ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Journalists Worship at the Altar of Obama-mania

In my previous post, I questioned whether Obama-mania is doomed, given the current poll numbers in key swing states and even some must-win states that Kerry won in 2004.

I failed to mention that the MSM would help Obama get to the finish line, despite the tepid questions from Snuffaluffagous and Charlie Gibson on Wednesday.

The Politico has an excellent post on Wednesday night's debate and Obama's major base of support - the media.

Obama's secret weapon: the media
By: John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei
April 18, 2008 08:43 PM EST

My, oh my, but weren’t those fellows from ABC News rude to Barack Obama at this week’s presidential debate.

Nothing but petty, process-oriented questions, asked in a prosecutorial tone, about the Democratic front-runner’s personal associations and his electablity. Where was the substance? Where was the balance?

Where indeed. Hillary Clinton and her aides have been complaining for months about imbalance in news coverage. For the most part, the reaction to her from the political-media commentariat has been: Stop whining.

That’s still a good response now that it is Obama partisans—some of whom are showing up in distressingly inappropriate places [e.g. newsrooms] —who are doing the whining.

The shower of indignation on Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos over the last few days is the clearest evidence yet that the Clintonites are fundamentally correct in their complaint that she has been flying throughout this campaign into a headwind of media favoritism for Obama.

Last fall, when NBC’s Tim Russert hazed Clinton with a bunch of similar questions—a mix of fair and impertinent—he got lots of gripes from Clinton supporters.

But there was nothing like the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABC’s performance as journalistically unsound.
[...]
But there was nothing to justify Tom Shales’s hyperbolic review (“shoddy, despicable performances” by Gibson and Stephanopoulos) in the Washington Post or Greg Mitchell’s in Editor & Publisher (“perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.”) Others, like Time’s Michael Grunwald, likewise weighed in against ABC.

In fact, the balance of political questions (15) to policy questions (13) was more substantive than other debates this year that prompted no deluge of protests. The difference is that this time there were more hard questions for Obama than for Clinton.

Moreover, those questions about Jeremiah Wright, about Obama’s association with 1960s radical William Ayers, about apparent contradictions between his past and present views on proven wedge issues like gun control, were entirely in-bounds. If anything they were overdue for a front-runner and likely nominee.

If Obama was covered like Clinton is, one feels certain the media focus would not have been on the questions, but on a candidate performance that at times seemed tinny, impatient, and uncertain.

The difference seems clear: Many journalists are not merely observers but participants in the Obama phenomenon.

(Harris only here: As one who has assigned journalists to cover Obama at both Politico and the Washington Post, I have witnessed the phenomenon several times. Some reporters come back and need to go through de-tox, to cure their swooning over Obama’s political skill. Even VandeHei seemed to have been bitten by the bug after the Iowa caucus.)

(VandeHei only here: There is no doubt reporters are smitten with Obama's speeches and promises to change politics. I find his speeches, when he's on, pretty electric myself. It certainly helps his cause that reporters also seem very tired of the Clintons and their paint-by-polls approach to governing.)
[...]
Hmmmm... certainly explains the tingle in Matthews' legs.

With regard to the Gibson / Stephanopolous questions, the Democrats should be thanking them for hitting him with this stuff. Regardless of how stupid or evasive his answers are, asking those questions now means that he is less likely to be hit with them in The General, since it will be "old news that he's already answered."

And, when someone with such a minuscule public record seeks the highest office in the land, the only place to get a look at the character is through his relationships and his opinions of his friends. You can find out a lot about a person by the company they keep. It would seem that Obama (seen through the prism of his wife, his pastor, his business-partners, and his hipster-doofus lefty terrorists) could be described as a self-pitying, America hating, separationist slimeball who thinks that terrorism is justified as long as it's in support of a communist revolution.

At least, that's what I see.

Of course, when you're in the Church of Obama-mania, questions about his judgment and relationships are heresy and those asking them should be tortured.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obamessiah No More?

Good article by David Brooks in the New York Times. This information has got to trouble the Dems - and especially the superdelegates:

It was inevitable that the period of “Yes We Can!” deification would come to an end. It was not inevitable that Obama would now look so vulnerable. He’ll win the nomination, but in a matchup against John McCain, [Obama] is behind in Florida, Missouri and Ohio, and merely tied in must-win states like Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A generic Democrat now beats a generic Republican by 13 points, but Obama is trailing his own party. One in five Democrats say they would vote for McCain over Obama.

20% of Democrats will vote for McCain?

Yeah, I'd say that's approximately the sane portion of the party that's suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. It probably also correlates to the number of elderly Dems who voted for Ike when they were 18, Reagan when they were 46, etc. They have little in common with the breathless, Truther paranoia of the moonbat-o-sphere which seems to use Obama as the sock puppet that he is.

General election voters are different from primary voters. Among them, Obama is lagging among seniors and men.
And we know that McCain won't appeal to the old-timers, what with his incessant talk of "Duty, Honor, Country and prune juice."
Instead of winning over white high school-educated voters who are tired of Bush and conventional politics, he does worse than previous nominees. John Judis and Ruy Teixeira have estimated a Democrat has to win 45 percent of such voters to take the White House. I’ve asked several of the most skillful Democratic politicians over the past few weeks, and they all think that’s going to be hard.
[...]

It looks like Operation Chaos is working as expected.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

8 Year Old Divorces

Disgusting news out of Yemen today:

Yemeni girl, 8, gets divorce after forced marriage
Apr 15 02:54 PM US/Eastern
A Yemeni court on Tuesday granted a divorce to an eight-year-old girl whose unemployed father forced her into an arranged marriage this year, saying he feared she might be kidnapped.

"I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school," Nojud Mohammed Ali said, after a public hearing in Sanaa's court of first instance.

Her former husband, 28-year-old Faez Ali Thameur, said he married the child "with her consent and that of her parents" but that he did not object to her divorce petition.

In response to a question from Judge Mohammed al-Qadhi, he acknowledged that the "marriage was consummated, but I did not beat her."
well, glad you didn't beat her, Faez! What an upstanding guy! I'm sure she knew what was going on and consented, too.

You're a regular model citizen and keeper of the true faith. (In fact, you're more like Mohamed than most people realize.)
Yemen, one of the world's poorest countries, has no law governing the minimum age of marriage.

Nojud was a second grader in primary school when the marriage took place two and a half months ago.

"They asked me to sign the marriage contract and remain in my father's house until I was 18. But a week after signing, my father and my mother forced me to go live with him."

Nojud's father, Mohammad Ali Al-Ahdal, said he had felt obliged to marry off his daughter, an act he claims she consented to.

He said he was frightened after his oldest daughter had been kidnapped several years ago and later married to her abductor. He said the same man then kidnapped another of his daughters who was already married and had four children, resulting in him being jailed.

Dressed in traditional black, Nojud said she would now go to live in the home of her maternal uncle and did not want to see her father.

The girl's lawyer, Shadha Nasser, said Nojud's case was not unique. "I believe there are thousands of similar cases," she said, adding that civil society groups are pressing parliament to set the minimum age for marriage at 18.
No doubt the multiculturalists will ridicule any minimum age for marriage as insensitive to the long tradition of the Islamic faith...

Unfortunately, it's girls like Nojud who have to endure those traditions.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

More Unifying from Barry

Barack is the great Unifier - except when it comes to his church, his pastor, Black Liberation Theology, reaching across party lines, toeing the party line on every single vote, guns, etc.

The Left is all atwitter over Barack's plan to investigate and prosecute the Bush Administration over enhanced interrogation techniques torture. From the original story by Will Bunch at the Philly Daily News:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Obama would ask his AG to "immediately review" potential of crimes in Bush White House


Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race -- and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.

Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as "a partisan witch hunt." However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because "nobody is above the law."

The question was inspired by a recent report by ABC News, confirmed by the Associated Press, that high-level officials including Vice President Dick Cheney and former Cabinet secretaries Colin Powell, John Ashcroft and Donald Rumsfeld, among others, met in the White House and discussed the use of waterboarding and other torture techniques on terrorism suspects.

I mentioned the report in my question, and said "I know you've talked about reconciliation and moving on, but there's also the issue of justice, and a lot of people -- certainly around the world and certainly within this country -- feel that crimes were possibly committed" regarding torture, rendition, and illegal wiretapping. I wanted to know how whether his Justice Department "would aggressively go after and investigate whether crimes have been committed."

Here's his answer, in its entirety:
What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings [ed - which is an indication of how whacky Obama supporters really are] and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.
The bottom line is that: Obama sent a clear signal that -- unlike impeachment, which he's ruled out and which now seems a practical impossibility -- he is at the least open to the possibility of investigating potential high crimes in the Bush White House. To many, the information that waterboarding -- which the United States has considered torture and a violation of law in the past -- was openly planned out in the seat of American government is evidence enough to at least start asking some tough questions in January 2009.
Perhaps when Obama talks about unifying the country, he's really just talking about unifying theliberals... progressives... socialists in the country, along with the useful idiots who have no idea what they're signing up for...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

After Denigrating Anti-Trade Voters, Obama Decides to Pander

Wait... wasn't it just last week that Obama revealed that he thought the yahoos in Pennsylvania (and Indiana) were clinging to anti-free trade policies because they're bitter about their economic situation, implying that criticism of free trade is the merely an emotional response of the ignorant masses to economics that they don't understand?

And this revealed (to me) that Austan Goolsbee wasn't joking when he told the Canadians that Obama's NAFTA renegotiation rhetoric was just pandering to the stupid US voters.

Now Obama is attacking Clinton on not being sufficiently against NAFTA?

Obama questions Clinton's trade stance, fights back on charges of 'elitism'
2008-04-14 16:52:35 -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama called into question Hillary Rodham Clinton's opposition to free trade agreements on Monday, intensifying his attacks on his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination as he sought to detract from his remarks that threatened to cost him crucial votes among working-class voters.

With eight days remaining in the fierce battle for votes in Pennsylvania _ an economically hard-hit northeastern state that holds the biggest remaining primary _ Obama criticized the former first lady on the North American Free Trade Agreement and the pending Colombian trade deal. Opponents of the free-trade pacts claim they cost American jobs.

NAFTA went into force while Bill Clinton was president; the Colombia pact is backed by the former president and Clinton was forced to demote her chief strategist last week for working with the Colombian government to support the treaty's passage in Congress.

"Around election time, the candidates can't do enough for you," Obama said. "They'll promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer."

Clinton did that at a stop Saturday at Bronko's restaurant in Crown Point, Indiana, on Saturday.

Obama was speaking to the Association of American Manufacturers.
[...]

I wonder how the Association felt about his remarks. They have a PowerPoint available on their website which includes this graphic, along with the following explanatory text:

One theme that has developed over the past decade has been the globalization of America’s manufacturing sector. Between 1987 and 2000, trade (that is, exports plus imports) for manufacturing doubled from 20% of output to 40% while trade remained as only 6% of output for the overall economy. This is the fifth pillar [of the Manufacturing Economy].

The red line shows that in the past 15 years, manufacturing’s global reach has accelerated, both in terms of exports and imports. Foreign markets are a key part of successful manufacturing, far more than services. Manufacturing’s competition on a global stage is one reason that prices of so many manufactured goods have remained flat for a decade. Manufacturers can’t raise prices, but more about that in a minute.
They also have a monthly State of the US Economy & Manufacturing report, which contains this paragraph for February:
International Trade. U.S. exports outpaced imports for a third consecutive year in 2007, rising by 7.7 percent, compared to a 1.4 percent rise in imports. For the first time in a dozen years, trade (net exports) added to GDP growth in 2007, as exports added more than imports took away from GDP growth. In fact, exports alone accounted for 40.5 percent of GDP growth last year.
I would also point to one of our posts from late last year, which included this quiz on manufacturing and industrial output:
1) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing output reach its all-time peak?
a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006

2) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing revenue reach its all-time peak? (inflation adjusted)
a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006

3) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing profits reach their all-time peak? (inflation adjusted)
a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006

4) In what year did U.S. Manufacturing exports reach their all-time peak? (inflation adjusted)
a. 1966 b. 1976 c. 1986 d. 1996 e. 2006

5) Average annual compensation (wages + benefits) for US manufacturing jobs is
a. $36,000 b. $46,0000 c. $56,0000 d. $66,000

6) What are the relative sizes of the US and Chinese manufacturing sectors?
a. China outputs 2.5 times the US b. Equal c. The US outputs 2.5 times China

7) Which country produces the largest share of total world manufacturing output?
a. China b. Japan c. Germany d. France e. US

Answers:
  1. e. 2006 (Source: Economic Report of the President, 2007)
  2. e. 2006 (Source: Bureau of the Census)
  3. e. 2006 (Source: Bureau of the Census)
  4. a. 2006 (Source: U.S. International Trade Commission)
  5. d. $66,414 (Source: National Association of Manufacturers)
  6. c. The U.S. output is 2.5 times as much as China (Source: U.N. Industrial Development Org.)
  7. e. U.S. manufacturing output is 21 percent of world total (Source: U,N. Industrial Development Org.)

Obviously, Barry's attack is a desperate attempt to change the subject and pander to the emotions of the poorly educated Democratic base.

Fortunately, Barry's got the Jedi Mind Trick down pat and his supporters (dupes & the media) are under his spell (click to watch the cartoon):

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, April 14, 2008

McCain Decides to Join the Kerfluffle

Political Axiom - When your opponent is self-destructing (or when the opposite party is arguing amongst itself), stand out of the way and let them.

Ignoring this axiom, the McCain campaign is attempting to jump on the attack against Obama for his remarks at a San Francisco fund-raiser.

Unfortunately, they focus on Barack's statement that Americans are "bitter" and spend less time focusing on Barack's dismissal of small town AmeriKKKa as a haven for idiotic, gun-toting, bible-thumping bigots. Received today from the McCain campaign:

Dear Friends,

We've all said things that we've regretted. Sometimes they result from a mere slip of the tongue and sometimes they reveal deeply held beliefs that you'd rather not communicate to the world.

A few days ago, at a San Francisco fundraiser, Barack Obama described Americans who live in small towns or other areas that have experienced a loss of jobs as "bitter" people, adding that it didn't surprise him that they, "..cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

These words are revealing on a number of levels, and expose the out-of-touch beliefs to which John McCain offers stark contrast. Today, John McCain offered a different account of small town America:
"During the Great Depression, with many millions of Americans out of work and the country suffering the worst economic crisis in our history, there rose from small towns, rural communities, inner cities, a generation of Americans who fought to save the world from despotism and mass murder, and came home to build the wealthiest, strongest and most generous nation on earth.

"They suffered the worst during the Depression, but it did not shake their faith in, and fidelity to, America. They did not turn to their religious faith and cultural traditions out of resentment and a feeling of powerlessness to affect the course of government or pursue prosperity. On the contrary, their faith had given generations of their families' purpose and meaning, as it does today."
These hard working men and women aren't "bitter". They love their country, their faith, their family and their traditions. They are the heart and soul of this country, the foundation of our strength and the primary authors of its essential goodness - Barack Obama should get to know them.

If Barack Obama is the Democrat nominee in the general election, the American people will have a clear choice between two different visions - Senator Obama's liberal, elitist philosophy and John McCain's faith in the small town values that continue to make America great. John McCain will not forget them or write them off. Neither should Barack Obama.

We are up against a large fundraising hurdle if Barack Obama is the nominee and we need your help now. Even before the general election begins, the differences are clear, we must do everything we can to make sure these beliefs don't make it into the White House.

I hope you will make a contribution today.

Sincerely,
Rick Davis
Campaign Manager
It's not condescending to call someone "bitter."

It's condescending to blame their values and lifestyle as some subconscious emotion that the yahoos themselves don't understand.

It would seem that Rick Davis & the McCain campaign are missing a golden opportunity - to keep their mouths shut. If you're going to jump in on the feeding frenzy, at jump in with the right attack.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Delta-Northwest Merger - Woo-Hoo - Titanic Merges with Lusitania

Yeah, I know, there probably is no choice here. Something has to give. But I just do not see how this resolves the problems either airline has.

There was a time when Delta was the gem of the airline industry. The employees loved them. They even chipped in and bought their employer an airliner as a demonstration of their faith.

Those days are long gone.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn