Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ultimate Laugher: NYT Pronounces Paper Unbiased Toward Liberalism

The NYT Ombudsman solemnly tries to refute centrist studies that paint the NYT as leaning so far left that their coverage is very biased. Here's the article:
FOUR weeks ago, I criticized The New York Times for overplaying an article on an investment made by Ann Romney’s blind trust. The article was but one installment of the intense campaign coverage scrutinizing Mitt Romney as he bids for the Republican presidential nomination. During this period, we haven’t heard as much from The Times about President Obama’s re-election effort. There is precedent for the disparity. The Republican primary fight is a prelude to the general election season. Eight years ago, The Times offered comparably scant campaign coverage of the incumbent, George W. Bush, even as it blanketed readers with articles about Senator John Kerry and others competing for the Democratic nomination. Now, though, the general election season is on, and The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?
There follows the punchlines or rather the lede, which for once is not buried when the Times' integrity is questioned. Although the ombudsman's contributions often end up at the bottom of page 18.
Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, “Obama: The Historic Journey.” The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father. According to a study by the media scholars Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Times’s coverage of the president’s first year in office was significantly more favorable than its first-year coverage of three predecessors who also brought a new party to power in the White House: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Writing for the periodical Politics & Policy, the authors were so struck by the findings that they wondered, “Did The Times, perhaps in response to the aggressive efforts by Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to seize market share, decide to tilt more to the left than it had in the past?” I strongly doubt that. Based on conversations with Times reporters and editors who cover the campaign and Washington, I think they see themselves as aggressive journalists who don’t play favorites.[a total crock of BS] Still, a strong current of skepticism holds that the paper skews left. Unfortunately, this is exacerbated by collateral factors — for example, political views that creep into nonpolitical coverage. To illustrate, Faye Farrington, a reader from Hollis, N.H., wrote me earlier this year in exasperation over a Sunday magazine article about “Downton Abbey,” the public television series, in which the writer slipped in a veiled complaint about Mitt Romney’s exploitation of the American tax code. “The constant insertion of liberal politics into even the most politically irrelevant articles has already caused us to cancel our daily subscription,” Ms. Farrington wrote, “leaving only the Sunday delivery as I confess to an addiction to the Sunday crossword.” The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election, the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers — these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now. Mr. Farnsworth, the media scholar, who is a professor at the University of Mary Washington, suggested to me that “more vigilance” is what The Times needed to keep out bias. He advocated a “wider range of sources and greater openness to perspectives that may not be the way the reporter thought of the story at the outset.” Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, is a co-author of “The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Message Shaped the 2008 Election.” I asked her what she thought The Times should do to wring out bias in its 2012 coverage. Among other things, she said, “Don’t play a sex scandal out when you don’t have any evidence,” a reference to The Times’s controversial 2008 article on John McCain’s relationship with a lobbyist.
When the NYT put out a story on McCain on how he was wooing an innocent bimbo named Victoria Iseman, it was a sure indication to all the pilot fish presses and newsies who look to the Times like Stalinist newsies looked to Pravda back in the day that the book could be thrown at the hapless McCain with impunity. And the vilification of Sarah Palin was and remains an enduring stain on the hard left, which is guided by the Times. Sarah had more qualifications to be POTUS than the three senators who had never had a civilian job in their lives. Sarah had led the difficult negotiations with several big oil pipeline operators---more than SecState had ever successfully negotiated in her professional career.
Going forward, she said, The Times should examine Mr. Obama’s record and campaign promises; monitor campaign messaging for deception; emphasize substantive policy matters over petty rhetorical combat; scrutinize the newly powerful “super-PAC” groups, and take care not to let polls overdetermine the coverage. These are the right priorities. To date, The Times has delivered some clear-eyed coverage of the administration’s mixed record on the housing crisis, banks, the economy, Afghanistan and other issues. Now is the time to shift to a campaign coverage paradigm that compares promises with execution, sheds light on campaign operations and assesses the president’s promises for a second term. I asked Richard Stevenson, the political editor overseeing campaign coverage, about these matters, and he offered a detailed e-mail response, noting that “we take very seriously our responsibility to report without favoritism.” He added, “We remind ourselves every day of the need to provide readers — voters — with as much news, information and context as possible about the candidates, their records, their characters, their positions and the influences on them, including their campaign donors.” On covering Mr. Obama’s record, he cited as an example a Feb. 27 article about the president’s decision not to pursue recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission on debt reduction — a move the article said had contributed to undercutting “a central promise of his 2008 campaign, to rise above the rancor.” Mr. Stevenson promised that the Obama campaign’s use of his powers of incumbency, along with his “political style, character and learning curve,” will all be targets of Times coverage.
What a complete hoax! I haven't heard a bleat from the Times when Obama flies across the country on Air Force One claiming that he's attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies or church breakfasts for official reasons. James Taranto daily points out absurd pompous pronunciamentos about the NYT, including his always hilarious "Two newspapers in One!" reports. And this piety by Brisbane is followed by another howler:
On the question of campaign finance, Mr. Stevenson cited several articles that The Times has already done: one on the Obama campaign’s acceptance of money from a questionable source, another on the link between campaign contributions and White House access, and a third on Mr. Obama’s decision to use super-PACs to support his campaign, reversing an early policy. On the campaign operations side, he pointed to a March 8 article about the “largely secret” operation in Chicago where data specialists are cooking up ways to rebuild the vaunted support base of four years ago. I applaud The Times’s stated commitment to doing these kinds of stories. Readers deserve to know: Who is the real Barack Obama? And The Times needs to show that it can address the question in a hard-nosed, unbiased way.
The aggressive Murdoch has boosted the Wall Street Journal's paid circ to more than 2 million while the NYT continues to hemorrhage readers by the thousands. Now the real Times paid circ is around 800,000, although they claim the new revenue stream from readers paying to get beyond the new internet block has reached very high numbers. Given the Times' legendary dishonesty, I strongly doubt they will be around in 10-15 years given the way their paid circ has plunged in the last two decades.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Government Is Biggest Drag on US Economy

Read this and weep. The "Bad Goldilocks" effect is busy wrecking the American Economy.
"Bad Goldilocks" means the recovery is neither hot enough to inspire confidence nor cold enough to drive Fed intervention. Fear of the policy quandary is keeping many investors on the sidelines.
And quantitative easing is about to embark on a third round:
Let's say the United States economy is going into a recession or maybe even worse than a recession and you are the chairman of the federal reserve and you have to do something about it. well, the first thing that you would do is that you would lower the federal fund's rate, and that's the rate that banks lend to each other overnight and they way that you lowered if the banks don't do it on their own after you say you wanna lower it is that you print money as the federal reserve, you use it to buy usually short term treasury securities and that money gets deposited in banks. so, the demand for reserves because that what these things are, the demand for reserve goes down, the supply goes up, and the federal funds rate should go down, but what happened if you keep doing this and you keep lowering the federal funds rate all they way down so that the overnight borrowing rate is approximately 0%, what do you do then if the economy still looks like it's a bit of tailspin. well, you could still print money. you can still print money, but using that money to buy short term debt won't help any because they are not gonna lower the short term overnight interbank interest rate anymore. so, you can go out and buy other things. you could buy other things, and those other things can be longer term treasuries, or it could be other types of securities. it could be-- you could buy mortgage box securities. you could buy commercial debt and this idea of printing money not just for target interest rate, but essentially to get that money into circulation and maybe to affect other parts of the market. this is called quantitative easing and in bernanke's, although that's exactly what he's doing, he's printing money to buy other things and what the fed traditionally does when it carries about the overnight borrowing rate, he calls it not necessarily quantitative easing, but credit easing and in his mind, even though mechanically, they are the same thing. in his mind, he's saying look, i'm printing this money not just for the sake of printing the money and putting it into circulation. i'm printing money so that i can buy particular assets where it seems like there might be a log jam in the credit market because with just printing money and buying government securities, maybe the interest rates on government debt goes down, but maybe because of panic or crises interest or the prices on these things don't behave properly. so, in order to fix that credit easing in the bernanke sense would be to go out and buy this type of asset.
Got it? Looks like a scam and knowing the Obama Administration, it probably is. Looks like the recession, like a Bactrian Camel, will have two humps! Government has become its own worst enemy when it comes to the economy, with public spending putting a damper on growth that otherwise continues at a steady if unspectacular pace.
Friday's gross domestic product report confirmed what a drag government can be: While consumer spending grew at a 2.9 percent clip, state and local governments cut back spending by 1.2 percent on an annualized basis and the federal government pulled back by 5.6 percent. As a result, the GDP number showed just a 2.2 percent improvement. The report disappointed economists, some of whom had the number as high as 3 percent and beyond, and cast an uncertain future on a stock market dependent on Federal Reserve stimulus for growth. "None of this is all that surprising, so where is the miss?" wondered Brown Brothers Harriman global currency strategist Marc Chandler, after noting some fairly pedestrian and in-line quarterly growth results. "Contrary to what passes as conventional wisdom, the main drag is coming from the government itself." Before anyone starts thinking that Washington suddenly has gotten religion on spending, the bulk of the federal government cuts came from defense spending, which plunged 8.1 percent. State and local governments, facing the necessity to balance their budgets against declining revenue (not to mention the specter of Meredith Whitney's muni bond default forecast) likely will continue to cut, though that's not as certain with their federal counterpart. Washington's drop in spending came after a 19.1 percent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2011. "The government spending plunge is unlikely to repeat for a third quarter (in 2012 at least) and an inventory drag in 2Q only masks moderate demand gains," Citigroup economist Steven C. Wieting said. "But the 1Q GDP data should limit remaining optimism that U.S. economic growth will accelerate significantly this year." So what does this all mean? Investors are watching the Federal Reserve closely for signs that the U.S. central bank might step in and provide more stimulus once Operation Twist ends in June. The Fed currently is buying long-dated bonds and selling shorter-dated notes in an effort to stimulate risk and drive down lending costs. At the same time, it is rolling over the $2.8 trillion already on its balance sheet in the form of Treasurys as well as mortgage and other debt. Some are hoping that Chairman Ben Bernanke and Co. will be willing to step in with a third round of balance sheet expansion — quantitative easing — to keep goosing the market through the economic trudge. But the GDP progress, halting as it is, likely will forestall if not completely derail QE3 prospects. It's all part of "Bad Goldilocks" phenomenon, in which the economy doesn't grow quickly enough to inspire confidence but moves just enough to keep the Fed at bay. Central bank critics worry that all the liquidity efforts will spur inflation, not to mention uncertainty over what happens once the Fed has to start unwinding all that debt it is holding. Also remember: Out there not so far in the future is the "fiscal cliff" of which Bernanke has warned will appear if Congress cannot agree on deficit reduction and thus face an automatic round of steep spending cuts and tax increases at the end of 2012. "Enthusiasm for equities is likely to be curbed by a turn in the US profit cycle, an absence of additional unconventional monetary stimulus from the Fed and a renewed flare-up of the crisis in the euro-zone," John Higgins, senior market economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. "The latter should weigh particularly heavily on stock markets in the region, even though valuations are now low from a historical perspective and relative to the US," he added. Indeed, there's a lot not to like about an economy that relies on government spending as its primary growth engine. Just ask anyone in Europe. Ostensibly, the U.S. economy is consumer-driven, with private spending amounting to 70 percent of GDP. But several economists doubted that the robust 2.9 percent spending increase in the first quarter could last, raising further questions about where we go from here. "We assumed that growth would be driven primarily by final demand, but, inventories contributed 0.6 (percentage points) to GDP, putting real final sales at a weak 1.6 percent annualized growth rate," said Neil Dutta, U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Moreover, the strength in consumer spending and contribution from motor vehicle output look unlikely to repeat in future quarters." Government policymakers, then, face a dicey dilemma: Continue spending and risk falling further into the fiscal abyss, or cut back and deal with a prolonged future of uninspiring GDP numbers. "The dagger (from the GDP letdown) came from a second straight steep drop in federal government spending due to plunging defense outlays," observed Pierpont economist Stephen Stanley. "Boy, wait until these budget cuts start to kick in."
As Bette Davis said in that film in the '30s about an airplane & a difficult situation: "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride."

How McCain Occasionally Gets it Right!!!

John McCain may have messed up his own campaign in 2008, but the grizzled old warhorse still has some piss & vinegar in him. Behold his proclamation of something the bashful Mitt would demurely avoid saying:
"Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad. This is the same President who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden 'to score political points.' "This is the same President who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn't 'spike the ball' after the touchdown. And now Barack Obama is not only trying to score political points by invoking Osama bin Laden, he is doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get reelected. "No one disputes that the President deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy. "The Obama campaign asks whether Mitt Romney would have made that decision. Of course they want to focus on this one tactical decision because the other decisions this President has made have harmed our national security. "He turned his back on the people of Iran when they rose up to end their tyrannical, terrorist-supporting, Holocaust-denying government, giving them no assistance as they were crushed in the streets. "He has repeatedly thrown our ally Israel under the bus and jeopardized our shared security interests. "He tried to bring Khaled Sheikh Muhammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and other Al-Qaeda terrorists into the middle of New York City to stand trial in a civilian court. "He disregarded the advice of his military commanders and pulled all of our troops out of Iraq, and Al-Qaeda is making a comeback there as a result. "He disregarded the advice of his military commanders again by telling our enemies that we are leaving Afghanistan and then putting our mission and our troops at risk by short-changing our commanders on the ground. "He watches passively while the Assad regime in Syria, Iran's closest ally, kills thousands of its own people in an unfair fight, and his response to this mass atrocity is to create an 'Atrocities Prevention Board.' "With a record like that on national security, it is no wonder why President Obama is shamelessly turning the one decision he got right into a pathetic political act of self-congratulation."
Sadly, the wooden stick figure of Mitt Romney hasn't got the campaign equipment to deliver a direct attack on the feckless moron in the White House. Perhaps for all, it's best to retain his dignity and let feisty John-boy do his heavy lifting. Perhaps Mitt will hit stride later. If he doesn't, the First Clown will win again.

John King Interviews Ajami on Middle East

Fuad Ajami rented my apartment for a year after I was married around 30 years ago and before that lived as my houseguest a year earlier when he first arrived at SAIS from Princeton. He is the most cogent man I've met on the Middle East. Here's what he says about US policy towards Syria in a CNN piece:
Fresh reports of violence follow news that more U.N. observers are arriving in Syria. The U.N. Security Council recently authorized sending up to 300 monitors to Syria for 90 days. They are tasked with observing a cease-fire that was supposed to have begun April 12. They're also charged with monitoring the implementation of U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan, which calls for the government and the opposition to end the bloodshed, provide access to the population for humanitarian groups, release detainees, and start a political dialogue. But why is the violence continuing, and what chance does a peace plan have in Syria? CNN's John King spoke with Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of the soon-to-be released book "The Syrian Rebellion." Here's an edited version of their conversation: Emergency meeting in Cairo over Syria Snipers continue fierce assault in Syria Report: Syrian killings after U.N. visit Syria's deadly lies to U.N. monitors JOHN KING: Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general, filed a report essentially with the U.N. Security Council Monday that says, guess what, Syria is still violating the cease-fire, still breaking its rules. As soon as the monitors leave town, (security forces are) going in and killing people. And Annan says he's "going to lodge his objections," meet with the Syrian people "at an appropriate time." Do you see any urgency, or is it -- as you wrote in the "Wall Street Journal" -- you view this Annan mission as essentially cover for al-Assad? FOUAD AJAMI: Well over 1,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the Kofi Annan mission. The Kofi Annan mission -- to be blunt about it -- is really a lifeline to the Bashar regime. And you know, people in (there), people in distress, they know things very clearly and state it very clearly. One city stuck a note on one of the land cruisers of the observers and said the following: "The butcher kills, the observers observe, and the people go on with the revolution." There is nothing new in that Syrian nightmare. KING: I know the U.S. ambassador to United Nations, Susan Rice, is quite frustrated. She had said that Russia and China have blood on the hands because they won't accept a tougher proposal. But the United States is among those who have backed this Kofi Annan mission. When you hear the reports of further crimes against the (protesters) and then you say, we'll be touch with them at the appropriate time; at what point does the United States for its own credibility need to walk away from that process? AJAMI: We bear our own moral responsibility. And we know, for example, that we can say unequivocally that Russia and China are responsible. We can say that they aid and abet the Bashar al-Assad regime. But what about American culpability? We went to the United Nations when anyone would have told you that the Russians and Chinese were going to veto any resolution that would aid the Syrian people. So at some point in time ... we have to accept our own responsibility. We can't say such terms as "the violence in Syria is unacceptable." We are accepting it. It goes on day after day. And the United States itself is doing nothing about it. KING: Do you see any evidence that there's a change of heart, or is this going to go on and is the killing going to continue while the world talks, but does nothing? AJAMI: Well, I think there's one beat that you know very well, more than the rest of us, I believe. You observe and understand the game in Washington very, very well.Nothing will happen: That's my own prediction, my own fear, my own sense. Nothing is going to happen before the November election in 2012, before the bid of President Obama for a second term. I spent some time in Turkey. I spent some time in the refugee camps in Turkey, and even just simple people, simple people, unschooled, unlettered, they will tell you, no cavalry is coming to the rescue, and that Washington has pretty much looked away and averted its gaze from this terrible slaughter. And everyone, the Arabs, the Turks, are waiting on the Obama administration, and the rain of mercy has not come.
Readers of this blog recall that about a week or so ago I predicted the failure of the Annan truce. My many visits to Syria when I was an American diplomat convince me that the Alawite sect that Bashar Al-Assad belongs to will never relinquish power voluntarily. Neophytes like Annan might have known that had they a feel for the Levant and the many warring sects, including Druze & Christian, who live in Syria. Also, the Alawite sect is closest to Shi'ite doctrine and belief, so Iran will always be there giving Al-Assad & his sect money and equipment. Oh, well.... Anyway, I'm looking forward to buying Fuad's book.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Krauthammer on Why Biden is Greatest Foreign Policy Imbecile Ever

RealClearPolitics has a short article outlining some of the Vice POTUS's most egregious examples of stupidity on broad & important issues of American Foreign Policy. I'm not talking about run-of-the-mill silly factual errors as when he averred that the US had "kicked Syria out of Lebanon" at a time when Syria & its cat's paw Hezbollah had just taken over complete power in Lebanon. Aside from his silly gaffes supporting Obungler, e.g. "the President has a big stick," here are what Krauthammer thinks are his greatest unforced errors over the decades that this moron has infected the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
The Vice President has been over the last 30 years holds the American record for wrong on the most issues in foreign affairs ever. And the list starts with the nuclear freeze in the early ’80s against Thatcher and Reagan and Cole which is one of the follies of the era. He supported it. He was against aid to the Nicaraguan Contras which in the end brought democracy and ended the Sandinista rule at the time. He was against Reagan’s expansion of the defense budget, which bankrupted the Soviet Union and led to the end of the Soviet Empire. He was against Reagan on Strategic Defenses, which is the big advantage that we have now in the missile age. And look at where he was on Iraq. He opposed the first Iraq War, the Gulf War that liberated Kuwait that everybody agrees was a good thing. He supported the Iraq War which he, not I, he says was a terrible mistake. And then when the surge happened, he opposed the surge in Iraq which rescued a losing war and ended with our leaving with our heads held high and some promise in the future.
To think that this blockhead is still one heartbeat away from being POTUS. No wonder Osama bin Ladin thought that assassinating Obama & having the egregious cretin Biden as President was the best way to grease the skids to America's downfall!!! UPDATE Reading the above after I'd published it on my blog, I noticed that the transcript of Krauthammer's verbal sallies on FoxNEWS were spelling German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's name as "Cole," a mistake that the RCL transcribers made, but that the erudite Charles would never commit.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

John Dean shows How Not to Write has a total fruitcake leftoid mutant named Alexander Cockburn infecting its masthead. Here's the latest abomination from the forgotten, but not gone turncoat John Dean's keyboard, about the guv of my native state, Scott Walker, who should stay guv of Wisconsin:
In my prior column, drawing on the work of Bob Altemeyer and others, I listed traits that are consistently revealed by social dominators, or authoritarian leaders. To earn this label, a person must show four key traits: (1) they seek to dominate others, (2) they oppose equality, (3) they are desirous of personal power, and (4) they are amoral. News accounts of Scott Walker reveal that he possesses all four of these defining traits, not to mention others in the longer list I set forth in my prior column. Here, however, I will merely note the evidence for Walker’s having a defining social-dominating disposition. (1) Domination. Authoritarian leaders seek to control others; in short, they are social dominators. This is the story of Scott Walker’s life. By age 7, Walker had formed a “Jesus USA” club, which was a mix of his father’s Baptist ministry and his attraction to patriotism. By age 8, he had undertaken a door-to-door fundraising campaign to take charge of purchasing a flag for the village hall of his small Iowa town. As a teen, Walker sought leadership posts, which provide some control, in Boys State and Boys Nation, and became an Eagle Scout. He attended Marquette University (but has no college degree from there or any other school). At Marquette, he was elected to the student senate, and twice sought but failed to get elected president of the student body. He ran for the Wisconsin State Assembly the same year that he lost his bid to be student president at Marquette, losing the Assembly race as well. Since then, Walker has never stopped running. In 1993, he was elected to the State Assembly, where he remained until 2002. In 2002, he sought the post of Milwaukee County Executive, and he held that post until he was elected Governor in 2010. This is the behavior, writ large, of a dominator. {Huh?] (2) Opposition To Equality. The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology(which is searchable) further defines social dominators as “hard, tough, ruthless, and unfeeling toward others, as opposed to compassionate, generous, caring, and altruistic.” There are many examples of Walker’s harsh and uncaring treatment of those whom he does not believe to be entitled to equality. None is more glaring than his intolerance of gays and lesbians. For example, as Governor, he has worked to end Wisconsin’s recognition of the rights of same-sex couples. He fired the law firm defending the state’s domestic-partnership law. And he appointed a woman to the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission who believes that gays can be harassed in the workplace. One attorney familiar with Walker’s thinking states, “Governor Walker is ideologically opposed to equal rights for gay and lesbian and transgendered people as is everyone in his administration as far as I can tell and they will probably want to take steps to ensure that gay and lesbian and transgendered people do not have equal rights. Everything that Governor Walker is doing is ideological; I don’t see that his administration has any particular respect for the law per se.” [And this attorney's name is?] (3) Desirous Of Personal Power. Scott Walker has been seeking personal power his entire life, and has never stopped reaching for it. Note how Walker has worked not merely to reach higher offices, but also to enhance his power in these offices when he occupied them. For example, as governor, Walker sought to remove civil service jobs, in order to make them political appointments, and thus subject to his control. Most strikingly, he has sought to undercut the public-employee unions so that he would not have to deal with them, thus increasing his power. Often overlooked in Walker’s infamous union-busting “budget-repair bill“ is the power grab to fill three dozen civil-service jobs with political appointees. For instance, the bill politicized and placed under Walker’s control functions like open-records requests, the selection of general counsels for key agencies, and the selection of communications spokespeople in key departments. He has increased his personal power over some fifteen state agencies, and I suspect that he is (or was, depending on the recall vote) just getting started. Walker’s move to break public employee unions is his most notorious personal power play. To try to prevent the union-busting law’s passage, Democratic state senators left Wisconsin, so that the GOP-controlled legislature could not do Walker’s bidding and ram it through. But nevertheless, using dubious parliamentary ploys, the bill was passed by the Senate, making it a done deal. Walker’s push to get this legislation, known as Act 10, passed into law was done in about as authoritarian a fashion as you will ever see, outside of a dictatorship. Part of Act 10 has already been struck down by a federal judge, and, as I noted earlier, the wisdom of Walker’s power play will be tested in the June 5th recall election. (4) Amorality. To be amoral, of course, is to be insensitive to moral matters. A politician like Scott Walker will wrap himself in a cloak of morality, while, in fact, acting anything but morally. Needless to say, Walker’s policies that attack poor women by cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood; his slashing of education budgets while giving tax breaks to wealthy corporations; and his pursuit of similar radical Republican actions all raise serious moral issues. But different people have different moral standards and views of such activity, so I have excluded these matters from this discussion. Similarly, I have set aside the fact that a growing number of Walker’s closest aides are being criminally investigated and several have been charged with, or pled guilty to, crimes stemming from actions that occurred during Walker’s tenure as Milwaukee County Executive. Walker has hired several high-powered criminal defense lawyers and is building a legal defense fund, but this, too, is not relevant at this time, for little is known of this secret “John Doe” grand jury proceeding. Walker has not been charged. The grand jury proceeding simply remains a dark cloud following him, and no conclusions can or should be drawn from it. Nonetheless, Walker’s amorality is conspicuous. It is found in his history of ethics violations and the record of his lying. A lengthy article could (and should) be written about both, but suffice it here to note that his ethics problems go back to his Marquette University days, when the college newspaper called him “unfit” for student office. Later, in the Assembly (in 2005), Walker would earn the distinction of receiving the second-highest fine for an ethics violation in Wisconsin history. His lying is notorious. Politifacts Wisconsin (which I am told is more reliable than most of these sites) finds Walker to be an accomplished falsifier. With respect to 44 statements that Politifacts examined, Walker was found to have been truthful only on six occasions. The fact that 38 statements were pants-on-fire false, false, mostly false, or half-truths is stark evidence of amorality. I watched a video of a Walker speech at the Goldwater Institute. He’s slick: Fast-talking, confident, and dishonest—I watched him distort facts with which I was familiar. He spoke in mostly half-truths, and certainly not with the kind of candor that the late Senator Goldwater expected from political figures. Clearly, Walker has all the traits of a social dominator and authoritarian leader. More strikingly, it is also clear that he is, in fact, what social scientists term a “double high authoritarian.”
John Dean was Legal Counselor in the Nixon White House. Since then, he has held no position other than inconsequential gadfly who occasionally popped up on left-wing TV such as PMSNBC. Methinks the has-been doth protest too much! P.S. I thought they taught law students how to write in law school!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Obama Donors' Spirits Start to Flag....

Don Surber notes that although the AP loyally spews the DNC party line about Obama's bundlers assembling giant amounts of campaign cash, the NYT begs to differ slightly, noting that said bundlers and donors are less enthusiastic for the First Clown's second rodeo. Perhaps that's why the First Swindler and Kickbacker accepts Maher's money without a qualm and still has swindler Corzine bundling for him even in March. Given the First Imbecile's track record... Figures!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two Poems: Apples into Roses

The apple & the rose are two members of the same family of Rosacea. The rose is the final version of the apple and the end of Citizen Kane with its enigmatic sign on the sled thrown into the fire, "rosebud," could mean the failure of a gifted man to develop his gifts into full fruition. As a postscript, T.S. Eliot had an image of a rose enveloped in flames on his tombstone.


I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lads and hilly lands.
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.


i{Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days!}
i{Come near me, while I sing the ancient ways:}
i{Cuchulain battling with the bitter tide;}
i{The Druid, grey, wood-nurtured, quiet-eyed,}
i{Who cast round Fergus dreams, and ruin untold;}
i{And thine own sadness, where of stars, grown old}
i{In dancing silver-sandalled on the sea,}
i{Sing in their high and lonely melody.}
i{Come near, that no more blinded by man's fate,}
i{I find under the boughs of love and hate,}
i{In all poor foolish things that live a day,}
i{Eternal beauty wandering on her way.}

i{Come near, come near, come near -- Ah, leave me still}
i{A little space for the rose-breath to fill!}
i{Lest I no more bear common things that crave;}
i{The weak worm hiding down in its small cave,}
i{The field-mouse running by me in the grass,}
i{And heavy mortal hopes that toil and pass;}
i{But seek alone to hear the strange things said}
i{By God to the bright hearts of those long dead,}
i{And learn to chaunt a tongue men do not know.}
i{Come near; I would, before my time to go,}
i{Sing of old Eire and the ancient ways:}
i{Red Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days.}

To Yeats as to James Clarence Mangan, author of the poem Dark Rosaleen, the rose stood for Ireland.

[Ending of] Little Gidding [T S Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

"the fire and the rose": The rose is a traditional symbol of English royalty, and therefore represents England, and Western civilization beyond it— and it also stands in mediaeval literature for divine love and mercy, and in this poem for the garden (sc. Eden) where the children (Adam and Eve) hide (and they reappear here). Fire is the flame both of God's judgment and wrath, and of the Spirit who purifies, warms, and enlightens.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why institutions favor liberals

h/t to Dennis Mangan & "Daybreaker"

"Liberals dominate institutions because liberals want to dominate institutions. Conservatives want a school to be a place for learning or a garden club to be a place for gardening."

Some Points About Liberals & "Intelligence"
One, liberalism is a collective strategy (sometimes with a collectivist ethnic thread in it), and modern "conservatism" is individualist. In social conflicts of all kinds, collective strategies are exceedingly powerful in competition with individualist strategies. Elaborate theories of how everyone is supposed to thrive through individual competition fail instantly as individuals confront teams and duly lose. "Every man for himself" rapidly becomes "let save (himself) who can".

On the simplest level, liberals can advance through the institutions by favoring each other. Feminist networking rationalizes self-interested mutual back-scratching as "empowering women" and this produces career spoils that both advance lefties in bureaucracies and cements loyalty through patronage. What is the "conservative" equivalent? It doesn't exist.

Two, if you're smart (and not barred from promotion by ethnic nepotism or quota issues) you may get to a "managerial" position where you get to make decisions. The first time you make a decision and you are asked to rationalize it, you will basically have these options:
* Argue a non-liberal rationale for your decision. Congratulations moron, you have just killed your career. And you are likely to suffer social ostracism too.
* Argue a liberal rationale for a liberal outcome. Good! Even if the policy does not work, you are unlikely to be blamed, as nobody can admit what's wrong. (And of course you are a liberal, and to live with yourself you need to make yourself believe liberal dogma, if you can, or if you can't you at least need to make yourself forget how wrong you know you are.)
* Argue a liberal rationale for a conservative outcome. This is risky. There's more chance that the policy will be beneficial, but there's no special payoff for you for that. And there's more effort in contriving your paradoxical rationale, and more chance that you will be found not to have acted in the right spirit if things go wrong. (And of course you are a "conservative," and you need to get your thoughts firmly grooved within the bounds of liberal rationalizations to stay safe. Which will in the long run limit how "conservative" your results will be.)

People who reach managerial positions and like intellectual elegance are likely to be liberal."

I for one worked in TV at NBC, ABC & CBS as well as PBS. I worked as an FSO for more than a decade at the least incompetent [with the possible exception of the CIA] agency in the US government, the Dept of State. Job security in large institutions is rather stable, but in TV news & the entertainment world [the two are now not far apart!], there is little job security. State is full of petty functionaries with a lifer mentality while Hollyweird has insecure people looking to stay in the loop by aping the Penns & Clooneys in their political outlook. Academia blocks alternative POVs in an autonomic fashion---the key meme is "No fault on the Left" unless one is talking about a Stalin or a Saddam Hussein [the Baath Party in Iraq & Syria are both socialist in their ideology]. Bashir Assad may be the next "leftist" to join the club of libtard reprobates.

However, in my five years in a Jesuit seminary, I met some of the most intelligent people in my life---so no standard deviation is without its exceptions!

Annan Plan Collapses---Predictably---in Syria

Kofi Annan holds the record as the single most incompetent UN SecGen in the tormented history of that cave of winds. His ham-handed handling of the Rwanda catastrophe, including his failure to head off the massacres, denotes a singular incapacity to lead or even negotiate in any complex situation.

Syria is another area where Annan has dropped the ball. Sadly, this arrogant oaf doesn't learn by experience.
QED: Annan fucks up, just as I predicted months ago!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Marxism is Obama's Key Ideology

Barry Rubin is a longtime friend who now lives in Israel. Read his erudite analysis to understand how Obama and his cohorts are corrupting America with their dishonest policies and fraudulent promises.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

DC's Marion Barry Another Argument Against Statehood

Marion Barry is a confirmed crackhead whose love of crime & criminals makes him the worst mayor in DC history, and that's saying something!

Read the attached if you can stand a black racist POS ranting about Asians who are hard-working, tax-paying entrepreneurs...!

"Clever Sillies" and the Problem of High IQ Absent-Mindedness

Bruce Charlton has an interesting explanation of "nerdiness" which I submit to you with a hat tip to Dennis Mangan's blog:
In previous editorials I have written about the absent-minded and socially-inept ‘nutty professor’ stereotype in science, and the phenomenon of ‘psychological neoteny’ whereby intelligent modern people (including scientists) decline to grow-up and instead remain in a state of perpetual novelty-seeking adolescence. These can be seen as specific examples of the general phenomenon of ‘clever sillies’ whereby intelligent people with high levels of technical ability are seen (by the majority of the rest of the population) as having foolish ideas and behaviours outside the realm of their professional expertise. In short, it has often been observed that high IQ types are lacking in ‘common sense’ – and especially when it comes to dealing with other human beings. General intelligence is not just a cognitive ability; it is also a cognitive disposition. So, the greater cognitive abilities of higher IQ tend also to be accompanied by a distinctive high IQ personality type including the trait of ‘Openness to experience’, ‘enlightened’ or progressive left-wing political values, and atheism. Drawing on the ideas of Kanazawa, my suggested explanation for this association between intelligence and personality is that an increasing relative level of IQ brings with it a tendency differentially to over-use general intelligence in problem-solving, and to over-ride those instinctive and spontaneous forms of evolved behaviour which could be termed common sense. Preferential use of abstract analysis is often useful when dealing with the many evolutionary novelties to be found in modernizing societies; but is not usually useful for dealing with social and psychological problems for which humans have evolved ‘domain-specific’ adaptive behaviours. And since evolved common sense usually produces the right answers in the social domain; this implies that, when it comes to solving social problems, the most intelligent people are more likely than those of average intelligence to have novel but silly ideas, and therefore to believe and behave maladaptively. I further suggest that this random silliness of the most intelligent people may be amplified to generate systematic wrongness when intellectuals are in addition ‘advertising’ their own high intelligence in the evolutionarily novel context of a modern IQ meritocracy. The cognitively-stratified context of communicating almost-exclusively with others of similar intelligence, generates opinions and behaviours among the highest IQ people which are not just lacking in common sense but perversely wrong. Hence the phenomenon of ‘political correctness’ (PC); whereby false and foolish ideas have come to dominate, and moralistically be enforced upon, the ruling elites of whole nations.

And as everyone knows, the moderately intelligent always want to ape their more intelligent "betters" in the IQ department, so that PC among the dominant elites is quickly assimilated among the less-mentally cogent. The rub is that the traditional "common sense" of those instinctive and spontaneous forms of behavior are often the butt of jibes by those slightly smarter, but socially more inept, eventual losers themporarily higher up the so-called social ladder, often a step-pyramid resulting in human sacrifice such as Stalin's vicious purges of the so-called "elites" are a prime example!

Arthur Koestler's depiction in Darkness at Noon of the Communism of the thirties which in the USA often used the highest ideals of human progress to mask the duplicities of a Hiss or the barbarism of Stalin's NKVD is a salutary lesson of the "clever sillies" that ruling elites in Europe & the USA are now giggling about.

May political correctness, born of Lenin's NEP in the early 1920s, die an ignoble death before its centenary.