OOOHHH, Travelin Man

By: Toby Harnden

Barack Obama has already held more re-election fundraising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined, according to figures to be published in a new book.

Obama is also the only president in the past 35 years to visit every electoral battleground state in his first year of office.

The figures, contained a in a new book called The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, due to be published by University Press of Kansas in July, give statistical backing to the notion that Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than any other commander-in-chief of modern times.

Doherty, who has compiled statistics about presidential travel and fundraising going back to President Jimmy Carter in 1977, found that Obama had held 104 fundraisers by March 6th this year, compared to 94 held by Presidents Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.

Since then, Obama has held another 20 fundraisers, bringing his total to 124. Carter held four re-election fundraisers in the 1980 campaign, Reagan zero in 1984, Bush Snr 19 in 1992, Clinton 14 in 1996 and Bush Jnr 57 in 2004.

Doherty, a political science professor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has also analyzed presidential travel to battleground or swing states, which change and fluctuate in number with each election cycle.

In their first years in office, Carter visited eight out of 18 battleground states and Reagan seven out of 17. Bush Snr, Clinton and Bush Jnr all visited around three-quarters of battleground states while Obama went to all 15 within his first 12 months.

While the Obama’s campaign activities in office have been largely in line with historical trends, he is especially vulnerable to criticism because in 2008 he promised to change how politics works and to curb links with special interests.

Vowing in 2008 to ‘launch the most sweeping ethics reform in US history’ Obama said that if elected he would ‘make government more open, more accountable and more responsive to the problems of the American people’.

In his State of the Union speech in January, Obama bemoaned the ‘corrosive influence of money in politics’. The following month, he reversed course and announced he was allowing cabinet members and top advisors to speak at big money events for so-called super PACs – unaccountable outside groups raising money for his re-election.

During the 2008 election, Obama abandoned a pledge to opt for public funding of his campaign, instead opting to raise an unlimited amount privately. He then raised and spent approximately $730million, almost double the campaign funds of Senator John McCain, his Republican opponent.

Up to the end of March, Obama had raised $191.6million for his re-election bid, compared to $86.6million raised by his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. His frenetic fundraising activities are in part because he is lagging behind campaign expectations. Early last year, some advisers spoke privately of raising $1billion.

In his book, Doherty writes that in his first full month in office Obama visited Indiana, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and North Carolina – all battleground states – in 2012. ‘Clearly, the White House made a point of the president travelling to key electoral states early in his term in office.’

This week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) lodged a formal complaint with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) about alleged misuse of taxpayer money by Obama.

The Obama campaign dismissed the complaint as a ‘stunt’ and the White House said that it would follow the same rules as previous administrations and refund the appropriate amounts.

In the complaint, Reince Priebus, RNC chairman, wrote: ‘Throughout his administration, but particularly in recent weeks, President Obama has been passing off campaign travel as “official events,” thereby allowing taxpayers, rather than his campaign, to pay for his re-election efforts.’

Doherty, however, said that although the tactic of labelling Obama’s activities as fraud was ‘novel’ in reality the opposing party always complained about a president facing re-election dressing up political events as official ones.

‘This is not new. The Republican complaint is more of a situational complaint than a principled complaint because they certainly weren’t complaining when George W. Bush did this eight years ago.’

He added: ‘In 2004, President George W. Bush broke all records for presidential fundraising in terms of time devoted to fundraising and in terms of money raised and at the time Democrats hit him hard for that.

‘Obama has already surpassed Bush [Jnr] in numbers of re-election fundraisers, but not yet in money raised.’

The rising costs of campaigns, lower contribution limits, the breakdown of the public financing system, the 24/7 media environment and the professionalisation of campaigns had all led to successive presidents having to devote more and more time and energy to raising money.

He added that the ‘big picture’ was incumbent presidents fearing defeat. ‘Until 1976 [when Carter beat President Gerald Ford] no sitting president had been defeated for re-election since 1932. It had been 44 years.

‘And then three of the next four presidents who tried [Ford, Carter and Bush Snr] lost. Of all the presidents re-elected since Ford lost to Carter, only Reagan has won in a landslide. George W. Bush’s re-election [in 2004] was close, Clinton got less than 50 percent [in 1996]. There is a very keen sense among presidents that they really might lose.’

Kirsten Kukowski, an RNC spokesperson, said: ‘It’s no surprise that the Campaigner-In-Chief has taken raising money for his re-election to a whole new level. The worst part is the American taxpayer has been footing the bill.’ The Obama campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Joke of the Day

Don’t blame me for these:

When chemists die, they barium.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d
never met herbivore.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

PMS jokes aren’t funny, period.

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

We are going on a class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s
no pop quiz.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher who lost her job because she
couldn’t control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. The
police have nothing to go on.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Velcro – what a rip off!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy

Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!

The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government’s fault.

Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

Attribution: Bev

The Great Depression

By: The Common Constitutionalist

(re-release)

Have you ever noticed we’ve had but one economic Depression in our history? Only one, even with all the economic downturns, all the wars, etc. At least only one we’ve all heard of. It was, of course, “The Great Depression”. It was terrible and lasted so long; from 1929 through the early 1940’s.

I’m sure we’ve heard how that great president Franklin Roosevelt (he was a bad dude) saved us by developing all those wonderful programs and spending all that money (we call it stimulus today). As far as most people know it was the only depression this country has experienced.

Surprise! There was another, but because progressives write the history books, I’m sure you haven’t heard of it. It was the depression of 1920 & things were looking pretty bad.

Oh, by the way, another great progressive president, Woodrow Wilson (evil), presided over the run-up to this one. Two progressive Presidents; two Great Depressions. Funny how that happens and will continue to happen unless we learn from our own history, but I digress.

In 1920 the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 20 percent. GNP (gross national product) had declined by 17%. Not good indeed.

Keep in mind, there was no welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, foodstamps, Social Security, no government assistance programs to speak of. They were a heartless people, back then.

So what did they do, you ask?

Surely, like today, the government must have instituted a massive stimulus program with lots of “ Shovel-Ready” jobs. They must have started a sweeping welfare program to save the people.

Well, no. Instead, the Warren G. Harding administration cut the government budget almost in half within 2 years. Could you imagine even proposing anything remotely like that today? The liberals would hemorrhage.

Anyway, back to history.

Taxes were cut for everyone. The Federal Reserve, without the sage guidance of Ben Bernanke, did almost nothing. It must have been awful.

It was for about a year. What did America do? It fixed itself.

Americans did what Americans do. They took their medicine, endured the pain and by August of 1921 the unemployment rate dropped from 20% to 6.7%. That’s only a year and a half people.

Harding died suddenly and his vice president, The great Calvin Coolidge continued the programs & by the end of 1923 the unemployment rate was down to 2.4%. Dare to dream about 2.4% unemployment. That’s what made the roaring 20’s roar!  Not government programs or intervention. Companies were allowed to fail and new ones took there place. Capitalism could thrive in such an environment, and did.

See, Lower Everyones Rate & the Rich DO Pay More

All the lessons are right here for us to learn from. Everything has been tried before. There’s nothing new. History show’s what has worked & what has not. It can’t be spun. Believe me, there will be pain coming, one way or another. We will have to decide whether it will be a quick rip of the bandage (Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge) with it’s accompanying shooting but short-lived pain or the long slow pull (Franklin Roosevelt, Barack Obama) with it’s constant drawn out anguish. I’m praying for the former, but I fear the latter.

Forward Ho!

By: The Common Constitutionalist

Yes, the new Obama campaign slogan, “Forward”. It’s new, it’s innovative, it’s hip. Or is it? It appears quite similar to the MSNBC slogan “Lean Forward”. Funny coincidence, isn’t it.

It evokes movement in a positive direction. Don’t go back. Push on to better times ahead. One has to move”Forward” to make progress. Could that be where the term “Progressive” came from?  Absolutely! The early progressives knew we had to move forward. Cast off the shackles of that stifling old Constitution.

The slogan “Forward” is new and innovative, if you don’t know history. For those who do know their history, the slogan “Forward” is even more foreboding than that of “Progress”.

Wikipedia: The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other leftwing newspapers and publications. For example, Vpered (Russian language for ‘Forward’) was the name of the publication that Lenin started after having resigned from the Iskra editorial board in 1905 after a clash with Georgi Plekhanov and the Mensheviks.

Now it’s time for some irony, travelling back in time to find the origins of the slogan, “Forward”.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words (or so they say), we’ll see what history has to offer.

Lenin, Forward for the Motherland, for our victory!

Under the leadership of the great Stalin - forward to Communism!

Young builders of communism! Forward, to the new successes in work and study!

Mao, Strike the battle drum of the Great Leap Forward ever louder

Sing revolutionary war songs with fervor, and move forward in victory.

Notice A common theme, maybe a word that stands out?

Give Me Some Water

I am not a big fan (pardon the pun) of wind turbines but this is pretty cool.

Wind turbines can now provide drinking water in humid climates following a breakthrough by a French engineering firm.

Eole Water modified  typical electricity-generating turbines to allow them to distill drinking water out of the air in a bid to help developing countries solve their water needs.

A prototype in Abu Dhabi already creates 62 liters (16.5 gallons) of water an hour, and Eole hopes to sell turbines generating a thousand liters a day later this year.

Thibault Janin, director of marketing at Eole Water, said: ‘This technology could enable rural areas to become self-sufficient in terms of water supply.
‘As the design and capabilities develop, the next step will be to create turbines that can provide water for small cities or areas with denser populations.’

The turbine works in the same way as the turbines currently seen dotting horizons around the world – and the electricity produced also helps power the water manufacturing process.

Air gets sucked into the nose of the turbine and is directed to a cooling compressor. The humidity is then extracted from the air and condensed and collected.

The water then travels down stainless steel pipes under the forces of gravity into a storage tank, where – with some filtering and purification – it is then ready to drink, wash, or cultivate with.

Mr Janin told CNN that one generator producing 1,000 liters a day is ‘enough to provide water for a village or town of 2,000 to 3,000 people’.

He said communities in Africa and South America, and remote islands in Asia with little access to safe drinking water, would be the types of communities who stood to benefit the most from the technology.

He added: ‘If you think of Indonesia, it has (thousands of) islands and they cannot centralize their water supply … the geographic makeup of the country makes it impossible.

‘This technique could enable them to overcome these problems and make the islands self-sufficient in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.’
But anyone ready to get their checkbook out should note the cost – around $650,000 per turbine. However Janin noted that prices would fall as economies of scale came into play.

He added: ‘We have just started the commercial aspect of this product but the price is not that expensive when you compare it with the long term solution that it gives.’

Eole Water said their priorities in the design were maximum water production, energy independence, low maintenance, logistical flexibility and no environmental impact.

The turbines have a life expectancy of 20 years.

Attribution: Eddie Wrenn