Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quick Hits - March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday greets us today - 10 GOP Presidential Primaries and Caucuses awarding 419 delegates to the candidates...but that will be taking up all of the oxygen in tonight's news cycle.  As for the big news this morning....

President Obama is going to hold a news conference today - his first in about 115 days.  As par for the course, elements of the mainstream media are seeking to gin up stories about how 'upset' Republicans are for the President to hold a press conference on Super Tuesday to 'steal some of the thunder' from the GOP primaries.  Meh.  It's more likely that the President and his campaign leaders see this as being like a late Friday evening document dump - an easy way to check the box and stop the countdown while anything controversial gets lost in the Super Tuesday media frenzy.

What questions should the President be asked?  The Heritage Foundation has these 10...
1. Your Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it is not the policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?

2. Your administration has touted the declining unemployment rate. Do you plan any policy proposals to deal with the steady – and ongoing – decline in labor force participation?

3. According to The Heritage Foundation, there are over $2 trillion in tax hikes in your latest budget proposal, when you yourself stated that raising taxes is anathema to economic recovery. How will tax hikes spur job growth, or is that secondary to some other policy goal?

4. Your Justice Department insisted the Senate was in recess over the holidays for the purposes of recess appointments. But the Senate passed the payroll tax cut extension during that period. Do you think Presidents should dictate when Congress is in session, were these appointments legitimate, and will you go around Congress on future travel weekends?

5. What provision of the Constitution grants the federal government the authority to require religiously-affiliated groups to pay for contraception in violation of their own moral teachings?

6. Does China’s decision to boost its defense budget by more than 11% give you any pause about repeatedly slashing our own military capabilities?

7. Do you regret your administration’s hands-off approach to the Iranian Green Revolution given the country’s increasing belligerence and its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons?

8. Your administration has no plan to reform unsustainable entitlement programs, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Why haven’t you proposed any real solutions?

9. You continue to tout an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, but your budget proposal singles out the oil industry for punitive tax hikes, while preserving preferential tax treatment for wind energy, despite the fact that wind energy companies get roughly 100 times the amount in subsidies that oil companies do per kilowatt-hour (and that’s using the administration’s dodgy accounting. A more accurate measure puts wind subsidies at about 1000 times the level of oil subsidies). Do you believe the playing field should be leveled by eliminating all energy subsidies, or should government continue trying to pick winners and losers?

10. Have you instructed Attorney General Holder to comply with the congressional subpoena related to the more than 60,000 documents that the Department of Justice has not turned over to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee?

Don't hold your breath waiting for any of these to be asked by the WH Press Corps.  Another pertinent question that should be asked but will not serves as a segue into what will likely be one of the main topics of the presser - Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh.

The question?  Since the progressive left is actively running a campaign to drive advertisers away from Rush Limbaugh over his calling Ms. Fluke a 'slut' - will the President demand that his Super PAC return the million dollar donation by misogynist Bill Maher over his vile name-calling of Sarah Palin?

Bill O'Reilly continues to be right on point over the Fluke, Limbaugh, Contraception kerfuffle as his talking points from last night (above) show.

It's quite telling that Sandra Fluke declined to appear on O'Reilly's program, clearly preferring to appearing only on 'safe' programs, like 'The View' where she will not be challenged - not on a woman's right to contraception (which isn't the issue), but on her sense of entitlement, on her hard left progressive advocacy and willingness to be a prop for the Obama campaign.

Even 'safe' appearances on 'The View' doesn't really help Fluke or her credibility. Telling people to read 'Media Matters' for proof about the actions of conservatives says plenty about this vapid ideologue. Then there is the claim she promotes in one of her Law School Journal articles that insists health insurance should cover gender reassignment surgery...
Transgender persons wishing to undergo the gender reassignment process frequently face heterosexist employer health insurance policies that label the surgery as cosmetic or medically unnecessary and therefore uncovered.

Heterosexist? WTF?

Why should religious institutions or taxpayers or private businesses fund someone's 'gender reassignment' surgery? Shouldn't this be the responsibility of the person who wants a 'gender reassignment'? Apparently not in Fluke's progressive utopia.

Powerline highlighted the above political cartoon in their post today about the kerfuffle, and it does summarize how the rabid media is promoting the misdirection of this story.

Returning back to Fluke's appearance on the tedious 'The View' - Hot Air's Tina Korbe focuses on Fluke's rejection of Limbaugh's apology from last Saturday.  Fluke said that to her, Limbaugh's apology meant nothing - which is as expected.  If she accepted Limbaugh's apology, the kerfuffle would be ending.  There wouldn't be a story and the theater wouldn't continue.  There's also the risk that the meme would shift back to the real issue - that of freedom and the Constitution.

Fluke is a committed activist to the cause.  She will not be gracious or polite.  To her, this is war.  As Tina Korbe says so well at the above link...
Let’s stop giving Fluke the benefit of this controversy. Let’s keep the focus where it belongs and patiently continue to correct the misimpression (a.k.a. lie) that conservatives want to ban contraception. Nobody wants to ban contraception, but the Obama administration does want to force religious employers who object to contraception on religious grounds to pay for employee health insurance that includes coverage for contraception. It’s to that mandate that conservatives are politically opposed. Some conservatives are also personally opposed to contraception and to sexual promiscuity — but they’re not seeking to change the culture through the government. It’s progressives who prescribe government solutions to cultural ills and, in the process, jeopardize important freedoms.
Given Fluke's logic, shouldn't the government protect me right to order a BLT in a Muslim deli?

Laura Ingraham, appearing on Fox this morning, busts 'The View' for it's hypocrisy...

"When Ed Schultz called me a slut, Barbara Walters laughed it off..."

Kirsten Powers remains one of the only progressives who is shining a light on the theater being driven by the progressive media and politicans over Rush Limbaugh's comments - and is calling it as she sees it in an interview yesterday with FNC's Megyn Kelly...
KELLY: On the Olbermann front, he said S.E. Cupp should have been aborted by her parents. He said Michelle Malkin is a mashed up bag of meat with lipstick. And where was the outrage, Kirsten? I mean, why, why, why do they get away with it when somebody like Rush does not?

POWERS: Because this isn't really about misogyny, Megyn. This is about the Democratic Party. And that’s what it always comes down to. It's a proxy war for the Democratic Party: they can use it in the election for part of the war on women, and they can attack Rush Limbaugh because they hate Rush Limbaugh because he's conservative. It has nothing to do with misogyny or sexism or anything like that because if it did, they would flip out over Ed Schultz, over Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone who has said stuff that literally you cannot repeat on the air. I mean, it's so disgusting and he’s done so much more than I even included in the article. Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post has a piece up right now about the horrible things he has said about her.

You know, so, look, they overlook it because they're liberals and liberal men are allowed to be misogynists apparently. I don’t know.

Meanwhile, the organized assault on Rush Limbaugh's advertisters continue.  Nine advertisers and one radio station (in Hilo, Hawaii) have bailed on his program.  Counteraction is starting up against these advertisers - Carbonite's stock has fallen to a 52 week low - and one techie has quipped, "Maybe Carbonite can restore their old business model from a previous backup?"  Heh.

None of this is new either.  The use of misdirection and theater for the purpose of politics is, for the left, standard operating procedure.  In 1962, Ronald Reagan was hosting the successful program GE Theater.  At that point of his career, Reagan was no longer a Democrat, but a conservative Republican.  General Electric wants to get more business with the US Government from the Kennedy Administration...and their executives meet with the Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy to discuss it.  Kennedy tells GE that they will not get any more government business as long as GE Theater and Ronald Reagan remain on the air.  48 hours later, GE pulls their sponsorship, the show is cancelled, and Reagan is fired.

Leading Democrats in Washington DC representing California are declaring war on California Central Valley farmers as they start to line up against the bill in the House to restore water supplies to the region that were halted by environmentalists.
Their Central Valley region produces more than half of America's fruit and vegetables. Known as America's Salad Bowl, these 81,000 California farms produce cantaloupes, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, zucchini, peaches, almonds, watermelons and hundreds of other truck and fruit crops. Some are so productive they can turn out three crops per year — which not only makes vegetables available year round, but drives down prices, too.

Or at least until Boxer and her pals turned the regulators loose. This year the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that while the U.S. is a net food exporter, the exception is vegetables, where imports exceed exports.

USDA reports that 2011 imports of vegetables into the U.S. soared 13% to $7.8 billion, while U.S. vegetable exports rose only 6%. Imports rose the most in precisely the crops the Central Valley excels at — tomatoes (up 19%), avocados (up 59%), carrots (up 55%) lettuce (up 25%), cauliflower/broccoli (up 34%).

U.S. tomato exports, by contrast, fell 6% in 2011.

Jobs lost. Prices higher. Imports higher, exports down. Another success for the progressives, eh?

Ever concerned about politics and image - President Obama has shifted the location of this summer's G8 summit from his 'hometown' of Chicago to Camp David over concerns of large scale protests and violence that have become commonplace around these summits.

PJ Media's Roger L. Simon continues his reporting / observations from AIPAC - noting the contrasts in speeches and reception given to the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell and the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi in their addresses to the crowd yesterday.  Simon also notes the superb speech given by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu who delivered the keynote address.

Michael Ramirez makes note of President Obama's address to the group on Sunday...

Global markets are trending down today as new concerns over the Greek debt crisis.  Only three days remain for private bond investors to either accept or decline the deal with Greece to restructure their debt and accepting a 75% loss of the value of their investments.  There are some in Europe who are pressing these private investors to reject the deal.  If too many decline the deal - Greece will either default - or more likely, invoke its laws to force a deal on all private bond holders that could be seen as a technical default and will roil the markets even further.  The Greek government is warning private investors that if it is forced to reset the bonds - it will do so at the best possible terms to Greece - not the bondholders compared to the current deal on the table.

The European markets are also reverberating over the announcement from Spain that they will be breaching the 'Merkozy' fiscal pact requirements regarding deficit spending that was just signed.  In effect, Spain is daring the EU to invoke the pact against it and have the European Court of Justice fine Spain for exceeding its deficit limits.

There is something really wrong with that picture that goes beyond the EU taking action or Spain signing the treaty and then immediately breaking it.  Think about this - a country is running too high a deficit as its spending outstrips its revenues - and the recourse to punish a country from spending too much is to fine the country?  I'm reminded of a similar head shaking issue last year when the then socialist Spanish government's reaction to a Spanish airline going bankrupt and stranding passengers was to hit the airline with a massive fine.

In Syria, more reports and evidence are coming out from Homs that Syrian government forces are carrying out mass arrests and summary executions in the district of Baba Amr - the former rebel stronghold in Homs.

The Lebanese based newspaper, Daily Star, is reporting that 13 French military officers have been captured on the ground inside Syria by Syrian government forces.  Rumors have been going around about some Western troops being on the ground inside of Syria providing assistance to the Syrian rebel forces - and this is the first regional media outlet to directly report on the rumors / capture.  French military officials are refusing to comment on the claim - neither confirming or denying the claim that French military officers have been captured.

Senator John McCain yesterday called for US military intervention and airstrikes against the Syrian military.

Wrapping up today, we have the latest on Government Motors troubled hybrid car, the Chevrolet Volt.

The car was just named the European Car of the Year for 2012... which is quite ironic as concerns are growing if GM will remain committed to the Volt.  The car only sold about 7,600 units in 2011 against a production level of 10,000 units.  Between its high price ($41K base), poor electric performance (20-25 mile range vs target 35-40), subpar gasoline mileage (compared to Toyota Prius), and fire risk - the car has not exactly taken off in the US.  GM planned on making 40,000 in 2012 - but this is being revisited. 

The Volt did not resume production from the annual Christmas shutdown until around mid-February - and now is under a 5 week hold which also resulted in the layoff of the 1,300 workers producing the car.  It's also gotten the 'kiss of death' from President Obama - as he's endorsed the vehicle...

Will GM restart the Volt production in April - or will the vehicle be cancelled?  I bet that the Administration will be pulling out all of the stops to prevent GM from cancelling the car this election season.

On This Day in History

1834 - The city of York in Upper Canada is incorporated as Toronto.

1836 - The 13 day seige of the Alamo ends as Santa Ana's 3,000 man Mexican Army overruns the 189 defenders.

1857 - The United States Supreme Court issues a decision in the Dred Scott case, affirming the right of slave owners to take their slaves into the Western territories, thereby negating the doctrine of popular sovereignty and severely undermining the platform of the newly created Republican Party.

1899 - German pharmceutical company Friedrich Bayer & Co. patents aspirin.

1951 - The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg begins in NY Southern District Federal Court.

1973 - President Richard Nixon imposes price controls on oil and gas.

1990 - Lockheed's SR-71 Spy plane is retired by the US Air Force.

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