Monday, May 14, 2012

The Amateur

What’s New Today

Story #1 tells us a bit more from the new book The Amateur.  It appears Obama has a Mount Rushmore sized ego.  #2 tells how Obama keeps focusing on keeping us like Europe when he should be looking closer to home.  How about Canada?  #3 lays out the Romney strategy.  #4 tells us of the stumbling point between Democrats and Republicans on the Violence against Women act.  It seems women by Democratic definitions includes more than just women.  #5 looks at the Alinsky training the democrats are taking to try to reveal the “code” words the Republicans use to hide their racism.  I’m thinking freedom must be one of them.  #6 has 12 questions for Jonah Goldberg and his answers.  #7 is a “Beam me Up, Scotty” story.

Today’s Thoughts

A hazardous drug (scopolamine) derived from a particular type of tree common in Colombia can eliminate free will and can wipe the memory of its victims.  Sounds like what Obama needs to be reelected. 

With Newsweek featuring Obama as our first gay president (President James Buchanon may take issue with that), Glenn Reynolds suggested that the GOP may want to buy a lot of issues and give them to black barbershops in key districts. 

There are indications that the Obama Campaign team is panicking.  We are seeing polls where Obama is behind by 4 to 8 points.  It makes you wonder what do their internal polls say?  

A new ad from the Obama campaign calls Romney’s Bain capital “a vampire.”  It seems Bain bought a steel mill in 1993 and closed it in 2001.  Romney left Bain in 1999.  Desperation is showing. 

1.  The Amateur

Edward Klein's new book on Barack Obama, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House, is a withering portrayal of a radical adrift, in over his head, drowning in his own incompetency -- while being weighed down by a small circle of "advisers" who are compounding the problem of the Amateur in the White House.

Klein's book begins with a talisman-like quote uttered by Barack Obama when his recently appointed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner tried to boost Obama's ego by telling him, "Your legacy is going to be preventing the second Great Depression."  To which Barack Obama responded, "That's not enough for me."

As all of America knows by now, Obama has aggressively sought to "fundamentally transform" America -- one of the few promises he has kept from the days of 2008.  Five trillion dollars of borrowing, ObamaCare passed over the objections of the majority of Americans through legislative legerdemain and special deals made with resistant politicians, failed stimulus, green programs failing left and right as taxpayers are left holding the bag, a recovery that is the most anemic on record, an America that has been sundered by the man who promises to unite us, America weaker abroad and at home -- yes, America has been fundamentally transformed.  Mission Accomplished.

But how and why did Obama succeed in such a catastrophic way?  That is the question that Klein successfully answers in his extremely readable and enjoyable book, with enough spicy details to satisfy the craving of anyone interested in how President Obama and those closest to him have driven us to the condition we find ourselves in as we approach November.

One of the motifs that runs throughout the book is Barack Obama's sheer level of incompetency.  He has the fatal conceit of many politicians: an overweening ego.  That may be a prerequisite for politicians and leaders, but when it is unleavened by a willingness to consider the views of others, it becomes a fatal conceit.  And Obama has that trait in abundance….

It’s become painfully obvious to most Americans that Obama is an amateur who is way over his head as the President. 

2.  Economic Growth 

Will Obama learn from Sweden?  Will he learn from Canada?  Or will he cling to the European socialist economic model that is currently failing?

Anders Borg, Sweden's finance minister, reduced Sweden's deficit and created economic growth.  There is one thing that Borg did: "Since becoming Sweden's finance minister, Borg reduced the size of government and cut taxes.  His 'stimulus' was a permanent tax cut."


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Forbes magazine selected Canada as the No. 1 country in the world in which to do business.  Forbes stated, "Credit a reformed tax structure."  On New Year's Day, 2012, Canada's corporate tax rate -- both federal and provincial rates combined -- fell to 25%, giving Canada the lowest rate in the Group of Seven countries and a more competitive economy on a global basis.  In annual steps, Canada lowered the federal rate from 22% to 15%, while the provinces now have a common rate of 10%.  The gradual lowering of the corporate tax rate appears to have resulted in little loss in corporate tax revenue.

Between 1992 and 1996, Canada's central government departments saw their budgets cut by an average of 20%.  Aware that efficiency savings and pay freezes alone would be insufficient, the prime minister Jean Chrétien (Canadian PM from November 1993 until December 2003) ordered that all non-essential national government spending be cut.  Under a system called Program Review, a committee of senior civil servants demanded that all departments nominate spending programs that a lean national government should not be funding.

Canada, in April 2012, added far more jobs than expected and marked the biggest two-month employment gain in more than 30 years.  With a Canadian population one-ninth the size of that of the United States, it would be as if the U.S. economy had added about 1.3 million jobs in two months.  Economists say the Canadian unemployment rate would be 6.4% if reported in the way the U.S. calculates its rate.  The Canadian economy has recovered all the output and jobs, including full-time positions, that it lost in the 2008-09 recession.

Now let's look at what has not/is not working in what is increasingly becoming socialist Europe -- namely, the European Union (EU); its (mostly rejected) austerity program; and France, Greece, and Spain….

Looking at March and April in the USA, we gained 270,000 jobs vs the 1.3 million equivalent in Canada.  I’m not so sure Obamanomics is working.

       3.  Romney’s Campaign strategy

Mitt Romney and his top aides are building a strategy, partly by design and partly because of circumstance, around what they consider John McCain’s disastrously run campaign in 2008.
The strategy: whatever McCain did, do the opposite.
Many of the current strategy discussions are centered on not falling into the traps McCain did: looking wobbly as a leader and weak on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign. The private discussions include ruling out any vice presidential possibilities who could be seen as even remotely risky or unprepared; wrapping the entire campaign around economic issues, knowing this topic alone will swing undecided voters in the final days; and, slowly but steadily, building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Obama.. ..

I think this is a smart strategy.  Obama has already gone negative and as more and more time goes by, he will sound shrill and unlikeable. 

      4.  Violence against women “expanded” by the Democrats
The House this week will take up the Violence Against Women Act, legislation that in past years has been approved with little fuss. But it won't go that smoothly this time because the bill has become the latest election-year battleground in what Democrats claim is the Republican Party's "war against women." 

The bill, last reauthorized in 2005, is intended to reduce domestic violence and would call for $600 million to be spent on legal assistance, housing and programs that help victims of domestic violence. Democrats and Republicans are divided, however, over exactly whom the bill is supposed to protect.

House Democrats want a bill similar to the one passed by the Democratically controlled Senate. That bill would provide special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. It would also expand the authority of Native American authorities to prosecute non-Indians who commit violence against a Native American on tribal lands.

The Republican bill excludes all of those special protections….

As long as the Democrats can keep people only seeing the headlines they have an issue.  If people actually read about the difference, the Republicans have the issue. 

      5.  Alinsky comes to the Democrats in Congress

George Soros is behind a newly uncovered effort to teach Democratic congressmen how to smear their opponents as racist.

Last week House Democrats invited the radical, left-wing, Soros-financed group called the Center for Social Inclusion “to address the issue of race to defend government programs,” according to documentation reviewed by Joel Gehrke of the Washington Examiner.

“The prepared content of a Tuesday presentation to the House Democratic Caucus and staff indicates that Democrats will seek to portray apparently neutral free-market rhetoric as being charged with racial bias, conscious or unconscious,” Gehrke writes.

According to Gehrke, trainer Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion blasted “conservative messages [that are] racially ‘coded’ and had images of people of color that we commonly see used” and suggested ways to combat Republicans’ supposedly racially-coded rhetoric.

Facts don’t matter in Wiley’s estimation. “It’s emotional connection, not rational connection that we need,” she said….

The left and facts tend to be strangers.  I remember an issue in the DC city council where a accounting guy got fired for using the term niggardly.  Look up the definition if you don’t know it.  But that fact didn’t stop them from firing him. 

       6.  De Pasquale’s Dozen with Jonah Goldberg

…Each week the De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.  

1. If there were a television channel that only showed one movie over and over, what movie should it be?

Well, obviously, I’m tempted to say Groundhog Day, in part because it’s one of my favorite movies, but also because it’d be like an Escher painting to have it play over and over again. 

2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?

“The Delta House has a long tradition of existence to its members and to the community at large.” I think it’s from “A Man For All Seasons.”

3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he was "cured." If you could give President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid the "Clockwork Orange treatment," what movie would you make them watch?


4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?

“Surprised”? Hmm. That rules out my Spock plate from the Franklin Mint. 

5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?

“Spartacus” on Starz. I like other shows more, but none make me feel so guilty.

6. What's Simpsons character are you most like and why?
Maybe, Sideshow Bob? A rightwing misanthrope funnyman. No, wait. Kodos. Because as a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

7. Many have said that Washington D.C. is like Hollywood for ugly people. How do you think DC is like Hollywood? How is it different?

In Hollywood vanity is skin deep. In DC it goes to the bone.

8. What was the first rock concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?

The Kinks. I went with a couple buddies from junior high. We sat probably 20 rows back from the stage. Though I don’t remember a lot of sitting.

9. What books are on your summer reading list?

Ten Years of the Claremont Review, American Nietzsche, Still The Best Hope, The Walking Dead graphic novels

10. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?

When I was a little boy, my father told me that if I was ever pulled over by a cop in a south American country, I should be very apologetic and ask if I can pay the fine right here rather than go down to the station. I haven’t had a chance to take it yet, but it always struck me as good advice. He also taught me that the goal in writing is to make every sentence either good or important. If it’s good no one will care if it’s not important. If it’s important no one will care if it’s not good. It’s an impossible ideal, but all ideals are for the most part impossible, but it’s one I strive for as much as I can. As for mom, most of the advice boils down to “don’t take crap from anybody.” I try to take it as often as I can….

I invite you to give some of you own answers.  Here’s a few from me.  #1 I would go with The Godfather.  Great movie which I have watched over and over again.  #2 from A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.”  Great movie and that quote really works for most of us.  #3 The Butterfly Effect.  Perhaps they would understand what unintended consequences are.

       7.  Beam me up Scotty

Since 1997, researchers have been able to quantum teleport photons with a major record being set by researchers at the  University of Science and Technology of China in Shanghai. In 2010, that team successfully teleported a photon over 16km. Now that same team has released new findings, in which they claim to have teleported photons nearly 100km, or over 60 miles.

Now, quantum teleportation isn’t quite the same thing as the teleportation in Star Trek. When researchers teleport a photon, they aren’t teleporting the actual photon, but rather the information contained in it through quantum entanglement. In essence, the second photon at the end of the teleport becomes the first one – or at least, it becomes an identical qubit of information. So the information is exchanged without actually travelling through the intervening distance.

(If that sounds bizarre and frightening, you’re in good company. Albert Einstein understatedly called the process of quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance.”)…

Just for fun.

Socialism and Human Nature
As we watch Europe’s unfolding debt drama, it’s worth asking a question: If socialism and central planning can’t succeed in Europe, where can they succeed? After all, Europe possessed tremendous advantages when it launched its slow-running experiment in cradle-to-grave welfare statism and post-national political unity many decades ago: historically dynamic economies, educated citizens, relative religious unity (around a lack of belief), a commitment (born out of sorrow and blood) to peace, and military protection provided by the world’s great superpower. The result was something resembling a social-democracy Disneyland, a virtual theme park for believers in nationalized health care, progressive social views, soft power over hard power, and carefully managed democracy.
Yet human nature still prevails, doesn’t it? It turns out that the euro couldn’t turn Greeks and Italians into Germans, that cradle-to-grave welfare benefits have the same impact on the work ethic and productivity of millions of Europeans as they had on millions of Americans, and that “post-Christian Europe” was hardly a more-rational Europe.  
We can’t just shake our heads at the Europeans, however, not when our current president looks across the Atlantic and sees not a cautionary tale but instead a model for our American future. Name one Obama administration policy goal that wouldn’t make us more European. From nationalized health care to more “progressive” taxation to state/corporate ownership models to a shrinking defense, every significant policy choice is dragging us closer to the model that is collapsing before our very eyes. Does he think that Americans are better at being French than the French?... 

Read the first paragraph again.  Is there anywhere in the world that socialism would have a better chance than in Western Europe?  Socialism when introduced tends to chip away at the economy.  If you start with a robust economy, you have a fair amount of time until the chickens come home to roost.

Republicans lead in generic Poll

Republicans hold a seven-point lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, May 12. 
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 38% would choose the Democrat instead. This gap is much larger than it has been for the past three weeks when Republicans led by three but is consistent with the level of support the GOP has been earning since early March.
The House will remain Republican, the Senate will go Republican and the Romney will beat Obama.

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