Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Hits - July 18, 2012

The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry (D-MA), who by the way once served in Vietnam, re-opened an effort to get the U.S. Senate to ratify the thirty year old United Nations 'Law of the Sea Treaty' - five years after the last attempt to ratify the treaty.

In the effort to push for the ratification of this treaty, Senator Kerry and numerous progressives pushed that the benefits of the treaty far outweighed the challenges being raised by conservatives.  GOP Senator Jim DeMint (SC) was one of the leaders for the opposition of the treaty - and the core of his letter to Senator Kerry opposing the treaty contained these objections:
We understand that Chairman Kerry has renewed his efforts to pursue Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We are writing to let you know that we believe this Convention reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty.

By its current terms, the Law of the Sea Convention encompasses economic and technology interests in the deep sea, redistribution of wealth from developed to undeveloped nations, freedom of navigation in the deep sea and exclusive economic zones which may impact maritime security, and environmental regulation over virtually all sources of pollution.

To effect the treaty’s broad regime of governance, we are particularly concerned that United States sovereignty could be subjugated in many areas to a supranational government that is chartered by the United Nations under the 1982 Convention. Further, we are troubled that compulsory dispute resolution could pertain to public and private activities including law enforcement, maritime security, business operations, and nonmilitary activities performed aboard military vessels.
The Heritage Foundation also took a strong position against the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), noting:
• The U.S. doesn’t need to sign on to LOST to develop its oil and gas resources in the undersea extended continental shelf.

• Signing on to LOST would force the U.S. to hand over royalties from oil and gas development in the extended continental shelf to developing countries and even state sponsors of terrorism.

• The U.S. doesn’t need LOST to guarantee any of its maritime rights or freedoms.

• LOST would expose the U.S. to international environmental lawsuits that would harm its environmental, economic, and military interests—including suits based on alleged U.S. contributions to global climate change.

• LOST creates a massive international bureaucracy, which the U.S. would be forced to fund.
Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties require a two-thirds majority, 67 Senators, for ratification. Yesterday, 34 GOP Senators have signed onto the letter from Jim DeMint opposing ratification of the treaty - which is one more than is needed to stop the treaty from being ratified.

My question is where are the other 13 GOP Senators on this - and the surrender of key elements of U.S. sovereignty to a United Nations bureaucracy?

Did the Department of Justice hide Operation Fast and Furious whistleblower memos from Congress because those memos provide proof that DoJ officials lied to Congress?
So says the Washington Guardian, uncovering at least one of the targets of Rep. Darrell Issa’s subpoenas, and it might be a game-changer. According to the Guardian, which says they have a copy of the memos, the ATF knew full well that guns had been walked across the border before Congress started demanding answers. They had already begun to put whistleblower-protection processes in place to address agents who had complained to Congress over those actions before assuring Congress that no one knew about the practice:

The memos, obtained by the Washington Guardian, were triggered by the agents’ allegations, Justice officials confirmed. In them, ATF officials in Washington instructed field supervisors not to retaliate against the agents in Arizona who complained they had been ordered to let semiautomatic weapons flow to suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels rather than interdicting them.

Even as the warning was being sent, Obama administration political appointees were publicly undercutting the agents’ credibility, insisting to Congress that ATF never knowingly let weapons cross the border into Mexico’s violent drug wars – a denial that turned out to be false.

We already do know that senior Department of Justice officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder and his direct reports, have lied to Congress on multiple occasions over Fast and Furious. The DoJ has also refused to honor a Congressional subpoena requesting documents and materials - after only receiving some 7,600 pages of heavily redacted materials out of a known total of some 80,000 pages of materials. When pressed, the President invoked 'Executive Privilege' to justify the rationale to refuse to honor the Congressional subpoena - even though DoJ officials are on record that the Obama White House was not involved in the program or discussions over the controversial program to 'walk' guns from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels.

Let's take this one example into consideration as we look at the latest major push being orchestrated by the Obama campaign and it's media sycophants to deflect attention not only from the President's dismal economic record, but from his latest 'gaffe' - which is actually the President being candidly honest....

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.”

This push - that GOP candidate Mitt Romney must release far more of his tax and financial records so that the Obama campaign and sympathetic media pinheads can search through them for things they can use to hammer the GOP candidate.

In today's WaPoo comes a top headline - 'Pressure on Romney Ramps Up Over Tax Return Release' while on the Op-Ed page, comes the standard 'strawman' attack on Romney over his refusal to release additional tax and financial records.. "Experts - What Romney May Be Hiding" - which then dives into the speculation that since Romney refuses to release the records, he must be hiding info on just how low of a percentage of his total income Romney paid in income taxes.

What is most disturbing about this attack are the numbers of conservatives and conservative publications, like the National Review, who are adding their voice to the call for the GOP candidate to release additional tax and financial information so the Obama campaign and their media assistants can continue to deflect attention of the voter away from the President's records, the President's words, and of course, the reams of materials that Barack Obama refuses to release.

What reams? How about starting with these 'Top 10 Things Obama Has Not Released'?

Once again, if it weren't for double standards, progressive liberals would have no standards at all...

One of the one's leading the call for Mitt Romney to release more years of income tax returns and financial records is the Chair of the Democrat National Committee, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. DWS is, honestly, one of the dimmest bulbs involved in national politics today. She is quick to invoke the strawman over what Mitt Romney must be trying to hide by refusing to release his records. She is also quick to paint herself as not a member of the '1%' or the 'elite', but a member of the 'middle class'.

Middle class? I'm in the middle class, and I do not know many people in the middle class who take their families on a week long Caribbean cruise in a suite that costs $35,000 for the week. Interesting. Particularly since in 2011, the average annual salary in the United States was $47,000.

I also do not know many in the 'middle class' who have a nearly half million dollar undisclosed 2nd home and lot in New Hampshire. (DWS represents Florida's 20th Congressional District which is around Fort Lauderdale, FL).


The truth is an interesting casualty in this political campaign...but every once in awhile, the President does speak the truth...

As he does in this speech when he once again refers to the Individual Mandate as a 'tax'...

Did I say 'truth'? After letting that one slip, the President has apparently decided that the Individual Mandate might not be a tax or a penalty, but a 'principle'...
In the ongoing debate over whether the Affordable Care Act’s mandate is a tax or a penalty, President Obama tried a different approach — calling it a “principle.”

It’s less a tax or a penalty than it is a principle — which is you can’t be a freeloader on other folks when it comes to your health care, if you can afford it,” Obama said in an interview with Toledo’s WTOL.

The White House has struggled with how to respond to charges that the Affordable Care Act — deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court last month under Congress’ taxation power — raises taxes.

Obama has made the health care law a key part of his stump speech since the court’s decision — defending it as a modest change that would help make all Americans more secure.

The definition must be 'evolving'....

Mitt Romney is campaigning through the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and while in PA, the candidate delivered one of his best counterpunches to the President and his contemptible statement -

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.”

The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft, you go on the list, that Joe and his colleagues didn’t build this enterprise, to say something like that is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America and it’s wrong. [Applause]

And by the way, the President’s logic doesn’t just extend to the entrepreneurs that start a barber shop or a taxi operation or an oil field service business like this and a gas service business like this, it also extends to everybody in America that wants to lift themself up a little further, that goes back to school to get a degree and see if they can get a little better job, to somebody who wants to get some new skills and get a little higher income, to somebody who have, may have dropped out that decides to get back in school and go for it. People who reach to try and lift themself up. The President would say, well you didn’t do that. You couldn’t have gotten to school without the roads that government built for you. You couldn’t have gone to school without teachers. So you didn’t, you are not responsible for that success. President Obama attacks success and therefore under President Obama we have less success and I will change that. [Applause]

I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think anyone could have said what he said who had actually started a business or been in a business. And my own view is that what the President said was both startling and revealing. I find it extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a President of the United States. It goes to something that I have spoken about from the beginning of the campaign. That this election is, to a great degree, about the soul ofAmerica. Do we believe in an America that is great because of government or do we believe in an America that is great because of free people allowed to pursue their dreams and build our future?

Bill O'Reilly, the host of The O'Reilly Factor, the top rated cable news program for the last 12 years, hammered President Obama with a 'clue-by-four' over the President's position regarding business and government...

“The American public doesn’t seem to understand what’s at stake here – a totally different direction for the economy of this country… Everyone knows that he’s a big government Democrat because that’s what the Democrats stand for. But he’s a zealot. And I don’t say that in a bad way. I don’t say that as a pejorative. He believes in his heart in his mission on earth to take from those who have, you and me, and give to those who don’t. It’s a Robin Hood to the nth degree. In fairness, justice, whatever you want to call it. And, by doing that, what a lot of people think is noble, he could destroy, and I mean destroy the entire economic infrastructure of the country that’s not built on social justice. It’s built on competition.”

Let's now take a look at another cable news host, Chris 'Tingles' Matthews of MSNBC. Matthews, a rabid progressive cheerleader for Barack Obama, admitted in his commentary after a 2008 Obama campaign speech that it sent 'tingles down my leg'. Matthews offers Barack Obama some of his 'sage' advice... 'Talk to Americans as if they were two-year olds'

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I want President Obama to focus on something between now and November. What I'd like him to do is speak simply and clearly to this country about what he's accomplished. I said simply and clearly. Remember Denzel Washington in the movie Philadelphia? He played the lawyer who told prospective clients to "explain this to me like I'm a two-year old.". . . He needs to sell his auto-rescue plan, his jobs act, his health-care act as if he were talking to a two-year old. And he can do it.

While Matthews holds the average American in utter contempt, he is still getting that 'tingle' down his leg...

MATTHEWS: He’s never not only broken any law, he’s never done anything wrong? He’s the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American. And all they do is trash the guy. And it’s impossible for me to believe they would have said the same things about a Walter Mondale or a Jimmy Carter or a Bill Clinton. There’s an ethnic piece to this. It’s very hard to nail it down because they always cover it in ideology. But I’ve never heard anybody in this country call its opponent regularly anti-American or non-American.

Perfect American? While he says - “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.”?

Sorry, but Barack Obama does fully embrace 'un-American' values as he presses his case for 'social justice' and progressive fascism / statism.

Patrick Frey, Patterico of Patterico's Pontifications, before his challenges being the target of a group of left-wing thugs attempting to intimidate him into silence, was a superb chronicler of the fecklessness, the bias, the hypocrisy, and the irresponsibility of our major local paper, the Los Angeles Times. At the end of each year, Patterico would compile a thorough list of the bias and stupidity of the LA Times - noting it's free fall in subscribers as more and more of LALA land bailed on their ravings.

Today, he has another great post highlighting the partnership between the LA Times Editorial Board and the Obama Campaign. In a supposed 'hard news' article of the Romney speech (see above) in PA that took the President to task for his contempt of the entrepreneur, the LA Times fabricates a linkage between Mitt Romney and the pathetic fringe that embraces 'birtherism' regarding Barack well as apparently being a racist.

It's a long post, too long to adequately quote in today's QH. Click on the link and visit the site - read the complete post.

Look. It has to be obvious to anyone reading these passages that Mitt Romney is not being a race-baiting racist obsessed with race who is a racist birther preying on xenophobic racist tropes of Obama being a black black foreign non-American guy. Romney is praising the entrepreneurial spirit. He is decrying the erosion of traditional values of American rugged independence by a nanny-state government that seeks to replicate the failed policies of Social Democrats in the crumbling empire of Europe.

Ah, who am I kidding? He’s just being a racist. The hell with capitalism, free markets, and the American way.

Honestly, the actual situation is worse than if Obama’s people had written this as a press release themselves. At least if it really were Obama staffers in there, there would legally have to be some kind of “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message” disclaimer on the bottom of this blatant advertisement for Obama’s candidacy.

As it stands, it’s just more claptrap from the L.A. Times. And some idiots fall for it. They really do.

I use plastic bags to pick up my dog’s poop and I have no bird cage to line. This paper serves no purpose any more.

Like the vast majority of major newspapers in the US, the LA Times today has about a third of the daily subscribers than they had in their peak - which was in the late 1960's and early 1970's....even though their marketplace is double (or more) than the size it was at that time.

Speaking of LALA land - Los Angeles.... the fiscally strapped city is now unveiling a new $550,000 lawn for City Hall.

Why did LA's City Hall need a new lawn for over half a million of taxpayer dollars? The original lawn was destroyed by OccupyWallStreet protesters who 'occupied' the lawn for nearly three months. Of course there is no outrage being expressed by this expenditure - after all, the LA City Council was the only City Council in the US to formally endorse / support OWS despite their violence, destruction, and cost to the taxpayers.

Fighting is intensifying in and around Damascus between Syrian rebels and the forces of Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad. Earlier this morning, a suicide bomber struck the National Security building in Damascus, with the blast killing not only the Syrian Defense Minister, but also al-Assad's brother-in-law. Syrian rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.

Today in History

64 - The great fire of Rome breaks out and destroys much of the city. Contrary to popular legend, Emperor Nero did not play the fiddle as the city burned - but he did capitalize on the fire's damage to change the aesthetics of the city, institute new building codes, and persecute Christians whom were blamed for starting the fire.

1863 - The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the first African-American regiments formed for the Union Army, conducted their famous assault on Fort Wagner, near Charlestown, South Carolina. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the Commanding Officer, and 272 African-American troopers were killed in the unsuccessful attack. While the 54th Massachusetts ultimately could not take the Fort, they demonstrated the fighting efforts of African-American soldiers for the Union and led to the creation of many more African-American units. The story of Colonel Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts was depicted in the acclaimed 1990 movie "Glory"

Relief Commemorating 54th Massachusetts at Boston Common - taken 7/2008
1925 - Mein Kampf is published in Germany - defining the blueprint of Adolf Hitler's agenda for the Third Reich.

1936 - The Spanish Civil War ignites as a revolt by fascist Spanish military officers in Spanish Morocco spreads to mainland Spain.

1969 - Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy drives his car off a bridge into a tidal pond on Chappaquiddick  Island.  Fleeing the submerging car, Kennedy abandoned Mary Jo Kopechne, the passenger in the car, to drown.  The Senator left the scene and did not report the accident until 10 hours after it happened.

1995 - A little known law professor and community activist publishes his memoir - 'Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance'.

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