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Oct 23 2012

Somebody give that man a geography lesson

Who in their right mind would trust Romney with foreign policy? In last night’s debate, he claimed that Syria was “Iran’s route to the sea”, which is just plain weird.

Making it even weirder, he has made this claim multiple times while campaigning, and has been told many times that it makes no sense, but he’s never bothered to look at a map?

Using MittLogic, Central America better watch out, because Canada is eyeing Mexico as its route to the sea, too.

My worry is that Romney is preaching his garbled version of geography to Americans who are about as ignorant of what a map looks like as he is.

157 comments

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  1. 1
    consciousness razor

    PZ, if you were in the know and weren’t such a godless commie getting all your propaganda from the liberal media, you’d realize he was talking about the Baltic. You see, the situation is very complicated; and Mitt knows him some very, very Sophisticated Geography. You have to read Atlas Shrugged at least a dozen times to understand how all the pieces fit together.

  2. 2
    Matt Penfold

    At least he didn’t claim he could see Syria from his house.

  3. 3
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Atlas shrugged and the seas rearranged themselves during the tumble?

  4. 4
    adrian

    I think the problem stems from the “world” map taught to you Americans.

    You know, the one that shows the USA as the centre of the world and cuts Asia in half.

  5. 5
    bortedwards

    And a little mythology lesson. Atlas was actually sentenced to hold up the heavens/sky, not the earth, so him shrugging might not do much to upset the seas except maybe in the form of precipitation ;)

  6. 6
    zb24601

    I thought I heard Mitt say that, but I thought I must have imagined it. My first thought was that Iran has a sufficient coast line on the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, so he must have meant access to the Mediterranean Sea, but Iran and Syria do not share a border, so I couldn’t understand how Syria’s Mediterranean Sea access would help Iran.

    Maybe if Mitt get to be President, (pardon me, I just threw up in my mouth) he will have the U.S. Navy do joint operations with the Swiss Navy.

  7. 7
    consciousness razor

    At least he didn’t claim he could see Syria from his house.

    The election’s not over yet, unfortunately.

    And you Brits have no business telling us how awful our politicians are or how broken our government is. We already know, and I think it’s in the Constitution that we’re supposed to like it that way. Or the Declaration of Independence. At least one of them, I’m pretty sure.

  8. 8
    Matt Penfold

    You know, the one that shows the USA as the centre of the world and cuts Asia in half.

    Is that the one that just has a country labelled “America” and everything else is labelled “Foreign” ?

  9. 9
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    The phenomenon has been explained by “Romnesia.” Sadly, a shameful number of Americans in recent weeks have been afflicted with the disease. That and not having anything close to resembling a working set of bullshit detectors.

  10. 10
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Damned those facts ruining my joke.

    Thanks for the correction, bortedwards. In my defense, there was an “oh, yeah, I used to know that” when I read your comment.

  11. 11
    Matt Penfold

    My first thought, being in something of a charitable mood, was that he meant Syria might provide a means of access to the sea in the event the Straits of Hormuz were blockaded, but of course Iran has coastline on the Indian Ocean, so could avoid such a blockade.

  12. 12
    Maureen Brian

    We’ll have you back in the Commonwealth, consciousness razor, just as soon as y’all get over this silly notion that you’re supposed to be in charge of the whole world.

  13. 13
    bortedwards

    No worries Beatrice, and I’m not being smug, it’s just an interesting factoid I only myself learned yesterday :)

  14. 14
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    Maureen, I think the standard reply is, instead of “Talk to the hand,” it’s “Talk to the red states!”

  15. 15
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Is that the one that just has a country labelled “America” and everything else is labelled “Foreign” ?

    More accurately it’s labeled US and them.

  16. 16
    blf

    Senator Senile said that Iraq borders Pakistan four years ago. Thugs seem to have a problem with geography along with the rest of reality.

  17. 17
    imthegenieicandoanything

    At least one of his “advisors” on FP, which he gies less than a shit about unless it has something to do with tax aoidance, probably dates from Czarist Russia times, when Russia was seeking a “warm water” port for its navy. Since such a person would be oer 100 years old and have a walrus mustache at least twice as big, and obscuring of reality, as #1 asshole John Bolton, Iran and Russia likely get confused in his mind.
    This would also explain why Mitt keeps declaring Russia as the #1 menace to the USA.

    If they were powerless nobodies, “Republicans” might be worth putting up with: their stupidity and dishonesty are so plain to see and mock! But they’re dangerous and monstrously mean-spirited, and well-financed by certified human monsters, so the laughs are always nerous ones.

    ALL “Republicans,” however, are stupid, ignorant, insane and/or evil. There is NO excuse for voting “Republican” in this era of faux-conservative evil.

  18. 18
    eric

    My own guess is similar to @6′s. He is trying to say – in an extremely muddled way – that Iran funnels weapons and arms to Mediterranean-based groups through (the Kurdish part of Iraq and then) Syria. The northern part of Iraq is not really under control of the central government anyway, so its not too much of a stretch to say ‘through Syria.’ In short, I bet he’s referring to Syria helping Iran prop up Hezbollah, but either he doesn’t think he can says that, or he doesn’t want to say that, on national television.

    Even with that very generous reading, however, I can’t really see this as an indicator of a good foreign policy mind. Its too muddled and even in a clear form, its descriptive rather than proscriptive or normative. It describes what’s going on, not what Mitt plans to do about it if/when he’s president.

  19. 19
    Zeno

    Tunnels, PZ. Tunnels are involved!

  20. 20
    musubk

    I think the problem stems from the “world” map taught to you Americans.

    You know, the one that shows the USA as the centre of the world and cuts Asia in half.

    Joke or seriously misinformed? In the 30 years of my US-life I’ve never even seen a map like that…

  21. 21
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Not quite as bad as Ford’s comment about there being no commies in Eastern Europe, but definitely up there.

    Joke or seriously misinformed? In the 30 years of my US-life I’ve never even seen a map like that…

    Every map in every classroom at Grand Canyon Elementary School, 1972 – 1978. Some of the maps at Boonsboro Middle School, 1978 – 1980. Some of the maps at Boonsboro High School, 1980 – 1985. But those are just personal anecdotes so they can be ignored at your leisure.

    Then again, we also, in BMS, had a history book which referred to all Islamics as Saracens. And did not cover WWII because it had not happened when the book was published.

  22. 22
    CorvusCorax

    Maybe his foreign policy advisor is Herman Cain?

  23. 23
    hyperdeath

    consciousness razor:

    your propaganda from the liberal media, you’d realize he was talking about the Baltic.

    Exactly. The Baltic isn’t a real sea, it’s merely a socialist construct, propped up by extreme-leftist Scandinavian governments. Using the fact that all US enemies are Godless commies, and that all Godless commies are exactly the same, Romney’s comment stands to reason.

  24. 24
    Jadehawk

    Joke or seriously misinformed? In the 30 years of my US-life I’ve never even seen a map like that…

    I have a very hard time believing you’ve never seen a map like this. They’re common enough that I’ve run into them in the wild.

  25. 25
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @21.Ogvorbis: broken and cynical : BMS = ???

  26. 26
    DLC

    Well, you see, the Iraqi Wascally Moving Devices (what, you didn’t know that’s what WMD really meant?) allow Iranians to enter at the Iraq-Iran border and exit in Syria, just east of the Mediterranean. It’s all a part of their Nefarious Plan.
    Or maybe it’s just part of Mitt’s fever-dream.

  27. 27
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @21.Ogvorbis: broken and cynical :

    Then again, we also, in BMS, had a history book which referred to all Islamics as Saracens. And did not cover WWII because it had not happened when the book was published.

    Really!? I mean.. whoah! Ye-non-existent-gods!

    +++++++++

    Perhaps Mitt the Shit, who seemingly still thinks we’re living in Cold War era, thinks the Timurid empire also still exists :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Timurid_Dynasty_821_-_873_(AH).png

    Or even the Sassanid one :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sassanid_empire_map.png

    maybe?

  28. 28
    blf

    the one that shows the USA as the centre of the world and cuts Asia in half.

    Whilst I don’t recall ever seeing a map like that, I did find confirmation of the claim such maps are sometimes used in USAlien schools (about hald way down, with an image):

    I remember that in High School, maps always showed the US in the middle. Pride of place.

    It does not matter that it cuts Asia in half.

    I also found xkcd‘s view of the World According to Americans…

  29. 29
    grendelsfather

    This wouldn’t have happened if Romney had stuck with Google Maps instead of switching over to the new Apple maps.

  30. 30
    blf

    Gak! (A call to Tpyos.) hald → half

  31. 31
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    ..he’s never bothered to look at a map?

    Or a globe of our planet even? I keep a small one on my desk handy for instant reference whenever I’m not sure of things geography~wise.

    And I’m a fairly poor person not a multi-zillionaire politician running for POTUS.

  32. 32
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    PS. from #27 : Yes I did learn a few things from reading that ‘Empire of the Mind’book on Persian-Iranian history that someone on Pharyngula recommended thanks folks.

  33. 33
    robinholt

    Think natural gas. There are competing natural gas pipeline projects through the region. Mitt may either know something more complex than what you hear in the news, or more likely, heard about it through one of their deep pocketed donors. For good background, check out Adam Curry and John C. Devorak’s NoAgenda podcast episode 426 for some excellent background on things happening to natural gas in Russia, the middle east, Israel, and Syria as it relates to delivering natural gas to Europe.

    http://www.mevio.com/episode/317316/na-426-2012-07-15

  34. 34
    blf

    I think I’ve found the map Rmoney uses: Territory size shows the proportion of the world’s Mormons living there: “The map is dominated by the Americas.”

    It’s Alaska which is cut in half. Asia and much of Africa are mostly non-existent, Europe has a small presence, and there’s a highly distorted yellow blob North of Australia which, I admit, had me a bit puzzled (the Pffft of All Knowledge implies it is the Philippines).

  35. 35
    dianne

    @24: Are you sure that’s not a Canadian map? It outlines the Canadian provinces and leaves the US an undifferentiated mass, which I can’t imagine a map for the US market doing.

  36. 36
    skeptifem

    Geography education is fucking bullshit in the us. You can graduate without knowing where all the states are.

  37. 37
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @28. blf :

    I also found xkcd‘s view of the World According to Americans…

    Not bad but sheesh. Okay, now I have to work out which is the world’s other doubly landlocked country.

    Hmm .. (Guesses) Rwanda? Bhutan? Krygzstan?

  38. 38
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Switzerland? Slovak or Czech republic?

  39. 39
    hawkerhurricane

    Obviously, Mitt was refering to the newly built Owadda Gues Iam Canal, that connects Syria and Iran without actually going through Iraq or Turkey.

    I’m surprised no one has pointed out where Mitt was right; that the United States Navy is smaller now than it was in 1916. Do you realize that in 1916 we had 12 modern dreadnaught battleships and today we only have seven (and none are operational?)! We must start working now, or a insurmountable “Dreadnaught Gap” may arise between us and our enemy, the Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary.

  40. 40
    frog

    Just a data point: I grew up with a standard Mercator projection in all my classrooms. The one where the split was through the Bering Strait and the Pacific.

    This is also the Risk board layout. (At least in the US.)

  41. 41
    blf

    I grew up with a standard Mercator projection in all my classrooms.

    That’s broadly what I recall as well (plus, of course, the globe). However, being into mathematics, astronomer, geology, and the like, I had, and had seen, numerous other projections. But I simply don’t recall ever seeing an Asia-cut-in-half (excepting various interrupted designs, some of which also chop up the Americas), certainly not as “the standard world view” or somesuch.

  42. 42
    shouldbeworking

    So you people finally noticed that Canada needs access to salt water. Actually, it’s access to warm water that we need. It’s snowing only 50 km south of me.

  43. 43
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @39. hawkerhurricane :

    No dreadnoughts?! But who will defend us against the Martians if the Thunderchild no longer floats!?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMOc0PLzpT8

    Oh wait that was ironclad, never mind.

    How many sloops and men of war 74 or 64 gun warships do we have -and do we hold the weathergauge?

    (When is Talk Like A Pirate Day again?)

  44. 44
    Jadehawk

    @24: Are you sure that’s not a Canadian map? It outlines the Canadian provinces and leaves the US an undifferentiated mass, which I can’t imagine a map for the US market doing.

    I cannot imagine the relevance of this to my point; however, no, it’s not a Canadian map. That particular random map I found by googling “America-centric world map” is the Rand McNally Cosmopolitan World Map, and Rand McNally is an American publisher.

  45. 45
    robnyny

    Attributed to King Edward VII:

    “Abroad? Terrible place. Been there. Hated it.”

  46. 46
    dianne

    @44: Relevance? Not that much, I suppose, except that I thought it unlike the maps I’d seen at school in that it didn’t emphasize the US enough. That is, I think you picked a map that actually underestimated American exceptionalism.

    @45: Well, the US is culturally largely descended from Britain, so no great surprise if there are similar attitudes.

  47. 47
    Enopoletus Harding

    Romney should have made clear he understands not all seas are Mediterranean! Besides, Iran can access the Mediterranean by way of the Suez Canal (though Israel monitors that route).

  48. 48
    timgueguen

    Actually, PZ, there is a story floating around about linking Canada and Mexico via the US. It’s referred to as the North American Superhighway, or NAFTA Superhighway and is the focus of various conspiracy theories. It’s one of those boogeymen that crosses ideologies, with both left and right wingers being upset with the idea.

  49. 49
    dalemacdougall

    In my experience as a Canadian who has lived in the US for about 12 years many Americans are geographically challenged. When we moved to Louisville, KY from Calgary I told people that city was about a 2 hour drive north of Montana. At least 50% were unsure where Montana was.

    A very intelligent guy in the IT department didn’t know the capital of a neighbouring state – I did. He said it didn’t matter as it wasn’t his state. Another American who went with a group of friends to a bar after golf said that if the guy from India didn’t go with them they couldn’t answer any of the geography questions in the trivia contest.

    In general, many Americans show a disheartening lack of interest in anything outside the US. If it ain’t American, it doesn’t matter.

    I was surprised to find out that attitude extended to local matters as well. If it’s outside my region, state, county, city it doesn’t matter.

    BTW – this is a map of the world from a Canadian perspective – http://www.standingonguard.com/cart3.html

  50. 50
    davem

    Every map in every classroom at Grand Canyon Elementary School, 1972 – 1978. Some of the maps at Boonsboro Middle School, 1978 – 1980. Some of the maps at Boonsboro High School, 1980 – 1985.

    Thanks for that. I’ve been looking for the reason behind American foreign blundering policy these last several decades, and you have provided the obvious answer. Did they have ‘The Holy Land’ in place of Palestine?

  51. 51
    Rey Fox

    Cartograms always give me the heebie-jeebies.

  52. 52
    Ing

    @hawkerhurrican

    Yes but our nuclear submarine count is still high!

    Our navy is still strong war changed so number of ships doesn’t equal strength. Mitt is saying our army is in danger because of how small our calvary is

  53. 53
    Richard Smith

    bortedwards (#5):

    Atlas was actually sentenced to hold up the heavens/sky, not the earth

    He actually is holding up the heavens, but his shoulders got so sore, and the blood was all settling in his feet, so he decided to do a 180. People misinterpret the image as him holding the earth on his shoulders – he’s resting his shoulders on the earth, and holding up the heavens with his feet. Just try to keep that statue balanced with Atlas on top without it rolling over…

    (Pretend I put a link here to the recent XKCD with a similar perspective.)

  54. 54
    Richard Smith

    Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” (#52):

    Mitt is saying our army is in danger because of how small our calvary is

    I know the Mormons want the US to be the new holy land, but do they have to move everything out of Jerusalem, and then supersize it?

  55. 55
    blf

    Here a take on what Rmoney meant in The Grauniad, Romney gaffe: ‘Syria is Iran’s route to the sea’ (emboldening added):

    During Monday night’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney repeated a gaffe he has already made at least five times before


    Instead, Syria gives Iran a physical access to Lebanon and its Hezbollah militia which is strategically important for Tehran leaders because of the group’s geographical position in respect to Israel.

    In March, Romney made the exact gaffe at AIPAC conference.

    “… Syria is the route that allows Iran to supply Hezbollah with weapons in Lebanon. Syria is Iran’s route to the sea,” he said, according to the Washington Post …

    Later on, it is pointed out:

    Despite the prominence of Iran in the US presidential debates, Iranian media have devoted a scant coverage to the country’s election. However, many Iranians are watching it anxiously amid fears that a victory by Mitt Romney could significantly increases the possibility of an Israeli military strike against the regime’s nuclear facilities.

    Iranian officials, however, have tried to conceal the concerns, claiming that the country would be immune regardless of the results.

    Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said a Romney win would not be a threat. In Larinaji’s view, the governor’s support for Israel’s possible attack amounted to little more than campaign rhetoric.

    “It is political systems in the US which make decisions, not individuals,” he told the FT in an interview in September. “Mr Obama swept to power and made promises which were not followed by actions. So, I do not think significant changes can happen.”

  56. 56
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    @45: Well, the US is culturally largely descended from Britain, so no great surprise if there are similar attitudes.

    Oh yeah? If Americans are descended from Britain, then why is there still Britain?! Hmmmm? Checkmate!

    Clearly America was created exactly how it is now in 1776 when Jesus Christ himself wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence and we became free from those evil socialist invaders from Europe!

  57. 57
    dianne

    BTW – this is a map of the world from a Canadian perspective –

    “We are the Canadian borg. Resistance would be impolite.”

  58. 58
    wbenson

    How can someone ignorant of geography conduct foreign policy? Answer. Let the military do it.

  59. 59
    Amphiox

    Notice as well that in apparently forgetting that Iran and Syria do not share a border, Romney also demonstrates that he has forgotten what lies between them. Namely, IRAQ.

    So the place where America just spent 10 years fighting a war does not apparently exist in Romney-world.

    The juxtaposition with the 2008 Iraq-Pakistan border gaffe is telling. In 2008, the Republicans forgot about the existence of Iran. Now they’ve forgotten about the existence of Iraq.

  60. 60
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, said a Romney win would not be a threat.

    Given Romney’s grasp of geography, Iran has nothing to fear from him. Uzbekistan, on the other hand, should be quaking in its boots.

  61. 61
    Matt Penfold

    I was once told in all seriousness by someone who identified as a Republican that the US had to invade Iraq in order to stop China invading instead.

    In fairness, when I pointed him to a map of the region, and showed that not only were there other countries in the way, but there was also the small matter of the Himalayas, he did admit he might be wrong.

  62. 62
    A. R

    At least he didn’t claim he could see Syria from his house.

    Two questions on this one:

    1. Which house?
    2. Does anyone really know how far that car elevator goes up?

  63. 63
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    I was once told in all seriousness by someone who identified as a Republican that the US had to invade Iraq in order to stop China invading instead.

    The other problem with this statement is the ludicrous belief that anyone might keep modern-day China from invading whatever country they damn well please. With (maybe) the exception of India.

  64. 64
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    How can someone ignorant of geography conduct foreign policy? Answer. Let the military do it.

    Nah.

    Corporations have been doing that for quite a while now.

    That is, if there’s any difference left between the two of them these days.

  65. 65
    Amphiox

    For all we know, Mitt may own a house in Israel from which a part of Syria can be seen….

  66. 66
    frankensteinmonster

    And this big honking ignoramus is going to be your next president. You are sooo screwed.

  67. 67
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    The other problem with this statement is the ludicrous belief that anyone might keep modern-day China from invading whatever country they damn well please. With (maybe) the exception of India.

    Of course China hasn’t launched a full-scale invasion of another country since 1950 (although it did have border wars with Burma, Vietnam and India).

    Since then, what major power has invaded Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, and probably a few more countries I’m forgetting about?

    And China’s the dangerous country?

  68. 68
    Old At Heart

    @63: Nah, there’s a few countries. Specifically the highly educated, loosely moralled, loosely policed ones, that China would have a VERY hard time against. Like Canada and Russia. Large space, vulnerable and vital supply lines, harsh environments, and universities everywhere teaching the bio students how to make lethal, highly contagious, antibiotic-resistant diseases that target only those of certain races and/or blood types.

    You can’t tell me, if the apocalypse of a billion soldiers came to Russia, there wouldn’t be even one university student who would say “Ебать мире” and “accidentally” create and subsequently drop a gallon tank of the stuff in the water main. Being completely psycho is a perfectly valid defense to invasion.

    Daydreaming apocalypse scenarios can be fun, but they usually wind up with the aggressors losing, and defense taking heavy damage. Take a knife and corner a rat, and see if it dies quietly. Then give the rat biological warheads.

  69. 69
    anteprepro

    And this big honking ignoramus has a 30 to 40% chance of being your next president.

    Adjusted for accuracy. Oh, and of course, if Romney was to become president, EVERYONE would be screwed. This is incredible ignorance on the issue of foreign policy we are talking about, after all.

  70. 70
    frankensteinmonster

    Nah, there’s a few countries. Specifically the highly educated, loosely moralled, loosely policed ones, that China would have a VERY hard time against. Like Canada and Russia.

    Few thousand Russian nukes might also play a small role :)

  71. 71
    frankensteinmonster

    has a 30 to 40% chance

    Someone is massively overestimating his chances here, isn’t he ?
    Romney is gonna win. One more gish gallop in the debate and it is going to be a landslide victory ;)

  72. 72
    Don Quijote

    Couldn’t Irainians just tiptoe along that little grey road for a dip in the Med?

  73. 73
    Don Quijote

    I must have something in my i.

  74. 74
    Ing

    @frankenstine

    Go take your smugness and shove it up your ass

    Hehehehe you’re gonna get fucked over hahahhahaha I find that funny

    Go fuck yourself

  75. 75
    anteprepro

    Someone is massively overestimating his chances here, isn’t he ?

    Some creature is out of touch with reality, isn’t it?

  76. 76
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    @21.Ogvorbis: broken and cynical : BMS = ???

    From the previous paragraph. BMS = Boonsboro Middle School. Sorry.

    Did they have ‘The Holy Land’ in place of Palestine?

    No.

  77. 77
    frankensteinmonster

    Hehehehe you’re gonna get fucked over hahahhahaha I find that funny

    Yeah, I DO find it funny. Especially, because, like you said

    if Romney was to become president, EVERYONE would be screwed.

    I am gonna get fucked over just like you are.

    Some creature is out of touch with reality, isn’t it?

    I sincerely hope I am, but, let’s face the reality, this entire civilization (not just US) has grown so stupid and decadent, that it does not get nor deserve better than Romney and his ilk.

  78. 78
    frankensteinmonster

    uh-oh, #74 and #75 are not from the same person, sry, should be
    .
    .
    .
    Especially, because, like anteprepro said

  79. 79
    anteprepro

    Yeah, I DO find it funny. Especially, because, like you said

    Read names more carefully.

    I sincerely hope I am, but, let’s face the reality, this entire civilization (not just US) has grown so stupid and decadent, that it does not get nor deserve better than Romney and his ilk.

    Here’s the thing: Aside from saying that the entire world deserves to suffer because half of America is stupid enough to vote Republican, the majority of the Republican rabble aren’t even quite as stupid as the Republican leaders. The people who can’t be bothered to follow politics or vote are people who are largely depressed by how fucking broken our politics are. And, of course, the wages of Republican policies is war and economic downfall. Death by bomb and death by starvation, abroad and at home. I don’t know about you, but no amount of stupidity is sufficient to deserve that.

  80. 80
    truthspeaker

    Just once before I die, I’d like to see a foreign policy debate where instead of politicians disagreeing about the best way for the USA to lead the world, they disagree whether the USA should try to lead the world at all.

  81. 81
    Ing

    You miss the point. Franky is smarter so he gets to gloat when people suffer because they deserve it rather than feel bad.

    Why won’t anyone think about Franky’s callous sociopathic ego?

  82. 82
    nms

    Mitt is saying our army is in danger because of how small our calvary is

    With all his talk of being tough on Iran, I would like to hear how Mitt intends to close the scythed chariot gap.

  83. 83
    skeptifem

    @80

    Just once before I die, I’d like to see a foreign policy debate where instead of politicians disagreeing about the best way for the USA to lead the world, they disagree whether the USA should try to lead the world at all.

    try Democracy Now’s “expanding the debate” programs. Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein (candidates for the justice party and the green party) had that debate. It was lovely. The show plays the regular presidential debate questions, responses from romney and obama, and then lets the 3rd party candidates say their piece.

  84. 84
    frankensteinmonster

    Death by bomb and death by starvation, abroad and at home. I don’t know about you, but no amount of stupidity is sufficient to deserve that.

    I don’t think the world works the way you think it works.
    People get killed, or worse, get their loved ones killed in particularly grisly ways, by far smaller mistakes than putting willfully ignorant sociopaths in charge.

  85. 85
    frankensteinmonster

    You miss the point. Franky is smarter so he gets to gloat when people suffer because they deserve it rather than feel bad.

    No, you miss the point. “Franky” never said he is any better or less deserving of punishment than anyone else.

  86. 86
    anteprepro

    I don’t think the world works the way you think it works.

    Key word is “deserves” you fucking amoral asshat. Just because you are peachy-keen with suffering yourself doesn’t make your glee at other people suffering as well any more acceptable.

  87. 87
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    And China’s the dangerous country?

    Capacity to carry out =/= willingness to do it.

    It may be that China is a bit more sensible of when or not to invade other countries.

    Or that its actual objectives when attempting invasions or wars are a bit different from the US’.

    It may be that not having a huge sector of your economy profitting from weapons sales lobbying your government to promote long and useless wars make for a less agressive, even if frighteningly militarily capable, country.

  88. 88
    Amphiox

    The 30-40% chance of a Romney win is the current estimate by Nate Silver based on analysis of how the Electoral College is likely to go. Obama entered with a marked Electoral College advantage and it is still there. It was 30-40% for Romney at the start when the national polls were sitting even at about 48-48, and it is so now when the national polls are sitting even at 47-47. When Obama had his post convention bump and went up in the various national polls the chance of a Romney victory dropped to 20-30%.

    In other words, the race is exactly the same now as it was 1 year ago.

  89. 89
    frankensteinmonster

    Key word is “deserves” you fucking amoral asshat.

    Yes, from a from a certain point of view, the universe is unjust and “punishes” some things in unreasonably extreme ways. That, and it is also into collective guilt and punishment to boot. One really can say that no one deserves to die just because he did things like putting nails into the mains socket with bare hands, driving boozed or giving the big red button into the hands of a deluded sociopath.
    However, it could be apparent that I was not using this nice, fluffy, humanistic meaning of ‘deserves’. I was using the word in a way in which, metaphorically speaking, it will be “used” against us by the callous laws of the physical world around us.

  90. 90
    frankensteinmonster

    The 30-40% chance of a Romney win is the current estimate by Nate Silver based on analysis of how the Electoral College is likely to go.

    Was a similar estimate available back in the bush vs gore election ? What was the chance of bush winning ?

  91. 91
    ibyea

    @Amphiox
    It is still a tie?! Oh god, people are stupid.

  92. 92
    lorililee

    Considering that 20% of Americans can’t find the US on a world map…

  93. 93
    Ing

    Franky gives a comment giggling at the US “hehe you guys are so screwed” and then bitches and moans about being treated like a jackass taking smug pleasure in people getting fucked over

    And this is not a new trick for him IIRC. Some people see a bad thing about to happen and feel bad….franky chuckles

  94. 94
    adrian

    Thanks Jadehawk, that’s the one I meant.

    Definitely not this one, I wouldn’t say that.

    b3ta.com

  95. 95
    Lynna, OM

    Cross-posted from the [Lounge] thread:

    Moment of Mormon Madness from Mitt Romney:

    My faith has always taught me that in the eyes of God every individual merited the fullest degree of happiness in the hereafter and I had no question in my mind that African-Americans and blacks generally would have every right and every benefit in the hereafter that anyone else had.

    [italics added for emphasis by yours truly]

    That was Mitt Romney answering interview questions from Tim Russert on a Meet the Press in 2007.

    YouTube link.

  96. 96
    frankensteinmonster

    Franky gives a comment giggling at the US “hehe you guys are so screwed”

    Right. I should write we are screwed. Happy now ? Does that change what is going to happen ?
    .

    Some people see a bad thing about to happen and feel bad….franky chuckles

    .
    Will happen to you too after several years of feeling bad watching the world falling apart. One day, when the next bad news comes, you start chuckling.
    .

    and then bitches and moans about being treated like a jackass taking smug pleasure in people getting fucked over

    .
    just for your information. I don’t moan. I find all this insults and verbal attacks strangely comforting because at least some people apparently can still stand up and say it is not just to die just because you couldn’t prevent the majority from making a suicidally stupid decision.

  97. 97
    cyberCMDR

    It all reminds me of Mark Twain’s quote:
    “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”

  98. 98
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Specifically the highly educated, loosely moralled, loosely policed ones, that China would have a VERY hard time against. Like Canada and Russia. Large space, vulnerable and vital supply lines, harsh environments, and universities everywhere teaching the bio students how to make lethal, highly contagious, antibiotic-resistant diseases that target only those of certain races and/or blood types.

    I wouldn’t be so smuggly sure about that.

    Invasions, even if costly, can and do happen.

    Especially if well prepared.

    Spies. Cyberattacks. Communication & electrical grid shutdown. Paralysis of industrial production capabilities (whatever little of it remains in first world countries) which are at the heart of any meaningful resistance. Collaboration from the inside for monetary or ideological reasons.

    It’s “red dawn” types of scenarios that I tend to find a bit ridiculous.

    First world population are highly concentrated in cities and suburbia which are dependant upon outside electricity and food production plants, lines which can be easily cut off / restored and controled by an invading force.

    Needless to say, such populations are far from adept at survival in the large wild spaces and harsh environments of their own countries, and the attempt to do so would probably result in a higher death toll than an actual attack on the invaders.

    As for Joe Petrydish coming up with a highly targetted biological or chemical weapon in the confines of his garage, don’t make me laugh.

    Labs need specialized equipment and a lot of supplies. Especially frist-world labs, where molbio students frequently use ready-made kits, manufactured, guess where, in China, for any manipulations they make. The days when you made your own gene vectors, and sometimes even your own goddamn buffers, are over.

    Another thing labs need to perform well is information. Since the middle of the 1990′s that information has been found almost exclusively on the internet. With communications lines down or under ennemy control, that would be out of reach. You’d be left, if you were lucky, with whatever outdated publications scavenged out of an unlikely reachable university library, and no practical way to communicate your efforts with other teams.

    Good luck.

  99. 99
    skeptifem

    Was a similar estimate available back in the bush vs gore election ? What was the chance of bush winning ?

    this situation is much more like when bush got elected a second term, and for the exact same reasons (widespread hatred of an incumbent vs a new candidate with terrible campaign management). The predictions were much the same in that election and turned out to generally be accurate.

    You can go read about nate silver’s predictions on his blog (five thirty either). He puts a lot of effort into explaining his reasoning in detail. The majority of election predictions say obama will win. The people claiming a romney victory are using a single poll (gallup) and only measure the popular response rather than looking at the electoral college.

  100. 100
    Anders

    To be fair to Romney, he’s probably talking about the sea to which Israel has a border, And Israel is of course Irans top target, and also, it seems the only country in the Non-United States of Foreign that his base really cares about.

  101. 101
    Menyambal

    Regarding USA-centered maps: It isn’t some jingoistic egotism, it’s just a convenient way to show the distance to other parts of the world. A Mercator projection has to be split somewhere, and splitting it at the USA would have been silly.

    I had seen America-centered maps most of my young life, and never thought of it as Americanistic. I sometimes saw world maps split at the Bering Strait, down through the Pacific, on the 180, which seemed a convenient arrangement, geographically. Such a map is centered on London, by the way, as is our entire navigation reference system (take that, you greedy Brits).

    I do recall seeing a world map in an Indonesian classroom, that was centered on Indonesia. It had the USA at each side, so I was glad to see my homeland twice. (The place where I saw that is on most USA-centered maps twice, so there you go.)

    It isn’t ego, it’s just a map.

  102. 102
    madscientist

    Dat map’s RONG. Da True Map is da one published by Joseph Smith – you know da one where Jesus was born in New York.

  103. 103
    cicely

    Mitt is saying our army is in danger because of how small our calvary is

    Indeed.

    We also have a critical shortage of pikemen.
    -

  104. 104
    Amphiox

    What I’d like to see is an Australia centered map with the South Pole on top.

  105. 105
    Amphiox

    re: @99;

    The parallels between the two extend to the debates. Bush took a lead into the third debate, in which Kerry trounced him and “changed the whole outlook of the race.” Then Cheney stemmed the bleeding with a strong performance in the vice presidential debate. Then Bush improved in the next two debates and the race was neck and neck to the finish-line.

    And Bush won.

    Although IIRC Bush never actually managed to decisively win any of the debates, unlike Obama who has now notched two clear debate victories.

  106. 106
    Lynna, OM

    Paul Ryan misunderstands the “bayonets and horses” reference in the debate:

    To compare modern American battleships and Navy with bayonets, I just don’t understand that comparison. Look, we have to have a strong Navy to keep peace and prosperity and sea lanes open…. If all these defense cuts go through, our Navy will be small than it was before World War I. That’s not acceptable. And, yes, the ocean hasn’t shrunk.

    Umm. Okay. At least we are assured that Ryan is as dumb as Romney. That’s nice, having them both on the same ticket. Simplifies things.

    The quote is from a CBS News interview conducted by Norah O’Donnell.

  107. 107
    Nepenthe

    @37

    Liechtenstein: only bordered by Switzerland and Austria, which are landlocked.

  108. 108
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    cicely:

    We also have a critical shortage of pikemen.

    Am I wrong for believing we have far too few trebuchets?

    I’m not saying we need to use them in war. I just like to fling large things.

  109. 109
    Amphiox

    Funny thing as well to consider – the size and power of a navy is measured not in number of ships but in their displacement (and firepower to displacement ratios).

    Modern US naval vessels, especially the aircraft carriers, have huge displacements. A single aircraft carrier beats a million triremes any day of the week.

    A single US carrier battlegroup right now is more than a match for the entire Chinese navy. Three would easily best Russia. Six could probably take on the combined naval might of the entire rest of the world, assuming sufficient submarine escort.

    The US right now has eleven.

  110. 110
    Lynna, OM

    “I’d make sure that [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention. His words amount to genocide incitation. I would indict him for it.” — Romney speaking during the debate, when he puffed up about getting tougher than tough when it comes to Iran.

    This is odd. Republicans, including Mitt Romney with his disdain for the UN and Kofi Anan, really really really hate to see the USA “deferring to international bodies.” But Romney is going to defer to the International Criminal Court in order to indict Ahmadinejad?

    George W. Bush and cronies gave the International Criminal the court the finger, and Romney’s current advisers have said Obama’s acceptance of the ICC shows weakness, passivity, and a lack of leadership.

    I think Romney is going to have to indict Ahmadinejad all on his own, preferably in Texas.

  111. 111
    Amphiox

    “Modern American battleships”?

    Congressman Ryan, you do realize, don’t you, that there’s no such thing? That the last US Battleship was launched in 1946? That one of the big points of the Pacific War was a demonstration that battleships are obsolete?

  112. 112
    Lynna, OM

    More Republican failure to parse any statement which contains sarcasm and/or an analogy:

    Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters last night that Obama “dismissed ships because he compared them to the horses and bayonets of an earlier time. That’s a remarkable statement.”

    [facepalm]

  113. 113
    Lynna, OM

    Romney on Afghanistan:

    February 2012: “The biggest mistake [Obama] has made in Afghanistan were, one, announcing the specific date we would withdraw.”

    July 2012: “I don’t think you set hard and fast deadlines.”

    GOP primary debate: Romney complained it was “wrong” for the president to “announce the date of our withdrawal.”

    Last night’s debate:”We’re going to be finished by 2014. And when I’m president, we’ll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014.”

  114. 114
    cicely

    Am I wrong for believing we have far too few trebuchets?

    Right there with you, nigel.
    -

  115. 115
    Lynna, OM

    http://www.cavalrymenforromney.com/

    Am I wrong for believing we have far too few trebuchets?

    Pharyngulites have cornered the trebuchet market. See the exploits of Patricia in The Endless Thread as one example.

  116. 116
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Lynna:

    More Republican failure to parse any statement which contains sarcasm and/or an analogy:

    This seems to be a purposeful misdirection intended to minimize the damage of the President’s quip. If you can’t deflect a statement with facts, try a little obfuscation.

  117. 117
    jedibear

    I can’t be sure, but I don’t think I’d seen one of those US-centric maps before either. On the maps I saw growing up, it was the Pacific, not Asia, that was cut in half. This very clearly established the Far East as, well, Far to the East, and the US and Canada as the Westest of the Western powers. The political dimension of this sort of map hadn’t really occurred to me until just now.

    Most of the weird things Mitt says at least have a basis in a well-established conservative alternate reality meme. I wouldn’t be surprised if what he was actually talking about was access to the Mediterranean through the north of Iraq.

    Mitt actually ended up looking a lot stupider than he is. As epic as the “Horses and Bayonets” line was, it wasn’t addressed to anything Romney actually said. Romney was making a potentially valid point, as the Navy does think it needs a certain number of hulls to do its job. Firepower isn’t the only measure of military capability, and ships aren’t horses or bayonets.

  118. 118
    truthspeaker

    Lynna, OM
    23 October 2012 at 3:23 pm

    “I’d make sure that [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention. His words amount to genocide incitation. I would indict him for it.” — Romney speaking during the debate, when he puffed up about getting tougher than tough when it comes to Iran.

    This is odd. Republicans, including Mitt Romney with his disdain for the UN and Kofi Anan, really really really hate to see the USA “deferring to international bodies.”

    Key word there is the USA. The USA should never defer to international bodies. International bodies are for foreigners. So it makes sense to use the ICC to prosecute Ahmadinejad, but not any American, because America is exceptional.

    As stupid as I felt typing that, there are influential Americans who actually believe that, and many more who claim they do.

  119. 119
    jedibear

    “Battleships” are a somewhat obsolescent technology and an obsolete term, but not everyone can be expected to know that, just like it’s common to dismiss the very important role of the Fast Battleship in the Pacific Campaign, and indeed that William Mitchell was *wrong* about the supremacy of air power and the obsolescence of the Warship.

    People say “Ship” when they should say “Boat” (as Obama did last night) or vice-versa, or “Capital Ship” or “Battleship” when they mean “Warship.” Civilians are notoriously bad at military terminology, and landsmen perhaps more notoriously bad at nautical terminology.

    So people, even elected officials, can and should be forgiven for confusing the “Cruisers” and “Destroyers” of our modern navy with the “Battleships” they effectively replace.

  120. 120
    cicely

    “It’s okay if it’s us doing it!”
    -

  121. 121
    DaveH

    Just a point here to various people: China is currently only a regional power militarily (economic is another story). They lack the overseas bases or blue-water navy (i.e. operational aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, supply vessels, etc.) to conduct “power projection”. While there is no doubt they could fend off American attempts to invade, and make any attempt at blockade bleed like a slashed artery, they couldn’t invade anyone beyond their corner of the world.

    Ten or twenty years from now, perhaps, but not today.

  122. 122
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    and then bitches and moans

    Stop using gendered insults. They are not wanted here (and should not be accepted anywhere). Feel free to argue, use evidence to support your position, but do not use gendered insults.

    Am I wrong for believing we have far too few trebuchets?

    Screw trebuchets. We need mangonels. There is a mangonel gap!

    . . . the Navy does think it needs a certain number of hulls to do its job.

    Which is far fewer hulls than were needed in the past because the capability of each hull, even something small like a littoral combat ship, is, through improved CCCI (Communications, Control, Command and Intelligence) and vastly more effective weapons, is far beyond what it was in the past.

  123. 123
    skeptifem

    As stupid as I felt typing that, there are influential Americans who actually believe that, and many more who claim they do.

    I always read “the case for american greatness” as “the case for american exceptionalism” (on the subtitle to rmoney’s book). He absolutely believes that shit.

  124. 124
    Menyambal

    What Amphiox said. You don’t just count the number of ships in a navy. There’s overall tonnage, for instance. There’s also the fact that the Navy is now centered around aircraft carriers, and, as Obama said, we now use submarines for much of our striking power. Our ships are faster, too, so we don’t need as many.

    Romney, as a good businessman, should know that reducing the number of people employed is actually a good thing, in some ways, so having less ships is good planning. He’s just picked up a dumb-ass talking point, and either hasn’t thought it through, or knows that his base will never think it through.

    Stupid or dishonest to stupid people. Either way is not presidential.

  125. 125
    Kagato

    Am I wrong for believing we have far too few trebuchets?

    Trebuchets should be an integral part of all elections.

    Each candidate should be loaded into and thrown by one, so that we can finally determine just how far they can be trusted in an empirical fashion.

  126. 126
    JohnnieCanuck

    Amphiox @ 104

    Here you go.

    I once saw an upside down map focussing on northern Canada but google isn’t helping.

  127. 127
    A. R

    I think we are having a discussion about the Middle East in which StevoR has yet to propose genocide!

  128. 128
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    A.R.:

    Shhh.

  129. 129
    Amphiox

    What with the popularity of pumpkin chunking I wouldn’t be surprised if the US actually does currently possess more trebuchets that an average sized medieval power….

    Of course, the TRUE trebuchet gap is hard to measure, because, unlike say missiles, trebuchets aren’t produced and stored for later use. Trebuchets are assembled in situ, from local materials when possible (basically trees), on the battlefield, at the time of deployment. So you have to factor in capacity for assembly rather than number in possession. (Trebuchets being a non mobile weapon platform.)

  130. 130
    A. R

    You know what else we don’t have enough of? Muskets! We have 100% fewer Muskets now that we did in 1865!

  131. 131
    cicely

    (Trebuchets being a non mobile weapon platform.)

    Clearly not true…or else some of my SCA friends are making a terrible mistake.

    (A few months back, one of them had his trebuchet stolen, but it was only by-catch; the thieves were only after the trailer it was mounted on.)
    -

  132. 132
    Dhorvath, OM

    A.R.,
    Not true. My dad shoots black powder.

  133. 133
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    A single US carrier battlegroup right now is more than a match for the entire Chinese navy

    Unless you put any credence in reports of a new Chinese missile that would effectively render carrier-borne aircraft near-useless. Suddenly carriers seem an expensive affectation.

  134. 134
    A. R

    Dhorvath: Oh, yes, I know. I do as well, I was referencing the rather sharp decline in the military.

    tim rowledge: I put very little credence in those reports, especially given the known propensity of the Chinese government toward the gross exaggeration of its military capability. Besides, don’t you think we would have already developed a similar technology, and a countermeasure with the absurdity we throw at defense R&D?

  135. 135
    Ing

    @AR

    Give him time.

  136. 136
    Menyambal

    Again, what Amphiox said. A classic trebuchet wasn’t portable. The metal bits went into a cart, along with some axes and adzes, and the wood was cut down, shaped and assembled on site. (Which brings up the possibility that trebs went out of use when Europe was largely deforested.) (There’s a story about a guy who built one inside his city, while under siege, from house timbers, and managed to hit the besieger’s treb on his first shot.)

    Most people really don’t have much need for map knowledge. If they can call a cab and buy an airline ticket, they can get anywhere in the world, without knowing its location. And a lot of maps, such as subway maps, aren’t proper maps, to scale and all.

    But Rmoney saying what he said, even if he meant the Mediterranean, was just wrong. And the talking point about the size of the Navy … just stupid. (I find it amusing that Obama has adopted the old Republican trick of taking a soundbite and hammering on the worst possible meaning of it. What, you thought he built that?)

  137. 137
    cicely

    But, Menyambal…these are modern times! We can so have our trebuchets on trailers, if we want!

    And eat ‘em, too!
    :D
    -

  138. 138
    A. R

    cicely: Speaking of eating trebuchets, my cousin made one out of rod pretzels and string cheese once. Not very functional, but very, very tasty!

  139. 139
    cicely

    :D
    -

  140. 140
    myeck waters

    Speaking of eating trebuchets, my cousin made one out of rod pretzels and string cheese once. Not very functional, but very, very tasty!

    Siege that goes CRUNCH!

  141. 141
    Ms Anne Thrope

    What a Maroon, el papa ateo @67

    And China’s the dangerous country?

    Ask Africa.

  142. 142
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Unless you put any credence in reports of a new Chinese missile that would effectively render carrier-borne aircraft near-useless. Suddenly carriers seem an expensive affectation.

    More than a match does not mean that the carrier task force would not take damage, possibly losing hulls.

  143. 143
    broboxley OT

    Mitt’s map

    If you look at a syrian map there is no lebanon and Iraq is a persian satrapy at the moment so syria is Iran’s route to the med. They have owned it before

  144. 144
    Lynna, OM

    Cross-posted from the [Lounge] thread:

    God’s choice of rape as another means of impregnation, a concept being put about by Richard Mourdock, and which has been endorsed by other Republicans, including Sharon Angle and Paul Ryan.

    Explaining why he believes the government should force women impregnated by rapists to take their pregnancy to term, Mourdock argued, “[E]ven when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen”

    Mitt Romney supports Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock. Romney even made a campaign ad for him. The ad first appeared on Monday.

    After Mourdock was stupid in public, on tape, a Romney spokesperson said that Romney “disagrees” with Mourdock’s comments, but, of course, Romney’s support for the candidate was NOT withdrawn.

    Buzz Feed link.
    Maddow link.

  145. 145
    Lynna, OM

    Journalist Steve Benen’s roundup of some of the recent offensive nonsense from Republicans regarding the issue of women’s reproductive rights:

    In August, Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said women have special powers to “shut down” pregnancies caused by a “legitimate rape.” Soon after, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who cosponsored a bill with Akin to redefine rape, said he believes “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” The same week, Steve King (R-Iowa) said he “hasn’t heard of” women getting impregnated by a rapist, while Senate candidate Tom Smith (R-Pa.) said rape pregnancies are “similar” to out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

    In September, Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) compared the Middle East violence in response to an anti-Islam video to a judge telling a rape victim, “You asked for it because of the way you dressed.” Around the same time, Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) told constituents, “There are very few pregnancies as a result of rape.”

    In October, we learned that Roger Rivard (R-Wis.) thinks “some girls rape easy.” Soon after, Rick Berg (R-N.D.) said rape victims shouldn’t be allowed to terminate pregnancies, but refused to explain what kind of penalties he’d impose on women who got abortions anyway. …

    Now, ask yourself why a person of integrity, say, perhaps, a candidate for president of the USA, would fail to speak out against that kind of idiocy. Why would that candidate instead champion Richard Mourdock, for example, and campaign for him. Romney’s actions, and inactions, speak volumes. We often can’t tell what Romney believes, but I think there’s proof enough when it comes to women’s rights.

  146. 146
    Lynna, OM

    Someone also needs to give Mitt Romney a history lesson focused on his term as Governor of Massachusetts. The man has forgotten so much of that history that he is putting out ads containing about three lies per sentence.


    [Romney's ad claims that Romney] “turned Massachusetts around, cut unemployment, turned the deficit he inherited into a rainy day fund. All with an 85% Democratic legislature.” This came on the heels of another ad, in which Romney says he’ll bring Republicans and Democrats together: “I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.”

    Romney pushed a similar message at the end of Monday’s debate: “America’s going to come back. And for that to happen, we’re going to have to have a president who can work across the aisle. I was in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. I learned how to get along on the other side of the aisle.”

    In terms of the specific claims, there’s quite a bit wrong with Romney’s boasts — his jobs record was abysmal and he left his successor with a deficit — but it’s especially important to realize that Romney never believed in bringing Republicans and Democrats together.

    On the contrary, in his one term, the former governor issued more than 800 vetoes, over 700 of which were overridden precisely because of his reluctance to work with Democrats. As National Journal noted, Romney demonstrated a “relative disinterest in bipartisan collaboration” during his tenure.

    The New York Times added, “[I]n contrast to his statements in the debate, many say, Mr. Romney neither mastered the art of reaching across the aisle nor achieved unusual success as governor. To the contrary, they say, his relations with Democrats could be acrimonious.”

    Link to August Maddow Blog post detailing MItt’s unpopularity in Massachusetts.
    Link to Steve Benen’s article from which text above was excerpted.

  147. 147
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Now, ask yourself why a person of integrity, say, perhaps, a candidate for president of the USA, would fail to speak out against that kind of idiocy.

    Oooh. Oooh. I know this one!

    Because he is a wealthy privileged older white man who thinks that the only problems anyone on earth has are exactly the same problems he has and he thinks he deserves the Presidency and is willing to support anyone, say anything, do anyone to make sure he gets the job he deserves?

    Or was that rhetorical?

  148. 148
    Amphiox

    Re 134;

    It is not just the Chinese who exaggerate their own capability, it is also the US military-industrial complex that loves to exaggerate the capabilities of America’s potential rivals. They did it with abandon with Soviet equipment during the Cold War and they are doing it now with China and Russia.

    All the better to finagle funds to make their own toys even bigger and badder.

  149. 149
    Amphiox

    During the Cold War we heard again and again about how this or that MiG or Sukhoi was so much better than America’s fighter-du-jour. When these weapons actually met in combat, the kill ratios not infrequently topped 100:1 in favor of the US tech. It is not that the Soviet stuff was crap – they were good planes, but the quality of an individual plane is not the only or even most important thing in combat. There is also pilot skill and training and C&C and battlefield awareness and the entire integrated air assault/defence system in which the individual fighters are deployed to consider.

  150. 150
    xmaseveeve

    On Mitty’s map, the bits not America are marked ‘Heere bee dragons’.

  151. 151
    blf

    Hum… Another possibility for what Rmoney meant when he said Syria was Iran’s path to the sea, ‘Israeli attack’ on Sudanese arms factory offers glimpse of secret war (emboldening added):

    No one in Israel is admitting that its pilots carried out a long-range raid against a munitions factory in Sudan, said to be supplying weapons to the Palestinian movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

    But no one is denying it either. Amos Gilad, a senior defence ministry official, ducked a direct question, praising the capabilities of Israel’s air force and calling Sudan “a dangerous terrorist state”.

    Israeli media has reported that the Israeli air force carried out at least two secret operations in Sudan in January and February 2009. … In June that year Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, told US officials there was “a steady flow of Iranian weapons to Gaza through Sudan or Syria and then by sea”.

  152. 152
    gravityisjustatheory

    Menyambal — Sambal’s Little Helper
    23 October 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Regarding USA-centered maps: It isn’t some jingoistic egotism, it’s just a convenient way to show the distance to other parts of the world. A Mercator Any projection has to be split somewhere, and splitting it at the USA would have been silly.

    Fixed for you.

    And “centering your maps on your own country/meridian” is, AFAIK, common practice for all countries.

    ***

    As for the military gaps, what you really need are spearmen. As any Civilization player will know, they can take out both tanks and battleships.

  153. 153
    Ichthyic

    Another possibility for what Rmoney meant when he said Syria was Iran’s path to the sea

    of course, none of the speculation really matters, what matters is that Mittens, after MONTHS of time to formulate his response as something that wouldn’t be open to rampant speculation as to what the fuck he was talking about, failed miserably.

    that’s what matters.

  154. 154
    Ichthyic

    . I was in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. I learned how to get along on the other side of the aisle.”

    excellent, Mittens! So… about those ads supporting GoP candidates for Senate that you yourself do not agree with…

    why not go ahead and pull your support from those idiotic and inane teabaggers and support the relatively more sane and rational democratic candidates instead, eh?

    I mean, since you enjoy and are at your best when dealing with a huge democratic supermajority in congress and all.

    kthxbye.

  155. 155
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @76. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical :

    “@21.Ogvorbis: broken and cynical : BMS = ???”
    From the previous paragraph. BMS = Boonsboro Middle School. Sorry.

    No worries. Thanks.

    @107. Nepenthe

    Liechtenstein: only bordered by Switzerland and Austria, which are landlocked.

    Cheers. Much appreciated.

  156. 156
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @127. A. R :

    I think we are having a discussion about the Middle East in which StevoR has yet to propose genocide!

    Correcting the record here :

    I have *never* advocated genocide actually.

    Defending ourselves by taking out the even more ruthless bad guys without (metaphorically – or for that matter literally) pulling punches who wish to comitt genocide against others isn’t the same thing!

    To claim otherwise is a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of what I have said and what I think.

    Although no doubt I could’ve phrased my ideas better and not posted a few things when I was pretty tired, drunk and emotional.

  157. 157
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Ooops That’s :

    Defending ourselves – ruthlessly if we’re forced to be – by taking out the even more ruthless bad guys (such as those who really do wish to comitt genocide against others) without (metaphorically – or for that matter literally) pulling punches isn’t the same thing!

    For clarity.

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