March 31, 2012

Observation of the Night: Rick Santorum

Filed under: Activism,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:41 pm

An astounding historical fact cited by Rick Santorum with CNN’s John King, noted in a Newsax item (bold is mine):

Santorum noted that the Republican establishment in Washington and New York typically pushes for a moderate like Romney to lead the party, and they typically lose.

“ … if we don’t have a conservative, we will end up with the same situation we have had over the past 100 years. There’s been over 100 years now. There’s only one Republican that’s ever defeated a sitting Democratic incumbent president, one.

“And it’s the one time we ran a strong conviction conservative, in the face of the party saying no, no, no, we need a moderate. We need to win. We need to win. They always say that. And we always lose. And the one time we didn’t listen to the establishment, the Washington insiders, we had Ronald Reagan. And not only did we win. We changed the country.”

And made it immensely better, I might add.

The last Republican to defeat an incumbent Democrat before Reagan defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980 was Benjamin Harrison, who bested Grover Cleveland in 1888.

Peggy Noonan: BO Not So Rare and True…

Filed under: Activism,Economy,Scams,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 9:45 am

For some reason, this sent me over the edge today.  Just when I thought Obamican Peggy Noonan couldn’t make herself anymore irrelevant, she proves me wrong again (HT: Emailer).

Reading her piece in the Wall Street Journal was like suffering under the Crutiatus Curse

“Something’s happening to President Obama’s relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, “Nothing new there,” but actually I think there is. I’m referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.”

Soooo…anyone who disliked Mr. Obama from the get-go is a narrow, unstable, radical birther?

How about this: Any dolt who did NOT see this blatant socialist for who and what he is from the get-go, should have had their voting privileges revoked on November 5, 2008.  But I digress…

“…The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? “You’re kidding me. That’s not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it’s not even constitutional!” Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church’s religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.

What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who’d been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.

Events of just the past 10 days have contributed to the shift. There was the open-mic conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in which Mr. Obama pleaded for “space” and said he will have “more flexibility” in his negotiations once the election is over and those pesky voters have done their thing. On tape it looked so bush-league, so faux-sophisticated. When he knew he’d been caught, the president tried to laugh it off by comically covering a mic in a following meeting. It was all so . . . creepy.”

Indeed, I am soooo shocked (/sarc) that anyone affiliated with this god among men would be…creepy or misleading!  With all due respect, genuine, faithful Catholics were not hoodwinked by this clown anymore than the non-Jimmy Carter-esque Protestants…

“…From the day Mr. Obama was sworn in, what was on the mind of the American people was financial calamity—unemployment, declining home values, foreclosures. These issues came within a context of some overarching questions: Can America survive its spending, its taxing, its regulating, is America over, can we turn it around?

That’s what the American people were thinking about.”

Um, no sweetie, most of us were thinking two things: 1) “How can we prevent this rabid socialist & his Communist handlers from destroying the republic?” and 2) “When did Peggy Noonan lose her ever-loving mind?”

“…And so the relationship the president wanted never really knitted together. Health care was like the birth-control mandate: It came from his hermetically sealed inner circle, which operates with what seems an almost entirely abstract sense of America. They know Chicago, the machine, the ethnic realities. They know Democratic Party politics. They know the books they’ve read, largely written by people like them—bright, credentialed, intellectually cloistered. But there always seems a lack of lived experience among them, which is why they were so surprised by the town hall uprisings of August 2009 and the 2010 midterm elections.”

Well THAT explains things!  Alas, I have judged poor Saul, Jeremiah, Rahm, Bill Ayers and Van Jones unfairly & owe all well-intended Communists everywhere an apology.  Obviously your lack of real-life experience has caused you to be misunderstood.  Shame on all of us liberty-lovers for not being ”broad, stable, nonradical, and non-birther ” enough to love you properly. (/sarc).

“…An American president has to make cooperation happen.

But we’ve strayed from the point. Mr. Obama has a largely nonexistent relationship with many, and a worsening relationship with some.

Really, he cannot win the coming election. But the Republicans, still, can lose it. At this point in the column we usually sigh.”

Oh I’m sighing alright, but not for the reasons you so sanctimoniously suggest, rather because I can’t imagine how anyone as clueless as you have proven yourself to be, continues to enjoy any elevated forum in thinking society (though admittedly it would be fun to visit your world for just a spell).

By the way, who are “we” in that last sentence?  The dems, the other Obamicans and/or the Republican establishment?  Because “we” here in the critical thinking world – which may or may not include a few of those “narrow, unstable, radical birthers you love to hate –  were not surprised in the least that your beloved Obama turned out to be so “dishonest and devious.”

You see Peggy, there really are socialists & communists out there; dishonest, devious and deceitful enough to destroy our republic, as has been their intent for ages…and no we can’t all just get along  because light, my famously fleeced friend, can have no fellowship with darkness.

Headlines Control the Narrative. Guess Who Controls the Headlines?

The pro-Obama media must be countered in 2012.


Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.


On Thursday, Rush Limbaugh, addressing one of the Associated Press’s latest offenses against journalism, suggested that we “regard every AP story, particularly this year, as nothing more than a propaganda piece for the reelection of Barack Obama.”

Good idea — and of course, that goes for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Bloomberg News, and virtually the entire establishment and entertainment press. Many if not most of their reports betray an ever more obvious preference for four more years of Dear Leader.

There’s a new and largely overlooked problem in this election cycle: Story headlines have become more powerful than ever. That’s because far more people than in 2008 are getting their “news” from headline feeds sent to computers, smart phones (46% of all wireless phones), and tablets (34 million users). Even avid news consumers with busy lives won’t go to what’s behind most of the headlines they see on these devices — and when they do, especially given the limited real estate on their screens, they will rarely read past the opening paragraph or two.

This is a serious concern because the aforementioned propagandists, with special assistance from certain leftist outlets, have a virtual lock on these feeds. As I see it, their privileged access has given them extraordinary power this time around to influence the political and cultural narrative — and they have learned how to abuse it.

I will support my take on things first by discussing several headlines I observed in two hours of reviewing a Google-driven news feed on Tuesday evening. I will then cite examples from Thursday and Friday where the headlines and opening teases worked with stunning effectiveness to portray Obama favorably or to denigrate his potential electoral opponents.

The Google News feed review was a truly discouraging experience, especially when imagining how a politically disengaged user might process what I saw. Here is some of it:

  • Via the Washington Post — “Ryan introduces GOP budget plan, slashing social programs and tax rates.” You could hardly make up a more obvious “heartless conservatives steal from the poor to give to the rich” headline. Those who click through will see the following opening sentence: “House Republicans renewed their commitment Tuesday to the politically risky strategy of targeting Medicare and other popular social programs to tame the national debt, unveiling a $3.5 trillion spending plan that would also slash the top tax rate paid by corporations and the wealthy.” Apparently anything that isn’t based on letting out-of-control programs stay on autopilot indefinitely constitutes “slashing,” because the actual Ryan Plan shows Medicare, the one program specifically mentioned, going up by no less than 4.7% in any year between 2013 and 2021, and by 70% during the nine-year time period.
  • “Killings Could Stall Election’s Nationalist Turn” — Since it’s from the New York Times, a story like this will get carried in a news feed, even though the “don’t bother reading this” headline tells readers nothing about where the killings occurred or who was involved. Tellingly, the story’s browser window title is “Killings Could Taint French Presidential Campaign,” indicating that the Times deliberately watered down its transmitted title. The story is about what PJ Media’s David Gerstman calls the “No Islamists Here” murders of seven, including three soldiers, a teacher, and three Jewish children in France — by (surprise … not) a Muslim. We don’t want to let anybody know that in the age of the alleged “Arab spring” there are still jihadists in Western countries killing innocents, do we? Don’t you know that Barack Obama solved all of this?
  • At the Wall Street Journal — “2012 GOP Wives More Popular Than Husbands.” Really, people? This is feedworthy news (or even true?), when the vast majority of even engaged GOP voters barely know who these women are? The goal, of course, is to get the disengaged to start thinking: “Boy, these guys must really be schmucks.”
  • At AFP – ”Obama disowns De Niro white First Lady joke.” Readers who don’t get past the headline will think that the President himself responded (what a guy!) in reaction to De Niro’s “joke,” wherein the actor asked an audience: “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white First Lady? Too soon, right?” No, the reaction came from Obama’s campaign; and instead of “disowning” it, a spokesperson would only say: “We believe the joke was inappropriate.”

Certain organizations deemed eligible for newsfeed treatment were more than a little questionable, unless you think you can get a reliable diet of straight facts from the likes of the Huffington Post.

Thursday’s hands-down champ for misleading headline of the day was at the AP, also known to yours truly as the Administration’s Press. In covering Obama’s visit to Cushing, Oklahoma to glom onto the opening of a section of the Keystone Pipeline which had been the works for some time and was completed without the need to obtain his permission, the AP’s headline read: “Obama defends handling of Keystone as he puts another key oil pipeline on the fast track.”

“Another”? When has Obama ever “fast-tracked” anything not involving “green energy”? And even if he did so sometime in the past three years, why is it relevant? Until Keystone is the international pipeline its sponsors envision, it may be more appropriate, as Mark Steyn suggested on Limbaugh’s show on Friday, to call what Obama visited the Pipeline to Nowhere. Maybe an even better name for AP would be the Administration’s Pravda.

My final example, linked at Matt Drudge’s place early Friday morning, shows that even people on the center-right who should (and maybe do) know better are allowing misleading headlines to dictate the discussion. Drudge’s headline (“SANTORUM SNAPS: OBAMA PREFERABLE TO ROMNEY!”) screamed a flat-out falsehood which made an already deceptive AP report (“Santorum: Might As Well Have Obama Over Romney”) even worse. Rick Santorum’s conditional statement — “If they’re going to be a little different (Mitt Romney compared to Obama), we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future” — became a manufactured controversy when the AP’s Will Weissert eliminated its conditionality and piled on in his first sentence with something Santorum absolutely did not say: “Presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Thursday said Republicans should give President Barack Obama another term if Santorum isn’t the GOP nominee …” Drudge’s compounding of what was already a set of serious errors was disgracefully irresponsible.

In terms of this election cycle, center-right activists seem far too confident that New Media’s vetting of Obama’s past and exposure of the myriad flaws in his performance as president will reach vast hordes of attention-limited and largely disengaged voters. Barring a pretty prompt sea change, most of them won’t ever see it.

Major center-right outlets and their architects need to develop and aggressively promote their own apps and feeds, consider consolidating their efforts in that regard, and above all get creative. Michelle Malkin’s Twitter-monitoring enterprise looks to be a significant step in the “right” direction.

The time to react to the proliferation of election-influencing device-driven deception, dreck, and drivel from the propagandist press is growing short.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (033112)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Cardinal Burke calls young converts ‘beautiful’ image of God’s grace

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:45 am

From Rome:

Mar 30, 2012 / 04:03 am

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court, described the beauty of receiving two young Americans in Rome into the Catholic Church.

“Today we are privileged to witness in a most beautiful manifestation the work of God’s grace flowing from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” said Cardinal Burke in his homily March 28.

Jonathan Wasserman, 19, from Kansas City, Missouri, and 19-year-old Kristina Landry from Ellington, Connecticut, are both students at Thomas More College in New Hampshire. As part of their four-year liberal arts course they have been studying in Rome for the past three months.

On March 28, within the historic surrounding of the Vatican’s Church of Saint Anne, both were received into the Church by Cardinal Burke. The former Archbishop of St. Louis is now resident in Rome as the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest court.

“I’m feeling great,” Jonathan told CNA moments afterward. “I feel incredible. It was a dream come true. I’m just glad to have this all. I’m just happy.”

“Yeah, it’s incredible, amazing, awe inspiring,” added Kristina. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 30, 2012

Heads It Rose, Tails It’s Rosy: Up or Down, Press Treated This Month’s Consumer Sentiment Reports Positively

APbloombergReuters2012On Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted how the Associated Press’s headlined assessments at Anne D’Innocenzio’s reports throughout the day on the Conference Board’s monthly consumer confidence survey went from “falls” to “dips slightly” to “roughly flat” before ending up at “rosy” — an evaluation the AP reporter also included in the verbiage of her final dispatch. For the record, the confidence measurement fell to 70.2 in March from 71.6 in February. Bloomberg’s final report for the day also obfuscated, with a headline of “Consumer Confidence in U.S. Holds Close to One-Year High” and an opening sentence which read: “Confidence among U.S. consumers in March held close to the highest level in a year, underpinned by an improving labor market” — anything to keep any indication of drop out of what most people would see. Along the same lines, Rush Limbaugh also picked on Reuters Tuesday for saying that confidence only “eased.”

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey came out today. The press release’s opening sentence: “Consumer confidence edged upward as more favorable income and job trends offset rising gas prices.” Its value (with a different scale) went from 75.3 to 76.2. That’s also “roughly” flat, isn’t it? Don’t be silly. All three wires said that an increase smaller than Tuesday’s Conference Board decrease was an  unqualified “rise.”


TIB All-Stars Post (033012)

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:24 pm

The show started at 6 p.m., and goes until 9 p.m. Go to Weapons of Mass Discussion to tune in.

Here are some topics of discussion:

  • Sen. Blumenthal of Connecticut — “This court would not only have to stretch, it would have to abandon and completely overrule a lot of modern precedent, which would do grave damage to this court, in its credibility and power,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D), a former attorney general of Connecticut. “The court commands no armies, it has no money; it depends for its power on its credibility. The only reason people obey it is because it has that credibility. And the court risks grave damage if it strikes down a statute of this magnitude and importance, and stretches so dramatically and drastically to do it.”
  • Elena Kagan’s ignorant perspective on ObamaCare and coercion — ” Why is a big gift from the federal government a matter of coercion? In other words, the federal government is here saying: We’re giving you a boatload of money. There are no matching funds requirement. There are no extraneous conditions attached to it. It’s just a boatload of federal money for you to take and spend on poor people’s health care. It doesn’t sound coercive to me, I have to tell you.”
  • Bill Whittle’s Merchants of Despair video
  • Investor’s Business Daily — “If The Court Dumps ObamaCare, Republicans Must Be Ready”
  • Charles Krauthammer — “The ‘flexibility’ doctrine”
  • Charles Hurt – “Brutal week for Obama, the worst of his presidency”
  • At Rush Limbaugh’s place — “Shell CEO Schools Charlie Rose”
  • Bloomberg — “Obama Relies on Debt Collectors Profiting From Student Loan Woe”

Facts Are Stubborn Things (‘Nine Dollar Gas’) …

This ad from the American Energy Alliance is factual (HT Hot Air), and the facts contained therein are indeed quite stubborn:

Here is the text of the ad:

Since Obama became President, gas prices have nearly doubled.
Obama opposed exploring for energy in Alaska.
He gave millions of tax dollars to Solyndra, which went bankrupt.
And he blocked the Keystone Pipeline so we will all pay more at the pump.
President Obama’s Secretary of Energy Steven Chu told the Wall Street Journal in September 2008 that “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
But what does he care? (Energy Secretary Chu: “I don’t own a car at the moment.”)
Tell Obama we can’t afford his failing energy policies.

Here are the facts to back up each statement in the ad.

The Democratic Party, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the Obama Administration don’t like the ad, and claim that it’s another part of the Koch Brothers conspiracy against all that is good and holy. Wrong — (“This ad was not funded by the Koch organizations,” spokesman Benjamin Cole told CBS News. “It is a lie to suggest otherwise”).

Jobs Lost in Best Buy HQ Layoffs, Store Closures: Several Thousand, Not 400

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 12:43 pm

BestBuyLogoFrom what I can tell, no one in the establishment press yesterday attempted to quantify the total employment impact of yesterday’s announcement by Best Buy that it will reduce its headquarters headcount by 400 and close 50 stores. One thing is certain: It’s not just 400, as the headlines and verbiage in certain media reports might lead readers to believe — and it’s not excusable to say that the company itself didn’t specify the number of employees affected by the store closures.

An estimate of how many jobs will really be lost is after the jump, followed by a few misleading media examples. Note that the media review is based on reports from Thursday; today, we began learning which stores will be closing. They include five in the Twin Cities area where the company is headquartered.


Bill Whittle: ‘Merchants of Despair’

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:42 am

Wow — Watch and absorb every second, as Whittle surveys the wreckage the Obama administration has wrought in its three-plus years (HT Instapundit):

I would excerpt, but that would inappropriately downplay what’s not excerpted — But don’t miss his final statement about voting.

Rush: ‘Ratings are up 10% to 60%’

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 am

File under “Rush 1; Entire Liberal Universe, up to and including 0″ (HT American Glob):

Key point (begins at 1:35 mark):

… on the range of all 600 radio stations, our ratings are up anywhere from 10% to 60% … we’re up 50% in a number of places.

The advertisers who hung in here are going gangbusters. … The only ones who got hurt are the ones who left. That’s its own tragedy because they left under false, trumped-up, unreal pretense.

Talk shows may start lining up around the block at the front door of Media Matters begging the group to organize a campaign against them.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘The Green Jobs Boondoggle’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:16 am

MoneyDownTheToiletIt’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.


The column includes this paragraph relating to President Obama’s oil company-bashing speech at the Rose Garden yesterday:

Thursday, President Obama, in bashing “subsidies” to oil companies which mostly represent legitimate deductions for money actually spent, insisted that the nation should “double-down on investments in clean energy technologies that have never been more promising.” They’ve learned nothing.

White House wordsmiths — the same people who suddenly decided that the formerly reviled term “ObamaCare” is now great to use to describe the statist health care law formally (and now apparently formerly) known as the Affordable Care Act (which really has to do with the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has shown that it’s definitely not affordable) — made sure that the word “green” did not appear in the President’s teleprompter. Check for yourself.

There is an alternative take to my evaluation that “They’ve learned nothing,” which is: They’ve learned, and they don’t care, because it isn’t about generating green energy. If some green energy comes out of all of this, that’s fine, but that’s not the top priority. The top priority is slowing down and stopping the production of fossil-fuel based energy.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (033012)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: ‘We opened our hearts to hope,’ Cuban dissident says after papal visit

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Havana:

Mar 29, 2012 / 04:08 pm

Oswaldo Paya, a peaceful dissident and global director of the Christian Liberation Movement, said Cubans have “opened our hearts to hope” after attending the Mass Pope Benedict XVI celebrated in Havana.

In a statement posted on his website on March 28, Paya said that despite harassment and widespread surveillance by government agents, he was able to attend the Mass in Havana, “where the People of God heard the words of the Holy Father.”

Paya also denounced the recent arrests made by the Castro government to prevent dissidents from participating in Pope Benedict XVI’s historic March 26-28 visit to the country.

“Our first words are for hundreds of our fellow dissidents who were not able to be here because of the wave of fear. There was a great absence of precisely those of us who defend human rights,” he said.

“I speak of them and in the name of those who have no voice and have only suffered scorn and repression, and we must remember.”

“But we prayed with the Holy Father, we opened our hearts to hope,” Paya emphasized. “As John Paul II said: we have to be the protagonists of our history.”

“Liberation is a task for the Cuban people – now with greater hope because we are definitely on the verge, on the threshold of truth and liberation. That is our hope,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

March 29, 2012

DOL’s Seasonal Initial Jobless Claims Revisions Increase Past 4 Weeks’ Numbers by Almost 4%; Media Virtually Mum

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:39 pm

Earlier this year, a reporter informed me of what is apparently a common belief in the business press, namely that “the Labor Department considers the (seasonally adjusted, or SA) numbers to be much more reflective of what’s actually going on in the economy” than the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted, or NSA) economic data. That’s interesting, given that you can’t even do seasonal adjustments without the raw data, but I digress. That expressed and almost blind belief in SA numbers explains why virtually no one in the press bothers to look at, let alone report, the NSA numbers.

But given this “seasoned” faith, why didn’t the business press tell readers that today’s revisions to SA figures for initial unemployment claims going back to 2007 released today by the Department of Labor increased the originally reported amounts for the past four weeks by an average of almost 4%? That’s indeed what happened, and it hardly seems minor. Instead, Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Associated Press all celebrated today’s number (359,000) as the lowest in four years — which it will no longer be if it gets revised upward next week by 2,000 or more next week (the average seen during the past year has been a bit below 4,000). The specific changes are after the jump, followed by a rundown of the three wire services’ coverage.