Friday, February 14, 2014

Is Obama an evil genius?

The Washington Post reviews the competence of recent Obama diplomatic appointments:
The nominee for ambassador to Norway, for example, prompted outrage in Oslo by characterizing one of the nation’s ruling parties as extremist. A soap-opera producer slated for Hungary appeared to have little knowledge of the country she would be living in. A prominent Obama bundler nominated to be ambassador to Argentina acknowledged that he had never set foot in the country and doesn’t speak Spanish.

 Even former senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the new U.S. ambassador in Beijing, managed to raise eyebrows during his confirmation hearing by acknowledging, “I’m no real expert on China.” . . . . 

The troubles began last month, when million-dollar bundler and Chartwell Hotels chief executive George Tsunis testified at his confirmation hearing to be ambassador to Norway. Tsunis admitted he had never been to the Scandinavian country and suggested, among other things, that the nation’s Progress Party was part of a discounted “fringe.” It is actually part of Norway’s center-right ruling coalition.

Mamet was asked during his own confirmation hearing this month if he had ever been to Argentina, where he would be ambassador. “I haven’t had the opportunity yet to be there,” said Mamet, who raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s reelection.

During the same hearing, Robert C. Barber, who raised more than $1.6 million for Obama in 2012 and has been nominated to serve as ambassador to Iceland, said he had never visited the Nordic nation.

Then there is Colleen Bell, the nominee for ambassador to Hungary and the Hollywood producer behind “The Bold and The Beautiful” soap opera, who raised or contributed about $800,000 to Obama in the last election. She stammered her way through testimony about U.S. strategic interests in the country, which is the focus of growing international alarm over its far-right government’s treatment of Jews and other minorities.  [Emph. added]
Add to these examples, such Obama cabinet appointments as John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, and one has a distinct pattern of incompetence:  Obama surrounds himself with fools.  This is not something that smart people do.  As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle observed:
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
Obama is mediocrity. He may do evil (forcing people into Obamacare, enabling Iranian nukes, etc) but these are the acts of a fool, not a genius.

ASIDE: Note that the wide variation in the cost of ambassadorships.  Mamet raised a mere $500,000 while getting Argentina while Barber raised over $1.6 million and merely got Iceland.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How much does it cost to buy a mayor?

Ray Nagin
A jury has found former New Orleans mayor Ray "school bus" Nagin guilty of 20 counts of corruption.  CNN reports:
A January 2013 indictment detailed more than $200,000 in bribes to the mayor, and his family members allegedly received a vacation in Hawaii; first-class airfare to Jamaica; private jet travel and a limousine for New York City; and cellular phone service. In exchange, businesses that coughed up for Nagin and his family won more than $5 million in city contracts, according to the January 2013 indictment.
$200,00 in bribes generated over $5 million in contracts: that is a 25-to-1 return on investment.

Mayor Nagin is also well known for his open racism, having declared that he wanted New Orleans to be a "chocolate" city:
It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild a New Orleans, the one that should be, a chocolate New Orleans. And I don't care what people are saying uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.

PREVIOUSLY on the cost of buying government:
Kickbacks and the LA Coliseum
How to buy a congressman
How to buy a judge
Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Feinstein: how their husbands benefit from government contracts 
How to buy a vote (they're cheap: $10)
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