Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Hits - March 19, 2012

Mitt Romney decisively won the GOP Presidential primary held in Puerto Rico yesterday earning 83% of the vote.  He also gained all 20 of the delegates at stake by earning more than half the vote.  Rick Santorum, who gained only 8% support, twice created a buzz over statements he made that the island needed to adopt and use only English if it were to be considered for statehood.  Puerto Rico is holding a referendum on the issue of statehood on their ballot this November.

The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama campaign is apparently experiencing some significant challenges raising campaign funds this election cycle.  Most notably, the campaign is seeing only about half the number of big donors contributing this cycle than contributed to the President's 2008 campaign.  Rumors of challenges raising money have been rising since the start of the year as the President's campaign is trailing the level of fundraising from not only 2008, but also the level of fundraising that former President George W. Bush achieved for his 2004 reelection effort.

Anonymous former big donors to the 2008 Obama campaign are indicating that they are holding back on making large contributions because of concerns with some of the President's policies.  Others are focusing their efforts towards helping the Democrats retain their majority in the Senate particularly since the President's campaign and the DNC have indicated that neither will be providing funds for those campaigns as they did in 2008 and 2010.

Attorney General Eric Holder remains under fire by Congressional investigators over his tenure leading the Department of Justice.  Over 100 lawmakers are on record as demanding the resignation of the AG - and numerous issues ranging from the DoJ's policies and positions regarding selective enforcement of US federal laws, going after states for their Voter ID laws, and the 'Fast and Furious' program which 'walked' guns to Mexican drug cartels which were then used in hundreds of murders including those of two US agents.

While the Fast and Furious program was underway, and during testimony on the program by the Attorney General, the AG and his democrat supporters made specific claims that the availability of American weapons to the drug cartels was a major reason behind the violence - and that the US needed to adopt stricter gun control laws.

Apparently, this is not a new position for the Attorney General. has uncovered the following video of Eric Holder in 1995...

We have to 'brainwash' people on guns...

This video explains specifically why the AG apparently does not see a problem with creating or authorizing 'Fast and Furious' as the program has been used as a justification for the call from the Department of Justice (as well as from the President and other politicians) that the US needs to adopt stricter gun control laws.

Imagine the arrogance behind their responsibility for arming murderous drug cartels which killed hundreds if not thousands all in order to create a rationale to promote a preferred political agenda.

On Ace of Spades, one poster talks about the 'Dunning-Kruger' effect in connotation to the linkage between the progressive democrat support of OccupyWallStreet, but makes a case overall that also seems to apply specifically around the incompetence of Eric Holder (and others in the Administration)...
Recall the Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, a person’s incompetence inhibits their ability to recognize his or her incompetence. The people who think they are the smartest are the dumbest, essentially, because they are blind to their stupidity. The people who think they know better know the least. And isn't it interesting that they are almost always the first to hurl the insult "you're stupid"?

Anyway, I was reading about the police busting OWS people and closing Zuccotti Park today, and it occurred to me that there is a variation on the Dunning-Kruger effect that has to do with other forms of self-awareness.

Another part of the answer is that this conflicting view of self can only be maintained with a strong ability to repress, distort, and/or filter dissonant information. IOW, they're typically more subjective than objective. So even reality can be manipulated and made to fit the superior self view. This is how some seemingly highly intelligent people can be so utterly stupid. I sometimes call them "perception morons" (which always makes me think of Noam Chomsky, btw).

For most competent people, it is inconceivable that someone would consider implementing a program to provide weaponry to further carnage and murder in order to create a justification for a preferred political agenda item.  Yet, to Eric Holder and his Democrat defenders / apologists, the purpose of the 'ends fit the means' meme allows them to be 'perception morons'.

Victor Davis Hanson also touches on this example of so-called rational thinking of the progressive left in his excellent essay titled, 'Liberal Illiberalism'
But at some point, the green creed began to dictate that all species were equal to humans. Soon concern for a tiny frog or worm trumped a needed project — a dam, an irrigation canal, an oil well, or a mine — designed to alleviate human suffering. Here I am not talking about large-scale species annihilation, but rather taking a truth about wishing to protect a natural habitat and perverting it into elevating concerns for insects, amphibians, and small fish over people’s elemental struggles to exist and prosper.

When California elites shut down 250,000 acres of irrigated agriculture to divert water into the San Francisco regional delta and bay, purportedly as a remedy to help the three-inch delta smelt, they were making a loud moral statement that those who mostly had secure jobs, mostly nice homes, and well-off environments were going to destroy the jobs of those in agriculture — not just the land owner and foreman, but the agricultural workers themselves — without much worry over the consequences.

In crude terms, the ideology might be paraphrased as something like the following, “I got mine, Jack, and can’t worry about you.” Or, “You don’t interest me as much as does a tiny fish in the delta.” In truth, I would be far more worried that the town of San Joaquin had little money for basic civic services from a cutoff in irrigation water than I would a drop in the delta smelt population.

When Steven Chu admits both that he wishes gas prices to soar to European levels and that he has no need either to drive or to own a car, then he is really saying, “I don’t have much concern for the results of my own fantasies.” Yet had his lab and assorted lasers once been put on regular 12-hour blackouts to conserve “skyrocketing” energy, then he might have worried more about the consequences of his utopianism. When Barack Obama both calls for “skyrocketing” energy prices, and on his first January day in office turns up the West Wing thermostat to tropical temperatures, then there is a sort of immorality implicit in his entire ideology. At least Jimmy Carter put on a sweater and turned down the temperature to match his malaise rhetoric. Does Al Gore think that the Mexicans, Nigerians, or Venezuelans who supply some of the jet fuel that allows him to huckster via private aircraft are kinder to Earth in the Balance when they drill than when we would in ANWR or North Dakota?

This is another 'read it all' essay from VDH. There is a commonality around the rhetoric and policies of the progressive left as well as a very strong hypocrisy. The rationale behind these policies is very often absurd and flies in the face of logic. Running guns to murderous thugs and then using the carnage that results as a justification for greater gun control. Ignoring immigration laws in order to pander to La Raza and the Hispanic vote weakens our resolve to be a nation of laws particularly when we would not consider the same action for another immigration group that might be less likely to support progressive politicians.

We're denounced for 'playing politics' as we speak out against these examples of 'liberal illiberalism' - like the Obamacare contraception mandate as a violation of religious liberty - but we need to continue to do so.

It has been a little time since I've highlighted California as being one of the 'canaries in the mines' regarding the impact of the progressive agenda on country.  California has been dominated by progressives since Governor Jerry Brown's first tenure as Governor (1975-1983).  Despite a few moderate Republican governors, Sacramento has been dominated by a legislative majority dominated by either Bay area progressives or LA basin progressives.

California was once one of the top states in the country - a real golden state.  Now, a drop in unemployment from 11.1% to 10.9% is celebrated as a major stride forward.  In 2010, contrary to results from most of the rest of the country, California doubled down on the progressive agenda as it elected progressive Democrats to every major statewide office....and the state's fiscal challenges only continued to get worse.

In Southern California, short sales and foreclosures made up 52% of all recent home sales reflecting a continuing dismal housing market and economic conditions.  California is one of 11 states that has a statewide gasoline price average over $4 per gallon - and in the LA area, our gas prices range from $4.35 per gallon in the suburbs to $5.25 - $5.50 inside Los Angeles proper.

Despite huge annual budget deficits, continued experience with declining tax revenues and government spending that is higher than budgeted, and a state employee pension liability that is dramatically underfunded, the Brown administration continues to insist on tax and spend policies at the behest of California's unions.

The California Teacher's Association, the statewide teachers union, is the number 1 lobbyist in terms of dollars spent towards progressives in Sacramento....spending nearly 25% more on influencing the state government decisions than the number 2 lobbyist - the state union affiliate of the SEIU.  Coming behind the millions that the CTA spends to promote its agenda comes a bought and paid for progressive legislature that refuses to undertake any meaningful education reforms to restore the CA educational system to its 'golden' days, blocks non-union charter schools when and wherever possible,  boost the dollars flowing into the union's coffers.

This past weekend, Governor Brown and representatives of the CTA met to agree on the consolidation of their proposed 'solution' to California's two decade long budget crisis - which unsurprisingly is addressed not by reforming California - but by increasing taxes particularly on the 'wealthy' intending to increase the revenues of the government.  This is despite CA's already heavy tax burden that has driven out 1/3 of the 'wealthy' since 2007 and not resulted in increased revenues.  But when one only knows tax and spend...

One of the biggest boondoggles being promoted by Governor Moonbeam continues to be the state's High Speed Rail initiative.  Despite not having a viable business plan - the Governor and the unions behind the the High Speed rail initiative remain committed to spending over $100 billion dollars.  Recently the board comprising of political appointees for the initiative has proposed making changes in order to get from the state the first $5 billion of the $10 billion authorized under a 2008 proposition in order to start construction in California's central valley.  In an effort to reduce costs, the Board is proposing the rail network use existing freight line track - which is a direct violation of the terms of the 2008 proposition which limits funds only to dedicated high speed track.

Without the will or interest to reform how California operates - it will remain the 'Greece' of the United States until it comes to the fiscal cliff where it can no longer ignore reality.

The Wall Street Journal today notes that the federal government is also rushing towards its own fiscal cliff on January 1, 2013.  On that day - the federal government is going to have to deal with the effects of a major across the board tax increase as the 'Bush tax cuts' expire in conjunction with other efforts to 'kick the can down the road' expire. 
Fast forward to December 2012. The lame duck Congress will have on its plate all the issues it had to deal with in the December 2010, August 2011, December 2011, and February 2012 budget battles, plus the automatic cuts mandated by the failure of the super committee, plus the legacy of whatever claims and promises are made during the campaign. We may also be bumping up against the national debt ceiling again. And who will have to sort it all out? A Congress whose days are numbered and whose complexion may have been altered dramatically by the election.

In Toulouse, France, a rabbi and three children were murdered by an unknown assailant outside a Jewish school early this morning. The assailant, fleeing the scene on a motorbike, is the believed by police to be the same person who murdered three French military members who were minorities in two attacks late last week.

On This Day in History

1931 - The State of Nevada legalized gambling

1945 - The USS Franklin, part of a Task Force located 50 miles off the coast of Japan, was attacked and struck by 2 bombs.  The resulting inferno killed 724 of her crew, wounding 265 and severely damaged the ship.  The Franklin was the most seriously damaged of the Essex class carriers in WW2 - none of which were lost due to enemy action.

1949 - The East German constitution was approved by the Soviet dominated puppet government.

2001 - California officials declared a power alert and ordered the first two days of rolling blackouts across the state to address the electricity shortage the state was experiencing.

2003 - President George W. Bush announced the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom - the US and coalition war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq.  Congress, in a bipartisan vote, authorized the use of military force against Iraq in October 2002.

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