Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bin Laden Endorses Bush/Cheney

The question that has constantly overhung this election experience for me is, "Are we as stupid as all these people make us out to be?" Now into the fray comes Osama Bin Laden. The very unexpected nature of this appearance has sent policy makers and talking heads scrambling for the right spin. Forty-eight hours later they seem to have hit their stride.
It’s a dumb show in a sense: If you read it literally, he’s calling for the defeat of President Bush, but he's not doing John Kerry a favor. Anyone with a brain in this planet knows that’s a way for President Bush to get support in this country. It’s impossible for us to know if he’s being ironic, clever, shrewd or stupid.

Chris Matthews

Clearly Mr. Matthews is confused as to why Al Queda would come to the aid of President Bush. This would seem to be an intelligent reacton. Eliminate ironic, ol' Osama is not much in the humor department. Stupid? This is the man who masterminded the most complex and successful special ops plan in history. This leaves clever or shrewd. Clever is a bit trite for the situation, so I'll go with shrewd with more on that later.

As a neutral party Chris Matthew's can afford to leave questions like these hanging, but others are not afforded this luxury. Rudy Guliani appeared for the President's campaign today on Meet the Press and had this assessment,

He probably doesn't know at all the American people. He made critical mistakes. He thought when he attacked us on September 11, 2001, that we were going to cower, that we were going to back down. And, in fact, we haven't. We've become stronger as a result of what happened to us and more united. And I hope it's going to continue that way after this election.

Forced to respond, the Republicans would rather go with stupid rather than shrewd. They would rather not answer the question altogether. Did Bin Laden expect us to back down after Sept. 11? Clearly Mr. Guliani insults our intelligence with that notion. Maybe insults our intelligence is not quite as true as doubts our intelligence. I think Bin Laden expected just what he got then and just what he's getting now from Mr. Guliani. More on that later.

Feed this response through the yellow jounalism machine and you get this from Joe Scarborough,

Bin Laden's boneheaded political play has the historical significance of Adolph Hitler addressing Americans struggling through WWII to make his best case for Wendell Wilkie over FDR.

Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that Hitler didn't do any such thing and that Scarborough is saying this event has the significance of something that did not happen. Rather than split more semantical hairs with a Hannity light who is clearly in over his head let's just say that he is seconding the stupid option.

What about journalists of a more "legitimate" ilk? This from Christopher Isham, top ABC News analyst,

Some observers agree that the new tape will remind Americans that Bush has failed to capture Bin Laden and may help Kerry, but most U.S. political analysts believe that the appearance of the tape in the days before the election will bring terrorism back to the top of the agenda and therefore will help the president on an issue that, in most opinion polls, he is perceived to be stronger on than Kerry.

Mr. Isham does not hazard a guess as to why Al Queda wouldn't know how most American political analysts would land on this nor why they would proceed to help Mr. Bush. Isn't he curious about this? Who will handle this hot potato. John McCain, who will not be seen as one to underestimate his enemy, hesitates to take the "stupid" party line. How does this master balancing act handle the subject today on Face The Nation without raising the "awful question"? With this little bit of obfuscation,

So does it, quote, "favor" President Bush or not? I don't know if that's the right description, but I do believe it focuses all our attention back on the transcendent issue, which is the war on terror, and that's where I think any polling data will show you the president has an advantage.

Wow! How do you define "is"? Clearly there is a concerted effort here by the right to avoid associating the concept of help with the reality of, ...well..., help.

At this point the election is all about shaking the weakly committed from the trees. If people were satisfied there would be no indecision. This fact swings the election every time toward the challenger. Every professional politician knows this fact, and Osama Bin Laden knows it too. Bin Laden has appeared in order to bolster Bush's chances. Why? Because Kerry might mean business in a war on terror unencumbered by Bush's zeal for big war and grand scheme. Kerry is the devil he doesn't know. Bush has been utterly predictable and a reactionary dupe for the cause of Jihad.

Perhaps Bin Laden's appearance will stem the tide and preserve a Bush victory. Lord knows the Gulianis and Scarboroughs of our culture are more than happy to do this bidding. The great irony is that Bin Laden will have affected history by goading the conservatives, again.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Grass Root Politics, Republican style

It seems that our local big-ass constuction dude, a Robert Mann, has allegedly conspired with a Robert Brownwell, a former CEO for a medium size home builder in the Milwaukee metro area, to do what they can to ensure that our government is the exemplar of good old middle class values.

Not to be discouraged by that no-good meddlesome government placing crippling regulations on plain folk, they have figured out a way to make contributions far beyond what the law allows.

I would guess that somewhere in the middle of a business related deductible $200.00 dinner or $180.00 round of golf Mr. Mann and Mr. Brownwell discovered that they were both Republicans. Mr. Mann no doubt considers himself a hero of the middle class and a small business man, however he did manage to do twenty million dollars of business with Belinski Homes (Mr. Brownwell's former employer) this year (so far). Apparently three million of this was a pad to create a slush fund.

Others would be encouraged to contribute a thou, and out of one of Mr. Mann's companies would a check appear to reinburse the donor.

The story states that only $70,000.00 has actually gone to campaigns at this point. The local paper didn't seem too fascinated with what happened to the other 2.93 mil, though I'm sure others at Belinski Homes are quite curious in the matter. Okay, well there were expenses or just maybe the election wasn't the primary motivation here.

Doesn't hurt to give the Gov. and Pres. a cut, perhaps that's how Mr. Mann is getting what is termed as "limited immunity" and Mr. Brownwell is obviously taking the hard fall for this little escapade.

I've written the President's, Governor's and Russ Darrow's (the man looking to unseat my hero, Russ Feingold, the only senator with the guts to vote against the Patriot Act) campaigns to see if they are going to exercise the good old American values held dear to them one and all and return the money. So far they seem to be too busy to respond.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Damned Liberal Media

Still bouncing around in the past to set the tone:

December 29, 2002

In that the concept of non-biased reporting is an ideal, it is important for the viewer or reader to be mindful that bias can only be suppressed, not eliminated. Intentionally or non, this suppressed bias can quite subtly be a powerful influence and should be troubling to any journalistic professional whose charge it is to present a balanced presentation of events.
I quote two leading paragraphs from stories in the Sunday Journal Sentinel. The first is from page 22a, entitled “Is ‘War on Terrorism’ part of Bush’s political game plan?”, by Ron Fournier of the AP.

An internal White House document outlining President Bush's re-election agenda starts with "War on terrorism (Con't)" and homeland security. It's the latest sign, critics say, that presidential advisers are seeking political gain from the Sept. 11 attacks.

The next appears on page 20a, written by Jennifer Loven, also of the AP, entitled “Sen. Clinton blames loss of jobless benefits on Bush, Republicans”.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton led Democrats in making political hay out of the loss of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers.

Note here the radical change in characterization of the two principals that can be made by transferring the phrase “critics say” from one article to the next. While either is arguable, nearly identical situations are being presented in one case as an assumption, and in the other case as fact.

It is wise for the reader to be aware of these differences, but it is the duty of journalists to avoid them. I know that you cannot edit AP articles, but you are responsible in their selection. The presentation of these articles is far short of fair reportage. Whether you are aware of this, don’t care, or bashing Hillary Clinton as a matter of policy isn’t important to me.

What is important to me is…. are you going to be a better newspaper?

Back to the Future

Let's start with some things from the past. This first was written one unemployed morning after having watched Mr. Greenspan deliver his death knoll on the bubble.

August 1, 1999

It's not at all a new notion that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, this is a fact that will always be. A more appropriate choice of terms in our economy would be that the owners get richer and the workers get poorer.
The truth is that each deserves what they get.
The owners of America, major and minor alike, are for the most part clever people who work hard to position themselves to take advantage of a powerful capitalistic system. There is nothing evil in this.
And the workers? Oh, we make it so easy! We are as disorganized as they are organized. We are as uneducated about economics as they are educated. We are as innattentive to government as they are attentive.
And so, following a few short years in which they have seen their wealth double, it appears that they need all of us to continue growth. Nearly full employment leads to better wages. Employment costs, as measured by that government we don't pay any attention to, increased 1.1% over the second quarter of 1999, the biggest increase in eight years. Most of that likely went to doctors, lawyers and the government, but that's another issue.
The point is that those costs pass to the consumer, they do not come from profits that create soaring stock evaluations. This means inflation fears, and the feds step in and raise interest rates.
The feds' goal, and we give them no need to be subtle, is to nip wage increase in the bud by tossing some of us out of work. A 4% annual wage increase is intolerable. Business will have to cool their heels for a while until that number is seen to decrease.
When things quiet down, maybe they can double their money again.