Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quick Hits - April 4, 2012

A late start today and the same for tomorrow...sorry.

The repercussions from the meeting between President Obama, Mexican President Calderon, and Canadian Prime Minister Harper continue to reverberate in this election season....

Considerable focus has been on the pre-emptive strike launched by President Obama against the Supreme Court of the United States - with the President demonstrating that he failed to study the US Constitution while in Harvard Law - or while teaching Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago by calling a possible SCOTUS rebuke of Obamacare's individual mandate 'unprecedented'.  But this was not the only major gaffe committed by the President during his summit meeting with our two neighbors - and fellow members of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Unreported by the mainstream US press were the challenges that our arrogant President created with both of these neighbors....going to far as to alienate and insult these friends and economic partners who are the leading and third leading suppliers of oil to the United States.  I note that it was unreported by the US press, but not unreported by the foreign  press which isn't obligated like those editors of the Associated Press who gave the President's vapid and cranky speech yesterday a standing ovation.

In the Canadian paper, National Post, a former Canadian diplomat is quoted as saying NAFTA and the three nation alliance it supports since 1994 have been so neglected by the US leadership, that they're on 'life support'.

Also noted is that the Obama Administration has gone out of its way to block Canada's entry into the eight way free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership - which counts the US, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, and Singapore as members.  Both Canada and Mexico want to join - and can benefit from membership, but the US is saying no.

This comes on top of the reports that came from Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper where he has noted that with the President's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline after 3 years of review - that Canada will not only move to sell her oil to China, but that the steeply discounted price for oil that the US was getting for Canadian oil would be ending.  With Mexican oil production showing signs of decline - and the Administration's efforts to limit oil production on federal lands - this means more trouble for US oil and gasoline prices.

Mexican papers report that despite his more generic comments regarding US gun control during the public Q&A session, Mexican President Calderon did bring up concerns about the US Operation 'Fast and Furious' which facilitate the transfer of US weapons from the US to Mexican drug cartels which has fueled violence and the deaths of thousands of Mexicans.  Obama apparently feigned ignorance of the program - and refused to apologize for the op run out of his Department of Justice.

Rather than partner with these neighboring countries - who are allies within NAFTA with us - the President instead put the priorities of his own agenda and re-election before the needs of the country ONCE AGAIN.

This is, unfortunately, a consistent pattern with President Obama and his Administration when it comes to foreign policy.  It insults our friends and allies while it attempts to appease and empower our enemies.

Several weeks ago, Senior Obama Campaign Advisor David Axelrod raised eyebrows over his inability to articulate why the Democrat dominated Senate has failed to produce, as required by Federal Law, a budget for nearly 1,070 days.  Yesterday, Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney had his shot at the question - asked by the same reporter, Brett Baier of Fox News....

Mr. Carney failed at answering question as badly as David Axelrod did - despite his efforts to spin like an Olympic figure skater.  Out of clear desperation, the deer-in-headlights Carney resorts to the Admin's standard answer to a tough question about one of their many failures - blame the Republicans.

It seems that key members of the Administration have as little knowledge about civics and the operation of the US government as the boss has of the US Constitution.

The problem is not the minority of Senate Republicans...but that of the majority Democrats and specifically the Senate Majority Leader 'Pinky' Reid (D-Las Vegas).  There is a process in the Senate rules known as 'Reconciliation' which permits budget related legislation - like a federal budget - to bypass cloture (risk of filibuster) and pass on a straight up or down majority vote.  It's not new.  Harry Reid invoked reconciliation back in 2010 - not to pass a budget, but to pass Obamacare when he lost his filibuster proof majority.

According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, the retiring Kent Conrad (D-MT), they do not have to pass a budget this year because of last summer's deficit reduction agreement - which they claim circumvents the need for a budget in FY 2013.  [What about FY2010, FY2011, FY2012 - but then I'm getting ahead of myself. Ed]

Harry Reid's hand picked Senate 'referee' to help determine these things officially as ruled on this for the Senate Majority Leader - telling him that he and his fellow Senate Democrats are WRONG!
The Senate’s chief referee has issued a key ruling against Majority Leader Harry Reid — a move expected to bring unwanted election-year pressure on the Nevada Democrat to act on politically dicey budget bills. Newly appointed Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whom Reid recommended for the job, has decided that last summer’s deal on the debt ceiling and spending caps does not preclude the Senate from taking up other budget resolutions this year. The ruling could force vulnerable Democrats to cast tough votes that hurt them in November, a situation Reid and other leaders are eager to avoid as they work to protect their fragile majority.

Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Democrats would gladly vote down the Ryan blueprint, which Obama described Tuesday as a “radical” vision that guts funding for Medicare and education. But a version of President Barack Obama’s own $3.6 trillion budget proposal, which the House unanimously rejected last week, also could come to the Senate floor, ensuring an embarrassing replay of last year when not a single senator voted for the president’s budget. The MacDonough ruling essentially means any senator can place a budget proposal on the Senate calendar. Reid still controls the floor and could choose not to bring them to a vote, though the political optics of such a move could be damaging.

Let's remember in the demonization that is coming from not only the partisan House and Senate Democrats over the GOP budget approaches and policies - including the denunciations by the Chair of the DNC, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, President Obama's FY2012 was voted down 0-97 by the Senate last spring - and not even DWS voted for the President's FY2013 budget in the House which was defeated 0-414.  Two budget - two unanimous rejections in Congress.

Can we say failure to lead or address the country's challenges?   I knew you could.

In February, Rick Santorum's 'hat trick' primary wins propelled him to be the primary challenger for Mitt Romney to obtain the GOP Presidential nomination.  Last night's Romney 'hat trick' in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia has made any realistic challenge by Santorum a very long mathematical shot.  Gaining almost all of the 98 delegates at stake last night, Mitt Romney leapt past the halfway point - leaving Rick Santorum needing to win 80% of the remaining delegates in order to win the nomination.

The closest contest was in Wisconsin - but the major networks called the race for Romney shortly after polls closed - and Romney went on to win by 5 points (43-38).  In Maryland, the race was not close at all as Romney romped to a 20 point win.  In the District of Columbia, Romney gained 70% support while Rick Santorum did not qualify to be on the ballot.

The chase now moves to the April 24th primaries in New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania - with 209 delegates at stake.

Ron Paul's only bright moment from last night's races comes from the fact that he beat out Newt Gingrich in each of the primaries.  However, his results and delegate count continue to show that he is nothing more than a fringe / gadfly candidate.  He should drop out - but will not.

Newt Gingrich not only performed poorly finishing last in all of the contests, but he has admitted that there is no path for him to win the nomination via delegates.  Unfortunately, his ego and emotional dislike for Mitt Romney is such that he will not drop out - and will attempt to force a convention floor challenge which could damage the party just 2 months before the election.  Gingrich was one of the early frontrunners - but his hubris and ego have severely damaged his reputation with many Republicans.  It's time to go, Mr. Speaker.

Rick Santorum is rapidly approaching the same status of the former Speaker when it comes to hubris and ego.  He holds only a 6 point lead in his home state - and trails badly in the other 4/24 contests.  His whinging about Romney's campaign spending is getting old...

Rather than take a brutal loss in his home state on the 24th which will finish his campaign - Santorum needs to look at the math and put the needs / interests of party before his own ego and hubris.  Now is the time to step down - with some of your reputation intact...or flame out when you lose PA.

One of the meme's from the MSM about the primary races is that the excitement and enthusiasm of the GOP is actually running less than it was in 2008.  That's basically hogwash - part of the MSM meme to campaign for the President.  In Wisconsin, yesterday's primary turnout was 62% higher than it was in 2008 - and that was with only about 75% of the vote counted for last could go higher.

This also bodes well for Governor Scott Walker who, along with 4 other state officials, are facing a June recall election being demanded by the Unions / Democrats over his legislation to restore the state to fiscal responsibility by reducing the power and influence of state public sector unions.  With a motivated GOP population - there is a strong chance that Walker will survive the recall - particularly as those reforms are paying huge fiscal dividends on the State and Local levels.

In 2008, the Obama campaign openly flaunted breaking campaign laws by turning off all credit card security measures which facilitate the tracking and verification of credit cards used for campaign contributions.  Millions of illegal campaign contributions were received (perhaps tens of millions or more since he raised $600M) - but nothing was done by the FEC over this.

Today in 2012, the campaign is actively doing the exact same thing.  The Powerline blog team investigated and uncovered this for 2012...and not only proved that illegal contributions could be made, but created a 'grassroots' fund raising page based on an illegal contributor (above) to proof that the Obama campaign continues to hold US campaign laws in utter contempt. 
It is inconceivable that the Obama campaign disables all credit card security measures (unlike every other presidential campaign) for any reason other than to facilitate violations of the campaign finance laws. The Obama campaign has deliberately set up its fundraising system so that legal contribution limits can easily be circumvented, and illegal contributions from foreign nationals can be accepted. It is ironic that Democrats fulminate about Citizens United and the need for disclosure of donors to non-campaign-related organizations, when the Obama re-election campaign is one gigantic fraud, structured to facilitate violation of federal campaign finance laws.

Military tribunal trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 4 other 9/11 co-conspirators will be starting in the US base at Guantanamo Bay.  All 5 will face the potential of the death penalty if found guilty for their role in the 9/11 terror attack on the United States.  The process was delayed by the intent of the Administration to transfer these prisoners for trial in the civilian system - in lower NY, before a strong backlash forced the Administration to reconsider their plan.

Leading Democrats are calling on blacks to boycott both Coca Cola and Walmart over those companies support of Voter ID laws which require voters to produce a valid photo id in order to cast a ballot....
We are organizing. We are not agonizing,” said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., who is leading a parallel Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s effort to get government identification into the hands of the estimated 2-3 million Democrats who don’t have one. “We have staffed up,” he said.

Officials from another party-backed group, Color of Change, kicked off a boycott of Coke and other financial backers of the American Legislative Exchange Council which supports new voter ID laws.
Yahoo has announced that it is going to layoff 2,000 workers - 14% of their workforce.  This is the struggling internet company's 6th major layoff in the last 4 years.

We are 67 years removed from the end of the Second World War.  Every day, the number of surviving veterans of this conflict is reduced as we lose these heroes.  Today, we are going to give a brief tribute to 2 who passed away just 12 hours apart in Helena, Montana.

These gentlemen were the last surviving original members of the First Special Service Force - a combined Canadian - American commando unit that existing between 1942 and 1944.  The First Special Service Force was also known as 'The Devils Brigade' - a nickname assigned to them by their German opponents.

Mark Radcliffe, 94, and Joe Glass, 92, died within 12 hours of each other in Helena, Montana - not far from where the unit was formed and trained before going to see action in the Aleutian Islands, Italy, and Southern France.  They served in an elite combat unit that in 251 days of combat operations, earned 5 US campaign stars, 8 Canadian battle honors, and captured over 27,000 enemy troops.  This was also a unit that paid a high price for their achievements - losing 2,314 dead during their combat operations. 

Thank you - Rest in Peace.

On This Day in History

1581 - Sir Francis Drake completes his circumnavigation of the world.

1917 - The US Senate votes 90-6 to declare war on Germany

1933 - The largest airship built in the United States, the USS Akron (ZRS-4) crashes into the Atlantic Ocean off the NJ coast during a violent thunderstorm - killing 73 of the 76 man crew.

1949 - The United States and 11 other countries establish the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - a mutual defense pact aimed at countering possible Soviet aggression against Western Europe.

1968 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is assassinated while standing on the balcony outside his 2nd story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tn.  He was 39 years old.

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