Saturday, May 26, 2012

Quick Hits - May 26, 2012

Kicking off today's QH with two excellent videos.....

First up, the latest of Bill Whittle's Afterburner series, 'Into the Sea'...

The second was forwarded to me by a reader - 'Operation Hot Mike' from American Crossroads....

The Weekly Standard has a very good effort that links the domestic job crisis and the record of President Obama in a method that uses one of the standard rhetorical fallacies of the progressives.  In progressive-speak, if they want to increase government spending (or that of a particular program) by 5% and the GOP advocates only a 2% spending increase, then we're not increasing spending, but cutting or 'slashing' spending.  It's a cut or 'slash' because the desired increase is not being received - and the increase amount is less. 

If one would apply common sense, if one party advocates a 5% spending increase, and the other is advocating a 2% increase, observers should be able to agree that spending is increasing.  For a cut or 'slash' to be achieved, one party would need to be advocating a 5% increase while the other would need to be advocating for a 2% reduction from the CURRENT LEVEL of spending.

In this Weekly Standard article, they use the progressive's logic to highlight the President's abysmal job record - not by focusing on jobs lost, but by focusing on jobs not created because of the policies of this President....
One way we can track that is by using the employment-population ratio, provided every month by the government. This is the broadest metric of employment in this country, and the peak during the last recovery was 63.5 percent of the adult, civilian, non-institutional population. If we had held constant at that level, we would have about 154 million people currently employed. As it stands, we have about 142 million people currently employed. So that is a jobs deficit of 12 million people:

Problem is, with the convoluted 'logic' of the progressives, they want it both ways.  Like with DNC Chair, the dim Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who puts progressive logic in the forefront as she tries to differentiate the jobs lost when Obama 'saved' the auto industry and when Romney's Bain Capital eliminated jobs trying to 'save' struggling companies....


Then there is this from DWS as she tells C-SPAN that the heated recall battle in Wisconsin is not that big of a deal - and there would be no major repercussions to the Democrats if Scott Walker survives the recall effort....
“I think, honestly, there aren’t going to be any repercussions,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in a broad-ranging interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

“It’s an election that’s based in Wisconsin. It’s an election that I think is important nationally because Scott Walker is an example of how extreme the tea party has been when it comes to the policies that they have pushed the Republicans to adopt,” Wasserman Schultz said. “But I think it’ll be, at the end of the day, a Wisconsin-based election, and like I said, across the rest of the country and including in Wisconsin, President Obama is ahead.”

That just has to thrill the union base of the Democrat party - the same union base that donated some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle.

It seems that DWS's repeated gaffe's are causing some problems - and she may be on her way out as the DNC Chair since President Obama is reportedly becoming increasingly irritated by the gaffe's which he sees as galvanizing Republican opposition and costing his campaign independents...
During Obama's trip to Florida, not only was Schultz stripped of her previously held honor of introducing the president before his speeches, he barely acknowledged her presence.

In fact, Shark Tank's source said Obama addressed Shultz personally on her destructive activities, telling her it’s not about her, it’s about him.

“Don’t forget, you work for me.”

That's right, it's all about the narcissist in chief.

The UK Telegraph is taking a look at the 2012 Presidential campaign in a manner that few US based publications are - noting that the similarities of 2012 to 1980 are increasing - with Barack Obama facing his Jimmy Carter moment as his campaign and policies become more Carteresque...
Obama’s re-election is no longer guaranteed; some pollsters think it is unlikely. Day by day, the odds are improving that Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States.

What changed? For a start, voters are getting gloomier about the economy. Joblessness remains high and debt is out of control. According to one poll released this week, only 33 per cent of Americans expect the economy to improve in the coming months and only 43 per cent approve of the way that the president has handled it. Voters think Obama has made the debt situation and health care worse. The man who conducted the poll – Democrat Peter Hart – concluded that “Obama’s chances for re-election… are no better than 50-50.”

The president has tried to distract from America’s economic misery by playing up the so-called culture war.

In 1980, Democratic president Jimmy Carter faced an uphill struggle for re-election. Yet, despite an index of inflation and unemployment far higher than Obama’s, he was actually doing slightly better in the polls. In March of that year, Carter led his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, by around 25 per cent. By May, Gallup gave him a lead of 49 to 41 per cent – higher than Obama’s today. Carter’s advantage evaporated in the months that followed, but he regained ground in October and by the last week he was running even.

None the less, Carter eventually suffered a landslide defeat. The scale of his humiliation was hidden by the fact that people were unwilling to commit themselves to the conservative Ronald Reagan until the very last minute. It was only when they went into the polling booth and weighed up all the hurt and humiliation of the past four years that they cast their vote against the president. It looks like Barack Obama will be the Jimmy Carter of 2012.

Is an Obama reelection, once thought a done deal by some, really starting to look unlikely? On Monday, I will be posting my 'Wargaming the 2012 Election, Part II' where I update the look I took in December 2011 at the electoral college and the battle to 270.

Does this help or hurt President Obama? Half of all US households are receiving government benefits.

Is this, as Bill Whittle references in his video above, part of the 'long stall from 40,000 feet into the cold dark sea'?

The financial blog Zerohedge has a couple of superb posts today that apply towards a look back at 1980, a new look at the policies of Obama / Progressives today, and adds in the linkage of these with the Eurocrisis.

The first is the progressive policy model of Keynesian economics and Eugenics, and adds to one of the points I press - that theory isn't like the real world, or as its referenced here...nature.
While eugenicists and Keynesians make correct descriptive observations — like the fact that certain qualities and traits are inheritable, or more simply that children are like their parents — their attempts to use the state as a mechanism to control these natural systems often turns out to be drastically worse than the natural systems that they seek to replace.


No planner is smarter than nature...

The second offers advice from the esteemed historian Niall Ferguson who reminds us that Greece is the symptom, not the cause of the Eurocrisis...
In a brief clip from a lengthier discussion between historian Niall Ferguson and ex-Greek PM George Papandreou at this week's Zeitgeist conference, the effusive Englishman lays out perfectly what many are missing with regard to Europe: "Greece is not the problem - it is a symptom of a much more profound malaise that affects the entire monetary union." - just as Lehman Brothers was not the 'cause' of the US's problems. The wasted energy spent moralizing about the 'work habits' of Mediterranean citizens as being the problem is incorrect as this is a European-wide problem - a systemic crisis of European banking and public finance. Papandreou pipes in by noting, in typical toe-the-line manner, that Germany must swerve (in the game of chicken) or there is a major danger of disintegration because "there will be contagion".

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, is talking as tough as Germany and the Bundesbank, when it comes to the Greek bailout, austerity, and the upcoming Greek elections...
The International Monetary Fund has ratcheted up the pressure on crisis-hit Greece after its managing director, Christine Lagarde, said she has more sympathy for children deprived of decent schooling in sub-Saharan Africa than for many of those facing poverty in Athens.

In an uncompromising interview with the Guardian, Lagarde insists it is payback time for Greece and makes it clear that the IMF has no intention of softening the terms of the country's austerity package.

Using some of the bluntest language of the two-and-a-half-year debt crisis, she says Greek parents have to take responsibility if their children are being affected by spending cuts. "Parents have to pay their tax," she says.

Shifting to the Middle East Region, Mark Steyn asks us what does the troubled Facebook IPO and the first stages of Egypt's Presidential elections which took place earlier this week have in common?
A century ago, the west exported its values. So, in Farouk's Egypt, at the start of a new legislative session, the king was driven to his toy town parliament to deliver the speech from the throne in an explicit if ramshackle simulacrum of Westminster's rituals of constitutional monarchy.

Today, we decline to export values, and complacently assume, as the very term "Facebook Revolution" suggests, that technology marches in support of modernity. It doesn't. Facebook's flat IPO and Egypt's presidential election are in that sense part of the same story, of a developed world whose definitions of innovation and achievement have become too shrunken and undernourished. The vote in Egypt tells us a lot about them, but it also tells us something about us.

In another 'read it all' essay, Victor Davis Hanson addresses this meme as well in "Winning Battles, Losing Wars'...
Are U.S. arms and influence without ground troops able to see those laudable aims realized, or would a post-Assad Syria end up like Libya or Egypt—and would that still be better or worse than the present-day Syria, for us, for Christians and other minorities, for Israel, etc.? It is not enough to state the obvious: Assad is a U.S. enemy and a monster who is killing his own; we have the ability to take him out; ergo, we should.

Yet the same calculus applies to dozens of renegade states. If some advisor, pundit, general, or senator wants to go into Syria, then he must explain why Syria is more important than, say, the Congo or Somalia or the Sudan (or that we are following strategic self-interest in the Middle East, not humanitarianism)—and why we can leave the nation a far better place than under Assad, and how that is possible, given the nature of the dissidents and the fact it is the Middle East.

Remember, there is also an ironclad law about the Middle East, one we keep forgetting: Arab intellectuals (many of them educated or residing in Western universities) hate the U.S. for backing dictators; they hate the U.S. for intervening to remove them; they hate the U.S. for trying to impose postbellum democracy upon them; and they hate the U.S. for staying clear and letting Arabs be Arabs on their own.

In Syria, government troops have shelled a string of villages in country's center before pro-regime groups swept through the area, shooting people in the streets and in their homes in attacks that killed more than 90 people. This represents some of the bloodiest attacks by the regime against civilians in the nearly 15 months since the demonstrations started.

UN monitor are also reporting that the Syrian forces executed entire families in their homes...

What are we, and the rest of the international community to do with these reports? Or the fact that despite the economic sanctions, the Iranians and Syrians are working to evade the sanctions and sell oil, while Russia continues to provide the regime with new arms shipments.

This Day in History

1907 - Iconic actor, John Wayne, is born in Winterset, Iowa

1940 - Hundreds of Royal Navy and civilian yachts and vessels cross the English Channel to the area around the French port of Dunkirk to begin the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and allied French troops.  With a rear guard trying to hold off the German Army, and under relentless bombardment by the German Luftwaffe, these ships and yachts, under cover of the Royal Air Force,  would evacuate 340,000 troops from the Continent to Britain - although without virtually all of their heavy equipment.  The 'Miracle of Dunkirk' was a powerful morale booster for the British in the wake of the massively successful German invasion of France.

1978 - The first legal casino on the US East Coast opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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