonstrations against US facilities in Egypt against the film to cover their intent." What perfect timing.

Somewhere, in a small office in Washington D.C., a single member of the intelligence community launched a projectile that will give a patent Obama campaign sponsored lie, which has put some poor soul of a filmmaker behind bars, at least three more days in the news cycle.  It's so bad that even AP is covering the story.

- "Saving"... The Car Companies

Meet Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock who was involved in the Chrysler bankruptcy negotiations in his capacity with the Indiana Treasurer's office.

Here he's telling a story of an all knowing government abusing it's might and influence, violating legal contracts, and in the process, trampling the rights of ordinary Americans who were punished so President Obama could reward his friends in the United Auto Worker's union.

This deal (and the larger one for GM) was always a travesty - many of us in the finance industry have said so. It was a forced deconstruction of the very fabric upon which our entire society is based. But getting it first hand from someone whose job it was to look to the interests of the teachers and Policemen who inevitably got screwed in this deal, is really something.

HT: Veronique De Rugy in The Corner.

Hit the Binders!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

- Double R'uh R'oh!

Romney Takes the lead in the electoral college.

- Clever Economic Labeling

I picked this up from a brief google search after a zero hedge story. The only one that I take exception to is the one for Alcoholism. It should have one man lying in the gutter in a pool of his won vomit. Also...who the hell knows what triforcism is.

Otherwise thought they look spot on to me.

- Obama's Voice Different in the Second Debate

- R'uh R'oh....

Gallup: Romney 51%, Obama 45%

The gang in the teacher's lounge must be having a a real Scooby-Doo moment...

- The RFNJ Water Cooler

I'm working from home today, and while going through my morning routine, I passed my wife (who also runs her business from our home) in our kitchen at the coffee maker. That's where the following conversation took place:

Me: "I'm feeling particularly... I don't know ... I guess "decisive"... today. I feel like if the whole world would just shut it's pie hole and listen to me, that everything will work out better for all of us."

Her: "Ok."

Her: < long pause >

Her: "Isn't that pretty much how you feel every day?"

In truth it probably is, and that tells you a lot about how difficult it is to live with me. It's a family, thing... I can't help it.

But my point was that I feel a little more that way than usual today. Today I feel like I have my whole 'alternative finance' world totally dialed in, and if the people riding me (in the horse-race sense, not the 'get this guy off my back' sense) would just let me run, I can get us out in front of this whole race.

Now the trick is to convince them of that without accidentally persuading them that I actually belong back in the barn instead.

- Putting People Ahead Of Profits

I find it very difficult to think of a liberal soundbite that's more diametrically opposed to reality than than the one above. When you say it, you not only announce to the world that you're mushy headed liberal incapable of rational thought, but also that you lack the capacity for correcting your thought process by examining events in the real world.

There is literally never a time when a rational actor makes a choice between 'people' and profits', quite the contrary. Profits are the metric by which we measure how much value an economic actor has added. Apple makes a good phone, people's lives are made better when they trade their cash for that phone, the profit is the amount that Apple has 'added' by combining the electronics in just that way and offering it for sale to the people who have chosen to buy it.

Greg Gutfeld is one of the Fox news talking heads and hosts a late night show called 'RedEye', which is TV fodder for we insomnia sufferers. He's clever, but I personally think he's a little too 'out there' most of the time for me. If I have to read someone who is on the ragged edge stylistically, give me Kevin Williamson - who is every bit as fashion forward as Gutfeld but is a better verbal pugilist and a more serious thinker (IMHO).

But every once in a while Gutfeld comes up with a quote about America's political scene that's absolutely sublime. The other day I heard him refer to Obama as "The Patron Saint of Occupy Wall Street". That's who Obama will now always be for me.

He's the socially acceptable, Harvard trained face of the Occupy movement. He has all the same laughably silly ideas about how the world should be rebuilt, and is just as detached from reality, but he has learned not to say the word 'redistribution' aloud anymore, and has had the records of his study of 'neo-marxist violent revolution' sealed to keep the press from asking him about it.

If he weren't in the White house, he'd be camped out on lower Broadway waving his fingers up and down when the other idiots talked about how their puppetry degrees entitle them to make more money than Jaime Dimon. When he talks about growing the economy from the middle out (BTW, a too good analogy for how most of us age), he's talking about eliminating profits and then passing that money around as he see's fit.

Obama and his Occupy movement have a real problem with profits. Here is a pretty good piece describing that problem. But now that we're looking at the end of the 'war on business', I think it would serve all you Occupy folks to get a new analogy for how to think of profits. Let me suggest one.

You should think of having a problem with profits as being the same as having a problem with swimming. It might not be a very efficient way to get around, but when it's you who is in the deep water, it's a lot better than drowning. And as soon as you come up with something else that solves the problem in a 'better' way, I'm sure people will beat a path to your door.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rage Against the Machine Culture

We are too fast out here for a coordinated media attack to get traction with a stupid idea.

- Understanding The "Undecided Voter"

I've been going back and forth with my brother on the reactions to the debate this AM, and while we're both optimistic in a broad sense, I think it's tough to gauge how influential the debate was last night since liberals and conservatives are persuaded by such totally different things.

Although he didn't make a buffoon of himself as Biden did, I think Obama fell for the same MSNBC bait about being 'tough', and ended up appeasing his base with his style. But his base was already voting for him. Adding more 'passion' to his argument's won't persuade them any further than they already are. And that same 'passion' makes him seem hostile, or defensive, or some generally unpleasant mix of things to any voter who wasn't already conjoined to the Obama collective.

Conservatives are generally persuaded by results and empirical evidence so they already preferred Romney's 'style'. As for the "undecided"... well, who knows what these people think. But I suspect that whatever it is, it's not the kind of "intentional unknowing" of real world facts that drives liberals.

Liberals need very little data to be liberal. They start with a preconceived notion about how the world works and anything that doesn't fit their mental model is summarily rejected without it having any effect on their world view. So adding more new information like we see in a debate, doesn't really change things for them. They already know to blame inconvenient facts on greed, or racism, or sexism or any one of the other motives that they universally attribute to their political opposition. I would even argue that the very first people to make up their minds in any election are the most liberal - because if you're a liberal, it's intellectually very easy to know where you stand.

The tactics that Obama is using won't win over liberals because they're all already won. It won't even leave them more 'charged up'. And I don't think the remaining undecided voters have that much in common with how liberals think, or they would already have decided too. It's deductive I know, but I think it's valid to think that the remaining "undecided's" can only be persuaded by substance over style. And given his abysmal record, that's approach that Obama can't touch.

I guess my point is, if you believe this theory about how the remaining undecided voters think, the second debate (and for that matter the next one) are really Romney's to win. The electoral effect of a tie, or even a minor win for Obama done in the way that his supporters are insisting on, will only benefit Romney. and this is because Romney's approach is reaching the only voters still available to be reached.

All the condescension, smirking, and 'fair share' envy solicitation that get's Obama cheers from the press gallery and his staunchest supporters, won't actually get him so much as a single new vote.

- NJ Media Mendacity

This is a local issue - in fact, it's less than that. In my trolling around reliably liberal websites to get a sense of their reaction to the second debate, I found myself on And a photo of the stunning face of Stacey Dash pulled me into a OpEd from some local editor from the Jersey Journal.

Earl Morgan wrote the piece and he hop skips across a host of liberal talking points like a stone on a still pond. The story itself was about voter ID laws and how 'racist' he thinks they are (I find that claim highly dubious) but I found this argument particularly stunning from a NJ liberal journalist:

Many of the white brothers and sisters I've spoken to don't seem to think this is a big deal. "Why shouldn't you have to show ID to vote?" they say. "You have to show ID to get on a plane or do just about anything now." But boarding a plane is not a constitutionally guaranteed right. You don't need the price of a ticket to go to the polls and cast our ballot. More importantly, it's hard to deny the current Republican-led voter ID crusade is not primarily aimed at minority voters.

For starters, I categorically deny that the voter ID law is designed to disenfranchise anyone. There... that wasn't so hard after all. I think that particular 'racism' like most 'racism' is invented in the heads of black Americans. I don't think white people give race even a passing thought except those liberals who discriminate against whites and Asians in order to 'equal things out'.

Second, Mr. Morgan thinks it should be unlawful to ask for ID because voting is a "constitutionally guaranteed right". Well so is "keeping and bearing a firearm" but I'm quite sure Mr. Morgan thinks it's OK to have background checks, mental health exams, multiple fingerprints, micro stamping, bio-identification, and an rapid expiring purchase permit to intervene in that 'constitutionally protected right'.

In NJ we also have ammo restrictions, a laughingly structured 'assault weapons ban' and objects as inoffensive as BB guns and slingshots are all restricted as "firearms". I'm sure Mr. Morgan is 'down with all that' too in spite of his grave concern for the veneration of the constitution. What's more, as a journalist in NJ he almost certainly thinks the fact that the State has utterly refused to give a concealed carry permit to any civilian citizen in over a generation, as a good thing.

The truth of the matter is I don't think anyone much cares what a local NJ newshound thinks of these issues. He exists mostly to paper over the worst of the corruption and malfeasance that the liberal Democrat machine perpetrates in the northeastern part of the state, and this voter ID piece is no different.

But I think he should try to be just a hair less obviously mendacious.