Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quick Hits - February 23, 2012

I'll be addressing last night's GOP Presidential Primary debate in a dedicated post later today, but there is one item that I do want to reference in today's QH...

CNN hosted the debate last night, which was moderated by CNN anchor John King.  The job of King as moderator provides the 10,999th 20th exhibit of mainstream media elements using a GOP Presidential Primary debate to manipulate the message and tone of the GOP campaign - all in favor of President Obama.

First a question posed by a member of the debate audience -
QUESTION: Hi, my name is Ken Taylor (ph) from Wickenberg, Arizona and my question to all the candidates is, how do you plan on dealing with the growing nuclear threat in Iran?
John King then takes that simple question - and offers both a preamble and a rephrasing of that question to the 4 GOP candidates...
KING: It’s a pressing question at the moment. Mr. Speaker, let’s go to you first on this one. I want to ask you in the context of the president’s and this country’s highest ranking military officer, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dempsey told CNN this last week, quote, “A strike at this time would be destabilizing and would not achieve Israel’s long term objectives.” If you win this election, General Dempsey would still be — would then be your chairman of the joint chiefs.

If the prime minister of Israel called you, said he wanted to go forward and questioned, Sir do you agree — Mr. President do you agree with your chairman of the joint chiefs? Would you say, yes, Mr. Prime Minister, please stand down? Or would you give Israel the green light?
A simple question to the 4 GOP candidates asking 'how would you deal with Iran' becomes after King's manipulation 'how would you deal with Israel' and does so in a manner that tees up / promotes the President's position to pressure Israel as opposed to Iran for Iran's illegal nuclear program.

This wasn't a one-off either. During the debate, CNN's John King dutifully picks up the Administration / Progressive misdirection over the Obamacare mandate to force religious organizations to provide health services that they have a religious objection towards providing and frames it as a debate over 'birth control'...
Asked CNN’s John King, “Which candidate believes in birth control and why?”
Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris noted on Twitter - "Birth control is a phony issue injected by Obama to try to eclipse economic issues."
This is just part of the meme of the media to provide deflection and obfuscation towards the real issues - and one that I don't think Middle America is really buying as they look at $5 gas and $16 trillion national debt.

My local major fishwrap (as opposed to the local rookie league fishwrap) in an editorial yesterday did something that is, believe it or not, even more dishonest.  In this editorial in the Los Angeles Times, the accusation is made that climate change skeptics are demanding that teachers lie to their students in the classroom about climate change.

The background on this comes from a climate change advocate who has admitted that he lied, misrepresented himself, and worked to deceive the Heartland Institute in Chicago, a non-profit organization that is skeptical about the fearmongering from the hard left over climate change and the need to embrace trillion dollar plus ideological solutions to solve the threat of climate change.  He claims, which is disputed by Heartland Institute, he obtained documentation that shows the non-profit is developing information and materials to push climate change skepticism in the classroom.  Heartland denies this - saying that the materials are fake - and there is no evidence from the admitted liar / deceiver to prove that the materials are genuine.

From the LAT editorial:
It's bad enough that we're doing so little to fight climate change; let's not ask teachers to lie about it too.

... Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, one of many nonprofits that spread disinformation about climate science in hopes of stalling government action to combat global warming, reveal that the organization is working on a curriculum for public schools that casts doubt on the work of climatologists worldwide. Heartland officials say one of the documents was a fake, but the curriculum plans were reportedly discussed in more than one. According to the New York Times, the curriculum would claim, among other things, that "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy."

That is a lie so big that, to quote from "Mein Kampf," it would be hard for most people to believe that anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."
Climate change skepticism is such a threat to the LAT, that they need to violate Godwin's Law in order to rage against it. They cite as 'authorative' the work of the IPCC and other scientists who have been shown to have manipulated their research to ensure the data matches their pre-conceived conclusions....conclusions that have the same solutions today (wealth redistribution from rich to poor) that were the solutions three and four decades ago when equally ideologically motivated scientists warned us of the coming 'Ice Age'.

The LAT wants those scientists, like the 16 climate scientists who've written 2 editorials for the Wall Street Journal highlighting the falsification and fearmongering of too many scientists, to be kept out of the classroom because their data and conclusions don't fit the accepted groupspeak.

The computer-model predictions of alarming global warming have seriously exaggerated the warming by CO2 and have underestimated other causes. Since CO2 is not a pollutant but a substantial benefit to agriculture, and since its warming potential has been greatly exaggerated, it is time for the world to rethink its frenzied pursuit of decarbonization at any cost.

That the forecasts are indeed inflated is shown in a graphic at the op-ed (also here, for future reference) showing how wrong forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been.

Remember this brainwashing advocacy the next time anyone associated with the Times tells us that what the education system should be doing is teaching "critical thinking." It's obvious that they don't really believe that. What they want is for their lies to be the only thing children hear and learn the classroom.

In March of 2005, the circulation of the LA Times peaked at about 900,000 daily and Sunday subscribers.  By September 30, 2011, the circulation of the LA Times was 573,000 - a drop of 36% in just 6 1/2 years.  The last time the LA Times was in that range of circulation was in the 1960's - when the population of LA County was 3 or 4 million fewer than it is today.  There is a reason why the LA Times (and the majority of other mainstream news elements) have lost customers to this extent...and it's not because of the internet.  The internet existed quite well in 2005.  It's because their product is crap and people will no longer pay for crap.

Home Box Office (HBO) has developed some superb original programming over the years.  The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, and others.  But HBO has undertaken a new effort in original programming that is raising some major questions about their motives. 

HBO has created a new original movie named 'Game Change' based on a book of the same name about the 2008 Republican Presidential campaign.  Even though only about 10% of the 450 page book focused on Sarah Palin, the VP candidate, the entire movie is focused on Sarah Palin.  To many, this is nothing more than a hit piece by HBO, and its cabal of Democrat / Progressive supporters, on Sarah Palin and the GOP.
And by people withholding judgment, HBO means, of course, those on Team Palin who screenwriter Danny Strong broke his word to about being able to see the screenplay or the film whenever they wished. Of course, when Strong made that promise he was hoping to get some cooperation from Team Palin that would allow HBO to in some way claim that the Palin Camp had validated their hit-job.

As things stand, as far as I know, no one who is pro-Palin has been allowed by HBO to see the film. But you can bet the house that left-wing entertainment outlets hostile to Palin sure captured themselves a screener. Why lookie here.

You see, this was HBO’s plan all along. What better way to bury Governor Palin than to only allow those hostile towards her to screen the film in advance. What HBO wants is for her and her supporters to sit there helpless as left-wing critics, broadcasters, and journalists beat her senseless with something only they’re allowed to see.

But let me ask HBO this. Is it okay if we judge what we have seen of the film? Is it okay if we judge the trailer — which a first-hand witness has told me ON THE RECORD is packed with falsehoods?
Media manipulation / propaganda is happening right before our eyes by the progressive 'Ministry of Truth'.

What happens when people hear both sides of the debate cogently presented?
Heritage’s David Kreutzer and Yale University economics professor Robert Mendelsohn debated Marianne Fay of the World Bank and Paul Ekins of the University College London. The proposition was “Green Development is necessary, affordable, and urgent.” The audience was the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network, whose initial preferences were no surprise. Polled before the debate, over two-thirds of the audience supported the proposition, and most of the others chose “undecided.”

In the formal debate, Fay and Ekins argued for the proposition while Kreutzer and Mendelsohn argued against. The poll following the debate was a shocker—less than half of the audience agreed with the proposition. This result was not caused by a handful of vote switchers—adding those watching from satellite locations at the bank and remote locations around the world to the 300 in the auditorium, the total audience was estimated to be at least 1,200.

So when presented with evidence from both sides, fewer than half of the members of the Sustainable Development Network believed that their mission is necessary, affordable, and urgent. One can only imagine what the results would be with a less biased audience.
President Obama introduced his corporate tax 'reform' yesterday - which is just another way of saying that President Obama introduced his latest plan to increase taxes on businesses...
In the end, it means the higher the corporate tax is, the lower workers’ wages are. This is why Democrats like President Obama and Senator Ron Wyden (D–OR) are now joining with Republicans anxious to see a lower corporate income tax rate. It’s certainly not to reward corporate executives or shareholders but to protect workers from further degradation of their wages.

Unfortunately, President Obama marries this extremely important policy to two very bad policies. He calls this corporate tax reform. But tax reform is revenue neutral. His policy is to expand the tax base—the measure of income subject to tax—by closing “loopholes and subsidies” so that the net effect is to increase corporate taxes substantially. That’s not tax reform. That’s just another tax hike in disguise. So Obama argues that we need corporate tax reform for economic growth and then proposes corporate tax hikes that would inhibit growth. Go figure.
Welcome to more crony capitalism and picking winners / losers...
Under the President’s “framework,” he singles out specific industries he doesn’t like — oil and gas, insurance, and small aircraft manufacturers, for example — and proposes to close what he asserts are their loopholes, thereby raising their taxes. But with his other hand, he opens a trap door and waves his friends through, cutting their tax rates to 25 percent “and to an even lower rate for income from advanced manufacturing activities.”

The President’s best friends get access to second trap door leading to even lower rates. Who slides on through? Those who qualify for tax incentives designed to “encourage investment in clean energy.” The net effect of all this tax reform subterfuge will be a free pass for the “right” industries, a downfall for the “wrong” ones, and a windfall for lobbyists who can get their clients through the trap doors.

By the way, this new plan to make America’s businesses “more competitive” is slated to raise $250 billion over 10 years. You read that correctly: The President is trying to convince America he is lowering taxes to make America stronger by, well, raising taxes to make America weaker.

Political theater as well...More on Obama’s focus towards political theory and theater as opposed to doing what’s best for the country… a look at the Obama tax ‘reform’
Let’s get back to Obama’s plan. What’s remarkable about it is that Obama has created two outside economic panels in the last two years, and ignored recommendations from both of them. His deficit commission returned a tough and specific plan for shrinking spending and deficits, but Obama produced a budget that spent more and did nothing to restrain entitlement spending. Now his Jobs Council tells Obama how to make the economy grow and create jobs, and Obama does the exact opposite.

Why bother to create these panels at all if Obama isn’t interested in advice? The panels provided him just enough political cover to get by when deficits and jobs became crippling political issues. It’s a form of theater; Oh, look, Obama’s created an expert panel on [fill in the blank]! He must be focused like a laser on that problem! By the time Obama has to actually put a plan in place, he hopes that no one pays attention to what the panels recommended. Instead of listening to the advice of his own counsel, Obama recklessly plans on his tax-and-spending spree to fund his expansive view of government and its power to dictate outcomes in American lives.

Remember, it's not about taxes, the anemic economy, high unemployment, skyrocketing energy costs, a failing foreign policy or a crippling level of debt - it's about 'contraception

Speaking of debt...

Here's our current debt trajectory...

And our current trajectory towards spending...

And with all of this - half of all Americans are not paying any income tax!

This is a viable future?  Where's the common sense?  Think that Greece can't happen to the US?  Look at Harrisburg, PA.  Detroit, MI.  California.

Today, President Obama will take to the podium at the University of Miami to try to explain the high gasoline prices - and how they are not his fault - even though he's on record as saying he wants higher gas prices as a tool to reform consumer behavior.  But will the President explain an energy policy after having none for the first 37 months of his term in office - or beyond crony capitalism for green energy, global warming, and behavior modification?  How about a legitimate reason as to why Keystone XL was cancelled beyond the 'Carney Canard' of 'the Republicans did it'?
The administration on Tuesday blamed last month’s shelving of the Keystone XL pipeline on “political” acts by Republicans in Congress. In fact, Obama ditched Keystone — which would have brought Canadian crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries — to keep his greenie base happy.

And the pipeline is but one of many Team Obama decisions that have left America’s oil supply more vulnerable to the vagaries of world events.

* Under Obama, the American Petroleum Institute notes, leases on federal lands in the West are down 44 percent, while permits and new well drilling are both down 39 percent, compared to 2007.

* In the wake of the BP oil spill, Obama shut down most Gulf of Mexico drilling; there’s been a 57 percent drop in monthly deepwater permits over the last three years, according to the Greater New Orleans’ Gulf Permit Index.

* The EPA continues to block drilling off the coast of Alaska — where an estimated 27 billion barrels are waiting to be tapped.

After 37 months, I've learned to modify my expectations...and expect more of the usual campaign clap-trap from the Teleprompter of the United States.

On the foreign policy front, we have three examples of the President's 'leadership'.

In another rash of coordinated strikes across Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities, car bombings and checkpoint shootings have killed at least 50 people, wounding over 200.  This continues a series of attacks by al-Qaeda of Iraq which started since the US military forces were withdrawn from Iraq in late 2011.

UN investigators, reporting to the United Nations Human Rights Council, have taken a look at Syria...
"The commission received credible and consistent evidence identifying high- and mid-ranking members of the armed forces who ordered their subordinates to shoot at unarmed protesters, kill soldiers who refused to obey such orders, arrest persons without cause, mistreat detained persons and attack civilian neighborhoods with indiscriminate tanks and machinegun fire," investigators said in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The commission of inquiry, headed by Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro, found that rebel forces led by the Free Syrian Army had also committed abuses including killings and abductions, "although not comparable in scale."
With all of this, the UN remains powerless because of Russia and China blocking any actions in the UN Security Council - and the US, and other western nations are unwilling to take a firm stand against the Assad regime outside of the United Nations.  Meanwhile civilians and journalists are dying at the hands of a corrupt regime.  Change we can believe in, eh?

In Afghanistan, violent demonstrations are continuing against US forces - including the murder today of 2 American soldiers by a member of the Afghan military over the burning of Quran's at a US military base in Afghanistan.
President Obama wrote a letter this week to formally apologize for the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

In the letter, written to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama said he wanted to "express my deep regret for the reported incident."

"I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies. The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible," Obama wrote in the letter, according to a statement released by the Afghan president's office.

The letter comes on the heels of violent demonstrations in Afghanistan this week, where at least half a dozen Afghans were killed and dozens were injured. On the third day of protests, two U.S. troops were also shot to death, according to news reports.

So this is the focus of the President? Where's the info about...
A military official said the materials were removed from the detainee center’s library because they had “extremist inscriptions” on them and there was “an appearance that these documents were being used to facilitate extremist communications.”

Where is the reportage about the Qurans being desecrated by their original users - who wrote coded messages and comments in the margins for communicating with other prisoners.

Where is the outrage over the Islamic radical reaction to immediately resort to violence and murder over the destruction of defiled books - and their use of the destruction of these defiled books as a justification for murder?

Why is the first major response of US officials based on political correctness - and to apologize as opposed to attacking those who resort to violence and thuggery? Or to condemn those who desecrated the Qurans? Our defensive reaction doesn't solve the problem - it exacerbates the problem.

We've heard a lot about the Chevy Volt - the Government Motors hybrid car that costs about $41,000 and can drive around 25 miles on electric power - before having to depend on the gasoline engine to keep going...  Have you heard about another electric car?  The Tesla Roadster?

This is a $100,000 plus all electric car - no gas engine option - that gets about 100 miles on a charge.  Just be careful...if you let the battery entirely drain - you 'brick' the car....and need a $40,000 battery replacement to be able to move it again.

Change we can believe in....

On This Day in History

1822 - Boston is incorporated as a city

1861 - On the day that President-elect Abraham Lincoln secretly arrives in Washington DC (to avoid an assassination plot), Texas becomes the 7th state to secede from the Union.

1904 - The United States acquires control of the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million

1945 - Marines from the 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division raise the US flag on the summit of Iwo Jima's Mt. Suribachi.  The 5 US Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman were photographed by AP's Joe Rosenthal raising the flag in a Pulitzer Prize winning shot.  This was a milestone reflecting the capture of the Japanese stronghold of Mt. Suribachi.  Before the battle would end in late March, 3 of the 6 who raised the flag would be killed in action on Iwo Jima.

1991 - In the first Persian Gulf War, Allied ground forces cross the border of Saudi Arabia and enter Iraq - starting a 4 day campaign that would end with the surrender / withdrawal of the Iraqi forces in and around Kuwait.

1995 - The Dow Jones Industrial closed above 4,000 for the first time.

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