Schooled

October 17, 2012

Did CNN’s Candy Crowley collude with the Obama campaign before last night’s debate in Hempstead?

I think so, and I think I can prove it.

Let’s restate the obvious:

For this Town Hall format debate, alleged undecided voters submitted questions to the candidates. As moderator, Crowley selected which questions would be asked. Her selections were curious to say the least; they appeared designed to highlight issues helpful to the incumbent and embarrass the challenger. For instance, one audience member asked a question about “equal pay” for women. The premise of the question is bogus, but pointing out its deficiencies can only hurt the side inclined to tell the truth. Crowley repeated the tired assertion that women receive 72% pay for “the same work” as men.

Where to begin? Hasn’t the percentage of the disparity changed since the feminists first made this claim? Crowley repeated a number dating back to the 70’s. It was bogus then, and bogus now. If the premise is true, then it must also be true that employers are paying men nearly 40% more than necessary for the same work. Most businesses operate on much tigther profit margins than this, so any employer with a grain of common sense would hire employees willing to work for 72% of what their costly male counterparts demand. Mitt opted not to challenge the premise of the question. I went to the kitchen to make a sandwich rather than find out which candidate gave the better vapid answer.

I loved the most obviously slanted “question.” Paraphrasing for brevity, the “questioner” prefaced with an editorial: while he was disappointed with the last four years, he blamed George W. Bush for most of our problems. “So please tell us Governor Romney, how your policies would differ from those of George Bush?” Classic heads-we-win/tails-you-lose trick question for the challenger forcing him to choose between defending Bush (so Obama could run against Bush again) or discrediting the 44th President. I think Romney should have challenged the premise of the question and turned it on Obama, e.g., “The President always talks of failed Bush policies of the previous eight years, but doesn’t specify which ones? Does he mean the failed $1.83 per gallon gasoline prices or the 4.7% unemployment we had before the Democrats took over Congress and caused Fannie and Freddy to trigger the 2007 financial crisis?

Throughout the evening, Crowly kept challenging Romney on his answers, and thanking Obama for his.

Obama was much better prepared this time, kept his talking points straight with no signifcant flubs. In fact, he seemed a little too prepared, uncharacteristically so without his teleprompter in my opinion. I began to smell a rat.

Actually, I began to smell a rat before the debate started when it was announced that the questions were not disclosed to either campaign. I was reminded of how I cringe when I hear an inexperienced magician say “I have here a perfectly normal deck of cards.” Normal people don’t go around making disclaimers before they are challenged. Try this experiment: next time you play cards for money, announce to the table “I have here a perfectly normal deck of cards” as you introduce a new deck when it’s your turn to deal. Media moderators give disclaimers for the same reasons magicians say they’re using a perfectly ordinary deck of cards. Usually the magicians who say this are lying.

Midway through the debate, I saw the proof.

Toward the end of the debate, finally we heard a good question about the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens. The questioner asked about reports that the State Department denied Embassy requests for additional security. He wanted to know if that was true and if so, why? Obama dodged the question and Romney, who’s much quicker on his feet than the President, didn’t call him on it. Not because he missed the point, but because why flick a jab when you can go for the knockout. And to everyone watching, Obama had left his glass jaw wide open by making the ludicrous claim that he correctly called the attack on the embassy an act of terrorism the very next day.

An incredulous Romney challenged him, but Obama stuck to his preposterous claim. When Romney asked him to repeat what he just said, Obama turned to Crowley, who confirmed that Obama was right. Suddenly the knockout punch missed wildly and Obama scored a telling counterpunch.

Except he didn’t. The counterpunch was a cheapshot, delivered not by the limp-wristed flyweight, but by the super-heavyweight referee. Before an audience of 70 million, Crowley said to Romney, “He’s right. That’s what he said.” Except, in the immortal words of Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, Obama never actually said what Crowley insisted he said. Afterwards, before an slightly smaller audience (400K vs. 70 million), Yogi Crowley admitted she’d “made a wrong mistake.”

The whole thing was a set-up, and one that Obama could not have pulled off without collusion on the part of Crowley. Obama’s unmemorable comments the day after the Ambassador’s murder included a throwaway line that “acts of terror will not go unpunished.” He never said the embassy attack was a terrorist act. Indeed, it defies logic and common sense to claim he would have done so one day after the incident, and then spend several weeks, blaming the attack on a silly internet movie trailer. (This from an administration that three years later still won’t concede that the Camp Hood massacre was a terrorist act even though Maj. Hasan shouted “Allah Akhbar” as the shooting began.)

When Crowley affirmed Obama’s deception, some members of the audience applauded—in violation of the house no applause rule. Who broke the rules? Michelle Obama and members of the media.

Think about this. Crowley just happened to have the transcript of a perfunctory Obama speech that was about as memorable as a typical Soviet apparatchik’s glowing paen to the architects of the latest five-year plan. In the Soviet Union, such speeches were worth saving—to line birdcages. Yet somehow Crowley just happened to bring a copy of the same speech Obama misleadingly quoted in response to a question he wasn’t given in advance. And Crowley already had highlighted the selective quote, as if it was somehow important.

The setup was interesting. While Romney looked as stunned as everyone else who’s been following the story and challenged the statement, Obama, looking like the proverbial cat who ate the canary, calmly replied, “Proceed Governor.” Understandably, the exchange left Romney speechless. For Obama to claim that he correctly called the attack a terrorist act from day one wasn’t a mistake or “spin,” it was a shockingly brazen reality-denying Orwellian Big Lie. To anyone who followed the news, it was utterly preposterous to suggest he told the truth when his entire Administration spent weeks knowingly and falsely blaming the attack on a silly video—including Obama himself in a speech to the United Nations—when the Aministration already knew the video story was a lie.

And then like an amateur magician reaching into his top hat, Obama asked Crowley to pull the transcript. Huh? By a remarkable “coincidence” Crowley just happened to have the transcript of Obama’s September 12 Rose Garden speech right in front of her, with the relevant quote highlighted. And she said that Obama was right.

Riiigghhht!!!

How could Obama KNOW that Crowley would have the transcript ready to refute Romney when he pounced on what was an obvious lie?

Equally curious, how did Crowley immediately produced the precise sentence in question when Obama asked for the transcript? Have you ever heard a talk show host ask a producer for a tape and the producer has trouble locating it? It happens all the time … even though radio shows prepare these things in advance. Yet last night, Obama referenced one of his hundreds of unmemorable speeches, and the moderator not only had the transcript with her, she had the line Obama cited already queued up to make Romney look bad.

If that isn’t evidence of collusion, what more proof do we need?

And like the amateur he is, Obama made Candy repeat herself “a little louder this time.” (“You never saw me go near the deck of cards right?”) And the intrepid journalist obediently wagged her tail and stood up on her hind legs on command. I was disappointed Obama did not give her a puppy treat; she definitely earned one.

On a related note, a friend asked: Is CNN’s Candy Crowley related to Satanist Aleister Crowley?

We report. You decide.


Two Weddings and a VP Debate

October 10, 2012

This probably isn’t as sinister as it sounds, but it sure seems bizarre.

The liberal media/politician/bureaucrat revolving door spins so rapidly, sometimes it’s hard to keep pace. Today we learn via the Daily Caller that the moderator for tomorrow’s vice presidential debate, ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz, hosted President Obama as a guest at her 1991 wedding to the man who would later become Obama’s FCC commissioner, Julius Genachowski.

That’s shocking enough in its own right but things are further compounded by the fact that ABC News, home of veteran Democratic adviser George Stephanopoulos, has long known about this conflict of interest and did nothing about it. Even worse, the network has actively tried to prevent the public from learning of it.

So Radditz invited Obama to her wedding in 1991. I suspect they didn’t even know each other, but he was at least a B-list celebrity in Liberal World when he was named President of the Harvard Law Review.

Elite liberals inviting minority mascots to their parties is par for the course—classic liberal pandering/tokenism. However, inviting a mascot to your own wedding seems to be taking the concept a Verrazano bridge too far.

But that’s only in the real world.

In Liberal World, Leonard Bernstein once threw a fund-raiser for the Black Panthers in his NYC penthouse digs. Mrs. Bernstein worried about the catering, unsure whether the Panthers would prefer Roquefort or Brie. Bernstein’s A-List guests kicked in big bucks to hobnob with these special guests who delivered an inspirational message about the Revolution and killing whitey, while a beaming Bernstein—then in his 60’s—said “I can dig it” over and over. (I guess an “Amen” or a “Hallelujah” after each applause line would have sounded ridiculous.) The Panthers collected the checks for their charity work and—to quote the vernacular of the day—promptly “split.” I don’t recall if Mrs. B’s cheese dilemma was ever resolved. It’s been many years since I read Tom Wolfe’s chronicle of that memorable dinner party in Radical Chic.

That Raddatz didn’t bother to disclose the fact that she knew Obama is also par for the course in Liberal Land. Remember that liberals, especially media liberals, sincerely believe that laws exist to protect enlightened liberals from the benighted masses and especially from evil conservatives. Since liberals are the epitome of all that’s right with the world, they don’t have to follow the rules like everyone else. That’s why liberals can say without irony that sexual harassment laws “backfired” when Clinton found himself hoist upon his bent petard.

This week, Ms. Raddatz will host the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan. One wonders if Ms. Raddatz will be as fair a moderator as Jim Lehrer, who was viciously attacked for the crime of attempted impartiality toward Wascally Wepublicans.

Plus ça change in Liberal World, plus c’est la même chose. It’s an easy prediction that Ms. Raddatz will be much more pugilistic toward Congressman Ryan and will give Amtrack Joe the kid glove treatment. Civility in Liberal World is reserved for decent folk like the Black Panthers and Khalid Sheik Muhammad.

One hundred years ago, the London Times asked a number of public intellectuals to submit an essay for a special edition on the topic “What’s Wrong with the World.”

GK Chesterton replied:

Dear Sirs:
I am.
Very truly yours,
GK Chesterton

If the Times did a centennial survey, I’m fairly sure President Obama would give the same answer… to a slightly different question: “What’s Right With the World?

Can you dig it!


Breadlines and Chocolate

October 5, 2012

Great news comrades! Fake US unemployment rate is down to 7.8%.

I haven’t read any “analysis” of the job numbers yet, but here’s what I know:

In general, the US needs to create at least 300,000 jobs per month just to maintain current unemployment levels. We need to create that many jobs in order to keep up with population growth and new graduates entering the available workforce pool in numbers higher than the number of retirees leaving the workforce.

Employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The September number was 86,000 lower than the August job numbers and the August numbers were lower than July’s.

Yet the “official” unemployment rate went down three-tenths of a point to 7.8%.

Does this even remotely make sense?

Three numbers—dates actually—come to mind: 1936, 1948 and 1984.

1936:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is running for reelection as the Great Depression entered its eighth year.

Roosevelt won reelection in a landslide against a wealthy moderate Republican businessman turned governor who ran a lackluster uninspired campaign marked by bickering between the nominee and his conservative running mate and primary opponent, Frank Knox.

Despite persistent high unemployment, the majority of voters, conditioned by eight years of double-digit unemployment, began to believe the economy was finally turning around. There was evidence for optimism. Deficit spending on New Deal make-work programs leading up to the 1936 elections, helped bring down the unemployment rate to 13.7%.

But the salutary effect of Roosevelt’s spending binge was short-lived. The following year, Roosevelt tried a “balanced” approach of spending cuts and tax increases in an effort to reduce the national debt, which had doubled to 40% of GNP under his leadership. The result was a sharp economic downturn during the next two years—a Great Recession within the Great Depression, as unemployment spiked to 19.0% in 1938.

1948:
George Orwell’s futuristic dystopia 1984 is written. 1984’s protagonist, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth for the government of Oceania. His job is to rewrite old newspaper articles to ensure that the historical record would conform to the totalitarian dictatorship of Big Brother’s ever-changing propaganda announcements and official statistics.

Early on in the book, Smith is tasked to write a propaganda piece about a grateful nation thanking Big Brother for increasing the weekly chocolate ration to 20 grams. He has a moment of self-doubt in his ability to pull off this propaganda feat. Because less than a week earlier, he’d written a similar piece about how the people wildly cheered when Big Brother announced that the weekly chocolate ration would never be reduced below 30 grams. (To put this in context, a regular size Hershey bar is 43 grams.)

Winston Smith writes the propaganda piece as directed. The previous week’s article is flushed down the memory hole to an incinerator so that not even ashes remain. Smith is shocked to discover that no one—besides himself—mentions or even seems to notice the glaring contradiction.

“But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty’s figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For example, the Ministry of Plenty’s forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at one-hundred-and-forty-five million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been over-fulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than one-hundred-and-forty-five millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.”

1984 vs. 1Q84:
I recently finished reading Haruki Murakami’s trilogy 1Q84. The book’s title is a pun based on Orwell’s 1984 since the Japanese word for the number nine is a homonym for the letter Q. The story takes place in Tokyo in the year 1984. As the novel progresses, the protagonist, a young woman named Aomame, begins noticing both subtle differences and jarring discrepancies between what she experiences and her memory. These unsettling cognitive dissonances suggest she is not in her normal 1984 world, but in a not-quite parallel world she names 1Q84.

Another character in 1Q94, a writer named Tengo, also experiences similar unsettling paradoxes between perception and reality or between perception and memory. While riding on a train to another town, he reads a story called The Town of Cats about a young man riding a train who gets off at an unfamiliar stop. The next train passes and does not stop, the next one doesn’t stop either. He goes into town and finds it still functioning, yet completely abandoned. There are sidewalks, buildings and shops, but no people to be found. When the last train fails to stop, the young man has no choice but to spend the night in the abandoned town. As the sun starts goes down, cats of all different breeds and colors, but much larger than ordinary cats, begin to arrive in the town and being nocturnal, go about their business in the dark town. The frightened traveler hides in a clock tower until the next morning when the cats vanish as mysteriously as they arrived. When the train comes the next morning, curiousity overcomes him and he decides to stay another day in the town of cats. The next night, the cats notice his scent and the discovery drives them into a frenzy. They look for him everywhere, but morning comes just in time before finding his hiding place. On the third day, the train does not stop.

This is no town of cats, he finally realizes. It is the place where he was meant to be lost. It is a place not of this world that has been prepared especially for him. And never again, for all eternity, will the train stop at this station to bring him back to his original world.

Aomame and Tengo discover clues along the way as they struggle to escape the 1Q84 world. Very early on, a Tokyo cab driver says to Aomame: “Don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.”

I could relate to Aomame’s and Tengo’s experiences. I feel a similar cognitive dissonance and confusion each time these BLS numbers are released.

October 5, 2012: On this day, a grateful nation thanks President Obama for his steadfast leadership that brought our nation’s unemployment rate down to 7.8%. We must continue to support the President who works so hard each day for the American people. We must never go back to the failed George W. Bush policies of $1.83 per gallon gasoline prices and 4.7% unemployment.

Orwell is dead, but Big Brother is alive and well. And we are trapped in a world very different from the one we knew. The existential question for us is will we find our way back to the real world in time? Or are we destined to remain trapped forever in the year 2Q12 in an abandoned country despoiled by rats.

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
—George Orwell, 1984

But don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality, and reality doesn’t change no matter what the numbers appear to show.


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