Monday, August 20, 2012

Quick Hits - August 20, 2012

A busy Monday....

Stung by increasing signs of a White House Press Corps revolt, President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance to take questions at today's 1PM EDT WH Press briefing...

This appearance comes after attacks from members of the WH Press Corps on the President's refusal to take direct questions - but sitting down for major interviews with 'fluff news' organizations like Entertainment Tonight, People Magazine, and 'Morning Zoo' radio disk jockeys.

President Obama, questioned about the tone of his campaign, responded that his campaign is not going out of bounds in their comments about the GOP candidate, and denied that anyone on his campaign team ever called Mitt Romney a 'felon'...

This flies in direct conflict with Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter who did call Mitt Romney a 'felon'...
Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony."
Cutter said that there were two ways to interpret the story. The first: Mitt Romney was "misrepresenting his position" at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission, "which is a felony."

Or, he was "misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people. If that’s the case, if he was lying to the American people, that’s a real character and trust issue," Cutter said.

Cutter called on the Romney campaign to clear up by the issue by releasing the candidate's tax returns.

"If the SEC filings aren’t accurate, then prove it," she said.
As reported in QH's when the accusation was made, Cutter also refused to back down or apologize for calling Mitt Romney 'a felon' during an appearance on Face the Nation.

One of the items fueling increasing dissatisfaction within elements of the usually very loyal mainstream media towards the Obama campaign, are the examples where it becomes very clear very quickly that the President or his key campaign or White House aides are lying - like when Stephanie Cutter was caught lying about Joe Soptic and the infamous 'Cancer' advertisement released by pro-Obama Super-PAC Priorities USA.

The President, attempting to disavow his campaign from Cutter's 'felon' remark, only continues this pattern of lies and misrepresentations.

Unsurprisingly, Stephanie Cutter was lying again about the 'Cancer' advertisement just this past Sunday - as she was asked about the ad and Joe Soptic by ABC's Jake Tapper during an appearance of 'This Week':
On ABC News' This Week yesterday morning, host Jake Tapper confronted Cutter on this -- shall we say -- honesty disconnect:

Rather than sheepishly apologize -- or at least concoct some sort of follow-up spin to explain the previous misstatement -- she stares into the camera, laughs, and repeats the exact same story. She behaves as if the evidence with which she's being called out doesn't exist. It's extraordinary to watch; I'm not sure what else to call this woman other than a liar. George Will may not have been too far off with his use of the word "sociopathic."

One of those who should be pleased that Barack Obama did take questions in today's WH Brief, is Todd Akin, the GOP Senatorial candidate in Missouri who is challenging incumbent Claire McCaskill...well, at least for now he is the GOP Senatorial there are increasing calls for this moron to step down from the race after making an asinine comment regarding abortion and rape - stating that incidents of 'legitimate rape' rarely cause pregnancy.

Akin quickly tried to backtrack on the statement, saying he misspoke, but the toothpaste is already out of the tube.  The Left immediately jumped on Akin's statement - ranging from his opponent, Claire McCaskill who was in real reelection trouble to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

The Romney / Ryan campaign was quick to put out statements followed by direct comments by Mitt Romney denouncing Akin's statement in the strongest possible terms.  Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R), running for reelection against Elizabeth Warren, also denounced the statement while demanding that Akin step down voluntarily and be replaced by another GOP candidate for the Senate.

The statement by Akin is as uninformed and moronic as Vice President Joe Biden's 'Chains' comment from last week's campaign stop in Danville, Va.  Unlike the Democrats who rallied to downplay Biden's race card play, I've yet to see a single major GOP politician rally to defend Akin.  To me, this is a huge difference that will not go unnoticed by the independents.

Another Senator pleased that President Obama is sucking some of the air out of today's media cycle has to be New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen who, in a campaign event in the presidential battleground state of New Hampshire, credited Barack Obama with leading 'the mission that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice'...

Led the mission?  No wonder a number of U.S Spec Ops warriors, including Seal Team 6 members, are displeased with the President.

A new book by Richard Miniter is claiming that President Obama three times cancelled Spec Op missions to kill Osama Bin Laden at the urging of his close aide, Valerie Jarrett who was concerned of the political fallout from the mission.  Miniter claims that it was not until SecState Hillary Clinton stepped in and pushed for the raid - reminding the President of the political price her husband paid post 9/11 for his failure to get OBL during his time in office.

Powerline has a post today which also highlights the President's focus, or lack thereof, on America's national security - noting that it takes a back seat to Obama's political survival.

The key is a mid-2012 meeting requested by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with the President where Nancy Pelosi asks the President to back off of the billions to be cut from the defense budget on January 1, 2013 as a result of the 2011 Debt Ceiling deal - saying the cuts would hurt Democrat House members with major defense contractors in their district.  She argued for an alternative series of cuts to keep these defense contractors happy and contributing to their local Democrat representative.

According to Glenn Thrush, author of a new e-book, 'Obama's Last Stand' and quoted in the above link, this was Barack Obama's reply...
Obama told the former speaker what he had been saying for months – that he wasn’t budging on the defense cuts. Doing so would surrender his only leverage in forcing House Republicans to accept the expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy – the only weapon he had against their efforts ‘to delegitimize me,’ as he put it. Moreover, he bluntly called on Hill Democrats to reorient their priorities – from them to him. ‘Look, guys,’ he told Pelosi, Harry Reid, and several other congressional leaders, according to a person briefed in detail on the interaction. ‘I plan on winning this race. If I don’t win, then anything we say now doesn’t matter. I plan on winning this race. So let’s figure out how to win this race.’
A narcissist's priorities...

Remember Newsweek?  The weekly newsmagazine that was sold about two years ago for the whopping sum of $1?  Some of the covers it ran over the past 3+ years include:

Brings a surprising change in this week's issue...

... with an article by Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson that provides a grim report card on the President's term in office....
In his fiscal year 2010 budget—the first he presented—the president envisaged growth of 3.2 percent in 2010, 4.0 percent in 2011, 4.6 percent in 2012. The actual numbers were 2.4 percent in 2010 and 1.8 percent in 2011; few forecasters now expect it to be much above 2.3 percent this year.

Unemployment was supposed to be 6 percent by now. It has averaged 8.2 percent this year so far. Meanwhile real median annual household income has dropped more than 5 percent since June 2009. Nearly 110 million individuals received a welfare benefit in 2011, mostly Medicaid or food stamps.

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

And all this despite a far bigger hike in the federal debt than we were promised. According to the 2010 budget, the debt in public hands was supposed to fall in relation to GDP from 67 percent in 2010 to less than 66 percent this year. If only.By the end of this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will reach 70 percent of GDP. These figures significantly understate the debt problem, however. The ratio that matters is debt to revenue. That number has leapt upward from 165 percent in 2008 to 262 percent this year, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. Among developed economies, only Ireland and Spain have seen a bigger deterioration.'s Noel Sheppard highlights New York Times columnist and Obama sycophant taking to his blog to hammer Newsweek and Ferguson, calling the article 'unethical' as it 'misrepresents the facts' in order to make Ferguson's 'partisan case'...but as Sheppard's Mr. Krugman who is misrepresenting facts to make a partisan case...
There are multiple errors and misrepresentations in Niall Ferguson’s cover story in Newsweek — I guess they don’t do fact-checking — but this is the one that jumped out at me. Ferguson says:

The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.

Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit. But anyone who actually read, or even skimmed, the CBO report (pdf) knows that it found that the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit — because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.
Please notice that the CBO report Krugman linked to is from March 30, 2011.

What he failed to inform his readers is the CBO revised these numbers in a March 13, 2012, report finding "the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012–2021 period."

In addition, the March 2012 report estimates ObamaCare "will increase deficits by $1,083 billion."

So, Krugman misleads his readers to attack and accuse Ferguson of misleading readers…
Sheppard then follows up on his original post with an update that highlights Niall Ferguson directly firing back at the pompous Krugman....
Niall Ferguson fires back at Krugman - Krugman suggests that I haven't read the CBO's March 2010 report. Sorry, I have, and here is what it says:
“The provisions related to health insurance coverage—which affect both outlays and revenues—were projected to have a net cost of $1,042 billion over the 2012–2021 period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,390 billion, offset in part by $349 billion in receipts and savings (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources).”

But thanks for trying, Paul.
Fox News joins the fact check parade on the major debate that is taking place between the Obama and Romney camps on the subject of Medicare.  It finds that the Obama campaign is using the same dishonest and misrepresenting tactics as Paul Krugman used  - running and focusing on an outdated version of the Ryan Medicare plan...
The president's accusations largely refer to Ryan's 2011 plan, ignoring the fact that the House Budget Committee chairman rolled out a different version in 2012 -- taking into account Democratic critiques. Though the 2012 plan is more moderate, Obama and his surrogates have all but ignored the newer version as they amp up their accusations against the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Most glaringly, the campaign has omitted a key point.

While Ryan's 2011 plan proposes to give seniors a government payment to buy private insurance, his 2012 plan offers seniors a choice.

Under the blueprint, seniors could use the payment to buy private insurance or stay in traditional Medicare.

This distinction rarely comes up at Obama campaign events.

Another distinction the campaign has chosen not to make is over the average cost to seniors. For months, Obama has cited an estimate that the Republican budget plan would cost Medicare seniors $6,400.

The campaign repeated that claim in a new TV ad released Friday called "Fact." The ad says: "And experts say his voucher plan could raise future retirees' costs more than $6,000. ... Get the facts."

But that estimate is from early 2011, and refers to Ryan's outdated plan from the same year. Sharp-eyed viewers would see in the latest Obama ad the fine print that attributes the estimate to "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/8/11."
The Wall Street Journal today has an editorial that also highlights the Obama campaign's attack based on the $6,400 cost - and demonstrates the myth around this claim...
One of President Obama's regular attacks on Paul Ryan's Medicare reform is that it would force seniors to pay $6,400 a year more for health care. But merely because he keeps repeating this doesn't mean it's in the same area code of accurate.

The claim is based on a now out-of-date Congressional Budget Office estimate of the gap between the cost of health care a decade from now, in 2022, and the size of the House budget's premium-support subsidy for a typical 65-year-old in 2022.

In other words, the $6,400 has no relevance for any senior today. None. But it also is unlikely to have any relevance for any senior ever because CBO concedes that its number is highly uncertain and "will depend on the evolution of the health care and health insurance systems over time, which is hard to predict." That's for sure.

The more fundamental problem is that the CBO analysis has nothing to do with the current Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan plan. Nada. Over the last year Mr. Ryan has made major adjustments to his original proposal as he sought a compromise with Democrats. In its most up-to-date analysis, CBO admits that it "does not have the capability at this time to estimate such effects" in the new version. That is, it does not have the tools to make its $6,400 exaggeration again.

The reason CBO can't model the 2013 House budget and the Romney-Ryan plan is that they harness markets with competitive bidding. Congress's budget gnomes can't handle these dynamic forces.
Internal squabbles within the Obama Campaign team - and Chicago losing faith in Barack Obama's handpicked Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz?

Several stories are being run across both old and new media that show signs of problems in the Obama Campaign and their effort to get their message out.  These range from reports of Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter and Senior Adviser David Axelrod reaching a point where they would not speak with the other over a disagreement that seems to have its foundation in a report that Cutter bumped Axelrod for a television appearance to Obama's 'brain trust' commissioning a poll on the popularity of top Obama campaign surrogates.  From the above 'new media' link, is this report...
Obama’s brain trust secretly commissioned pollster David Binder to conduct an internal focus study of the popularity of top Obama campaign surrogates. Number one was former press secretary Robert Gibbs, followed by Cutter. Traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, who was added to a second study, was third. Axelrod, Plouffe and current White House press secretary Jay Carney were bunched in the middle. Wasserman Schultz ranked at the bottom.
The Washington Post (old media link) picks up on this with their report....
President Obama’s Chicago team is not thrilled with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, according to a new ebook from Politico’s Glenn Thrush. He writes that the Florida House member “grated on Chicago” from the start and Obama aides thought she “struck too harsh a partisan tone” on Sunday shows. The campaign stopped scheduling her for so many TV appearances, and when she asked why, Obama staffers showed her a focus group study on Obama surrogates’ effectiveness. She ranked last.
Is there space under the bus?

A Denver, CO based company is having an award it won from the city rescinded because the company fought - and won - its case against the contraception mandate created in the Obamacare legislation...
The Newland family didn’t spend 50 years building a business here for the plaudits, but when a Denver City Council member moved to recognize them with an anniversary proclamation, the clan was flattered. So it came as a disappointment last week when the Newlands learned that the council decided to cancel the honor, especially when they found out the reason: Their successful legal challenge against the Obama health care reform’s birth control, sterilization and abortion mandates.
According to the Tax Foundation, at least 90% of Americans have a lower income tax rate than Mitt Romney...
More than 58 million filers were nonpayers, i.e. they had zero or negative federal income tax liability. Therefore, including the non-filers, more than 71 million Americans paid no federal income taxes in 2010, representing about 46 percent of the population.

Another 27 million, or 17 percent of the population, had an effective income tax rate of between zero and 5 percent. Over 89 percent of Americans had an effective income tax rate of less than 12 percent, 95 percent had a tax rate of less than 15 percent, and fully 97 percent of Americans had a tax rate of less than 17 percent. Therefore, the vast majority of Americans pay less than Romney’s 2010 rate of 13.9 percent or his 2011 rate of 15.4 percent.

Need another reason to hold union leaders in contempt?

Here's a former union boss at an OccupyWallStreet event revealing his political goals...
Former Amalgamated Transit Union local 689 president Mike Golash, now an “Occupy” movement organizer, was caught on tape Sunday revealing his political goals: overthrowing capitalism in the United States and instituting a communist government.

“Progressive labor is a revolutionary communist organization,” Golash said during an Occupy DC “People’s Assembly” on August 19.

“Its objective,” he added, “is to make revolution in the United States, overthrow the capitalist system and build communism.”
Obama mentor Frank Davis Marshall couldn't have said it better.

The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in the world (launched 1797), sails under her own power for the 2nd time since 1881 (and first since 1997) in Boston Harbor yesterday.

The frigate, which served on regular deployments until 1855, spent 17 minutes under her own power, at an average speed of 3 knots.  Based at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Constitution receives about half a million visitors each year and has just completed a three year restoration.

If you get to Boston, visit her - it's well worth it.

Today in History

1953 - The USSR announces that it has detonated a hydrogen bomb.

1968 - On the night of August 20-21, 200,000 men and 2,000 tanks from the USSR, Bulgaria, Poland, and Hungary, all Warsaw Pact countries, invade Czechoslovakia to end the 8 month long 'Prague Spring' - a period of political liberalization that was marked by steps in the country to decentralize the economy, enact democratic reforms, and release restrictions on media, speech, and travel.  The 'Prague Spring' represented a real threat to the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe - and led to the Soviet 'Brezhnev Doctrine'.  This stated that the USSR had a right to intervene whenever a country in the Eastern bloc appeared to be making a shift towards capitalism / democracy.

1991 - More than 100,000 rallied in Moscow, outside the Russian Parliament building, to protest the coup that removed Mikhail Gorbachev from power.

1998 - Canada's Supreme Court announces that the province of Quebec cannot secede from Canada without the consent of the federal government.

1998 - President Bill Clinton orders the launch of cruise missile attacks against an al-Qaeda terrorist camp in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in the Sudan linked to Osama Bin Laden.  The strike was seen in response to the al-Qaeda bombing earlier in the month of 2 U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998 - The United Nations Security Council extends trade sanctions against Saddam Hussein's Iraq for Iraq's efforts to block arms inspectors required under UNSC resolutions established after the 1991 Gulf War.

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