August 25, 2016

The Most Striking Thing About This Presidential Campaign …

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:25 pm

… is how the alleged dominant frontrunner, behind the confident mask, is acting like she’s in mortal fear of the supposedly hopelessly behind challenger.

Though they always have it handy, Democrats don’t play the race card unless they feel they have to. Doing so over 70 days before Election Day is not a tactic employed by someone who is confortably and confidently ahead. (Nor is announcing that you’re not going to spend ad money in certain swing states; that’s phoney-baloney misdirection designed to feed the press’s desire to convince the public 70 days out that it’s over, which is nonsense.)

The fact that the Clinton campaign has just played the race card with a vengeance would seem to mean that they recognize that they’re in serious trouble, and that they have ugly internal polling which is reaching people the press’s pollsters aren’t reaching. Perhaps polling which is also showing that Donald Trump really is making genuine inroads with black voters is what has convinced the Clinton campaign to unleash the hounds of race war.

Press Followup on $1.3 Billion Cash-For-Hostages Transfer to Iran Has Been Weak

Reporters at the State Department’s daily briefings were very impatient with the bobbing and weaving of spokespersons Mark Toner on Tuesday and Elizabeth Trudeau on Wednesday when they were questioned about $1.31 billion in payments out of the U.S. Treasury’s Judgement Fund listed as having occurred on January 19, two days after several hostages were freed. It was also the first banking business day of that week.

If these journalists, who can’t be expected to know everything about banking system mechanics, had better help — or any help — back at their main DC offices, the world might know more about these transactions than the Obama administration has thus far been willing to admit. It’s reasonable to believe, based on information reported below which any financial journalist also should have been able to find, that Iran wanted the payments immediately, and wanted them structured to ensure that the funds involved could be readily converted to cash and/or sent to unidentified recipients.

(more…)

Initial Unemployment Claims (082516): 261K Seasonally Adjusted; Raw Claims (217K) 4 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:53 am

Here’s the Labor Department’s release. There’s nothing particulary disturbing or cheerful here that isn’t already known.

Remembering the Real Ted Kennedy, After His Death in 2009

This post is an annual BizzyBlog tradition.

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Chappaquiddick_Kennedy_Car_25First, excerpts from Doug Patton’s barn-burner of a column in 2009, followed by a telling remembrance relayed by a close friend of Kennedy’s (the remembrance is that he liked to hear jokes about Chappaquiddick):

Let Us Not Confuse Longevity with Statesmanship
September 2, 2009

It was almost nauseating to watch the media fawning over Ted Kennedy’s corpse as though he were the last brother of King Arthur, and his passing was signaling the end of a real place called Camelot. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that Chris Matthews and company actually believe in that mythical kingdom.

… Even one of my formerly favorite columnists, Cal Thomas, had glowing, gooey things to say about his “old friend Ted Kennedy,” the most laughable of which was that Kennedy never personalized his politics. Tell that to Robert Bork. Remember Kennedy’s ridiculous speech on the floor of the United States Senate, wherein he hyperventilated that “Robert Bork’s America is one in which women will be forced into back-alley abortions and blacks will be sitting at segregated lunch counters”?

… what we have witnessed in his passing is the near-deification of a man merely because he came from a rich, powerful family, because he lived a long time and because he managed to bamboozle his gullible state into re-electing him simply because his name was Kennedy. What has been sorely missing in all this is a sense of perspective. This was more than just a flawed man. This was a man who cheated, lied and undermined his family, his friends, even his own country.

Perhaps Ted Kennedy’s most contemptible moment — many consider it treasonous — came in 1983. President Ronald Reagan was in the process of bringing the Soviet Union to its knees. In one of the hotter moments of the Cold War, Kennedy sent word to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov through an old friend and former senator offering Kennedy’s help in undermining the Reagan administration in its dealings with its old arch enemy in exchange for Andropov’s help in defeating Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. Think of that. A United States Senator offers to help our sworn enemy in exchange for political propaganda to win an American election.

This country is not better off because Edward Moore Kennedy sat in the United States Senate for 46 years. He was unqualified when he was first elected. He disgraced himself, his family and our nation throughout his long, tedious career. But the event for which Ted Kennedy will be remembered by most Americans — and by historians, if they are honest — is Chappaquiddick. Forty years ago this summer, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne died in the drunken senator’s Oldsmobile when he drove off a bridge and left her to drown.

You or I would have gone to prison for the negligence he displayed that night. Kennedy went on to become “the lion of the senate.” He lived a life of power and luxury, and was even arrogant enough in 1980 to think this country would elect him president.

Ted Kennedy served a very long time in the U.S. Senate, but let us not confuse longevity with statesmanship. He died a death none of us would wish on anyone — a brain tumor at age 77 — but I’m guessing Mary Jo Kopechne would have preferred to die at age 77 of almost anything.

Now to a 2009 remembrance of Ted Kennedy ‘s alleged sense of humor. I’ll never forget it, and I intend to make sure readers here don’t either.

It came in an interview between Katty Kay of NPR and former Newsweek editor Ed Klein shortly after Kennedy’s death:

Former Newsweek Foreign Editor: Chappaquiddick One of Ted’s ‘Favorite Topics of Humor’

… Klein: Well y’know, he, I don’t know if you know this or not but, one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, “have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?”

I mean, that is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne (background music begins building), but that he still always saw, um, the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

Kay: Ed Klein, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and author of a new book on Ted Kennedy.

Audio of the full interview is in the YouTube that follows (direct link):

What a guy.

Too bad Mary Jo Kopechne was never available to join in the laughter.

It is mildly comforting to know that what the Democrats called “Ted Kennedy’s seat” really wasn’t.

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UPDATE, August 31, 2010: An example of the type of pathetic attempts at historical revisivionism we’ll probably be seeing for the next hundred years –

Rewriting History on Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick Accident

… Now, a year after Kennedy died, his lifelong biographer Burton Hersh, armed with fresh interviews with Kennedy’s mistress at the time, tells Whispers that the whole July 1969 episode should have been handled as a simple crash, leaving the senator’s legacy untainted. “It was a car accident,” he says. “Ted was a terrible driver. He never paid much attention to where he was going.”

“He took a tremendous blow on the head,” says Hersh. In interviews following the crash, Kennedy displayed confusion and amnesia, he says.

“If the thing had been handled properly, the first thing they would have done is put him in a hospital. Then they would have said he was a victim of an auto accident and didn’t know what he was doing and couldn’t be held responsible for anything that happened really after that, which would have been a fair explanation,” says author-journalist Hersh, who knew Kennedy since they were classmates at Harvard. “But instead, he felt terribly guilty about the whole thing … tried to take responsibility and … just confused the issue.”

Horse manure.

Links to ‘Profiles in Cowardice’ (The Truth About Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick)

This post to is part of an annual BizzyBlog “Ted Kennedy remembrance” tradition.

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According to Hollywood Reporter (HT NewsBusters), there’s a script in Hollywood for a proposed movie called Chappaquiddick.

Chappaquiddick_Kennedy_Car_25The director’s objective is to have viewers “see what [Senator Ted Kennedy] had to go through” during those fateful days in July 1969.

Any other person in America would have been charged with manslaughter. Ted Kennedy got away with manslaughter in 1969. To see his behavior portrayed sympathetically and turned into a movie which will then threaten to become the definitive historical record should be too much for any sane person to handle.

Accordingly, I have uploaded the text files from “A Profile in Cowardice” I retrieved many years ago (Warning: Readers will have to click the links from here or edit the URLs themselves to get to them, i.e., internal links at the web pages don’t work) —

(Note: The Epilog promised that a chapter on the inquest was to come, but I don’t believe it ever did.)

Sadly, the links don’t include the original graphics and maps, but readers shouldn’t need them to understand the horrible things Ted Kennedy and those who protected him said and did for the sole purpose of protecting and preserving his political career, for which he and they escaped any meaningful accountability — at least in this life.

If the movie gets produced and released, I intend to compare its content against “A Profile in Cowardice” in detail.

I also intend to include links to “A Profile in Cowardice” in future annual August 25 Ted Kennedy remembrances.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (082516)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Couple Celebrates 61 Years of Marriage by Eating Their Original Wedding Cake

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Satellite Beach, Florida:

Aug 22, 2016, 5:22 PM ET

This Satellite Beach, Florida, couple certainly has their cake and eats it, too!

After 61 years of marriage, Ann and Ken Fredericks still celebrate their anniversary by eating a piece of their original wedding cake.

“It’s finally gotten down to a pretty small piece,” Ann told ABC News of the cake that’s dwindled away over the years.

However, it’s a tasty tradition they hope to continue for years to come — if it lasts.

“We’re beginning to think we may outlive the tradition,” she laughed. “I’m 82 and my husband is 86 and this year was our 61st wedding anniversary. The cake is only like 3 inches by 4 inches, what we have left of it. So we both enjoyed a very small piece. I’m torn between eating and having it over with or making it last. And then we said, ‘You know, it would be fun if we outlive it.’ That would be a goal for us.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.