Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quick Hits - January 21, 2012

South Carolina is voting for the GOP Presidential Primary today.  It's an open primary meaning that Democrats and Independents can help decide which GOP Presidential candidate will run against President Barack Obama for the White House.

Newt Gingrich has been surging this week on the basis of strong debate performances - closing or surpassing Mitt Romney on a number of late week polls.  Rick Santorum and Ron Paul seem to be competing for 3rd and 4th place - and all say they are in the race to the convention.

The campaign has gotten even nastier this week as the candidates strike out against their opponents - and the mainstream media does all it can to both stir the mix and influence the outcome. 

As the votes are cast, the Attorney General for South Carolina notes that over 900 dead people have voted in recent elections - highlighting the challenges faced with voter fraud.  South Carolina is one of the states that would like to enforce voter identification laws which the Obama Department of Justice opposes claiming that requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot is racism against minorities.  The majority of Americans support the use of a photo ID to cast a ballot, just as one is used for many other reasons ranging from simple purchases to air travel.  One has to ask themselves - who really benefits if ID's are not required to vote?

In many cases the Republican candidates are focusing on defeating their Republican competition as opposed to focusing on the policies and actions of the President and his Administration.  This focus, fostered and encouraged by the media in their debate moderation and news reports, works to provide assistance for the President.  Not only is the President able to promote his agenda, but the negative attacks on each Republican candidate provides the Democrats with additional ammunition to use against the survivor / Republican nominee.

What gets missed in these efforts are the times when the Republican candidates set their sights on the main target and articulate it well - even if the mainstream media ignores it...
"My view is capitalism works. Free enterprise works. ... There's nothing wrong with profit, by the way. That profit went to pension funds, to charities. It went to a wide array of institutions. ... And by the way, as enterprises become more profitable, they can hire more people. I'm someone who believes in free enterprise. I think Adam Smith was right. And I'm gonna stand and defend capitalism across this country, throughout this campaign. I know we're going to get hit hard from President Obama, but we're gonna stuff it down his throat and point out that it is capitalism and freedom that makes America strong."
This is from Mitt Romney during last Thursday's South Carolina debate.  He is finally not only making an impassioned defense of capitalism to explain his experience as CEO of a private equity investment company, but also stating the real benefits around why capitalism works.  This is the type of message that needs to be pressed, particularly by Romney as he gets attacked from the left by not only Democrats but Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  This is also the vision that needs to be articulated to effectively run against the President and his dismal record and policies.

In Britain, also suffering from a lingering recession combined with years of leftist rule that has undone much of what was achieved during the Thatcher years, the same battle is underway.  On one side is the vision of capitalism, liberty, and individual accountability / responsibility - with a promise of equality of opportunity.  On the other side is a version of socialism, bigger government, greater government control and centralized planning with a promise of equality of results in the name of 'fairness' and political correctness.
All three leaders of Britain’s main political parties have this week given speeches on the future of capitalism. Despite their differences, they all broadly agree that as an economic system, there is no viable alternative – or, to appropriate what Winston Churchill famously said about democracy, that capitalism is the worst form of economics except for all the others that have been tried.
America is, and remains, a center-right country in it's over all values.  We have, in the Senate and the White House, most charitably, a leftist vision and agenda that focuses on the need for 'social justice', 'fairness', and 'fundamental change' to fix a country that these leftists see as fundamentally broken.

Don't believe me?  How about we consider the not only the actions of the Administration and the defenses offered by their supporters, but how about one of the new members, and incredibly powerful, members of this Administration - Richard Cordray who was 'recess appointed' to head the Consumer Protection Bureau - a new federal agency that is unaccountable to Congress...
In Birmingham, Alabama, Cordray held a field hearing laying the groundwork for a regulatory assault on the short-term lending industry, as well as, the mortgage and student loan industry. Cordray seems unconcerned of the constitutional and legal challenges ahead. He told the Hill newspaper, “I’m going to leave that to others … lawyers are digging into it,” when asked if his appointment would survive a legal challenge. But he added that “the position was long overdue to be filled.” “We’ve got a lot of work to do for the public to make these markets function effectively,” he said.

Cordray, in a few sentences was able to articulate the president’s view of the Constitution and the economy.

With regard to the Constitution, Cordray is ill-concerned about whether his appointment is violative. The man who swore an oath to the Constitution will “leave that to others.” The fact that liberals felt the need to fill this new position is good enough. With regard to the economy, they believe that only government intervention can allow markets to “function effectively.”

This thinking turns 236 years of American precedent on its head. America was built upon a foundation of laws and freedom. In one fell swoop, the president found the need to destroy both.
Government intervention is mandated to allow markets to 'function effectively'....Did you read that on the front pages of the NY Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, or LA Times?  Neither did I.

"The Great One" - Mark Levin has a new book out (Ameritopia) that is a must read.  Newsbusters takes a look at Mark Levin's vision towards liberty and contrasts it with the NYT icon for the left, Thomas Friedman and his preference towards tyranny...
The arrogance of socialists is apparent on the back cover of Levin’s book. It carries a passage from Adam Smith that aptly defines the modern leftist: “He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.” That perfectly defines utopians like Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, who has explicitly declared his affinity for tyranny. “I think we’re entering an era...where being in politics is going to be more than anything else about taking things away from people.”

Friedman has explicitly described and desired the idea of being Dictator for a Day to fix all of our country's problems. He has enthusiastically promoted how the don't-call-them-communists in China can so "efficiently" impose their will. No one in the liberal media is horrified by the sound of that. He's proclaimed his vision around the liberal TV and radio circuit, the same circuit that doesn't have the "open-mindedness" to cross swords with Mark Levin.

In his book, Levin explores the utopian political philosophers from Plato’s “Republic” to Thomas More’s “Utopia” to Hobbes’ “Leviathan” and The Communist Manifesto. They still echo in modern liberal thought: “The modern arguments over the individual are but malign echoes of utopian prescriptions through the ages, which attempted to define subjugation as the most transcendent state of man.”

What’s chilling is that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels explicitly rejected history, as Levin quotes from the original: “Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion and all morality, instead constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience,” which was just a variegated collection of developing “class antagonisms.”
This is what this year's Presidential election is all about - are we to continue to embrace the modern leftism or will we return to the traditional values that took this country from 13 poor colonies to be the beacon for much of the world in terms of offering opportunity and hope?

Mark Steyn, unsurprisingly, has one of his best columns ever as he looks at the Costa Concordia disaster as a metaphor...
The Costa Concordia isn’t merely a metaphor for EU collapse but — here it comes down the slipway — the fragility of civilization. Like every ship, the Concordia had its emergency procedures — the lifeboat drills that all crew and passengers are obliged to go through before sailing. As with the security theater at airports, the rituals give the illusion of security — and then, as the ship tips and the lights fail and the icy black water rushes in, we discover we’re on our own: from dancing and dining, showgirls and saunas, to the inky depths in a matter of moments.

Today the wealthiest nations in human history build cruise ships rather than battleships, vast floating palaces dedicated to the good life — to the proposition that, in the plump and complacent West, life itself is a cruise, sailing (as the Concordia’s name suggests) on a placid lake of peace and harmony. Since the economic downturn of 2008, the Titanic metaphor — of a Western world steaming for the iceberg but unable to correct course — has become a little overworked, the easiest clich√© for any politician attempting to project urgency. But let’s assume they’re correct, and we’re heading full steam for the big ’berg. When we hit, what’s the likelihood? That our response will be as ordered and civilized as those on the Titanic? Or that we will descend into the hell of the Concordia?


71% of President Obama's 2012 campaign bundlers have visited the White House this election season - on the heels of the President holding over 75 fundraisers in just the last half of 2011.  Of these bundlers, already 19% have gotten jobs within the Administration.  Help the President, get a job, or get your favorite special interest company, like Solyndra, or General Motors, taxpayer funds.

Suspect that this is new?  It isn't.  80% of the Obama 2008 campaign bundlers who raised more than $500,000 for the President's election were rewarded with jobs in the Administration.  Crony capitalism is the only capitalism these progressives seem to stand in favor of.

Ask yourself this in the wake of the President's cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline in order to retain the support of the hard left environmentalists...if Keystone XL was instead a high speed rail line running the exact same route, wouldn't it already be half built - using taxpayer funds as opposed to private investment without a whimper from the environmentalists?

In 2009, President Obama reversed a decision made in 2005 by the Bush Administration to withdraw the US Ambassador from Syria.  President Bush made this decision to protest the Syrian military involvement and brutality in Lebanon in addition to their active support providing weaponry and funds for Hamas and Hezbollah.  Today, President Obama is preparing to close the Syrian embassy again because of the violence that is taking place in Syria - and that Assad is not taking any steps to protect US diplomats inside Syria.

Nigeria's largest cities are being rocked once again by coordinated attacks by radical Islamists specifically targeting Christians.  Over 143 are dead with hundreds more wounded.  Sectarian attacks by radical Islamists seeking to turn Nigeria into a Muslim nation have taken place nearly weekly since the Christmas holidays.  Except for reports on the casualties- much of the world seems to be ignoring the carnage or that it is being done in the name of Islam.

The last several days we've heard reports that a Greek debt deal has been achieved, or nearly achieved, or could probably be achieved within the next week or so, as negotiations continue between the government and its primary private bond holders.  Greece needs to achieve a deal in order to take a big step towards postponing their March 2012 default.  Part of the discussions include talks on how much of their investment these private bond holders and what the yields will Greece pay on the new bonds.  At this point, private investors are going to lose 70% of their initial investment - but no agreement has be reached on what Greece will pay for the remaining 30%.

Just as the Obama Administration continues to limit the production of oil in the Gulf of Mexico (preferring that we get oil from Brazil) - Cuba is actively working with the PRC and Spain to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico waters they claim.  Is anyone feeling better that Cuba will put a greater focus on environmental protections for these efforts than the US did?  Cuba claims territory that has about 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

On This Day in History

1793 - King Louis XVI executed by guillotine in Paris

1924 - Vladimir Lenin dies

1950 - Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury - would serve nearly 4 years in jail

1968 - The Battle for Khe Sanh beings in South Vietnam - North Vietnamese forces encircle US Marines at the base at Khe Sanh starting a 66 day siege.  During the siege, 205 Marines were killed, 1,600 wounded.  The North Vietnamese lost between 10,000 and 15,000 killed. Both sides claimed victory.

1976 - The first commercial flight of the Concorde supersonic airliner

1977 - President Carter pardons Vietnam era draft dodgers

1997 - Newt Gingrich becomes the first Speaker of the House to be reprimanded by his peers for ethical misconduct

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