March 30, 2015

CNN’s Dana Bash Goes After Ted Cruz For His … Lack of Experience!

On Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Dana Bash, while interviewing Texas Senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, attempted to compare his alleged lack of experience to that of Barack Obama when he declared his candidacy in 2007.

It did not go well for her. It’s a mystery why Bash might have thought that Cruz wouldn’t have an answer for her faux concerns, but he did, and he hit her pitches out of the park. Video and a transcript follow the jump.

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Mystery Solved: Why MSNBC and CNN Aren’t Suffering Financially

Maybe the left needs to rethink their oft-present and deep-seated hatred of all things associated with Comcast, other cable companies, and the satellite TV providers. It turns out that those “evil” entities have done quite a bit to cushion left-leaning CNN and MSNBC from what would otherwise be a harsh financial reality.

The Associated Press’s David Bauder, in an item which somehow was deemed to be deserving of “Big Story” status, essentially acknowledged that in his Sunday afternoon review of the cratering and chaotic situation at MSNBC when he gave an overview of how the cable news channels’ revenues shake out.

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March 21, 2015

Starbucks and USA Today Claim Their ‘Race Together’ Intentions ‘Are Pure,’ But Results Aren’t

The Associated Press’s most recent story on the controversial Starbucks USA Today “Race Together” campaign came out Wednesday evening.

In that story, AP Food Industry Writer Candice Choi quoted Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at his company’s annual shareholders’ meeting predicting that “Some in the media will criticize Starbucks for having a political agenda,” but that “Our intentions are pure.” Perhaps they are, but I suspect that certain materials company and USA Today have produced in connection with the campaign won’t pass any readers’ “pure intentions” test. Take USA Today’s “How Much of What You Know About Race Is True?” test. Full contents follow the jump.

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USA Today Is All-in Partner in Starbucks’ ‘Race Together’ Campaign

Coffee retailing giant Starbucks is getting an earful of outrage and ridicule over its “Race Together” campaign. Its intent, according to chain CEO Howard Schultz, in a joint interview with USA Today’s Larry Kramer, is to do something about what he claims is “the divisive role unconscious bias plays in our society and the role empathy can play to bridge those divides.”

USAT’s Kramer claims that its interest arose because, “while covering those dramatic news stories in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, among others, we committed to telling the story of the changing face of America.” In other words, the outside-funded “activist groups” behind the protests and violence tied to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in those two cities have succeeded in brainwashing two large and influential institutions, including a media behemoth which is supposedly pledged to objectivity and fairness in its journalistic endeavors, into what may be the largest, most visible and most embarrassing exercise in white guilt ever undertaken.

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March 10, 2015

WashPost’s Schwarz: For Millions, ‘Fox News IS the Mainstream Media’

Late Monday morning, reacting to a news Quinnipiac University poll about network trustworthiness, the Washington Post’s Hunter Schwarz, at the paper’s “The Fix” blog, pointed to Fox News’s dominance and declared: “For millions of Americans, Fox News is the mainstream media.”

Perhaps more surprising than Fox’s dominance, but clearly supporting the statement Schwarz made, is the collective poor showing turned in by the Big 3 broadcast networks, whose combined most-trusted percentages came in just below Fox’s.

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March 8, 2015

Is User Pushback Against Eich’s Year-Ago Ouster Taking Down Mozilla?

It has been eleven months since the firestorm over Mozilla co-founder and just-promoted CEO Brendan Eich ended in his resignation. Eich’s “offense” had nothing to do with how he planned to run the business. What led to his departure shortly after he was named CEO was that six years earlier he had given $1,000 to those who supported the California Proposition 8 ballot measure prohibiting same-sex marriage in that state. Proposition 8 won the approval of a majority of the Golden State voters in November 2008.

Those who remained at the firm, which produces the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email program, appear to have convinced themselves that they had to do what they did to stay in the good graces of users, who they must have figured almost universally accept politically correct precepts and sanctions against those who won’t bow to them. How’s that working out? The answer is “not well.”

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March 7, 2015

Press Meme That ‘Strong Jobs Data Brought Down Markets’ Friday Doesn’t Hold Up

Stocks took a beating yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 279 points. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ each declined by over one percent.

The subject line of a USA Today email I received shortly after the closing bell crystallized the establishment press “wisdom”: “Dow plunges nearly 280 points as strong jobs data raises Fed rate hike fears.” The problem is that even though the government’s reported seasonally adjusted payroll job additions of 295,000 were indeed strong and beat expectations, the underlying raw data doesn’t support the excitement.

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February 27, 2015

AP Report on Wisconsin Right to Work Move Presents Union Side Only

A couple of thousand protesters have showed up to rail against the Wisconsin Legislature’s move to pass right to work legislation this week.

That number is far smaller than what was seen four years ago, when Badger State Governor Scott Walker championed Act 10, a budget repair bill which limited — but please note, contrary to frequent press assertions, did not eliminate — most public-sector unions’ collective bargaining rights. Todd Richmond’s Wednesday evening coverage of the situation in Madison at the Associated Press got plenty of perspectives from union members and others upset with the legislature’s latest move, but predictably failed to get any insights from right to work supporters or those skeptical of protesters’ positions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbereed tags are mine):

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February 22, 2015

The Economy’s Worst 8-Year Run in 62 Years

With two more rough years on the horizon.

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This column went up at PJ Media Friday evening and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

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A couple of publications have noted that 2014 was the ninth consecutive year during which the U.S. economy grew by less than 3 percent.

They’re being too kind. Last year was the eighth year in a row of sub-2.5 percent growth, following four straight years (2003-2006) of higher growth.

It’s hardly a coincidence that the first year of that awful 2007-2014 streak just so happens to have been the same year that the Democratic Party took legislative control in Washington.

The nation’s political and media elites were quite pleased with themselves when the November 2006 elections brought about that result, largely because their daily hostility to all things Republican and/or conservative contributed mightily to it. They were absolutely ecstatic when Barack Obama, Mr. Perfectly Creased Pants, won the November 2008 presidential election and took office in January 2009.

As will be seen shortly, the former event marked the beginning of the U.S. economy’s worst eight-year stretch since 1945-1952. Obama’s presence in the Oval Office until January 2017 virtually ensures that we’ll have at least two more years of the policies which brought on that miserable result.

Raising the minimum wage was a key agenda item for new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority leader Harry Reid after their party took over Congress in 2007. The resulting effects on overall employment have been gruesome, to the point where the people who arbitrarily determine such things have absurdly decided, in the interest of covering their tracks, that the 4.5 percent unemployment rate seen during the middle of the past decade is no longer achievable, and that “full employment” is really a rate of 5.5 percent.

The higher minimum federal wage, and the even higher hourly minimums seen in many states and cities, have been especially disastrous for the very people supposedly targeted for help. Since the end of 2006, the seasonally adjusted black teen unemployment rate has risen by 5.5 points to 29.7 percent; that rate got perilously close to 50 percent during the recession. The only reason that the number of unemployed black teens is barely higher now than it was eight years ago is that far fewer of them are even bothering to look for work, and therefore aren’t considered part of that statistic. The average black teen labor force participation rate during 2014 of 27.2 percent was 6.8 points lower than that seen eight years earlier; the 2014 average employment-population ratio of 18.2 percent was 5.9 points lower.

Not satisfied with the number of job prospects they have already ruined for those who most need their first gainful employment opportunity, President Obama continues to push for a minimum-wage increase to $10.10 per hour, while leftist fever-swamp cities like Seattle are heading towards hourly rates as high as $15. More unemployment and more of the harmful effects of idleness await.

Congressional actions hostile to the economy during 2007 and 2008, poorly resisted by President George W. Bush and the Republican congressional minority, were bad enough. After Obama sewed up the Democratic presidential nomination in the spring of 2008, he and his party worsened matters. Their hostility towards developing energy resources and their intent to impose tax and regulatory overkill if elected became readily apparent, sending the economy into a far bigger swoon than the housing bubble alone would have caused. Thus was born the Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) economy.

When I first recognized the rapidly deteriorating situation, I asked:

In this business climate, are you going to hire more people? Replace employees when they leave? Expand your business?

As anyone could have predicted, the answers were “No,” “No,” and “Heck no.”

During the presidential transition, Obama let his community organizer mask slip on a few key occasions, inflicting further serious damage. One such incident occurred when he supported union workers illegally occupying a bankrupt company’s plant by telling reporters: “They’re absolutely right.” I wrote at the time that Obama’s statement of solidarity “set off alarms in the offices of entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors everywhere.” In the first full month after the sit-in, the economy shed more jobs than in any other month since such records have been kept.

Two years of Democratic control of Congress followed by six years of Obamanomics have given us the worst economic performance in 62 years:

8yearGDPgrowthPostWW2to2014

The 1952 result contains four difficult years of transition to peacetime following World War II; two minimum wage increases during that period may also have held the economy back. After that, the economy stayed generally healthy over long-term periods for over 50 years, until 2006. Even someone not conversant with economic policy can recognize that something has gone terribly wrong since then.

The already awful 9.99 percent result for 2007-2014 seems destined to drop a bit further. The latest estimates for fourth-quarter economic growth are coming in at an annualized 1.7 percent to 2.0 percent, far lower than the 2.6 percent the government reported in late January.

They are dozens of contributors to the current malaise, but three of them capsulize the horrid situation:

  • The Obama administration has spent six years passive-aggressively dithering over approving the 1,200-mile Keystone Pipeline — even though the nation currently has 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines in place functioning virtually without incident.
  • Operators of certain legal but politically incorrect businesses have seen their banking relationships terminated by financial institutions intimidated into their decisions by the government’s Operation Choke Point. This is a development which one observer correctly noted should be “terrifying to business owners in every industry.”
  • The administration has been operating a “shadow immigration system,” which during the past six years has issued 5.5 million work permits to non-citizens. No wonder legal U.S. citizens aren’t impressed by the government’s reported job-growth numbers.

Thus, agenda-driven regulators are deliberately holding up economic progress and bullying existing businesses, while illegal competition undercuts citizens who want jobs. It’s utterly amazing that the U.S. economy is growing at all. Given a recent report that “fewer native-born Americans are working today than were at the end of 2007,” perhaps the “U.S. citizen economy” really hasn’t.

Madnesses such as those just described, and so many others, will continue as long as Congress is unwilling to fully exercise its power of the purse. Unless we see a miraculous change in outlook, that’s not going to happen.

Prepare for two more very rough years.

Lenovo’s Consumer Betrayal: A National Security Betrayal Too?

Via Zero Hedge, covered in several other places:

Lenovo Group, the largest computer manufacturer in the world, has made a rather stunning admission that they have been pre-installing tracking software on their PCs.

The tracking software is made by a company called Superfish, which apparently paid some “very minor compensation” to Lenovo for putting the software on people’s computers.

The Superfish program is a total disaster.

It has image recognition algorithms which essentially monitor what a user is looking at… then suggests relevant ads based on what it thinks you might like.

This is not only REALLY high up on the creepy scale, it also completely destroys Internet security.

the tracking software basically fools a web browser into believing that a connection is secure when it’s not… all for the purpose of pushing more ads in your face.

This scheme is so powerful that even if users uninstall the Superfish software, the security breach still remains.

This is so flagrant I have to imagine that even the NSA is shocked.

After its initial approach of being completely unapologetic and dismissal, Lenovo is now groveling for forgiveness.

Sadly, I think there’s reason to doubt that it’s only about ads.

Yes, Lenovo is majority publicly-held. But it’s also a China-based company. It’s not unreasonable to expect that it would be receptive to “requests” for “cooperation” from the Chinese government run by the Peoples Army to engage in security-related mischief that goes well beyond ad placement.

One clue that there may be a lot more to this than meets the eye is the defiant “initial approach” noted in the final excerpted paragraph.

February 11, 2015

Another Month, Another Selective AP Federal Deficit Report

The federal government today reported a $17.5 billion budget deficit for January. That brings this fiscal year’s shortfall through four months to $194.2 billion, up from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

As usual, the Associated Press’s coverage, this time delivered by Martin Crutsinger, named the nation’s “Worst Economic Writer” by National Review’s Kevin Williamson two years ago, gave an incomplete historical explanation for the $1 trillion-plus annual deficits incurred from fiscal 2009 through 2012, and “somehow” forgot that President Barack Obama, who is demanding higher taxes in the budget he recently submitted, already got a significant tax increase on higher incomes just two years ago. Excerpts follow the job:

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February 10, 2015

New York Mag: NBC Has a ‘Dossier of Williams’ Apparent Lies’

In his story on Brian Williams at 10:55 p.m. ET this evening, Gabriel Sherman at New York Magazine reported that the now-suspended anchor and his agent "were presented with a dossier of Williams' apparent lies," and that "Williams himself was only slowly grasping the depths of the mess he'd created."

That begs the obvious question of whether the public will ever get to know what's in that "dossier," and what impact its contents may have had on the substance of NBC's news reports during the past dozen (if not more) years. Excerpts from Sherman's report follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):

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‘Elitist’ Fail: Profane ‘Girls’ Episode Insults Iowa, Fails Geography

John Hinderaker at Powerline is certainly correct when he notes that the media elites love “Girls,” the HBO show starring sister-abusing, rapist-misidentifying Lena Dunham.

Critics rave about how great the show and its main characters are, frequently employing complimentary adjectives descriptive of or synonymous with “smart.” Hinderaker was brave enough to peruse the script of the show’s Season 4 episode which aired on Sunday. What he found instead fit the categories of “insulting” and “stunningly ignorant”:

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February 4, 2015

Gallup Polling CEO Blasts Press’s Complacency in Covering Unemployment and Underemployment

Yesterday, in a column at his organization's web site, the head of the nation's leading polling organization called the government's official unemployment rate, currently at 5.6 percent, a "big lie."

Rest assured that if Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton had written this column during a Republican or conservative administration, his words would have been picked up by the Associated Press and the New York Times, and would have echoed across the Big Three networks' nightly newscasts. Instead, because relatively good-looking government data is sacrosanct during a Democratic administration, an expansive Google News search at 1:15 p.m. ET on "Gallup unemployment lie" (not in quotes, showing similar items and duplicates) returned only 26 items. Almost all of them are from center-right blogs and outlets. One exception is an item at Fortune.com which accuses Clifton of indulging in a "vast" "conspiracy theory."

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February 3, 2015

AP on Potential GDP Revisions: Heads They Report, Tails They Ignore

On Friday, the government reported that the nation’s economy, as measured in its real gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during last year’s final quarter, sharply trailing analysts’ consensus predictions ranging from 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent.

As is the case after the first version of every GDP report, economy watchers have been trying to estimate the effect other subsequently released fourth quarter-related government and other data might have on GDP revisions to be reported in late February and late March. Predictably, the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, seems to have decided that it will tell its readers about the ones which seem to point to upward revisions, and that it will ignore those which go in the opposite direction.

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