Dancing with Obama
Political satirist Greg Gutfeld said:
The media would not know a good story if they woke up next to it after they were drunk last night. For them Benghazi is like an ugly wallflower at the prom. They just want to dance with Obama all night.
It's a way of life that's not without consequences to them or us.
The Washington Post Co. reported Friday an 84% drop in first-quarter profit. To be sure waltzing Obama's not the only reason. There's the mindless drivel of the style section gushing over Michelle and her latest upscale food and clothing fancies; the racism of columnists like Eugene Robinson; the mushy leftism of columnists like Meyerson and Dionne; the insult to believers of putting Sally Quinn in charge of the Faith section, but the Post's papering over the truth for Obama's a big part of it.
I expect that's true of the L.A. Times as well, where the writers and the L.A. City Council (!) had a conniption fit at the thought the Koch brothers would buy it up out of bankruptcy and turn it into a real newspaper.
So, it's a given, that on the slaughter of our ambassador and others in Benghazi the media 's been diverting attention to other pressing issues, like gay basketball players and Chelsea Clinton's $10.5 million apartment presumably paid for by her trenchant interview for NBC with the Geico Gecko.
Still, there's a lot of damage the Benghazi story -- if told publicly and accurately -- can do to both Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes lays it out -- just on the off chance your news sources had other things they thought more significant to report after megaphoning the nonsensical administration line that the murders were provoked by an anti-Mohammed video no one saw.
As intelligence officials pieced together the puzzle of events unfolding in Libya, they concluded even before the assaults had ended that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved. Senior administration officials, however, sought to obscure the emerging picture and downplay the significance of attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.
The exchange of emails is laid out in a 43-page report from the chairmen of five committees in the House of Representatives. Although the investigation was conducted by Republicans, leading some reporters and commentators to dismiss it, the report quotes directly from emails between top administration and intelligence officials, and it includes footnotes indicating the times the messages were sent. In some cases, the report did not provide the names of the senders, but The Weekly Standard has confirmed the identities of the authors of two critical emails -- one indicating the main reason for the changes and the other announcing that the talking points would receive their final substantive rewrite at a meeting of top administration officials on Saturday, September 15.
The White House provided the emails to members of the House and Senate intelligence committees for a limited time and with the stipulation that the documents were available for review only and would not be turned over to the committees. The White House and committee leadership agreed to that arrangement as part of a deal that would keep Republican senators from blocking the confirmation of John Brennan, the president's choice to run the CIA. If the House report provides an accurate and complete depiction of the emails, it is clear that senior administration officials engaged in a wholesale rewriting of intelligence assessments about Benghazi in order to mislead the public. The Weekly Standard sought comment from officials at the White House, the State Department, and the CIA, but received none by press time. Within hours of the initial attack on the U.S. facility, the State Department Operations Center sent out two alerts. The first, at 4:05 p.m. (all times are Eastern Standard Time), indicated that the compound was under attack; the second, at 6:08 p.m., indicated that Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group operating in Libya, had claimed credit for the attack. According to the House report, these alerts were circulated widely inside the government, including at the highest levels. The fighting in Benghazi continued for another several hours, so top Obama administration officials were told even as the fighting was taking place that U.S. diplomats and intelligence operatives were likely being attacked by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. A cable sent the following day, September 12, by the CIA station chief in Libya, reported that eyewitnesses confirmed the participation of Islamic militants and made clear that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under terrorist attack. It was this fact, along with several others, that top Obama officials would work so hard to obscure.
On May 8th the House Oversight and Government Reform committee will hold another hearing on the Benghazi slaughter, though if past Congressional hearings are any indication, this will not be adequate to bring the matter to the public's attention. Congressional hearings are formulaic kabuki dances, which present a great opportunity to disrupt and obscure the proceedings. The idea for the president's supporters will be to keep the story from coming out and for some others it will be a chance to get their faces on prime time TV. In any event I rarely see a congressman who knows how to conduct an appropriate interrogation, and I'll be happily astonished if I've set my expectations too low this time.
In any event, the details of the Administration's doings get lost in the flotsam and jetsam of the semiliterate media. This week we heard that employment was up. What we didn't hear much of was that something like 9 million have given up even looking for work; that many of the jobs were just involuntary part time jobs -- often by employers hoping to avoid being driven into bankruptcy by the high costs Obamacare will impose on them. Part-time Nation: Was the April jobs report really the Obamacare jobs report?
Here's Susan Duclos:
As reported earlier unemployment dropped to 7.5 percent according to the latest BLS report, and the optimistic news was that the drop finally came from a gain in employment, rather than a drop in the labor force, although labor force participation is still down at 1979 levels.
AEIdeas notices a very concerning trend in that "gain" in employment, being the increase of "involuntary part-time workers."
While the American economy added 293,000 jobs last month, according to the separate household survey, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons -- "involuntary part-time workers" as the Labor Department calls them -- increased by almost as much, by 278,000 to 7.9 million. These folks were working part time because a) their hours had been cut back or b) they were unable to find a full-time job. At the same time, the U-6 unemployment rate -- a broader measure of joblessness that includes discouraged workers and part-timers who want a full-time gig -- rose from 13.8% to 13.9%.
What's more, there was a 0.2 hour decline in the length of the average workweek. This led to 0.4 percentage point drop in the index of average weekly hours, "equaling the largest declines since the recovery began," notes economist Dean Baker of Center for Economic and Policy Research.
With fewer people able to support themselves on part-time jobs, even more will be beholden on the government for subsidies and food stamps. It's hard not to see this as a deliberate move. Especially as a former administration economic advisor seems to find such a development desirable:
Former Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein says that Obamacare may create more part-time jobs than full-time jobs.
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC: What do we know about how health care is effecting hiring decisions, Jared?
JARED BERNSTEIN: Well, what he was saying, really, is not showing up, in terms of evidence in the data. Now, it is true that down the road, there will be incentives in the health care law where some firms may decide they'd rather create part- time jobs instead of full time jobs -- we'll have to see. But by the way, just in terms of raw job counts, that could actually boost the number of jobs higher because you'd have more part-time jobs. None of these factors are playing out in these data yet, and the health care sector is and will continue to be a strong area of growth.
On the other hand, Some Democratic leaders, like Senators Schumer and Baucus, publicly acknowledge that ObamaCare's implementation will be a disaster. Majority leader Reid's already saying more money will be needed to carry out the law, which already has passed a number of statutory deadlines unmet, and additional millions are being sought to propagandize how wonderful this new law is.
It was obviously unworkable from the outset, but the press did so little probing of it that to date, large numbers of Americans are not even aware it's already law. Are Republicans waiting for Democrats to beg them to repeal it before acting to get rid of it?
What are the chances of repealing legislation when almost half the country doesn't even know it's the law? A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation offers some sour news:
Four in ten Americans (42 percent) are unaware that the ACA is still the law of the land, including 12 percent who believe the law has been repealed by Congress, 7 percent who believe it has been overturned by the Supreme Court and 23 percent who don't know whether or not the ACA remains law. And about half the public says they do not have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will impact their own family, a share that rises among the uninsured and low‐income households...
Fortunately for ObamaCare opponents, most people still don't like it.
Overall, the public remains as divided as ever when it comes to their overall evaluations of the health law. This month, 35 percent report a favorable view, 40 percent an unfavorable view, and a full 24 percent report they have no opinion on the law, continuing a recent trend of particularly high shares not offering an opinion. Partisans remain quite divided, with a majority of Democrats in favor (57 percent) and most Republicans opposed (67 percent).
I wonder, too, how many voters even heard of Fast and Furious -- the misbegotten scheme by which the ATF illegally outfitted Mexican gangsters with 2,700 firearms resulting in hundreds of murders in Mexico and several, including US agents here. Has even the president heard of it? If so, how does he have the chutzpah to blame American gun laws for Mexican firearm violence?
"Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," President Obama said during a speech at Mexico's Anthropology Museum. "I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will." "But at the same time, as I've said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It's the right thing to do," Obama added.
I have low blood pressure. If I didn't I probably couldn't dare to read what's happening. On the other hand, maybe something's getting through to the public behind the media's dancing with Obama: Rasmussen reported this week that Obama's approval rating is down to 45%, with 53% disapproving. Maybe voters started to notice they're going broke on Hope and Change. And the media's dancing partner has two left feet.