Items of note
Prelude: I had a crap weekend (which I'll detail later) but was relieved that I got out of the house 15 minutes earlier than normal. I got to work early and when I'm the only one there it's quiet and I can get stuff done. I logged in early today and lo and behold my virus software is going bonkers. I have a list of about 50 viruses listed. All of them are critical apps. Scrolling though the list is says none of them are repairable and have been moved to avoid further problems. It's every .exe on my machine. Literally. I find some other hapless soul here at this ungodly hour. He's got the same problem. Seems they modified the anti-virus software over the weekend and the package now thinks that any .exe that is not delivered by Novell is a virus. Whooptie friggin do. So the only thing I can use is the interweb. So, I've now been doing so for the last two hours. Thank God I don't have ANY FRIGGIN DELIVERABLES DUE TODAY!!!!!111ELEVNTY!!!!111!!
Anyway...back to news:
First up the importance of a free press and the inherent responsibility thereof:
This is not hyperbole: a free society relies on a free press to inform. That the mainstream press leans demonstrably left is not the problem in and of itself; the problem arises when that demonstrable bias is given cover as “objective,” and when those who believe they are basing their support for a candidate or platform on objective reporting are in effect doing no such thing, but are rather being coaxed, prodded, directed, and manipulated — in everything from what comes to count as newsworthy to, in cases like these, shoddy reporting (which may or may not be intentional), the effect of which is to leave those who rely on the media literally less informed than had the media reported nothing at all.
A free society cannot run this way. If information is power, those who control the information and its mainstream dissemination are in a position to act as the most important swing vote in any election. That the press has given up, at this late stage (and despite declines in readership and public trust), any serious attempt to report objectively suggests that we are now quite immersed in a battle for the very principles of a democratic republic. Progressives have decided that the ends justify the means — that lies in the service of greater truths (as defined by their own ideology) are both pragmatic and utilitarian measures to be adopted so that “we” can finally get things “right,” and accept government from a permanent political class, a new aristocracy, that will expand the federal government in ways that will protect us from ourselves, in the process, assuring that ever new generations will be reliable upon the good graces of the federal government for their survival.
Indeed. The upside to this is that the MSM has shown their colors in full. They wave their flag of partisan support while mouthing claims of objectivity. The public isn't stupid and they're waking up rather quickly to this game. The more partisan they MSM becomes, the more they empower alternate media. I don't believe blogs will replace newspapers. They will, however, act as a break on the slipshod and partisan reporters. People are starting to look at MSM stories with much more askance than they had in the past. Someone once said; "A man who does not read the newspapers is uninformed. A man who reads the newspapers is misinformed." Still true today.
Next up: Obama's first attempt at government explains his wild popularity in Democrat circles. It spent tons of money with no measurable improvement or accounting for funds spent:
We now know that the CAC [Chicago Annenberg Challenge] ran through $160 million dollars –$50 million from the Annenberg Foundation, managed by Brown University — and a reported $110 million dollars in matching funds. But precisely who received that money, and why two reviews have established that the investment resulted in no improvement in student achievement, is still a mystery...
The CAC’s agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers’s educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland’s ghetto. In works like “City Kids, City Teachers” and “Teaching the Personal and the Political,” Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? “I’m a radical, Leftist, small ‘c’ communist,” Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk’s, “Sixties Radicals,” at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.
So they spent lots of money and focused on radical activism over achievement. Does anyone wonder why? How was this money distributed?
CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).
Ah yes, ACORN.
How is it possible that Obama in writing two autobiographies could ignore his 13 year-long association with Ayers if he were not purposely trying to hide or downplay it?
Simply put: It isn't.
Let's remember that William Ayers is a risible human being. He tried to blow up soldiers at the Fort Dix NCO club.
Four 12″ pipe-bombs stuffed with dynamite, using roof nails as shrapnel designed to add lethality to the blast, were recovered in the remains of the basement bomb factory. So were more than 50 sticks of dynamite, some of it fused in eight-stick bundles that could level entire buildings. Had these bombs not detonated hours before in a Greenwich Village basement, the attack imagined above could have easily come to pass. In fact, the terror attack described above would have used less than half of the bombs built by Bill Ayer’s Weathermen.
That Obama ever said anything other to this man than an expletive is remarkable. Anyone who has a kind word for him is similarly risible. He is unrepentant and remorseless. I cannot believe we're having an election with one of the two candidates has a multi-decade relationship with a unapologetic terrorist and a pastor who shouted "God damn America!" from the pulpit. That all of this has passed like water under the bridge is gobsmacking.
Next we have Obama's chief council strong-arming radio and TV stations attempting to air ads he doesn't like. If this doesn't concern you, you are either delusional, hypocritical or not paying attention. For the last 8 years I've been hearing about dissent squashing ad naseum. Now when the roles are reversed I hear nothing? Why does this not surprise me? I think the language in the link is rather strident but the point is a salient one and might be better served with more temperate language.
Next via Insty is an explanation of why we're going to be seeing more of the same no matter who wins in November:
Barack Obama says a John McCain victory would amount to a third term of the Bush presidency. What he doesn’t say: an Obama victory would, too.
While both nominees love to talk about their big agendas for change, whoever wins will take office with their obligations defined and options constrained by what Bush dumps on their lap.
The ship of state is a capital one. If you've ever seen movies about naval warfare you know the script. The ships are so large and cumbersome they have to "come about" to target their guns for a broadside. Sure they have chase guns but those are very small and mostly used for sniping and warning shots. The real power requires long, slow maneuvering. Any attempts are quick movements are fruitless. This is most notable in foreign policy. There are tweaks one may make but large, wholesale changes are very rare. The old Vulcan adage of "Only Nixon could go to China" still holds. Obama's insistence that he would talk to anyone without any preconditions is something that simply won't happen. Wiser heads will talk him off that ledge and explain why that is not done. He will, however, offer many more carrots than sticks.
Funny, when I first read this story I misread it as "Liberal tourism" not "libel tourism". I figured it was about eco-tours in South America or something. The article is fine but what really struck me is that you can't spell "liberal" without "libel".
P.J. O'Rourke has cancer. The good news is it's treatable. What does PJ have to say for himself?
Furthermore, I am a logical, sensible, pragmatic Republican, and my diagnosis came just weeks after Teddy Kennedy's. That he should have cancer of the brain, and I should have cancer of the ass ... well, I'll say a rosary for him and hope he has a laugh at me. After all, what would I do, ask God for a more dignified cancer? Pancreatic? Liver? Lung?
Pray for him.
I am ordinarily pretty sympathetic to the Wall Street Journal editorial page. But it has always sought to protect Wall Street bankers on the theory that without them, the country would grind to a halt and capitalism lose its moral compass. I’m not saying that we should enact a series of China-style ‘economic crimes’ and shoot every tenth investment banker. Or kneecap losers and hold their children hostage. Our economy thrives on risk taking. But long ago in all this, Wall Street, with Frank, Schumer, Dodd, et al., in train, along with the executives of Freddie and Fannie, switched from risk taking to rent seeking. Time to claw back some rent. Justice as fairness, as John Rawls urged. Inflicting some pain on gains that turn out to be, as it happens, salary advances to which they helped themselves and more from the national credit card - a little something pour encourager les autres seems to me perfectly okay.
Well, yes. I am the first person to applaud anyone who (legally) makes tons of money. However, the trend in the past 10 years of giving insane bonuses to executives as companies fail is unethical even if it isn't illegal. In some cases you have corporate officers who know the company is going to fail and start giving away as much cash to each other as possible. In others, they promise so much money upon exit that they ended up screwing the pension funds to pay the executives. That is abhorrent. Frankly that anyone would accept a check like that and watch as the employees lose theirs says more about their character than I can. Sure money is a big draw for many people and I count myself among them but these guys are millionaires many times over. Will another million really make a difference? (If the answer is "yes" you need to really re-evaluate your lifestyle choices).
Next up, I'm veering across all lanes and am now in the Iraq War Lane (this lane is an express with no exits):
We heard a lot about "Listen to the Generals." Something I usually think is a good idea. These guys have spent considerable amount of time in their industry and anyone who's made it above O-6 is a politician so you do have to remember that they're not entirely altruistic. What do you do, however, if they are wrong?
Although the conventional narrative about the Iraq war is wrong, its persistence has contributed to the most serious crisis in civil-military relations since the Civil War. According to Mr. Woodward's account, the uniformed military not only opposed the surge, insisting that their advice be followed; it then subsequently worked to undermine the president once he decided on another strategy.
This is very very bad. The military must remain subordinate to the civilians in the country if we are to survive. I say that with zero exaggeration. The day we have a military that is openly (or even behind the scenes) defying the civilian leadership we risk becoming a banana republic (if we're not one already). It's bad enough when the CIA is in all but open revolt against a sitting president. If we lose control of one (or God forbid) both of those entities we are going to be living in a country we don't even recognize.
More on the bailout. (Yes, I know, bear with me)
"The financial capital just underwent a huge downsizing," said James Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, which analyzes New York's tax structure and finances. "When you're drowning and at the risk of going under completely, the taxpayers as embodied by the government in Washington are the only place to turn to."
He added: "It may not be a bad thing that more decision-making rests with people in Washington rather than New York."
So I looked up the Fiscal Policy Institute. They're a liberal economic think tank which explains why they want all power centered in DC where people who never accomplished anything regulate the people in NYC, who have. I looked them up and I even find their address hilarious:
1 Lear Jet Lane
Latham, NY 12110
I swear I was expecting their NYC office to be:
1 Chardonnay and Cheese in The Back of My Limo While I Feel Bad for the Lumpenproles Who Have To Take The Bus Avenue
NY, New York 10007
The article continues with the most unintentionally funny line I've read about this yet:
"The strippers are getting killed -- it's terrible," he said. "It really started in the last month. What they really need are the guys who go in and spend $500."
SNL even parodied this over the weekend.
For many, who didn't share in the spoils, there is a certain sense of schadenfreude -- enjoying the new misery of the formerly wealthy.
Yes, they're called Democrats. It's their conundrum. They hate rich people but need to confiscate their wages to give to their voters so they're something of a necessary evil.
Next the natural follow up to this story is about a wannabe chef who died after eating chili that was too hot. The story is a bit vague so we don't know if he died from eating his own chili or his opponents. Did he win or lose? I'll leave that to my reader(s).
Next on the domestic front: How bad have the smears against Palin become? Bad enough that Slate has taken to debunking them:
But the fact remains that this is a nasty and untrue rumor about Sarah Palin that's been circulating for weeks. If you're an Obama supporter who gets frustrated that people still believe he's Muslim or won't put his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance, you should understand the frustration that Palin supporters feel when this slime is taken at face value.
We've read this before but facts don't matter to some people if they cast a Republican in the worst light possible. No correction is expected and none will be given.
That's all for now. I still have not heard word one from the No Help Whatsoever Desk so I'll likely be blogging more today.