Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hey, MSM! The Watergate lessons still hold true

Today's news:

Lookout List’ Not Much Broader Than Originally Thought, Contrary to Reports

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel on Monday told reporters that the now-infamous “Be On The Lookout” list was far broader than was originally disclosed in the Treasury Department inspector general’s report. Reports from outlets including the Associated Press, which I cited in my original report, and now Bloomberg News, confirmed Werfel’s account, indicating that various versions of the list not only included terms like “tea party,” but also “progressive,” “Occupy,” and “Israel.”
Based on the lookout list examined by NRO, however, it is inaccurate to say that progressive and liberal groups were subjected to the same or similar scrutiny as tea-party groups, or even that a surprisingly broad array of criteria was applied to screen applications for tax exemption.
Those useful lessons:

We also have the same bread crumbs the Washington Post followed when they were the only paper on the Watergate trail:

If they’re clean why don’t they show it? Why are there so many lies? I’ll tell you why. Because you’ve got them.
The last four days make this David Halberstam quote especially pertinent:

Time was on the side of Woodward and Bernstein. A story like Vietnam or Watergate has a balance of forces of its own. At first the charges are deniable, the existing structure holds, powerful men with powerful positions can keep their troops in line. All the weight is on one side, and reporters like Woodward and Bernstein are a tiny minority, seeming puny by comparison. But there is the momentum, The denials slowly weaken, events undermine the denials so there have to be more denials, and each denial is a little weaker than the previous one. … Slowly the people who are issuing denials lose credibility, and the reporters begin to gain credibility.

Our corrupt press

This is why Comcast/MSNBC should have sent David Gregory to Cleveland.

David Gregory tries to read Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian out of the journalism club

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's obvious yet so few are willing to say it

Why Latinos All Vote GOP

It’s gratitude for the amnesty bill signed by Reagan in the 1980s.

This logic brought to you by your local establishment GOP stooge.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Amanda Knox

Barbie Latza Nadeau on the latest twists of the case:

Italian Court Explains Why It Overturned Amanda Knox’s Acquittal
This is a stubborn fact that the American media often ignores:

Rudy Guede, a native of the Ivory Coast, was convicted for his role in Kercher’s murder in October 2008 in a fast-track trial that lasted just one month. Even though he was tried alone, he was convicted as one of a group of assailants, and was never considered by any court to have acted as a lone wolf.
If Guede did not act alone, then who was with him? The investigation did not turn up any evidence of another intruder in Meredith Kercher's apartment.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


The Republican Oblivion Tour

The Veiled Anti-American Sentiment of Open Borders Politicians

Look, many of us are willing to accept that there is a targeted and finite labor shortage in specific sectors. But to suggest that at a time when there are millions of Americans looking for jobs, there is also a labor shortage that even the 55 million new immigrants and guest workers in this bill cannot satisfy, is simply asking us to suspend our commonsense.

What is really driving this indefatigable push for mass amnesty, precipitous immigration, and open borders is the desire on the part of big business for an endless supply of cheaper workers – be it low, middle, or high skilled. As the inimitable Thomas Sowell explains in his recent column, Economics vs. Need, we all have desires that are communicated in terms of “needs.” The Ag industry says it needs millions upon millions of immigrant workers. But that need, especially to the degree to which they are exaggerating it, is nothing more than a desire for government to guarantee them a maximum wage support, much like the price support scheme they are getting in the upcoming farm bill.

Rick Santorum and the Type A voters

Symbolism is important, too. As Santorum observed, it matters that a candidate secures the endorsement of average people and puts a spotlight upon them. This is really Politics 101, but somehow a lot of Republicans have forgotten it, deeming it silly or condescending. (Or maybe they’re worried their opponents will label them condescending.) It’s not that the Romney campaign was utterly devoid of such supporters, but he didn’t use them effectively. And he had a tendency to say things that played into his biggest weakness, like the “47 percent” comment, or his observation that he was “not concerned about the very poor.” There was more to the context of these remarks than the killer sound bites extracted by the media and Obama’s campaign team… but when will Republican candidates learn that they don’t control the transmission of “context?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Marco Rubio can save his career by answering two simple questions

1. What was the name of the idiot aide?

2. At what time did you fire him?

Rubio aide on immigration: Let’s face it, some American workers just can’t cut it


Looks like Rubio would rather be temporary buds with Chuck Schumer than have a future with the GOP.

Who knew that Kristie Kreme was his role model.

Rubio Doubles Down into Disaster

This Aide to Marco Rubio Really Isn’t a ‘Star Performer’

History is a trickster (UPDATED)

In 2008 Ross Douthat wrote an essay in the Atlantic on Hollywood's nostalgia for the 1970s. In it he noted that "the thing that actors and directors seemed to miss the most about the 1970s—the mood of the decade, the mix of paranoia and pessimism and ambivalence about America itself."

The ’70s were in many ways dreadful years for America, but they’re remembered much more fondly in the film industry. There’s no surer way to establish your artistic (and political) bona fides than to name-drop a ’70s movie—whether it’s George Clooney bringing up All the President’s Men (1976) while promoting Michael Clayton, or Stephen Gaghan remarking that of course he was “thinking about The Parallax View and also Three Days of the Condor” while making Syriana. The suggestion is always the same—that the age of leisure suits and sideburns was also the high tide of politically engaged filmmaking, before the studios embarked on the relentless pursuit of the blockbuster and the Reagan reaction pushed American culture steadily to the right.
So now, Hollywood has a public mood suffused with "paranoia and pessimism". The only problem is, the emblematic figures of the age are not glowering old squares like Nixon, Mitchell and Haldeman. The Second Golden Age of Decline is happening under the unwatchful gaze of Hollywood favorites Obama and Clinton.


Ed Driscoll notes that Hollywood might get a bigger does of pessimism than they bargained for.

Hollywood ‘Completely Broke.’ But That’s Good News, Right?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

GOP future: It’s not the “messaging”

This is an insightful analysis by a semi-insider of the Romney campaign.

Gabriel Schoenfeld: A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign

In my e-book, A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign, I try to account for a long chain of mistakes that led the campaign to misfire in the middle of the national-security crisis that erupted in Cairo and Benghazi on September 11, 2012. As I attempt to show, the errors made in that episode did not happen in a vacuum. Rather, they were one of the consequences of a vision of American politics embraced by Romney and his top strategists. The problem before them in the quest for the presidency was, at its core, conceived of as an advertising and marketing challenge.

That vision of politics failed and the consultants Romney hiredif not political consultants as a classare now fighting for their livelihoods, if not their lives. “Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?” was the title of a panel discussion held at a recent conservative conclave. As that blunt question makes plain, at least some Republicans comprehend that turning politics into nothing more than a subsidiary of the advertising and marketing business, as the Romney campaign attempted to do, is the path to repeated failure.
Yet so strong is the Republican death wish that the RNC’s blueprint for the future is more of the same.

But the trouble is that the consultants are deeply entrenched in the Republican Party. And they are using their entrenched position to fight to retain their grip on resources and power. Evidence of their struggle can be found in the Republican National Committee’s Growth & Opportunity Project, the official Republican autopsy on the Romney campaign.

The RNC postmortem does not beat around the bush. Politics, in its vision, is the art of best matching a candidate’s positions to the preferences of voters as those preferences are revealed in polls and focus groups. To this end, great weight is placed in the report on the urgency of gathering ever more information about the electorate. In particular, explains the report, “we need to know what language is most likely to motivate a donor or a voter and convert them into a vote for Republican candidates.” To discover exactly the right collection of wordsthe magical incantation for getting votes, the “use of data and measurement is critical.
Yes, indeed. Let’s have more of the stuff that did not work last time.

But wait, this time it will be different because… BIG DATA!!!

To implement this technocratic vision, the RNC recommends that the Republican Party become a “data-driven” party. To accomplish this, a high priority must be that “voter and volunteer data, fundraising and donor data, digital data, consumer data, and media habits” all be integrated, analyzed, and made accessible to candidates by means of “application programming interfaces (APIs).” These APIs in turn can be used to “facilitate more user interfaces (UIs) to address all manner of campaign function and level of sophistication including file selections, modeling and analysis, and the feedback of touch-point and response to marketing initiatives.”

Such technobabble continues for pages of the report.
The RNC’s “vision’ is not just bad, unprincipled politics; it is also short-sighted, ignorant marketing.

Our country’s greatest presidents, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan, did not need to bend to the whims of the electorate. By dint of their principled statesmanship, they bent the electorate to their will. They educated it. They persuaded it. They brought it along. They certainly did not need application programming interfaces to get elected and to accomplish what they accomplished. Nor did Abraham Lincoln need to hire a “messaging professional” to write the Gettysburg Address.
Advertising great Bill Bernbach would agree whole-heartedly:

We are so busy measuring public opinion that we forget we can mold it. We are so busy listening to statistics we forget we can create them.
If we are going to talk about politics and marketing, Bernbach has couple of lessons the GOP might want to ponder.

I think the most important element in success in ad writing is the product itself. And I can’t say that often enough. Or emphasize it enough. Because I think a great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to know it’s bad.

Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it.
Mary Wells Lawrence, another legend of advertising and marketing agrees:

Great advertising, the kind that works, almost always comes out of the product you are going to advertise
It is no surprise that the RNC and its consultants want to ignore these fundamental insights. They cast a bad light on the GOP consultant-pundit class and the campaign they ran in 2012.

For instance, you don’t need to crunch through terabytes of data to know that President Obama’s greatest vulnerability was the economy and jobs. The Romney campaign made this issue #1.

The fatal flaw in this strategy was simple: Mitt Romney was the worst possible candidate to raise that issue. His ties with Bain Capital and the off-shoring jobs was a tremendous negative and made him less than credible as a tribune for the American worker. His frequent gaffes (“I like to fire people”) made the problem worse.

This is not Monday morning quarterbacking. Romney’s vulnerabilities on this point were apparent over a year before the election:

Numbers that should scare Mitt Romney and the tools at Fox News

These numbers also suggest that Romney could be terribly vulnerable to Obama in the general election. Big donors might like his resume, but voters might find it repellent. His personal connections to outsourcing, Wall Street, and management snake oil could prove fatal.

I think we might have seen a a preview of the problem here in Pennsylvania in 2010. At the end of the campaign, the Sestak campaign hit Pat Toomey hard on the "jobs to China" issue. It seemed to get traction. Toomey ran 3.5 percentage points behind Corbett (the Republican candidate for governor). He squeaked out a win (51%-49%) against an underfunded candidate in a profoundly Republican year.

So that makes it look like Pennsylvania is out of reach for Romney.

Even more scary for the GOP is the way that Toomey under-performed across the board. He trailed Corbett in blue-collar Democratic counties like Allegheny and Beaver. He also saw a similar drop-off in hard-core conservative areas like Adams and Armstrong counties.

That suggests to me that Romney might have a problem recapturing all the Bush states that flipped in 2008 (like Ohio).
The issue that fired up the conservative base was Obamacare. Here again, Romney could not take full advantage of this issue because he had signed Romneycare as governor of Massachusetts.

Despite these two enormous weaknesses, the “professionals” kept telling us that Romney was the most electable candidate in the primaries. This does not reflect well on the “professionals” professional competence.

Once again, not everyone was fooled by the emperor’s new clothes (see here.)

Is it unfair to mention that some of the professionals who are promoting the Big Data solution had a hand in this:

The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA

Orca aground: Romney’s high-tech ‘Get Out the Vote’ failure

Conservatives and messaging

Conquest's Law

Some leaks or more equal than others

Jack Shafer:

Edward Snowden and the selective targeting of leaks

Yet even as the insults pile up and the amateur psychoanalysis intensifies, keep in mind that Snowden’s leak has more in common with the standard Washington leak than should make the likes of Brooks, Simon and Cohen comfortable. Without defending Snowden for breaking his vow to safeguard secrets, he’s only done in the macro what the national security establishment does in the micro every day of the week to manage, manipulate and influence ongoing policy debates. Keeping the policy leak separate from the heretic leak is crucial to understanding how these stories play out in the press.

Secrets are sacrosanct in Washington until officials find political expediency in either declassifying them or leaking them selectively. It doesn’t really matter which modern presidential administration you decide to scrutinize for this behavior, as all of them are guilty. For instance, President George W. Bush’s administration declassified or leaked whole barrels of intelligence, raw and otherwise, to convince the public and Congress making war on Iraq was a good idea. Bush himself ordered the release of classified prewar intelligence about Iraq through Vice President Dick Cheney and Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby to New York Times reporter Judith Miller in July 2003.
I think he is exactly right with his conclusion:

The willingness of the government to punish leakers is inversely proportional to the leakers’ rank and status, which is bad news for someone so lacking in those attributes as Edward Snowden. But as the Snowden prosecution commences, we should question his selective prosecution. Let’s ask, as Isikoff did of the Obama administration officials who leaked to Woodward, why Snowden is singled out for punishment when he’s essentially done what the insider dissenters did when they spoke with Risen and Lichtblau in 2005 about an invasive NSA program. He deserves the same justice and the same punishment they received.

Do we know there's a war on?

The looking glass war

Friday, June 07, 2013

Mark Steyn is still right

He wrote this last year after Mohammed Merah murdered seven people in France.

Lather, Rinse, and Repeat

The killer of French schoolchildren and soldiers turns out to be a man called Mohammed Merah. The story can now proceed according to time-honored tradition:

Stage One: The strange compulsion to assure us that the killer is a “right wing conservative extremist,” in the words of NRO commenter ExpatAsia, echoed by Chrisman and Galt’s Bain. Up north, this view was shared by Canada’s most prominent establishment Jew and the Liberal Party attack poodle Warren Kinsella (whom NR readers may recall from my free-speech cover story, which mentioned the groveling apology he was forced to make to “the Chinese community” after an unfortunately sinophobic cat joke). The insistence that the killer was emblematic of an epidemic of right-wing hate sweeping the planet is, regrettably, no longer operative. Instead, the killer isn’t representative of anything at all.

So on to Stage Two: Okay, he may be called Mohammed but he’s a “lone wolf.” Sure, he says he was trained by al-Qaeda, but what does he know? Don’t worry, folks, he’s just a lone wolf like Major Hasan and Faisal Shahzad and all the other card-carrying members of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves. All jihad is local.

On to Stage Three: Okay, even if there are enough lone wolves around to form their own Radio City Rockette line, it’s still nothing to do with Islam. I’m sad to see the usually perceptive Ed West of the London Telegraph planting his flag on this wobbling blancmange.

And then, of course, Stage Four: The backlash that never happens. Because apparently the really bad thing about actual dead Jews is that it might lead to dead non-Jews: “French Muslims Fear Backlash After Shooting.” Likewise, after Major Hasan’s mountain of dead infidels, shooting Raises Fears For Muslims In US Army Likewise, after the London Tube slaughter, British Muslims Fear Repercussions After Tomorrow’s Train Bombing Oh, no, wait, that’s a parody, though it’s hard to tell.
This is exactly the sequence we saw after the bombing at the Boston Marathon. With the brutal murder of Pvt. Lee Rugby, the perpetrators surrendered on the scene so we didn't have time for stage one. But the MSM followed steps two through four like well trained lab rats in a familiar maze.

Compare and contrast

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"The Valley of Fear"
American Narcissus

Obama said that he liked being surrounded by people who expressed strong opinions, but he also said, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” After Obama’s first debate with McCain, on September 26th, [campaign political director Patrick] Gaspard sent him an e-mail. “You are more clutch than Michael Jordan,” he wrote. Obama replied, “Just give me the ball.”

Benghazi: The high price of rampant knowingness

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Bryan Preston busts a concern troll

If the Dems Really Believe Republicans are Going to ‘Overreach’ on the Obama Scandals, Why Don’t They Just Let Them Do It?

If Axelrod et al really believed that the scandals would result in real Republican overreach, they would just let it happen. Just sit back and watch the fun. Pop some popcorn. Because it would save his pal Barack and all their mutual friends from the quagmire they’re all in. And because he’s paid to help Democrats, not Republicans. Just follow the money that flows to Axelrod, and observe common sense.

If his enemy is destroying itself, why would Axelrod get ever think of getting in its way? Hm, Dave? Why? Where did that altruistic streak come from all of a sudden?

With all this “overreach” noise, David Axelrod is acting guilty, as if he has something to hide.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Nixon had to pay for his dirty tricks and cover-up

The IRS gets to use tax payer dollars.

‘Rogue’ IRS agent who wrote threatening letters gets promotion

President Obama may have promised “to hold the responsible parties accountable” for the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative non-profit groups, but one of the agents at the center of the scandal was recently promoted, an IRS source tells The Washington Examiner.

UPDATED: IRS tax exemption/Obamacare exec got $103,390 in bonuses; Did Obama OK them?

Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS executive in charge of the tax exempt division in 2010 when it began targeting conservative Tea Party, evangelical and pro-Israel groups for harassment, got more than $100,000 in bonuses between 2009 and 2012.

More recently, Ingram was promoted to serve as director of the tax agency's Obamacare program office, a position that put her in charge of the vast expansion of the IRS' regulatory power and staffing in connection with federal health care, ABC reported earlier today.

Lois Lerner gets taxpayer funded vacation – paid administrative leave

What do you give Lois Lerner, an arrogant IRS official who totally blew her fifth amendment rights during congressional testimony? IF you are Obama, you give her a nice tax payer funded vacation of course.

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

Jerry Pournelle indirectly makes Orwell's point by bringing up inconvenient but relevant facts that are normally left out of MSM stories of the IRS scandals.

Ground Games and Education Credentials

It comes as no surprise to anyone who studies such matters that the IRS hounded Tea Party and Patriot get out the vote organizations, and President Obama won re-election largely through the operations of Democratic get out the vote activities. When I was in the campaign management business, I always stressed the importance of what we called the ground game – getting voters willing to vote for your candidate actually to do so.


The Obama election strategy was to attack Romney and discourage Republican voters. Since it was obvious that the 2010 Congressional election was dominated by the Tea Party and Patriot groups, and had been obvious since 2004 that Patriot and Tea Party Get Out the Vote organizations were the shock troops and mainstay of the Republican ground game, it took no Presidential order to get the unionized IRS public employees to understand the stake they had in this game – even if the IRS Acting Commissioner had more recorded official visits to the White House than the Secretaries of State and Defense combined during the year leading up to the 2012 election.