Friday, June 8, 2012

Quick Hits - June 7 and 8, 2012

Today is supposed to be 'National Day of Blogger Silence', however, having missed yesterday's QH, I feel obligated to post today's double QH.

This is not to lessen the Day of Silence that a number of prominent blogs are honoring to draw attention to the attacks being made on 1st Amendment Free Speech rights in the case of Aaron Walker, or on the silence towards this attack and the deplorable tactics and actions of Brett Kimberlin and his associates / supporters to intimidate, threaten, and 'SWAT' those who they oppose / those who highlight the actions and connections of these cretins.  As Michelle notes on her blog...
My syndicated column today covers the crucial battle between truth-telling bloggers versus convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin and his band of malicious online thugs. In honor of the National Day of Blogger Silence called by Ace of Spades, this blog is going dark. But far from shutting up, I’ll be spending the day calling, e-mailing, and tweeting members of Congress, GOP leaders, journalists, and influencers to ask them what they are doing to defend the First Amendment rights of bloggers. This is a day of action, not inaction. Below my column, I’ll list some contact info for elected officials who need to hear from you. Please join us and act for free speech. Thank you.

Please read Michelle's column. Visit Patterico.com to read of what is being done to Patrick Frey. Also visit Aaron's blog at http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/ to read about his case. Then call your Congressman and Senator.

One elected official speaking out on this is Georgia's Senator Saxby Chambliss who sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder was for an investigation into the 'SWAT-ting' incidents.
Today, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding recent reports that several conservative political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Chambliss demanded that Holder examine these cases to determine if federal laws have been violated.


These dangerous hoaxes, also known as “SWAT-ting,” occur when a perpetrator contacts local police to report a violent incident at a target’s home. These callers are believed to utilize voice-over IP (VOIP) and other less-traditional telecommunications methods to make the call appear to come from the target residence and to hide the caller’s true identity.


In response, a dispatcher sends a SWAT team or other police unit in a heightened state of readiness to the unsuspecting target’s residence. Targets only learn of these false reports when a large police presence descends upon their homes.


In the letter, Chambliss states that “Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels… Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety.”

Here's Senator Chambliss talking about this on Special Report with Bret Baier...


Onto to other news....



President Obama announced this morning that at 10:15am EDT, he would make some comments about the US economy and then take a few questions from the WH Press Corps.  The President started to speak at about 10:40am EDT - but except for the recycling of the standard Obama talking points over the economy - Blaming Bush, Blaming Congress, and misrepresenting his own record, no real new information or news was made.

Not only is this anemic recovery not the President's fault, but the 'Private sector is doing fine....'


Huh? Doing fine?


The President's 'economic recovery' is substantially worse than the one experienced after the 1981-82 recession.  This isn't because of the previous Administration.  This isn't because of Congress not doing the bidding of the President.  He 'owned' Congress in 2009 and 2010.  He got most of what he asked Congress to address in his 'jobs' act from last fall - and over 30 bills from the GOP majority in the House to try to stimulate growth are stalled in the Democrat controlled Senate.

The President made a new appeal for Congress to pass HIS jobs bill.  He also made a new pitch for renewed government stimulus spending to help states not layoff their public sector (union) workers that they can afford to keep, and for funding new construction jobs to put construction (union) workers at work - the same one's who were funded in the President's 2009 $850 billion stimulus bill that was supposed to spark an economic recovery (the one we're floundering in now) and 'fix' unemployment.  Remember - pass the stimulus and unemployment wouldn't go above 8%?


Here's the graph from the Obama White House projecting the effects with the President's $850 billion recovery plan (dark line) and without the recovery line (lighter line).  This version has been updated to reflect that in October 2009, after the recovery plan, unemployment hit 10%.  Rather than the 5.7% unemployment rate the WH promised for May 2012, we've got an 'official' rate [courtesy of cooked books] of 8.2%.  If we 'uncook' books, we've got a 10.9% unemployment rate... at least.  And Obama wants to the same thing again now - but expects different results?


President Obama took a few questions from the press.  No questions about Wisconsin's results.  No questions about California voters overwhelmingly supporting measures to overhaul public sector employee pensions.  No questions about Fast and Furious.  Just questions about the Eurocrisis - about which the President spoke for about 10 minutes.....and said nothing of import. 

The closest to a 'news' element came from a question about the leaks of classified information from the Administration which provide political advantages for the President.  President Obama said he had a zero tolerance policy on leaks, that leaks were being actively investigated, and found the notion that the WH would leak classified information for a political advantage 'offensive'.  But actions speak louder than words.

The Presidents comments about the economy reflect the tripling down (or is it quintupling down at this point?) of the President towards the same policies that failed to stimulate the economy - and the should be utterly discredited Keynesian economic policies.

The Investors Business Daily highlights what is causing today's dismal economic conditions...
Some on the left blame the lack of adequate stimulus for the recovery's tepid pace. Former Obama economic adviser Larry Summers this week called for still more borrowing.


Those on the right blame Obama's own policies for slowing the recovery down, pointing to the substantial increase in the national debt, the growth of costly new regulations, the threat of new taxes, the impending ObamaCare mandates, and a general sense of uncertainty in the business community.

We are facing strong headwinds. ...



The real cause for our challenges today? Leadership


Moronic ideologue NYT columnist, Paul Krugman, continues to be fixated on Keynesian economics as being the only possible solution for the economic woes of both Europe and the US....and willing torture logic however needed in order to fit his 'case' to the preordained conclusion. His latest laugh of a column calls Ronald Reagan a 'true Keynesian' opposed to Barack Obama....

Reagan, not Obama, was the big spender. While there was a brief burst of government spending early in the Obama administration — mainly for emergency aid programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps — that burst is long past. Indeed, at this point, government spending is falling fast, with real per capita spending falling over the past year at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.


Why was government spending much stronger under Reagan than in the current slump? “Weaponized Keynesianism” — Reagan’s big military buildup — played some role. But the big difference was real per capita spending at the state and local level, which continued to rise under Reagan but has fallen significantly this time around.

Welcome to the latest DNC talking point to bail out President Obama's dismal economic performance - that the problem is not in the private sector - but in the public sector - and more, far more, government spending is needed (along with higher taxes) to stimulate the public sector hiring - and then the overall economy.

This selectively ignores 'minor' issues. Like Obama increased spending about 33% above 2008 levels. This increased spending - at a post World War II high of 24.5% of GDP - has added $5 trillion to the national debt and is on pace to add $6.4 trillion by the end of Obama's term. Real level per capita spending by state and local governments was not a leading indicator - but an effect of Reagan's supply side economic policies growing the private sector, increasing tax revenues to state and local governments - and those entities responding to the higher revenues by increasing their spending.


What Krugman and other Keynesians refuse to accept is that the private sector leads the public sector - not the other way around. It's the private sector that is most important, not the public sector. It's keeping money in the private sector, it's reasonable and rational regulations, it's a stable business environment that will stimulate growth - not yanking more money out of the private sector to allow the public sector to decide the 'best places' to spend it or picking winners or the beneficiaries based on campaign donations or a politically motivated agenda (green jobs).

Green jobs?

Looks like the Obama Administration has been back at work cooking the books regarding their claims on 'green jobs'....
Under questioning from Rep. Issa and House Committee on Oversight, Labor Department official admits Obama administration classifies driving a bus, working in bike shop and sweeping floors of solar company as 'green jobs.'

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder was testifying before Congress over Operation Fast and Furious,the Congressional investigation that is underway of the program, and the apparent lack of cooperation between the DoJ and Congress which is on the cusp of contempt charges being filed against the AG. During the testimony, Holder doubled down on his previous testimony saying that he and other senior DoJ officials knew nothing about Fast and Furious tactics until spring of 2011.
Both Holder and Breuer have said under oath they knew nothing about the program until the beginning of 2011, after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed. Breuer is the second in command behind Holder at the Justice Department. Today, Holder again doubled down on the recurring defense that senior officials within his Justice Department knew nothing of the gunwalking tactics.


“Fast and Furious was a mid-level, regional investigation,” Holder said. “Mr. Weinstein and Mr. Breuer did not know about the tactics being used in Fast and Furious until the beginning of last year.”


When asked about whether his senior officials in the Justice Department had simply read the wiretap applications, Holder responded by saying his top officials did not read the affidavits and the details of what was in the Fast and Furious wiretaps while trying to talk his way around the questions asked.


“Mr. Attorney General, you are not a good witness. Good witnesses answer the question,” Issa said.


As a refresher, in order to apply for and have a wiretap approved, agents must submit extremely detailed information about a case.


“A reasonable person would only come to the conclusion that senior members of the department of Justice knew about gunwalking tactics in Fast and Furious,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz said.

But what was most interesting about the testimony of Eric Holder was around this claim...
Attorney General Eric Holder claimed during congressional testimony today that internal Justice Department emails that use the phrase “Fast and Furious” do not refer to the controversial gun-walking operation Fast and Furious.


Under questioning from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who read excerpts of the emails at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Justice Department oversight, Holder claimed that the phrase “Fast and Furious” did not refer to Fast and Furious but instead referred to another gun-walking operation known as “Wide Receiver.”


However, the emails refer to both programs -- "Fast and Furious" and the "Tucson case," from where Wide Receiver was launched -- and reveal Justice Department officials discussing how to handle media scrutiny when both operations become public.

John Mitchell would be so proud.

But just as 'Deep Throat' helped unravel the Watergate coverup - Rep. Darrell Issa apparently has his own 'inside man' who is helping his investigation into Fast and Furious.
With the help of a mole, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has turned the tables on Attorney General Eric Holder.


Issa has long been exasperated with Holder, claiming that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been withholding information on a controversial gun-running operation. But through an anonymous source, Issa has obtained information about the initiative that is under a federal court-ordered seal.


Giving such information out is a federal crime, raising the question of whether the Justice Department will seek to prosecute what Republicans are calling a whistleblower.

More trouble coming from Fast and Furious?
Now, families of "Rapido y Furioso" in Mexico are preparing a civil lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the lawyer representing them is risking everything, including her life, to represent them. The following is a translated portion of this Spanish article.


A Mexican lawyer is preparing a civil lawsuit against the Agency Snuff, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, for its acronym in English) United States, representing relatives of victims of the operation 'Fast and Furious', with which the U.S. government illegally brought weapons into the country to trace and catch the criminals that were acquired.

The hits at the DoJ keep coming. Florida decides to ignore the DoJ threats over their clean up of their voter rolls to remove the dead and illegal immigrants and will continue with their work.
Florida's new secretary of state, Ken Detzner, responded to Justice late yesterday that not only is it not a violation of the Voting Rights Act for Florida to review its own roll and remove those people who are ineligible, it is its obligation, and necessary to prevent election fraud.


"It is an unfortunate but now undeniable fact that Florida' s voter rolls include individuals who are not citizens of the United States. The Florida Department of State has a solemn obligation to ensure the integrity of elections in this State," Detzner wrote. "The Department of State respectfully disagrees with DOJ's position. The actions taken by Florida to identify and remove non-citizens from its voter rolls ensure that the right to vote of citizens is protected and is not diluted by the votes of ineligible persons."

Read the above link for an example of what Florida is trying to prevent happen. Those are not accidents or someone 'forgetting' - it is the work of someone (or many) committing voter fraud in order to get their candidate elected.

Destroying another false meme - About that meme that Walker and the GOP outspent the Democrats 7 to 1 in the Wisconsin recall? No, the Democrats were not outspent 7 to 1 in Wisconsin.
Indeed, it should be underscored that the left/media here is focused entirely on spending in the gubernatorial recall, when this election was just one of many the left attempted to turn into referenda on Gov. Walker’s public-sector collective bargaining reforms. If once considers the total amounts spent during the Days of Cheesehead Rage on state senate recall elections, Supreme Court elections and so on in 2011-12, the gap shrinks to roughly 1.5-to-1.


Lastly, these figures only account for sums legally required to be publicly reported (and assumes those sums are properly quantified). Rutgers University economist Leo Troy has estimated that actual union political spending is likely several times higher than generally reported. There is no reason to think otherwise in this case.

Let's look at the feckless mainstream media...

First up - the head of CBS News 'outing' journalism as 'partisan' while attending an Obama fundraiser in LALA land.
Anyway, his statement about how "partisanship is very much a part of journalism now" is not only interesting considering he said it at a Obama fundraiser, but it's also a falsehood.


Partisanship has always been a part of journalism, especially at CBS News. It's just that the network always has and always will hide its partisanship behind a phony shield of objectivity and nonsense loopholes such as, "I'm at this bigtime fundraiser but have never given money to any candidate."


But what Moonves is doing here is finally (and probably by accident) admitting that the media is partisan. It's also interesting that he's outing journalism in general, not just the openly partisan media that has blossomed online or on talk radio.


He's calling "journalism" partisan -- and indeed it is.


So the only surprise is that someone with Moonves's status is finally admitting it.


More irony: Moonves outing all of journalism at an LGBT event.

Then we have the morning 'news' shows on the day after the Wisconsin recall defeat...
The Big Three networks certainly have their priorities straight. ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning shows on Wednesday dedicated more time to entertainment news than the results of the Wisconsin recall election. On CBS This Morning, Disney's new ban on junk food ads from its kids programming received a minute and a half more than the political story. The same gap occurred on ABC's Good Morning America, but instead of junk food, the Miss USA pageant got the extra time.

NBC's Today, however, one-upped its competitors, as they devoted over six minutes to former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus getting engaged, while Republican Governor Scott Walker's victory received under four and a half minutes. Today also spent over five minutes on the Miss USA story.

How about the Washington Post? They term at this link the Walker victory margin (7 pts) as 'close'....

But how did they term the 7 point victory margin of Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008? Here's their front page -

'U.S. DECISIVELY ELECTS FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT'

We know that MSNBC is the most partisan of the 'news networks' in the mainstream media.  But within the bile that comes from that network comes an occasional insight...this one from Rachel Maddow...


The day after a stunning union defeat in Wisconsin, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said that without the influence of unions, the Democratic Party’s electoral situation is “dire,” saying that “Democrats do not have a way to compete” with Republicans.


“The Wisconsin Republicans, under Scott Walker, were using public policy to essentially dismantle public sector unions in Wisconsin. And that — however you feel about union rights in the country — it had one very practical, partisan effect, which is that the unions had been big supporters of Democratic candidates and Democratic causes and had had a lot to do with the Democratic ground game. So if they go away — in terms of whether or not that corporate money that’s disproportionately supporting Republicans can be answered — at least on the Democratic side, before there is some kind of reform, Democrats do not have a way to compete in terms of big outside money in elections. And that is the reality now in Wisconsin. It is the reality in states where they have essentially eliminated unions rights.”


“I think,” Maddow added, “structurally, that’s a pretty dire electoral situation for Democrats.”

In international news - more bad news from the Eurozone crisis...

France's new President Francois Hollande fulfilled a campaign promise by reducing the country's retirement age from 62 to 60 - highlighting his agenda to expand France's entitlement state.

The Wall Street Journal notes this as 'Hollande's First Step Backwards'...
French President Fran├žois Hollande made good Wednesday on his campaign pledge to lower France's minimum retirement age to 60 from 62. The 2010 law that lifted the retirement age was Nicolas Sarkozy's most important domestic-policy achievement, and it was sold as a way to keep France's public spending under control amid the Continent's then-burgeoning debt crisis.


That was more than a year before France lost its triple-A credit rating and moved squarely into the "at risk" camp. What a difference an election makes.


Mr. Hollande's proposal would restore the retirement age to 60 for people who have contributed to the pension system for 41 years, meaning they entered the labor force at age 18 or 19. Mothers with three or more children would also be able to retire at 60 under the plan, as would the elderly unemployed.


Proposals to lower the pension age for other categories of workers are said to be in the works, though this first step alone is expected to cost €1.1 billion next year, rising to €3 billion a year by 2017. The government will cover the expense by—surprise, surprise—raising employees' and employers' payroll taxes.

Speaking of credit downgrades...
Spain’s credit rating downgraded by Fitch – Eurozone’s 4th largest economy moved from A to BBB – one step above junk status…. "The dramatic erosion of Spain's sovereign credit profile and ratings over the last year in part reflects policy missteps at the European level that, in Fitch's opinion, have aggravated the economic and financial challenges facing Spain as it seeks to rebalance and restructure the economy," the agency said.


"The intensification of the eurozone crisis in the latter half of last year pushed the region and Spain back into recession, exacerbating concerns over sovereign and bank solvency. The absence of a credible vision of a reformed EMU and financial 'firewall' has rendered Spain and other so-called peripheral nations vulnerable to capital flight and undercut their access to affordable fiscal funding."

The latest on Spain...
Spain to ask for financial bailout of Saturday - Spain is on Saturday expected to become the fourth eurozone country to seek international help for its debt crisis when Europe's policy leaders agree a package to bail out its crippled banking sector.


In the latest attempt to control the financial storm that has threatened the existence of monetary union, sources in Brussels and Germany said Madrid had bowed to mounting pressure and asked for assistance.


A conference call between the 17 members of the eurozone will be held on Saturday – when the financial markets are closed – to discuss the request from the single currency's fourth biggest economy.

There are reports of a new massacre in Syria by government forces, this time in a small town near Hama. More than 100 were killed including many women and children, just like the massacre in Houla. Also being reported, UN observers attempting to get to the site of the latest massacre were being fired on by government / quasi-government forces. With all of this, both Russia and China continue to oppose any military action against the Assad regime by the United Nations. Meanwhile, civilians continue to be butchered by the odious regime.

This Day in History

7th

1692 - A massive earthquake devastates the infamous town of Port Royal, Jamaica - killing thousands. In the 17th century, the city was known as a headquarters for piracy, smuggling, and debauchery.

1939 - King George VI becomes the first British monarch to visit the United States when he and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, cross the US / Canadian border at Niagara Falls, NY.

1942 - The Battle of Midway officially ends - the USS Yorktown capsizes and sinks at dawn from damage suffered in 2 air attacks and being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Japan lost 4 aircraft carriers, a heavy cruiser, 292 aircraft, and 2,500 men. The US lost an aircraft carrier, a destroyer, 145 aircraft, and 307 men in the decisive US victory. BTW, read this interesting post about the Last Survivor of Torpedo 8...

1942 - Japanese soldiers invade and occupy the American islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska.

1981 - Israeli fighter bombers attack and destroy Iraq's only nuclear reactor

8th

632 - Mohammed, the founder of Islam, dies in Medina

1941 - British and Free French forces invade Syria and Lebanon, fighting Vichy French forces in those countries loyal to Nazi Germany.

1944 - Allied forces expand the Normandy Beachhead as American troops from Omaha Beach link up with British troops from Gold Beach.

1949 - A FBI report names Hollywood figures Frederic March, John Garfield, Paul Muni, Paul Robeson, and Edward G. Robinson as members of the Communist Party.

1967 - During the Six Day War, Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attack the USS Liberty, a US intelligence ship in international waters, killing 34.

1982 - President Ronald Reagan becomes the first US President to address Britain's Parliament....






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