Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quick Hits - April 14, 2012

Is Ann Romney the leading candidate to be this election year's Sarah Palin?

The majority of the mainstream media is looking to continue their 'in-kind' campaign contributions for President Obama's reelection efforts - but the attack launched by the feckless Hilary Rosen on Mitt Romney's wife on the meme of class warfare is causing a split among many progressives.  Some like Florida State Representative Scott Randolph turned heads (and stomach's) with a tweet attack on Ann Romney - chiding her that having domestic help doesn't make one a stay-at-home mom.  However, others are concerned about the real effects with Middle America on this expansion of the Obama / Progressive deflection from the President's record to focus on accentuating class, gender, and racial warfare / differences.

NBC Chief WH Correspondent and Obama sycophant, Chuck Todd, laments on his MSNBC program that 'Team Obama Lost The Week' when he adds up the effects of the negative market reaction to the dismal March job numbers, the Rosen / Romney gaffe, 2 new national polls showing Romney not only with a lead over President Obama, but closing the 'gender gap', and the challenges with the 'Buffet Rule'. But this is starting to go beyond a 'bad week' for the President.

It's been a 'bad week' for the President pretty much since the Obamacare anti-religious freedom contraception mandate - and it's becoming crystal clear that the President not only can run for reelection on his record - but has to actively work to deflect from that record. Unfortunately, as the President continues to work his agenda - he's only reinforcing the negative perceptions of that record by doubling, trebling, and quadrupling down on the same policies (and speeches) that were problematic in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

This week, we're noting the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic which resulted in over 1500 deaths. In the last 100 years, many have speculated about the cause of the sinking and this tragic loss of life. Was it a design flaw? Or faulty rivets and construction? Horrific decisions by the Captain who embraced the perception that the ship was unsinkable?

But if we really look at the record, as this Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal does, one of the main reasons for the tragedy was government regulations...
It's easy to weave the Titanic disaster into a seductive tale of hubris, social stratification and capitalist excess. But the Titanic's chroniclers tend to put their moral narrative ahead of their historical one.

At the accident's core is this reality: British regulators assumed responsibility for lifeboat numbers and then botched that responsibility. With a close reading of the evidence, it is hard not to see the Titanic disaster as a tragic example of government failure.
This is not to say that all government regulations are wrong - which is the usual first retort one gets from a progressive when someone speaks against regulations.  Regulations, and the law, provide the barriers that define ethical, legal, and acceptable actions - and a real 'wild west' approach where anything goes.  Like a limited government - limited regulations are a benefit.  Unfortunately when regulations and executive fiat are used to control markets, control / define behavior, ensure 'fairness' or 'social justice', and expand the power and influence of government - there we approach the situation where this level of micromanagement creates major problems.

For example, because of 'fracking', domestic production of natural gas is skyrocketing.  Supplies are up, costs are down, and we are clearly energy independent when it comes to natural gas.  Fracking can also be used to increase our domestic oil production - but this is only being leveraged on private / state administered lands because of the Administration's anti-oil / anti-fossil fuel agenda which is based on their acceptance of the manmade global warming canard.

Progressives environmentalists have been actively at work trying to stop 'fracking'.  They have made unsubstantiated claims around the negative environmental effects of 'fracking' - including that use of 'fracking' 15,000 feet below the surface of the earth is contaminating ground water sources hundreds of feet below the surface.  If 'fracking' can be discredited or stopped - then we have less ability to access our fossil fuel resources.

This past week, President Obama signed an executive order attacking 'fracking'.  The XO establishes a 'high-level task force' empowered to slow down our production of natural gas (and oil) via the use of 'fracking' so that the 'environmental impacts' of 'fracking' can be better studied and understood.  Despite scientific evidence that 'fracking' does not cause the damage it is being accused of causing, the President has to continue his anti--fossil fuel agenda in order to maintain the support of his progressive environmentalist base.  This anti-fossil fuel agenda is driving up our energy costs, damaging our economy, and negatively impacting consumers - in particular the lower income consumers.

We also are seeing this with the Obama Administration regulations announced last summer which require auto manufacturers to increase their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) by a factor of nearly double (to 54.5 miles per gallon) by 2025.  This new regulation, which takes effect in 2017, is supposed to be a major step against 'man made global warming' and 'reducing our dependence on foreign oil'.

However, there are consequences for this that apparently aren't important to the Administration.  A National Automobile Dealers Association study released last week said that these new regulations will make it impossible for 7 million lower income consumers to buy a new car after 2017.
Obama’s proposed CAFE standards, which will begin taking effect in 2017, raise minimum average vehicle fleet fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg by 2025. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that this regulation will raise the average price of passenger cars and light trucks by $3,000.

As Hot Air's Tina Korbe notes in her commentary on the above link -
The more the American people realize the actual results of the Obama presidency not just in terms of high unemployment, but also in terms of its day-to-day effects on the lives of even those Americans who haven’t felt the sting of job loss, the more they’ll be unable to be fooled by his rhetoric. Look at it this way: You might not be unemployed and you might not be one of the 7 million consumers who won’t be able to buy a car after 2017, but, if you decide to buy a new car in the future, you’ll still have to pay about $3,000 more for it than you would have if Obama had never been president.
That is the key meme that is starting to be realized by many many Americans - particularly those who are independents living in Middle America - who aren't polled by Gallup, who aren't considered as particularly important or influential by the mainstream media and those like Chuck Todd.  They're all part of 'flyover country'.

The renowned former CEO of General Electric (before it became the non-tax paying sock puppet for the Obama Administration), Jack Welch, gets this very well - and hammer's the 'Finger Pointer in Chief' - Barack Obama...
We now have the Obama Principle. It's like the Peter Principle, in which people rise to the level of their incompetence, except as redefined by this administration you refuse to recognize your incompetence and constantly blame others when things go wrong...

..."Over the past three years," Welch wrote last Wednesday, "Obama has taken a sort of divide-and-conquer approach, amassing a list of enemies that would make Richard Nixon proud — bankers, health care insurance providers, oil companies, wealthy taxpayers, Congress and, most recently, the Supreme Court.

"Gas prices are the fault of oil speculators. The failure of solar power companies is the fault of unfair Chinese competition. The bad economy is one of the many things he inherited, as is the deficit. Operation Fast and Furious was a program begun under the Bush administration that he knew nothing about. The deficit is skyrocketing because the rich aren't paying their 'fair share.'"

Columnist Mark Steyn also has his finger on the pulse of Middle America - and uses the Obama full court press for the 'Buffet Rule' as the focus for downing just how out of touch the President is with the core of this country...
In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the “war on women,” the Republican theocrats’ confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences. This week’s bit of ham-handed misdirection was “the Buffett Rule,” a not-so-disguised capital-gains-tax hike designed to ensure that Warren Buffett pays as much tax as his secretary. If the alleged Sage of Omaha is as exercised about this as his public effusions would suggest, I’d be in favor of repealing the prohibition on Bills of Attainder, and the old boy could sleep easy at night. But instead every other American “millionaire” will be subject to the new rule — because, as President Obama said this week, it “will help us close our deficit.”

Wow! Who knew it was that easy?

A-hem. According to the Congressional Budget Office (the same nonpartisan
bean-counters who project that on Obama’s current spending proposals the entire U.S. economy will cease to exist in 2027) Obama’s Buffett Rule will raise — stand well back — $3.2 billion per year. Or what the United States government currently borrows every 17 hours. So in 514 years it will have raised enough additional revenue to pay off the 2011 federal budget deficit.

The American people are not stupid - but that seems to be the assumption of the progressives, the elite, the can America be 'exceptional' if it is so dumb as to not fully embrace our ideology?

We're told that 'fairness' in results are one of our values - not 'fairness' in opportunity. We're told that 'social justice' is one of our values, to fix the wrongs of the past, as opposed to embracing not only 'justice' but the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr imploring us to judge on the basis of one's character (and actions) as opposed to the color of their skin. We're told that all we have achieved is because of government - when in reality its been our limited government and embracing free markets and capitalism that transformed 13 poor states into a beacon for the entire world.

Here's former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on American exceptionalism -

It’s a pretty big agenda to react to this changing world that has undergone these shocks. And there are those who ask can we handle this challenge and still pursue our values? I suggest we can handle this challenge only if we pursue our values. This is what has made the U.S. exceptional, this belief in free markets and free peoples, a willingness to try and promote them abroad, and a belief that the world would be more stable and more prosperous as freedom wins out.
Watch it all...
These are the differences in vision and approach we have to choose between in November.

A new book coming out on the 'Fast and Furious' gunrunning program is saying that Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano perjured herself during sworn testimony to Congress over the DoJ program which delivered thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
One source said to the author, “When she says that [she] and Attorney General Eric Holder have not discussed it, that is a lie. That's why they keep asking her those questions in the Judicial, Oversight, Homeland Security Committee hearings. They've asked her that same questions twice and she’s lied twice.”

How did she know? The source said, “There are five emails linking her to Holder. They go back two days after it happened—the first email was two days after Brian was killed.”

In the emails, Holder and Napolitano discuss Terry's murder, the source said to Pavlich.

The source concedes that Holder may have “kept her in the dark” about all of the details of the gun walking, but her office approved letting the guns walk into Mexico and one of the agencies under her command, Customs and Border Protection, allowed guns through.

Another source from the ATF confirmed to Pavlich that Napolitano was briefed regularly by an agent from another of her agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.

“There was an ICE agent assigned specifically to be the co-case agent of Fast & Furious. He had to [file] an ICE report that either mirrored or referenced every ATF report that was done,” the ATF source said.

12 Secret Service agents tasked with providing security for President Obama during his visit to Columbia this weekend to attend the Summit of the Americas meeting have been relieved of duty and sent back to the US over misconduct allegations - including misconduct involving prostitutes. A new team of agents replaced those agents - and the Administration is reporting that there was no security risk to the President.  An investigation is now underway on the specifics.

The GSA official placed on administrative leave over the $823,000 training conference for 300 in 2010 that is an example of the callous attitude towards taxpayer funds - has indicated that he will be taking the Fifth when he is asked to testify before Congress next week on the fiscal abuses.

The Syrian ceasefire lasted but two days - as reports are of Syrian forces conducting an hour long artillery bombardment of two rebel-held areas of Homs today.  There were no immediate report of casualties - and no direct confirmation of the rebel claims as the regime continues to restrict access to these areas for foreign observers, aid organizations, and journalists.

This Day in History

1865 - Actor and Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, entered into the Presidential Box at Ford's Theater and fatally shoots President Abraham Lincoln.

1912 - Just before midnight on the 14th, RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage, strikes an iceberg in the North Atlantic about 450 miles SE of Halifax, Nova Scotia - and about 450 miles short of her destination of New York City.  The collision opens 5 of her 16 watertight compartments to the frigid North Atlantic - and she begins to sink.

1944 - The cargo ship, Fort Stikine, explodes while docked at Bombay, India - killing 1,300 people and injuring 3,000.  The 8,000 ton ship was carrying a mixed cargo of cotton bales, gold, and 300 tons of TNT - the latter ignited after the cotton bales caught on fire.  Windows were broken a mile away - and one 28 pound gold bar landed over a mile away.

1986 - The United States launches air strikes involving over 100 aircraft against Libya in retaliation for the Libyan sponsorship of terrorism against US troops and citizens.

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