Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New England Hillarys

The Associated Press think they watched a football game. They seem to overlook the affects of "inevitability".

Like the Democrat Candidate whose only claim to fame is marrying well, the New England Patriots have convinced everyone that "They Will Win." There is no thought of not winning. There is no consideration of a universe where they do not hold the orb and wear the crown to their own magnificence.

Being the "Inevitable Winner" makes all those who might be judging, who might ordinarily given an equal balance to both sides to put their thumbs on the scales of the inevitable. Watching the referee calls of the New England Hillary games supports my opinion. Reading the news from the NFL about how New England, who had no -NEED- to cheat was caught, was fined $250,000 and Coach Bellichek was fined $500,000 the ONE-AND-ONLY-TIME- they ever cheated. (Big fine for people who make millions and will get a big bonus for winning the Super-Duper-Bowl-Not)

Presidential Candidate and Presidential Wife Hillary and The New England Hillarys enjoy the benefits of being "the inevitable winner". If you get caught cheating, a pass will be given. Or small slap on the wrist. In the throes of the game, well, "if they're gonna win anyway: Why not let this slide? or Why hesitate to flag the other side?"

That the Ravens, losers of five straight, would test the Patriots so severely was stunning. Indeed, if not for untimely penalties and a fumble of an interception return by Ed Reed, the Ravens might have pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.

Baltimore got a brilliant effort from Willis McGahee, who rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown. Boller threw for two scores, and the Ravens managed three sacks.

But they couldn't manage to hang on.

That could/might be written about Presidential Candidate, Senator Obama

After all, the goal is NOT sportsmanship, democracy, fair play, or even honesty and truth. Nope, there is -BIG MONEY- at stake and the rubes must think they saw a fight between good and evil, between right and wrong, and of course the good guys -MUST WIN IN THE END-!!

And when the public gets turned off-? Well, the audience that's left will not be paying as close attention, won't know the rules, won't be as critical of the sloppy theft...

Am I talking about the NFL or the Elections in November-?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dylan Again

After posting my most recent demi rant... I remembered that we had been told the answer to these and many other questions long, long ago....

Blowing In the Wind -Bob Dylan -1963
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

A Simple Request

I'd like to make a simple request to our Masters in Washington who continue to spend our money as tho it was not theirs or ours...

Following the bail Out of Chrysler, Long Term Capital Management, and now the -ENTIRE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY- and following the murder of the Savings and Loans ....

Can we get some adult supervision-?

I'd like to know what companies or industries are "Too Big To Fail"... We have read about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae... Their implicit govt guarantee has never been clarified or quantified. WILL the Congress step in to save them-? With several trillion dollars under their control- Are they Public or Private-?

When a company is "Too Big To Fail" can we get some special supervision-? Is GM or Ford worthy of watching-? What about Intel or Microsoft-? The healthy may need a bailout- What is our policy-? Who decides-? Who Watches them-?

SEC head and former Congressman Cox wants some help watching foreign (sovereign) investors buying into our financial companies and other strategic businesses... What industries and what companies should fall into this category...

Hillary says that Social Security is "Not A Problem".... The old will die off about the time the Boomers arrive en masse... When did that happen-? After hearing for the past 30 years that the worlds greatest Ponzi Scheme was facing a crisis- Hillary decides its all been solved.... When will she be called to explain how this all works-? Social Security went from a safety net to an entitlement. It has gone from a surplus large enough to lend to Congress and fund all sorts of give aways... Then it was going broke. It was a looming crisis... Then it was gone...

Can Congress be trusted to enact legislation that will protect our economy-?

They give small assurances that they care deeply about capitalism. Asked about Liassez Faire Capitalism and they chuckle at such a quaint idea... Yet, where do all those tax dollars come from-? Most Congress-People have never worried about meeting a payroll or even honoring a commitment to a customer. They are professionals who have spent their life spending our money.

Where are the adults-? Where are the people who make things happen-? The people who solve problems long before they become a crisis and never claim credit... They just move on to the next small problem confident that something they haven't thought of will come along any minute-either disaster or opportunity--- and comfortable that more opportunities for good come along over time.

The -RIGHT- side of the blog-O-sphere is less vociferous, prolificate and timely than our friends on the sinister side.... But we have to meet commitments and pay bills...

That's my story about the sparse postings these past few months... Sometimes ya-just-gotta go make a buck or two...

Drop a line-add a comment-say "Howdy" if you're passing thru...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Times ARE Changing

Remember when we were the ones singing this... Please read all the lyrics.

Scroll all the way down for the Latest Bit of Deliciously Ironic News

The Times They Are A Changing -Bob Dylan (1963)

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.


Senator Obama tells FOX NEWS:

'I think there's no doubt that we represent the kind of change that Senator Clinton can't deliver on and part of it is generational. Senator Clinton and others, they've been fighting some of the same fights since the '60's and it makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done.' Developing... From Drudge...

The funny parts are just beginning..... Maybe-just maybe- he's right and the boomers have stayed around too long to ever resolve the Vietnam War-?

UPDATE: Obama says Hillary is fighting same fight she has been fighting for decades. This is the video link. I think this is a theme that may have some legs... It also plays very strongly with those who believe that Iraq is not another Vietnam. He shoots and scores against his enemies and finds new supporters...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here We Go Again

Not the first shot, not the last... Just one that made the news.... When Jay Rosen and the Professionals of Establishment Media speak about/defend their "HARDWORKING" professional reporting, think of the PR flacks who first drafted it and the PR Committee that approved it long before the story was ever released...

Hillary as President will be the most media controlling person to ever hold the office. Josh Green was the author assigned by GQ to do the story...
Green was not a particular favorite of the Clinton campaign, however. He took the assignment from GQ not long after finishing an unflattering 13,000-word profile in the November 2006 Atlantic Monthly, which concluded that the junior Senator from New York is, more or less, a timid, calculating pol.

Today Clinton offers no big ideas, no crusading causes — by her own tacit admission, no evidence of bravery in the service of a larger ideal. Instead, her Senate record is an assemblage of many, many small gains. Her real accomplishment in the Senate has been to rehabilitate the image and political career of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Impressive though that has been in its particulars, it makes for a rather thin claim on the presidency. Senator Clinton has plenty to talk about, but she doesn’t have much to say,” he wrote.
Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign for president learned that the men’s magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland.
So Clinton’s aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton.

There’s nothing unusual about providing extra access to candidates to reporters seen as sympathetic, and cutting off those seen as hostile to a campaign.

The 2004 Bush campaign banned a New York Times reporter from Vice President Dick Cheney’s jet, and Sen. Barack Obama threatened to bar Fox News reporters from campaign travel.

But a retreat of the sort GQ is alleged to have made is unusual, particularly as part of what sources described as a barely veiled transaction of editorial leverage for access.

The Clinton campaign is unique in its ability to provide cash value to the media, and particularly the celebrity-driven precincts of television and magazines. Bill Clinton is a favorite cover figure, because his face is viewed within the magazine industry as one that can move product. (Indeed, Green’s own magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, ran as its October cover story “Bill Clinton’s campaign to save the world.”)

The Clinton campaign has more sway with television networks than any rival. At the time Clinton launched her campaign, the networks’ hunger for interviews had her all over the morning and evening news broadcasts of every network — after her aides negotiated agreements limiting producers’ abilities to edit the interviews. This past weekend, she pulled off another rare feat — sitting for interviews with all the major Sunday talk shows. In most cases, the Sunday shows will reject guests who have appeared on competing shows. (The offices she set-up in the Summer of 2000 on "M" street are perfect location for an easy walk to all the studios, except Fox. It wasn't a consideration at the time-Andy)

Saunders, the Syracuse novelist who is writing the Clinton story for GQ, declined to discuss his story, citing GQ policy.

He told the Syracuse Post-Standard in July that he was planning to travel with the former president to tour Clinton Foundation projects in Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa and said he’d voted for Bill Clinton twice.

“It seems like [Clinton’s] gift, one of his gifts, is everybody likes him and knows him, so he can get people in a room and make things happen,” Saunders told the Syracuse paper. “I just like the idea that at this elderly stage of life, you can go and get your doors blown off.”

Asked by Politico if he was interested in hearing how his access to Clinton was procured, he demurred.

“I don’t think I want to know,” he said.

Read the whole thing.... It'll turn your stomach.... Unless of course, it makes you feel good.. John Hawkins on Explaining Liberal Thinking In A Single Column.

Liberals love to think of themselves as intellectual and nuanced, but liberalism is incredibly simplistic. It's nothing more than "childlike emotionalism applied to adult issues." Very seldom does any issue that doesn't involve pandering to their supporters boil down at its core level to more than feeling "nice" or "mean" to liberals. This makes liberals ill equipped to deal with complex issues.

Since liberals tend to support or oppose policies based on how those policies make them feel about themselves, they do very little intellectual examination of whether the policies they advocate work or not. That's because it doesn't matter to them whether the policy is effective or not; it matters whether advocating the policy makes them feel "good" or "bad," "compassionate" or "stingy," "nice" or "mean."

That's why, for example, you may see ferocious debates on the right side of the blogosphere about the war, illegal immigration, or spending. But, with the netroots, the debates almost always revolve around the best strategy to get more liberals elected. The issues are not really up for debate, other than debate over how to get them enacted.

This same thinking leads to very little criticism of liberals by other liberals. Liberals will ferociously defend and even happily echo the lies of other liberals. Liberal feminists will defend Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy. Liberals who pride themselves on being tolerant of other races will support Robert Byrd. Why? Because even if they're wrong, they're still fellow liberals -- which must mean they’re nice people. What this leads to is an attitude that can be summed up like so: "The only things that a liberal can do wrong is to be insufficiently liberal, to question an important plank of the liberal agenda, or to do something politically that aids conservatives."

Please follow the link to read more.... You'll learn how to tell a Liberal, but you'll never tell them much. (Hat Tip Gail at Rubicon3)

Captain Ed has some interesting notes about the lack of historical knowledge at Columbia University.

Would A Columbia Appearance Have Avoided WWII?

One of the sillier defenses of yesterday's appearance by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University came from the man who initiated the Ahmadinejad speech. Over the weekend, John Coatsworth, acting dean of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, suggested that had Columbia invited Adolf Hitler to Columbia in 1939, he would not have underestimated the will of the American people and would have avoided declaring war on the US. Bret Stephens addresses this in today's OpinionJournal

These what-if games can be a lot of fun and offer all sorts of debatable outcomes. This, however, doesn't to anyone with any sense of what Hitler was doing in 1939, 1938, or pretty much since the reoccupation of the Rhineland. Stephens addresses the contemporaneous response to Hitler from Academia and Literaria, so let's remind people of the other historical realities.

Hitler spent the years before the war making speeches intended for outside consumption. He talked about the German desire for peace; he reminded foreign audiences incessantly of all Germany had lost during the previous war. Germany had no desire to bleed all over again, Hitler insisted, but it wanted its proper status in the community of nations recognized.

The more Hitler talked like this, the more appeasement minded the West became. They talked about his reasonable attitude and the unfairness of the Versailles shackles, while ignoring both his manifesto in Mein Kampf and his domestic rhetoric. Hitler had done more than just talk, too, by 1939. He had rearmed in violation of treaties, he had conducted an Anschluss in his annexation of Austria, and he had already dismembered Czechoslovakia in direct opposition to his promises at Munich in 1938.

And let's not forget that by 1939, both the Nuremberg racial laws and Krystallnacht were historical facts.

An invitation to Columbia in 1939 would have only perpetuated the fraud that Hitler had worn almost threadbare in Europe by that time. It would not have convinced Hitler to deviate from war, but would have assured him that America was just as spineless as the democracies he detested in Europe. And in any event, Hitler declared war on the US to honor his treaty obligations to Japan, which Coatsworth seems to have forgotten.

The parallels between the 1939 hypothetical of Coatsworth and the appearance of Ahmadinejad yesterday do seem striking -- and they refute any defense of Columbia's staging of Iranian propaganda.

Emphasis added, follow both links.... Stephens is good.... Captain Ed adds some desperately perspective to this conversation... Columbia would have been right for insisting that it was educational, if they had not taken so many steps to stifle free speech among students, faculty and choice of visitors for so many years. Perhaps, the national and international spotlight will shine brightly and their foolish antics will die off... One can hope.

Or we can all go get a Second Life and live forever.... Jonathan V. Last has the story in the coming issue of Weekly Standard.

The online computer game Second Life has garnered more attention in the last 24 months than any other bit of technology. Heralded everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to the Hollywood Reporter to Scientific American, it has been variously proclaimed a revolutionary communication tool, the future of the Internet, the next great business frontier, and a giant, looming social hub that will make MySpace and Facebook obsolete. One technology research group predicts that by 2011, 80 percent of Internet users will be in Second Life or something like it.

What is Second Life? Technically, it is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), the geek term for an Internet portal where large numbers of people interact in a virtual world. But during the last couple of years observers have begun debating whether it is a game at all, or rather something different, a new kind of virtual space. What is certain is that millions of people have signed up for Second Life. Almost 900 of them--up from 450 last year--gathered in late August at a hotel by Lake Michigan for the third annual Second Life Community Convention. They came from across the country as well as from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan, and from all walks of life. One of them, an attractive older woman named "LaraZ Allen," is a former college professor who was at loose ends after retirement. Then she found Second Life and began playing for roughly six hours a day. The longest she has ever gone is 12 hours. "It takes the place of work" she says.

Second Life was developed in 2003 by the San Francisco tech company Linden Lab. Players (Linden Lab calls them "residents") download a program to their computer that allows them to log into Second Life and create a character they control, an avatar. They customize the avatar's physical appearance, making it look like anything from an Asian woman to a white man to a giant animal resembling a college football mascot. And then they appear in the Second Life world.

This world looks like a cartoon rendering of the real world, or, more accurately, a cartoon rendering of Malibu. The real world infrastructure of Second Life is a farm of computer servers. Each hosts a small virtual region, which is rendered as a 65,536 square meter island. These islands feature animated beaches and waterfalls, shopping malls and dance clubs, houses and office buildings. Altogether they form a vast archipelago (which is itself subdivided into three minicontinents). If the virtual land inside Second Life were made real today, there would be 780 square kilometers of it, more than a fourth of the size of Rhode Island. All of this land belongs to the residents. Linden Lab sells it to them; an island costs $1,675 and then $295 a month in maintenance fees. (Linden Lab has gone far in guaranteeing residents real property rights. Unlike most MMORPGs, Second Life allows residents to own the virtual space and the objects within it.) Once you buy your island, you can develop and use it however you wish: Some residents have even created scale versions of downtown Dublin and Amsterdam.

Read the whole story.....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Demographics is Destiny

An open question... Please tell me what you see....

I am curious about what you see around you... Arizona is filled with boomers who retired and moved to the warmth, the relatively cheap housing, the golf courses etc... But they also moved away from family, friends and sociel structures. They have money and buy classic cars, hot rods, new go-fastre-mobiles... They spend a lot of time golfing and going to meetings to act like they are still vital. The wives shop, lunch and plan dinner reservations. Both men and women drink a lot. The widowers get busted for hiring hookers. The widows stay out of the newspaper... They have steady income and healthcare for life... all they face is the effort to continue breathing... at age 55 they probably ave 20-30+ years ahead... Daughter calls them "Kids who don't go to class" like she saw at college...

I like the Bay Area where there is lots of new businesses popping up. Opportunities to invest, mentor, are talk with people who are living on the edge of either bankruptcy or phenomenal wealth... The cost of living keeps everyone living the Law of the Serengeti (Everyone wakes up running. Either to catch your meal or to avoid being a meal)

North Florida has lots and lots of gated communities, resorts. Similar phenomena as Arizona with rich kids not going to class... They drive down and return to visit families up north more often. But they still wander around lost....

77 million retired boomers by 2012 is a lot of kids not going to class. My kids report that they are seeing boomers hanging on past retirement age. The problem is that 1) they clog up the promotion path for the young and 2) they quit working. They come in and read the paper. Plan lunch. Come back from lunch and doze... Some don't even turn on their computers. Office managers have taken to monitoring whether the machines are powered up. They monitor the work and examine whether it has been done or if stuff has been merely sat on for 1-2-3-4 days and returned...

I foresee problems ahead. Idle minds and idle hands get into mischief. Resentment by the young. Decline in efficiencies of the enterprise. Aged does not equate to wise. That makes them fodder for sharks, weasels, and crooks...

IOW... To me its a potential problem for all of us as a society. The new generation has a very different set of skills and abilities. They are not boomers-but-better... They are different. I find many who are incredibly naive. They are much more innocent than we were at the same age. I also find they go into rage much faster. When they think they have been cheated or had their rights have been trespassed upon they are ready for lawsuits, violence, and have a ard time controlling themselves. Women are as guilty as men. The women are a surprise, but having grown up in a world of single Moms and a steady diet of womens rights it's understandable... They also seem oblivious to effects of the casual sexual flirtation and invitations that they toss off. I know that I'm old. I also accept the world as changing.

It is a different world aborning... What does it look like where you are? Is it just me watching the parade in small towns, big cities and airports I visit-? There is much good coming but danger also lurks unchecked and unchallenged.

The WSJ Economics Blog reports with more details and specifics about the economic changes they see;
The graying of the world’s industrialized countries poses severe challenges to fiscal health, and more needs to be done to address the situation, according to a new Standard & Poor’s report.

The study, titled “What a Change a Year Makes: Standard & Poor’s 2007 Global Graying Progress Report,” says that progress has been made in the last 12 months through structural fiscal consolidation, but cautions that the net debt burden could be overpowering by 2050.

“Almost all [the nations] in the sample will face a very significant deterioration in public finances over the next half-century as a result of demographic change, unless a countervailing fiscal adjustment is put in place or social security and other age-related spending programs are reformed,” S&P credit analyst Moritz Kraemer said.

Proposing overhauls to social security programs may not be popular, but change is essential to achieve long-term stability, Mr. Kraemer said.

“What is needed is to unerringly make the case with a reluctant electorate that the road to the long-term stability of public finances, and therefore social security systems, is still steep, long, and stony,” he said. –Phil Izzo

Please read the comments... scroll down

From the research recap report on the S&P report:

Its initial gentle decline would accelerate by 2015 and continue until the mid-2030s, by which time the vast majority of countries would display fiscal characteristics that today are associated with speculative-grade sovereigns.

All hope is not lost, however. The ongoing reform debate is mildly encouraging., S&P says. Most of the action seems to be focused on reforming pension systems. This focus is politically appealing, as the sacrifices are often in the distant future and are not easily understood by the electorate. Technically, tackling social security is also relatively “easy,” compared with health care reform, which has to address more immediately felt and ethically charged issues. The value of government surpluses for the long-term sustainability of public finances is also becoming increasingly appreciated.

In the past, governments often tended to downplay the relevance of today’s deficits, which, they alleged, were needed to stimulate growth, ignoring the point that high deficits and high growth hardly ever go hand in hand. The economic outturn, however, has led all governments to at least pay lip service to the merits of short-term fiscal consolidation, S&P says.

The full report, 2007 Global Graying Progress Report, can be purchased here

Drop a line and tell me what you think and see in your part of the world.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Further Profiles in Non-Courage

Radley Balko Has the update:

All 13 members of Congress subpoenaed in the Duke Cunningham investigation have refused to turn over documents and testimony, citing congressional privilege. This was under advice from the House general counsel.

Keep in mind, this is the same Congress that, when questioned by Major League Baseball over its constitutional authority to investigate the steroid scandal, replied that its jurisdiction extended to "any time" and "on any matter."

So while they seem to think their subpoena power is universal, don't expect them to be held accountable themselves.

Raw Story has more details including an explanation for why Duncan Hunter is running for President. Why would a Congressman from California strap on the immigration issue and try to run all the way to the White House with it-? It stops the investigation and the Press from following too closely. If elected, long shot at best, he would get a free ride while in office following the precedent so widely argued by the Democrats about President Clinton...

The subpoenas were issued for "documents and testimony" by the lawyer for Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor named in Cunningham's case. Cunningham pled guilty and is serving eight years in prison.

Five lawmakers received subpoenas for documents and testimony: House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX); Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA); House Defense Appropriations Chairman John Murtha (D-PA); and ranking House Appropriations Republican Jerry Lewis (R-CA).

Other members were served subpoenas requesting only testimony.

Among them were: House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), erstwhile House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI); Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep John Doolittle (R-CA), Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL), and Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA).

A spokesman for for Rep. Hunter told RAW STORY by email Tuesday that Hunter had been advised by House General Counsel that the subpoena was "inconsistent with the precedents and privileges of the House." Hunter is the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and a candidate for president.

"Congressman Hunter intends to continue consulting with House Counsel on this matter and will proceed according to their judgment," Kasper said. (with a straight face-?-Andy)

Radley Balko way back in December of Oh-Five for Fox News , had some background on our "Courageous Leaders" in his story about Congress investigating steroid use in Major League Baseball... Just more examples of "Do as I say not as I do" Leadership from the back of the parade. (emphasis in red-Andy)

It probably won't surprise you to learn that there's some clear hypocrisy at play here, too. The same politicians railing against the failings of big-time sports have curiously difficult time keeping their own house in order. For example, John McCain — himself one of the "Keating Five" Senators tainted by the savings and loan scandal — says the federal government needs to regulate professional boxing because the sport is hopelessly corrupt.

That may well be. But then, so is Congress. Two high-profile members of McCain's own party have been indicted in just the last two months. His Senate majority leader is under investigation for insider trading. And of course, there's the legal, ongoing "corruption" that takes place in Congress every day, such as when members procure wasteful pork projects from the federal treasury to win favor with constituents back home, or when lobbyists give sweetheart jobs to the family members of senators and congressmen. The notion of Congress "cleaning up" another institution is laughable.

Likewise, Rep. Davis and fellow baseball antagonists say steroids and amphetamines give athletes an "unfair advantage" over the competition. Never mind that after the 2000 census, Davis led efforts to gerrymander his own congressional district to ensure he'd never need to worry about re-election. Due to gerrymandering, Davis ran unopposed in 2002, as did one in five of his congressional colleagues.

Davis also recently sneaked a provision into federal legislation that prevented an apartment complex from going up in his district because, according to the Washington Post, he feared it would bring too many Democrats into the area. And as head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, Davis fought to similarly gerrymander Republican districts across the country, effectively giving many voters just one candidate to choose from.

As for McCain, he's responsible for putting limits on campaign spending that will make it even more difficult for challengers to knock off incumbents in the House and Senate.

Such efforts make it more difficult for voters to hold the GOP accountable when, for example, its party leaders prove to be corrupt. While opinion polls show the public's approval of Congress consistently hovers around 40 percent, 98 percent of incumbents won re-election in 2004. According to a Cato Institute study by Patrick Basham and Dennis Polhill, "90 percent of Americans live in congressional districts where the outcome is so certain that their votes are irrelevant."

So it's difficult to take politicians like Davis and McCain seriously when they talk about healthy competition and unfair advantages. If a slugger has indeed been using steroids, he may well have cheated opposing pitchers of a fair duel, or paying customers of a level baseball game. But politicians like Davis do all they can to cheat voters out of honest elections and electoral accountability. Which is worse?

Don't expect much from the New Ethics Legislation that the Democrats ran on and promised and delivered within their first week in the majority... It's more re-arrangement of furniture, more smoke, more mirrors and more "bugger-thy-neighbor"... Screwing the opposition is more important than investigating and removing scoundrels... Nothing really changed...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leadership From The Rear Of The Parade

NRO's Byron York has the story... (HT Instapundit) Short and succinct showing Democratic "Leadership" in hiding... There will be no "Sister Souljah" moment here for the Democrats. Some of their weasels are saying to wait until March-April-May-June and then the Democrat Candidate will HAVE TO move to the center to stand a chance. Do they really think we will forget this bit of bravery? They all run claiming to be "leaders" but it looks like they are leading from the rear... I don't think these colors are true-blue or blood-red...They seem a pale yellow to me... I don't think any of these fine people will be writing or written up in any "Profiles In Courage"... Maybe we should have Dan Rather read this on the nightly news and close by saying "courage". His signature tag line... Would the irony be noticed-?

Senate Condemns MoveOn Ad

[Byron York]

The final vote was 72-25, with three not voting. Hillary Clinton voted against condemning MoveOn, while Barack Obama and Joseph Biden did not vote. Here are the nays:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

Continuing with the "Whodathunkit?" surprises... OK...Shock and amazement...

Some of the senators who won the greatest support from the netroots in the last election, like McCaskill, Tester, Klobuchar, and Webb, voted to condemn the ad.

President Bush, being not quite the dummy he's supposed to be, lets the Democrats know he's watching their acts of bravery.

President Bush said Thursday that he has reached the conclusion that “most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org.”

He added that he was disappointed that not more Democrats spoke out against it, saying it shows that they are more worried about alienating left-wing groups than the military.

MoveOn.org reacted to Bush’s statement with an attack of its own.

What’s disgusting is that the President has more interest in political attacks than developing an exit strategy to get our troops out of Iraq and end this awful war,” said Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action Committee.

Since MoveOn is unlikely to EVER say anything nice about the President, they are all too easily dismissed. The personal attacks take no talent, no work, no effort and really show the shallow level of examination and debate that passes for wise commentary among our fellow Americans on the Left side of the aisle... A few big words, a few facts, a few conclusions and the sale might be easier to get across. The constant hectoring and harrowing is boring. GIVE ME SOMETHING OF VALUE IN EXCHANGE FOR MY TIME IN READING YOUR THOUGHTS. If those who barely pay attention are bored, how must those who get a steady diet feel-?... What does the passing parade think of the elementary schoolyard name calling-? Does it really engender support-?

It's too bad the Right side of the aisle has to work... a good horse race might ensue... "Work, the curse of the chattering classes"...to coin a new phrase from an old one...

Opening Shots: Healthcare

Fame, makes a man take things over
Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow

From the album, Fame
David Bowie
- words and music by David Bowie, John Lennon and Carlos Alomar

"One of the best ways to win any game is to write the rules."

Michael S. Malone

Reading the initial reports and reactions to the latest iteration of One-Size-Fits-Most-HillaryCare, the two quotations seem prescient.

The slow accretion of HillaryCare through the SCHiP program would expand Federal coverage to poor families of four earning up to $80,000 a year. The other forms of accretion prophesied in the various editorials and learned writings of wise people include a plan to open the Veterans Administration to cover all verterans, not just thosew ith duty related injuries and illness, A further rumor, at this time, is that MediCare benefits will be granted to people at age 55. The primary beneficiaries of this political raid on the Treasury will be the automakers. They would remove billions of dollars in obligations for retiring and retired UAW employees from their balance sheet. This would allow them to pay their employees even more in wages.

All of the rumors. All of the schemes and plans do not get around the fundamental flaw in HillaryCare II. It will be mandatory that all citizens have healthcare. The plan would require employers to provide it, allow individuals to retain their present plans, provide tax credits to small businesses and give it away to the poor. Which "poor" is not really clear.

When asked HOW she will ensure that EVERYONE has health insurance she says "That'll be up to Congress". He further comments that she can envisage a time when a person must show proof pf health insurance to get a job gives an indication of where the pressures will come.

Governments do not like small business, small farmers, small entrepreneurs. They never act to defend, protect or encourage them until they are almost gone. A big enterprise is much easier to control. Pay attention to the large numbers and the small ones will take care of themselves is the attitude. Hillary's comments during the last go-round that "She can't be responsible for every undercapitalized business in America". The main engines of economic growth and prosperity are the small businesses. Central planning failed in every nation that has tried it. It fails because it does not respond to the individual needs, fails at innovation, fails to squeeze efficiencies out of the process, fails to negotiate vigorously for supplies and fails to charge a compensatory rate.

HillaryCare II does not explain why anyone would stay with private insurance when Federal subsidies are available It doesn't explain what will happen to insurance companies that enact their cost controls to noisy voters who will shriek to their Congressman.

Governments Coerce. Business Can Only Convince. That is the main differences in the free market and the command and control of HillaryCare. Hillarycare will ultimately turn into a coercive, bloated, bureaucratic nightmare. Efficiency in Canada, The UK and Europe is called "rationing". Innovation means stealing the patent and intellectual property rights from inventors. at best. At worst, it means waiting for discards and buying old technology that is always years behind the US. The needs of all consumers/voters are treated equal. Lately, the UK and Canada have begun to limit, restrict and punish those who lead lifestyles that may led to greater medical costs, even though they also lead to an earlier death.

The problem with healthcare in America is the lack of competition. We have no consistent tidal forces driving costs down and efficiencies up. Wherever the market operates freely, disruption follows but, the ultimate winner is the consumer.

"Planning is as natural to the process of success as its absence is to the process of failure."

Robin Sieger

The above is a bit of sophistry to justify planning of any type. The presumption being that all plans are equal and that no plan = to failure. HillaryCare is a plan. It is not a great plan. It solves what SHE perceives to be THE problem. She is curing a symptom. She avoids the root cause. Like most politician she never sees real people. She sees people as needy and herself as provider of solutions. She is not unique in this view. She has 534 fellow citizens on Capitol Hill who got where they are by promising "something-for-nothing" to fools who never realized that "Whenever somebody is getting something for nothing, somebody else is getting nothing for something". Nobody would be elected by telling the truth. People want to believe in the promise of something more than they want something more tangible but less exciting.

President Bush made the right proposal when he sought to level the playing field. Everyone gets $15,000 tax deduction to pay for healthcare. Healthcare provided by employers is taxed as income. This puts the private person, corporate employee, small business person and newly unemployed all on the same footing. The really poor would get a subsidy just as they do now through the Earned Income Tax Credit.

It's a long 13.5 months until we have an election. We have not heard the last of this topic. We will soon be bombarded with fantastic demi-lies and semi-truths. It's up to us to read, listen and decide.... I am already bored. I do not want to wade through all of the verbiage in thick legagese that they will throw at us. I dislike shopping for a new health plan, why would I relish the idea of a few pounds of Political-Legal verbal-ese?.... The fear that they are counting on the weight, obtuse verbiage and deadly dullness to let them slip through some grand scheme...I do not trust those who would be our masters.

Establishment Media

I like to read Jay Rosen over at Press Think. He's a smart guy. Uses big words occasionally. Suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome. A few months back he created a stir by accusing bloggers of being just re-write scamsters and not Real Reporters. Without Establishment Media they wouldn't exist, he claimed.

Most recently he wrote that the White House Press Corp was foolish for flying around with President Bush on the visit to Anbar and ASEAN Economic Conference. He got a reply from a White House Press Corp Member who, for obvious reasons choose to remain anonymous. This led to a series of public exchanges that are fun and well worth the read, if you love newspapers and care about the future of Establishment Media

I made a couple of comments and he took minor umbrage and sent me over to the folks at The Next Hurrah where a similar dialog was taking place.

I couldn't resist responding at both sites. Rosen got my juices flowing, TNH allowed me to expand and state my case for change in Establishment Media before it is gone... I don't ordinarily read such sites. I find personal attacks on the President offensive. I find any personal attacks shallow and boring. It really doesn't matter if the person is a private citizen or public figure. They reflect more on the character of the speaker (writer) than their object.

In the off chance that you wouldn't stumble across their sites or read their posts comments I will take the very tacky step of quoting myself... I urge you to follow the links and read the dialog. Its fun, interesting and shows why Establishment Media is in such a sad state.

There is (almost) no competition in news or reporting. It is in (almost) nobody's financial interest to rock the boat. Owners like profits. Editors like their jobs. Nobody wants to work hard. Politicians need press coverage. Politicians want to be celebrities but are too old and ugly. Choosing one political Party means a politician can look wise (depending on the party) find allies, get their name in the paper and get elected. Being controversial means feeding the press prepared statements. Spin-it, highlight it, give the press a power-point slide show or video... Depending on the party chosen, you the politician will either be attacked or ignored or given glowing praise. The issue is not important. Your mustering of facts are not important. Your veracity are not important. Only Political Party matters for then the Establishment Media know how to slant your story, vet your facts, picture you in front of something important...

Truth is gone. Nowhere in the posts and discussions by Jarvis, Rosen or WHHWWR or here at TNH is there any indication of a quest for truth. Just a "story"... Personality tales will do when there is nothing else or when you get lazy.

The paying public is no longer buying just any old story. We can make up our own. We are as good at plausible scenarios as Hollywood, DC or any Establishment Media fabulist, fabricator, plagarist, enemy propagandist. We buy media and support the advertisers for news. We want the facts as close to the truth as possible. Our trust is being betrayed.

The Establishment Media seldom reports on each other or in competition with any other. Nobody is interested in trying to find a story that the others haven't already covered and vetted. Safety in numbers like a pack of Beagles. No responsibility for getting it wrong. No bonus rewards for getting it first.... Being fed the well spun pablum by the WH and all of Hollywood/DC. The Press follows the President like a pack of well fed Beagles.... The Clinton/Thompson WH media organization was a wonderful manipulation machine. When the "Bimbos" kept erupting, the Press played it down. Chewing more and more spin was easier than fighting for supper.... Lewinski was ignored by the WHPC as long as it could. Same with the Swiftboat claims, the challenge to the Rather/CBS story was ignored for months. Rather/CBS didn't defend themselves or the story with facts. FOX Cable news went first... The seven others followed. Now the Democrat candidates are trying to punish FOX. DO they think we don't notice that seven out of eight TV news channels carry the same stories with the same tilt with interchangeable blow-dry Pretty Faces-? (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, and FOX)... Attacking FOX means they MUST be very very powerful... Or maybe they can't be controlled by threats to have their access cut off-? Either way Clinton and Edwards did FOX a great service and showed how tame the rest of the Establishment Media is. The Establishment Media could have had their own "Sister Souljah" moment by standing up and not allowing one of their industry to be censored and bullied... The silence was deafening.

The future of the News Industry is in the hands of Establishment Media... Lord Gnome now has the WSJ and NYPost and the whole NEWS Corp empire.... The NYTimes shareholders and bond holders may start to feel some pain in their wallets... Too bad the Boston Globe is gone... along with many other fine names and great histories... No company deserves to live forever... Betraying the trust of the marketplace is a fast way to vanish. The sad part is They don't go down fighting. They just go down... (K-R, McCormick, etc)

If the President is holding a briefing or interviews with bloggers it would indicate that the Establishment Media is losing its relevance. Quibbling about who or what was said etc ignores the basic point that the time of the single most powerful person on the planet was dedicated to spending a few minutes with heretofore unknown bloggers... Making jokes about whether the President has the mental capacity to hold a detailed conversation insults him, the American People who elected him twice and BOTH Harvard and Yale who awarded him a degree... Such comments (Rosen) only do more to support the notion that bias, hatred, bigotry are endemic in those who profess to seek facts and report the truth...

Being bigoted and biased and opinionated is good when there is competition. The market can decide and choose what it likes. When the voice is the same as seven out of eight TV news outlets and almost all the major print organs, its just cowardly. Speaking out when there is a market penalty is far more dangerous than speaking "what everybody knows to be true"... Rosen, Jarvis and WHHWWR show they do not want truth, they do not know how to compete and they would be much more content if we all would sit down and shut up. It's a nice game. It's also boring.

Brette Harte reported that a miner came to town and lost all his winnings in a crooked game. When asked why he had played, knowing it was crooked, he said "It's the Only Game in Town"... The internet is a disruptive force. It is neither good nor evil. It disrupts established order and changes the marketplace. Just as moveon.org has flown under the radar with little to no Establishment Media inquiries about their management, financiers, friends, etc so too have the bloggers been ignored. There is good reporting going on. Rosen made a lot of headlines attacking those who offer comment and re-casting of Establishment Media. Too bad he couldn't see these free market editors doing for their audiences what the well paid professional editors were not doing. Too bad he fails to notice the real-live reporting that occurs around the blog-O-sphere.

There is more than one game in town and the numbers show the public is aware. The advertisers are following... Last Hurrah-? Not yet, but it's comming soon... and it doesn't have to be... That's the truly sad part.

The Jarvis I refer to is Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com Another smart guy who occasionally uses big words. He is very New York in his outlook. He's a gentleman who never goes after the personality. I also believe he truly sees the Establishment Media in deep trouble and is concerned.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hollywood Attacks

Until we are able to love ourselves, how can the world love us?

The new fall movies have been announced. Following in the steps of "Valley of the Wolves"

In the noble tradition of mainstream genre cinema, the script takes a real-life event as a starting point and then spins off into Loony-Tunes land. On July 4, 2003, U.S. forces surrounded the HQ of an undercover Turkish unit in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, led its 11 members out with hoods on their heads, and had them deported, even though Turkey was officially an ally in the war. The so-called "Hood Event" was seen by Turks as a national humiliation.

On the one hand, the basic format is peppered with some pure trash-exploitation elements, such as a strung-out U.S.-Jewish doctor (Busey) at Abu Ghraib who's trafficking inmates' organs to London, New York and Tel Aviv. Busey's few scenes -- and the whole tiny, undeveloped subplot -- are disposable.
and the not yet released "Redacted" the private vanity flick funded entirely by billionaire internet dilettante Mark Cuban and directed by Brian de Palma

From its title and intriguing opening (which shows words blacked out on a document by a censor's pen), the film seems determined to explore the repackaging of actual events by official and corporate media. In fact, it does nothing of the kind. From the first sequence, of Latino grunt Angel Salazar (Izzy Diaz) recording his buddies on video camera for a docu ("Tell Me No Lies") he hopes will get him into film school, "Redacted" is much more about the process and techniques of filmmaking than media distortion or coverups.

The breezy Salazar's fellow soldiers in Alfa Company, Camp Carolina, Samarra, fall into the usual stereotypes: bookish Gabe Blix (Kel O'Neill), who spends his time reading John O'Hara's "Appointment in Samarra"; soldier-with-a-conscience McCoy, a lawyer (Rob Devaney); and racist tree-swingers B.B. Rush (Daniel Stewart Sherman) and Reno Flake (Patrick Carroll). Their leader, Master Sgt. James Sweet (Ty Jones), is a motormouth hardass on his third tour of duty

It's soon clear De Palma intends to construct the whole movie from "found footage" -- Salazar's vid diary, security camera tapes, an Arab TV channel, websites (both U.S. and Islamic fundamentalist) or other docus and testimonials.

Drama finally clicks into gear when a car driven by Iraqis doesn't stop at the checkpoint, and Flake and Rush open fire. Even when it turns out the car contains a pregnant woman rushing to get to a hospital (where she subsequently dies), the two soldiers remain unrepentant. In dialogue that sounds too theatrically scripted, Rush contends, "You can't afford remorse. You get remorse, you get weak; you get weak, you die."Violence escalates when the locals take revenge on one of the group, in a well-staged shock sequence. After a night raid on a private house, seen from the p.o.v. of an embedded journalist, and the subsequent media hoo-ha, Flake and Rush pressure the rest of their group to return on a private mission. Secretly helmet-cammed by Salazar, this ends in the horrific rape of a 15-year-girl and the shooting of her and her family.

Ironically, pic's most powerful section is its final 10 minutes, as McCoy's traumatic experience is reduced, back home, to a bar yarn that ends with friends cheering him as a hero. De Palma follows that with a photo montage of real-life Iraqi victims of violence, dubbed "Collateral Damage" -- a harrowing couple of minutes that seems, alas, to be a coda to a better picture than "Redacted."

We have coming first to our TV sets, some of our favorite stars on late night talk shows peddling the flicks, then the various entertainment/celebrity news magazines and cable channels, then the week before they are released we'll get the reviewers comments.

Eventually we'll be allowed to see, "The Kingdom" staring Jamie Foxx as leader of an FBI antiterrorist team;"Lions for Lambs" with Tom Cruise playing a Senator making foreign policy; "Charlie Wilson's War" with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts; "The Valley of Elah" starring Tommy Lee Jones; ." Battle for Haditha" by Nick Bloomfield and Grace is Gone" by James C. Strouse.

Hollywood is taking advantage of the lame-duck Presidency, the 2008 election cycle and the background noise about the war in Iraq to fill it's wallet. The movies will be released in the fall with all the noise and attention that a Hollywood movie generates. Then in the Spring we will get the Academy Awards, presented again by Jon Stewart. and in the fall, just in time for the actual voting we'll get the DVD releases.

Todd McCarthy observes in Variety:

Just as, during World War II, Hollywood pictures had a unified aim, to rally viewers around the war effort and present an image of the Allies prevailing, today they are also identical in nature, except in the opposite direction.

The first problem is that fictional films take at least a year, sometimes two, to create and disseminate, and thus the attitudes they reflect can be a bit stale at a time when events move so quickly (even if, alas, the war is still very much with us).

When someone like Richard Gere spouts off about Bush at the Venice Film Festival, as he just did, how much more tired can you get? Being anti-Bush simply isn't enough, as this point; there's an election coming up, a future to decide, complex issues to sort out, and Bush won't be part of the equation.

Where current events are concerned, documentaries are far better equipped to tackle them than are fictional features. The film of the year for me in many ways is "No End in Sight," a profoundly analytical, meticulously methodical and rewardingly specific study of where the U.S. went wrong once it achieved military victory in Iraq; it was the film I'd long been waiting for after the emotional hysteria of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and its ilk.

Now that the vast majority of Americans have misgivings, at the very least, about the Iraq adventure, producers are betting that mainstream audiences may be ready, up to a point, for the homefront stories of mangled, maimed and disturbed vets and their families. But the overt polemics of most of the Iraq films thus far, such as those expressed so predictably at the end of "In the Valley of Elah," seem calculated to once again stir up the Cindy Sheehan crowd, to preach to the converted of four years ago. Move on, indeed. (Emphasis added)

Following the pattern of "Constant Campaigning" set by the Clinton White House, Hollywood has found that they can play politics and increase box office to everyone's benefit. Politicians need the attention and money that celebrities can bring. Hollywood needs the political stew to bring the stories that will guarantee box office success.

"Wag the Dog" was not about a President hiding a scandal behind an international incident. It was about Hollywood (the tail) wagging the dog (the President). George Bush has not been as good for Hollywood. He has committed no scandals. He has not tolerated any lapses among the administration. He has not given any basis for believing that he would go nuts and blow things up, get bogged down in minor indiscretions that would lead to an escalating series of violent acts to cover up, or leave his wife for another woman or intern. He is not a drunk, an addict, a predator. His wife is none of those things either. The Bushes is boring in the best possible way.

Hollywood cannot wait for him to leave. They want another Clinton White House. Scandals, screw-ups, firings, tax increases, inflation all mean better financial times for Hollywood. (Inflation will drive up the value of the assets collateralizing their loans and make it easier for people to pay more than $7-$9 dollars for a seat.) Threats of war with Russia or China will make good movie backdrops. Terrorist attacks will drive people to escapist fare. Steady headlines will mean steady box office. Hillary or Obama either one fits a preset Hollywood stereo type and will be just bad enough to generate 1,000 story and plot lines. They'll back both. But eventually Hillary will get their support because the Clinton's are a known factor. They are safe box office. Obama may not be the kind of greedy grasping weasel that Hollywood can trust to keep the spin machinery going.

What the world thinks of America will be driven by these movies. People will sit in darkened theaters watching our movies and believing they are reflection of real life and real Americans. They have been doing this for over 90 years. Michael Moore's "Fareheit 9/11" grossed over $222 million. Since then, the current administration has been -THE- target for profits.

Of course, another terrorist attack and the mood of the nation may swing back in support of the one who has kept us safe for over six years. There is also the possibility that the nation will become tired of being force fed all the anti-war propaganda.

That would fly in the face of the famous Mencken quote "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the American boobsousie". Our appetite for celebrity seemingly knows no limit. Our ability to concentrate and think about an issue can not gain attention for any period of time. Maybe we are as naive and foolish as H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain described us.

Hollywood wants a "sure thing" and is not beyond cooking the books, manipulating the politicians and public opinion to get ever more profits. I doubt we'll ever see a movie with that plot line... Even Joel Surnow, the director of "24", would not bite the hands that feed him so very well.

As Brett Harte wrote about the man who when asked why he had gone to gamble knowing the cardroom cheated. The man replied "It's the only game in town."

If the public decides that Hollywood is at war with them and begins to reject the movies it will mean bad things for Democrats. If the public decides that the Democrats are too shrill, too childish and incapable of being trusted with power, Hollywood could suffer. Large bets by both Hollywood and the Democrats. could tempt some weaker souls. Is it really the "Only Game in Town" ?

Political Bits

"The mind thinks, not with data, but with ideas whose creation and elaboration cannot be reduced to a set of predictable values."

Theodore Roszak

White House Press Corpse?

Jay Rosen of Press Think having fired off his annoyances about the coverage of the Bush visit to Anbar and the rest of the world hears back from someone inside the WH Briefing room who wishes to remain anonymous.

Person who wrote to me is for real. Has one of the seats. Does not want to be named. I don't generally run things like that. But this is straight from the briefing room to correct PressThink on a few items. So I found a way.

I’m writing in response to your post about the president’s trip to Iraq, and some additional thoughts that you shared about covering this White House. After reading your column, I sent a somewhat heated email to a friend who’s a press critic — and a long-time reader of your columns on HuffPost and Press Think — and he suggested I reach out to you directly.


First, I have to tell you that your suggestion that the White House press corps - or its “pool” representatives - not cover the president when he goes into a war zone struck me as curious.


Well, there are two phrases that I’d like to pass along to your readers. They mean more or less the same thing. “Body watch” means covering an event that will produce zero news on its own because you need to make sure the president doesn’t collapse. The other is SSRO — “suddenly shots rang out” — which is basically equivalent, just a bit more dramatic.

I think melodramatic would be right.

They continue in that vein... What is overlooked from both professional journalists is that the WH Press Corp and the institutional machinery made a lot of money for the media during the Clintonian years. Clinton had a scandal, charges, photo op, or defense going anew every week for almost 8 years. The Nightly Leno?Letterman/Stewart combo got laughs with easy tawdry jokes. The WH Press Corp and the broadcast media were well fed They wealthy and several news journalists got promoted during those years. Any reporter that failed to toe the Clinton-Line was not-so-carefully removed from the list of invitees. Being on the out means no stories, no questions asked or answered, no promotions and no more paycheck. Like well fed dogs, the WH Press Corp grew fat and lazy on the constant diet of high calorie campaign-style propaganda. This came in very handy when the Clinton Presidency was threatened. Suddenly, the Press realized that the train might stop. By ignoring, spinning, slanting and defending the Clintons they could milk it for a few more years. They did and they did. They lost their hunger, their fangs and their claws. Like cut-cats they could only sit and stare.

Now Rosen finds it boring that so many resources are wasted on the Bush WH travels. They could simply see him off and then have the local reporter or stringer at the destination pick-up and watch for the bullets to fly or body to fall... Bush is boring. He keeps his promises. He loves his wife. He keeps normal hours. He does his job and goes home. Therefore, the Press could do the same. That is at-odds with the post-Watergate, every moment a leak, a cover-up, a scandal brewing, a Pulitzer, a book, a movie deal, mentality... Now they have to settle down and do a regular work week and grub for promotions and pay raises just like regular folks. Its been a long seven years.

Would the Press pump it up for another Clinton WH-? 1992-2016 would make a long and satisfying career as a journo. A book or movie would surely be possible from all those scandals. A satisfying pension would be assured. And it would all arrive spoon fed, pre-chewed and ready for typing, or re-write as they used to call it. No thinking, no analysis, no digging for facts or even fact checking, just re-type what the WH Press Secretary presents and head off for few drinks. "Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you try" says the old song.

The Washington Way
Washington hates revolution and fears revolutionaries more than it hates "leaders". They prefer "evolution". Never Say "No". Never say "yes". Never block anything. Slow progress at all times. (aka "Slow Rolling") Don't rock the boat, don't upset anyone. Never challenge a decision until the decision maker has retired. Check all the facts. Get all the answers. Look at it from all angles. Consider all the options and consequences (especially whose ox might get gored). Then pass it along to the next level for a repeat of the cycle and updating of the information. It's called "I 'm having a career". Never get fired. Slowly get promoted. Get nice health and pension. The rest of the world calls it "Retired In Place (R.I.P.)" Would the WH Press Corp be immune to seeking evolution over revolution for themselves?

I find it easier to see them as humans seeking a life and trying for a career than as noble enlightened beings who take small wages to be disrespected by those they cover as they pursue truth, only truth.

NYTimes Discovers Ad Marketing Strategy At Long Last.

The WSJ www.OpinionJournal.com today asks

Tailgunner Joan Flies Standby
Yesterday we wondered if the New York Times had made an illegal campaign contribution to the MoveOn.org political action committee. The Times, you'll recall, published a full-page ad Monday in which it attacked Gen. David Petraeus in McCarthyite terms. The New York Post reported that the Times had given MoveOn.org a $102,000 discount from its usual $167,000 rate--which, if true, would be an illegal in-kind contribution under campaign finance laws.

The Times offers this explanation in a news story today:

Catherine J. Mathis, a spokeswoman for The New York Times Company, said the advertising department does not base its rates on political content. She also said the department does not disclose the rates it charges for individual advertisements. But she did say that "similar types of ads are priced in the same way." She said the department charges advocacy groups $64,575 for full-page, black-and-white advertisements that run on a "standby" basis, meaning an advertiser can request a specific day and placement but is not guaranteed them.

In other words, the Times prices ads similarly to the way airlines price seats: Not everyone pays full fare, and you can get a deep discount if you are flexible. That allows the paper to sell space that might otherwise go unsold. Assuming that this is all on the up-and-up, there's no legal problem, any more than there is if a campaign pays less than full fare for a plane ticket.

But wait. This was a very time-sensitive ad. For it to have the desired effect (or, as actually happened, to backfire spectacularly), it pretty much had to run Monday. Under such circumstances, why would MoveOn buy an ad without guaranteed placement? That would be like flying standby to your own wedding

They ask many intelligent questions about pricing, space availability on a date propitious to the ad, etc. But acknowledge that the NYTimes has the right to sell their ad space for whatever rate they choose.

It is the view of this column that the Times should be able to sell ads to whomever it wishes under whatever terms it wishes. But we live in an era of heavy regulation of campaign speech, thanks in part to the persuasive efforts of the New York Times. It does not seem too much to ask that the New York Times Co. adhere, with transparency and integrity, to the high standards its editorialists seek to impose by law on everyone else.

Rudy Guilani quickly took advantage of the special rate and placed an ad challenging Hillary for not rebuking www.moveon.org for the ad. "If you can't stand up to your own party, how can you stand up to foreign terrorists?" or words to that effect. At least her husband had the cojones to have his "Sister Souljah" moment. Hillary still hides behind the "Swiftboat defense"... Of course, she promised that she would not be "Swiftboated" by the opposition. It probably never seemed likely that she would be among the first voices in defending the right of a PAC to say anything no matter how outrageous, vile, or truthful. I wonder how she will respond to revelations next year?

In all things Presidential; Character Matters. Hillary has shown none.

Presidential Character

Captain Ed over at Captains Quarters has a report and some comments on Hillary's campaign hiring Sandy Berger

You can tell a man who boozes,
by the company he chooses ...
and the pig got up and slowly walked away.

The poem by Clarke Van Ness warns people that they will be judged by the actions of those with whom they choose to associate -- and even a pig has enough sense to walk away from disaster. Hillary Clinton has a big problem with her associates, and it's self-inflicted. Lost in the Norman Hsu shuffle, the news that Hillary has asked former Clinton national-security adviser Sandy Berger to join her campaign should cause even more questions about her judgment and her ethics:

The more experienced Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has relied largely on her husband and a triumvirate of senior officials from his presidency—former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger (who tries to keep a low profile after pleading guilty in 2005 to misdemeanor charges of taking classified material without authorization).

Berger didn't just commit some technical violation, either. He went to the National Archives on behalf of Bill Clinton as part of the investigation of the 9/11 attacks. While there, he deliberately hid highly classified material in his socks to avoid detection and dropped them under a trailer on a break. Later, he retrieved the material and took it home, and wound up destroying the evidence while his nation tried to find as much material on Clinton-era counterterrorism efforts in order to better protect ourselves in the future.

We now have two examples of Hillary Clinton associating herself with people of low character and criminal behavior. Unlike the pig in the song, Hillary not only has not removed herself from the gutter, she seems to be encouraging the ethically challenged to join her there.

Richard Miniter has more personal recollections of Berger's efforts to keep the Clinton errors quiet. He also ends with a very pertinent question:

My informed sources suggest that what Berger destroyed were copies of the Millennium After-Action Review, a binder-sized report prepared by Richard Clarke in 2000—a year and half before the 9-11 attacks. The review made a series of recommendations for a tougher stance against bin Laden and terrorism. There are 13 or more copies of this report. But only one contains hand-written notes by President Bill Clinton. Apparently, in the margin beside the recommendations, Bill Clinton wrote NO, NO, NO next to many of the tougher policy proposals. ...

Did she bring him aboard to reward him for his criminal destruction of classified material? Or did she sign him up because of his stellar record in fighting bin Laden in the late 1990s?

Captain Ed also has lots of coverage on Norman Hsu. Scroll down his link for details

Hillary's Presidency is not assured. It certainly looks that way from time to time. She has all the money in the world. She has all the Media and Media Stars supporting her. She would be guaranteed an Emmy, an Oscar, a Tony or even an MTV award if she was only a candidate.

There is still time for her to screw things up. Her inner shrew is barely below the surface. Her brittle, controlling, demanding persona is evident. Her choices in the people who surround her leaves much to be disrespect. She does not come across as a trustworthy person.

I believe that ultimately the American people want someone they can trust to do the right thing when nobody is looking. They do not want a President whose character came directly from the screenplay of "24".

I also do not dismiss her husband's ability to screw it up for her. He shows up at her speeches and sucks the attention away from her. Who remembers her when he is on stage. When they are together, she is the "Little Woman" and he is "The Lovable Rascal". I am not convinced that he would allow her to succeed where he failed. Altho his fingerprints would never appear on anything.


Brenden Miniter has some thoughts on why Hillary may have problems with women voters over her abortion positions (video link)... There will be more spculation and reading of tea leaves regarding Hillary's appeal to women voters to come in weeks and months ahead. It's still 14 months until the election.