Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Hits - March 16, 2012

The mainstream media has finally accepted what many of us determined on January 22, 2009 - that President Barack Obama has entered 'full reelection mode' in his speeches and addresses to the American people.

Obama was on the rhetorical warpath yesterday in his campaign speech on his energy policy given at Prince Georges Community College in Largo, Maryland yesterday.  He attacked the complaints directed towards his energy policies by reminding us that 'we are already drilling everywhere', that domestic production is up, that green energy alternatives are the future, naysayers to his policies are no different than 'flat earthers', and for a new twist, moved from blaming his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, to blaming President Rutherford B. Hayes for being a technology luddite.

The usually friendly Washington Post took Mr. Obama to the fact checking woodshed on this speech - primarily on the attack he leveled on a President who is no longer around to defend himself...
“Of course, we’ve heard this kind of thinking before. If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society. … There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don't believe in the future, and don't believe in trying to do things differently. One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore because he’s looking backwards. He’s not looking forwards. He’s explaining why we can't do something, instead of why we can do something.”

--President Obama, remarks on energy, Largo, Maryland, March 15, 2012

WaPo's Fact Check goes on to say:
It’s bad enough for one president to knock another one for not being on Mt. Rushmore, but it’s particularly egregious to do so based on incorrect information.
...before delivering their ruling on President Obama's 'accuracy' - 4 Pinocchio's...

It's curious, given the number of inaccuracies and hyperbole that existed within that campaign speech that the WaPo decides to make a stand when Obama attacks a President who does not have the last name 'Bush'. But when one's policies and agenda are floundering, resorting to mistruths and smears is about all that he has left to say when he will not change his direction.

After all, the WaPo could have taken the President to task for his claims that fuel production is at an all time high - while ignoring that on Federally administered lands, fossil fuel production is actually at a 9 year low.

Charles Krauthammer's weekly column hammers President Obama and his energy policy foibles - "Seaweed in Your Gas Tank".  He notes the President's 'drilling everywhere' comments..

and then proceeds to list the exceptions to 'everywhere'....

  • Off the Mid-Atlantic coast
  • Off the Florida coast (where it seems as if it is reserved for Cuba / China)
  • In the broader Gulf of Mexico (where drilling in 2012 is expected to drop 30% below pre-moratorium forecasts)
  • In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - which is more than half the size of England and the drilling footprint being the size of Washington DC's Dulles International Airport
  • On federal lands in the Rockies - where leases are down 70% since Obama took office

Obama boasts that on his watch, production is up and imports down. True, but truly deceptive. These increases have occurred in spite of his restrictive policies. They are the result of Clinton- and Bush-era permitting. This has been accompanied by a gold rush of natural-gas production resulting from new fracking technology that has nothing at all to do with Obama.

“The American people aren’t stupid,” said Obama on February 23, mocking “Drill, baby, drill.” The “only solution,” he averred in yet another major energy speech last week, is that “we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down.” Yet five paragraphs later he claimed that regardless of “how much oil we produce at home . . . that’s not going to set the price of gas worldwide.”

So: Decreasing U.S. demand will lower oil prices, but increasing U.S. supply will not? This is ridiculous. Either both do or neither does. Does Obama read his own speeches?
As the old line goes, if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls*&*.

And that is the real pattern that is coming from this Administration.  Daily, I am more and more amazed that they can make speeches like this one, or the one that Veep Biden delivered in Ohio, with perfectly straight faces as they are filled with doublespeak and outright lies / misrepresentations.  It can only be a reflection of their arrogance and contempt towards the American people -as if backstage after these events, they are laughing their asses off about just how stupid the American people seem to be.

When it comes to the decisions and policies of the Obama Administration - who owns the accountability and responsibility for the effects of those decisions?  The Administration?  Or someone else?

Someone else.

Like this example...whose fault is it?  In Texas, the state government, specifically the Texas Women's Health Program, decides to stop funding favored liberal group Planned Parenthood with state taxpayer funds.  Planned Parenthood is not a government organization - but a private charitable organization that does get government funding.  The Texas government has a list of reasons why they believe that the Texas Women's Health Program should use its funds elsewhere as opposed to contributing to Planned Parenthood....which should be their right to do.

In response to this decision, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it is cutting off ALL medicare funding from the federal government to the state of Texas - specifically the Texas Women's Health Program because they will no longer fund a 'preferred' recipient of HHS.

.  But who actually cut the funding for poor women in Texas - ie cut the funds for the Texas Women's Health Program?  The Obama Administration.

After all - liberals from around the country / world are free to donate their personal funds to the coffers of Planned Parenthood to make up via private donations what the elected representatives of Texas have decided to not fund...or they can support candidates to be elected in Texas to restore the funding from the state government...but only one entity decided to stop funding the Texas Women's Health Program.  The Obama Administration playing politics to support a favored liberal group.

Who should be believe?  Bureau of Labor Statistic statistics or our own 'lyin' eyes?

According to the BLS, we should be ignoring the all time high March gasoline prices because inflation is lower than expected.
Just spent a record high amount at the gas pump for this time of year? The BLS says you didn't, and after all when it comes to reality, the BLS has a right of first refusal. The just printed headline CPI came at 0.4%, just in line with expectations of 0.4%, while core CPI of 0.2%, missed expectations of 0.3%. That's right: not only is inflation meaningless, it is less than expected, leading to surge higher in stocks, bonds and the EURUSD. As for those items which are once again soaring in prices such as food and gas? Luckily, those can be hedonically adjusted by everyone to virtually zero. (wait? You still pay your mortgage or rent? Sucker!) Remember: the iPad is deflationary.
It's as if Obama thinks he's a jedi knight and can use the 'jedi mind trick' on us...

In other critical national news, the President has released his NCAA Tournament bracket selections - and there is a new campaign contest allowing supporters of the President to test their selections against those of the President.

The New York Times launched a front page smear on GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in today's edition with an article headlined - "Firm Romney Founded is Tied to Chinese Surveillance"..
In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts.

The Bain-owned company, Uniview Technologies, produces what it calls “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that enable police officials in different jurisdictions to share images in real time through the Internet.

5 paragraphs into the article, the NYT finally reports that Mitt Romney has had no role in Bain operations since 1999 and had no say over the investment in China - but "the fortunes of Bain and Mr. Romney are still closely tied."

Closely tied?  But 'closely tied' isn't pertinent when dozens of Obama campaign bundlers are feted at the State Dinner earlier this week for British Prime Minister David Cameron?  Or with Barack Obama's associations / defense of racist Professor Derrick Bell?  Or with Barack Obama's other questionable associations - William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Frank Marshall Davis, or Tony Rezko to name a few individuals?  How about the detailed NYT investigative report into the crony capitalism and close ties between the Administration stimulus dollars and Obama campaign contributors who are linked with green energy companies getting billions from the Administration?

Yeah, I know, it's the NY Slimes...

Victor Davis Hanson, a former Professor in the University of California system, writes today about the large scale student protests that are taking place on UC campuses and in Sacramento regarding massive tuition hikes that they are facing.
The state can keep cutting its once-generous entitlements and liberal social services, as well as public employees’ salaries, to divert money to its colleges. Or it can keep raising fees for state services. Or it can start creating new material wealth by encouraging development of the state’s vast resources in gas, oil, timber, minerals, and agriculture, whose production has been curtailed in recent years. Or it can lobby the federal government to enforce immigration laws.

Or California can raise taxes across the income spectrum to make up for the diminishing revenue from a vanishing 1 percent.

Yet protesting students would probably believe all those solutions were either unfair or unnecessary. The result is that we are left with mostly liberal students angry at mostly liberal policies of a mostly liberally governed state.

The once-utopian visions of 1970s California — unionized public employees, more state lands off limits, more regulations, higher taxes on the wealthy, vastly expanded social services, de facto open borders — have at last mostly come true, but apparently not in the fashion anticipated by most Californians of those long-ago times. In cash-strapped Greece, when similar things happened, protesters blamed the Germans. But without Germans, whom can Californians blame but themselves?

We should be blaming the one's who created this environment in California - but given the demographics - California is as fixated on the course to bankruptcy as Greece is.  After all, despite the decades of financial challenges, the looming bankruptcy caused by decades of progressive leadership and fiscal policies (entitlements, liberal social services, excessive environmentalism, anti-business, pro-regulation, punitive taxation) when faced with an option to change direction as the rest of the country was deciding to do in the 2010 election season, California decided to elect to every major statewide office progressive liberals - just like those elected to lead us nationally in 2008.

But this is also why California is, for the first time, losing population.  Even the concept being floated by Governor Moonbeam to increase the taxation the wealthy is laughable - between 2007 and 2009, the policies of California drove 1/3 of them from the state - and punitive taxes will drive another third or more out - leaving what?  A continuing festering fiscal mess.

Afghanistan's President Karzai is stepping up his rhetoric against the US and NATO forces that are fighting to preserve his Presidency and his life.  In the latest, he is blasting the US for not handing over the soldier being held for the murder of 16 Afghan civilians - and for the US quick transfer of that soldier to the US to stand a military court martial.  He is also complaining about a lack of cooperation from the US during the investigation into the murders - saying the US is not sharing evidence with the Afghani government and indicating that he does not believe US evidence that indicates the murders were done by just one person.
"The Afghan government did not receive cooperation from the USA regarding the surrender of the US soldiers to the Afghan government. This [civilian casualties] has been going on too long," Karzai was quoted as saying by AFP while meeting relatives of the victims.

He added, "This behavior cannot be tolerated."

Karzai's remarks came in the aftermath of last weekend's door-to-door massacre that left 16 dead -- most of those women and children.

At a meeting with US defense secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday, Karzai demanded the US withdraw its troops from Afghan villages.

"Not a single foreign soldier should enter Afghan homes, and the entire attention should switch to the country's reconstruction and economic assistance," he said in a statement.
The war in Afghanistan against the Taliban / al-Qaeda was the right war to fight.  Since fighting this war, we've confirmed (learned) of the significant and duplicitous role played by government factions in Pakistan to promote, fund, and protect not only the Taliban, but other radical fundamentalist Islamic organizations leveraging terrorism and violence to further their religious cause. 

We've also learned a lot about Afghanistan.  It's far from a country.  It's corrupt.  While there is a sizable number of people who seem to want to migrate from the 10th century to the 21st - there are also far too many people that want to remain in the 10th century - locked between their religion as government and a near feudal / tribal system. 

Where were Karzai's apologies and actions towards stopping Afghani soldiers turning their weapons on their NATO allies and trainers?   Where's Karzai's commitment to end the corruption and graft that is commonplace in Afghanistan's government?  Karzai no longer wants NATO forces in the villages to protect the civilians - far more whom have been killed by the Taliban than by NATO action - but he still wants us to spend billions to make him and his other warlords / corruptocrats rich?

Someone needs to remind President Karzai that without the NATO, and the US in particular, he would be hanging from a streetlight within a week...regardless of how much he thinks he can appease the Taliban.  That and to also remind him that when the troops leave, the funding leaves as well.

This is not the action of an ally or a friend...and given this direction being set by the Afghani government, it's time to rethink our role there even though it was the right war to fight.

On This Day in History

1802 - US Congress establishes the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY

1945 - Iwo Jima is declared secure.  The island was invaded on Feb. 19, 1945, Mt. Suribachi was captured on Feb 23, 1945 - but it still took weeks to secure the rest of the island.  6,000 US Marines died taking the island - as did almost all of the 21,000 Japanese defenders.

1968 - An American platoon kills between 200 and 500 unarmed civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai.  In March 1970, a US Army board of inquiry charged 14 officers with crimes related to the massacre at My Lai.  Only one, Lt. William Calley, the platoon commander, was convicted.  After appeals his sentence was reduced from life in prison to 10 years - and Lt. Calley, believed by some to be a scapegoat, was released on parole after serving only a third of his sentence.

1978 - Supertanker Amoco Cadiz wrecks off the coast of Portsall, France - spilling 68 mllion gallons of oil damaging 240 miles of France's Brittany coast.  While not the largest oil spill, the supertanker remains the largest shipwreck in history.

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