Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quick Hits - July 24, 2012

President Obama, on a campaign stop in Oakland, California last night, whinged that Mitt Romney is taking his statement - “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.” out of context...
Last night at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., President Obama complained that Mitt Romney took his controversial comments about business out of context.

“Frankly, the other side can’t sell their ideas so what they’re going to do is distort my vision. Earlier today, Gov. Romney was at it again,” Obama said, according to the pool report. “Knowingly twisting my words to suggest I don’t value small business.”

Mitt Romney, appearing on Larry Kudlow's CNBC program fired right back at the President...
"The context is worse than the quote," Romney told CNBC, in an interview that was tweeted out by the Republican National Committee.

"The context, he says, you know, you think you've been successful because you're smart, but he says a lot of people are smart. You think you've been successful because you work hard, a lot of people work hard. This is an ideology which says hey, we're all the same here, we ought to take from all and give to one another and that achievement, individual initiative and risk-taking and success are not to be rewarded as they have in the past," Romney said. "It's a very strange and, in some respects, foreign to the American experience type of philosophy."
That'll leave a mark.  So does this...

Stephanie Cutter, the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Obama campaign, and the one who created a kerfuffle last week when she called Mitt Romney a 'felon' over his SEC disclosures, reaches a new level of stupidity in her counterattack on the GOP candidate over the President's embracement of statism - asking 'Does Romney 'Even Understand How Our Economy Works?'
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter threw the recent line of attack against the president back at the Romney campaign, asking if Romney understands how the US economy works.

“Apart from the flagrant hypocrisy, these attack ads make you wonder — does he even understand how our economy works?,” Cutter asked in a web video released on Tuesday. “We build our businesses through hard work and initiative with public and private sectors working together to create a climate that helps us grow, President Obama knows that.”
Roads and bridges, eh?

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, running against Elizabeth Warren in his reelection effort, released a very effective web advertisement against Warren -- highlighting that today's Democrats are a far cry from yesterday's Democrats....and far closer to what we've generally labeled as socialists....

Warren wasted little time rushing to MSNBC to respond....via Newsbusters.org
In an unintentionally hilarious variation on the some-of-my-best-friends-are line employed by people defending themselves against accusations of prejudice, Elizabeth Warren—lefty Dem candidate for Senate from Massachusetts—has claimed that various people close to her have started small businesses.

Warren let loose her laugh line on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show this evening, responding to an ad Sen. Scott Brown is running that reveals how President Obama's "you didn't build that" line was eerily similar to an earlier Warren utterance.

SHARPTON: Now, how do you respond to this new ad from Senator Brown?

WARREN: You know, this is just one more attempt to not talk about the central issues. But the way I look at this: I love little businesses. My daughter started a small business, my brother started a small business, my Aunt Alice started a small business--I worked in it when I was a teenager.

Of course she loves little businesses...they pay the taxes for the statism that Warren prefers.

California liberal Senator Diane Feinstein is drifting off the reservation - accusing someone in the Obama White House is behind the recent leaks of classified information that, coincidentally, just happen to make the President look good...

Mitt Romney, scheduled to speak to the VFW today before leaving on a foreign policy focused trip to Europe and Israel, will be hitting the President during the speech for the leaks coming from his Administration. Romney will be terming the leaks, 'Contemptible....betrays our national interests.'

In his speech to the VFW yesterday, President Barack Obama directly pandered to the gathering of veterans by stating America should never apologize.
President Barack Obama, long criticized for what opponents consider apologies for the United States to other countries, asserted to a gathering of veterans Monday that “we will never apologize.”

“Just as you protected America, we’re going to pass our country to the next generation, stronger and safer and more respected in the world,” Obama said at the 113th annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nevada.

Weasel Zippers, at the above link, lists out the Top 10 Obama Apologies that he has made to foreign nations / leaders over the actions of the United States...

  1. Apology to France and Europe - Speech at Strasbourg, France Apr. 3, 2009 ('America has shown arrogance...')
  2. Apology to Muslim World - Interview with Al Arabiya, Jan. 27, 2009 ('We have not been perfect...')
  3. Apology to the Summit of the Americas - Speech at Trinidad and Tobago, Apr. 17, 2009 ('At times we sought to dictate our terms....')
  4. Apology at the G-20 Summit - Speech in London, UK, Apr. 2, 2009 ('Some restoration of America's standing in the world...')
  5. Apology for the War on Terror - Speech at the National Archives, Washington DC, May 21, 2009 ('We went off course...')
  6. Apology for Guantanamo - Speech at Strasbourg, France Apr. 3, 2009 ('Sacrificing your values...')
  7. Apology before Turkish Parliament - Speech at Ankara, Turkey Apr. 6, 2009 ('Our own darker periods in our history...')
  8. Apology for U.S. policy towards the Americas, Editorial by Barack Obama Apr. 16, 2009 ('The United States has not pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors....')
  9. Apologies for the mistakes of the CIA, Speech at CIA HQ, Langley, VA Apr. 20, 2009 ('Potentially, we've made some mistakes....')
  10. Apology for Guantanamo II - Speech at National Archives, Washington DC May 21, 2009 ('A rallying cry for our enemies....')
Just more examples of the time limit on any Obama statement....

The same day President Obama was touting his foreign policy 'success' in Iraq, a coordinated series of bombing and shooting attacks in 15 cities across Iraq kill 106 in the deadliest day of violence in more than 2 years.  Concerns are the attacks are major sign that al-Qaeda is reasserting itself 7 months after the President withdrew US military forces from the country.

After 3-1/2 years of non-stop "stimulus" we have little to show — just a sputtering economy, a green energy policy that produces no energy but lots of bankruptcies, a "laser-like focus on jobs" that creates 8%-plus unemployment and an alarming surge in government debt and dependency, with half of Americans paying no taxes and nearly half now getting a government check of some sort every month.

Amid all this, Americans have been reminded it was a can-do spirit of entrepreneurialism and minimal government that built this country. If so, it can't come a moment too soon.

Businesses are suffering from a regulatory and tax siege that is destroying wealth and killing jobs. A new report from Congress says the 3,807 new regulations that Obama imposed on the economy in 2011 will cost $105 billion this year alone. The average small business today spends more than $10,000 for each employee it hires just to comply with regulations.

With disposable income still below its level of 2008 and the real unemployment rate close to 17% — not the 8.2% reported by the Labor Department — Americans are not better off today than they were four years ago.

Maybe the new polls show Americans are finally waking up to the severe damage that's been done in the name of Hope and Change to our economy.


U.S Manufacturing expanded in July at the slowest rate in 19 months - which is consistent with the other economic information that our GDP growth is slowing significantly - falling from a 3.0% in the 4th Quarter 2011, to 1.9% in the 1st Quarter 2012, to an expected 1.1%-1.5% GDP in the 2nd Quarter 2012.

Also not helping the President's reelection efforts are the negative effects of his Administration's policies - including a massive expansion of regulatory red tape... this coming from that Dodd / Frank created 'Frankenstein' monster - the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is proposing new regulations to 'streamline' the mortgage process...all 1,099 pages of them.
And get this: Creation of the bureau’s 1,099-page blueprint for a more “consumer friendly” mortgage is chronicled in a 533-page report titled “Evolution of the Integrated TILA-RESPA Disclosures.” (TILA stands for Truth in Lending Act. RESPA is Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Evidently, the folks at the CFPB didn’t think too highly of the government’s existing mortgage regime.)

The 533-page chronicle of the bureau’s feat positively brims with insights such as “We found the most effective way to reduce confusion surrounding the APR [annual percentage rate] was to clarify that it was not the interest rate by adding the simple statement: ‘This is not your interest rate.’”


Crony capitalism also continues to dog President Obama as two men at the center of the Solyndra scandal attended an exclusive fundraiser for the President in California last night (his 185th fundraiser, if we were keeping count).
Steve Westly, a financier whose money-raising prowess helped to snag him a post on the administration’s energy advisory board, and Matt Rogers, a former Energy Department senior adviser who helped to approve the Solyndra loan, were spotted by reporters at the $35,800-per-person fundraiser for the president’s re-election campaign.

Mr. Westly sent warnings to the president not to attend an event at Solyndra's headquarters in the Bay area because of shaky finances at the solar energy company, which had received a fast-tracked $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2010 as part of the administration’s economic stimulus program. Mr. Rogers was partly responsible for overseeing stimulus awards at the Energy Department.

They were among about 60 wealthy donors who attended the fundraiser at the swanky home of progressive activist Quinn Delaney and real estate developer Wayne Jordan, a big Obama bundler, in Piedmont, Calif., near Oakland.

This isn't the only example of crony capitalism being actively practiced by the Obama Administration.
USAF buys $59/gal biofuel from company connected to big Democrat donor – 

In an effort to make good on President Barack Obama’s commitment to “green energy,” the United States Air Force spent $639,000 on 11,000 gallons of alcohol-to-jet fuel from Gevo Inc., a Colorado biofuels company, at $59 a gallon.

The cost of petroleum is presently $3.60 a gallon.

Similarly, in preparation for last week's "Green Fleet Demonstration,” the U.S. Navy purchased $12 million in biofuels to prove that a carrier strike group could be run on biofuels for the day. It’s all part of the Obama Administration’s decision last year to direct the Navy, Agriculture department, and the Energy department to spend $510 million in taxpayer monies on alternative jet and marine fuels.

But what may appear on the surface to be a green energy initiative may instead by yet another example of cronyism between the green energy industry and Democratic lawmakers.

As it turns out, one of the venture capital funders behind Gevo Inc. is Vinod Khosla. Since 1996, opensecrets.org reports that Mr. Khosla has made $474,534 in campaign donations, 86 percent of which went to Democrats.

Your tax dollars at work.

Chicago Teachers Union Chief Blames 'Lower class' Black Students For Their Poor Teaching Record...
In Chicago, the school district has a frightening $700 million deficit and a miserable 56 percent graduation rate. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a longer school day in a district with the nation’s shortest day and year.

In response, the union is demanding a 30 percent pay raise over two years. Just last week, it rejected a proposed 20 percent raise, suggested by a fact finder whose job was to offer some sort of compromise.

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis and community organizer Jitu Brown subsequently held a public Internet conference call (or webinar) with Mike Klonsky, a retired professor, close Bill Ayers associate and former chairman of the Communist Party (Marxist/Leninist).

Yes, the leaders of America’s teachers unions hang around with communists.

In detailing what she considers the problems with government schools, Lewis came to a shocking conclusion, going so far as to blame students for the “ridicule” teachers receive.

“I have seen the profession of teaching go from one in which it was considered very prestigious to one that is constantly ridiculed and basically discarded and we feel, by and large, that it’s due to the fact that we serve predominantly working- and quite frankly, lower-class students, and students of color.”

Where's the outrage and accusations of racism?

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart goes nuclear on ABC's Brian Ross, calling for his resignation over Ross's rush to link the Aurora, Colorado shooter with the Tea Party.

This is now officially a bipartisan demand for Ross's resignation or dismissal.

Today, the Eurozone remains in deep economic turmoil.

Moody's Investors Service late last night dimmed it's outlook on Germany, placing the country on a negative outlook...
The ratings firm Moody's Investors Service late Monday dimmed its outlook on Germany, the euro zone's dominant economic power and political force, further exposing the currency bloc's fragility on a day that also saw markets drop around the world on fears about Europe.

In downgrading to negative its outlook on Germany's triple-A rating, Moody's pointed to the vast liabilities Germany would incur in a bailout of Spain and Italy, as well as its banking system's "sizable exposures" to them. Moody's also shifted to negative its outlooks on triple-A Netherlands and Luxembourg. Only Finland, more economically isolated than the other triple-A countries, now has a stable rating from Moody's.

The negative outlooks don't necessarily mean a downgrade is imminent, but they make clear how devastating a collapse of Spain and Italy would be. Spain is the euro zone's most acute challenge since the 17-nation currency bloc faced a near-catastrophic run on Italian and Spanish bonds last summer.

One of the UK's most left-wing papers, The Guardian, looks at the Eurozone and sees two major issues that are not being resolved....
The first is that Spain is heading inexorably towards a bailout, probably quite soon. It was always a case of smoke and mirrors to imagine that the promised €100bn (£78bn) package of support for Spanish banks would be enough and so it has proved.

This is a country with a collapsing economy, an imploding property market, banks nursing colossal losses, and 10-year bond yields at 7.5%. The question is not whether there will be a bailout, but how big it will be. At least €300bn in all probability.

The second conclusion is that the trapdoor is opening up under Greece. German patience with Athens has run out, and the IMF was forced to deny reports on Monday it was preparing to cut off financial support. The Greek government is now faced with the choice of agreeing to a new range of demand-reducing measures it knows will be both counter-productive and politically toxic in order to be able to pay its bills inside the euro zone, or to devalue and default outside monetary union. A voluntary Greek exit would be ideal for Angela Merkel.

Conflicting reports continue to float around that the 'Troika' has cut off Greece from any further bailout funds because of their failure to achieve or decisively move towards fulfilling their austerity obligations that were part of their bailout.

If Spain needs a bailout, Italy cannot be far behind - and there is no real way that Germany, with a $3.2 trillion USD GDP, can support the Eurozone's $15 trillion USD GDP. It really looks as if the Eurozone is going to have to split - with the wealthier, more stable northern European countries remaining with the Euro, and the bankrupt entitlement / debt states needing to move to their own currency so they can devalue those currencies and begin the process to rebuild their economies as they also wean their populations from unsustainable entitlement programs.

Fighting in Syria escalated again, as Syrian Air Force fighter-bombers bombed the city of Aleppo, marking the first time that these aircraft were used against civilian and rebel targets during the uprising. This escalation can only be seen as a measure of the desperation of the Assad regime to remain in power. Assad held off taking this step to this point because it was Qaddafi's use of his air force to hammer civilian targets that was the cornerstone justification for the UN Security Council action against his regime.

Today in History

1959 - Vice President Richard Nixon engages Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in the 'kitchen debate' - sticking his finger into the Soviet thug's chest at the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow.

1969 - Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean

1974 - The SCOTUS rules unanimously that President Richard Nixon has to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor.

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