Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quick Hits - March 15, 2012

Busy day today so a late start and lot's of topics to cover, so let's just jump in....

Yesterday, picked up the story about the NAACP appealing for the United Nations Human Rights Council to begin an investigation into voting practices and laws in the United States over what the NAACP calls 'disenfranchisement' of voting rights - specifically the laws being enacted in many states that require voters to produce a photo identification for proof of identity and laws that prohibit convicted felons from voting.

Fox News is broadcasting a report on this story -

Hot Air and Powerline have also picked up this story in their commentary. John Hinderaker in Powerline notes...
This is really the last straw. It is time to get out of the United Nations...

 “That isn’t treason, but it is disloyal; disgracefully so.”

My March 10, 2012 Quick Hits led off with this story coming from a news report in the UK paper, The Guardian.   {Ahead of the curve!! Ed}

I asked if the NAACP was 'jumping the shark' [referencing the Happy Day's TV episode that personifies moving from having credibility to a complete lack of credibility] by taking their politically motivated whinging to a feckless United Nations Human Rights Council.

In this, I take a slightly different point of view than John. Yes, we know that the United Nations is effectively irrelevant and impotent unless one wants to give them power. We also know that the UNHRC is a particularly farcical aspect of the UN - with any connection between it and real human rights issues purely accidental.

The NAACP was a respectable organization that served a grand purpose for the greater good. Today, it's a political tool that, like the UN, has completely lost any touch with its origins and purpose. The decision by the leadership of this organization to embrace this politically motivated course - and leverage the UN and UNHRC as a prop for its political goals reflects very badly on the organization. It's not treason. In this I agree with John. But disgraceful is far too generous of a description of the actions of the NAACP.

My choice of terms: Reprehensible. Morally and intellectually bankrupt. Contemptuous.

In terms of the kerfuffle regarding the base argument of the NAACP - Michael Ramirez puts that into perspective with this political cartoon...

The blog, UN Watch, is an indispensable source for information on the United Nations.  They are highlighting the feckless fraud known as the United Nations Human Rights Council - which has unanimously approved a report drafted in 2010 that praises the human rights record of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

This is the same Libyan dictator that the United Nations Security Council authorized military action against for his use of his military against his civilian population.

In fact, if your stomach is strong enough - here are some quotes from those who approved that report praising the Libyan tyrant.

As for the US, one of the 47 member nations that comprise the Human Rights Council - our representative raised questions about the report - but did little beyond this to stop the farce from taking place.

Reuters is reporting this morning that the Obama Administration has asked the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to co-operate and jointly release emergency oil reserves to the marketplace in an effort to lower high fuel prices which threaten not only the economic recovery in both the US and UK - but Obama's re-election.

This flies in the face of the standard Obama talking point that 'There are no silver bullets' regarding soaring gasoline prices in the United States. 

However, now Fox News is reporting that the Administration is pushing back on this report, saying the claim is 'false' - and reminding Americans that 'there are no silver bullets'.

Earlier today, President Barack Obama delivered a major speech on American Energy...

Vintage Barack Obama on the campaign stump - including his very touchy declaration..."Do not tell me that we're not drilling. We're drilling all over this country."

With all due respect...

The facts, once again, do not support the President's campaign stump claims.  We are not drilling 'all over this country'.

Drilling on federally administered and regulated lands is down significantly.  There is a defacto moratorium in the Gulf.  The Administration has banned drilling offshore on the US continental shelf.  The Administration continues to ban drilling in ANWR.  According to the President, we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves and consume 20% of the world's production - therefore we need to focus on conservation and alternative energy sources as a solution to our energy needs - not fossil fuels.

We are, for all practical purposes, in the midst of an oil embargo - an embargo of our own supplies for political purposes to promote a progressive pro-environmental agenda.  The claim that we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves is not only a canard, but a base misrepresentation of the facts.  We have enough oil to supply our own needs at the current levels for 200 years - and only lack the will to do so because of self-imposed political and environmental limitations.

A separate Rand Corp. study found that about 800 billion barrels of oil shale in Wyoming and neighboring states is "technically recoverable," which means it could be extracted using existing technology.

That's more than triple the known reserves in Saudi Arabia.

All told, the U.S. has access to 400 billion barrels of crude that could be recovered using existing drilling technologies, according to a 2006 Energy Department report.

When you include oil shale, the U.S. has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the Institute for Energy Research, enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports.

And even this number could be low, since such estimates tend to go up over time.
Soaring gas prices will continue to have an impact on the President - just as they had a significant impact on the re-election effort of the President closest to President Obama in terms of domestic, economic, and foreign policy 'success' - President Jimmy Carter.  In Sacramento, California, gas prices soared more than 50 cents a gallon in just one month.  Yesterday, while in Los Angeles near the USC campus, I had to pay $5.09 a gallon for regular unleaded.

There are more signs that the President's re-election campaign is having some challenges.  One of their latest fundraising letters started off by noting that if the election was held today, Mitt Romney would win - and that President Obama, the incumbent, is actually the 'underdog' in the 2012 Presidential election.

GOP political strategist, Karl Rove, writing in the Wall Street Journal, notes the Obama money and enthusiasm gap when it comes to his Democratic base.
For another, many of Mr. Obama's 2008 donors are reluctant to give again. The Obama campaign itself reported that fewer than 7% of 2008 donors renewed their support in the first quarter of his re-election campaign. That's about one-quarter to one-third of a typical renewal rate: In the first quarter of the Bush re-election campaign, for example, about 20% of the donors renewed their support.

There are other troubling signs. Team Obama's email appeals don't ask for $10, $15, $25 or $50 donations as they did in 2008, but generally for $3. Nor are the appeals mostly about issues; many are lotteries. Give three bucks and your name will be put in a drawing for a private dinner with the president and first lady.

This is clever marketing, but it suggests the campaign has found that only a low price point with a big benefit can overcome donor resistance among people who contributed via mail or the Internet in 2008. It also points to higher-than-expected solicitation costs and lower-than-expected fund-raising returns.
Another of the actions of the Obama Administration that damage its hope for re-election in November is the excessive direction the Administration is taking towards regulation.

In the latest example of regulatory overreach, the Administration is issuing new orders that will require 300,000 public swimming pools to install permanent fixed lifts to lower wheelchair bound swimmers into the water or face fines / lawsuits for violation of the American Disability Act.  The cost - $8,000 to $20,000 per lift plus installation and maintenance.

Supporters of President Obama, including major elements of the mainstream media, continue to work towards promoting the President and hiding the damaging elements of the President's past - like the outrage raised by the airing of an old rally where Harvard Law student Barack Obama calls for support for racist Derrick Bell.  We saw some of this in the 2008 campaign as some raised questions about Barack Obama's past - and past associations...which were actively worked to be deflated by many in the mainstream media.

It's time to ask ourselves as to why all of the effort to hide Obama's past and past associations if they mean nothing?
If Obama’s past isn’t a concern – why cover it up? The Beltway elite mock critics who say the president's hiding his radical past from voters. They say there's nothing there, move along. But if there's nothing to hide, why is so much hidden?

And if the White House isn't worried about the public seeing another side of President Obama, why is it trying to reinforce the image of him as a post-racial, pro-American moderate with a slick new Hollywood-produced 17-minute documentary?

The answer, of course, is that it is very much concerned.

The Obama campaign knows its carefully manicured narrative is wearing thin against the drip-drip-drip of revelations about his extremism. And it can't risk the incumbent being reintroduced to voters this election as an untrustworthy imposter who's hiding things about himself and his agenda.

Indeed, these are things that must be hidden from the average voter. They are unpatriotic and unelectable things. Things that would concern any red-blooded American, if not the parlor Bolsheviks inside the Beltway media and the Ivory Tower.
Bill O'Reilly has decided to take on the left wing media dishonesty this election season...

Speaking of intellectual dishonesty, radio host Hugh Hewitt has a superb and right-on-the-mark description of the vile misogynist Bill Maher - calling him 'The Gollum of American Politics'.

Internationally, the big story is the announcement from Afghanistan's President Karzai who is demanding that NATO forces retreat from villages and confine themselves to the large NATO basis - apparently preferring the Taliban to control the countryside.  He is citing his concerns over civilian casualties in the wake of the alleged murder of 16 civilians by an American soldier last weekend.  He is also calling for the acceleration of the turnover of security responsibilities to Afghani forces even though those forces are not nearly ready for the task.

There are numerous problems in Afghanistan - and among the largest is Karzai himself.  I particularly note his lack of angst and concern over the Taliban causing large numbers of civilian casualties as part of their effort to regain control of the country.

The Taliban, seeing the change in direction that will apparently give them a victory via politics that they cannot achieve via force of arms.  They are turning to the same playbook used by the North Vietnamese at the Paris Peace talks during the Vietnam War - and calling off peace talks with the US - blaming the US for their change of heart.

On This Day in History

44BC - Julius Caesar is murdered in the Roman Senate

1493 - Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first voyage to the New World

1917 - Czar Nicholas II abdicates

1938 - Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia

1939 - Nazi forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia - the country was sacrificed in the name of appeasement by the British and French in the Munich Pact.

1965 - President Lyndon Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress to urge passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights regardless of race (Voting Rights Act was signed into law in August 1965).

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