Monday, August 13, 2012

Quick Hits - August 13, 2012

The focus of the 2012 Presidential race continues to coalesce into a clear decision on the values and direction for this country.  It is also offering two different viewpoints about how campaigns are run - and these also reflect the values and direction that each side embraces.

Last night, in a Romney-Ryan 2012 rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, over 10,000 came to cheer the GOP candidates...

Paul Ryan, given a huge welcome, delivered a strong speech in his homecoming visit after being named Mitt Romney's VP selection...

During the campaign event, a heckler attempted to disrupt the presentation of Mitt Romney, and received instead a clear unscripted message from the GOP Presidential candidate about the values of the right and those of the left - along with a message to Barack Obama - 'Get your campaign out of the gutter...'

If we jump back to Paul Ryan's comments to the enthusiastic crowd in Norfolk, Virginia, at the USS Wisconsin, he frames the values of the Tea Party and Conservative America in a very clear and concise manner...
Ryan: "We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes..."
Ryan: "We look at one another's success with pride, not resentment, because we know that as more Americans work hard, take risks, succeed, more people will prosper, more communities will benefit. And individual lives will be improved..."
Last night, President Barack Obama defines the fundamental core of his vision for America -

Obama: Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?
Prosperity is shared vs. equal opportunity, not equal results.

This is what the debate is about.  And ask yourself, who is the arbitrator as to what is 'fair' and how 'prosperity is shared'?  Government is the answer according to Barack Obama and his fellow progressives.  To them, the role of Government is to dole out 'social justice' and determine not only what is 'fair' but to ensure via wealth redistribution, selecting winners and losers, and via excessive controls, deliver 'social justice' to all - regardless if one is an American or an immigrant who has come to America illegally and outside the laws of the United States.

Romney-Ryan 2012 have been making their case this weekend based on the facts of not only the policy decisions and directions of the Obama Administration, but on the results to all of America of those policy decisions and directions.  They do not demonize the heckler who disrespects them or the crowd who come to see Romney and Ryan speak - they use the opportunity to stress their values of real fairness based on the traditional American values which not only made America an exceptional nation, but a successful nation that remains the beacon to the rest of the world.

Throughout the weekend, however, from the President and his supporters, we did not get facts.  We got invective.  We got lies and misrepresentation.  We got a 'Mediscare' discussion - not a Medicare discussion.
On CNN yesterday, Obama strategist David Axelrod claimed that “most of the experts who have looked at this” have said that Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare would put the program “in a death spiral” and “would raise costs on seniors by thousands of dollars.” A day earlier — as Representative Ryan was preparing to accept Mitt Romney’s offer to join his ticket — Obama campaign manager Jim Messina had said the plan involved “shifting thousands of dollars in health-care costs to seniors.”

None of this is true. Any expert who looks at Ryan’s plan — any intelligent and fair-minded person, really — can tell you the actual worst-case scenario for how much more it could make beneficiaries pay: $0.

The claim Axelrod and Messina are making is based on a hostile interpretation of an earlier version of Ryan’s proposal. Ryan has changed the proposal over the last year, however, and Romney has endorsed the new version. The Democratic criticism, applied to the new plan, is indisputably false.
We got surrogates of the President trying to convince the seniors of the United States to toss their grandchildren under the bus...  We didn't get facts or honest answers from David Axelrod, Stephanie Cutter, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, or the hard left pundits of the press shilling for the President.  None of them referenced these simple facts...

  1. Obamacare has already 'ended Medicare as we know it' - it strips out, according to the latest CBO figures, over $700 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years in order to redirect those costs into offsetting the costs of the Obamacare legislation.

  2. Medicare's own accountant trustees say in their latest annual report that Medicare will be insolvent in a dozen years if reforms are not made.

  3. There is a bipartisan consensus to move Medicare to a premium support model, meaning that the government will make a fixed contribution toward each enrollee's plan, but the enrollee would have the freedom to choose which health plan he or she wants.

  4. Under the current plan, physicians are facing Medicare reimbursement cuts that are draconian - 31% in 2013 - that fewer physicians will accept new Medicare patients - creating a rapid expansion of the physician / medical professional shortage we are already starting to experience.

  5. The Independent Payments Advisory Board created in Obamacare will make this worse - in addition to rationing treatments and medication in a manner similar to how treatments and medications are rationed in Britain's NHS to control government costs.

  6. The plan developed and advocated by Paul Ryan to reform Medicare EXEMPTS all those 55 and older from any changes or reforms. Regardless of the changes or reforms - they will remain under Medicare as it is today.  The proposed reforms only affect those 54 years old and younger.

Here's more on what damage Obamacare is already doing to restrict access to care and causing higher prices to consumers...
Candidate Obama repeatedly promised premiums would go down by $2,500 -- and would go down that amount by this year. Yet while candidate Obama promised that premiums would go DOWN by $2,500, they actually have gone UP by nearly as much -- from $12,680 in 2008 to $15,073 in 2011.

What’s more, even though candidate Obama promised that “you will not have to change plans,” today’s survey found that the number of firms able to keep their pre-Obamacare coverage has decreased yet again. Fully 57% of firms said they had no health plans with “grandfathered” (i.e., pre-Obamacare) status, and only about one-quarter (27%) were able to keep any portion of their coverage from before Obamacare’s passage – just two short years ago.

In addition, entitlement reform is not a new concept or one that is limited to the 'conservatives' - In 2008, during a Presidential campaign debate, Barack Obama promised that he would tackle entitlement reform - and did so again once taking office in January 2009 - but to date - has done nothing towards entitlement reform...
Obama had a golden opportunity to fulfill this pledge. All he had to do was adopt the budget proposed by his own panel on deficit control, to which he appointed Erskine Bowles as co-chair. If you wondered why Bowles compared Ryan’s plan favorably to the nonsense plan Obama used instead of the Simpson-Bowles plan, now you know. Even if the Republican-controlled House would have blocked it, Obama would have had the high ground on this point.

Instead, Obama will attempt to demonize Ryan for the Bowles-described “sensible … honest” plan the Republican running mate introduced in the leadership vacuum left by Obama. He may score some points on Ryan, but Republicans can point to Obama’s own abdication and unkept promise on the issue as a reason why the incumbent is the fundamentally unserious candidate. Will it work? We’ll see in less than 90 days.
President Obama decided to not do this, despite having a filibuster Senate majority and a decisive House majority in 2009 or 2010.  We're to believe that he will now decide to tackle this in 2013?

Then there are the economic arguments - and even in this, the President has to resort to lies and misdirection in order to make his case to the American people... like the myth around the President's claims to have created 4.5 million new jobs based on his policies...
Since the recovery started in July 2009, the working age population has grown by 213,000 people on average each month. Normally about 60 percent of the working age population is working. Thus, it would have been necessary to add about 128,000 jobs each month just to keep the share of the working age population employed from falling.

That means that a minimum of a little over 4.7 million jobs had to be created during the recovery just to keep us treading water. That growth wouldn't have done anything to make up for the huge job losses that we had suffered up to that point. In fact, only 2.7 million jobs have been added over that time period - 2 million jobs short of what we needed just to keep from falling further behind.

Understanding these monthly numbers helps provide some perspective to Obama's claims when the latest unemployment numbers were released: "That means that we've now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months -- and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year," the president asserted. Obama doesn't accept responsibility for job losses up through February 2010, a year after the stimulus was enacted, but even then the total number of jobs created is 4 million and the number necessary to keep the share of the working age population employed from falling is 3.8 million.

But whatever time period that Obama wants to point to, job growth has been extremely sluggish. 200,000 net jobs over 29 months is hardly something to brag about.

…The 163,000 job uptick in July of this year becomes a net gain of only 47,000 once the population gain is accounted for.
And even this exposure of the President's fallacy still doesn't account for the 'cooking of the books' that is underway - the 5 million fewer people in the labor participation force today than were in the labor participation force on January 2009.

Stephen Moore, a member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, addresses the economic roots of Paul Ryan and the direction that Ryan is advocating - one based on growth and accountability as opposed to one based on blaming someone else and 'fairness' - in a read it all column.  Here's an excerpt:
Where Mr. Ryan diverges from Jack Kemp is on his emphasis on spending restraint, which is in part a function of their separate eras. Federal spending and debt are simply too big to ignore now. The difference between the Obama spending baseline over the next decade and the Ryan baseline is just over $5 trillion. Mr. Obama would allow the debt to grow by $10 trillion over the next decade, while under Mr. Ryan that growth would be cut in half. Mr. Ryan's House Republican budget would lower the debt as a share of GDP to 50% from 72.5% now, while the ratio rises under Mr. Obama.

The Obama fiscal strategy has taken federal spending from 20% of GDP to 24.1% in 2011, while Mr. Ryan's budget would slowly return the spending locomotive to 19.8% within a decade. That's a giant difference.

Mr. Ryan's budget is also aimed at reducing what he calls "the dependency culture" in Washington. Mr. Obama publicly acknowledges the entitlement time bomb, but his presidency has resulted in expanding dependency on Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, student aid, mortgage subsidies, and on and on. Fifty-seven percent of American households now receive a government check or service every month.

One big moment for Mr. Ryan came in February 2010. At a health-care summit sponsored by the White House, Mr. Ryan and President Obama debated for several minutes. Anyone who watched the exchange, which became a YouTube sensation, could only conclude that it was the young congressman who had control of the facts about ObamaCare, and Mr. Obama who was on the defensive. This was one of the events that helped make Mr. Ryan a GOP star.

The challenge for Messrs. Romney and Ryan going forward is to articulate their debt-reduction prescriptions without voters fearing they will bear the brunt. That's why the growth message is so pivotal in this campaign—and why, if there is one complaint to be made about Mr. Ryan, it is that sometimes his message on debt and deficits is apocalyptic.

As dire as the budget and debt crisis is, faster growth will improve the outlook immeasurably and quickly—as we learned in the 1980s and '90s. Growth causes lower deficits, not the other way around. With faster growth and an increase in employment, the Romney-Ryan plan can balance the budget much faster than can spending cuts alone.
But these steps mean that the private sector has to be supported and encouraged to fuel that growth - not held with government boot's on its neck.

The progressive shills in the mainstream media are outdoing themselves - covering themselves with disgrace as they demonstrate their complete lack of professionalism and ethics.  Here's MSNBC's [ the network's not a surprise is it?] Melissa Harris-Perry not only calling Paul Ryan a racist for quoting Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence, but that Ryan also took those words 'out of context'...

MSNBC host says Paul Ryan quoting Thomas Jefferson in Declaration of Independence is ‘racist’ – accuses Ryan of taking Jefferson out of context - In particular, Harris-Perry took issue with Ryan quoting Thomas Jefferson’s line in the Declaration of Independence, in which he declared rights come from God and nature and not from government.

“The thing I really have against him is actually how he and Gov. Romney have misused the Declaration of Independence,” she said. “I’m deeply irritated by their notion that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ means money for the richest and that we extricate the capacity of ordinary people to pursue happiness. When they say ‘God and nature give us our rights, not government,’ that is a lovely thing to say as a wealthy white man.”

Harris-Perry said the words didn’t initially mean rights for African-Americans and women.
We now know who in the mainstream media will be the moderators for the 3 Presidential debates and single Vice Presidential debate scheduled for October 2012....and this cast of progressive characters is no real surprise.  [The surprise would have been seeing someone from Fox News or the Wall Street Journal being a moderator.]

Jim Lehrer, from PBS [People's Broadcast System] will host the first Presidential debate.  CNN's Candy Crowley, who called the pick of Paul Ryan for VP by Mitt Romney 'some sort of ticket death wish', will moderate the 2nd Presidential debate.  Wrapping up the third Presidential debate is SeeBS's Bob Schieffer - who when interviewing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan last night for 60 Minutes, couldn't wait to ask about income tax returns or edit out Ryan's story about Medicare and his mother while carrying the water for the DNC.  Hosting the VP debate - ABC's Martha Raddatz.


Attorney General Eric Holder is to be served with a Civil Contempt of Congress lawsuit later today....
The lawsuit will be filed in hopes a federal judge will force Holder to comply with a 22-part Congressional subpoena issued in October 2011. The judge will also determine if President Obama's assertion of executive privilege surrounding Fast and Furious documents was appropriate. Issa has said he expects a judge to rule executive privilege does not apply in this case.
The most ethical and transparent Administration in history?

Jumping to international news - Egypt's President and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, forced out two of the country's top military chiefs in a throw-down [some say coup] with the armed forces over which group, the military or the Muslim Brotherhood, will really lead Egypt moving forward...
The ousted military chiefs quietly stepped aside Sunday, but analysts said the move could trigger a backlash and further polarize a nation in which many are wary of the intentions of the country’s first Islamist president. Morsi ran as the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that has yearned for decades to lead Egypt.

“This is a big moment of transformation in the history of Egypt,” said Zeinab Abul-Magd, a history professor at the American University in Cairo who has studied the military closely. “Now, officially, it is a Brotherhood state. Now it is official they are in full control of state institutions.”
And this is good, how?

The Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, Olli Rehn, takes to the WSJ Opinion page this morning to promote the efforts in the Eurozone to build the European Monetary Union 2.0 - a closer and deeper economic union between members that is intended to solve the Euro crisis that is entering its third year.

However, like previous promises, details and concrete solutions are lacking - as is the buy-in from the real funding source for the Eurozone - Germany to underwrite the efforts hinted at via the European Central Bank.  Rehn promises a September proposal which will apparently part the sea of red ink - but if that plan has at it's core the ECB buying sovereign debt of member countries or printing Euro's - Germany will likely squash it quickly....

...just as Germany may squash new bailout funds going to the 'still on the path to insolvency' Greece - which saw it's GDP for the 2nd quarter of 2012 decline by 6.2%.  But at least this is marginally better than the 1st quarter 2012 drop of 6.5% or the 4th quarter 2011 decline of 7.5%.

Today's QH has run a little long, so I am going to save for another post the latest from Victor Davis Hanson as he talks about 'Our Not So Best and Not So Brightest' in his column for this week.  It's a read it all - particularly as we look at the state of the Presidential campaign and the choice we have regarding VALUES.

Today in History

1889 - The first coin-operated telephone is patented by William Gray.

1899 - Acclaimed film director, Alfred Hitchcock is born.

1910 - British nurse, Florence Nightingale, famous for her care of British soldiers during the Crimean War, dies.

1926 - Cuba's communist dictator, Fidel Castro is born.

1940 - The Battle of Britain begins- the German Luftwaffe commences major bombing operations over Southern England in preparation for an invasion of England.

1959 - Ground is broken for the construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn.

1996 - Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 3.0.

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