Monday, January 9, 2012

Quick Hits - January 9, 2012

The Republican Presidential primary vote in New Hampshire tomorrow continues to dominate much of the mainstream media news today.  Depending on the venue, Romney is either reeling, having sliding poll numbers over the last 5 or 6 days - to holding onto a comfortable lead of 15 - 20 percentage points and experienced only a minor drop in his polls.  All of this chatter comes over a battle for 12 delegates to the August Republican National Convention where a candidate will need 1,144 delegates in order to win the nomination.

The current RealClearPolitics average for New Hampshire shows that Mitt Romney is the front runner with 38.8% support, Ron Paul is in second with 19.8%, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman are tied for third with 11.2%, Newt Gingrich has faded to 9.2%, and Rick Perry remains in the cellar with only 1% support. 

Left relatively unmentioned is the President's polling problems, not only in New Hampshire, but other key battleground states.  In New Hampshire, even in the wake of the temporary Social Security Payroll Tax reduction 'victory', the President only has a 42% approval rating according to Gallup with 49% strongly disapproving of the President.  Across all major demographics - the President is showing significant declines from his 2008 numbers.

Reflective, I believe, in the frustration of the progressive left, particularly those in the mainstream media who have so much vested in the Obama Presidency, is their desperation and anger towards not only the American people in general, but against Republicans and the Tea Party in specifics.  We've heard over the last several years that if one opposes President Obama on any basis  - racism is at the root of that opposition.  Republicans and Tea Party members have been accused of racism, of wanting to have 'Jim Crow' and segregation back....

None of this is new - but it is also continuing unabated.  New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal made the same hollow accusation on his blog late last week - accusing Speaker of the House John Boehner of racism when he said 'no' to the President's request to address Congress to announce his 2012 re-election campaign.

Which brings me to the latest vapid and contemptuous examples that the nation's 'Fourth Estate' is ethically, morally, and intellectually bankrupt.  I wasn't originally going to highlight the obvious hypocrisy and poor judgment by the President, his WH staff, and others in hosting a pathetically extravagant 'Alice in Wonderland' themed Halloween Party organized by Johnny Depp and Tim Burton in 2009 - at the same time that the President was calling on Americans to 'share the sacrifice' of the economic challenges.  Others are highlighting yet another example of the President's hypocrisy and belief that he is living in Versailles in the early 1780's...

From the NY Post -
A White House “Alice in Wonderland” costume ball — put on by Johnny Depp and Hollywood director Tim Burton — proved to be a Mad-as-a-Hatter idea that was never made public for fear of a political backlash during hard economic times, according to a new tell-all.

“The Obamas,” by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, tells of the first Halloween party the first couple feted at the White House in 2009. It was so over the top that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas sent the original Chewbacca to mingle with invited guests.

The book reveals how any official announcement of the glittering affair — coming at a time when Tea Party activists and voters furious over the lagging economy, 10-percent unemployment rate, bank bailouts and Obama’s health-care plan were staging protests — quickly vanished down the rabbit hole. 
“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans — or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care — that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” the book says.

However, the White House made certain that more humble Halloween festivities earlier that day — for thousands of Washington-area schoolkids —were well reported by the press corps.

Given his history, I'm not surprised on whit that the President's hypocrisy goes to these depths.  But the part that chafes is the level of media malpractice and malfeasance that is evidenced here.  We have a press corps, that pretty much is in the bag for the President and any progressive political candidate, progressive idea, progressive agenda, and progressive policy.  They will attack, defame, and castigate anyone who stands against progressivism or their power to run roughshod over anyone they feel the need to run roughshod over.  These are the same elements of the media who argue that they have a higher purpose - and therefore do not have to honor US military or diplomatic secrets if they do not want to - but they can lie, obfuscate, and cover-up a Halloween party in the WH because it is 'excessive' and would 'embarass the President'?  Only if there is a 'D' after the name of the President.

According to the LA Times, the use of an image of either Louis XVI or Marie Antoinette with the face of Barack or Michelle Obama photo shopped onto it is not a case of linking the arrogance of the President and First Lady to the poster children of executive arrogance - but a case of racism.  Their accusation is that the only reason conservatives do this is racism.  Perhaps we should acknowledge that when it comes to racism - the LA Times and the vile cartoonist Jeff Danziger are experts.  After all they did the racist cartoon linking SecState Condi Rice to the Gone with the Wind black slave maid to make the charge that Condi Rice was nothing more than the 'house slave' of Bush's White House. [Cartoon at the link]

The peaceful kids of Occupy Oakland decided to have a small get together last night - at an event they called the F*CK the OPD rally (Oakland Police Department).  Verum Serum has the report where some members were caught with a homemade bomb...
200 members of OccupyOakland held a ‘friendly’ F@ck the Police rally - A clash between police and protesters Saturday night ended with six protesters arrested, windows broken in a Starbucks coffee shop and a handful of police cars and Occupy Oakland organizers promising more action opposed to police violence…
Protesters were arrested on suspicion of assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and possession of explosives. Police said one person had a device that was the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite — not an M-80 firecracker, Watson said, but a six-inch-long explosive.

“I’d never seen anything like it before,” she said. “That’s not something that’ll blow your thumb off; that’s something that could easily kill you or take a body part off.”

In the 'You Don't Say' category, UK Marxists and Socialists see the OWS as an opportunity to expand socialism - and that socialism / Marxism is the wave of the future for Europe. Huh? I suppose this is another case of the fact that the economic issues in substantially socialistic Europe isn't because of the fact that socialism and Marxism are fundamentally flawed, but just another case (99 out of 99?) where the implementation was flawed - not the architecture or design.

Merkel and Sarkozy are having another pre-meeting meeting to discuss how they are going to solve the Eurocrisis by expanding central government and simultaneously trying to kick the can down the road. Key item on the agenda, a new financial transaction tax targeting the troubled Euro banks so those banks can pay for their contributions to the crisis - which as Sarkozy noted resulted from 'scandalous deregulations in the financial sector'. Really? I thought it was from countries like Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Belgium, and France from promising far more in entitlements than they could afford and decades of irresponsible fiscal policies. I think Merkozy should watch this - Europe at the Brink...without the red-tinted glasses on.

As for Greece, the doubts are growing that it will not find a new way to kick the can down the road.
The outlook for cash-strapped Greece is looking increasingly bleak. Government reforms are behind target, and negotiations with private creditors over voluntary debt relief are stalled. A disorderly default could be just weeks away.

More lessons unlearned.

An Iranian court has convicted a American man of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death. Former US Marine, Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28 years old was born in Arizona, educated in Michigan and is of Iranian descent. He served as a military translator and was arrested and accused of espionage by the Iranian regime while in Iran visiting family. His family says that he is not a CIA employee and was just visiting family.

On This Day in History...

1776 - Thomas Paine publishes his book 'Common Sense'

1806 - Lord Horatio Nelson, killed during the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805, is buried at St. Paul's Cathedral.

1916 - Allied military forces complete their evacuation of Gallipoli. This ended a campaign that started in April 1915 with the landings in Ottoman Turkey. During the campaign, nearly 130,000 were killed in action with both sides totaling nearly 400,000 casualties. Another 145,000 Allied troops were casualties from illness. The Australian's and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops present were severely bloodied in this campaign - 1 in 4 Kiwi's were killed and over half were casualties - and the ANZAC identity was forged by their bravery. (New Zealand had a population at that time of 1 million - if we look at the killed in action to the same proportion of our population today, this would be the same as 800,000 dead.)

1945 - The US 6th Army, under General Douglas MacArthur, invades the Philippine island of Luzon.

1972 - RMS Queen Elizabeth, the former Cunard Liner launched in 1938, sinks in Hong Kong harbor after a 2 day fire. The ship was retired and was being used as a floating university. During WW2, she served as a troop transport, carrying nearly 1 million soldiers.

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