Thursday, August 2, 2012

Can't we all get along?

What’s New Today

Story number 1 is today's Signs of desperation.  #2 looks at why democrats and republicans can’t seem to work together.  #3 asks the question is Obama beating himself?  #4 has an interesting chart on the demographics of the Battleground poll released yesterday.  #5 may give you the answer as to why Harry Reid is speculating that Romney hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years.  It appears Obama has won elections by getting private information and then misrepresenting it.  #6 looks at the acrimony between the left and the right.  #7 relates how Progressivism is at war with the Constitution.  Progressives don’t like the Constitution.  It limits them.  #8 has two different takes on Chick-fil-A’s appreciation day.  

Today’s Thoughts
In a speech published on his website Thursday, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the ultimate goal of world forces must be the annihilation of Israel.
Economists expect that the economy added 95,000 jobs in July, which would be a slight improvement from the 80,000 added in June. They see the unemployment rate stuck at 8.2%.  We get the results on Friday so we can compare expect with actual. 
The Obama government keeps growing devouring everything in its path, requiring us to borrow $41,222 per second (approximately $2.5 million per minute) just to keep government running.
Michael Moore said: “I wouldn’t say I support him. I would say I will vote for him,” regarding President Obama.  You can feel the excitement. 

1.Signs of Desperation

Each plea for money from President Obama and his allies has become more urgent and desperate than the last.  His campaign’s chief operating officer said on Monday that “we’ve gotten our behinds handed to us.”  Vice President Joe Biden warned on the same day that Mr. Obama would lose if “the other side spends us into oblivion.”

Michele Obama worried aloud about waking up on election day “wondering if I could have done more.” And Al Gore, the former vice president, said victories by the “extremist fringe” would “spell disaster” for the country.The answer, according to all of them? A donation of $3 (or more) by midnight on Tuesday. (The e-mails don’t say “Pretty please!” — yet.)

The urgent and repeated appeals, sent to millions of Mr. Obama’s supporters via e-mail and text messages, are a vivid reminder that the president’s campaign is likely to raise significantly less than Mitt Romney and Republicans for the third month in a row in July.

Neither campaign has released their fund-raising totals for the month yet. They are required to report those totals to the Federal Elections Commission by Aug. 15….

The Obama campaign is starting to sound like NPR’s beg-athons. 

2.  Democrats won’t work with the Republicans

President Obama’s budget director told Congress Wednesday that automatic spending cuts will slash funding for 16,000 school employees, cut the U.S. Border Patrol and kick 100,000 children out of the Head Start program as the White House sought to up the political pain for lawmakers bickering over how to stave off the cuts.

House Republicans offered to cancel their August vacation and stay in town to work on a solution, but Jeffrey Zients,  acting director of the OMB, said the administration can’t deal with the Republicans until they agree to raise taxes on the wealthy.

That stance officially ties together the two biggest issues dominating Capitol Hill right now, both of which threaten to bedevil lawmakers through the end of the year: What to do about the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts, and about the automatic spending cuts, known in legislative-speak as “sequesters,” both of which kick in at the beginning of January.

“There are five months remaining for Congress to act. What is holding us up right now is the Republican refusal to have the top 2 percent pay their fair share,” Mr. Zients told the Republicans in an acrimonious hearing before the House Armed Services Committee. Hours later, the House officially rejected that stance in a bipartisan 256-171 vote to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts for a year. Nineteen Democrats sided with the Republicans….

It appears the Democrats have doubled their demands.  I thought it was the top 1%.  But this is vintage politics.  Democrats make a deal breaking demand of the Republicans.  They don’t want them to raise the taxes on the top 1% top 2%, they want it to be a campaign issue that distracts people from the economy, the deficit, the debt, etc. 

3.  Is Obama beating himself?

For some reason President Obama has us thinking of Marissa Mayer, Bill Ackman and Mark Zuckerberg.
"You didn't build that," Mr. Obama explained to the nation's entrepreneurs, and has been explaining ever since. He only meant to say we need government as well as private initiative, and who could disagree? This argument is anodyne, dispositive of nothing that is in dispute.

Of course, it also comes as a defense of policies that all run in one direction: bigger government, higher taxes. It comes against the background of a re-election campaign whose calculated aim is to portray a respected business leader as a criminal.

Ironically, it came in the same week his party in Congress was admitting paralysis to do anything for economic growth and demanding adventurous new actions from Ben Bernanke to reawaken the risk appetites of America's entrepreneurs and consumers….

Of course, it's healthy not to be overawed by the successes of others, and to remember the American institutions and policies that let entrepreneurship thrive. But if Mr. Obama lost the point in the soundbite that so bedevils his campaign, it's because his campaign doesn't have a point. 

Mr. Obama himself chose to lash his re-election bid to his tax hike for the rich. His tax hike isn't valuable to him because of the revenue it would raise (which isn't much). It isn't valuable to him because it somehow fits into his green-eyeshade management of the budget (neither he nor his party in Congress have shown much interest in managing the fisc).

His tax hike is only valuable to him because it nominates a villain for the campaign seasonthe greedy, undeserving, unpatriotic rich. It's valuable because it affords a rhetorical escape route when the subject of unsustainable spending comes up. He can talk about making the rich pay their "fair share," not about the chasm that would persist between spending and revenues, with or without his score-settling tax hike….

Obama is attempting to drive up Romney’s negatives, but he is doing the same thing to himself:   hence no movement in the polls for either candidate.  I believe the expression is he’s being “hoisted on his own petard.”

4.  Battleground Polls

The new CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac polls showing President Obama with big leads (and above 50 percent) in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio are causing a lot of groans among Republicans and elation among Democrats. In particular, Republicans object to the outsized number of Democrats in the sample. This has been a consistent theme among Republicans this cycle: looking at the party ID numbers and discounting polls that show substantial Democratic advantages. 

The numbers are way out of whack with reality.  

5.  Obama’s signature move:  Creating scandals out of sealed information

Mitt Romney presents one enormous problem for Barack Obama’s campaign: No divorce records. That’s why the media are so hot to get their hands on Romney’s tax records for the past 25 years. They need something to “pick through, distort and lie about” — as the Republican candidate says.
Obama’s usual campaign method, used in 100 percent of his races, has been to pry into the private records of his opponents. 

Democrats aren’t going to find any personal dirt on the clean-cut Mormon, so they need complicated tax filings going back decades in order to create the illusion of scandal out of boring financial records.
Romney has already released his 2010 tax return and is about to release his 2011 return. After all the huffing and puffing by the media demanding those returns, the follow-up story vanished remarkably quickly when the only thing the return showed was that Romney pays millions of dollars in taxes and gives a lot of money to charity. 

Let’s take a romp down memory lane and review the typical Obama campaign strategy. Obama became a U.S. senator only by virtue of David Axelrod’s former employer, the Chicago Tribune, ripping open the sealed divorce records of Obama’s two principal opponents….
Obama’s team delved into Sarah Palin’s marriage and spread rumors of John McCain’s alleged affair in 2008 and they smeared Herman Cain in 2011 with hazy sexual harassment allegations all emanating from David Axelrod’s pals in Chicago. 

It’s almost like a serial killer’s signature. Unsealed personal records have been released to the press. Obama must be running for office! 

So you can see what a pickle the Obama campaign is in having to run against a Dudley Do-Right, non-drinking, non-smoking, God-fearing, happily married Mormon. 

They’ve got to get their hands on thousands of pages of Romney’s tax filings so that the media can — as Romney says — lie about them. It will be interesting to see if Obama can pick the lock of the famously guarded IRS. 

This isn’t a fishing expedition.  It’s more like a baby seal hunt where Obama wants the chance to club the seals to death. 

6.  Understanding where the Left is coming from

…As Gary Kasselman and I argue in Waking the Sleeping Giant, the political struggle in this country is really a contest between two worldviews and two types of political character.  The grassroots conservative movement represents the Judeo-Christian worldview of mainstream America, with values of independence, personal responsibility, and respect for the rights of others.  This movement has promoted a newfound appreciation for the link between our Judeo-Christian heritage and our constitutional liberties.  If we are morally accountable individuals, then liberty -- within widely agreed-upon boundaries -- should be our natural state.  It is this worldview that underlies the conservative belief in limited and defined government. 

But the Judeo-Christian worldview, with its old-fashioned focus on personal responsibility, has gradually been pushed aside by a liberal worldview in our educational, news, and entertainment institutions.  The left's worldview offers self-esteem in place of self-discipline, entitlement in place of earning.  Just as showing up for the game merits a trophy, students at expensive law schools are entitled to contraceptives paid for by other people.  Schools dominated by the left teach children to feel good about their math skills even as math performance plummets.

Those immersed in the narcissistic institutions of the left would be expected to have difficulty appreciating points of view that differ from their own, or that challenge their ingrained sense of superiority.  And, if they become politically active, they would have difficulty recognizing any moral limits on their tactics because they are, in their own minds, intellectually and morally superior to their opponents.  The battle cry of the pampered campus radicals of the 1960s  -- "by any means necessary" -- echoes through the left's institutions today.

If our analysis is correct, then there is no need to look for deep psychological processes such as paranoid projection in order to understand the left's distorted view of grassroots conservatism; the left's accusations would be rooted more in their culture of narcissism than in paranoia.  After all, paranoid individuals believe their delusions; narcissists just lie in order to get their way.

Conservatives are understandably concerned with winning the 2012 election, but the long-term battle is for the cultural institutions that shape the character of our children and our citizens.

An interesting take on why there seems to be so much acrimony between the left and the right.  

7.  Progressivism’s war on the Constitution

Ted Cruz's victory in Tuesday's Texas Republican runoff for the U.S. Senate nomination is the most impressive triumph yet for the still-strengthening Tea Party impulse.

And Cruz's victory coincides with something conservatives should celebrate, the centennial of the 20th century's most important intra-party struggle. By preventing former President Theodore Roosevelt from capturing the 1912 Republican presidential nomination from President William Howard Taft, the GOP deliberately doomed its chances for holding the presidency but kept its commitment to the Constitution.

Before Cruz, now 41, earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude, he wrote his Princeton senior thesis on the Constitution's Ninth and 10th Amendments, which if taken seriously would revitalize two bulwarks of liberty — the ideas that the federal government's powers are limited because they are enumerated, and that the enumeration of certain rights does not "deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Both ideas are repudiated by today's progressives, as they were by TR, whose Bull Moose Party, the result of his bolt from the GOP, convened in Chicago 100 years ago Sunday — Aug. 5, 1912.

After leaving the presidency in 1909, TR went haywire. He had always chafed under constitutional restraints, but he had remained a Hamiltonian, construing the Constitution expansively but respectfully. By 1912, however, he had become what the Democratic nominee, Woodrow Wilson, was — an anti-Madisonian. Both thought the Constitution — the enumeration and separation of powers — intolerably crippled government.

Espousing unconstrained majoritarianism, TR disdained Madison's belief that the ultimate danger is wherever ultimate power resides, which in a democracy is with the majority.
He endorsed the recall of state judicial decisions and by September 1912, favored the power to recall all public officials, including the president….

The threat of progressivism is real and dangerous.  The idea of a living Constitution and the series of what appear to be unconstitutional Executive Orders by the current president show us where they want to take us.  Progressivism equals fascism without the death camps.

8.  Chick-fil-A Buycott stories

The Chick-fil-A appreciation day gave rise to a couple of stories.  First this from Mark Krzos published on his Facebook page.  

The media-news site reports on Facebook comments by Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press reporter Mark Krzos, who summed up his disgust as he covered Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day: "Such a brave stand ... eating a g-ddamn sandwich." [UPDATE: Krzos has taken his Facebook page down.]

"I have never felt so alien in my own country as I did today while covering the restaurant’s supporters. The level of hatred, unfounded fear and misinformed people was astoundingly sad. I can’t even print some of the things people said," he claimed. Then he bashed talk radio:

"It was like broken records of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and a recitation of half-truths and outright lies."

A friend asked: "And I bet they considered themselves christians. Don't know why these people don't take the advice of their spiritual teacher, Jesus whose name the religion contains....Could you ascertain what they're angry about, Mark?"

Krzos replied: "The President, Muslims, immigrants, poor people on welfare."
As for the unprintable comments, Krzos wrote:

You think "Fggt this" and "N-word" President that would fly? Not to mention that those who said those hateful things were -- excuse the pun -- TOO CHICKEN to give me their names when I asked for it....too bad there wasn't another reporter around to go with me and film it. I really wanted to do the interviews on camera while eating out of a bucket of KFC.

But Krzos employer didn’t publish anything from him on this story.  Instead this was the story that was published under Michael Braun’s byline. 

They came for free speech, they came for traditional values and they came for waffle fries.

Area Chick-fil-A stores were busy Wednesday as Southwest Florida residents came out in support, driven by remarks from company President Dan Cathy — “We are very much supportive of the family, the biblical definition of the family unit” — that sparked a controversy that has been simmering for the past few weeks….

…At the Cape Coral store at Pondella and Pine Island roads, owner Billy Cossette said his business was double the usual lunch crowd, and store manager Sandy Smith at the Colonial Boulevard store in Fort Myers said her outlet was very busy as well…
Those visiting Chick-fil-A fell mainly into two camps: those who supported Cathy’s right to speak his mind and others who promoted Cathy’s view of traditional marriage: between a man and a woman. There were no protesters of appreciation day in evidence at any of the local stores.

The free-speech supporters included Jerry Von Gruben, an attorney with Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, who said he learned of the appreciation day on Facebook.
“I’m here in support of Cathy,” he said in Cape Coral. “He has a constitutional right to free speech. It’s a private company and he can say what he wants.”…

I also went to Chick-fil-A yesterday in support of free speech and free enterprise.  I saw nothing like Krzos described, but I’ve attended numerous Tea Party gathering and never have heard any racists or hate-filled statements.  You can’t say something like what Krzos described didn’t happen as he may have found the one place in the country where it did.  Or you may conclude Krzos is stretching the truth beyond all recognition.

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