Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quick Hits - March 8, 2012

When Barack Obama won the Presidential election in 2008, he ran as a moderate with the optimistic slogan of 'Hope and Change' that captivated so many.  As the first African-American President, people were optimistic that his was going to a be a post-racial Presidency who would lead us towards transcending divisions based on race.  There was optimism that the political tone and business in Washington DC would also change for the better with less focus on partisanship and more on putting the needs of the country first.  There was also an optimism that our foreign policy and approach towards relations with other nations would also improve - reversing the perception that under George W. Bush, the US was moving in the wrong directions.

As we enter the 2012 Presidential campaign season, it's time to reflect on the reality of all of this.

Rather than a unifier, Barack Obama and his supporters have established themselves as the most divisive seen in this country since probably the mid-19th century.  This has not become a 'post-racial' country, but one that has seen race become a bigger divider.  Under this Administration, in the Justice Department, we have an AG and leadership team who make decisions based on racial politics.  Members of the New Black Panther party can intimidate voters with impunity but asking a voter to show a photo ID to prove they are who they claim to be is racist.

Yesterday, released an unedited video from nearly two decades ago where a Harvard Law student named Barack Obama stood beside and openly supported a radical black racist, Derrick Bell, who was at that time a Professor at Harvard...  He asked those at the rally to 'Open up your hears and minds' to Professor Derrick Bell - who advocated race based hiring at Harvard.  This was a video that was previously spliced and edited to mask Obama's support of admitted by another Harvard Law School Professor, Charles Ogletree, "We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign.  I don't care if they find it now."

Professor Derrick Bell quit teaching in his effort to force Harvard to implement race-based hiring - but his racism went far deeper -
Bell did more than advocate for race-based hiring. He was perhaps the worst Johnny Appleseed of a nasty racialist legal theory called Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory, in a nutshell, argues that the law is a weapon of the majority whites to oppress “people of color.” It argues for “structural racism”--the idea that American institutions are aligned against blacks, whether the oppressor is the criminal justice system, a cabdriver without a fare, businesses, government, Domino's Pizza, banks, or the police.

This is a viewpoint that sees the US as a fundamentally racist country - and a fundamentally broken country.  It is a viewpoint that runs completely contrary to the vision Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr saw for this country where one would not be judged by the color of their skin, but on the quality of their character.  Dr. King's vision is the one that is based on traditional American values and strives for the end of racism and hate.  But that is not the vision of Derrick Bell, Jeremiah Wright, Eric Holder, or Barack Obama and many of his supporters.

Domestically, the optimism towards the Obama Presidency has also been proven as misplaced.  Compromise is now defined as what happens when conservatives surrender their values and principles and support Obama's progressive agenda.  We're reminded 'I Won' when issues are to be debated.  The $4 plus trillion added to the national debt in 8 years of President Bush is unpatriotic, but the $6 trillion plus added to the national debt in 4 years of President Obama is the fault of Bush, not Obama.  Taxation is supposed to be based on delivering 'social justice' and 'fairness' even when 10% already pay 70% of all income taxes and half pay no taxes whatsoever.

Promises and principles now have expiration dates - the pledge to not hire lobbyists into the Administration lasted only 2 months, and more than half of his 2008 major fundraisers were given Administration jobs as thanks for their efforts.  Billions of taxpayer funds were directed towards picking winners and losers in green energy - primarily to firms that were run or connected to major contributors to the 2008 campaign...which were then lost as those firms failed. 

Theater and misdirection have become commonplace - along with the 'Don't do as I do, but do as I say' approach that is seeped with hypocrisy.   Senior Obama Campaign Strategist David Axelrod slams Mitt Romney for not bashing Rush Limbaugh for calling Sandra Fluke a 'slut', and does so as he's scheduled to appear on Bill Maher's HBO program despite Maher using far harsher misogynistic language towards Sarah Palin.

We have a Labor Department that appears to be actively manipulating job numbers in order to project a far rosier picture than really exists - and a complicit media that focuses on the 'unemployment rate' while ignoring a collapsing labor participation rate or other signs that the national jobs challenge remains unaddressed by an Administration more focused on politics and reelection than on doing what's best for Americans.

To that end, the latest announcement from the NFIB is not good.

The organization that represents small businesses says net new job creation among their members was rather poor in February.

There was actually a very big decline in the net number of new firms planning on adding workers.
Gasoline prices are skyrocketing - and the President's response is to say that there are no silver bullets, that drilling takes too long to come online, but that his new CAFE standard gas mileage requirements for the auto industry which take effect in 13 years (2025) is the solution to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels via conservation.  He takes credit for increasing domestic production on private and state lands - while his Administration does all it can to limit new production on federal lands.  He's once again lobbying Democrats in the Senate to reject a new effort by Republicans to push forward the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring 800,000 barrels of Canadian oil to US refineries a day when complete.

The US Constitution is now seen as an impediment to action.  We have a 'do-nothing' Republican Congress where the Senate is dominated by a Democratic majority - and 30+ bills sit ignored by the majority, where a budget hasn't been approved in over 1,000 days, and entitlements remain unaddressed despite being fiscally unviable.  Laws that the Administration doesn't like aren't repealed, they're just ignored and unenforced. 

However, as the President and his minions remind us through their application of projection, it's the Republicans and conservatives who put politics before the interests of the country.

The optimism around 'resetting' US foreign policy has also been equally smashed by the actions and policies of President Obama.  Allies are alienated and enemies are feted.  The much ridiculed 'Global Test' defined by John Kerry in his failed 2004 Presidential campaign is now standard operating procedure.  The Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, testifying before the Senate yesterday had this exchange with Senator Sessions...
SESSIONS: “Do you think you can act without Congress and initiate a no-fly zone in Syria without congressional approval?”

PANETTA: “Our goal would be to seek international permission… Whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress—I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”

SESSIONS: “Well I am almost breathless about that because what I heard you say is, ‘we’re going to seek international approval and we’ll come and tell the Congress what we might do, and we might seek congressional approval’… Wouldn’t you agree that would be pretty breathtaking to the average American?”

According to the SecDef - Congressional permission isn't seen as being needed by the Administration to act militarily in Syria - but International permission is.

We have a President who earlier this week offered to the Israeli Prime Minister advanced weaponry ranging from bunker-buster bombs to mid-air refueling aircraft if Israel would delay taking any military action against Iran's nuclear program until after the November elections.

Or how about our 'reset' with Russia -
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December criticized fraudulent parliamentary elections in Russia, Vladimir Putin accused her of sending a "signal" to pro-democracy protestors. He can be forgiven for thinking his attack worked. This week, after Mr. Putin claimed a first round victory in similarly suspect presidential elections, Washington's response has been muted and accommodating.

State put out a tongue-tied statement to "congratulate the Russian people on the completion of the elections" and "note" (three times) the concerns of independent election monitors and "urge" (twice) the Kremlin to try harder next time. There was not a word of criticism, much less condemnation, about the exclusion of any credible opposition from the airwaves and ballot and other obvious manipulations of the vote, which has become the Putin standard for 12 years.

President Obama, who made "reset" with Russia a hallmark of his foreign policy, avoided the subject altogether.

Or how about the new 'deal' with North Korea which former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton takes apart here...
With such predicates, why did the Obama administration proceed? Most likely, it followed ideology and habit. The diplomacy here is entirely faith-based, as in: "There's nothing to lose, so why not try negotiation? Maybe this time it will work."

But diplomacy, like all human activity, is never cost-free. There is always something to lose. In this instance, Washington's declaration that it has no "hostile intent" toward North Korea reduces pressure on the undeniably vulnerable new regime, providing it at least a partial get-out-of-jail-free card for coming misbehavior.

What we should have done is concentrate on finding ways to exploit the North's leadership transition in order to hasten Korean reunification. Unfortunately, last week's deal is visible proof that President Obama never seriously contemplated undertaking this arduous but vital effort, which is now a lost opportunity. Instead, we have strengthened the DPRK's confidence, sustained its nuclear-weapons and missile programs, and prolonged the agony of its people.

Iran, meanwhile, must be relishing this latest display of U.S. weakness and memory loss. Even as the acute threat of military force against Iran has been rising, Tehran sees with laser-sharp clarity that when the going gets tough, Team Obama gets negotiating.

Our enemies have become emboldened by the feckless approach this Administration is taking. The world has become more dangerous - not less dangerous.  This is not 'Hope and Change' - it's...

A judge who advocates the recall of the Republican Governor of Wisconsin, signed a recall petition to force a recall election, has now issued a temporary injunction against the Wisconsin law signed by the Governor to require voters to provide identification when they vote. In other words, this judge has issued a ruling to facilitate voter fraud in order to facilitate the removal of a politician he dislikes. 

Conflict of interest anyone?
Nearly four months before he signed off on the poorly edited order granting a temporary injunction against Wisconsin’s new voter identification law, Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan scribbled his name on another important legal document:

A petition urging the recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker signed the voter ID legislation last year and is a defendant in the current case.

“The very fact that Dane County Judge David Flanagan signed a petition to recall Governor Walker calls (Tuesday’s) court proceedings regarding Wisconsin’s voter ID law into question,” said Republican Party spokesman Ben Sparks in a statement.

Statehouse staffers spent Tuesday afternoon counting the mistakes in Flanagan’s 11-page order on voter ID.

The most notable is Flanagan’s reference to “Justice William Scalia.” That would be U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Several sentences in the decision are garbled.

Flanagan refers to the wrong section of the state Constitution when he says it “sets forth explicitly the requirement for eligibility to vote, Art. I, Sect. 2 (4).”

The article and section cited by Flanagan deals, instead, with the prohibition of slavery. He meant to refer to Article III.

Cullen Werwie, spokesman for the governor, took note of the discrepancies: “Our legal team is still trying to locate Justice William Scalia.”

Fake but the pontifications of Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page who misrepresents a key fact in the Sandra Fluke / Rush Limbaugh kerfuffle (and not the religious freedom vs contraception key fact) as highlighted by

Writes Page...
Seizing on the usual Democratic points regarding Rush Limbaugh's comments about law student Sandra Fluke, Page writes that Limbaugh wasn't suspended, "despite his breathtaking assault against a private citizen whose only crime, after all, was to testify before a congressional committee hearing in support of mandatory health insurance for contraception."

Mike Bates on corrects the facts...
But Sandra Fluke didn't testify before a legitimate congressional committee hearing. As noted by CBS News senior political producer Jill Jackson On February 23:
Led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats held a pretend hearing while Congress is not in session to listen to the views of a third-year Georgetown Law student and activist who was not allowed to attend a Republican run hearing on the matter last week.
Jackson's report also refers to "Thursday's fake hearing" and the "mock hearing." Pretend, fake and mock. Not, as Page suggests, a genuine congressional committee hearing.

It was merely a session orchestrated by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other liberals to bolster their spurious contention of a "war on women."

NBC News anchor Brian Williams is the real life John Hurt character from the movie 'Broadcast News' - and asked the following question to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough during NBC's Super Tuesday coverage...
- "Who woke up in the Republican Party one day recently and said, 'I know what let's go after, let's go after reproductive rights in the United States'? What was that about?"

Kudos, Brian, for the Administration talking point misdirection, but the fact that you have to ask that question - and do not have a name / names associated with that so-called decision - offers proof that the issue isn't about a woman's right to contraceptives but all about the rights of religious organizations being subjugated to the rights of those like Sandra Fluke who can't afford $9 / month or visit Planned Parenthood or other similar clinics where they can obtain free contraceptive services and morning-after pills.

Just how incompetent is the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper?  Clapper made headlines last fall when he called the Egyptian fundamentalist organization 'Muslim Brotherhood' "largely secular".  Now, in his latest threat assessment for the Senate Committee on Armed Services, he ignores a major terrorist organization...
On February 16th, Director Clapper released yet another intelligence gap-laden threat assessment for the Senate Committee on Armed Services. In the thirty-one page threat assessment, not once does it mention the terrorist group Hezbollah or any of Iran’s asymmetric militant entities within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) or Al Quds.

This comes during a time when Hezbollah operatives were recently arrested in Thailand. Last month, Hezbollah and IRGC operatives were arrested in Azerbaijan for plotting attacks against foreign targets. Inside the United States, one Iranian-controlled asset was recently arrested for plotting an assassination attempt against the Saudi Ambassador.

Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based terrorist organization with Iranian state support, has been identified as the most threatening terrorist organization among many counterterrorist professionals, but nothing in the most recent DNI National Threat Assessment would depict them as such, considering they are not mentioned once in the report.

Director Clapper has either failed in his duties or he has been persuaded by political correctness. Either way, the most recent National Threat Assessment is incomplete. Those that were briefed on the most recent assessment have not been provided the truth regarding worldwide threats. Our policy makers can easily be argued as currently “operating in the dark.”
It's another Administration facepalm moment...

On This Day in History

1618 - Johan Kepler discovered the Third Law of Planetary Motion

1862 - Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) attacks Union ships in Hampton Roads - sinking two (USS Cumberland and USS Congress) and forcing one (USS Minnesota) to run aground.

1917 -February Revolution begins in Russia - riots / strikes over food shortages in Petrograd sets the stage for the abdication of Czar Nicholas II in a week.

1965 - 3,500 US Marines land in Da Nang, South Vietnam marking the first official US combat troops to arrive in South Vietnam

1971 - The first heavyweight battle between Joe Frazier and Muhammed Ali takes place at Madison Square Garden in NYC.  Frazier wins an unanimous 15 round decision.

1975 - South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu orders the withdrawal of forces from the country's Central Highland region.  The planned withdrawal turns into a panic retreat as North Vietnam increases their military pressure on the ARVN forces.  South Vietnam would fall in less than 2 months.

2001 - US House of Representatives vote for an across the board tax cut of nearly $1 trillion over the next decade intended to stimulate the economy.

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