Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick Hits - April 10, 2012

What happens when one's preferred course or direction turns out to be wrong, off target, or misses the goals?

In most cases, one determines where they went wrong, assesses where they are, and sets a new course towards the desired goal.  If the plan itself was bad - they will define a new plan that will improve the odds of reaching the desired goal or destination.

However, in some cases, there is another approach that some may try...particularly when there is a major problem with admitting that the original policy, course, direction didn't work as promised.  That's known as the big lie.  Deny that the original policy, course, direction was the problem - and lie about the results.  Misdirect and point the blame elsewhere...do whatever is needed to deflect - but whatever happens, the problem is not because of the original policy, course, or direction.

We're seeing this in the big lie that is being told the American people regarding the President's economic recovery - particularly in job growth.  We're being told that unemployment is falling, that adding nearly 600,000 jobs across the last three months is the sign of a growing economic recovery.  The mainstream media is touting the regular fall of the 'official' unemployment rate down to the current 8.2% as proof that the economic policies of the Obama Administration are working.

What's not being defined in this big lie is that across three months - 375,000 jobs need to be added to just cover population growth - and that in the Reagan economic recovery from depths as bad as we saw in this last recession, we had single months which added more than 600,000 jobs.  We're not being told that the main driver for the dropping unemployment rate is dropping the labor participation rates to near record low numbers.  If that number was not being adjusted, and we used the same labor participation rate as existed when the President took office in January 2009, we would have an 'official' unemployment rate of 9.6%. 

However, a 9.6% unemployment rate would do little for the Obama reelection campaign - so, since the Administration will not change its policies, direction, or course of action due to ideological reasons, we get the big lie and are told unemployment is 8.2%.

The mainstream media, which is significantly invested in seeing another four year term for Barack Obama as President, also faces a challenge.  They know the policies of the Administration are not working either domestically or with foreign relations.  They also know that for ideological reasons - which they share with the President and his team - they do not / will not change their approach or direction.  So, how do they drive the perception that the President is eminently electable in November?  They lie.

Today's Washington Post has a front page article touting that Obama holds key leads against the likely GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney that bode very well for an Obama reelection in November.  They cite their most recent Washington Post / ABC News poll taken between April 5th and 8th as proof that women are rallying to the President, that Independents are rallying to the President, and even with the economic challenges we are facing, 'most Americans' are rallying to support the President.

The liberal newspaper focusing on DC politics, The Hill, picks up on this from the WaPo - but at least notes in their article that the President remains very vulnerable on his handling of the economy.  They also note that a number of the key meme's that were addressed in the WaPo / ABC News poll only show the President with a few points lead - either within or just over the poll's cited 3.5 point margin of error.

Neither the WaPo or The Hill report on the real story about this poll - and the fact that it is based on a fundamental lie that skews the results.  You see, rather than generate a legitimate poll to measure info, WaPo / ABC News cooked the results via a highly skewed sample to generate the perception they wanted to see. Buried within the details of the poll here - is the political breakdown of those who comprised the poll. 34% of the respondents were Democrats. 34% of the respondents were Independents. 23% were Republicans. 5% were 'Other', and 3% had no political affiliation.

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey calls the lie out for what it is...
In 2008, when Democrats surged to the polls after eight years of George W. Bush, CNN’s exit polls showed a seven-point advantage for Democrats, 39/32, which mirrored Obama’s seven-point victory in the popular vote. In 2010′s midterms, CNN exit polls showed a 35/35/30 split. By contrast, the previous WaPo/ABC poll in March had a D/R/I of 31/27/36, which undersampled both parties relative to independents but left Democrats with a 4-point advantage — perhaps an arguable model for 2012 turnout. Today’s has a D/R/I of 34/23/34, adding seven points to that Democratic advantage and presenting a completely unrepresentative, absurd model for the 2012 turnout.

What happens when you switch from a D+4 to a D+11 in measuring Obama’s standing? Suddenly, his job approval goes from 46% to 50% — actually, a rather weak gain given the sampling distortion in the poll. Not coincidentally, the last time Obama hit 50% in this poll was in February, which also had a D+11 sample, after January’s D+7. Adding seven points to the Democratic advantage impacted Obama’s performance in all areas, although perhaps not as much as the editors had hoped:

• Economy — Up six points from 38% to 44%
• International affairs — Down two points from January’s poll, 47% from 49%
• Right/wrong direction – Up three points from January

By building a poll around a major oversample of Democrats combined with a major undersample

As Ed Morrissey notes - rather than the rosy appearances that the WaPo is trying to project in their 'in-kind campaign donation' for the Obama reelection effort - the President has some very real problems.  The President only wins the majority of the key memes directly because of the skew that the pollsters built into the poll.  Without the skew and this snapshot of the President's record is pretty grim.

Newsbusters.org also highlights the vapidity of the WaPo / ABC News poll - and it's efforts to paint a picture of the Obama Presidency that is far brighter than reality.  But the main point from their review of the Washington Post is of the arrogance that this mainstream media bastion has...
But before we break that down, alongside the poll story is this odd-sounding advice from the Post's Chris Cillizza. He seems to believe Romney should sit down with the national media because that's where Republicans go for a "positive first introduction."

"Romney needs a big megaphone to make sure general election voters who don’t know anything about him get a positive first introduction." What? "And only the national media can provide that megaphone and serve as a sort of validator for him." Predictably, he also counsels "find somewhere to break with conservatives."
It seems that the only challenge to the President's hubris, narcissism, and arrogance is the hubris, narcissism, and arrogance of the mainstream media.

A conservative economist who had worked in the Bush Administration, and was appointed by the Obama Administration as the GOP trustee for Medicare and Social Security has released a study that claims Obamacare will add between $340 billion and $530 billion to the national deficit over the next decade.

The Administration has responded strongly to this claim, calling the study politically biased and insisting that the Affordable Healthcare Act will 'reduce the deficit by billions'.  They say the study by Charles Blahous which accuses the Administration of double counting Medicare cuts to 'create' deficit reductions as without basis - even though both the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare have raised the issue of 'double counting' as part of the fiscal challenges with Obamacare.

The Washington Post notes...
CBO and Medicare actuaries acknowledge the double-counting issue. “In practice, the improved [trust fund] financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from” traditional budget rules, Medicare actuary Rick Foster wrote last year.

And in 2010, the CBO wrote that, absent the Medicare savings, the law would increase deficits by $226 billion through 2019 — instead of decreasing them by the commonly cited $132 billion.

In arriving at his deficit figure of $340 billion, Blahous updates the numbers through 2021 and subtracts savings that would have come from another provision of the law: the CLASS Act, a long-term-care program that was supposed to have generated as much as $86 billion in new revenue through 2021. The administration acknowledged last year that the CLASS Act is unworkable and suspended efforts to implement it.
The methodology that Blahous uses makes far more sense than the accounting gimmicks that are needed to create the myth that Obamacare actually reduces the deficit while adding government control over 1/6th of the economy and providing health insurance for millions.

In particular, the game that Obamacare plays regarding double counting and slashing Medicare benefits (which aren't likely to happen as they will be voted to be postponed as was done last year), is typically disingenuous - more lies to mask the fiscal disaster that we are going to have if we do not reform entitlements or fix healthcare by repealing Obamacare.

It's ironic that over the last several days we've seen more stories that are working to distance the comparison between the Obama Presidency and the Carter Presidency that resulted in Carter being a one term President.  US News and World Report highlights another common element between the Carter Administration and the Obama Administration - as the Obama Administration has just surpassed the Carter Administration as being the Admin that has driven up gasoline prices by the largest amount.  During the Carter Administration, at its worst point, gasoline prices were 103.77% higher than when Jimmy Carter took office in January 1977.  Gasoline prices now are 103.79% higher than when Barack Obama took office in January 2009 - and these prices are still trending higher as we have not yet started to hit the peak driving season.

The Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats are planning this week to increase the pressure on the GOP over the 'Buffet Rule' - the Administration's plan to establish a minimum tax rate for the wealthy on the basis of 'fairness'.  The President will be highlighting the program as part of his class warfare rhetoric - and the Senate will be taking a vote to implement the Buffet Rule within the next week.

While touted by the President as a needed step to help reduce the annual >$1 trillion budget deficits, as well as needed for 'fairness' by having the wealthy 'pay their fair share', the revenues raised by this tax will cover less than 1% of the deficit - and this group already pays for about 37% of all federal income taxes.

The real purpose for the focus on this 'rule' is not because of deficit reduction or in the name of fairness.  It's all political - to get Congressional Republicans on the record for voting to oppose the 'Buffet Rule' so they can be painted as favoring / coddling the wealthy.

In California, we are undergoing a similar game around ideology and accounting gimmicks in order to mask the role that progressive policies have around creating fiscal disasters....
Jerry Brown wants Californians to believe that the state, facing a current budget deficit of $9 billion, has a revenue problem. In fact, what the 30 million residents of the Golden State have is an entitlement problem. From health care to state and local public-employee retirement benefits, Californians face as much as $500 billion in unfunded liabilities for pensions alone. The state’s unfunded health-care liabilities top $62 billion. Brown’s new budget actually proposes a 7 percent increase in spending, though it offers to cut some services. All of the governor’s plans assume that substantial, voter-approved tax hikes will provide billions in new revenue, helping to pay for the extra spending and shrinking the deficit. “I’m promising wine and roses,” he told reporters after a speech last month, “but not in 2012.”

In fact, what Brown is promising for 2012 and beyond is pain.
California remains the canary in the mine - although the Obama Administration is racing to have the federal government catch up to California in terms of fiscal mismanagement.  Even with our state's fiscal challenges - the Governor is proposing a 7% increase in spending...not very different from Obama's insistence on more federal spending while calling for >$1 trillion annual deficits that have resulted in his adding more to the national debt in 38 months than President Bush did in 96 months...and this President called President Bush 'unpatriotic' for his deficit increase.

NBC News continues to take no additional action regarding their 'Editgate' scandal which resulted in the termination of an unnamed producer and suspensions of several reporters for what the network calls the 'accidental' editing of George Zimmerman's 911 call which left out a key question posed to Zimmerman by the 911 dispatcher - and reinforces the meme of the race baiters that Zimmerman is a racist.

The edit wasn't just dropping a line within the start or end of the tape in order to fit within the time constraints of the broadcast as NBC is trying to explain.  It was a very specific edit near the middle of the full 911 call that changes the entire meaning of Zimmerman's actions to fit the preconceived meme established in the media as they try / convict Zimmerman for murder in the court of public opinion.

Not only is NBC lying about the circumstances around the edit - but they are also lying regarding the usage of that edit - which was not only on the Today program, but also on print reports on their websites.  Now NBC is trying to make those items disappear down the 'memoryhole' as if it were a Ministry of Truth rewriting history...
“NBC is busy taking down the evidence of its repeated usage of its bogus edit of the George Zimmerman 911 call. This follows the firing of a producer for the use of the same bad edit on the March 27 Today Show. Left unanswered – what about the March 22 use on the Today Show? [LATE ADD: a third usage of 'He looks black' has been found and edited out of existence (but not Google Cache!) at NBC 6 Miami, as described below. When will the Elite Media sniff a cover-up?]”
Unfortunately, given the hubris and arrogance of the MSM - elite media will not call out this cover-up just as the elite media ignored Rathergate in 2004 until all the details were out - and they could no longer ignore the story about how CBS News used fake documents to smear President Bush.

Just as the race baiting and media malfeasance hasn't gotten pathetic enough regarding the Zimmerman / Martin tragedy, we now have the head of the irrelevant and corrupt United Nations Human Rights Council calling for an investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin.

Doesn't this morally and ethically bankrupt farce have more important things to focus their attention on - like the carnage in Syria or the actions of despots like those in Zimbabwe, DPRK, PRC, Somalia, Pakistan, Russia, and most of the African nations to focus their attention on if they are really interested in Human Rights?

Speaking of Syria - the UN sponsored peace plan was supposed to take effect early this morning...but for all practical purposes it's dead.  The deadline was apparently marked by continued Syrian government artillery bombardment of the battered city of Homs as well as additional violence in other parts of the country against groups opposing the dictatorial rule of Bashir al-Assad.

Turkey has also noted that since the Syrian forces were involved in firing into a refugee camp yesterday across the Syrian / Turkish border, they considered the peace plan dead and that they were re-evaluating their options in the wake of the unprovoked attack.

Once again, the international organizations that should be moving to protect the unarmed civilians being targeted by the Syrian government are being shown as feckless and powerless.  Over 9,000 are dead in Syria while the government continues to get military and economic assistance from Russia, China, and Iran - and the Russian / Chinese governments continue to block the United Nations Security Council from taking action in what is for all practical appearances - a civil war.

At what point do the governments of the nations that comprise Western Civilization start calling these feckless organizations on their irrelevance and misplaced priorities?  At what point do we focus our compassion towards these people who need assistance and protection from bullies, thugs, and corrupt bastards - and do so by our actions and not just pontificating rhetoric?  Shouldn't our focus towards fairness and social justice to first towards those who get neither fairness or justice?

Oh wait, that's right - to the American left - that's 'warmongering' and 'nation-building'.  Feh.

This Day in History

1866 - The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is founded in NYC.

1778 - Commander John Paul Jones sets sail from Brest, France in the USS Ranger on a raiding cruise targeting British shipping in the Irish Sea. It’s the first mission of this type in the Revolutionary War.

1912 - RMS Titanic sets sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England.

1933 - FDR establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - part of the New Deal, this is a federally funded organization that put thousands to work during the Great Depression on projects with environmental benefits.

1963 - USS Thresher, an atomic submarine, sinks in the Atlantic Ocean while conducting diving drills 300 miles off the coast of New England killing all 129 onboard including 17 civilians.

1970 - Paul McCartney announces the breakup of the Beatles.

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