Sunday, May 13, 2012

Quick Hits - May 12 and 13, 2012


There is a simple message that far too much of the mainstream media has either decided to ignore or make believe doesn't apply to them...

No one can take your credibility from you, you can only give it away.

Throughout much of the mainstream media, we are seeing these institutions giving their credibility away with their bias - their desire to push a progressive agenda as opposed to simply reporting the news - events that happen.  Their focus now is all about trying to define, shape, and influence viewpoints. 

We have the front page of today's Washington Post being used to advocate for the social acceptance of same-sex marriage....and going beyond this to providing direct assistance to Barack Obama's reelection efforts by trying to redirect attention from the President's dismal economic record to focus on social issues and social justice.

Newsweek anoints Barack Obama as 'The First Gay President' for his return to supporting same-sex marriage - focusing on this social issue in their advocacy of Barack Obama.

According to the the Washington Post, Mr. Lauber died of liver cancer in 2004, and while the family didn't detail what the Post got wrong, they have made it clear that seeing a loved one exploited by the Post "to further a political agenda" has been hurtful to them. And yet, against the wishes of his surviving family, the Post's only response has been: drop dead.

Or that their primary source for the story is a Democrat who intends to vote for Barack Obama in November?

Earlier this month, the Washington Post Company reported that it's newspaper's revenue was down 8% in the 1st quarter of 2012 over 2011, that it's print advertising was down 17%, and it's circulation is down 9.8%/.  Financially, the paper is imploding - as are the vast majority of major newspapers around the country which have taken to political and social advocacy.  The customers of this and other major newspapers are no longer subscribing or reading them because the quality of the product is not worth the price being charged. 

The Washington Post is clearly giving it's credibility away. 

It also makes one reconsider this paper's role and motives around it's biggest story - that of the Watergate break-in and cover-up.  Was that about reporting on the facts of the case - or was this more about an effort to bring down a President that the reporters and paper management didn't approve of?

Is this really the leader of the free world?

As leader of the free world President Obama will be used to making speeches to millions of people around the globe.

So he might have felt the occasion was a little beneath him yesterday when he stopped off in Reno, Nevada, to deliver an address outside a couple's garage.

In what could be a disastrous photo opportunity for the President's campaign, Mr Obama spoke to a handful of people in the crucial swing state.

The president's 15 minute address outside the home of Paul and Val Keller on Friday afternoon, drew a small audience of neighbours and supporters - though even his hosts said they were not sure if they would vote for him in the coming election.

Small audience -it was about 2 or 3 dozen people lined around a cul-de-sac to listen to President Obama's 15 minute stump speech. Where is this being reported in the major US media? Where are the 5,500 exposes into Barack Obama's history of smoking marijuana, using cocaine, or his non-existent college applications and transcripts? Or more about his 20 years with Reverend Jeremiah Wright - whom apparently not only did Barack Obama beg to stay quiet during the 2008 Presidential campaign, but was offered a $150,000 bribe by an Obama supporter to ensure his silence?

How about some more on the President's 'Nixonian' Enemies List - which thusfar is only attracting attention from the Wall Street Journal?
Those are some ugly details that our Kimberley Strassel has been turning up about the effort to smear Mitt Romney's campaign donors. The dirt-digging exercise reflects the character of President Obama's re-election campaign, as well as what's really behind the drive for more "transparency" in political donations.

As Ms. Strassel has reported in recent columns, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot has become the target of a smear campaign since it was disclosed earlier this year that he had donated $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Romney. President Obama's campaign website teed him up in April as one of eight "less than reputable" Romney donors and a "bitter foe of the gay rights movement." One sin: His wife donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign, of the kind that have passed in 30 or so states.

Now we learn that little more than a week after that Presidential posting, a former Democratic Senate staffer called the courthouse in Mr. VanderSloot's home town of Idaho Falls seeking his divorce records. Ms. Strassel traced the operative, Michael Wolf, to a Washington, D.C. outfit called Fusion GPS that says it is "a commercial research firm."

Fusion GPS is run by a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Glenn Simpson, who wouldn't say who is paying him for this high-minded slumming but said in an email that Mr. VanderSloot was a "legitimate" target because of "his record on gay issues."
On this blog, I've talked about Barack Obama's narcissism - and that his principles and his political ideology are one in the same.  He differs from President Bill Clinton in that he will not look at an issue and choose the politically expedient path - he will look at an issue and choose the path that fits the progressive ideology and advances it.  He's far from a pragmatist....
Obama doesn’t play well with Republicans - For sure, Obama and Republicans are far apart ideologically, so much so there probably was no chance of reaching a compromise on health care legislation. But they might have cooperated on the economic stimulus package enacted in 2009 and on a number of smaller issues. Except then and now, Obama has shown little or no interest in taking GOP proposals, alternatives, or tweaks seriously, or even considering them at all.

Since announcing his bid for reelection, Obama has adopted the practice of unveiling a set of proposals ostensibly to create jobs and demanding it be passed pronto, without Republicans having been consulted or informed. He did this last September with a “jobs bill” and last week in Albany, New York, with what he called a “to-do list” of hiring and housing initiatives.
The political considerations and self promotion of Barack Obama take precedence even over consideration of national security, our methods and procedures around intelligence intended to stop terror attacks against the United States, and supporting our allies who are partners in the war against islamofascism.  The Obama Administration is so focused on thumping their own chest over last week's revelation that a new underwear suicide bomb plot was broken up - that they are damaging not only our own national security, but compromising friendly intelligence operations like the British MI5 and MI6 services.
Detailed leaks of operational information about the foiled underwear bomb plot are causing growing anger in the US intelligence community, with former agents blaming the Obama administration for undermining national security and compromising the British services, MI6 and MI5.

The Guardian has learned from Saudi sources that the agent was not a Saudi national as was widely reported, but a Yemeni. He was born in Saudi Arabia, in the port city of Jeddah, and then studied and worked in the UK, where he acquired a British passport.

Mike Scheur, the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, said the leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. "MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president, if he has the balls. This is really tragic," Scheur said.

He added: "Any information disclosed is too much information. This does seem to be a tawdry political thing."

Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, said: "As for British Intelligence, I suppose, but do not know, that they must be very unhappy. They are often exasperated, quite reasonably, with their American friends, who are far more leak-prone than they.

"In their place, I would think two and three times before sharing with the Americans, and then only do it if I had to. The problem with that dynamic is that you don't know what you don't know, and what opportunities you might be missing when you decide not to share. The Americans are doing a very good job of undermining trust, and the problem starts at the top."
Around the world, Obama's Presidency is being seen as a bigger and bigger disappointment...
In Europe, where more than 200,000 people thronged a Berlin rally in 2008 to hear Barack Obama speak, there's disappointment that he hasn't kept his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, and perceptions that he's shunting blame for the financial crisis across the Atlantic.

In Mogadishu, a former teacher wishes he had sent more economic assistance and fewer armed drones to fix Somalia's problems. And many in the Middle East wonder what became of Obama's vow, in a landmark 2009 speech at the University of Cairo, to forge a closer relationship with the Muslim world.

In a world weary of war and economic crises, and concerned about global climate change, the consensus is that Obama has not lived up to the lofty expectations that surrounded his 2008 election and Nobel Peace Prize a year later. Many in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America were also taken aback by his support for gay marriage, a taboo subject among religious conservatives.
Then we have the real world effects of the President's (and progressivism's) policies.  Take for example Cap and Trade - and a Cap and Trade simulator to highlight what happens if the Administration and EPA get their way....and a snapshot of what we will see in a 2nd term of President Obama if he is not defeated in November....
When Inside EPA ran the simulator it showed that investments in carbon capture and other CO2 reduction options routinely cut into a power company’s profit margins, while also reducing electricity generation — arguments that would appear to echo critics of CO2 trading for utilities who warn of adverse impacts on the power sector. …

When Inside EPA tried the simulator, a reporter operated the fictional Periwinkle Point Power company, subject to the Ecoland government’s mandate to cut CO2 emissions 15 percent by 2014, with long-term cuts of 10 percent annually. Excess emissions above the cap would trigger a $68 penalty per ton and one future trading allowance…

…Despite the fluctuations in finances, one fact remained constant: even with renewable sites added to its portfolio, the steps Periwinkle Point Power took to comply with a CO2 cap meant it was failing to meet demand. The company was producing 9,724 GWh compared to a demand of 15,374 GWh.
That’s a shortfall of 36.8%, the kind of gap would make energy prices skyrocket, as Obama promised in January 2008. It would mean that businesses couldn’t afford to expand, which would cut capital equipment sales, and also kill the engine of job creation — small businesses, which need lower entry costs to even begin operations. Food prices, which are dependent on energy costs, would rapidly rise, burning through whatever disposable income was left after paying the electrical and gas bills. In short, we’d be capping our future and trading it for brownouts, energy rationing, and poverty.

Welcome to Obama’s second term of office.

Karl, writing on Patterico, talks about this in his excellent post, 'Making the Right Side of History'...
History, like policy, does not make itself. One thing the right should grudgingly admire about the left is their relentlessness. The left never stops agitating, “educating” and organizing to push its version of history, even in the face of its evident failure over the past several decades. Excepting Walter Mondale, they rarely run on the promise of massive tax hikes for the middle class — but they never stop talking and writing about the future necessity for them. They never stop writing and talking about their dream of socialized healthcare — and take whatever jumps they can in that direction whenever they have sufficient control over the government.

Non-statists need to be equally relentless, both in pursuing our vision and in confronting the left’s vision. Indeed, non-statists should be even more driven, given the left’s effective control of the establishment media. This structural disadvantage makes our candidates even more important, because for all the of the media’s attempted agenda-setting, campaign coverage (and advertising) still necessarily focuses on the candidates and their messages.

Although I have had my share of problems with Mitt Romney, one of his primary virtues is that he frequently makes the point that Obama is leading America in the direction of Eurosocialism at precisely the moment Eurosocialism is imploding. It is my hope that when Team Obama starts its Mediscare campaign in earnest, Team Romney will lead its response by noting that the do-nothing Obama approach will also end Medicare as we know it — but that the likely result will be the non-innovative, rationed healthcare of Eurosocialism. Even when the left thinks it can put non-statists on defense, we should be working to create the environment in which statism is understood as not “what works,” more tax revenues are a small part of any solution to public debt (preferably from tax reform and consequent growth), and reform of the entitlement state is politically palatable. Many find Romney a weak standard-bearer for conservatism, but he has been willing to carry this banner — and it is a crucial one to carry, not only for this election, but for cycles to come.
Eurosocialism is imploding...

In Spain, the Government is forced to nationalize the 4th largest bank in the country in order to keep it afloat....

In Greece, talks to form a coalition government appear to be failing - which will mean new elections are likely to be held in June.  The main issues around the EU bailout terms on Greece and the austerity demands on the Greek people.  In the elections a week ago, about 60% of the Greeks voted to oppose the austerity demands and ignore the bailout terms - but the party breakdown in Parliament made it difficult for a real consensus to be formed.   New elections could change this as the Greeks seem to be moving more towards not complying with the EU demands - and in effect daring the EU to force them from the Union and the Euro.

The troika of the EU, ECB, and IMF already look as if they are willing to compromise on their positions to keep Greece within the fold - and avoiding the risk of a Greek departure setting off a run that will have major effects across Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France. 
Troika willing to change the terms of the Greek bailout deal - "The so-called troika of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank is willing to make six important changes to Greece’s financial aid agreement if a pro-European government is formed in the country, Real News said. The Troika is willing to extend by one year to end 2015 the time for Greece to cut its budget deficit as well as to proceed with a restructuring of loans, the Athens-based newspaper reported in its Sunday edition preleased today, citing “well informed” sources at the European Commission."
In America's Greece - Governor Moonbeam announced in January that the state's budget deficit for the current fiscal year would be $9.2 billion.  Now that budget deficit has nearly doubled - soaring to $16.2 billion dollars in just 4 months.  How did this happen?

Partly because of lower tax collections by the state - a direct effect of the state's taxation policies, it's anti-business policies, and the continued effect of the worst economy since the Great Depression in the 1930's. 

Also partly because of the uncontrolled spending in the state - which has spent more than $2 billion more than it was budgeted to spend.

How to solve this?  According to Governor Moonbeam and his progressive allies, the voters of Mexifornia has to pass $7 billion in new taxes or else he will slash public education budgets. 

You have to love 'progressive math' - where $7 billion in new taxes solve a $16.2 billion deficit - and 'progressive logic' where these funds are needed for public education spending, but if they aren't given, public education spending will be slashed.

This in a state where it spends $47,000 per year per inmate in prison and $9,000 per year per student...where on a standardized science test for 8th graders, California ranked 47th.

Rather than adopting the Wisconsin model to limit the power and costs of public sector unions, eliminate duplication and waste in government, stop the 33% growth in the size of the state government over the last decade, and ending the punitive regulatory and tax policies that drive businesses and taxpayers out of the state - the approach remains locked into the Eurosocialist model.

In 2011, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state, 26% more than in 2010, according to Irvine business consultant Joe Vranich who has been tracking these departures since 2009.

The pace is accelerating, Vranich said. An average of 4.9 businesses left California each week of 2011, compared to 3.9 per week (202 total) in 2010 and one a week (51 total) in 2009. In what he calls "disinvestment events..."
As Victor Davis Hanson notes -
As the wine country booms, as Hollywood still reels in global cash, as universities like Stanford, Caltech, and USC are flush with cash and with long waiting lists, the infrastructure of high-tax California is shot, with repair and improvements diverted to redistributive social entitlements. Last month, I drove again down 101, the state’s coastal “freeway”: lots of Mercedeses, Lexuses—and clunker trucks with boards, wire, and scrap bouncing in the back—all weaving in and out of the two-lane, pot-holed excuse for a freeway. It reminded me of Road Warrior.

I went to a rural hospital lab two weeks ago to get a simple blood test: six were ahead of me. Two spoke English. All had presented their Medi-Cal cards. Altogether there were ten small toddlers, with parents all either sick or pregnant or both. A five-minute visit in 1980 now took an hour—all a world away from Stanford Medical Center or the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Yes, there is free care in California without Obamacare—available to anyone who wishes it, as good as my university Blue Shield plan. Part of me looked at the lab crowd, with dependents, little income, no education or much English, and health problems galore, and sighed: “This isn’t going to work”; and part of me sighed: “At least they are confident and having kids and not neurotic like so many of the childless elites on the coast.” You decide, reader; I cannot.

California remains one of the wealthiest states in terms of natural resources - yet for political / ideological reasons we do not leverage them to improve our state's economy. It's not unlike the fallacy that President Obama likes to spout as he attempts to promote his green agenda, falsely saying that we have only 2% of the world's oil reserves...
GAO informed Congress that the Green River Formation, under a basically empty tract of mainly federally owned land near where Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado come together contains about as much recoverable oil as the rest of the planet’s proven reserves – combined. Gone is the fallacy that the US has only 2% of the world’s oil – we are the most oil rich country in the world – but what we lack is the political will to develop and recover these natural resources.

This Day in History


1780 - The Americans suffer their worst defeat of the Revolutionary War at Charlestown, SC - Major General Benjamin Lincoln surrenders unconditionally to British Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton and his army of 10,000.

1864 - Both the North and South see one of the bloodiest days of the Civil War - fighting at the 'Bloody Angle' during the Battle of Spotsylvania.

1932 - The body of Charles Lindbergh's son is found near the Lindbergh home in Hopewell, NJ.  He was murdered the night he was taken from the home on March 1, 1932.  Bruno Hauptmann was convicted of the crime in 1934 and executed in the electric chair in April 1935.

1937 - King George VI was crowned at London's Westminster Abbey.

1949 - The Berlin Blockade is lifted when the Soviet Union ends it's 11 month blockade of West Berlin.  The blockade had been broken by a massive US / UK airlift of vital supplies to West Berlin's 2 million residents.

1975 - Communist Khmer Rouge forces from Cambodia seize the American freighter Mayaguez and its 39 man crew.

2002 - Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a visit with Fidel Castro - it's the first time, in or out of office, a US President visits the island since Castro's 1959 communist revolution.


1607 - Some 100 English colonists arrive on the west bank of the James River in Virginia and found Jamestown - the first permanent English settlement in North America.

1846 - President James Polk declares war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas - which joined the US in December 1845.

1940 - Speaking before Parliament, Britain's new Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."  His also says that his new policy will consist of nothing less than to “"to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime." He defined Britain’s aims as “"victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be."

1973 - First battle of the sexes - Tennis starts Bobby Riggs and Margaret Court face off in a $10,000 winner take all march - Riggs won the match 6-2, 6-1.

1981 - Pope John Paul II is shot and wounded at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy. Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca was arrested and convicted of the shooting. Sentenced to life in prison, he was released in 2010. The attempted assassination was suspected to be part of a Soviet conspiracy against the Pope – as Agca reportedly met with Bulgarian spies.

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