Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Quiet Californians

Pajamas Media ^ | 10/02/2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

The Obama Paradox

No state has suffered the last four years as much as has California --- given that its progressive governor and legislative majorities serve as force multipliers for the Obama national agenda. We live in a 2X Obama state. And it is desirous for twelve or sixteen, not just four, more years in Washington.
The bluest state is polling at a 20 to 24 point lead for Barack Obama. Who cares that it is struggling with nearly 11% unemployment and facing a $16 billion budget shortfall? What does it matter that its public schools rated variously from 45th to 49th in the nation and that it is home to one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, forty percent of the nation’s illegal aliens, and the largest prison population in the country? If Ohio supposedly has a million Obama-phones [1], I shudder to wonder how many are in California.
Bleak? But such stats do not necessarily translate into the bad life for those Californians who vote --- a least in comparison, I suppose, to Minnesota’s winters, Mississippi’s rate of welfare payouts, Baltimore’s streets, or Mexico’s police. We are living on the fumes of natural wealth and a century of prior investment by some pretty hard-working and far-sighted long dead Californians; and it takes a long time to screw all that up.
Indeed, the state’s voting population accepts the status quo: the growing underclass expects entitlements always to grow even greater; state employees are more than happy with in-the-future-unsustainable benefits and packages; and the coastal elite have enough money that they do not care whether they have to pay a bit more to subsidize others and create tranquility in their anointed souls. Meanwhile, California is clear and 78 degrees without humidity — in late September.
Fiddling While…
In other words, we are a happy-go-lucky, sunny Greece around 2004 before the fall — a Mykonos or Rhodes with a German ATM machine. Those sourpusses in the private sector who are not happy and not rich either have left or contemplate leaving — or hide and hope the scanning, red-eye gaze of Sauron in the dark tower at Sacramento passes them over, at least on this latest sweep. As one of my local critics told me, “Get over it!” and “You’re just jealous” — and, my favorite, “Why not leave, then?”
Two miles away someone found a corpse a while back in a small Selma park that was once lovely; in high school I once helped to plant trees there. The murdered? No biography, no name, no details of the deceased. I suppose someone brought him to the morgue, and some next of kin went to the coroner’s office. End of story. Forty years ago it would have been front-page news; today it is not even a footnote [2]. The anonymous and unknown killer? I suppose I pass him often on the way into town. The point is that corpses now just show up out here, cars are found abandoned in vineyards, and dogs wander around without owners, all as the new normal. The quietist tiptoes around it — given that those who caused the conditions who spawned the chaos are usually far away in the Berkeley Hills or Newport Beach.
More Money
This November the California voting public is poised to raise state income taxes [3] on the top earners to over 12%, ensuring that the state’s rates top both Hawaii’s and Oregon’s. With sky-high sales and gas taxes, Californians are already the highest-taxed in the nation. The state’s schools and infrastructure are among the very worst. In the old days, one might write, “Despite high taxes, California public schools are poor.” But we are getting to the point in California where quietists say, “Because of high taxes, schools are.…” Or: “Due to high taxes, schools are….” More money, not reform, is always the answer and therefore there is never reform.
When the UC chancellor writes alumni that without a new tax hike “higher education itself is imperiled,” don’t assume that he means the UC diversity czar and his horde of $100,000 per year assistants are slated for lay-offs. He means instead that students will pay more fees and the French or classics department may be shut down. (And no, reader, there is no irony here: the targeted French professor never makes the connection that his job is in the cross-hairs because there is a new bureaucracy to figure out how Berkeley is racist by having Asians “overrepresented” four-fold, whites slightly underrepresented, and Latinos in much smaller numbers on campus than their percentages of the state population.)
Failure Is Very Much an Option
We know what would save the state’s public schools — a return to grammar and syntax, reading, history, math, science, and the elimination of the entire therapeutic, multicultural, and politically correct curriculum. But we, the quiet ones, also know that to reset schools would evoke such outcry that it is not worth the effort — take the Wisconsin mess and treble it here. The rich who designed and hence ruined the K-12 public schools avoid them; the middle class seeks to staff and run them; the poor both suffer in them and do their own smaller part to make things worse. (Cannot we also blame the gang-banger who sneers at the teacher while he uses his cell phone in class, or the 15-year-old girl who needs prenatal counseling, or the graffiti artist who destroys the bathroom?)
Why the disconnect between abject political failure and overwhelming public support for what is destroying the state? Silicon Valley is booming. Apple may become the wealthiest company in history. Google, Sun Microsystems, Intel, Yahoo, eBay, and Hewlett-Packard rack up billions in worldwide revenue. Chevron still has lots of oil and gas wells, and is redeveloping them at record prices. The California Rule: Liberals are quite conservative [4] in the way they make money. Apple cuts costs. Google lays off employees. Intel demands results. In an odd Obama-way, California businesses have an advantage: because they vote so liberally, they can do almost anything they please.
As long as someone wants an iPhone in Lima, and another in Mumbai sprinkles almonds on his rice, or a cash-flush Chinese provincial governor sends his only son to Caltech, things in California can go on for some time.
How do sane people, without great wealth that might provide exemption from all this, cope? They tune out. They psychologically drop out, in the manner of the ancient quietists of Athens in the 4th-century B.C. (the apragmones in search of hesuchia) who learned that one cannot fight the mob, but only seek to escape it. I bump into and talk with these latter-day quietists quite often. They are generally happy folk but have developed a certain psychological protocol by which to survive. The quietist trusts more the ancient wisdom in hallowed texts that warns democracy implodes when the masses finally assume absolute control and vote themselves entitlements that even the shrinking rich can no longer sustain. So they don’t get in the way between the mob and their entitlements.
Look on the Bright Side
If the state idles farm land, puts drilling off limits, and drives out business, the quietist accepts that those who do such things do them because they never affect the authors directly, and when in the future they do, they will cease and desist — and it will be mostly too late. He assumes that the whiners at the $4 a gallon gas pump never make the equation that there may be 30 billion barrels in untapped oil 150 miles away, right off the California shore. (Instead, “they” rigged the prices.) The quietist assumes that few connect the horrific highways to an incompetent state whose highest gasoline taxes in the nation have translated into some of the country’s worse roads, or to the drivers who customarily lose brush, limbs, and mattresses from their trucks, shutting down lanes for hours.
No matter – the quietist adjusts and drives at weird hours, as if he were some owl or nocturnal beast; it is not that hard to live a life pretty much opposite of what the majority does. There are plenty of quietists who can advise you. They are experts on how to navigate in a beautiful but otherwise insane state. Ask a tree-cutter, small garage owner, custom tractor driver, or self-employed tile setter — they all have advice on how to survive. Usually, however, they end with something like, “Of course my kids should get a state job.” In 1960, rare state employees were noble folk who were willing to make less for job security and a sense of public service; today they are lotto winners who hit the jackpot.
Empty States within a State
The Coast Ranges and the vast Sierra — outside a Yosemite or Tahoe — are as empty as Alaska. For all the Sierra Club protestations, few Marin County lawyers visit the upper San Joaquin River. They just wish no one else would as well. Although the mountain beauty is within an hour of greater Fresno’s million, apparently the Hondas and Camrys of the deprived poor can’t make up the grade, so the Sierra remains a haven for the quietist. In fact, one can drive to Cayucos on the coast, or Florence Lake in the High Sierra, or anywhere above Sacramento, and see almost no one. And to prevent insanity, the quietist keeps reminding himself, “Is such beauty, such weather, such solitude not worth a 12% premium on your income, or an hour a night to teach your child what she did not learn in school, or a little vigilance to mostly avoid what Los Angeles has become?” I am currently computing the cost of losing copper wire in all my pumps versus seeing the sun all of October. In California, one comes at the expense of the other.
The quiet Californian assumes that each year a new regulation, a new tax, a new something will seek him out. I read the “State Franchise Tax Board” print as I do the hate letters or emails I receive — incoherent, threatening. This year I got a letter from the state explaining that based on my income they “estimated” that I must have used the Internet to buy x-amount of things and therefore did not pay state sales taxes. Thus, they suggested that I should pay them around, say, $600.
Another such letter came from the Ministry of Revenue yesterday. The state says I have a house in the mountains and therefore may some day require auxiliary state fire protection and therefore should send them, say, $150 — or else!
Note that I pay local taxes to fund county and municipal police and fire. I give generously to the local volunteer fire department. (Would the state send someone in East L.A. some such letter, saying that because they live in an area that often requires the intervention of state law enforcement and SWAT teams, they should send in $150 protection money?) There is never any contract, warning, law — only a need for cash that justifies such confiscation.
So quietist Californians expect about every six months a new fee, dreamed up by a government employee who is paranoid that the state retirement system is broke, and with it his pension. The state employee is now entrepreneurial: without a certain number of traffic tickets written, without a certain number of new fees dreamed up, salaries and benefits dry up. I touch my rural mailbox as I do metal after skidding on a new carpet — a sort of static feeling of anxiety about what new state directive is inside.
I pick up the local paper: it has become a litany of rapes, murders, gang shootings, and molestations, peppered with drunk-driving fatalities and the uninsured and unlicensed who maim and kill routinely. The lurid tales of crime seem almost as if they come from a Sao Paulo suburb or the outskirts of Johannesburg. Yet the more violence, the more worry about insensitivity. So there is a general rule: the name of the driver, the killer, the robber, or the rapist arrested is rarely initially disclosed, much less his biography or photo — as if these are just random stats that can offer no higher wisdom. No worry — there is an answer to our world of Mad Max. Governor Brown will borrow $200 million for high-speed rail.
I note that an exception in California is the marquee universities.
A Stanford, for example, is home to elites and therefore it must be crime-free, so they often send out life-saving “alerts” that pop up in your email when a male has groped, attacked, or threatened a co-ed on campus. Oddly, the descriptions are graphically explicit: even though we are dealing with suspects — not the arrested. And so the appearance, size, and ethnic profile of the supposed attacker are provided in great, politically incorrect detail. One thing about liberalism: it takes care of its own.
Quietists of the State, Unite!
The quietist assumes that his vote for president does not matter and won’t in the state for the next century. He assumes that whom he votes against for governor will win, and that his legislator will either be opposed to everything he believes or, if he is not, will be equally as irrelevant — and yet in homage to the state, he keeps voting religiously and laughing about it with other quietists.
Quietists have become bystanders, now marginalized to be sure, but also convinced that the relevant ones are, in history’s cruel calculus, quite unhinged. I have a confession: I like the quietists of California. I see them every day. They keep chugging away — and their spirits keep me going.

Benghazi Was Obama's 3 a.m. Call

online.wsj.com ^

Libya was a failure of policy and worldview, not intelligence.

Why won't the Libya story go away? Why can't the memory of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and his staff be consigned to the same sad-and-sealed file of Americans killed abroad in dangerous line of duty? How has an episode that seemed at first to have been mishandled by the Romney camp become an emblem of a feckless and deluded foreign policy?

The story-switching and stonewalling haven't helped. But let's start a little earlier.
The hour is 5 p.m., Sept. 11, Washington time, and the scene is an Oval Office meeting among President Obama, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi has been under assault for roughly 90 minutes. Some 30 U.S. citizens are at mortal risk. The whereabouts of Ambassador Stevens are unknown.
What is uppermost on the minds of the president and his advisers? The safety of Americans, no doubt. So what are they prepared to do about it? Here is The Wall Street Journal's account of the meeting:
"There was no serious consideration at that hour of intervention with military force, officials said. Doing so without Libya's permission could represent a violation of sovereignty and inflame the situation
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...

The Narrative in London (Why Romney will win big)

Pajamas Media ^ | 10/02/2012 | Roger Kimball

At a dinner party in London Saturday, I was asked to say a few words about the upcoming presidential election in the United States. All of the guests were what my friend Otto Penzler calls “politically mature,” i.e., they regarded Barack Obama with varying degrees of fear, loathing, and distaste. But they had also, most of them, imbibed deeply of The Narrative: the fairy tale dispensed by virtually all the legacy (formerly known as “the mainstream”) media that Obama was as sure a thing to win as was possible to discover in this mutable sublunary world.
There was some surprise (not to say incredulity), then, when I repeated my frequent refrain [1] (like a broken record [2]) that I thought Mitt Romney would not only win but win big. I was not surprised by the wonder with which my prediction was greeted. The Narrative, nearly seamless in the United States, is positively monolithic in the UK. And there is this difference: in the U.S., the idea that Barack Obama has the election sewn up, while assiduously disseminated by the media, is at least treated to some of the skepticism it deserves by a large and vibrant dissenting commentariat, to whose mast your humble correspondent proudly nails his colors. That is one reason that, although you’ll rarely hear a peep of dissent on the “major” networks or politically correct organs like The New York Times, there is nevertheless a strong and indeed growing current of contrary sentiment, broadcast by venues like PJ Media but underwritten by a vast electorate that is seething with discontent over the top-down, socialist, spread-the-wealth-around policies of our handsome but shockingly incompetent president.
It’s the latter that matters: what people like me (whatever their political persuasion) say is of interest only as a more or less accurate thermometer. The heat, the actual evidence of life, is produced by a pulsing body politic that goes about its business utterly unconcerned by what pundits say.
This is as it should be but it is not, I think, as vividly appreciated as it should be. Hence the surprised skepticism that greeted my announced confidence that Romney would win. “But all the polls say Obama will win,” came a chorus of objection.
Ah, the polls. I pointed out, as I have often pointed out here, that polls are often fragile, unreliable constructs: more the product of hope than the evidence of fact. I mentioned that Democrats are typically oversampled, that most polls (Rasmussen is an exception) canvass registered rather than likely voters, and that in general the whole scenario or context in which poll data is being assembled is predicated on 2008 patterns of turnout and voter enthusiasm.
Need I observe that the situation in 2012 is very different from what it was in 2008? In 2008, Barack Obama outraised his rival by at least 3 to 1. (He officially raised $771 million to John McCain’s $239 million; the actual discrepancy was even bigger.) The autumn of 2008, remember, marked the beginning of the most shattering economic crisis the world has seen since the Great Depression: Obama came to town promising to change all that. Meanwhile, his opponent temporarily suspended his campaign “to deal with the economic crisis,” selected an astoundingly inappropriate running mate (much though I admire her personally), and generally ran the most anemic, unfocused campaign in recent memory. Obama also had the tremendous advantage of novelty: America’s first black (well, half-black, but good enough for government work) president! How that warmed the cockles of every liberal heart. And remember, too, how unpopular George Bush and the war in Iraq were. Obama was going to change all that too. He was going to make the seas stop rising and “heal the planet [3]” (how emetic it seems now!). The moment he was inaugurated, he said [4], “Muslim hostility” would ease. (I wonder what Chris Stevens’s family thinks of that?) Take a look at the footage of Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech [5]: has anything closer to the intoxication of Nuremberg been seen in American politics?
How different it all is now. For one thing, Obama now has a record — not a good or inspiring record, but we at last have something concrete to judge him by. We now know that about the only promise he has managed to keep is to make the price of energy “skyrocket.” Yes, he’s done that all right. Even as he refused the Keystone pipeline and drilling permissions around the country, the price of gasoline has gone from an average of $1.85 a gallon to something north of $4.00. He promised, if only we gave him the $780 billion “stimulus,” he would have unemployment down to 5.6 percent by 2012. Reality check: it’s about 8.3 percent. Twenty-three million people are unemployed or underemployed. He promised to halve the annual deficit in his first term; it’s still something like $1.4 trillion. The federal debt clock, in an occurrence of grim poetic justice, ticked over to $16 trillion as the Democratic National Convention convened in Charlotte earlier this month to nominate the most left-wing and stunningly incompetent president in our history to another term. (Remember when David Axelrod, in 2005, said that it was “madness [6]” for Bush to add $3 trillion to the federal debt in four years? Obama managed to add more than $5 trillion in only three and a half years.)
Well, I went on like this for a while. I don’t know that I convinced anyone, though I do have a bet for lunch with one of the guests. I am even now deciding where I might like to be taken. Maybe, had the party been a few days later, I would have been more convincing. I just had confirmation of something I have long suspected: that only a small percentage of those canvassed by pollsters bother to respond. How small? Only 9 percent [7]. I, and probably you, too, are part of the proud 91 percent who give them the brush off.
One of the morning papers today asks whether Mitt Romney can overcome his “slump” in the polls in the upcoming debates. A more pertinent question is whether Barack Obama can overcome his disastrous record on both domestic and foreign affairs by repeating his seductive clichés. I think the answer is no.
Article printed from Roger’s Rules: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2012/10/01/the-narrative-in-london/
URLs in this post:
[1] frequent refrain: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2012/09/22/president-dukakis/
[2] broken record: http://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2012/09/17/newtons-first-law/
[3] heal the planet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2pZSvq9bto
[4] he said: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/09/14/FLASHBACK-Obama-The-Day-Im-Inaugurated-Muslim-Hostility-Will-Ease
[5] footage of Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQGsP8mnHsg
[6] madness: http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/david-axelrod-in-2005-adding-three-trillion-to-th
[7] 9 percent: http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/09/30/we-are-the-91-only-9-of-americans-cooperate-with-pollsters/

Property Owners Face a New Surtax [ObamaCare tax]

The Wall Street Journal ^ | September 29, 2012 | Investing Basics

The housing market may indeed be recovering, as many experts suggest, but investors are still struggling to understand what, if any, taxes they'll owe upon selling their homes.
At issue is how the new "Medicare tax" will apply to real-estate transactions.
Passed in 2010 to help fund the health-care overhaul, this 3.8% surtax kicks in next year on many forms of investment income—including some interest, dividends, rents and capital gains.
While its effect on home sales won't be as far-reaching as many fear, the Medicare tax could pack a punch for certain investors. It is not a sales tax. And it won't apply to home-sale gains excluded from income under current law. But it could affect investors with outsize gains or gains from the sale of a vacation home or investment property.
Determining whether you will be subject to the tax is no easy matter.
"The confusion lies in the fact that it's not a yes or a no," says Melissa Labant, director of tax for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. "It's a sometimes or a maybe."
"We're waiting for guidance from the IRS on a lot of specific issues," she adds. "We don't have all of the answers yet."
Here's what we do know:
The new tax will hit individuals with more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income, and married couples with adjusted gross income above $250,000 ($125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately). These thresholds are not indexed for inflation, so more people may be affected over time.
Specifically, the tax will apply to either your net investment income or the amount that your adjusted gross income exceeds the threshold—whichever is less.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...

Romney Campaign May Sue to Guarantee Wisconsin's Military Voters' Ballot Access

MacIver Institute ^ | October 2, 2012 11:48 AM | MacIver News Service

State Election Officials Downplay Errors by Municipal Clerks

[Madison, Wisc...] The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board could be facing a lawsuit because 30 municipalities failed to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters, a mistake a GAB official downplayed Tuesday afternoon.
"The Department of Justice will file a lawsuit when UOCAVA [Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voter Act] is violated, and we've been in contact with them about Wisconsin and other states," Ryan Williams, spokesperson for the Romney campaign told the MacIver News Service. "If the Department of Justice does not act, we're willing to file the paperwork with the courts to ensure military members are able to vote and have their votes counted."
The Romney campaign has been monitoring UOCAVA compliance across the country, and not just battleground states. Violations were also discovered in Vermont, Mississippi and Michigan.
The campaign was paying close attention to Wisconsin, in particular, because the state has been in trouble before because of UOCAVA problems. Only six months ago, a Federal Court entered a consent decree against Wisconsin and the Government Accountability Board for similar violations
"That's why our campaign looked at Wisconsin and requested information from the Government Accountability Board about the military ballots," Williams said. "We made a FOIA request from the GAB in mid-September, and the GAB dragged its feet."
The Romney campaign did not receive any response until after the 45-day deadline passed. Campaign officials wanted to know about ballot requests before the deadline, so action could be taken to keep Wisconsin in compliance with federal law.
When the campaign finally received a spreadsheet from the GAB and saw more than two dozen municipalities failed to meet the deadline, it sent a letter from former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, on Monday.
"According to multiple independent studies, the full 45-day period is necessary, due to delays in international mail, to ensure the effective voting rights of military voters stationed overseas. A period of less than 45 days does not allow sufficient time for members of our armed forces to receive, complete, and return their absentee ballots," Principi wrote. "Your office's violations therefore may deprive service members of their fundamental right to vote."
Williams said the campaign had not received a response from the GAB as of 11:30 am (CST) on Tuesday. The GAB also did not respond to a request for comment by MNS, but did provide the spreadsheet it sent to the campaign indicating the municipalities that failed to comply and a tally of affected overseas voters.
By the GAB's calculation, 39 voters may not be able to receive their ballots and turn them back by the current statutory deadline.
"It doesn't matter what the number is," Williams said. "We're making sure every ballot counts." According to the GAB, the following municipalities missed the 45-day federal deadline:
The State of Wisconsin actually has a tougher requirement. It has determined ballots should be sent 47 days prior to the election. The GAB indicates that the following municipalities missed that deadline, but complied with the federal 45-day requirement:
On Tuesday Morning, GAB Spokesperson Reid Magney emailed the MNS a database and explained the excel spreadsheet as: "The first tab is all the responses to our survey. The second one is the munis who missed the 47-day state deadline. The third tab is the munis who missed the 45-day federal deadline."
Hours later, we received another statement from the GAB spokesperson that appeared to minimize the impact of the mistakes. We print Magney's new statement in it's entirety:
"There is a difference between sending out ballots 45 days before the election, and the ballots having 45 days of transit time (because the ballots can get back by the Friday after the election).
"All but six ballots were sent out with 45 days of transit time.
"Of the six, five were emailed to the voters, so they received them immediately. The sixth voter is in basic training in Georgia, and his ballot was sent to him by mail on October 1. He did not have an email address. He also received information about how to use the new MyVote.WI.gov site to receive an absentee ballot immediately online.
"Our office has been diligent in following up with the clerks who failed to meet the deadlines.
"We have identified 6,120 military and overseas voters in our system (3,740 military, 2,380 overseas). As of Sept. 20, we had 4,288 military and overseas voters from 731 municipalities who made requests for absentee ballots.
"Overall, we have absentee ballot requests from 71,347 voters in 617 municipalities who use SVRS to track absentee ballots. There are a total of 1,851 municipalities."
These developments are in addition to news, first reported by of the MacIver News Service last week, that the Federal Voter Assistance Program was providing Wisconsin service members the incorrect deadline by which their ballots must be received in order to be counted during the general election in November
The Department of Defense is scrambling to undo any damage caused when the Federal Voting Assistance Program provided the wrong absentee ballot deadline to Wisconsin service members. Also in Washington, DC, House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, (R-Calif.) took action to ensure that the voting rights of military and overseas voters are protected, including sending a staff attorney to meet with state election officials here.

On the Debates

Townhall.com ^ | October 2, 2012 | David Limbaugh

Mitt Romney must use the debates to spotlight President Obama's disastrous record -- with no mercy.
Let's just consider a few major points Romney must make on domestic issues.
Obama's record and his agenda for a second term are a target-rich environment. Unless the majority of voting Americans have decided to embrace Obama's vision of a fundamentally changed America -- an America that barely resembles the freest, most prosperous and mightiest land in world history that we have come to adore -- then Obama will experience a crushing defeat in November.
Indeed, Romney should be unafraid to point out that Obama's thinking is out of step with the American idea. He should demand that Obama explain why he has so little confidence in the private sector and free markets to generate economic growth.
Romney mustn't dare understate his case; he cannot pull any punches in describing the gravity of our national predicament and in drawing the sharpest contrast between his agenda and Obama's record and plans for the next four years.
I am convinced that for a number of reasons, far too many Americans don't realize how damaging Obama's policies have been and how dangerous his continued presidency would be for the future of this nation.
Romney must not let Obama get away with claiming that he and other Republicans don't care about minorities or the poor -- and explain that his pro-growth message is for all Americans, irrespective of race, gender or one's income level.
Romney must turn that malicious charge right around on Obama, pointing out that he's the one who has been engaging in the politics of division and demonizing groups and sectors of our society. If Obama were truly dedicated to lifting up minorities and lower-income groups, he would be inspiring them with a message of hope and opportunity rather than promising them more government assistance, more food stamps and more cellphones.
Romney must be unafraid to point out that there is nothing compassionate about policies that harm the economy, diminish people's opportunities to work and become self-sufficient, and saddle future generations with crushing debt.
He must very clearly tie Obama and his policies to our current economic condition and note that it is irresponsible and unprecedented for any president to refuse to accept responsibility for his own policies.
Romney must show that we are destined for financial ruin if we don't change course and that Obama has given every indication he would not change course. When Romney is finished making his case, there should be no question in the voters' minds that he believes it is urgent that Obama be defeated.
This isn't rocket science. Romney should prove that Obama is the worst spender in the nation's history and ridicule Obama's claim that he is the most frugal president in the past 60 years.
Romney should tell the voters that though we are on a collision course for a Grecian-style financial catastrophe, our course is eminently correctable and that he and Paul Ryan have concrete workable plans to bring our budget into long-term solvency and restructure entitlements in a way that would preserve Medicare, protect those who are 55 or older and enhance options for those who are younger.
It's important that Romney take the offensive here and say that Obama has been disingenuous in telling the voters that Romney's plan would destroy, rather than save, Medicare. He must stress that it is Obama's policies that are guaranteed to destroy Medicare, because everyone acknowledges that unless the program is restructured, it will become insolvent. Yet Obama has not only obstructed the Republicans' realistic plans to reform entitlements and bring spending under control but also refused to come up with any plan on his own -- ever.
Nor must Romney allow Obama to persist with the lies that President George W. Bush's "two wars and tax cuts for the wealthy" caused our exploding deficits and debt. The tax cuts did not diminish revenue. Our problem is spending, and Obama has grown the debt at significantly more than double the rate of President Bush. Obama will have added almost $6 trillion to the debt in his first four years, compared with Bush's $5 trillion in eight years, which was plenty bad enough.
Romney must relentlessly press Obama on why he has been so cynically casual about his accumulation of debt and our impending financial train wreck. He must be explicit that an Obama second term would necessarily give us more of the same because he refuses to back away from reckless spending packages -- his jobs bill, his incessant demand for high-speed rail and greater infrastructure expenditures, his commitment to seemingly unlimited Solyndra-like projects, and his own budgets, which project deficits averaging $1 trillion a year in perpetuity.
Next, there are the minor matters of Obamacare, Obama's upcoming record tax hikes, his war on domestic energy and business, and his egregious foreign policy -- for starters.

We Live Under a Media Coup d’État

PJ Media ^ | 10/2/12 | Roger L Simon

Coup d’états come in a variety of forms.

Some are violent with arrogant colonels pointing forty-fives at the temples of their predecessors and blowing their brains out; others are stealthy with the citizens awakening on an ordinary morning to find their whole world has changed yet not a drop of blood has been shed.
The latter is what has happened in America.
We are the victims of a media coup d’état and are currently living under it.
You will see that clearly in evidence on Wednesday night when the debates commence, each one moderated by a member of the liberal media nomenklatura. It is under the guidance of this liberalism, under their own version of sharia, if you will, that the debates will be conducted and Mitt Romney judged.
This class, more than any, determined that Barack Obama should be president and they consequently will work more assiduously than any to assure his reelection, because a failure in that would be a serious, perhaps fatal, attack on their hegemony.
The coup would be in danger of a counter-coup. That can’t be allowed to happen. No facts, no events (Benghazi, Fast & Furious, endless unemployment, a healthcare fiasco) will get in the away or be allowed to be given serious credence.

And the rest of us sat outside, tweeting, blogging, hoping Charles Krauthammer would say something smart on Fox News or Rush would get his revenge. But the narrative is set. The coup has taken hold. It’s too late now — or is it? We live in a Media State.
(Excerpt) Read more at pjmedia.com ...

Is Obama Introducing National Socialism to the United States?

Powerline ^ | 10/1/12 | John Hinderaker

That is a big topic on which much can be said. The U.S. has dabbled in National Socialism before; elements of Roosevelt’s New Deal emulated Mussolini’s policies, and were implemented by men who made no secret of their admiration for Il Duce. But it has been a long time since anyone has seriously tried to turn the United States in a National Socialist direction.

Which is what Barack Obama seems to be doing. Consider his 983 executive orders, compared with George W. Bush’s 63. Or his extra-constitutional czars; or his illegal cramdown of bondholders in auto bankruptcies; or the explosion in warrantless wiretaps and the even greater explosion in federal regulations; or his “green energy” scams to distort the economy and enrich political cronies; or the recent revelation that the Obama family costs U.S. taxpayers something like twenty times what the British Royal Family costs its subjects. Or, more important, consider Obamacare, a classic top-down National Socialist program.

And then there is the matter of style. The cult of personality is central to National Socialism, and Obama is part of that tradition to a degree that is, frankly, creepy. Consider this Obama poster:
As many observers have pointed out, this sort of image is fundamentally at odds with the American political tradition. Which, I suppose, is a point in its favor if you are Barack Obama. Compare the Obama poster with this one, which celebrated Lenin at the height of his dictatorial powers. The resemblance is eerie:
(Excerpt) Read more at powerlineblog.com ...

The Obama Presidency - George Orwell's 1984 Redux

Freedom Works Blog ^ | October 01, 2012 | Aaron Goldenberg

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

Published during the Soviet Union's rise as a global superpower, George Orwell's 1984 offers a prescient window into the soul of the propaganda apparatus of a utopia dictatorship. While Barack Obama has yet to transform the United States from a constitutional republic, his effort to redesign Old Glory notwithstanding, enough similarities have arisen during his presidency and his campaign for re-election that it is worth taking notice. When reality is refracted through the prism of the state propaganda machine, we lose sight of who we are as a society.
Inhabitants of Orwell’s 1984 live in rat infested Victory Mansions and drink Victory Coffee that can generously be described as swill. The Ministry of Plenty allows them to purchase one pair of threadbare pajamas per annum. The Ministry of Truth re-writes historical news events and promulgates Newspeak, a language that seeks to confuse citizens into believing they are not living a dystopian nightmare.
Conservatives have long complained about an unfriendly press. More than ever before, the Obama administration and its sycophants in the media are driving an Orwellian dystopian narrative to distract voters from the true misery of the economy and the dangers that face the United States abroad. Reasonable people can debate whether Mitt Romney or the solutions he proposes offer a superior alternative to the policies of the present administration. In a free country with a free press, the American people are entitled to the unvarnished truth. Our ancestors fought a revolution to free us from imperial rule. The modern day Tea Party movement is a metaphorical revolution against the heavy hand of top down, one size fits all, centrally planned government from both Republicans and Democrats. If the strength of the regime is our ignorance, we will surely lose our freedom.
The Polls
The Department of Justice sued The Gallup Organization after Gallup expressed an unwillingness to publish polls favorable to the Obama administration. Polls commissioned and released by media organizations should be intended to inform the public on the state of the election. Instead, polls are commissioned to reflect a desired outcome and drive voter perception. Individuals polled should be chosen to reflect an accurate representation of voter sentiment. Instead, pollsters heavily weight their samples with Democrats to give the impression that there is a wave of support for President Obama and Governor Romney is losing the election. In the critical swing state of Ohio, pollsters weight their samples with as many as 10% more Democrats despite evidence that Republicans have requested 40% more absentee ballots than Democrats and Republicans are outpacing their own absentee ballot requests from four years ago. Misrepresenting polling data is significant because many news organizations cite the average of these poll results reported at RealClearPolitics.com. When the website UnskewedPolls.com reports these results without a Democrat polling bias, they report a 7% lead for Mitt Romney as compared to the 4% lead RealClearPolitics reports for Barack Obama as of this writing.
The Economy
While the media continues to criticize Mitt Romney for a comment he made at a fundraiser several months ago, one that is technically accurate, they ignore the fact that the labor participation rate is the lowest it has been in 25 years resulting in a real unemployment rate of over 11%. Since President Obama took office, gasoline prices have more than doubled and one out of every four homes is worth less than the value of its mortgage. Despite the passage of a nearly 3000 page bill President Obama promised would reduce health insurance premiums by $2500, they have risen by nearly 20%. Nearly nine million people are collecting disability payments and the number of food stamp recipients has more than doubled under President Obama's watch. It is no wonder that median household income is down 8%. With our economy in freefall, the Federal Reserve has been forced to monetize 3/4 of the $6 trillion in new debt President Obama has accumulated. Rather than focusing on the disaster that is President Obama's economic record, or President Obama's own remarks acknowledging a desire to see welfare recipients as a 'majority coalition', or even President Obama’s outright lies on 60 Minutes about not raising taxes or his admission of lying in his paid advertisements, the media chooses to focus on Mitt Romney's supposed missteps and other campaign minutia. It is no wonder that only 8% of Americans have a 'great deal' of trust in the media.
Terrorism and the Middle East - Libya, Egypt and Iran
A United States consulate is set ablaze and our ambassador is murdered on the anniversary of 9/11 in an act of terrorism White House spokesman Jay Carney referred to as “self-evident", a characterization the President of Libya and Secretary of State Clinton agree with, and President Obama professes to the United Nations that this was the result of an out of control mob upset with a video that was released months earlier. Since the attack, we have learned that the United States government knew that al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack within 24 hours, that Secretary of State Clinton hired a 'security' firm that agreed to send UNARMED! 'guards' to ‘protect’ a consulate in one of the most dangerous corners of the world and that United States Marines guarding our embassy in Egypt were not permitted to be armed with live ammunition. When engaging in such reckless behavior, President Obama ignored growing evidence of Arab radicalization in North Africa. In response to these attacks, reports have surfaced that President Obama is considering releasing the convicted mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb the tunnels leading to New York City and a federal building in lower Manhattan. To add insult to injury, President Obama has decided to give $450 million in NEW aid to Egypt despite evidence of Muslim Brotherhood connections to the Libya attack and after proposing a $129 million cut from the embassy security budget. While the Prime Minister of Israel draws literal red lines at the U.N. and his country hands out gas masks as Iran races toward becoming a nuclear power, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls 'little red lines' a political ploy. Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers continue to be killed in 'friendly' fire incidents in Afghanistan where the U.S. suffered the worst single day loss of air power since the Vietnam War as the Taliban destroyed eight Harreir jets while parked at an air base.
Lying has become the new normal among the Obama Administration and its allies. It has gotten so bad that FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe and conservative allies authored a letter expressing their outrage. At a recent Cato Institute Forum, Kibbe wondered rhetorically “how it is possible that so many diverse people can come together and create something that is better than themselves... when Barack Obama stood in front of Solyndra two months before it went bankrupt and said with a certitude that should disturb everyone ‘I know what is better’”. Orwell recognized that ignorance is power because it affords the government greater control. Barack Obama and his liberal allies recognize this too. To paraphrase Kibbe, freedom is the disintermediation of government control. Only with freedom of information is this possible.

USA Today editorial: This Libya mess sure does look like incompetence!

Hotair ^ | 10/02/2012 | Ed Morrissey

Has the national media finally decided to react to the false narrative peddled to it by the Obama administration on the assassination of a US Ambassador and the sacking of a consulate in Benghazi? Last night, CNN began using the term "cover-up," and today's editorial in USA Today wonders whether anyone in this administration knows what's going on at all:
Three weeks after an attack in Libya killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, we now know that it did not spring from a spontaneous protest, spurred by an anti-Muslim video, as the Obama administration originally described it. In fact, every aspect of the early account — peddled most prominently by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice — has unraveled.
Spontaneous? Hardly. The administration acknowledges that Ambassador Chris Stevens died in an organized terrorist attack, likely mounted by an Islamic extremist group and an al-Qaeda affiliate.
Without warning? Not exactly. Violence against Westerners had been escalating for months in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. In June, an improvised explosive device damaged a perimeter wall at the Benghazi compound. On Aug. 27, the State Department issued a travel warning, citing the threat of assassinations and bombings in both Benghazi and Tripoli. According to a journal found and described by CNN, Stevens himself was worried about safety.
Despite all those signals, the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi relied for protection on the young Libyan government and a small band of mostly private contract guards, according to news accounts. Fewer than 10 armed men, both Americans and Libyans, were in the compound when the attack began with gunfire and grenades on the 9/11 anniversary.
The Christian Science Monitor also wrote last night that this calls Barack Obama’s competence into question, although they tempered their analysis with the suggestion that this isn’t the Iranian hostage crisis redux:
“There are vulnerabilities [for Obama], for sure, that flow from the latest series of events. The questions that are resonating are about competency and whether there was too much nonchalance … about the security of our diplomats and our diplomatic missions,” says Mr. Miller, now a Middle East expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
Calling this new vulnerability on foreign policy “a clear shift in focus” on an issue where Obama seemed previously almost unassailable, Miller says, “Does it limit the president? Yes. But can it cost him the election? No.”
Until the Benghazi attack, Obama was considered to have greatly improved Democrats‘ standing with the public on issues of national security. He pledged to get Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and he did, he ordered many more drone attacks on militants in Pakistan than President George W. Bush did, and perhaps most important, a number of potentially devastating attacks on the US were foiled. …
But Benghazi casts doubts on the president’s preparedness for the uncertainties resulting from upheaval in the Middle East, says Miller. Moreover, he adds, the administration has a “messaging problem” in that there was a “clear effort at painting these events … in a way to make the administration’s response look more favorable.”
It’s clearly more than a “messaging problem.” Four Americans are dead, and as USA Today points out, it’s not as though no one could have predicted an attack on the Benghazi consulate. For one thing, it had been attacked before, in June of this year. The fall of Moammar Qaddafi, engineered in no small part by Obama himself, left a power vacuum in eastern Libya that allowed radical Islamist terror networks such as al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia to operate openly, even in the Benghazi region. And last but not least, the attack occurred on the anniversary of 9/11.
Why wasn’t the administration prepared to secure Ambassador Stevens and the consulate? How could they only have less than ten armed men defending that diplomatic mission on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in that particular corner of the world? And why did the White House, despite designating it a terrorist attack within the first 24 hours, spend more than a week afterward denying the obvious and lying about the nature of the attack?
One of the people in my Twitter stream (I can’t recall who now) remarked last week that it’s better to have incompetence than dishonesty in the White House. Unfortunately, those come as a pair, as we have seen in the aftermath of this terrorist attack.

Study: Obama's Spending Plan Raises Middle Class Taxes!

weeklystandard.com ^ | Oct. 2, 2012 | DANIEL HALPER

A new study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum finds that President Barack Obama's spending plan would raise taxes on the middle class. "[T]axpayers making as little as $30,000 will carry $1,500 more in taxes annually over the next 10 years," the study finds. Obama salutes
The significance of this study is that it contradict Obama's pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class. “If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes go up,” Obama said in 2008.

But if the American Action Forum study is correct, and if Obama is reelected, he will either break his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class or his commitment to balance the budget.

The study hinges on Obama's commitment to balance the budget by 2022. "[The] paper outlines the tax implications of the Administration's current spending plans. I compute the tax increases necessary to achieve primary budget balance by at least 2022 under a variety of assumptions on the mix of fiscal adjustment and breadth of tax increases across taxpayers," Holtz-Eakin writes in the study's executive summary.

(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...

At White House Request, Lockheed Martin Drops Plan to Issue Layoff Notices!

ABCNews.com ^ | October 2, 2012 | Mary Bruce and Jake Tapper

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin heeded a request from the White House today — one with political overtones — and announced it will not issue layoff notices to thousands of employees just days before the November presidential election.

Lockheed, one of the biggest employers in the key battleground state of Virginia, previously warned it would have to issue notices to employees, required by law, due to looming defense cuts set to begin to take effect after Jan. 2 because of the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — the so-called Super-committee, which was created to find a way to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade.

(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...

Blacks vote for Obama = not racist; Whites vote against Obama = racist!….Really?

Flopping Aces ^ | 10-02-12 | DrJohn

In 2008, 96% of black Americans voted for Barack Obama.

The current election has featured one continuous stream of racism from the left. Everything is racist.
Tavis Smiley put markers down early. O'Donnell at PMSNBC asserts that saying Obama plays golf a lot is racist. Even claiming Obama's plans didn't work is racist.
This is terribly one sided.
Black people in this country are nearly monolithic in their support for Obama and it is simply and completely racially based.
Van Jones say there is virtually nothing Obama can do to lose black voters
(via Town Hall)
Obama gets a pass on pretty much everything:

ARDMORE, Pa. -- Like many black Americans, Dorsey Jackson does not believe in gay marriage, but he wasn't disillusioned when Barack Obama became the first president to support it. The windows of his suburban Philadelphia barbershop still display an "Obama 2012" placard and another that reads "We've Got His Back." If Obama needs to endorse same-sex marriage to be re-elected, said Jackson, so be it: "Look, man -- by any means necessary."
With that phrase popularized by the black radical Malcolm X, Jackson rebutted those who say Obama's new stand will weaken the massive black support he needs to win re-election in November. Black voters and especially black churches have long opposed gay marriage. But the 40-year-old barber and other African-Americans interviewed in politically key states say their support for Obama remains unshaken.
It seems no matter how deep the disagreement:

"We can agree to disagree on gay marriage," Givens said, "and then I leave him alone."
Even Jay Z, who claims to support smaller government, supports Obama for one reason- because Obama is black

Despite his support for the President, Jay-Z’s “less government” viewpoint is more in line with Obama’s opponents on the right, such as Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who also calls for smaller government. But his stance on smaller government aside, Jay-Z is all in for the president’s re-election. “I support Barack because I gotta respect that sort of vision. I gotta respect a man who is the first black President ever,” he said. “To have that sort of vision and dream, I have to support that.”
Losers under the Obama regime?
(excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

Obama & Churchill

Polls Show Romney Gaining Ground, Winning Independents!

Breitbart ^ | Monday, October 1, 2012 | Mike Flynn

The final act of the presidential campaign opens today with two new polls showing the race between Obama and Romney tightening. New polls, released this morning, from ABC/WaPo and Politico both show Obama's lead nationally has been cut to two points, 49-47. Also, in both polls, Romney leads Obama among Independents by four points.

Obviously, if Romney is leading among independents by four, yet trailing overall by two points, both polls have probably sampled more Democrats. Indeed, the WaPo poll is D+5. This is a big improvement over past WaPo polls, which assumed that Democrats would have a bigger turnout than 2008's D+7 electorate....

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Johnny Cashless



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Making Sense

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The Help

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Dump The Chump

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Unbiased Polling

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Receding Tide

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Free Stuff

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Sen. Graham: Obama move on defense layoff notices 'patently illegal'

By Jeremy Herb - 10/01/12 02:45 PM ET

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says that he will do anything he can to block the Obama administration from reimbursing defense contractors for severance costs if the firms don’t send layoff notices to employees.

The Obama administration issued guidance Friday that said defense firms’ costs would be covered if they have to layoff workers due to canceled contracts under the across-the-board cuts set to take effect Jan. 2.

The layoff notices have become a politically charged issue because they could have come just four days ahead of the election because of a 60-day notice required by federal law for mass layoffs.

Graham and other Republicans were livid after the Obama administration issued the guidance on Friday telling contractors that their legal costs would be covered due to canceled contracts under sequestration, but only if they did not issue layoff notices before sequestration occurs — and before the November election.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure not one taxpayer dollar is spent reimbursing companies for failure to comply with WARN Act,” Graham told The Hill in a phone interview Monday. “That is so beyond the pale — I think it’s patently illegal.”