Romney upstaged by “Angry-Man”

Yikes!! What the hell was that? Wow, after watching  Clint Eastwood’s…”bit” didn’t he just  seem at least one director short of a film-set?  How bizarre was that? I mean the GOP goes through all the trouble to stage this “all important” introduction and coming out party for, ah…whats his face…oh yes Romney, just to have the guy upstaged by “angry-man”, Walt Kowalski. Kowalski for those who care, was Clint’s angry, race baiting character from his movie Gran Torino. I’d suggest you see it but after last night…ick…nevermind!

That “Chair”

I’d bet throughout last night Romney’s Campaign Manager was praying to the Political Gods that he could have a do over. You could see during Eastwood’s “bit”, that although the party faithful  got off on the whole presidential “throat slashing” thing followed by the always hilarious, “make my day”  threat to blow “someone’s(in air quotes) brains out” from the iconic Dirty Harry movie, Romney’s minders looked more than a bit uncomfortable. Clint having a good ol rant at that chair ended up being the seminal moment of the entire night, and funnily ended up being the star of the whole show. Man, as if Romney didn’t have enough competition in the charisma department.

Threatening POTUS

Bad mouthing a president is never great in America, though good sport during an election year but actually appearing to threaten a sitting president on prime time TV is plumbing new depths. Especially in the context of a society in which you can’t even say the word “bomb” out in public. Don’t get me wrong though. Clint’s is still in good company, just think of GOP nut jobs like “Wailin” Sarah Palin, rantin’ Rush Limbaugh, Donald “The Birther” Trump and any Tea Partier you might have the misfortune to stumble across. You really don’t have to be Professor Stephen Hawking to figure out that there is an especially weird “no holds barred” approach to the first black POTUS.   But then when haven’t Republicans been always just a bit weird.

Campaign Fail

I suppose Clint may get a pass from the mainstream because he did look a bit out of it but the RNC2012 from the sounds and the Tweets of things seems to have created their own iconic “Clint Eastwood” moment. Not so great news for the Romney camp because although they may made their base happy no one else learned anything about Mitt or any details of his policies except that his dad spent a fortune on roses.  As for Mitt’s Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades, he must  must be taking a moment to have a personal gut check on GOP proposals for cutting welfare, since he may be needing it for this years Christmas gifts.


Tories Boldly Criminalise Squatting!

Tory MP, Mike Weatherley took only 5 months from an early day motion in March 2011 to now to pass what’s now known as   “Weatherley’s Law”. The new law makes squatting in a residence a criminal offense subject to arrest, £5,000 fine and imprisonment or both. The law comes into force September 1, 2012.

Gotta hand to them the  Tories have made a bold move here. Unfortunately for them this move plays only too well into the “Nasty Party” tag that Tory MP’s have been trying desperately to avoid.  Especially after moving on foreign students only the day before.

Nicked for a Kip

Personally and as a homeowner, I’m a hundred 110% behind this law and its enforcement. If I, and i’m sure I’m not alone in this, came home and saw squatters rolling around my gaffe, I would not be a happy bunny…no sir!  However, and I really don’t really mix points here,  on a human level, what happens to any of the thousands of genuinely homeless get nicked taking a kip in an empty mansion. Where’s he or she going to get £5,000 and more, when he or she goes down i’snt that just a foot in that revolving door to a prison system already busting at the seams.

Remember boys and girls, jail ain’t free either, we tax payers fork out almost £30k per year per person to “house” people. I’m sure that dosh could be used better than that.

What do you think?


NBC criticised Paralympics after opening ceremony blackout – Telegraph

NBC criticised Paralympics after opening ceremony blackout

Rose Troup Buchanan Last Updated: 3:28PM BST 30/08/2012

NBC has been condemned by disability groups for its decision to ignore last night’s opening ceremony and broadcast only five and a half hours of the Paralympics Games.

The American broadcaster will show only four 60-minute highlight programmes on its NBC Sports Network, and a 90-minute roundup of the Games on 16 September – a week after the Paralympics close.

Jaspal Dhani, chief executive of the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council, told the Daily Telegraph: “For NBC to take such a decision is really, really appalling. It’s a very disappointing decision because as one of the foremost American networks they should want to celebrate these true examples of amazing sportsmanship.”

The United States is fielding the third largest team with 223 athletes. Only China and Britain have larger teams, with 285 and 294 competitors respectively, while Brazil, Russia, Australia, France and Germany are each bringing more than 150 athletes to compete.

NBC’s coverage of the event comes in sharp contrast to that of other competing nations. Channel 4 is screening over 150 hours of live events in Britain, while the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will show 100 hours of live events on its main channels, and highlights on the internet. Other channels showing the coverage are Brazil’s Globo, which has 11 million subscribers, and Italy’s Sky Italia which has around five million subscribers.

Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, expressed his disappointment with the lack of US coverage: “I’m very disappointed for the athletes and I’m also very disappointed for the hundreds of millions of people who live in North America who don’t have the opportunity on a very easy basis to access what will be amazing images.”

Mr Craven continued: “”Some people think that North America always lead on everything, and on this they don’t. It’s about time they caught up.”

NBC’s decision has angered many disabled rights groups in America, resulting in an online petition urging major networks to cover the events live and an outcry on twitter.

“Four 60-minute segments and one 90-minute segment is embarrassing,” said Damon Herota, an IT consultant in Orlando, Florida, who has organised one of several petitions urging major networks to cover events live.

NBC insists its coverage represents a major improvement on previous years, in comparison to the single 90-minute program it offered from the Beijing Paralympics.

The broadcaster has also been criticised for its coverage of the Olympic Games. The network did not stream the opening ceremony of the games live, instead screening the show three and a half hours after the event.

The network did later stream the closing ceremony live online, but attracted more criticism after airing an advertisement for a new show during its coverage of the closing ceremony.

NBC purchased the rights to the Olympic ceremony for over £1 billion, and despite complaints, their Olympics coverage was the most watched television event in US history, attracting 219.4 million viewers.

The Republican National Convention 2012 – “Humanising” Romney

RNC 2012 was predictably laden with generous helpings of “mom and apple pie”. If you hadn’t yet fallen into a diabetic coma after Stepford wife, Ann Romney got going then you may have been able to withstand any other condiment thrown at you throughout the nights proceedings. Delegate after courageous delegate, having accepted their mission, came ready to execute (cue Mission Impossible music). They were going to “humanise” the “Romnster” or die trying!

Collective “Romnesia”

Republicans of every hue and stripe…ok… mainly white guys, waxed lyrical about everything from Mitt’s first tooth to how much “Mitt really cares about other people”. What a really low bar though eh? If he didn’t actually care about people, that would pretty much make him a sociopath wouldn’t it? It was clear from the outset that “humanising” Mitt Romney was always going to be a  pretty tall order. This is after all Willard Mitt Romney we’re talking about here. You know the stiff, buttoned down, khaki clad, dork with all the charisma of an umbrella and the depth of a Kardashian. The closest the man’s ever been to poverty was probably while watching  Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. Hell, Dr Frankenstein couldn’t “humanise” that. Undeterred, delegate after boring delegate delivered their own contrived chapters to the “Legend of Mitt Romney” which to all but those suffering from acute “Collective Romnesia” sounded curiously…nothing at all like Mitt  Romney!

Show Stealer

By the time keynote speaker New Jersey Governor, GOP superstar and “regular Joe”, Chris Christie got to the podium then you might well be forgiven if you did think you were at a very expensive wake. But after a few hundred minutes I started  to get a vibe like, wait…Christie didn’t get the memo. Well how about that..another Republican gone Rogue. It sounded like Christie had clean forgotten what he was doing there, who’s life story he was telling and probably even what fricking day it was. Its like he was running on the ticket himself. Give him a break though. I can see how it would be easy to forget that Mitt was actually in the room and not propped up behind the door in the hallway…like an actual umbrella.

Lets hear it for the “fat guy”!

I will concede, the nights efforts had paid off somewhat. I tried to put myself in the shoes of a “swing voter” and did at points during the proceedings  feel like I could… sort of…entertain the thought that Romney may be human after all. Delegates had tried so hard, I felt I had to throw them a bone, cause i’m a softie like that. However by the time the dust had settled on the nights proceedings,  I was thinking…I could really go for that Christie fellow!”.

Bang up job team Romney! Now that you’ve been properly introduced and suitably humanised Mitt we still don’t give a crap…but lets hear it for the fat guy…huraaay! Lesson to the GOP establishment. If you love “regular guys”  like “Joe the Plumber” and now Chris Christie so much…then why the hell not just vote one in for a change!

The Third Runway Debate: Cameron – “Man or Mouse?”

I’ve already vented on this topic this week if you’re interested. See the post below entitled “Heathrow – The Third Runway Debate”.

Wailin’ Palin: Catnip for Nutters?

Even in this Fox/Tea Party inspired, Love-Fest,  Palin scores a few rare points in an attempted “Dem-Smack down” but is as usual, hamstrung by not being able to finish a fricking sentence without yelling the word “Freedom” . Gotta say It’s impossible to take her seriously when she consistently scurries from the glare of mainstream media like a vampire at first light instead finding comfort in the sycophantic commiserations of  Murdoch’s “hand puppets” at Fox News. Mixed metaphors but you get the point!

Pod People

Does Palin want to be taken seriously though? Don’t be fooled for a minute into thinking that Mrs Palin is there to add gravitas to the political discourse though. Oh no! Far from it. Romney’s handlers are well aware of her “roguish” proclivities and wouldn’t let her read a take-away menu that wasn’t pre-vetted. No, they want her out in the Styx where she can wreak maximum havoc, stirring up vulnerable “pod people”.   Palin is like Catnip and when wielded as a weapon can be quite a potent one at that. Just watch her eyes, she know’s exactly what to shriek and just when to shriek it. Boy is she ever shrill! Even when she inevitably flubs a line, she well knows that out in the Styx, all you need do is yell “Freedom” and the towns folk will stop traffic just to scream their heads off  in sheer ecstasy. The ensuing din seems to create a short burst of amnesia, leaving her free to switch the subject…to moose hunting. What can I say…the lady’s got skills!

Super Powers

Maybe she has super powers like some character from the TV show “Heroes” or like the Batmans nemesis, Poison Ivy. Whatever the case, just be careful and step away from the Palin. We’ve all seen what the woman can do. Be sure to avoid direct eye contact, avoid her “Kool-Aid”  and for God’s sake stay curious! Much safer that way!

The presidency: So, Mitt, what do you really believe? | The Economist

WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it . And that is a pity, because this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious business acumen to the way he worked across the political aisle as governor to get health reform passed and the state budget deficit down. We share many of his views about the excessive growth of regulation and of the state in general in America, and the effect that this has on investment, productivity and growth. After four years of soaring oratory and intermittent reforms, why not bring in a more businesslike figure who might start fixing the problems with America’s finances?

Details, details

But competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper. The convention offers Mr Romney his best chance to say what he really believes.

There are some areas where Mr Romney has shuffled to the right unnecessarily. In America’s culture wars he has followed the Republican trend of adopting ever more socially conservative positions. He says he will appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court and back the existing federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA). This goes down well with southern evangelicals, less so with independent voters: witness the furore over one (rapidly disowned) Republican’s ludicrous remarks about abortion and “legitimate rape”. But the powers of the federal government are limited in this area; DOMA has not stopped a few states introducing gay marriage and many more recognising gay civil partnerships.

The damage done to a Romney presidency by his courting of the isolationist right in the primaries could prove more substantial. He has threatened to label China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency. Even if it is unclear what would follow from that, risking a trade war with one of America’s largest trading partners when the recovery is so sickly seems especially mindless. Some of his anti-immigration policies won’t help, either. And his attempts to lure American Jews with near-racist talk about Arabs and belligerence against Iran could ill serve the interests of his country (and, for that matter, Israel’s).

Once again, it may be argued that this will not matter: previous presidents pandered to interest groups and embraced realpolitik in office. Besides, this election will be fought on the economy. This is where Manager Romney should be at his strongest. But he has yet to convince: sometimes, again, being needlessly extremist, more often evasive and vague.

In theory, Mr Romney has a detailed 59-point economic plan. In practice, it ignores virtually all the difficult or interesting questions (indeed, “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex). Mr Romney began by saying that he wanted to bring down the deficit; now he stresses lower tax rates. Both are admirable aims, but they could well be contradictory: so which is his primary objective? His running-mate, Paul Ryan, thinks the Republicans can lower tax rates without losing tax revenues, by closing loopholes. Again, a simpler tax system is a good idea, but no politician has yet dared to tackle the main exemptions. Unless Mr Romney specifies which boondoggles to axe, this looks meaningless and risky.

On the spending side, Mr Romney is promising both to slim Leviathan and to boost defence spending dramatically. So what is he going to cut? How is he going to trim the huge entitlement programmes? Which bits of Mr Ryan’s scheme does he agree with? It is a little odd that the number two has a plan and his boss doesn’t. And it is all very well promising to repeal Barack Obama’s health-care plan and the equally gargantuan Dodd-Frank act on financial regulation, but what exactly will Mr Romney replace them with—unless, of course, he thinks Wall Street was well-regulated before Lehman went bust?

Playing dumb is not an option

Mr Romney may calculate that it is best to keep quiet: the faltering economy will drive voters towards him. It is more likely, however, that his evasiveness will erode his main competitive advantage. A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper. Indeed, all this underlines the main doubt: nobody knows who this strange man really is. It is half a decade since he ran something. Why won’t he talk about his business career openly? Why has he been so reluctant to disclose his tax returns? How can a leader change tack so often? Where does he really want to take the world’s most powerful country?

It is not too late for Mr Romney to show America’s voters that he is a man who can lead his party rather than be led by it. But he has a lot of questions to answer in Tampa.

“I Yam Who I Yam!” – Mitt Romney Channels ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’.

Well it seems Mitt Romney finally had a good twirl in the mirror and realised, “Yes, my bum does look robotic in this”. It seems that Romney has already given up pretending that he has a soul inside that handsome chiseled head of his. Today in an interview he resolved to use the Popeye defense of “I am what I am!” Funny that Romney should be quoting Popeye since one could venture to say that both are “fictional characters”!

As Cool as the Fonz?

Yes the guy could buy my house with what’s in his small change purse but weirdly I’m still sort of sorry for him. You see I don’t think he even comes close to getting what the issue is! As far as he’s concerned, there is no issue and maybe it’s the American people that are the issue. Cool? Hey i’m as cool as Fonzie…I’ll bet he’s said…while awkwardly sticking up both thumbs in klutzy imitation of the leather-clad 70’s icon. You know exactly what that looks like don’t you! Nevermind Popeye, Mitt, you should have just come out and said, “Hey i’m a rich dork…vote for me!”.

Mitt Romney; “International Man of Mystery”

Approaching the GOP Convention all we’ve been hearing from the media is “no one knows Romney!” this and “Romney has yet to be defined!” that. What! The man has been running for president for 8 YEARS and you STILL don’t know him.  I think you do know him! Very well in fact. He’s the guy that went on holiday with his family dog tied to the roof of his speeding car. He’s the same guy that changes his mind more often than a model on Project Runway. He’s the very same guy who just recently went on a world tour and managed to royally piss off leaders in at least 4 out of 5 countries.  Do you remember him NOW! Sure you do. Its just that you don’t really like what you see. If this were high school Mitt would be the guy who you would never want to pick  for your ball team except…it’s HIS ball!

Mitt The “Fixer”

I wouldn’t shed too many tears for Mitt though because he is, to his credit, a very successful business man, even though he doesn’t really like to get into it too much. Wouldn’t want too much to trickle down eh Mitt? Like most successful businessmen Romney’s a proven problem solver and as a problem solver he’s probably looking at his “issue” as just another problem to be fixed. So like any marketing project, he’ll systematically be doing his market research, segmenting his audience and sharpening his market message in preparation for some sort of big reveal at the next big Republican event. Now how cool is THAT?

The Dorky Genius

If the prospect of this dorky genius unleashing his “big guns” at the upcoming Republican Convention doesn’t fill you with a combination of dread and tingly excitement you may well need a defibrillator. This promises to be quite a show one way or the other. As for me i’m getting my popcorn ready for Mitt’s big reveal!

Romney and the importance of the “Family Card” in US elections.

You can always tell when elections are looming. Politicians start playing the “Family Card” trotting out their families and everyone who can, smiles and bears it  in this well worn horse and pony show. Superficially I suppose it makes sense though. The Wife, the family, the dog are all meant to engender trust. The sub text may be; “trust me to run your life for at least the next 4 years and one of the reasons you can trust me is…I’ve got a family!”. A bit simple and even condescending I’ll grant you  but trust me it’s a big deal to a lot of active voters.

The “Good” Family Man

Now this Family card is looking increasingly like Mitt Romney’s ace in the hole. Every time I see an interview with “the man in the street” after his business experience one of first things that come to mind is…”He’s a good family man”! I’ve wondered…Why, because he’s got a whole bunch of kids? This edge Romney is supposed to have is interesting though. It’s almost  as if Barack Obama is sitting in the White House with just his X-box and his basket ball buddies company. He’s got a wife and kids too hasn’t he? The sub-text in the “good, family man” response smacks of “dog-whistle politics”, leaving a door open to mental images of the POTUS cruising local Beltway Speakeasy’s in a “pimped-out” Cadillac Eldorado in the wee hours. Very stereotypically sleazy right? Funny that should come to mind since one of the biggest “pimp daddy’s” of them all happened to be among America’s greatest of presidents…Franklin Delano Roosevelt!

Roosevelt the unlikely “Playa”

FDR was admittedly president in a very different time many decades ago but the man was dealt no “Family cards”. He had a family but indulged in very high profile affairs. He was even accused of ignoring his kids, all while stuck in a wheel chair and crippled by polio. Wow! Where did the guy get the energy. Who among us would have the big hairy cajones to be a “playa” while tackling depression and fighting a World War II. FDR, you are sooo the man! Interestingly many decades later and despite being a Democratic Icon FDR has mega, cross party appeal. Many of the details do seem to have been  lost to the public over the years.

The Lesson of Dubya

So having said all that is being a family man really that important in a president. Personally i’d like to think that the american people could see through the delusion and focus on the important stuff. What the agenda is and what his plans are. Sheer delusion got them, and the rest of the world, Bush 2,…thanks guys! Bush 2 or Dubya as he was affectionately called was himself a family man and a man who interestingly has been notably silent and absent in what has so far been a fierce hammer and tongs battle for the White-house. That should tell us all something about whats really important!