Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quick Hits - August 28, 2012

Today's the first full day of the Republican Party convention in Tampa, Florida - starting at 2 PM Eastern and continuing non-stop until about 11 PM Eastern.  Featured speakers today include Ann Romney and NJ Governor Chris Christie - both appearing prime time tonight.

The mainstream media is running their full anti-GOP spin this morning...

... humping Barack Obama's leg as they propagandize DNC / Obama talking points in order to try to sway the electorate away from looking at the dismal record of President Barack Obama.

All three major networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, have already taken to the forefront of doing the bidding of the DNC in an effort to rescue the foundering Barack Obama Presidency and campaign.

Making the rounds across all three networks, RNC Keynote Speaker, New Jersey's feisty Governor Chris Christie, had to respond to the standard talking point accusations against the Romney campaign.

Norah O'Donnell, of CBS News, demonstrated her cluelessness on economics and tax policy when she attempted to 'gotcha' Chris Christie with the tired class warfare meme of Romney's plan being 'tax cuts for the wealthy'...
CBS’s Norah O’Donnell had trouble grasping that Mitt Romney’s plan for tax simplification included lower overall tax rates, but not necessarily a lower tax burden on wealthy individuals.

Three times, O’Donnell claimed to Christie that Romney would cut taxes for the rich: “ He says he's going to cut everybody's tax rates by 20%... He said he will cut everybody’s taxes by 20%...So, he will cut the wealthiest Americans' taxes?”

Christie attempted (probably without success) to teach her the difference between an individual’s top marginal tax rate — the rate they pay on their last dollar of income — and their overall tax bill after taking deductions into account: “He’ll lower rates, but that with the elimination of deductions, that those who are making more than $250,000 a year will essentially pay the same amount of money under Mitt Romney that they're paying right now under Barack Obama.”

[O’Donnell level of economic literacy is questionable. Last month, readers may recall, she bizarrely claimed that leaving tax rates at current levels would “cost taxpayers” an “additional $850 billion over the next ten years.” Also in July, she needed to be corrected by Paul Ryan when she falsely claimed his budget included “$810 billion in cuts to Medicaid” while “giving tax cuts to the wealthiest.”
At least Chris Christie didn't take the clue by four to O'Donnell that Obama's plan to increase taxes on the wealthy, supposedly to address his record setting 4 consecutive years of trillion dollar or more annual budget deficits, comparable to buying a full U.S. Navy carrier battle group each day, only addresses one half of one percent of his average annual deficit.

Appearing on ABC, Chris Christie's record was attacked by former Clintonista, George Stephanopoulos...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, the Democrats are already ready for you to talk about the New Jersey experience. They're pointing out, ahead of your speech, that New Jersey is near the bottom of states in unemployment. 48th in unemployment. 47th in economic growth.

CHRISTIE: Yeah. Except that in the last 12 months, George, we're ranked fourth in the country in terms of the number of private sector jobs that have been created, according to CNBC. That we've had 90,000 new private sector jobs created since I've been governor. And this is from a state where we've raised taxes and fees 115 times in eight years and had just stifled our economy. So, we're not going to turn that around overnight. But like I've said before, the New Jersey comeback has begun.
One of the newest memes being promoted by the intellectually dishonest mainstream media are the accusations of the Republican's 'celebrating' in Tampa as now Hurricane Issac hits Louisiana / Mississippi.  The storm, on a direct path to hit New Orleans on the 7th anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit, is being used as a prop to highlight the GOP as being uncaring....while Barack Obama, who is campaigning in Ohio and Colorado today (Virginia tomorrow), is given a complete pass.

NBC News, in particular, is rolling in the pigs trough on this one - as the insufferable Andrea Mitchell whinges about Katrina and promotes the image of a detached President George W. Bush flying above a flooded and devastated New Orleans in Air Force One...

The equally vapid and tedious co-host of MSDNC's 'Morning Joe' program, Mike Brzezinski demonstrates that the stupid doesn't fall far in the Brzezinski family as she takes to ranting during a debate in today's program when the deplorable Priorities USA 'Cancer' advertisement comes up in the discussion...

The discussion this morning centered on Mitt Romney’s recent Medicare ads and whether or not they would be effective in the crucial battleground state of Florida. While the discussion offered a good punch counter-punch discussion between host Joe Scarborough and panelists John Heilemann and Sam Stein, Mika appeared particularly upset that too much time was spent discussing an Obama Super PAC ad implying that Mitt Romney was responsible for the death of a former employee’s wife instead of a Romney ad criticizing President Obama for gutting Medicare.

Brzezinski complained that her show was now discussing the Romney ad, “finally, after it made a dent in the polls.” Mika decided to take her frustration that the Romney ad is hurting Obama in the polls a step further by exclaiming, “Just because we're here [at the GOP convention] I didn't take a Republican stupid pill.”
No worries Mika, there's lots of room in the trough next to Andrea...

Today's Investor's Business Daily features TWO editorials castigating the mainstream media for their deplorable actions and bias during this campaign cycle.  Michael Ramirez, the political cartoonist whose latest is featured above, notes that the media's one-sided coverage of the Presidential campaign offers clear evidence of bias...
As White House reporter for ABC News Jake Tapper recently commented, "The media is failing the country."

I agree.

A July 16 Rasmussen poll revealed "59% of likely U.S. voters believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far" and "51% expect most reporters to help Obama." Only 9% expect the media to help Romney.

The media should, at bare minimum, be expected to reveal the truth. But it won't even do that.

Still the media focus nonstop on unsubstantiated reports about Mitt Romney's tax returns — not on anything substantial.

MSNBC analyst Mark Halperin, when asked about Mitt Romney's tax returns on the Today Show, said, "The press still likes this story a lot."

He added, "The media are very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this."

The fact the media are susceptible to do what any campaign wants is disturbing enough.

But the way the media focus relentlessly on gaffes and ignores substantive issues when covering one side, while ignoring gaffes and issues critical of the other side, does serious damage to the integrity of news reporting.

In a letter to Dr. James Currie in 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

But what of a press that limits itself to only covering news that favors its own political ideology?
In the other commentary, the IBD Editorial Board asks a simple question, 'Will Powerful Media Re-elect Obama, Subverting Will of People?" and uses the frothing rabid attack by MSNBC's Chris "Tingles" Matthews on RNC Chair Reince Priebus as the latest exhibit...
NBC dropped this stink bomb on GOP turf during an official GOP celebration. Never before have we witnessed such palpable bias exhibited by a major media personality in such an official setting.

Such advocacy journalism is also on display in the major print media. The departing New York Times ombudsman, writing last week in his final column, admitted Times staffers are so in the tank for Obama and Democrats that their leftist advocacy "bleeds through" into their coverage.

Times public editor Arthur Brisbane called the paper's newsroom "a culture of like minds." The same could be said for the entire old media still controlling campaign coverage.

They say this race is Romney's to lose. Yet the elite are not only rooting for him to lose, they are actively sabotaging his campaign. Big media polls have been caught oversampling Democratic voters. And all three presidential debates will be hosted by like-minded liberals, including known GOP-hater Candy Crowley of CNN. Fox was snubbed.

If the major media won't give a Republican presidential candidate a fair shot, what does that say about our democratic process? Are voters really participating in a free election if the media elite are rigging it for their candidate?
For far too many, the concepts of 'journalistic integrity' and 'journalistic ethics' are ignored or broken - yet we are being asked to consider these nattering nitwits as 'professionals' and offering unbiased cogent factual reports of current events.

There's a reason why the nightly news broadcasts, once receiving over 20 million nightly viewers, only get about a third of that total today - despite a total audience that is double of what it was when they had their largest viewership.

There's a reason why major print publications ranging from the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times are not only hemorrhaging dollars, but have a fraction of the readership they had at their peaks - even though the market is two or three times larger.

There's a reason why Newsweek, a weekly news magazine launched in 1933, sold in 2010 for just $1.

I would say that the stunning part is that these supposedly 'smart' people don't see the reason - but then, if they were actually that 'smart' and disconnected from their ideology, they wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

I'm now waiting for a renewed series of exploding talking heads as some of the latest polls coming out looking at the various Senate races are showing that, despite the pariah Todd Akin, the odds of a GOP Senate majority are improving...
That is part of the reason why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, predicted Monday that the GOP could win back the Senate even if Mr. Akin loses his race.

“We can take the Senate without Missouri,” Mr. McConnell said at a Gannett newsmaker session in Tampa, Fla., ahead of the Republican National Convention. “It’d be a lot easier to take it with Missouri.”

Democrats and independents who align with them now control the Senate, 53-47. But in the 33 Senate seats up for election in November, Democrats must defend 21, plus the two independents’ seats in Vermont and Connecticut.

In New England, Scott Brown is expanding his lead over Fauxcahontas, and Linda McMahon now has 2 polls showing her with a lead in Connecticut.  Of the remaining states, Montana and North Dakota could very easily trend Republican - particularly with the higher GOP enthusiasm that is in play for November.

Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia are all swing states for the Presidential election, and the GOP Senatorial candidates are showing momentum - as is Mitt Romney in each of these.

Also not helping is President Barack Obama's record....

Consumer confidence in the U.S. Economy has crashed to a new nine month low - hitting the lowest level since November 2011....'US consumer remains unimpressed, unhappy, and unemployed'...

Adding to the debacle known as the 'Obama Economic Recovery' comes a new report that was quietly released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This report finds that just 56% of the 6.1 million workers laid off between January 2009 and December 2011 from jobs they had previously held for at least 3 years have found work.    Half of those 56% who did find work now earn less money then they did at their previous jobs - and of that group, one third experienced pay cuts of 20% or higher.

During this same period of time, an additional 6.7 million people lost jobs that they held for 3 years or less - with 12.9 million total jobs lost between January 2009 and December 2011.

This all part of the 'economic recovery' that created more jobs than Ronald Reagan's recovery while household incomes dropped at a greater rate than during the 2008-2009 recession / fiscal crisis.

Change you can believe in?

An Israeli court today cleared the Israeli Defense Forces and the State of Israel from any fault in the 2003 death of pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement member, Rachel Corrie, who was killed as she attempted to halt an IDF bulldozer from destroying a structure in Gaza that hid a terrorist smuggling tunnel...

... ruling that Corrie inserted herself into a dangerous situation.

Spain's Catalonia region made a demand to the Spanish central government today for a 5 billion Euro bailout - insisting that the 'gift' be provided without conditions to Catalonia.

As ZeroHedge notes, this is not good news for the Eurozone crisis....
The data out from Spain this morning should be one serious wake-up call for anyone exposed to Europe. The fourth largest economy in the Eurozone is getting hammered and for anyone that has doubted that they will need a full scale bailout; think again. The numbers are a disaster. One year ago the Central Bank of Spain was borrowing $71.53 billion from the European Central Bank. In the last figures available, July, the Central Bank of Spain was borrowing $530.8 billion (an increase of 86.5%) from the ECB either directly or through the Target2 funding which impacts the Bundesbank and Germany quite directly. In other words Germany is now at a huge risk which is not just their 22% ownership of the ECB but a direct and full risk of impairment or default by Spain in the Target2 funding provided by the Bundesbank.
The Economist today has more information on the unprecedented devastation inflicted on the suburb of Daraya by the Syrian military - and their use of 'scorched earth' tactics in the Assad's regimes efforts to utterly crush the rebellion against the Syrian dictator's iron rule.

[I note that leftist organizations like the International Solidarity Movement remain utterly silent, and completely hypercritical, over the atrocities being committed by Bashir al-Assad against his own people.]

French President Francois Hollande becomes the first Western leader to publicly urge Syrian rebel forces to begin to form a provisional government which can they be recognized and openly supported by western nations in their battle against the Assad dictatorship...
Hollande said he hoped an internationally recognized alternative Syrian government would speed the fall of President Bashar al-Assad. The United States supports such a unified movement, but on Monday it declined to endorse Hollande’s proposal, which would provide Western backing to a decentralized movement that could include extremist elements.

The latest appeal reflects growing frustration — in France and elsewhere in Europe — with international inaction to stop the bloodshed in Syria. On Monday, at least 148 people were killed in an offensive by Syrian government forces in Damascus and the surrounding area, according to opposition activists. At least 42 people died in an aerial bombardment in the northeast suburb of Zamalka.
If only these European nations would speak out / take more direct action against those nations that are protecting and enabling Syria - Russia, China, and Iran.

Today in History

1833 - Slavery was banned by the British Parliament throughout the British Empire.

1939 - The first successful flight of a jet-propelled airplane took place.  The plane was a Heinkel He178.

1957 - Senator Strom Thurmond, DEMOCRAT from South Carolina, opens a one-man filibuster against the 1957 Civil Rights bill which he terms 'unconstitutional' and 'cruel and unusual punishment'.  Thurmond would speak for 24 hours 18 minutes - a record that still stands.

1963 - Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his 'I have a dream' speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

1972 - American swimmer Mark Spitz wins the first of his 7 gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics.

1988 - Three Italian Aermacchi MB-339 jets collide in midair during an air show at Ramstein Air Base in Germany while performing a complex maneuver called the 'pierced heart'.  The aircraft, part  of the Frecce Tricolori, Italy's military stunt-flight team, spun unto the crowd killing 70 and seriously injuring 246 spectators in one of the worst air show disasters in history.

1996 - A divorce decree was issued in Britain for Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales - officially ending their 15 year marriage.

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