Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick Hits - December 16, 2011

Another busy day and a late start on QH....

Congressional negotiators have reached an agreement on a $1 Trillion omnibus spending agreement to cover the balance of the 2012 Fiscal Year - only 27 hours before the Federal Government faced a shutdown due to lack of funding.  Also passed by Congress, an overturn of the ban on incandescent light bulbs that was to take effect on January 1.

This as the US Senate, under Majority Leader Harry Reid, is rapidly approaching it's 1,000th day since it last passed a proper budget for US Government funding and operations.  This is a dismal record of failure that lays directly at the feet of Harry Reid and the other major participants of the Democrat Senate leadership...and a case of placing the need and interest of party politics well ahead of the need of the country and the American citizen.  In fact, this agreement is just the latest of a history of agreements that are done at the 11th hour - what the Heritage Foundation refers to as yet another get out of town budget debacle.

'Pinky' Reid, still unable to get an agreement in place on an extension of the temporary 2% payroll tax reduction requested by President Obama to reduce the contributions towards Social Security benefits by some $130 Billion (about 9-10% of the 2012 projected annual budget deficit), is proposing a 'get out of town' compromise to extend the reduction by 2 months to allow more negotiation time - ideally to convince Republicans to sign onto increasing the income tax on the wealthy to raise about a third of the cost of the payroll tax extension.

House Minority Leader and former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury), is continuing to remind people that she is one of the dimmest wattage bulbs in Congress today...proclaiming that the extension of unemployment benefits that the President and she are advocating will create 600,000 new jobs.  Somehow, the logic is escaping me - how will paying people to be on unemployment even longer than they are now create new jobs?  Wouldn't thinks like approving Keystone XL pipeline create real jobs?  Of course, Nancy also proclaimed that the passage of Obamacare would 'instantly' create 400,000 jobs.

Michelle Malkin has a year-end review of Minority Leader Pelosi's Congressional self-dealing and ethics covers-up - including the huge sum Pelosi made via insider trading based on her position and knowledge of upcoming legislation.

Speaking of corruption in Congress, and Washington DC, Breibart's Big Government has another story about the number one special interest group in terms of spending and influence inside the Beltway - and one that is rarely mentioned by the 'responsible' media - Big Labor...

Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan was one of the hardest hitting questioners of former CEO and Chairman for MF Global, Jon Corzine, over the missing $1.2 Billion in client funds that were discovered after the brokerage failed.  Corzine's people were shocked by the vitriol that Stabenow went after her former Senate colleague.  Turns out there is a reason.  Stabenow had been repeatedly pressing Corzine and MF Global for campaign contributions for her re-election campaign.  Corzine refused to donate - so this was payback.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued 6 former executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac alleging that they misled the public and investors about the quality and risk related to the subprime mortgages held by the GSE's.  The housing collapse caused these organizations to go into receivorship -and the US taxpayers have spent nearly $150 Billion to keep these entities operating.

Former British Member of Parliament and close friend of Saddam Hussein and Islamofascists around the world, George Galloway, pens an editorial in today's Guardian newspaper entitled 'The Death Knell of American Empire'.  In this, the intellectually and morally bankrupt Galloway celebrates the American withdrawal from Iraq and mourns the loss of his friend, Saddam Hussein.  He notes that Fallujah is now the modern day Stalingrad, and quotes the biggest mass murderer of all time, Mao, to hammer the US over Abu Ghraib, conveniently ignoring the use of that prison and others by Saddam for far worse horrors on far larger numbers.  Lenin once called people who rooted against their own in favor of his vision 'useful idiots'.  Galloway is far worse than a 'useful idiot'.

The late Christopher Hitchens once debated the odious Galloway over the Iraq War - it was a classic slamdown of Galloway. Here's Part 1 of the 12 parts that comprise the them all.

The Associated Press has released information from a poll it recently conducted that raises more questions about the re-electability of President Obama...only 43% of those surveyed think that President Obama is deserving of another term in office.  Only 26% think that the US is currently moving in the right direction and only 50% of the Democrats surveyed now support Obamacare.

Bill Whittle offers an excellent 'Voter's Guide to Republicans' as we approach the start of voting for the GOP Primary season...hat tip Ace of Spades...

The International Monetary Fund is reporting that despite the 'Merkozy' solution, the crisis in Europe is 'escalating'.  German news magazine Der Spiegel has a piece today that highlights some of the many pitfalls of the 'Merkozy' fiscal pact.  The war of words between France and Britain shows no signs of simmering down - and the evidence is there that France is going to be the next country that is significantly impacted by the Eurocrisis.

A case is being made that Europe is now a confederacy of dunces, while The Economist is referencing the 'Comedy of Euros' that continues...
This summit also threatens to change the nature of the EU—and not in a good way. One reason is that it has plotted a misguided course for the euro. The other is that Britain, long ambivalent about its membership, has moved closer towards dropping out, even if that would be more by accident than design. An EU without Britain would be more parochial and less liberal. An EU without the euro might not exist at all.
Other world news...
On This Day in History...

1773 - The Boston Tea Party took place...
1944 - German military units launch a major winter offensive in the Ardennes Forrest - the Battle of the Bulge starts.  The Battle of the Bulge lasts from 12/16/44 to 1/25/45 - when the defeated German units retreat to their starting point.  During this battle, according to the US Department of the Army, the US suffered 108,347 casualties - 19,246 KIA, 62,489 WIA, and 26,612 Captured or Missing in Action.  The 19,246 killed across the 6 weeks of heavy fighting is almost 4 times the losses that the US took in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

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