Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quick Hits - March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Remember this?

Another declaration from President Obama that has a timelimit / is basically he told a small gathering of very wealthy attendees of an Atlanta fundraiser Friday night that restoring the US economy and America's status in the world is an 8 year project not a 3 year project as promised soon after his inauguration.
"This is not a three-year project, this is an eight-year project," he said Friday night. "So I need you one more time. And we're confident we can get there, but we're going to need your help."

Obama gave credit to his administration for helping to bring about new job growth and stabilize the banking system. But he said he ran for the White House not just to restore the status quo, but to improve upon it.

"I ran because the status quo pre-crisis wasn't good enough," he said.
Fundamental change is hard, particularly when the goal is to move the US from its traditional values to a Euro-socialistic nanny state.  Based on his three year record, does he deserve another term? 

Are you really better off today than you were in January 2009?

Here are two numbers to help you answer that question...
1. $15,564,809,891,767.99 - This is how high record US federal debt is as of today. Although "record" and "US debt" in the same sentence is now redundant. So just debt. (source)

2. $8.354 billion. This is how much net US tax revenues (net of refunds of course) are lower in fiscal 2012 to date compared to the same period in 2011. In this Bizarro world, economic recovery is apparently based on weaker numbers (source).
None of these numbers is likely to get any better in the next few years - under another Obama Administration.  The Congressional Budget Office has scored the President's proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget and determined that it does not work the US towards reducing the national debt by $3 trillion over the next decade as claimed by the Administration - but that it adds at least $3.5 trillion to the national debt. 

This from a President who denounced his predecessor as 'unpatriotic' for increasing the national debt nearly $5 trillion over 8 years while his own Administration is on pace to increase the national debt by over $6 trillion in 4 years.

President Obama continues to insist that he cannot do much to reduce oil prices or soaring gasoline prices - 'there are no silver bullets'.  However, he is continuing to push for the elimination of tax breaks for the oil industry to their exploration and development of new drilling facilities.  In addition, his EPA continues to push forward on regulations that not only complicate the production of gasoline in the US, but is shutting down refineries or making them economically unviable given the costs associated with compliance of the new regulations.

The President and his Administration remain focused on their war on fossil fuels in the name of global warming, progressive environmentalism, and the preferred focus on alternative energy.

But if there are 'no silver bullets' - then why did oil prices drop on the rumors that the US and UK were jointly planning on releasing oil from their respective strategic oil reserves?

Toyota is getting frisky - Per a press release..
...Toyota U.S.A. reports brisk sales of the game-changing Prius c compact hybrid. Then, TMS goes on to say that “In its first three days on the market, it sold 1,201 units, making it one Toyota’s fastest-selling vehicles and eclipsing Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf sales for the entire month of February.”
No bailout from US taxpayers, no DOE green energy loans - just building a car that works (and delivers superior gas mileage) for a reasonable price...the marketplace working the way it should.

Oral arguments to the Supreme Court on the case to determine the constitutionality of Obamacare take place on March 26 thru the 28th. 

Reports are the Administration is working towards refocusing their argument in favor of the constitutionality of the legislation from the commerce clause of the US Constitution to the necessary and proper clause of the US Constitution.  This is in an attempt to appeal for the vote of at least one conservative Supreme Court justice - primarily Justice Scalia.  Leveraging the necessary and proper clause targets an opinion made by Justice Scalia in another case...or can be a case of the Administration tossing all the 'stuff' they can into the mix to see what possibly sticks.

Last night saw yet another major late day document dump from the Administration - and more controversy buried in those released documents.  The first major dump highlights the Administration gimmicks around the 'compromise' of the HHS / Obamacare contraceptive services mandate that requires religious institutions (and their insurance companies) to provide free contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacient services to their employees regardless of their religious objections to those services.
- In yesterday’s notice, the Administration is suggesting that insurance companies offer coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and contraception—free of charge—directly to employees of religious organizations that oppose the mandate on moral or religious grounds. This way, according to the Administration’s logic, religious employers aren’t providing or paying for such services.

But religious groups aren’t following that distorted logic. Among many others, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made clear that such accounting gimmicks are wholly inadequate to deal with the serious moral problem the mandate has forced upon religious groups.
Insurers are not going to eat the costs of these services themselves. They will simply pass the costs for the drugs along to employers through increases in premiums, a fact the Administration admits in its own notice released today.

What is becoming apparent with Obamacare - there are a number of 'inconvenient truths' about the legislation that continue to have a majority of Americans favoring the repeal of President Obama's 'landmark' legislation.  Among these are:

  1. Despite the insistence of the President, millions will not be able to keep their existing coverages.  The number who will lose their existing coverages range from 5 million to 20 million.
  2. Costs associated with healthcare will not go down.
  3. The law will not be able to pay for itself - it will add, based on the latest CBO scoring, over $1.75 trillion to the national debt in the next decade - and could rise to as much as $2.5 trillion.
  4. 'The more they know, the more they'll like it' - as promised by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not happening.
Also included in the Administration document dump - more of the continued 'drip, drip, drip' of materials from the Department of Justice on their 'Fast and Furious' program.  Of the some 80,000 pages of materials that the DoJ has provided their own IG for 'review' of the program which 'walked' thousands of guns to Mexican Drug Cartels and were used to kill hundreds, only a little over 7,000 pages of materials have been provided to Congressional investigators and oversight committees.

President Obama's proposals to gut the national defense in order to help fund rising domestic entitlement programs and costs are starting to look very similar to the decisions made in Europe over the last several decades.  Unlike the nations of Europe which had the United States to provide them with a national security umbrella, there is no umbrella over the United States.

These cuts will eliminate 100,000 ground troops for the US.  The Air Force will be reduced to the smallest size in their history, while the US Navy will shrink to a size not seen since prior to the First World War.  New equipment and capability procurement has dropped significantly - this after we have to face the effects of 'wear and tear' coming from a decade of war against Islamofascism.

As noted by 'Information Dessemination' - in addition to retiring the 52 year old USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and a half dozen 30+ year old frigates, we are also retiring 4 Ticonderoga class Aegis missile cruisers that have or can have ballistic missile defense capabilities well before their active duty lifespans have been reached.

Ironically, though, the President has decided to mobilize and increase the military airlift capability to help him campaign around the country....

President Obama's foreign policy is as disastrous and feckless as his domestic policies.

Egypt's new radical Islamic majority in Parliament has announced that Israel is their number one enemy - threatening the continued Egyptian participation in the 1978 peace treaty between the two states.  However, despite this, the Obama Administration has announced that they are going to resume providing billions in military assistance to the Egyptian military.

In Afghanistan, President Karzai continues his anti-American rhetoric, turning on the very forces that are keeping him in power and alive...

I'm waiting for someone in the Administration to have the cojones to remind President Karzai the above...

Reports are coming out from Israel that the Israeli cabinet has taken a majority vote to attack Iran to disrupt their nuclear program even without any American approval.
According to Israel's NRG, in a just completed cabinet vote, for the first time Netanyahu has gotten a majority (8 over 6) supporting an Iran attack. NRG also notes that at this point Israel has decided to not wait until the US elections in November before proceeding with sending crude to the stratosphere. From NRG (google translated): "Israeli political sources believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a majority Cabinet support Israeli military action against Iran without American approval....He announced that he would not hesitate to perform the operation without the approval of President Obama mentioned the precedent of the decision to attack the Iraqi reactor, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and with the comments heard yesterday some cabinet ministers say privately that "It sounds like a speech preparation for attack." Political - Security Cabinet 14 ministers. According to estimates, at this stage tend to support Netanyahu and Barak's approach eight ministers, and six against it (including the traditional opponents octet: Moshe Ya'alon, Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Eli Yishai)." So... $4.00 gas is just around the corner. As is, probably, $5.00 gas. And $6.00 gas.
On some lighter topics, Jazz Shaw on Hot Air asks - would you pay $100 to skip the TSA screening line at airports?  Or a better question, would you pay $100 to not your 'junk' groped by a surly TSA agent?


On the sports side of the news, yesterday, the New York Yankees announced that veteran pitcher Andy Petite, who retired at the end of the 2010 season, has decided to come out of retirement signing a one year minor league contract for $2.5 million.  Petite was a cornerstone of the pitching staff for a number of years for the Yankees, and a top 3 career leader in many stats for the Yankees.  He is also the major league record holder for the number of playoff / World Series wins with 19.

This is a good move for the Yankees as Petite brings experience to the club - and someone who can work very closely with the key young members of the New York Yankee staff.
Spring Training has reached its halfway point...

On This Day in History

461 -St. Patrick dies in Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.  Ireland celebrates this day in his honor.

1756 - St. Patrick's Day celebrated for the 1st time in New York City

1762 - First St. Patrick's Day parade takes place in New York City - Irish soldiers serving in the British Army march through the City

1776 - British forces evacuate Boston - retreating to Halifax, Nova Scotia ending 8 years of British military occupation of the city.  This is a major victory for the Revolutionary forces.  The British positions became untenable after General Washington's forces deploy heavy artillery captured at Fort Ticonderoga on Dorchester Heights.

1973 - The first American prisoners of war from the 'Hanoi Hilton' prison camp are released by the North Vietnamese.

1990 - Lithuania rejects Soviet demands to renounce it's declaration of independence from the USSR.

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