Monday, August 6, 2012

Anatomy of a Gaffe--Democrat style

AAA Reid's source 
AAA Romney's gaffes
What’s New Today

Story # 1 is the signs of desperation article for today.  #2 looks to see if Obama is suffering from Pseudologia fantastica.  #3 looks at the economy but this time from how it is letting Obama and the Democrats down.  #4 looks at Obama’s “You didn’t build that,” to analyze what he really meant.  #5 is a look around the globe to see how countries that tried stimulus are doing.  #6 is a story about Mia Love who is running for congress.  #7 is an update on China’s economy.  #8 reviews what happened to the Tea Party.  Is it dead or just changed?  Finally #9 looks at men and women and how they apologize differently.  

Today’s Thoughts

Actress and comedian Roseanne Barr won the presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party Saturday in Los Angeles.   She has selected Cindy Sheehan as her running mate.  

Dan Ariely of Duke University has done a study that shows both parties faithful are okay with lying if it promotes their candidates.  But for Democrats, this was a slightly more endorsed position than for the Republicans. So the Democrats are more willing for their politicians to lie to a higher degree than the Republicans.

Today’s Reagan Quote: 
"It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."

1.  Signs of Desperation

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign announced Monday that they had raised $101.3 million dollars in July.

The fundraising haul, from joint efforts between Team Romney and the Republican National Committee (RNC), marks the second straight month that they have passed the $100 million mark and is likely to intensify concerns among President Obama’s reelection team that they will be outpaced by the GOP’s fundraising push.

The July efforts leave the Romney campaign in strong shape with three months left until Election Day. The campaign, RNC and state party groups have $185.9 million cash on hand, said a statement touting the war chest…. 

The Obama campaign has pressed donors to rally, warning repeatedly that they could be outgunned before November, especially among outside groups backing Romney.
Obama is scheduled to host a series of high-dollar events in the coming weeks and has added additional fundraising events to his schedule. 

Last week Obama attended a fundraising dinner in New York City with 60 donors who contributed $40,000 each. Obama has also held many high-profile events on the West Coast, where the campaign hopes supporters in the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley will help close the fundraising gap….

Add to this that Obama’s campaign has spent a lot more money than Romney and has a higher overhead and you can see big trouble ahead for the Democrats after the conventions.

Update:  Obama announces they raised $75 million in July.

For the third straight month Obama and the DNC announced that they have raised significantly less than Mitt Romney and the RNC.  They in fact raised slightly less than 2/3 of what the Republican presumed nominee raised.  It also appears Obama will not be matching 2008’s fundraising totals.

2.  Does Obama suffer from Pseudologia fantastica?

Pseudologia fantastica is apparent when the patient (for lack of a better term) displays a compulsion to create innumerable fantastic stories, at the center of which the patient is always shown in a heroic light.  The patient will apparently create these stories that have at their heart a kernel of truth, and embroider them outrageously to show that they are brave, heroic, irreplaceable and so on. 
In a very mild form, this might even be just a case of "resume enhancement" that is seen day after day in almost every business, or listening to a guy in a bar after a few brews telling you how he actually "won the big game" with very little help from his high-school teammates.  It happens.  It's annoying.  It's usually harmless.
Of course, it's usually considered harmless unless the patient is "enhancing" his resume in order to become president of the United States.

Many others have looked at the validity of stories told in President Obama's memoirs, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, and found that kernel of truth.  They also found truckloads of fabrication and embroidery.  Even that erstwhile defender of all things progressive, The New York Times, has written in a review of David Maraniss' book (who incidentally is an employee of the other über-progressive east coast newspaper, The Washington Post) that admittedly there are significant differences between reality as we know it, and the reality that Barack Obama describes.  In the Times review, the author (Michael D. Shear) quotes Mr. Maraniss as saying:

... attributes some of the differences to the kind of family lore that is often exaggerated. He notes that the story about the death of Mr. Obama's step-grandfather - allegedly killed while fighting Dutch troops in Indonesia - was 'a concocted myth in almost all respects.' Mr. Maraniss writes that he died trying to hang drapes.

Exaggerated?  When is something that is "a concocted myth" classed as an exaggeration?  Sister Mary must have missed mentioning that when she was teaching about the Catholic ritual of confession for the forgiveness of sin while I was in grammar school. 

I can see how well that would go over when I told the priest in the confessional -- "Bless me Father, for I have not really sinned.  I didn't actually lie. I only created a 'concocted myth' ".
Yeah, I can see that selling like hotcakes...

Obama’s “concocted myths” have been exposed by Maraniss which is why the left doesn’t like his book. I believe they are clinging to their myths much as Obama accused people of clinging to their guns and religion. 

3.  How the economy is letting Obama down

Politico is featuring an amusing piece called “Obama’s 4 economic letdowns.” It wasn’t instantly clear to me who Politico believes is letting down whom. But it’s apparent from the article that Politico’s Ben White sees Obama as the victim.

Specifically, four forces are victimizing him: Congress, the Fed, the Europeans, and corporate America. At least Politico had the decency not to blame automated teller machines. 

Congress is to blame for our economic woes because it’s doing nothing about “fiscal cliff fears.” But what about Obama?  He has failed to propose a budget plausible enough even to garner any votes from Democrats. And not only did Obama reject the fiscal solutions proposed by his own bipartisan commission (Bowles-Simpson), he is now attacking an approach advocated by Mitt Romney that this very panel called for. 

Politico also laments the fact that the Fed won’t embark on fresh campaign of “quantitative easing.” But the Fed has been pumping money into the system throughout Obama’s tenure. Moreover, Obama claims that the economic situation has been turned around and that it’s just a matter of time until existing policies usher in happy days. If that’s the case, it would be reckless for the Fed to engage in even further “easing.”

As for the Europeans, Politico has a point. The U.S. economy is always influenced by what happens overseas. Long before “globalization,” Martin Van Buren saw three years of trying to cope with fallout from the Panic of 1837 go to waste when the European economy turned south in the run-up to the election of 1840. 

The banking policies of Van Buren’s party are generally believed to have helped cause the Panic of 1837, just as the housing policies of Obama’s party helped cause the recession of 2008. But at least Van Buren didn’t push the U.S. to adopt policies that led to Europe’s economic woes. The same cannot be said for Obama….

What’s the old Pogo line?  “We have met the enemy and they are us.”  Sounds like a fit for Obama’s woes.

4.  What Obama really meant

President Obama must surely wish he could undo the campaign speech  he delivered in Roanoke, Va., on July 13. That was where he offered up the view that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.” It is a line that could haunt him right to November, revealing as it does an unwillingness to credit success and a hostility toward the culture of entrepreneurship. But the remark came in the context of a broader argument that was just as telling on a different point, and no less troubling.

After laying out his plans to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, the president said this to his audience:

You know, there are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, Well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, “You know what, there’s some things we do better together.” That’s how we funded the GI Bill, that’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet, that’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president, because I still believe in that idea: You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.

This remarkable window into the president’s thinking shows us not only a man chilly toward the potential of individual initiative, and not only a man deluded about the nature of his opponents and their views, but also (and perhaps most important) a man with a staggeringly thin idea of common action in American life.  

The president simply equates doing things together with doing things through government. He sees the citizen and the state, and nothing in between — and thus sees every political question as a choice between radical individualism and a federal program.

I do believe this is a window into the president’s thinking, but the technique he used (creating a strawman) is one he commonly uses.  He always divides a choice into two extremes and he is always the voice of moderation.  In fact, his campaign is attempting to do this with Mitt Romney as he tries to define Romney as an extreme. 

5.  More Stimulus equals lower growth

Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.

It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus. 

The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%)….

…If you believe, as I do, that the macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts, then stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers). 

Often as not, the qualification for receiving stimulus funds is the absence of work or incomesuch as banks and companies that fail, solar energy companies that can't make it on their own, unemployment benefits and the like. Quite simply, government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment.

Yet the notion that additional spending is a "stimulus" and less spending is "austerity" is the norm just about everywhere. Without ever thinking where the money comes from, politicians and many economists believe additional government spending adds to aggregate demand. You'd think that single-entry accounting were the God's truth and that, for the government at least, every check written has no offsetting debit…

This morning I was looking at our plants on the patio.  We have an automatic watering system and some of the plants looked withered.  My wife thought we needed to water them more.  However we have a water meter and putting it in where the withered plants were showed not that we needed water, but they we had too much water.  I think this is analogist to what is going on with the left and the right.  The withered economy tells the left that it needs more stimulus, while the right sees that as a sign of too much stimulus.   

6.  Mia Love for Congress

Mia Love is a former mayor, avid runner, mother, and has a penchant for straight talk. She also stunned the political world with her meteoric rise to success. There are sure to be comparisons to another conservative woman leader.

Love is running against Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson for Utah’s 4th district congressional seat. In response to last week’s news that for the 42nd consecutive month unemployment is above 8 percent Love said, “Jim Matheson has repeatedly touted his vote for the stimulus. Yet, here we are, three-and-a-half years later, and the unemployment rate is the same as it was when Matheson fell in line with the rest of the big-government Democrats to pass Barack Obama’s stimulus scheme. Jim Matheson and Barack Obama’s stimulus plan has done nothing but add to the mountain of federal debt that Washington’s reckless spending has left for Utah’s future generations.”
Due to Love’s charisma and the potential for Republicans to gain another seat in the House the race has caught the attention of conservatives from across the country. After hosting a fundraiser for her campaign, Rep. Paul Ryan said, “Mia has a great opportunity to extend the message of liberty and economic freedom in ways that a lot of us can’t, and we’re excited about that.”

Love was born in Brooklyn, NY to immigrant parents from Haiti. The family eventually moved to Connecticut, where Love attended the University of Hartford. While in school, she met her future husband, Jason, who was in Connecticut on a mission trip. After graduating, they married and moved to Utah.
In Utah, Love served two terms on the Saratoga Springs city council. After serving during a time of economic downturn and making tough financial decisions to keep the city running, Love was elected as mayor.

The 2010 election ushered in a fantastic group of conservatives like Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Allen West, Raul Labrador, and Sean Duffy. With leaders like Mia Love on the horizon, 2012 is sure to bring about an even more energized freshman class to Congress….

She is an exciting candidate who has the support of the Tea Party, but she is also black.  So does that mean if you are a democrat and you vote against her you are a racist? 

7.  China Companies report lower profits or losses

Chinese companies are warning they will be reporting either losses or declining profits for the first half.  Corporate results are forcing stock markets down and pointing to a contraction in the country’s economy.

China Rongsheng Heavy Industries, China’s largest private shipbuilder, lost 19% of its value when it issued a profit warning at the end of last month.  Yards in the country are in a terrible state—the industry’s orders for new vessels in May were half of what they were a year earlier—yet Rongsheng’s poor prospects had largely been discounted.  The company’s shares tumbled not only because it hadn’t announced any shipbuilding orders this year but also because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission implicated Zhang Zhirong, its chairman and founder, in an insider trading scheme relating to the acquisition of Canada’s Nexon by CNOOC, a unit of one of China’s state oil giants.

We can perhaps dismiss Rongsheng as an aberration, but poor results at other companies are indicative of the state of the country’s increasingly troubled economy.  Take China Cosco, for instance.  The Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of China’s largest shipping company warned that its loss in the first six months of this year would widen to at least 4.14 billion yuan ($648.8 million).  In the same period last year, the company was 2.76 billion yuan in the red.  China Cosco posted a loss of 2.69 billion yuan in Q1…

Why are there so many profit warnings now?  There is, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Tom Orlik, a “hypercyclicality” in profits caused by government-mandated “breakneck investment,” which resulted in “excess supply.”  As Sany’s Xiang Wenbo noted, Beijing’s past stimulus efforts were “abnormal” and “irrational.”

China is coming off its stimulus sugar high, and so margins are under pressure.  Profits, however, are just wonderful for companies in a few regulated industries, where Beijing essentially determines corporate results…

It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on China and this is extremely important.  One question you need to ask is what does this do for or to America. 

8.  What Happened to the Tea Party?

The Tea Party movement morphed from protest signs to campaign signs.
That's how a Texas Tea Party activist succinctly put it when I asked him what's become of the movement. He said, "We put down our protest signs, and picked up campaign signs."
He said that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's victory lap after passing Obamacare was a "wake-up call." It signaled that mass demonstrations would not bring significant changes. Change would only come through the ballot box.

Hearing the call, the Tea Party vacated the town squares and hit the streets where it began organizing for the long-term.

It was always a grassroots phenomenon, so no territorial shift was required.  And since it enjoyed little, or no, support from established GOP county structures, it didn't need to ask permission from the local GOP leadership, or accept its judgment as authoritative.

Consequently, the movement was largely a Greenfield Project, unencumbered by any pre-existing cadre of party hacks, as it morphed from event-driven protests to election-driven activism focused on supporting like-minded candidates.

Today, the local independence of Tea Party organizations remains, but communication between Tea Party organizations has continued to expand, in scope and sophistication. 

The absence of central planning is a key to its strength. Decentralization gives it operational flexibility, local ownership of decisions, and continuous learning as concepts are formally, and informally, shared between local organizations.  It's a network.

When James Carville recently said that the Tea Party was over, he knew better. He merely signaled what the progressive left of the Democratic Party, which now controls the party's agenda, fears most.  Progressives recognize that the Tea Party represents a more clear-and-present danger to their agenda than that posed by the go-along-to-get-along mentality within the GOP establishment, where politics as usual is usual…. 

2012 will be a huge victory for the Tea Party.

9.  Men and Women Apologies

… One of few scientific studies on the psychology of female versus male apologies determined that men are less inclined to apologize because they have a different threshold for perceiving offensive behavior; that is, that they don’t always get what they’ve done wrong until someone slaps them upside the head for it. If true, the flipside benefit is that a man is also less likely to demand an apology from a woman, because he has the same high threshold for perceiving a misstep by her as apology-worthy.

Disparities between female and male brains may also impact how apologies are shaped and delivered. Men tend to have proportionally more white matter in their heads, indicating a thick web of connections that strengthen organizational skills, spatial relations, and problem solving. But women are understood to have greater connectivity between the left side of the brain, where logic and facts are mostly processed, and the right side in charge of non-linear thought like creativity and perception. The flow of signals between left and right may explain why women are generally better at connecting emotions with language.
That’s the strength in Stewart’s apology: a direct link between what she did and her begging expression of regret. It says nothing of the trustworthiness of one gender over another, but women seem to deliver a more convincing “I’m sorry” once the deed is done.

Men and women are different and as a man I find the constant need by women to be apologized to confusing.

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