Saturday, August 18, 2012

Quick Hits - August 17, 2012

The rabid partisan MSNBC hack, Toure, appearing on the MSNBC rip off of FNC's 'The Five', goes 'all in' on playing the race card in a discussion with conservative S.E. Cupp on the program....

On Thursday’s edition of MSNBC’s The Cycle the group discussed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney‘s assertion that President Obama should “take [his] campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.” Co-host Touré saw what he believes to be explicit racial connotations beneath what Romney was saying, calling it the “niggerization” of the campaign.

“That really bothered me,” he said. “You notice he said anger twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama, the ‘otherization,’ he’s not like us.”

“I know it’s a heavy thing, I don’t say it lightly, but this is ‘niggerization,’” Touré said to the apparent shock of his co-panelists. “You are not one of us, you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.”

Naturally this led to a battle between Touré and conservative co-host S.E. Cupp. She took particular issue with the fact that Touré admitted that VP Joe Biden‘s “chains” comments were divisive, but is now calling Romney a “racist” for saying the Obama campaign is “angry.”

“Do you see how dishonest that is?” she asked.
No, the race baiting co-host [ or the other leftards on the panel ] doesn't see how the accusation is incredibly dishonest - and Toure continued on to treble down on the accusation that the GOP is a racist party.  The revisionist history promoted by blind partisan ideology is absolutely stunning - as well as a base version of projection....seeking to justify their own racism by accusing others of racism.

In an update, the Romney campaign is discussing the racial attack by Toure with network executives at MSNBC... however, don't hold your breath waiting for MSNBC to take any action.  They were probably applauding in the control room as Toure ranted...

In what's seen as a 'serious' issue for the Presidential race, the Barack Obama campaign promised to 'call off the dogs' hammering Mitt Romney on this tax returns if he would release his tax returns for the last 5 years.  The Romney campaign shot back in their reply...
‘“It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Governor Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending.”

He [Romney spokesman] said that if Romney’s tax returns “are the core message of your campaign,” Obama will have ample time to discuss them between now and Election Day. “In the meantime, Governor Romney will continue to lay out his plans for a stronger middle class, to save Medicare, to put work back into welfare, and help the 23 million Americans struggling to find work in the Obama economy.”
With this, all three major network evening news broadcasts led with issue of Mitt Romney's tax returns - ignoring the politically motivated Family Research Council shooting, the Joe Biden / Chains gaffe, or the continued focus of the Romney / Ryan  campaign on fixing Medicare.

Which team is running a serious campaign to address the serious issues impacting Americans?

The WaPoo, while focusing on Romney's tax return issue [linked above], did bury in their story some interesting information released by the Romney campaign about the boost it has received since naming Paul Ryan as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate.  In the last week, the campaign has taken in more than $10,000,000 in online donations from 124,800 donors - of which 68% of these were new donors to the campaign.  The average size of donation was $81.  More importantly, the campaign also signed up 45,000 new volunteers in the last week.

The pro-Obama newspaper, The Hill, has a story featuring the latest advertisement released by the Obama campaign.  This one features the supposed 'non-partisan' AARP delivering criticisms of the Romney / Ryan 'voucher plan' for Medicare and repeats the false claim that the plan will raise future retiree's costs by more than $6,000 per year a decade from now.

AARP, the left-wing retirement group, was a strong advocate for Obamacare during the debate on healthcare reform, particularly since they stood to make over $1 billion from it's passage.

Fred Barnes, of the Weekly Standard, notes that President Obama is shifting his message slightly on Medicare as the debate seems to be not quite as easy of a 'win' for the President as his team might have thought...

President Obama is creative. He’s given up on a palpable falsehood about the Romney-Ryan plan to reform Medicare. But he’s retained a few old canards and trotted out a new one.

The new charge? In his speech in Dubuque, Iowa, on Wednesday, he said: “My plan reduces the cost of Medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and subsidies to insurance companies.”

But roughly 80 percent of Medicare benefits are dispensed by the federal government, not insurance companies. And while Obama’s health care law would ultimately kill the Medicare Advantage program, under which seniors choose private insurance providers, the president is keeping it alive, at least through the election, with an emergency $8 billion subsidy.

The old canards? Obama said Medicare would not be guaranteed for seniors under Romney-Ryan. Sorry, but it would. And he said his reforms in Obamacare “will not touch your Medicare benefits – not by a dime.” But they’re bound to.

A White House spokesman insists the $716 billion in reductions in Medicare spending “do not cut a single guaranteed benefit.” However, they’ll cut fees to providers – hospitals and doctors – which will cause cuts in services to Medicare beneficiaries. Yes, seniors would still have their benefit, but it would be more difficult to use. Obama also noted that a Medicare plan “authored” by Ryan would “force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year.” This is both an exaggeration and irrelevant in the current presidential race. The Romney-Ryan plan is different. Under it, the $6,400 problem, to the extent there was one, is eliminated.

Obama’s claim is that the Congressional Budget Office looked at the first Ryan budget in 2011 with its Medicare reform plan. That's true, but things are more complicated. CBO assumed the rise of health care costs would not be slowed at all and that the premium support benefit wouldn’t keep pace. By 2022, the gap between the Medicare benefit and its actual cost could be as much as $6,400.

But the assumption of rising costs was wrongheaded. The whole purpose of the reform plan was to use free market competition to hold down the cost increases. CBO ignored this, thus reaching an unjustified conclusion.
In the National Review Online, comes one of the very simplest and easiest to follow explanations of the differences between the Obama Obamacare / Medicare plan and the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan...

The plan offered by the President is based on double counting dollars in a typical progressive accounting shell game to mask reality.  It focuses on strict price controls and rationing by an unaccountable to Congress (or the American people) Independent Payment Advisor Board which will hammer both patients as well as healthcare providers to ensure that costs remain under control - to the point that a decade from now, 40% of healthcare provider could drop out from accepting medicare patients.

The plan offered by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan takes a completely different approach.  They are promoting a market-based (similar to Medicare Advantage today) premium support model.  Medicare recipients would have a set dollar amount to use for their healthcare costs - and can then choose the free market / competitive plan they want - including remaining on the current Medicare model or spending out of pocket for a cadillac plan.  This approach focuses on competitive market forces to control prices.

The Obama campaign is continuing to fight back against the claims that they are 'gutting' Medicare - with this campaign press release that is masquerading as a 'factual' news article by Reuters. The 'article' declares that it's a 'myth' that Obamacare slashes $700 billion from Medicare - laughably contending that the cuts against 'providers' will not impact patients.

As Ace of Ace of Spades notes on his report of this story...
Amazing. Every time Republicans propose a cut it's going to kill people. But when Democrats cut $718 billion, it actually "shores up the system."

This is the sort of claim that could only be made by the borderline-retarded.
Speaking of 'borderline retarded', here's Juan Williams raving on Special Report with Bret Baier - and Charles Krauthammer mercifully taking a clue by four to Mr. Williams...

As the WSJ notes here, despite the denials of the Obama team today, they are using an accounting gimmick to spend the same $716 billon twice - and doing so increases the federal deficit substantially...
Perhaps the easiest way to understand this is to look at Social Security. If we generate $1 in savings within that program, then that's $1 that Social Security can spend later. If we also claimed this same $1 to finance a new spending program, we would clearly be adding to the total federal deficit. There has long been bipartisan understanding of this aspect of Social Security, which is why Congress's paygo rules prohibit using Social Security savings as an offset to pay for unrelated federal spending.

No such prohibition exists in the budget process against committing Medicare savings simultaneously to Medicare and to pay for a new federal program. It's this budget loophole, unique to Medicare, that gives the health law's spending constraints and payroll tax hikes the appearance of reducing federal deficits. But it is appearance, not reality. If you have only $1 of income and are obliged to pay a dollar each to two different recipients, then you will have to borrow another $1. This is effectively what the health law does. It authorizes far more in spending than it creates in savings.

How much more? Charles Blahous's study, "The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act," published last month by the Mercatus Center, found that the health law would add over $340 billion to federal deficits over the next 10 years. Over the longer term, deficits would run into the trillions.
Obama sycophant, Amie Parnes of The Hill, takes to her word processor to try to help diminish the effects of VP Biden's 'chains' gaffe made to an audience in Danville, VA that was around half African-American.  Her puff piece notes that the issue was 'just a bump in the road' and Barack Obama and Joe Biden remain committed to working reports surfaced today that there might have been an effort several weeks ago to replace 'Clueless Joe' with SecState Hillary Clinton (as reported by Ed Klein, the author of the NYT best seller, 'The Amateur', citing confidential sources close to Clinton).

Veep Biden, however, is reported to be heading off the campaign trail for today and the weekend, sent home to Delaware to 'vacation'...

Conservative Super-PAC, American Crossroads, released an excellent advert highlighting the Vice President, titled 'Run, Joe, Run'....

A war of words is breaking out between the Family Research Council and the Southern Poverty Law Center in the wake of a shooting at the DC offices of the FRC.  The FRC is accusing the SPLC of complicity with the shooter and encouraging the shooter by labeling the FRC a 'hate group' over their religious based objections to same-sex marriage.  The FRC further noted that organizations should not be labeled simply because of public policy disagreements.

The Southern Poverty Law Center fired back on their 'Hatewatch' site saying that their use of 'legitimate and fact-based criticisms in a democratic society' is not suggesting that criminal violence takes place.

The editorial board of the Investors Business Daily notes that when leftist hate speech inspires violence, crickets begin to chirp...
On Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign put on its blog a piece titled, "Paul Ryan Speaking at Hate Group's Annual Conference," referring to the FRC.

It said that the "FRC has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's a group that has advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality, called for LGBT people to be exported from the U.S., and has pushed dangerous lies trying to link being gay to pedophilia."

The FRC has done none of those things but that didn't stop the Daily Kos from vilifying the FRC for its support of Chick-fil-A: "Chick-fil-A's corporate 'charity' arm WinShape has donated millions of dollars to groups like Family Research Council. FRC doesn't just oppose marriage equality, they really do HATE gays."
If it weren't for double standards, progressives would have no standards whatsoever.

With gasoline prices spiking, the White House is considering releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to try to drive down prices before Election Day...

Meanwhile, US reliance on oil imports from Saudi Arabia is growing again - by more than 20% just this year.  This as the Obama Administration continues to take steps to reduce onshore and offshore drilling of oil in the US and block imports from friendly countries like Canada.  It is also increasing our vulnerabilities to rising tensions in the Middle East.

Democratic ethics and standards?  The former Chair of the House Oversight Committee when the House was controlled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ignored his own subpoena and covered up ties / VIP loans from Countrywide Mortgage to himself, staffers, and other members of Congress to hide the preferential treatment from investigators.

Both Time Magazine and CNN have announced that they are reinstating the suspended Fareed Zakaria after serving just one week of a month long suspension for Zakaria's plagirism - saying that he's been punished long enough and it was 'inadvertent'.  So much for journalistic ethics.  If a college student did what Zakaria did, they would likely be placed on academic probation or expelled outright - but when a 'professional journalist' of the left does it - it's worth no more than a slap on the wrist.  Double standards....

Eurozone politicians are at odds over a possible break-up of the Eurozone in the wake of the Finnish Foreign Minister disclosing that his country is preparing for a Euro break-up....
Erkki Tuomioja, Finland’s veteran foreign minister, cautioned "we have to face openly the possibility of a euro-break up". He added that "it is not something that anybody — even the True Finns [eurosceptic party] —are advocating in Finland, let alone the government. But we have to be prepared."

Other European politicians have been taking a hard line on the future of the euro, with Austria's deputy chancellor, Michael Spindelegger, arguing earlier this week that there should be a mechanism to expel members who violate the rules of the currency union.

Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary leader of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party, said on Friday that Greece must stick to its commitments if it expects to receive the next instalment of financial aid. He added that German banks could handle a Greek exit from the eurozone.

"A theoretical exit for Greece would be manageable," he said, adding that "the exposure at this stage is about €17bn if I'm not mistaken", virtually all of it in the public sector.

But other eurozone politicians leapt to the defence of the single currency on Friday, with Finland's European affairs minister saying the country is "100pc committed" to the euro.
Remember the kerfuffle that broke out when it was discovered that the Obama White House staff was actively rewriting the biographies of past U.S. Presidents on the WH website and inserting Barack Obama into those biographies to tout 'The One'?  Now the staff of the State Department are promoting the 'Narcissist in Chief' in 'yet another taxpayer-subsidized campaign commercial'...
His State Department is now editing its descriptions of foreign countries into yet another taxpayer-subsidized campaign commercial for the Obama Administration.

The State Department has recently ended its long-running series of Background Notes, which were analytical, objective histories of other countries. In their place, new “Fact Sheets” now tout Obama’s policies and actions toward each nation. No more historical context, no recounting of complex and long-standing issues in the country. Just cut to the chase—that is, the time when the current Administration came to power.

Roberts is in the process of examining the differences between the historical Background Notes and the new, Obama-centric Fact Sheets. He reveals:
Compare the nearly 1,200-word “Fact Sheet” published this week by the U.S. embassy in Brazil with the last Background Note on Brazil written during the George W. Bush Administration.

The 4,100-word Bush document, chock full of facts and figures helpful in analyzing the country and its importance to the U.S., never once mentions the name of any U.S. President. The 300-word section on U.S.–Brazil relations takes up about 7 percent of the document.

Conversely, fully 70 percent (830 words) of the Brazil Fact Sheet, which is focused exclusively on U.S. relations with Brazil, discusses President Obama either directly by name (twice!) or in the context of the plethora of programs his Administration has launched with Brazil, including a shared “commitment to combat discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) status; to advance gender equality; a bilateral instrument that targets racism; support for HIV/AIDS prevention, promotion of clean energy technologies in Brazil, and mitigation of climate change.”
Thus far, Roberts has not found a comprehensive explanation for the debut of the Fact Sheets. The State Department’s website simply says, “As of May 2012, Background Notes are no longer being updated or produced. They are in the process of being replaced by Fact Sheets that focus on U.S. relations with each country.”

Since President Obama took office, the budget of the State Department has increased from $38.7 billion to $50.2 billion, and thousands have been added to the payroll. Finding that these taxpayer-funded resources are being used to eliminate neutral publications that were highly useful to researchers—only to replace them with lopsided “facts” akin to a campaign commercial—is something the American people deserve to know.
Here's something else that we deserve to know - the Case for Supply Side Tax Cuts - with a paper done by a former Obama Economic advisor, Christine Romer, as one of the key elements supporting supply side tax cuts...
The Romers and Prescott perform extensive analyses to measure the tax burden, rather than just taking a simple rate. That is because many Americans pay more on earned income than the 35 percent now specified by the federal tax table. There is a tax on Medicare, and there are state and local income tax rates which exceed 10 percent in many jurisdictions. Even though Congress does not control state and local tax rates, these rates still affect earnings and investment decisions. For many American families, a 35 percent tax rate would be a substantial reduction.

Most important, it is not only current tax rates that affect behavior, but expectations of taxes in the future. Although the top tax rate has been 35 percent for the past decade, taxes were scheduled to rise on January 1, 2011, leading to considerable uncertainty and delayed investment. Now taxes are scheduled to rise significantly on January 1, 2013. Obama, who is leading in the polls, has announced his intention to raise taxes on Americans making over $250,000. He has berated successful industries, notably finance and energy. Even though taxes on income and capital have not risen yet, such increases remain in the law—as of this writing, a little more than four months away. So individuals and businesses adjust their plans accordingly. Less spending, less investment.

In addition to the uncertainty of tax increases, Obama has promised more regulations. So, to tax uncertainty, add regulatory uncertainty. American businesses hold record cash reserves not because they know that America is a good place to invest those funds, but precisely out of a fear that it is not.

Plus, Americans will be faced with one of the largest tax increases in history with the Affordable Care Act, totaling $514 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Voters will have a clear choice on these competing philosophies, as the presidential candidates differ dramatically on tax policy.
It should be a clear choice.

Today in History

1807 - Robert Fulton's steamboat 'Clermont' begins her first trip up the Hudson River.

1942 - The U.S. 8th Air Force, based in England, launches it's first air raid over occupied Europe, attacking targets in Rouen, France.

1943 - General George S. Patton's 7th Army enters the Sicilian city of Messina - completing the conquest of Sicily by the Allies.  Also on this day, the 8th Air Force suffers one of its worst days as 60 B-17 bombers are lost on raids to Regensburg and Schweinfurt in Germany.

1969 - The Woodstock Music Festival concludes - ending three days of peace, love, rock & roll, drugs, and mud in upstate NY.

1987 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 2,700 for the first time.  Also on this day, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Hitler's inner circle, commits suicide at the age of 93 in Spandau Prison in Berlin where he had been held since the end of World War 2.  From 1966 until his death, he was the only Nazi prisoner at Spandau.

1998 - President Bill Clinton becomes the first sitting President to testify before the Office of Independent Council as the subject of a grand jury investigation.  Following his testimony, President Clinton held a nationally televised address to tell his side of the story - including admitting to an improper relationship with a White House intern.

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