I’m still really tired and quite removed from the total weirdness of the current Beltway antics. From my groggy eyes, it seems like some odd, abstract dance done to music with an oft-repeated, dissonant theme. I’m very much lost in a world of books and games right now and catching up with things around the house. Oh, and sleep. I just can’t seem to get enough of that. Who invited all these tacky people and why hasn’t some one taught them how to behave properly at a national cotillion?
So, the journalistic dance theatrics orchestrated by the right wing appear to be spinning out there in a place that no one cares much about. However, it should be noted that while no one real seems to care, the press is still tap dancing to the jingoism. Have the little republican boyz cried wolf so many times that only the villagers listen and no one else? Cue the polls and the pols,
President Barack Obama comes out of what was arguably the worst week of his presidency with his approval rating holding steady, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/ORC International survey released Sunday morning also indicates that congressional Republicans are not overplaying their hand when it comes to their reaction to the three controversies that have consumed the nation’s capital over the past week and a half. And the poll finds that a majority of Americans take all three issues seriously.
“That two-point difference is well within the poll’s sampling error, so it is a mistake to characterize it as a gain for the president,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Nonetheless, an approval rating that has not dropped and remains over 50% will probably be taken as good news by Democrats after the events of the last week.”
The CNN poll is in-line with Gallup, which also indicated a very slight rise in Obama’s approval rating over the same time period. And Gallup’s daily tracking poll also indicated a slight upward movement of Obama’s approval rating over the past week. But as with the CNN poll, it was within that survey’s sampling error.
More than seven in 10 in the CNN poll say that the targeting by the Internal Revenue Service of tea party and other conservative groups that were applying for tax exempt status was unacceptable. While the White House and both parties in Congress are criticizing the IRS actions, congressional Republicans are depicting the controversy as a case of the federal government gone wild.
But more than six in 10 say that the president’s statements about the IRS scandal are completely or mostly true, with 35% not agreeing with Obama’s characterizations. And 55% say that IRS acted on its own, with 37% saying that White House ordered the IRS to target tea party and other conservative groups.
It’s nice to see that a lot of real folks are not taking all these conspiracy theories very seriously. How can any one take them seriously with idiots like Senator Aqua Buddha pushing them? Why does any one give this whackadoodle air time? Not every US senator deserves national face time. This one should be placed in a carnival sideshow in a Scheherazade costume. However, this crackpot may try to take on Hillary Clinton for the presidency next time out so it’s a way for the press to rattle the Clinton cage. Rand Paul’s trying to spin his little tail and tale into something credible. Good luck with that!! It all come off as fundraising theatrics to me. A little snake oil music from the maestro please!!!
Sen. Rand Paul continued with his charges from earlier this week that former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had “her fingerprints all over these talking points” on the Benghazi attack and claims that she never “really accepted culpability” because she failed to resign shortly after the tragedy. When CNN’s Candy Crowley asked Paul if he was worried about appearing to politicize the controversy by making his remarks in Iowa and other presidential battleground states, Paul dismissed the notion that his remarks were based on politics.
It’s laughable that anyone expects us to believe that Republicans care one iota about this trumped up Benghazi story for any other reason than to muddy up Hillary Clinton, because they all assume she’s going to be the front-runner for the next presidential election.
And I’d say it’s safe to assume Rand Paul is going to take up his father’s mantle and make a career out of perpetually running for president as a fundraising scheme. It worked out pretty well for his dad and the press is already propping him up because of it — with this being the latest example — so why not?
Meanwhile, the choreography of the supposed liberal bias in the press came apart when ABC’s Jonathan Karl was caught telling right wing whoppers and had to apologize. Actually, he kinda sorta, sashayed towards an apology. Here’s his anti-mea culpa. Oh, and you gotta laugh about exactly who got to read it on air yesterday!!!
Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent for ABC News, addressed criticism of his reporting on the Benghazi talking points controversy, saying in a statement to CNN that he regrets the inaccuracy of his report.
“Clearly, I regret the email was quoted incorrectly and I regret that it’s become a distraction from the story, which still entirely stands. I should have been clearer about the attribution. We updated our story immediately,” he said in the statement to Howard Kurtz, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
Earlier this month, Karl reported that he obtained emails by White House staff that indicated they had a dramatic role in altering the talking points that were later used by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Sunday morning talk shows to explain the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
From those talking points, she said the attack spurred from a spontaneous demonstration outside the compound, while the Obama administration later stated the violence came from a premeditated terror attack.
Questions soon arose over how the error took place, as reports showed that initial drafts of those talking points included references to extremists but were later changed to attribute the incident to protests over an anti-Islam film.
Karl reported on May 10 that, based on summaries of the emails, the White House had a leading role in the editing process and had scrubbed vital information from the talking points.
But CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s “The Lead,” reported days later that the actual e-mail from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told a different story.
Karl’s high profile at ABC demonstrates that conservative messages can find a comfortable home inside the so-called “liberal” media. Karl channeled former ABC corporate cheerleader John Stossel with a segment (3/5/11) complaining that regulation of the egg and poultry industries was “almost embarrassing,” since different government agencies regulate different aspects of the industries. “Got that?” Karl asked. “Fifteen separate agencies have responsibility for food safety.”
During the rollout of Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Karl (1/26/11) gushed that the Republican media darling was “a little like the guy in the movie Dave, the accidental president who sets out to fix the budget, line by line.” And while Democrats were saying Ryan “is a villain,” Karl was clear about which side he was on: “Ryan knows what he sees…. Paul Ryan is on a mission, determined to do the seemingly impossible: Actually balance the federal budget.” (Actually, even with its draconian spending cuts and absurdly optimistic economic assumptions, the Ryan plan still foresees a cumulative deficit of $62 trillion over the next half century—Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10.)
On a This Week roundtable (2/20/11), Karl declared that state budget debates were “the Tea Party’s moment” and “also the Chris Christie phenomenon. Will politicians be rewarded for making tough choices—again, something I don’t think we’ve ever seen happen?” Of course, it’s hard not to conclude that the “tough choices” made by Christie and other Republicans are the ones that ought to be rewarded.
And in one World News segment (2/14/11), Karl likened the federal budget to stacks of pennies in order to demonstrate that deeper spending cuts would be necessary in order to balance the budget. Karl concluded that “the bottom line, Diane, is unless you’re willing to talk about cutting entitlements or defense or both, really, there’s no way you can even think about balancing the budget.” This is not actually true—one could raise revenues by increasing taxes on the wealthy—but it is how Republicans want to frame the budget debate.
Just think of how horrible things are going to get when the Koch Brothers take over media outlets. Eric Alterman–writing for The Nation–things that they could make Rupert Murdoch look good. May the wisdom beings protect us all!! Talk about your odd dance partners!! Could Murdoch actually step in to take over the Trib and could that make us all actually breathe easier? Well, not really.
But chill out for a minute and consider the following: should they enter the newspaper publishing business, the Koch brothers would be King Midas in reverse. Their commitment to producing disinformation designed to defame liberals, moderates and, indeed, all manner of sane individuals would result in the destruction of the professional purpose of their purchase. A Los Angeles Times or a Chicago Tribune answerable to Koch ownership would soon lose most of its serious journalists and all of its credibility with readers. This would vaporize the value of their investment and leave them with extremely expensive propaganda sheets to publish and loads of legacy costs to assume. Other publications would jump in to fill the vacuum, though it’s unlikely that any of them would be able even to approach the scope and reach of what will be lost. Ideally, the Koch brothers will soon recognize the folly of their ambitions and withdraw.
The scenario that should truly alarm and depress the rest of us is the one that many have posed as the salvation of these papers: a Tribune Company takeover by Rupert Murdoch. While one group of Los Angeles businessmen is interested in buying the LA Times, they have no interest in the package of eight. That leaves Murdoch. And while resistance to a Koch purchase among editors and reporters is strong enough to convince the new owners that they might be buying an empty shell, the attitude toward a Murdoch takeover is quite the opposite. When, during a meeting of the entire staff, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez asked those assembled to “raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch,” only a handful reportedly did so (compared with about half of the staff when the Koch purchase was proposed). Similarly, one member of the Baltimore Sun staff wrote Jim Romenesko that “Murdoch, at least, is a newsman,” a view that was echoed nearly word for word by a Chicago Tribune journalist: “Murdoch, for all his flaws, is a newspaper man.”
True, but by the same logic, Jack the Ripper was a lover of the ladies. Murdoch may be a “newspaper man,” but he is surely not a man who respects honest journalism or even the laws of society as they apply to it (or much else, for that matter). Just in the past few weeks, Murdoch has been making news in the following ways:
He paid out $139 million to settle a class-action suit by News Corp. shareholders, who accused the board of directors of putting the Murdoch family’s interests above those of the company with regard to both the British phone-hacking episode—one of the most egregious criminal scandals in the history of journalism—and News Corp.’s sweetheart acquisition of his daughter Elizabeth’s television production company. The lawsuit alleged that the board “disregarded its fiduciary duties” and allowed Murdoch to run News Corp. as his “own personal fiefdom.”
So, want the worst example? Guess who was on MTP yesterday? Dancing Dave managed to embarrass the entire journalistic bordello in one short hour.
GREGORY: And we’re back. For our remaining moments, joining me now, author of the new book Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life, the Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Mister Secretary, welcome back. You have such an interesting distinction here because I remember President Bush who I covered called you a matinee idol and now you’re soon to be a great grandfather. That’s a pretty good combination.
MR. DONALD RUMSFELD (Former Secretary of Defense/Author, Rumsfeld’s Rules): Think of that. It’s exciting.
GREGORY: I want to ask you first about a very disturbing subject within the military that of course you’ve worked over for so long and that is sexual assaults in the military. Some of the reported cases going back to when you were Defense Secretary and reported and then the estimates is that much larger number and the alarming rise between 2010 and 2012. And the issue at hand here is what should the military do about it? Does it have to change the way these crimes are reported at the chain of command and go outside of that to a special prosecutor? What would you do?
MR. RUMSFELD: Well, I don’t know that a special prosecutor is the answer, but there is an argument that can be made for handling them in a way different than they’re being handled because they’re serious. And– and I would suspect that an awful lot of them don’t even get reported.
MR. RUMSFELD: And– and that’s probably true in the public sector, in private citizens as well as in the military.
MR. RUMSFELD: But– but it’s a terrible thing. There has to be zero tolerance. And it– it appears that– that something different is going to have to be done and I wish I knew what the answer was. I don’t. But– but it had– people have simply got to not tolerate it.
GREGORY: What about the culture in the military? Is that a part of what’s contributing to this? Is it a major part of what’s contributing to it?
MR. RUMSFELD: Well, people talk about that. The military– they talk about athletic teams and– and male environments. I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t think– there’s certainly nothing about the military that would contribute to it in terms of– of the purpose of the armed forces. The– but I don’t know the answer. I– and I think they better– they better really land all over people that are engaged in any kind of abuse of that nature.
GREGORY: There’s so much happening in Washington and you are a veteran of so much controversy as even in your most recent incarnation as defense secretary in the Bush administration. You write this from the book, Rumsfeld’s Rules, “If you foul up, tell the boss and correct it fast. Mistakes can usually be corrected if the adminis– the organization’s leaders are made aware of them and they are caught up early enough and faced honestly. Bad news doesn’t get better with time. If you have fouled something up, it’s best to tell the boss first.”
MR. RUMSFELD: That’s true.
GREGORY: Accountability. Whether it’s IRS or the questions about Benghazi, who is accountable? How do you assess that in these cases?
MR. RUMSFELD: Well, in these cases, I don’t think they know yet. Clearly, the president and in the case of Benghazi, the Secretary of State. That’s the way life works. But what bothers me about it is that two things really concern me. One, you think of a manager, a leader. When something like that happens, you call people in, you sit them down and you let them know that you intend to find ground truth fast. And he seems not to have done that. The other thing that’s worrisome is, as they say, truth leaves on horseback and returns on foot. What’s happening to the president is incrementally trust is being eroded because of the different messages coming out. You know, it’s important that you avoid the early reports because they’re often wrong, and you have to get people in, find ground truth, and then communicate that as fast as you can to the extent information goes out that’s– proves not to be accurate. Presidents and leaders lead by persuasion and for persuasion to work, they don’t lead by command. You have to be trusted. And to the extent trust is eroded, as it is when stories get changed and something more is learned and– and it kind of incrementally destroys your credibility, I think that clearly is a problem. I was worried, for example, I came back from being ambassador of NATO when President Nixon had resigned and President Ford was in office. And the reservoir of trust had just been drained during the– that– that experience that we went through.
Yes. I saved the best for last. Dancing Dave asked Donald Rumsfeld about how to hold the federal government accountable for made up scandals. Hasn’t this man been put in jail for crimes against humanity yet? And, aren’t you glad I didn’t quote the rest of the damn panel?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I wonder if the Koch Brothers have a bet going on between them about their proposed deal to buy up some big circulation newspapers like the LA Times and Chicago Tribune.
I tried to find a clip of this little bit of dialogue, but no such luck:
Randolph Duke: Money isn’t everything, Mortimer.
Mortimer Duke: Oh, grow up.
Randolph Duke: Mother always said you were greedy.
Mortimer Duke: She meant it as a compliment.
There are grumblings behind the scenes, check it out:
Recently you’ve seen many petitions asking that the Koch brothers not be allowed to buy the Tribune Company’s newspapers. We understand why the Kochs breed this distrust. They are active political proponents of harsh right-wing positions. We’re also not certain that Tribune will listen to anything but money when the final decision is made.
What we do know is that great papers publish credible, trusted journalism online and on the printed page. Whoever comes to own these mastheads needs to understand that protecting newsrooms from ideological taint is no small thing. The future of American journalism depends on the ability to print truth, not opinion.
We call on Tribune to make a pledge that they’ll only sell to a buyer that will protect the objectivity of the news product by making a public commitment to doing so. The Newspaper Guild-CWA and the Communications Workers of America seek your support in this goal.
The Newspaper Guild
Communications Workers of America
AFL-CIO, CLC and IFJ
And then there is this…it is a long article, so please go read it in full…it is just to much to parse down into a few quotes. I will just give you this bit to chew on. Kathleen Miles: If Koch Brothers Buy LA Times, Half of Staff May Quit
So if the agenda at the Times changes, the agenda at the other LA news outlets will change — unless those news outlets are watching carefully. LA has to worry more about the stories that the Times stops covering than stories that are covered with a bias.
An example of how bias can take the form of lack of coverage is Fox News’ scant coverage of the national gun control debate. When President Barack Obama gave his moving speech chastising Congress for failing to pass background checks, Fox cut away to a panel discussion on the liberal media bias before the president had even finished his first sentence.
It seems the rationale is that the more silence there is on gun control, the greater the likelihood that status quo will continue. So the silence is what we have to listen for.
All LA journalists, including those at the Times, will need to research the friends and interests of the paper’s new owners and make sure they don’t get special treatment. If Times reporters hit a wall, will other LA journalists step up to report on those topics?
As I said, go read the entire article.
I kind of always felt the LA Times was right leaning anyway…but not the the extent of what it could be under a Koch ownership.
By the way, that cartoon up top is by David Horsey..cartoonist for the LA Times.
This is an open thread.
Oh boy, are you all sick of the Olympics yet?
Is that a loaded question?
I don’t know, one thing I get annoyed with is all the drama. I won’t tell you all what I think of the Jordyn Weiber catastrophe, because I probably will disagree with some of you. (Here is a hint, she has no reason to cry…she is the team Captain, she should be supportive of her team mates. Besides…she is 17, she is young, there are competitors aged 24 and 27 out there...well, you get my drift.)
Then you have the China doping thing, gods forbid a woman can swim faster than a man! I got one thing to say, at least until the drug testing results come in…
Of course, this song is about Billie Jean King, and we know what she did.
There is also Twitter drama associated with NBC and a reporter from The Independent. Time delays? Don’t like ‘em one bit. And like Boston Boomer mentioned earlier, the coverage of women’s sports is bothersome. (I agree about all these criticisms of NBC completely btw.)
Perhaps I should just go on with the post, aye?
We’ve mentioned the GOP dude down in Florida, Jim Greer, who is talking about the real game behind the Voter ID laws. Here is a round-up and update on this story from The Grio:
Jim Greer, the former chair of the Florida Republican Party, has accused the GOP of engaging in voter suppression, in statements given under sworn testimony in a deposition surrounding a lawsuit he filed over an unpaid severance. Greer claims he became uncomfortable with leading the party when an official began to openly discuss voter suppression tactics that would keep blacks from participating in the electoral process.
While you are catching up on this at The Grio, you can check the latest news revolving around the Zimmerman case: George Zimmerman supporter Frank Taaffe arrested for DUI | theGrio
Frank Taaffe, the Sanford, Florida neighbor who has been one of George Zimmerman’s staunchest supporters as he fights second degree murder charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, now has his own case to argue.
Taaffe was arrested Friday night in Lake Mary, the town neighboring Sanford, and was released on $500 bond on Saturday. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). WFTV reporter Daralene Jones tweeted about the arrest, and Taaffe told her he mixed alcohol with prescription anxiety medication, which intensified the effects of alcohol.
He faced misdemeanor battery and domestic violence charges in 1997 and 1999, respectively, in incidents involving his ex-wife, Susan. Both cases were ultimately dismissed. Taaffe told theGrio the incidents stemmed from his divorce.
More recently, Taaffe faced two separate requests for protective orders, in cases of “repeat violence.” Both were filed in Orange County court in 2008. One of the cases involved Joseph Andrew Amon, who Taaffe said was an acquaintance with whom he got into a “verbal altercation” while “out.” He would not specify where the incident took place, or the details of the encounter. In the second, Taaffe said he got into a verbal altercation “on the phone” with a co-worker, Wesley A. Marsh, who he said then filed a request for a protective order.
I did not know that he has a past similar to Zimmerman…by that I mean his protective orders and past “repeat violence” charges. Just makes you think a bit, huh?
On the Romney front: Just Wow | TPM Editors Blog
In his speech overlooking the Old City, Romney did in fact refer to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but in a pretty careful and calibrated fashion that didn’t really go much further than previous presidential candidates before him.
But in his comments at a fundraiser Sunday evening with well-heeled donors (chief among them current GOP mega-moneyman Shelden Adelson) Romney promptly disabused anyone of the notion that he either fully appreciates, or is terribly concerned with the punishing realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a salute to Israel’s economic growth, Romney compared the GDP of his hosts to that of the Palestinian territories as though they were just any old neighboring countries. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” he said.
Romney (who actually grossly overestimated Palestinian GDP) made no mention of the Israeli occupation, and its restrictions over Palestinian life as being perhaps somewhat determinative in the economic disparity he lauded as a sign of Israel’s success.
Benjy Sarlin has our report.
Mitt Romney, right, with Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and founder of Solidarity. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters
Following a gaffe-strewn visit to Britain, where he queried the Olympic host’s fitness to stage the Games, and after stirring controversy in Israel by calling Jerusalem the Israeli capital and seeming to back unilateral Israeli strikes against Iran, the Republican White House contender arrived on Monday in Poland, where he is to deliver a setpiece speech on democracy and freedom.
The speech on the “values of liberty” at Warsaw University on Tuesday is expected to seek to rekindle the flames of US cold war righteousness by featuring a strong attack on Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s rollback of democratic gains, while also criticising the US president, Barack Obama, for allegedly sacrificing the interests and security of central European democracy in favour of realpolitik with the Kremlin.
Romney has previously described Russia as America’s “No 1 geopolitical foe”, in contrast with Obama, who has sought to press “the reset button” in relations with Moscow.
Well, he is keeping his press pool held back…like they are animal members of a petting zoo. Greta Van Susteren: No Press Access To Romney In Poland, ‘Like A Modified Petting Zoo’ | Mediaite
Greta Van Susteren is part of the press pool following Mitt Romney on his overseas trip. But earlier today, she wrote on her blog that press access to the candidate since they arrived in Poland, comparing the situation to a “modified petting zoo” because, as Susteren explained, the press pool is “trapped in a bus while Polish citizens take pictures of us.”
I know it is not Friday night but:
Here is an update on a story I mentioned yesterday:
Southern Baptist groups are asking churchgoers of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Miss., to reject racism, saying that the church’s decision not to marry Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson because of their race is wrong.
While Baptists share common beliefs, individual churches do not have necessarily have consistent practices amongst each other. The leaders of the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention have asked the First Baptist Church to reconsider their practices, the Associated Press reports.
And someone needs to tell this scientist, he’s got to play the game the right way…the Koch way: Koch-funded climate scientist: I was wrong, humans are to blame | The Raw Story
The founder and director of a climate change study project funded heavily by the Koch brothers, who last year reversed course and said he believed global warming was real, has gone one step further, writing in a weekend op-ed in the New York Times that he is now convinced the phenomenon is caused by humans.
In a piece titled, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic,” Richard A. Muller, a University of California, Berkley physicist who founded the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature study (BEST) wrote that his, “total turnaround, in such a short time,” was driven by a new report from the group that concluded for the first time that global warming is a man-made problem. That revelation brings Muller essentially full circle from his stance a few years ago, when he criticized other global warming studies as flawed and questioned whether the Earth was even warming abnormally, dangerously fast at all.
“Science is that narrow realm of knowledge that, in principle, is universally accepted,” Muller wrote. “I embarked on this analysis to answer questions that, to my mind, had not been answered. I hope that the Berkeley Earth analysis will help settle the scientific debate regarding global warming and its human causes.”
Guess they will need to change those little graphs at the Koch exhibit at the Smithsonian.
The BEST study, he wrote, found that the Earth had warmed by about two and a half degrees over the past 250 years, with the bulk of that spike occurring in the past 50 years. Moreover, he found that, “essentially all of this increase” was likely due to greenhouse gas emissions, a point climate change believers have accepted as fact for years.
To arrive at that conclusion, the group mapped the past two and a half centuries of global temperatures against various events, like solar flares and volcanic eruptions, and found that the temperature swings most closely corresponded to levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide whose historical levels could be measured in arctic ice. Further, they also examined possible methodological problems skeptics cite about past studies, such as questions about the scope and selectivity of data, ultimately determining that those questions did not impact their finding.
“These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as carbon dioxide does,” Muller wrote.
And lastly, and finally…if anyone knows how to play the game, it is the one…the only…Samuel L. Jackson.
I love this guy!
Are you following the legendary Samuel L. Jackson on Twitter? If so you’ve been treated to some one-of-a-kind tweets from one of the most distinctive movie stars on the planet. Jackson’s observations on the Olympic Games in London have become a viral sensation. Entertainment Weekly reports:
Hypothesis: Samuel L. Jackson is amazing.
Evidence: In addition to his movies, and other lists EW has compiled, we’re impressed by his recent tweeting of the Olympics, where the actor has been giving his off-the-cuff reactions to the events along with — of course — some signature color commentary.
Click here to read more.
And on that note I am PHUKKEN outta here!
This is a MUTHAFUKKENOPINZ thread…