Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick Hits - July 15, 2012

There have been a number of terms, or phrases, that are used to describe Barack Obama - Contemptuous, nihilistic, narcissistic, arrogant, ego driven, self absorbed, haughty, supercilious, conceited, and a pathological liar.

What makes one a pathological liar?  It's a personality trait common with those who are narcissists.  They will tell lies for self-serving purposes - lying when even the truth will do.  In Barack Obama's autobiographies, we are finding more and more cases where he lies and embellishes even the most basic events in his life.  Ultimately, we have to come to believe that Barack Obama does not value the truth or hold that telling the truth is a reflection of one's character.  He is interested solely in himself and in constructing a different 'reality' for personal gain and self promotion (his reelection).

At times, while the lies that Barack Obama tells are laughably obvious, he still needs to be called on them....

Remember all those campaign promises that Barack Obama made in 2008? Here he is saying that he has kept them all...

And then there is this other lie that is locked around a not so veiled smear directed at Fox News Channel, the highest rated cable news network in the U.S. for at least the last decade...

“So, just in case some of your friends or neighbors or, ya know, Uncle Jim who’s a little stubborn and been watching Fox News and, ya know, he thinks that somehow I raised taxes.

Let’s just be clear. We’ve lowered taxes for middle class families since I came in office,” President Obama said at a campaign event in Virginia Beach, VA today.

Huh? Lowered taxes on middle class families? Oh, that 2% reduction of the Social Security Payroll Tax that saves the average family $480 a year? What about the numerous tax increases built into Obamacare that will hit millions of middle class Americans?

Of course, we also have President Barack Obama on record calling that his current proposal for a one year extension of the personal income tax rates for all those earning under $250,000 is a 'tax cut' even though the rates remain the same as this group has paid since 2003.   According to Barack Obama, not increasing something for one year constitutes a 'cut'.  Also left unsaid are the tax increases that Barack Obama supports taking effect on January 1, 2013 on capital gains and dividends which will also hit middle class investors.

And even as the President ties himself into a rhetorical pretzel on this, left unmentioned is that many of those currently earning over $250,000 limit are small business owners and members of the middle class.  900,000 small business owners who are members of the middle class are going to see their taxes increases based on President Obama.  These small business owners are also one of the major engines of our national economy - and with the need to pay more to the federal government, they will be doing less hiring.

Cooking the books...

The President has some real major issues in his reelection campaign - namely the lack of a compelling economic record - in an environment where, to the voters, the economy is the number one issue.  Without a record that he can run on, he has to resort to alternative approaches to press the case for his reelection.  One of the alternative approaches is to lie about the economy.  No, this isn't just about defensively trying to blame his predecessor for the current dismal economic conditions, but about cooking the books in order to lie about the current economic that being done by the Department of Labor.
More evidence of the Obama Administration Department of Labor cooking the books this election season to make the unemployment numbers appear far better than they actually are – and the AP / mainstream media is ignoring the info – and instead touted last week’s 350,000 number as a 4 year low…

As I pointed out yesterday at my home blog, the effect of this change on Thursday's reported seasonally adjusted result was huge, and in a downward direction:

• This year’s math (week ended July 7, 2012) — 439,743 actual claims (before the virtually inevitable upward revision next week) divided by 1.258 equals Thursday's seasonally adjusted 350,000 (rounded).

• Last year’s math (week ended July 9, 2011)— 473,963 actual claims divided by 1.157 led to a seasonally adjusted result of 410,000.

• But if DOL hadn't changed its adjustment factor by almost 9% for reasons which escape me (Rugaber noted that "The Labor Department did not respond to requests for comment"), this year math would have been 439,743 raw claims divided by 1.157, yielding a result of 380,000.

So even before considering specific industries, Thursday's seasonally adjusted result would have come in slightly worse than the previous week's (upwardly revised, of course) 376,000, and only about 8% below last year's awful comparable week value of 410,000.

If this year's seasonal conversion done consistent with last year's is slightly higher only because of the carmakers keeping their production going, the rest of the economy's labor market would appear to be about as bad now as it was a year ago -- and significantly worse than it was just a week ago.

Future weeks will tell the tale, but one clue that there is reason for grave concern can be had by comparing the week-to-week change in raw claims from last year to this year:

• Last year (from the week ended July 2 to the one ended July 9), claims increased by over 48,300 from 425,640 to 473,943.

• This year (from the week ended June 30 to the one ended July 7), claims increased by just under 70,000 from 369,772 to 439,743.

Again, if this year's increase would have been much higher except for auto industry layoffs, as everyone seems to be saying, things will get really ugly in the coming weeks when the industry's traditional but unobserved shutdown period ends in a week or two.

Then we have the actions of the President's reelection campaign and their 'Kill Romney Strategy' that has the campaign dropping nearly $100 million dollars in negative attack ads in a dozen battleground states in the last couple of months.
Barack Obama’s campaign has spent nearly $100 million so far on negative attack ads against Mitt Romney in battleground states - President Barack Obama’s campaign has spent nearly $100 million on television commercials in selected battleground states so far, unleashing a sustained early barrage designed to create lasting, negative impressions of Republican Mitt Romney before he and his allies ramp up for the fall.

In a reflection of campaign strategy, more than one-fifth of the president’s ad spending has been in Ohio, a state that looms as a must-win for Romney more so than for Obama. Florida ranks second and Virginia third, according to organizations that track media spending and other sources.

The Obama campaign is refusing to apologize for their most recent series of attacks on the GOP candidate, Mitt Romney where they went after Romney at Bain - and even termed him a 'felon' for his actions...
Obama campaign refuses to apologize for their attacks on Mitt Romney - An Obama campaign adviser on Sunday said she will not apologize to Republican rival Mitt Romney for suggesting he might be a felon.

“He’s not going to get an apology,” Stephanie Cutter, Mr. Obama’s deputy campaign manager, told CBS‘ “Face the Nation.”

But senior Romney campaign adviser Kevin Madden said on the same program that the attacks on Mr. Romney are little more than an attempt by the Obama campaign to distract from the president’s record on jobs and the economy.

“It is very troubling that the president would direct his campaign to label someone like Romney as a felon,” Mr. Madden said.

The ramped-up attacks on Mr. Romney were the focus of all the Sunday political talk shows, with both sides again exchanging sharply worded charges and countercharges.

But while Ms. Cutter wasn’t backing down, other Obama administration officials seemed to want to walk back Ms. Cutter’s comments that Mr. Romney may have committed “a felony” by signing documents at Bain Capital.

David Axelrod, President Obama’s top political strategist, said Ms. Cutter’s comments were taken out of context.

Surprisingly, even a reliable Obama  network like CNN is starting to hammer the President and his campaign over the negative attacks on Romney....with a discussion on CNN saying Obama's Bain push 'doesn't appear to be true'...

As Big Government's John Nolte observes in the above link...
Obama's entire Bain spree has been nothing but lies and irresponsible, outrageous charges. Negative campaigning is one thing, lying and hurling words like "felony" is something completely different. That the media will not hold Obama accountable for this reprehensible behavior is as much a black mark on them as it is on Obama. We saw a glimmer of hope for some accountability on CNN last night, but the question is: will CNN push a matter that demands to be pushed?

Barack Obama's hubris is such that he will never admit that his administration has been a failure. That despite all of the evidence that the economy, under the policies of this President, is in significant trouble.
Output slowed to stall speed over the winter. The US economy tipped into outright contraction in the second quarter, even before facing the "fiscal cliff" later this year – tightening of $600bn or 4pc of GDP unless action is taken to stop it.

Nothing serious is yet being done to head off the downward slide. If ECRI is right, the implications for the global system are ugly.

It is never easy to read the signals at inflexion points. Washington is always caught off guard. As ECRI’s Lakshman Achuthan says, it took the Lehman collapse ten months into recession in September 2008 to "wake people up".

What we know is that retail sales rolled over in February and broader trade sales peaked in December. Industrial output peaked in April. The nationwide ISM index of manufacturing crashed through the break-even line of 50 in June, just as it did at the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007, but this time at a faster pace.

Job growth has slumped to 75,000 a month over the last three months, too low to stop unemployment rising again to 8.2pc, or 14.9pc on the wider U6 measure.

Albert Edwards from Societe Generale expects the US economy to shrink 2pc this year, leading to a 40pc fall in profits. He says the S&P 500 index of stocks will ultimately plumb fresh secular depths, below the 666 bottom of March 2009.

'Socialism - Ideas so good that they have to be mandatory'

Then we have the President's own personal vision of how the world is / should work - which is rife in class warfare, anti-capitalism, anti-private sector, and promoting government control as the solution to every problem...

Obama: If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen...

As Powerline notes about the President's clear vision that is 180 degrees contrary from the vision of this country's Founding Fathers...
Certain deductions or inferences follow from Obama’s teaching. There is no just limit on the power of the government to take your property. Your property isn’t yours. What the government does not take from you by taxes or regulation remains yours conditionally, on the sufferance of the state.

Obama’s teaching presents us with a crisis in understanding. Responding to a similar crisis in understanding, the greatest Republican responded: “Now I ask you in all soberness, if all these things, if indulged in, if ratified, if confirmed and endorsed, if taught to our children, and repeated to them, do not tend to rub out the sentiment of liberty in the country, and to transform this Government into a government of some other form.” The answer is yes, and it applies every bit as much to Obama’s teaching as it did to Stephen Douglas’s.

A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for that vision - there are no limits on the power of the government to take your property - our property is not ours, but that of the government, and we only are permitted to have what we have on the condition of the generosity of the government.

This is the lesson that we should also be learning from Europe...that socialism does not work...
Socialism does not work – Socialism in Europe and in this country always starts the same way – promise people free health care and free retirement and free housing and whatever free stuff wins political favor. Some claim that the "rich" will pay for it all. But, the rich do not have enough money. They may have enough to pay for the very poor, but not for everyone. So, the socialists borrow the money. That way, they are still giving the populace free health care. But, at some point you can't borrow the money anymore because the people you are borrowing it from realize that they can never be paid back. This is the tipping point at which socialism fails. Past this point, you have to tax the people to whom you promised the "free" stuff in order to pay for their "free" stuff (those people are the middle class). The people understandably don't want to give up their free stuff or have to pay for it. But, they will have to do one or the other. And, an entire generation will suffer.

We can also learn this lesson from California - as Instapundit highlights this commentary by Walter Russell Mead on the "'Green' Energy Bias Killing California"...
Destroying the economic hopes of low income people in order to stoke the self esteem of entitled Boomers is not Via Meadia’s idea of progressive politics, but that just goes to show how backwards we are by the exalted moral standards of the California elites. The destruction of California isn’t a victimless crime. Millions of low income California residents are trapped in decaying cities where, thanks in large part to narcissistic green unicorn chasers, the manufacturing base has withered away. And anything that blights California, blights us all. America and the world need California back on line; the Golden State has too much to offer for anyone to remain indifferent to its fate.”

This November, are we going to reward Barack Obama with four more years of the same as the last four? Are we going to embrace government as the only and best solution? Are we going to commit ourselves to following in the same footsteps of Europe, of California, of Detroit or Gary, despite what we are seeing from those locations?

Today in History

1971 - President Richard Nixon announces that he will visit Communist China in 1972 during a televised national address. The statement marks a fundamental change in the US - PRC relations and a major shift in U.S. foreign policy.

1979 - President Jimmy Carter addresses the nation via live television to discuss the nation's energy crisis and the accompanying recession...

Thirty-two years ago today, it seemed a lot worse when President Jimmy Carter delivered his famous “malaise” speech in which he seemed to blame the country’s problems on the people rather than their leaders. While Carter didn’t actually use the word “malaise” in the speech, his deep pessimism about America and its place in the world was an apt symbol of his failed presidency, especially in light of the resurgent optimism that characterized the national spirit in the years his successor Ronald Reagan sat in the White House.

[Watch this speech by President Carter - and compare it to the comments made today so frequently by President Obama. Far too many similarities. We need the same change in November 2012 as the voters delivered in November 1980]

2002 - John Walker Lindh, ‘American Taliban’ captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan against US forces, accept a plea bargain deal where he pleads guilty to 1 county of supplying services to the Taliban and accepting a 20 year prison term.

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