Sunday, January 1, 2012

Quick Hits - January 1, 2012

Good morning and Happy New Year!

The Iowa caucuses are on Tuesday and the results of the last pre-caucus poll are in.  Mitt Romney holds a slim lead (24%) over Ron Paul (22%), while Rick Santorum has surged into a strong third place (15%).  Newt Gingrich has fallen steadily in the past three weeks, and now is limping in 4th place with only 12%.  Rick Perry (11%) and Michelle Bachmann (7%) complete the slate.

The challenge with these results is that if only the last 2 days of the three day poll are considered, Santorum moves ahead of Ron Paul into 2nd place.  This could bode well for the former Pennsylvania Senator - but since nearly half of the potential Iowa voters say they may switch their vote at the last minute - the race remains a toss-up.  The only candidate who is faced with the 'has to do well' to remain is Michelle Bachmann.  I don't see that happening - and suspect that Bachmann will be dropping from the race before mid-January.

A Santorum win or strong second will provide him with a little boost, but unless he can generate the same type of surge in South Carolina and Florida that his year of retail politicking finally was able to do in Iowa (that and being the next 'Not Romney' candidate), he's going to be campaigning for role in the convention / 2nd spot on the ticket.

There is a real possibility of a Ron Paul win in Iowa - delivered by a combination of a strong organization in Iowa and support from non-Republicans including Democrats and Libertarians.  This will have no real impact on the race or Paul's inability to be the GOP Presidential candidate - but the mainstream media will have a field day both touting and attacking Paul.

One thing that is trending in Iowa that most of the mainstream media is not addressing is the faltering of the President's support in Iowa.  Despite the bravado and confidence coming from the President, his campaign team, and most of the biased mainstream media, the President is in real electoral trouble for November 2012.

The President has a grim record to run on despite the efforts to put lipstick on that pig.  The decision to make the focus of the campaign on turning up attacks on Congress and blaming the record on the 'Republican' Congress is, if one really takes the time to think about it, a pathetic strategy.  It is an admission not only of the failure for the President to lead, but also highlights the dependency the campaign has on a compliant, pliable, and supportive media who will bury all pretences towards objectivity in order to support their ideological soulmate.  An example to what level the media will stoop to comes from this morning's Meet the Press on NBC where David Gregory does the bidding of the Obama campaign when he attacks Rick Santorum to defend the President's failing MidEast policy and defends the Muslim Brotherhood / Salafist election win in Egypt.

The Heritage Foundation blog has as it's chart for the week a comparison of the US Presidents since John Kennedy ranked by the size of the budget deficits they oversaw as measured by a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product.  The data comes from the White House Office of Management and Budget..

I was in a discussion last night where I was harangued about the 'unprecedented' irresponsibility of Reagan and Bush (43) over the size and scope of their budget deficits - and then told that Bush (41) was one of the most responsible Presidents - as is President Obama who was forced to run deficits because of Bush (43)'s mismanagement.  Through President Clinton, the nation compiled about a $5 trillion national debt.  President Bush (43), in his 8 years, added another $5 trillion to that number.  President Obama has added another $5 trillion to that total in less than 1 full term in office - and any effort to minimize that irresponsibility - or the utter failure of Keynesian economics is just proof that the one making the Pro-Obama argument is little more than an ideologue.

In fact, the US today is pretty much in denial about it's fiscal future
No one wants to take away; it's more fun to give. All of 2011's budget feuds - over the debt ceiling, the supercommittee, the payroll tax cut - skirted the central issues. There's a legitimate debate about how fast deficits should be reduced to avoid jeopardizing the economic recovery, notes Charles Blahous, a White House official in George W. Bush's administration. But the long-term budget problem, as he says, stems from Social Security, Medicare and other health programs.

Any resolution of the budget impasse must repudiate, at least partially, the past half-century's politics.
We still can't learn from either history or from seeing what our own eyes are telling us about the crisis that Europe is experiencing - a debt problem cannot be solved by assuming more debt - and a spending problem cannot be solved by increasing our spending levels.  Our problems are not related to insufficient revenues - but from the irresponsible spending and the massive debt / borrowing that is needed to support those spending levels...

Europe seems insistent in trying to continue to move down the wrong path - and it's going to be clear in 2012 that Europe will be unable to save itself or the Euro as a currency.

I'm equally pessimistic about the hope that 2012 will see any real change in our own fiscal irresponsibility.  The Senate will not only pass 1,000 days since it last passed a federal budget, but it will not pass a FY2013 budget either - we'll see a continuing resolution fund the government until a new Congress is seated in January 2013.
Rather than addressing the real issues that we are facing, the Senate in particular, under Harry Reid, is going to focused on the frivolous - providing more fodder for the President to run against a 'do-nothing' 'Republican' Congress - even though the body of Congress that personifies irresponsibility and do-nothingness is the Senate...The Hill reports on the Senate's number one priority coming back in mid-January...
The Senate begins work this week on a spending bill that would set up a new $10 million grant program aimed at helping states combat “distracted driving,” which focuses on texting behind the wheel.

“While there is no definitive data as to how many distracted driving deaths and injuries are caused by cell phone use and texting, 20 percent of the drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2009 were either using or in the presence of a cell phone at the time of the crash, and there is reason to be concerned about whether the recent rise in distracted driving fatalities is linked to the increasing use of electronic devices,” according to report language for S. 1596, the 2012 spending bill for the Department of Transportation and other agencies.
We're going to see that one of the biggest aspects of the failures of the President's Middle East policy direction is going to come from the establishment of fundamentalist Islamic regimes in many of the countries that went through the 'Arab Spring'.  Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen are already moving in this direction.  Hezbollah effectively controls Lebanon and could be the 'winner' in Syria when Assad falls.  The region is replacing secular dictators with religious dictatorships.  As Jordanian Salafist Cleric Sheik Yassin al-'Ajlouni predicts in this video hosted by - 'The Caliphate will be reestablished in 2024 by the son of Jordanian King Abdullah'.  Unfortunately, political correctness prohibits too many from seeing this as an existential threat to Western Civilization...

Staying on the latest in Syria, we have reports that Syria, which promised to release over 700 political prisoners in response to external pressure, has reneged on that promise.

Also from Syria, an Arab League advisory body called on Sunday for the immediate withdrawal of the organization's monitoring mission in Syria, saying that the mission was allowing the Assad regime to cover up its continued violence and abuses

Here is Los Angeles, we're experiencing a plague of arson attacks on cars in Hollywood / West Hollywood - some of which have spread to cause considerable damage to homes and apartments.  In the last three days, there have been 40 arson attacks and officials remain challenged in trying to identify and arrest those involved in the attacks.  This is the worst series of arson attacks in the area since the 1992 Rodney King riots.

On This Day in History -

1863 - The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect

1890 - The first Tournament of Roses Parade takes place.  This year's parade will be tomorrow.

1942 - The United Nations is created as President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill release a declaration signed by representatives of 26 countries that vowed to create an international postwar peacekeeping organization.  How that mission has changed...

1959 - Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees as Fidel Castro's revolution topples the Batista government.  The people of Cuba exchanged one dictator for another...and continue 53 years later to be under the boot of the Castro's.

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