Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Hits - December 8 and December 9, 2011

With an Oh-dark hundred hour departure for a long days business trip to Dallas preventing a post on the 8th, the QH for the 8th and 9th are being combined....

Today is the 'do or die' day for Europe regarding their fiscal crisis - and summit meetings have been underway since yesterday.  German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy did promote their solution for the Eurozone fiscal crisis - the new fiscal union which greatly expands the powers of the EU Council, Commission, Parliament to define, control, and enforce the fiscal policies of member nations as has been discussed all week.  Needing an unanimous decision to move forward, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, as he indicated all week he would do, rejected the solution completely.  Sweden, Hungary, and the Czech Republic also looked to be willing to join Britain in opposing the solution.

However, after additional discussions, those three nations have ultimately signed onto the plan leaving Britain as the only nation of the EU community opposing this solution.  The decision of Britain is, unsurprisingly, raising the ire of the those strongly supporting the expansion of EU centralized powers.  One German MEP, part of the left bloc of the EU Parliament groused, "It was a mistake to admit the British into the EU...".  Others are calling for retaliatory actions being taken against Britain both economically as well as diplomatically / ostracizing Britain.

The fiercely neutral Swiss are not members of the EU, and maintain a strong banking industry, and this may be the future for Britain, under the present government, as the EU goes down this path.  The Economist is calling the decision by David Cameron to veto the Merkel-Sarkozy plan Europe's great divorce. 

For reasons I've already articulated, I do not see this as the solution to the EU's fiscal challenges.  Embracing more of the vision of Jacques Delors isn't the solution.  Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was exactly correct when she took a similar action to Cameron's as the EU was being formed.  For others, they also believe that this pact is the beginning of the end for the European dream and that the Merkel Sarkozy pact is doomed to fail. 

One of the strongest reasons why it will fail?  The pact doesn't address the core problems at the root of the fiscal challenges in the Eurozone.  All this pact does is provide far too much power to a new centralized bureaucracy and kicks the can further down the road.

The European Central Bank (ECB) President continues to refuse to position the ECB as the buyer / supporter of last resort for nations struggling to see bonds to finance their debt levels.  Unlike the US Fed chair, he doesn't see QE as being the right solution or something that the charter of the ECB permits it to do.  This decision will have far more of an impact on the crisis than the pact which will need a new treaty of the 26 supporting nations.  (We will have to see, as the details get hammered out via the sausage making, how many of the 26 will remain - or even if all 17 using the Euro will agree.)

Staying with international news, Syria's strongman Al-Assad gave a pathetic interview with ABC News Barbara Walters where he denied any role in the Syrian military's butchery of Syrian civilians protesting his dictatorship.  Despite the fact that he is the head of the Syrian military.... of course, Ms. Walters did little to call him on his lies and evasions.

In Russia, anti-Putin demonstrations are increasing in the wake of last weekend's election and the widespread voter fraud.  Russian government officials are blaming US SecState Hilary Clinton for instigating the demonstrations.

The Canadian Federal Government is set to crack down on more than 4,700 people believed to have obtained citizenship or permanent resident status illegally in what is being dubbed the biggest citizenship fraud sweep in Canadian history.  Those involved will see their citizenship or permanent resident status revoked.  Until this year, only 47 people have had their Canadian citizenship revoked since Canada's confederation.

Moving to domestic stories of interest....

The testimony of Attorney General Eric Holder on the Operation Fast and Furious ATF program - which walked thousands of assault and sniper weapons from US gun stores to Mexican drug cartels where they were used to commit hundreds of murders in Mexico, including those of at least 2 US Agents - failed to address major questions around the program or clarify a record muddled by lies, cover-up, misrepresentations, and obfuscations from the Department of Justice.

AG Holder remained defiant, refusing to accept responsibility or to consider resignation for the program and the resulting cover-up.  Combined with that defiance, the AG also continue to change and adjust the story.  During the questioning by the House Judiciary Committee, one GOP Representative told the AG directly that unless he starts to 'clean up this mess quickly' and 'If you don't get to the bottom of this' and start to provide the whole truth, including holding DoJ officials accountable and responsible, there is only one alternative left for the House to consider and 'its called impeachment'.

In the questioning about the changes in stories that have been coming from the AG and the DoJ, Holder was asked if he knew what the difference was between lying and a misstatement.  Holder, embracing the previous President he worked for, Bill Clinton, gave a Clintonian answer that, "Lying has to do with your state of mind",  while trying to make the case that despite all of the evidence to the contrary, he, and other senior DoJ officials did not lie to Congress.  The only thing that was clearly proven regarding the AG'sdeliberately lying or he is grossly incompetent.

Pressed on the lies and cover-up, Holder did snap back at one point comparing Republican Representative Issa to Joe McCarthy....the problem is, when McCarthy railed against Communist infiltration and spies in critical roles in the US Government, he was right.

Strong speculation regarding the desire to undermine the 2nd Amendment regarding the right to bear arms and enact draconian gun control laws as being one of the main driving forces behind the creation of the Fast and Furious program is no longer just speculation.  Evidence is being provided from the DoJ that this was the reason for the creation and operation of this program.  Not only have Democrat members of Congress pushed for gun control because of the gunrunning program, but so has President Obama, AG Holder, SecDHS Napolitano, and SecState Clinton.  CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, one of the few MSM reporters working this case, reports that DoJ docs reveal that the desire for gun control was the source for the program.  Hundreds died in order to create a 'story' to justify a political agenda.

Republicans, in the fight with the President over the President's desire to renew the temporary payroll tax reduction and extend unemployment benefits beyond the current level, have linked the President's approval of the Keystone XL pipeline issue to those programs.  The President is furious and threatens to veto the legislation if the Keystone XL provision is present.  In a reaching effort to sidestep this trap, the President lamely tries to convince Americans that extending unemployment benefits for the very long term unemployed and extending the payroll tax reduction another year will create more jobs than the Keystone XL pipeline.

Victor Davis Hanson has a new column that continues the meme that many picked up about President Obama in the wake of his economic policy speech in Kansas earlier this week.  This focuses on 'The President Who Never Was - A teen-age President in Search of an Adult Identity' and reviews the President's repeated efforts to mask himself as a past President as opposed to standing on his own and owning the effects of his failed policies and agenda.

One of the examples of these failed policies and agenda items are the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency which is moving aggressively to implement an anti-business, anti-consumer, pro-progressive agenda via regulatory fiat.  The House has taken actions to bar the EPA from implementing sweeping new regulations to crack down on farm dust that would cost thousands of jobs and increase costs substantially for farmers and consumers.

In another overreach by the EPA and in an effort to stop the ability to increase production of fossil fuels in the US (Oil and Natural Gas), the EPA has ruled that the fracking process, where water and air are injected under high pressure into wells thousands of feet below the surface to increase recovery, is causing pollution of ground water sources well above depths where fracking takes place.  This is in line with their other efforts around cap and trade to drive the US industry and consumer into far costlier and less reliable alternative energy solutions.

Several days ago I reported that the Tea Party organizations in Wisconsin were calling out tens of thousands of volunteers to do the job that the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board refused to do - verify that the signatures on the petitions to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker were both legal and not duplicated.  It's a good thing as a Wisconsin TV station interviewed a man who said he has, illegally, signed the recall forms 80 times - "I'm gonna cheat to get Scott Walker out of here".  That seems to express the collective mindset of the progressive left in this country.

Also expressing the mindset of the progressive left is the decision by Time Magazine to name the OccupyWallStreet Movement as the Number 1 story for 2011.  Rather than honestly report on the movement, the violence, the theft, the rapes, the numbers arrested, the acceptance to defecate on police cars and inside Cathedrals, Time paints the movement as a peaceful and respectful movement seeking fairness.  With so many other more legitimate stories, Gabby Giffords, Fast and Furious, the Euro crisis, the US Economy and National Debt, to the Arab Spring, and the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq - the decision to embrace OWS as the #1 story is very telling.

On plan for the weekend - a new look at the GOP Presidential nomination race as well as some early looks at the 2012 Presidential Election roadmap...

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