The New York Times indicated today that it’s getting close to a round of forced layoffs of its journalists.
The newsroom-wide email sent Thursday morning, obtained by Mother Jones, details responses to employee questions about a scheduled buyout program from Janet Elder, a deputy executive editor at the company. The email states that, “the most frequently asked question is about scale and whether or not there will be enough buyouts to avoid layoffs. Given that the buyout window is still open, it’s hard to have an absolute answer to that question just yet. Early efforts to handicap the outcome regrettably point to having to do some layoffs.”
The real question here is this: if the New York Times can’t sustain its print ad revenue, what hope is there for smaller newspapers? Will local connections and news be enough to slow that inevitable demise?
Rather than forge a new direction with digital media, newspapers clung to an identity rooted firmly in the 1940s for far too long. By the time they did begin to embrace and develop online versions, they were already being lapped by many blogs. Many papers (including the Times) created online offerings that looked like the print version. These were generally ridiculous to look at and cumbersome to navigate but they were determined to keep a foot cemented somewhere in the past.
In the Obama era, print journalism began digging its own grave at a faster pace by abandoning what few principles were left and becoming the PR arm of Team Lightbringer.
It is difficult to visualize the near future for newspapers. Will the people who have a fetish for feeling what they’re reading pay a premium to keep print in business? For the first time in years and in the midst of a moment of nostalgia, I purchased the Sunday Los Angeles Times last week. The entire paper was about as big as the Classified section alone when I last subscribed to it about a dozen years ago. I ended up going online for more detail about the two articles that interested me the most. Reading the Sports section and seeing news that had been in front of me in real time the day before felt like taking a trip in a time machine.
Even though I am very much thrilled with the digital media era (I’m on my fourth Kindle), I will admit that I miss the Sunday paper reading ritual from days gone by.
At least I did until I got NFL Redzone.
CNN found and aired this footage of Louis Head, stepfather of Michael Brown, calling on those assembled in Ferguson, MO, last night to burn the town down.
The mother’s grief and rage are deep and understandable. But it’s difficult to see how Mr. Head’s comments constitute anything but a credible threat showing intention to perpetrate violence.
Nearly three dozen businesses in Ferguson would burn Monday night, many of them owned and operated by minorities who live in the community.
The New York Observer excerpted some choice lines from Ted Cruz’s meetings with various prominent Jewish leaders in New York City this week.
He’s definitely doing prep work for 2016 and, thanks to gross mischaracterizations of him by both Republicans and Democrats, he is probably quite underestimated all around. He is also smart enough to turn this to his advantage in these early stages of the election cycle. Responding to a question inspired by one of the more popular narratives — he can’t win — that Democrats and moderate Republicans are eerily in sync on, Senator Cruz had this to say:
Mr. Boteach said, “You are arguably the strongest U.S. Senator when it comes to Israel. But if you run, can you win? You’re seen as a champion of the tea party. And the media tends to caricature.”
Mr. Cruz replied, “Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil.”
“Sometimes both!” volunteered one of the lunchers.
Mr. Cruz laughed and continued. “Reagan was stupid, according to the media. George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, stupid. Nixon was evil, Cheney was evil. I sort of take it as a backhanded compliment that they’ve invented a new caricature for me—crazy. At the end of the day, that caricature doesn’t trouble me because it’s fundamentally false. The American people have a history of making up their own minds.”
Mr. Cruz said that as groups who might be skeptical—like the one in this room—come to know him, doubts will be dispelled and stereotypes will be shattered.
He is right about this and the will guarantee that his detractors will expend a lot of effort trying to falsely define him.
Cruz surprised some by saying:
I don’t think I’m all that conservative. And it’s interesting. Reagan never once beat his chest and said, “I’m the most conservative guy who ever lived.” Reagan said, “I’m defending common sense principles—small businesses, small towns.”
The senator is correct about this as well. The Democrats were hijacked by ’60s era radicals and have been drifting ever-leftward for at least forty years. Republican moderates, driven by a desperate need to be liked, tend to get caught up in the wake of the Democrats and drift along with them, even if slowly and behind them. So, relative to a political class that is moving away from the American people, Cruz might seem uber-conservative. Real conservatives, however, don’t have a malleable set of political principles to work with. We’re where we have always been on the political spectrum, and a lot of the American people have always been here with us.
When you look at a red/blue map after the last election, the Democrats are ideologically and geographically at the outer edges of America. They’re literally a fringe party right now.
Ted Cruz isn’t an extremist, no matter how many times Democrat hacks and the John McCain crowd say he is. He’s aligned with regular Americans who are tired of Washington raiding our wallets.
The fact that Ferguson, MO’s businesses played no role at all in the shooting of Michael Brown did not save them. Many were destroyed Monday night. Unknown rioters set fire to some, and either those same rioters or others fired upon the fire fighters who braved the violence to try putting the fires out. Some rioters looted stores and shops that were owned by minorities who live in the community.
The orgy of violence will leave Ferguson a “ghost town,” according to this bewildered resident. She says that she came out Monday night just to make sure that the rioters had not destroyed her place of work.
“I mean, this is crazy,” she said. “I mean, the business didn’t do anything. If they were going to do something, get the right people, if they have to do it.”
She added that the AutoZone, which is seen burning in the background, was where she purchased her auto parts.
CNN’s Sara Sidner asked the resident what she thinks will happen to the community now that so many businesses have burned.
“They’re not gonna rebuild,” she answered. “It’s just gonna be like a ghost town.”
According to KMOV-TV, most of the businesses that were destroyed in last night’s rioting were owned by minorities.
One of those businesses was a cake store, Cakes and More, owned by Natalie DuBose. DuBose sold cakes at flea markets while she saved up to open up her own store so she could feed her kids and succeed.
She did succeed, only to have the rioters destroy her business among the nearly three dozen businesses that were looted or burned or both.
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) November 25, 2014
According to the grand jury in Ferguson, MO, 18-year-old Michael Brown lost his life on August 9, 2014 when he charged police Officer Darren Wilson.
Wilson had his gun drawn. When Brown charged the police officer, who was much smaller than he was, the officer feared for himself and fired.
But how did Brown get to that point?
Moments prior to the fatal shots, the grand jury found that Brown had had an altercation with Officer Wilson at* the back of the officer’s car. Brown went for the officer’s weapon. Wilson fired two shots at that point. Forensic evidence — gunpowder residue on Brown’s hand, a wound on Brown’s hand, Brown’s blood on the gun and in the car — says that there was a fight between the teenager and police officer. After the first shots, he fled, then turned back toward Wilson.
But how did things get to that point?
Moments before the altercation in the squad car, Officer Wilson had stopped Brown and a friend, Dorian Johnson, who were walking down the middle of the road and disrupting traffic. Wilson did not know what Brown and Johnson had done just prior to that, or why they were disrupting traffic.
Moments prior to that, Brown and Johnson had robbed a liquor store. They didn’t take cash, though. They stole less than $50 worth of Swisher Sweets cigars. Brown was supposedly heading off to college soon. Why did he risk everything for a petty robbery?
And why did he act like a thug and steal that specific type of cigar?
It turns out that Swisher Sweets cigars have a specific purpose to marijuana smokers. Some pot smokers take Swisher Sweets, which are among the cheapest cigars on the market, hollow them out, and fill them with pot. That disguises the pot as an ordinary cigar. Brown’s social media included strong hints that he used Swisher Sweets cigars in that way.
Stealing Swisher Sweets cigars doesn’t necessarily make Michael Brown a drug user. Social media posts suggesting that he was a drug user don’t make him a drug user. But the amount of THC, the chief active ingredient in marijuana, found in Brown’s autopsy does mean that he was a drug user. Just prior to the robbery of the convenience store, Brown had used so much pot that he could have had hallucinations, according to the autopsy. He may have been hallucinating when Officer Wilson confronted him in the middle of the street. We will never know.
How did Brown get to the point where he was a heavy pot user, at least once, and strong-arm robbed a liquor store to obtain cigars used to conceal drug use? And from whom was he concealing that drug use?
Answering those questions may finally get us to understand what happened to Michael Brown, and why. We need to rewind far past August 9, 2014, back as many as 18 years.
Did Brown’s parents know who his friends were? Did they know about his drug use? Did they know about his social media habit of pretending to be a gang banger? Was he one of those kids born into a “good family” that taught him well, only to reject those values? Was he taught any values at all?
This biased front page speaks for itself. It is the NYDN’s irresponsible reaction to the grand jury’s decision in the Brown case.
Tomorrow's front page: pic.twitter.com/K3VAo9MIwQ
— Oren Yaniv (@OrenYaniv) November 25, 2014
After three months of deliberations, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri voted not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.
Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury’s decision Monday evening. As he made the announcement, thousands were assembled in Ferguson’s streets and threats of a return to riots and violence hung in the air.
The announcement was scheduled for 8 PM Central time, but the prosecutor was about 15 minutes late. During the waiting time, rumors swirled on cable news and social media that Officer Wilson would not be indicted.
In his lengthy statement, McCulloch noted that the grand jury and the federal investigators examined “all of the available evidence,” including witnesses, physical evidence from the scene, evidence from autopsies of Michael Brown, and all other relevant evidence. He also criticized the media for excessive speculation and sensationalism, despite the fact that he schedule the announcement to be in prime time, when it would surely attract massive media coverage, and after thousands had gathered in the city’s streets.
McColluch stated that he delivered his lengthy statement to ensure everyone that the grand jurors and the federal investigators had “examined every witness and every piece of evidence.” He noted that the grand jury deliberated for two days before reaching its decision.
“No probable cause exists to indict Officer Wilson,” McCulloch said. The grand jury had voted not to indict the police officer.
McCulloch then described the events of August 9, in which Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown.
While McCulloch continued to lay out the evidence that Brown had in fact attacked Officer Wilson, Brown’s family released a statement:
BROWN FAMILY STATEMENT pic.twitter.com/Ege18kpjBQ
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) November 25, 2014
Update: Watch video of Prosecutor McCulloch’s statement.
IJReview picked up on one of the funniest SNL sketches in recent (a.k.a. post-original cast) history. It was a Schoolhouse Rock! parody that aired last night, mocking Obama’s latest immigration-related executive order and complete disregard for the constitutional process:
It starts out with the familiar boy climbing the steps of Capitol Hill and asking what kind of bill is on the Hill with him. The bill responds with a jingle that he is an “immigration bill” and that he hopes he can be passed into law someday.
Cue the President shoving the bill down the stairs before inviting his buddy, the cigarette smoking “executive order,” into the picture.
The boy exclaims in bewilderment that what the President is doing is unconstitutional, but the executive order just laughs at the boy’s belief that he still thinks that is how government works.
The sketch may be tongue-in-cheek payback on the part of NBC after being snubbed by the president, whose administration just so happened not to request air time from the Big 4 to announce his executive order plans in prime time. Dubbed “The Commander-in-Chief of MSNBC,” Obama has employed his “heckler’s veto” multiple times in the past, and Saturday Night Live sketches were far from immune. Last night’s humor is obviously a sampling of what can happen when Tina Fey no longer manages the Obama campaign from its 30 Rock location.
Despite the president’s latest appearance on Univision and Telemundo, the majority of Latino voters disagree with his executive order and rate amnesty low on their list of priorities:
By a margin of 56 percent to 40 percent, Hispanic voters oppose allowing illegal immigrants to obtain federal benefits, including Obamacare benefits, “while they are going through the legalization process and before the 90% goal is reached.”
When asked to choose which of four issues — the economy, immigration reform, education, or health care — is most important to them, registered Hispanic voters said immigration reform was their lowest priority. Just 31 percent ranked the issue first or second, compared with 62 percent for the economy, 57 percent for health care, and 45 percent for education. Non-registered voters, on the other hand, ranked immigration reform as their highest priority.
Apparently SNL did a better job of marketing to a new target demographic than the Big-O.
Watch the video on the next page.
Remember, this is an MSNBC guy reporting this, so it’s probably accurate. He also probably didn’t notice how cringe-inducing the statement was.
Again, she is an extraordinarily awful candidate. All she has to do is speak extemporaneously and she does more damage to herself than any opponent ever could. As I wrote on Wednesday, the press has a herculean task ahead of them to make this woman likable.
Hillary Clinton now on immigration order: "This is about people's lives, people, I would venture to guess, who served us tonight."
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) November 22, 2014
Her Inevitable Madameship wasted no time in weighing in on President Obama’s executive temper tantrum last night, but did she need to?
Ace pointed out on Twitter yesterday that she was getting a free pass from the media on the subject:
Given that this story is likely to grow more contentious next year, was this a strategic misstep by Team Hillary? She hasn’t exactly been embracing the president in the last several months, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Could it be that she is a bit more simpatico with Team Lightbringer when it comes to the domestic front?
The MSM knows that they have a lot of work to do when it comes to maintaining the Hillary Myth. As we’ve noted here several times, she is an awful candidate, almost the polar opposite of her…um…husband when it comes to charm. This is why she gets asked more questions about being a grandmother than about Iran in any carefully controlled media encounters she has right now. It is also why the press was giving her a chance to shut up without most people noticing on the president’s immigration speech.
It had seemed until now that her advisers were deliberately shielding her from what they know will be an ever-worsening toxicity surrounding President Obama’s lame duck years. While it is definitely safe for her to pander to an ethnic voting bloc-it’s all Democrats do, afterall-is it wise to hitch her wagon to an executive action horse that is running amok?
This may seem subtle, but it is something that could (and should) be exploited by both her Republican and Democrat challengers for 2016. Will her governing style be pragmatic and effective like Bill Clinton’s was, or will it be more dictatorial in the fashion of the current occupant of the Oval Office?
It would appear that she may have just tipped her hand.
He rushes in to assure us that his employer remains the Ebola ward of the media world: isolated for fear they might contaminate those of us who are mentally healthy.
BO started defensive and tough and turned passionate and compassionate and moving. His picture will hang in many homes some day.
— Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) November 21, 2014
Well, that’s mostly because Chuck Todd kept asking questions about it and NPR is reporting on Chuck Todd’s questions. Also, they polled some Hispanic voters (but not all voters).
Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker bristled at Todd’s repeated questions on immigration. “Scott’s tried. I’ve tried,” Jindal said. “I’d like to talk about energy. I’d like to talk about education.”
Walker maintains that while immigration may be important, it was not an issue that came up in his campaign or in many other states. Walker said of immigration, “If you went out on the campaign trail with us, none of us heard this issue in our races. And I dare say it probably wasn’t one of the top issues in most United States Senate or House races out there.”
If immigration didn’t rank as a top issue in most governors’ races, it does with a group that’s growing in importance in the U.S. — Hispanics. A recent Gallup poll shows immigration ranks as the second most important issue among Hispanics after the economy.
While this isn’t as ludicrous as the repeated questions about banning contraceptives that MSM hacks asked during the 2012 GOP primaries, it’s the same principle. Republican governors have a lot to crow about but Chuckie was determined to keep them focused on The Idiot King’s priorities. These governors know that what their constituents find important is quite often very different from what the press says said constituents find important.
That’s why they won.
Judicial Watch reports that the Obama administration has turned over about 42,000 pages of documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. The administration was forced to turn the documents over to Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Judicial Watch is posting them on its web site. The administration turned them over on November 18, 2014.
One of the documents provides smoking gun proof that the Obama White House and the Eric Holder Justice Department colluded to get CBS News to block reporter Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson was one of the few mainstream media reporters who paid any attention to the deadly gun-running scandal.
In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson “out of control.” Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson.
Schultz replied, “Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.”
Schultz also told Schmaler that he was working with reporter Susan Davis, then at the National Journal, to target Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA). Issa led the House investigation into Fast and Furious. Davis now works at USA Today. In the email chain, Schultz tells Schmaler that he would provide Davis with “leaks.”
Davis wrote a critical piece on Issa a few weeks later.
Attkisson was later subjected to hacking of her computer by people who remain unknown, but who likely belong to a government agency. She and CBS parted ways earlier in 2014, and Attkisson has since said that the network blocked her reports from airing.
Flashback: In April 2014, Attkisson appeared on Fox with Bill O’Reilly. According to Attkisson, CBS “felt the story was over” long before she had gotten to the bottom of it, so the network stopped her. She tells O’Reilly that CBS ran “hot and cold” on her stories about Fast and Furious and Benghazi, and would switch from being supportive to acting like they did not want her to bring her stories on those topics anymore.
Sen. Mary Landrieu pitched a Hail Mary up this week, when she tried to get the Harry Reid-controlled Senate to pass Keystone XL Pipeline approval.
A majority of the American people support building the pipeline. The Reid-controlled Senate had blocked a vote on that for years, mainly to save Obama from having to veto it, but let Landrieu have one in the lame-duck session in a last-ditch attempt to save her seat.
It failed, and with it, Landrieu’s alleged “clout” evaporated. Too bad, so sad.
Before it failed, the New York Times, alleged paper of record, was ready to roll with two different versions of the record that it saw fit to publish.
One version would go live if the vote succeeded, and that version praised Landrieu.
Another version would go live if the vote failed, and that version also praised Landrieu.
Either way, win or lose, the alleged paper of record was going to give Landrieu some good press.
Any media wondering why Americans’ trust of them is at an all-time low need look no further than this. But if they want to, they could look at the Grubergate blackout on the networks. Or they could look at the Texas media, which is so out of touch with Texas voters that they don’t even realize how out of touch they really are, and publicly mock their own state. But I digress.
In the world outside the media bubble, Landrieu is falling behind Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) — whose Keystone bill passed the House but she failed to get through the Senate, incidentally — by double digits. Unless there is some catastrophic change in the race at this point, Mary Landrieu will be ejected from the Senate in December and forced to make a meager multi-million dollar living as a Beltway lobbyist. Or perhaps a left-wing think tank will come to her aid.
But we can rest assured that whether Landrieu wins or loses, the New York Times is already drafting stories to praise her.
“I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. . . . Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
–President Barack Obama, 7/25/11
Nearly half of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s expected plan to take executive action that would potentially allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the United States, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Forty-eight percent oppose Obama taking executive action on immigration — which could come as soon as later this week — while 38 percent support it; another 14 percent have no opinion or are unsure.
After his party’s historic losses, [Obama] refused to even acknowledge the thrashing. Instead, he said the real lesson from that day was that Americans want everyone in Washington to “work together.”
Yet behind the scenes, the president was busy directing his team of lawyers to find real or perceived loopholes in the law — even the Constitution — in order to wave his royal scepter and instantaneously turn as many as 12 million illegal aliens into America citizens. Already he had quietly ordered the federal government to stop deporting aliens and unilaterally allowed some 60,000 “unaccompanied minors” to enter the U.S.
So he never had any intention of “working together” with Republicans, who in six weeks will control both chambers of Congress. Instead, he set off to circumvent Congress by granting amnesty to millions. Throughout, he knew that he would be, as GOP leaders said, “poisoning the well” and “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
University of Virginia law professor David Martin is a Democrat and a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform who served as principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration’s first two years.
“For Democrats, it’s a dangerous precedent,” he told me. “You’re opening the possibility for a Republican president to say, I’m not going to go forward with enforcement in a number of areas.”
Obama speaks on immigration via Univision in 2012.
President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his primetime speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammys, it will not be covered by the Big 4.
…Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. A CBS News division spokesperson says the network will also not be showing Obama’s approximately 15-minute address on Thursday night. (UPDATE, 2:34 PM: An ABC spokesman “ABC is not carrying the president’s address on the television network — it will be carried on all our ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV, and radio.” Which means it is still Shondaland on ABC on Thursday.)
In the biz that’s called “target marketing.” In politics, it’s called playing to your demographic. In America, it’s called race-baiting.
Keep it classy, B.O.
Activists are cheering for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, from Senator Rand Paul and WND publisher Joseph Farah on the right, to Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation magazine on the left. Yet a close analysis of his disclosures and the actions he took to protect himself point to a premeditated act of willful treason, not that of a whistleblower. This was the conclusion drawn at a National Press Club conference held on Monday held by Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival.
Snowden’s disclosures, argues Kincaid, have put America and its allies in danger of further Russian aggression, Islamic terrorism, and Chinese cyber-warfare. He called for immediate hearings in Congress, arguing that Snowden’s disclosures:
- Provided highly classified intelligence information to Russia and China
- Have helped ISIS evade NSA surveillance
- Were designed to undermine the U.S.-Israeli intelligence-sharing relationship
- Made Israel more vulnerable to terrorist attacks
- Undermined the U.S. ability to monitor any nuclear deal Obama may make with Iran
Kincaid, a veteran media analyst and journalist, also argued for Congressional scrutiny of a suspected swap of foreign agents or spies, with convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout going back to Russia, in exchange for Snowden returning to the U.S. to face minor charges and arranging a plea deal to stay out of prison. Bout, who made a weapons deal with undercover DEA agents posing as communist terrorists, is serving a 25-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison. Attorney General Eric Holder has assured Snowden he won’t get the death penalty for violating the Espionage Act.
Kincaid, who just published the book, Back From the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire, about a resurgent Russia, announced a forthcoming book entitled Blood on His Hands: The True Story of Edward Snowden. He said it is designed to counteract a slew of pro-Snowden books and movies being planned by the likes of Oliver Stone and others.
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, provided a statement for the news conference, comparing Snowden to NSA defectors Bernon Mitchell, William Martin and Victor Norris Hamilton.
All three had unsuccessfully asked to leave Russia soon after their defection. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Hamilton surfaced in a Russian mental hospital. He had been missing for more than 20 years, but no one in the whole world noticed his disappearance. Let’s hope that Snowden, who also damaged the security of our country, will have the same fate.
Kincaid said the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the rise of ISIS, and increased cyber-attacks from China can all be traced back to Snowden’s disclosures. Meanwhile, media coverage in the U.S. has been focused on the NSA’s alleged interest in what ordinary Americans are saying and doing on the Internet.
Although the NSA programs are a subject of dispute in the courts, a bipartisan panel reviewed the Snowden revelations earlier this year and found that the NSA programs did not violate the Constitution. Furthermore, NSA advocates argue that its surveillance efforts were effective in thwarting terrorism. Kincaid noted that it was the NSA which carried out the successful Venona project, identifying Soviet agents in the U.S. Government during World War II. We need such an agency, he argued, at a time when infiltration of Western governments, including our own, is an obvious concern.
Snowden himself admitted that he took his job specifically to gain access to the secrets of the NSA spying program, which he then planned to share with the world. As quoted in the South China Morning Post shortly after he fled to China, he said, “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked… That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
NSA surveillance of foreign leaders also raised eyebrows, but as Bernard Kouchner, the former French foreign minister, said at the time: “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop, too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”
Leaders and/or governments frequently mentioned as NSA targets by Snowden’s main media mouthpiece, Glenn Greenwald, are Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. There may be good reasons to listen in on their conversations. Rousseff is a former communist guerrilla with direct ties to Cuba and Fidel Castro. Her government has sought closer relations with Iran and communist China and is a member of the BRICS alliance that includes Russia. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists have established bases in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
As I began my daily perusal of the news for blog fodder today I was immediately presented with three different stories about a potential government shutdown and what it means, or does not mean, for the newly empowered Republicans. Another fourteen or so seconds of effort brought me to all the dire warning stories that were written yesterday.
Almost every one of these articles begin with the premise that last year’s shutdown was a disaster.
Top Republicans say two things are clear: Last year’s government shutdown hurt the party. And Republicans must not let the president’s pending immigration action bait them into a repeat.
Even if they get around to presenting some opposing views, that is the seed that is first planted. The New York Times kicked off a piece by letting its readers know that the even nefarious Koch brothers don’t want another shutdown.
Matt Lewis at The Daily Caller weighed in from the right-ish side of the aisle to say that just because the Republicans had a big election night this year doesn’t mean that the shutdown didn’t hurt them last year.
The latter seems absurd. And I also reject the former. Suggesting the GOP’s success in November of 2014 means that they weren’t in danger in October of 2013 strikes me as a bit of revisionist history. Think about all the many scandals and controversies that have happened since the shutdown. As I implied above, the botched Obamacare website rollout wasn’t even realized/appreciated until after shutdown ended. Think about what we were talking about in the days and weeks leading up to the midterms — Ebola and ISIS.
The fact that the patient survived 13 months after the virus does not indicate that the patient wasn’t incredibly ill at the time. The expectation that anything would dog Republicans for more than a year seems a pretty high bar. With the pace of today’s news cycle, the notion that any one story would dominate 13 months later would always be highly unlikely.
Lewis was one of a very small number of people (I can’t even recall any others at the moment) who claimed last year that the shutdown could hurt the Republican brand and they could still win the Senate. Most warnings from inside the GOP were of the “sky is falling and it will cost us next year” variety.
When measured against the most common warnings that it would prevent the GOP from retaking the Senate, the shutdown was a paper cut on the Republican brand.
We’ll save the discussion about exactly what shape the Republican brand is in and whether it can be “damaged” more in the eyes of the leftist media hacks for another day.
As for the current rush of hysteria about the potential of another shutdown there is only one thing anybody needs to focus on: whenever the media is expressing concern for the GOP on any issue, it certainly isn’t because they are afraid it will be detrimental. The opposite is usually true.
The MSM Obama sycophants aren’t afraid of a shutdown threat because it will be bad for Republicans, they’re afraid of slowing down The Idiot King’s executive order fetish.
Because that’s all they have left to impose their will and there isn’t any time to waste .
David Brooks, the NYT’s resident faux conservative, is almost there. Almost.
The columnist who worshiped Obama’s fine pants leg creases and who admitted that he “divides people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us” — the essence of Gruberism — almost sees the light. In his column today, Brooks wonders why President Obama is being so “superaggressive” on immigration after losing the mid-terms in a landslide.
Usually presidents use midterm defeats as a chance to rethink and refocus. That’s what Obama did four years ago. Voters like to feel the president is listening to them.
Obama signed a healthcare law that the majority opposed at the time, and has defended it with smears and lies. When was he ever listening?
But Obama’s done no public rethinking. In his post-election news conference, the president tried to reframe the defeat by saying the turnout was low, as if it was the Republicans’ fault that the Democrats could only mobilize their core base. Throughout that conference, the president seemed to detach himself from his own party, as if the Democrats who lost their jobs because of him were a bunch of far-off victims of some ethereal malaise.
That’s how this president sees the whole country. It’s how he has always seen and treated the red states. He not only does not feel our pain, he is often the instigator of it. Now Obama has gotten around to loathing his fellow Democrats, too.
Usually presidents with a new Congressional majority try to figure out if there is anything that the two branches can do together. The governing Republicans have a strong incentive to pass legislation. The obvious thing is to start out with the easiest things, if only to show that Washington can function on some elemental level.
But the White House has not privately engaged with Congress on the legislative areas where there could be agreement. Instead, the president has been superaggressive on the one topic sure to blow everything up: the executive order to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws.
Brooks notes the obvious, which is that Obama is only treating immigration as an urgent issue now, not when he could have had the Democrat supermajorities in both houses of Congress pass an actual law. Instead, Obama is treating it as an urgent issue only when he can break the Constitution and pick a massive fight over it.
And that’s where Brooks loses the plot.
This move would also make it much less likely that we’ll have immigration reform anytime soon.
Obama does not and never did want to pass a law. He wanted it as a live issue, and now a means to another end. He does not care about immigrants, legal or illegal, or the rule of law.
White House officials are often misinformed on what Republicans are privately discussing, so they don’t understand that many in the Republican Party are trying to find a way to get immigration reform out of the way. This executive order would destroy their efforts.
Which is exactly what Obama wants.
The move would further destabilize the legitimacy of government. Redefining the legal status of five million or six million human beings is a big deal. This is the sort of change we have a legislative process for. To do something this seismic with the stroke of one man’s pen is dangerous.
Instead of a nation of laws, we could slowly devolve into a nation of diktats, with each president relying on and revoking different measures on the basis of unilateral power — creating unstable swings from one presidency to the next. If President Obama enacts this order on the transparently flimsy basis of “prosecutorial discretion,” he’s inviting future presidents to use similarly flimsy criteria. Talk about defining constitutional deviancy down.
I’m not sure why the Obama administration has been behaving so strangely since the midterms.
Brooks muses that it might be anger at losing, or the Gruberism that everyone else is dumber than those in the White House (an elitist position that Brooks shares). He misses the most obvious possibility: That division and chaos are exactly what Barack Obama has always wanted. He is picking this fight because he wants to pick this fight.
Brooks finishes up, wondering if Obama will look back at his presidency with regret because of all the damage he has done, but again Brooks absolves Obama of blame.
I wonder if, post-presidency, Mr. Obama will look back and regret that he got sucked into the very emotional maelstrom he set out to destroy.
Obama did not get “sucked into” anything. What part of “fundamentally transform America” did David Brooks miss when Obama issued that threat? All of it, apparently.
The mysterious cipher, the great divider, the angry community agitator, the shameless liar — this is who Barack Obama is. He never intended to be a unifying figure, and he never intended to stay within the bounds of American law or tradition. “Fundamental transformation” necessitates destruction first.
Six years later, David Brooks the intellectual still doesn’t even have the very first clue.
Two Palestinian terrorists entered a Jerusalem synagogue today and launched an attack on the worshipers using guns and meat cleavers. The terrorists killed four and wounded several more before they were killed by police.
CNN’s Chyron operators got just about everything wrong that they could possibly get wrong during a report on the attack. The nature of the errors suggest bias.
Take a look.
The terrorists attacked a synagogue — a Jewish house of worship — not a mosque, which is an Islamic house of worship. The Chryron’s grave error is repeated twice in the segment above.
Additionally, the Chyron says: “Police: Four Israelies, 2 Palestinians killed in attack.” That implies that there are six victims and religion must not have played any role, since two of the victims are Palestinians and presumably Muslims.
But the two Palestinians who were killed were the perpetrators. The Palestinians killed the victims because the victims were Jews. Israeli police then killed the two terrorists before the terrorists could kill even more Jews.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he’s making progress with Republican leaders on funding the government — then needled John Boehner and Mitch McConnell over whether they can corral their conservative members and avoid a second government shutdown.
“We’ve heard there are going to be no government shutdowns from the leaders, but members of their caucuses are really saying some very scary things. So the question is whether the Republican leaders will be able to stand up to the radical forces within their own party,” Reid said on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a large number of members of the Republican caucus over here and of course the Republican caucus in the House. Can these Republican leaders stand up to these people who are intent on holding our government hostage?”
Translation: “Ted Cruz scares the crap out of us; will the gentleman from Kentucky please make him go away since we can’t seem to do so?”
The real problem is that McConnell may actually play into this nonsense. Sometimes I think he worries more about crushing Cruz than crushing the Democrats.
It is quite amusing that the Democrats are trotting out the same old talking points that led them to such spectacular defeat a couple of weeks ago. The beauty of it is that not one major player of theirs seems to grasp that they were annihilated two weeks ago. If they want to stick to the playbook, I say let them do it until they’ve talked themselves out of the White House too.
Here’s a gem that shows Politico and its ilk still stuck heavily in the denial stage of grief too (emphasis mine):
The confluence of the fast-approaching deadline and the timing of Obama’s immigration action are now muddling the prospects for a drama-free shutdown prevention effort that House Speaker Boehner of Ohio and Senate GOP Leader McConnell of Kentucky had hoped would set the tone for Republican control of Congress beginning in January. And given how last year’s shutdown damaged the GOP’s brand, Democrats are wasting no time in exploiting the unrest in the GOP.
The brand was so damaged that it now controls the Senate, House and a majority of the statehouses and state legislatures in the United States.
I say bring on some more brand-damaging behavior.
The New York Times wants to embed more reporters in China, but the communist government won’t process the paperwork. Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a news conference this week, first ignored a Times’ reporter’s question about the issue, then suggested that if the Grey Lady would play ball, the red tape might get cut.
This raised the righteous hackles of the Times editorial board, which penned an open letter to Mr. Xi.
The Times has no intention of altering its coverage to meet the demands of any government — be it that of China, the United States or any other nation. Nor would any credible news organization. The Times has a long history of taking on the American government, from the publication of the Pentagon Papers to investigations of secret government eavesdropping.
When you have to reach back 43 years (Pentagon Papers, 1971) to establish your institutional morality, you conjure the expression “the exception that proves the rule.” Nevertheless, the editors then stand in the stirrups of their high horse, and finish with a flourish.
Demanding that journalists tailor their coverage to suit the state only protects the powerful and those with something to hide. A confident regime that considers itself a world leader should be able to handle truthful examination and criticism.
Oddly enough, that first part could serve as the Times’ slogan: Protecting the Powerful, Since 2008.
Let me summarize the real message, in context, that the Times just sent to Xi Jinping: We won’t play ball China-style, but if you play ball NYTimes-style, we’ll both get what we want.
The context is the Times’ actual reportage and commentary about the Obama administration.
If Mr. Xi took a lesson from Mr. Obama, he would want more Times reporters, not fewer. That’s because even though NYT occasionally highlights administration malfeasance and incompetence, it’s much more likely to leap to the defense of seemingly well-intentioned Utopian centralized collectivist command structures.
In fact, President Obama should personally intervene to get a Chinese residency visa for Times’ columnist Paul Krugman — that is, if Mr. Krugman is willing to move to China, from his current duty station near Mr. Obama’s rectosigmoid junction.
Dave Chappelle’s black white supremacist Clayton Bigsby was a blind man, but according to the Daily Mail, the Rocky Mountain Knights have taken their blinders off. The Montana chapter of the infamous white supremacist group has decided to “rebrand” and “stand for a strong America instead of irrational hatred.” Founder John Abarr hopes Jews, blacks, Hispanics and gays will be pounding down the doors for membership.
What inspired the attitude change? He met with the NAACP, of course. According to the report, “…some black people have apparently already expressed an interest in joining”.
“‘White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan. The KKK is for a strong America,’ said Mr Abarr.”
Not according to Imperial Wizard Bradley Jenkins. “That man’s going against everything the bylaws of the constitution of the KKK say. He’s trying to hide behind the KKK to further his political career.” According to Think Progress, “This is the same Abarr who in 2011 ran for Congress ’to draw attention to the fact that white people are becoming a minority and losing our political power and way of life.’”
The one thing that won’t change is the wardrobe. Members, regardless of race or sexual orientation, “…will still have to wear the white robes, masks and conical hats and take part in rituals.” The organization’s main goal: to fight against the “new world order”.
While it is unclear whether or not women are welcome into the Rocky Mountain Knights, Abarr is already taking a cue from the anti-feminist playbook: “Last week, he tweeted, ‘#notallklansmen,’ a hashtag based on the meme ‘#NotAllMen,’ which became popular on Twitter earlier this year to symbolize ‘mansplaining’ rebukes to feminist arguments.”
According to the New York Daily News, Abarr’s 15 minutes of fame may boil down to all talk and no action.
According to Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League, Abarr likely is the only member of the Rocky Mountain Knights.
The Ku Klux Klan has not officially existed since 1944, but anyone can create their own Klan group just by saying they created one, Pitcavage says. That’s exactly what Abarr did.
“He’s one guy, pretending to start a Klan group,” Pitcavage told the Daily News.
While the Klan is strongest in the South and Midwest, there are few people in the Western part of the U.S. with KKK views, Pitcavage says. Abarr’s only goal seems to be to draw attention to himself.
The only question is, which cable network will be pitching a reality show his way: TLC, looking to fill the vacancy created by Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June, or E!? I hear Kris Kardashian is dating again, and this guy is apparently very racially cool.
Since President Obama promised that there would be “no boots on the ground” to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he has ordered two major increases in the number of boots on the ground in Iraq. American forces’ numbers jumped up to 3,000 so-called “advisers” shortly after the mid-term elections.
The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has noticed. In a monologue Monday night, he ripped Obama from the anti-war left and called the president’s promises “bullsh*t.”
In the segment, Stewart plays clips of Obama promising not to put “boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, and juxtaposes them with announcements that more troops are being sent into Iraq to serve as “advisers” to the Iraqi military. Stewart then skewers that.
“Oh, I’m sorry, that was my mistake,” Stewart mocked. “I’m sorry. So it’s not 3,000 troops, it’s 3,000 advisers. Okay. Well, you know, that’s a lot of advisers. (laughter) I feel like after the first 2,000 give their input, it’s mostly going to be like ‘I just want to reiterate what Tony said.’”
At one point, Stewart jokes that at the rate Obama keeps increasing the number of U.S. “advisers” in Iraq, “By 2016, everyone on earth will be in Iraq fighting ISIS!”
Stewart’s angry comedic riff helps explain why Obama delayed announcing the troop increase until after the elections. Had it come before the elections, the Democrats’ base would have been infuriated, and the nationwide bloodbath that saw Republicans re-capture the Senate may have been even worse for the Obama Democrats.
On Monday night, Fox News host Megyn Kelly accidentally introduced fellow Fox personality Mike Huckabee for a segment by saying he was the “host of F**kabee.” Without missing a beat, Kelly corrected herself. “Huckabee,” she continued, as Mike Huckabee, who is considering a presidential run, appeared to be trying to suppress a smile.
Both professionals, Kelly and Huckabee went on with the segment, ignoring the little slip-of-the-tongue.
Kelly joked about the flub during a later segment when she was talking about Valerie Jarrett’s s*** list. ”I’ve already sworn once on the program and it was worse than that one,” she said.
Later in the show Kelly read a tweet from a viewer who called her stoic for soldiering on through the blunder. “I thought I was stoic too. At heart I’m a 12-year-old boy,” she explained.
Though it was probably just an honest mistake on Kelly’s part, it does make one wonder if she’s ever heard Huckabee called that name before. Are there some folks around the Fox News studio who refer to him in that derogatory manner?
Rush Limbaugh has been the scourge of Democrats ever since he used to show up on Nightline with Ted Koppel in the 1980s. Now according to the Daily Caller, he’s threatening to sue the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for defamation.
The Limbaugh team is currently proceeding from the standpoint of litigating and has not yet made a decision as to whether the DCCC could make any concessions at this point to prevent the lawsuit.
The DCCC “has intentionally disseminated demonstrably false statements concerning Rush Limbaugh in a concerted effort to harm Mr. Limbaugh, and with reckless disregard for the resulting impact to small businesses across America that choose to advertise on his radio program” according to the GlaserWeil law firm’s letter to the DCCC, which was obtained by TheDC. “Mr. Limbaugh clearly, unambiguously, and emphatically condemned the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes.’”
“Let’s be clear: Rush Limbaugh is advocating for the tolerance of rape” the DCCC stated in a September fundraising email after Limbaugh mocked Ohio State’s new mandatory sexual consent guidelines. (RELATED: Democrats Attack Rush Limbaugh On Way To November Loss)
Limbaugh’s team said that the DCCC’s campaign against Limbaugh provides grounds for a defamation case, based on legal precedent.
Limbaugh has one thing, in addition the truth, that ought to have the Democrats very worried: deep pockets. He can hire the very best legal team to turn the screws to the DCCC. He can wage a serious legal war against them.
Defamation of a public figure is usually tough for plaintiffs to win, but the Democrats may have made Limbaugh’s case here easy. They had clear motive to defame him, they have defamed him repeatedly in the past, and it’s beyond reason to believe that they truly believed that he was really advocating for tolerance of rape. They might be able to build their case on stupidity, but ignorance won’t work. Democrats have been trying to destroy Rush Limbaugh for decades now.
Discovery is going to be fascinating.
Former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) appeared on Meet the Press Sunday.
Cantor warned that if President Obama insists on pushing an executive order on immigration, it will be “incendiary.”
Allegedly neutral host Chuck Todd ran right over that and took Obama’s side.
“But isn’t repealing health care just as incendiary? Why isn’t that incendiary?” he asked Cantor.
It’s not “health care,” of course, but Obamacare that the Republicans have promised to repeal. Obamacare was opposed by the majority when the Democrats passed it and Obama signed it, and it has never enjoyed majority support since.
“That’s not incendiary because we know that’s gonna happen,” Cantor whiffed. And then he noted that the Democrats wasted time passing bills condemning the Iraq war after they won in 2006, but ended up going along with then-President Bush’s position. Todd chuckled while Cantor answered.
What Cantor should have done is noted that Obamacare lacks majority support and is whipping up a tornado of chaos and premium hikes for millions of Americans. He should have noted that Congress has the power to pass bills, but the president does not have the power to re-write laws on his own.
Todd set Democrat strategist Stephanie Cutter up by asking her if repealing Obamacare is “equally incendiary” to the president violating the law and going it alone on immigration. She scored the layup uncontested.
Watch the segment here.
As Putin quietly rolls his tanks, weapons and soldiers into Ukraine, Russia Today opines on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For Russian state media, the fall was the most pointless and indeed, detrimental moment of the 20th century, of course. If you can manage to get through the editorial’s monolithic rambling you learn that the fall of the Berlin Wall only allowed in the evils of NATO, McDonalds, blue jeans, the failing Euro, and pretty much every other thing that has made news in eastern Europe for the past 25 years.
This is your typical bloviated Russo-speak, the kind that makes most readers turn away from Ayn Rand in 30 pages or less thinking, “Get to the point, already!” But, there is no point. Like the Russian winter, their disinformation monologues are tedious, cold, dark and never ending. They simply continue their avalanche down from central command, collecting anything and everything in their wake until us proles at the bottom get knocked over by the sheer weight of it all and dragged along for the deathly ride.
Nevertheless, it is important for us in the West to keep an eye on what Putin’s media-bots are saying as well as doing, especially when their reflections on 25 years of freedom end with:
It seems to me the curtain is being drawn closed again, only this time by the NATO nations and not Khrushchev. It’s as if our roles are reversed somehow. Vladimir Putin acting like JFK, and western leaders bent on some convoluted socialism.
It should be no secret that Putin has forever been hellbent on controlling the narrative. Russia Today‘s editorial line only proves that glasnost and framing are Soviet art forms that Americans, with the possible exceptions of Olivia Pope and Cyrus Beene, still can’t seem to comprehend let alone believe. Disinformation is nothing more than controlling the narrative and twisting it to your advantage. Hence, Putin is JFK, NATO is the new evil dictator, and America is the land of the oppressive socialist regime. “Two legs good, four legs better,” indeed.
State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-TX) was elected to become the state’s next lieutenant governor Tuesday night.
Patrick’s opponent, Democrat state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, was supposed to have Hispanic voters flock to her because she is Hispanic herself. According to the state media covering the race, Patrick was supposed to lose the statewide Hispanic vote by a whole lot, because during the primary he talked about border security in ways the media does not approve. He talked tough, about securing the border, and so forth.
So he was supposed lose big among Hispanic voters. But then reality hit. The Dallas Morning News’ Roger Jones noticed that the media’s cherished expectations and beliefs got turned inside out.
A conventional wisdom bubbled up among media people like myself about the tenor of Republican Dan Patrick’s message on immigration. We concluded that his hard-edged border security focus in his campaign for lieutenant governor was going to stampede Hispanic voters into the waiting arms of Democratic statewides.
Wrong. Or at least partially wrong.
Patrick trailed Leticia Van de Putte among Hispanic voters by only 52-46, according to NBC’s exit polling on the race. I said “only,” because the 40 percentage range among Hispanics was once a mark of distinction for statewide Republicans. When George W. Bush reached 40 percent among Hispanics in balloting for governor, it was heralded as a breakthrough. Patrick was well into the 40s despite his so-called “anti-immigrant” rhetoric and calls for, among other things, repeal of in-state college tuition for Texas high school grads who are in the country illegally.
Here’s the big surprise for me: Patrick thumped Van de Putte among Hispanic men, 53-46. These voters clearly didn’t find Patrick’s tough immigration stance offensive.
Isn’t that interesting?
You know who else won on Tuesday among Latino men? Greg Abbott, the next governor.
Abbott won among white men and women, by a lot, and among Latino men, by a few points.
Might it be the case that the media assumes things about a whole lot of things that aren’t actually true?
Somehow Reverend Al Sharpton thought an on-air rant impaling the Clintons for the Republican landslide would make for better ratings than ID’ing president Obama as the culprit. What was he thinking? So far, Hillary is the only viable 2016 candidate Democrats have, and she still has the weight of Benghazi to overcome. I mean the number of skeletons bulging out of Hillary’s closet almost makes former VP turned unofficial climate czar Al Gore and scandal-clad former presidential contender John Edwards look appealing. But that’s another conversation all together.
Eeyore or Eyesore?
Time has been unkind to Al Sharpton as the older he gets the more he looks and acts like Eeyore. Yet maybe autocorrect is right. After all, it suggested editing “Eeyore” to “Eyesore” giving me an instant permagrin. Unfortunately, that smiles faded moments later when I engaged my keyboard again with fair questions like, Why is Sharpton on the air in the first place? He’s not the brightest or most articulate man on the planet and he certainly isn’t eye-candy, witty, a go-getter-journalist type or known for accuracy or PC reporting. In fact, he was relegated to yesterday’s footnotes years ago and has received his fair share of pockmarks for being a racist and a huge fraud.
Unless Sharpton has mega dirt on MSNBC network execs or is paying them out the wazoo, why on Earth is he on the air? I admit he’s a character along the lines of Imus or Gary Busey, yet why would anyone including MSNBC want their political analysis from a snake oil salesman albeit circus act like Al Sharpton?
Republicans don’t have to worry about compromise as much as talk show host Bill O’Reilly says in his post-election mantra to turn the tide against Hillary. All they have to do is rely on talking-head-has-beens like Al Sharpton to make Hillary a two-time presidential bridesmaid.
News just surfaced on Jezebel of Robert Downey, Jr’s excellent response to a Cambridge student who asked, ”Scarlett Johansson has never had her own superhero movie. Would you call yourself a feminist?”
“You bastard,” Downey, a new father to a baby girl, replied. “Yeah, that’s all make believe, son.”
Responding with appropriate shock and awe, Jezebel provided further evidence that they’re forever stuck in the ’90s (a.k.a. the Bill “I’d give him oral sex for keeping abortion legal” Clinton years) by referring to the Iron Man star as an “Ally McBeal guest star.”
RDJ wasn’t the only celebrity whose anti-feminist statement hit the news this week.
“I am not a feminist,” she said. “If men were going through the things women are going through today, I would be fighting for them with just as much passion. I believe in equality.”
That’s Salma Hayek speaking to People magazine at Equality Now’s “Make Equality Reality” event in Beverly Hills. Why was Hayek there? To be “honored as a women’s rights advocate.” A co-founder of the group Chime for Change, ”a global campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world,” Hayek is far from anti-girl power. She simply defines equality differently than contemporary feminists like Gloria Steinem, who also attended the event.
If you need any more proof that President Obama is a narcissist- in-chief rather than a commander-in-chief, here is one of the most revealing statements he uttered during his post-election press conference on November 5.
Obviously, Republicans had a good night. And they deserve credit for running good campaigns. Beyond that, I’ll leave it to all of you and the professional pundits to pick through yesterday’s results.
I dare you to read the complete transcript without cursing aloud the American people for twice-electing this man to be our leader.
Yesterday, after the press conference, PJ Tatler editor Bryan Preston succinctly summed up Obama’s message:
“He’s not going to change, not for you, not for the voters, not for anybody.”
But what if Obama actually had the guts to change?
What if he had reacted like a normal leader who had just suffered a catastrophic defeat? How different would his post-election presser have sounded?
That is your mission (if you dare.) You are tasked to write statements that Obama would have included in his post-election speech had he reacted more like a leader who had just been repudiated by the people and his party.
To start you off, here are my entries:
“I am the general in charge of the War on Women. I have just signed a declaration of surrender that puts an end to this phony war that I concocted to win reelection in 2012.”
“American voters have finally realized that I am nothing but a trumped-up community organizer and my organization has just been decimated.”
“I am now forced to admit that trying to divide the American people using class-warfare and racial/gender-identity politics has totally failed.”
“Please forgive me for immediately playing golf after the beheading of an American by ISIS. It was a boneheaded move because my head was into my game.”
“Now is a good time to admit that it was my children, Sasha and Malia, who first suggested the idea of blaming the Benghazi terror attack on a You Tube video.”
(Holding up a large pen) ”Because the American people have spoken, here is the pen that I will use to sign any legislation that lands on my desk from the Republican-controlled Congress.”
“Republicans now have the opportunity to undo all the damage I have done to this nation since taking office.”
“These election results have proven that I am the problem.”
Michelle told me last night, “It not all about me anymore,” and I said, “Yes dear,” and I meant it.
Enough with my fantasy speech writing!
Now it is your turn to rewrite President Obama’s post-election speech.
Have fun, but remember that President Obama still controls the IRS.
Newsman Tom Brokaw turned up on Morning Joe today, election day across the country. He picked up where he left off Monday, hoping that if the GOP takes the Senate, they’ll come in with a mind to help Democrats finish up their Obama-do list.
Brokaw grilled Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). He teed Portman up as a “sensible voice,” obviously implying that Brokaw believes that the rest of the Republicans are bunch of wild-eyed yahoos, before trying to dictate the terms of victory to the winning side.
Brokaw: “Senator, I was watching you the other morning and you’re always the sensible voice. You talked about what you want to do, corporate tax reform, you want to do something as well about keystone, the oil pipeline. But to get all of that, what is your margin is because it looks like it will be in your favor but small, what are you prepared to give to the Democrats? You can’t come these deals entirely on your own. are you prepared to negotiate for example on minimum wage or immigration reform?”
Under Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats have been uncompromising for years now. They have given no ground to any GOP ideas. Brokaw must have missed all of that.
Sen. Portman, Brokaw’s “sensible voice,” noted that the Keystone Pipeline is supported by both Republicans and Democrats and should have been approved years ago.
Brokaw wasn’t interested in that, or energy overall, or the trade authority that Obama wants and Republicans say they will give him. Brokaw went right back to Democrat pet issues.
“What are the chances that you’ll get some of what the Democrats would like to have, immigration reform and increase in the minimum wage?” What are the chances that you’ll ignore your victory over the Democrats and just give them everything that they want?
Portman didn’t bite. He offered that immigration reform is “something we ought to do,” but that the current Senate bill — the one the Democrats want because it leaves enforcement up to Obama’s whims — will not pass.
But the media are not biased. No siree.
MSNBC Host Peter Alexander: “Give us a sense, if you can. Voters are angry, they’re disappointed, they’re frustrated. So walk us through what Americans are thinking right now.”
Tom Brokaw: “They are thinking that they would like to have Washington get something done. And the question is not just which party can get it done, but how can they change the tone in Washington so they can work together. I was listening to Governor Haley Barber a moment ago and no one is shrewder in the Republican Party than Haley. Last week Senator Portman from Ohio was talking about the agenda for the Republicans if they gain control over the Senate. The question then is what are they prepared to give to the Democrats to meet them at middle ground? What they are going to do about immigration? What are they are going to do about the minimum wage? Things have not been done in the last couple of years and in part because both parties have staked out positions at either end of the spectrum and refused to meet in the middle. That’s the question I think that the country is really fed up with. As you go around America, the city councils in Seattle, in Los Angeles and Atlanta are getting things done because they work together. It doesn’t happen in Washington.”
When the Democrats were poised to take over Congress in 2006, the media didn’t pre-emptively seek compromise Republicans. They wanted action.
One day before the Democrats and Barack Obama are expected to suffer a second mid-term shellacking, because they have been wretched stewards of the nation that gave them power, the New York Times publishes…this. It’s written by — and I’m not making this up — a college professor and a college junior at Duke. Insert obligatory “Duke sucks!” whenever you see fit.
There was a time when midterm elections made sense — at our nation’s founding, the Constitution represented a new form of republican government, and it was important for at least one body of Congress to be closely accountable to the people. But especially at a time when Americans’ confidence in the ability of their government to address pressing concerns is at a record low, two-year House terms no longer make any sense. We should get rid of federal midterm elections entirely.
Worth pointing out: The 2010 mid-terms gave voters a chance to rein in the Democrats and Obama. The president and his party, given total control of the government, chose to waste a trillion dollars on the stimulus and prioritize their unpopular Obamacare policy over everything else. The majority did not want that law, and saw fit to hand the House to the Republicans to make sure that the Democrats were unable to pull a similar stunt again.
There are few offices, at any level of government, with two-year terms. Here in Durham, we elect members of the school board and the county sheriff to terms that are double that length. Moreover, Twitter, ubiquitous video cameras, 24-hour cable news and a host of other technologies provide a level of hyper-accountability the framers could not possibly have imagined. In the modern age, we do not need an election every two years to communicate voters’ desires to their elected officials.
But the two-year cycle isn’t just unnecessary; it’s harmful to American politics.
The Durham school board can’t foist partisan policies on the whole country. They can’t declare war. They don’t have the fate of the country in their hands.
It’s time for the editorial’s authors to lay their cards down. What they really want is a stronger president who can take more unilateral action without having to worry about suffering electoral consequences for it.
The main impact of the midterm election in the modern era has been to weaken the president, the only government official (other than the powerless vice president) elected by the entire nation. Since the end of World War II, the president’s party has on average lost 25 seats in the House and about 4 in the Senate as a result of the midterms. This is a bipartisan phenomenon — Democratic presidents have lost an average of 31 House seats and between 4 to 5 Senate seats in midterms; Republican presidents have lost 20 and 3 seats, respectively.
The realities of the modern election cycle are that we spend almost two years selecting a president with a well-developed agenda, but then, less than two years after the inauguration, the midterm election cripples that same president’s ability to advance that agenda.
Sure, if the president does something that a majority of the country doesn’t like. Otherwise, mid-terms should force presidents to begin working with the other party again. Or at least consider it. Obama didn’t after 2010, of course. He went unilateral while his IRS suppressed dissent, helping him keep his job in 2012.
This may be their worst argument.
Another quirk is that, during midterm elections, the electorate has been whiter, wealthier, older and more educated than during presidential elections. Biennial elections require our representatives to take this into account, appealing to one set of voters for two years, then a very different electorate two years later.
Shorter Times: You rich white people pay too much attention to elections! And that keeps Congress from doing what liberals want it to do!
This adjustment would also give Congress the breathing space to consider longer-term challenges facing the nation — such as entitlement spending, immigration and climate change — that are either too complex or politically toxic to tackle within a two-year election cycle.
So, the Democrats’ conscious choice to focus on contraception instead of actual issues is because House terms are too short? What about Senator Mark Udall’s choice to morph into “Mark Uterus?” Or Obama’s conscious choice to promote the phony “war on women” over and above the actual war against Islamic terrorism? They’re not stuck in short House terms. They’re just choosing to waste the terms that they do have on trivia while the world burns around them.