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Monday, May 02, 2016

Hillary Clinton pulled in a whopping $21.7 million in speaking fees for a two-year period. Of this amount, $3,260,000 for 14 speeches delivered directly to financial-sector interests, including Goldman, which remitted $675,000 for three

Keeping Wall Street Speeches Secret Speaks Volumes About Hillary Clinton


It’s been roughly three months since Hillary Clinton promised, during her Feb. 4 debate with Bernie Sanders on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, to “look into” releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street investment houses.

If you’re a stickler for details and would like to know precisely how long Clinton has delayed on fulfilling her pledge or exactly how much cash she has raked in for her speaking gigs and from whom, you don’t have to spend hours scouring the Internet. You can simply log onto two sites created by a 40-year-old Sanders supporter and web developer named Jed McChesney of Olathe, Kan.

The first site— iwilllookintoit.com—is a computerized digital clock that ticks off the elapsed time in bold red print, listing the number of days, hours and seconds. The other offers a searchable chart, published at citizenuprising.com, of 91 paid, private talks given by the Democratic front-runner from April 2013 to March 2015.

All told, according to McChesney’s meticulous research, Clinton pulled in a whopping $21.7 million in speaking fees for the two-year period. Of this amount, $3,260,000 came from 14 speeches delivered directly to financial-sector interests, including Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, and, above all, Goldman, which remitted a tidy $675,000 for no less than three chin-wags.

“I was watching the debate … when she said she would look into [releasing the speeches],” McChesney told me in an interview I conducted with him last week via email, as his phone was down as a result of a north Kansas thunderstorm. “I just knew it was a complete blow-off answer.

“I find it to be completely disqualifying,” he continued, regarding Clinton’s presidential bid. “It says a lot about our system when such brazen bribery is wholly accepted. So about … an hour or so after the debate, it just hit me to start a clock to hold her accountable.”

In terms of web traffic, the venture was an immediate success. On Feb. 19, after the Sanders campaign got wind of McChesney’s clock and tweeted out the URL to some 1.5 million followers, the website was featured on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. Within 20 minutes, the site drew 160,000 visitors, causing it to crash and forcing McChesney to switch to a larger server. Since then, he estimates, the page views have numbered in the millions.

Holding Clinton accountable, however, has proven elusive. Like countless rank-and-file Bernie backers across the country, McChesney is irate and disappointed—but by no means surprised—that she continues to keep a lid on her talks. “This wouldn’t be acceptable behavior in a banana republic,” he wrote me, “and the fact that the media and Democrats turn a blind eye is astounding.”

It may indeed be too late for accountability or, for that matter, to derail Clinton’s march to the Democratic nomination. But it’s never too late to tell the truth. The fact is that instead of producing the transcripts, Clinton and her surrogates have unleashed a cascade of excuses, obfuscations, false equivalents and evasions to justify her intransigence.

I lack McChesney’s computer and math skills, but I know how to spot slipshod arguments when I see them. To date, the Clinton camp has failed to put forward a single convincing defense of its refusal to release the Wall Street speeches, much less of the wisdom of delivering the speeches in the first place. And as the minutes and seconds on McChesney’s clock continue to tick away, the defenses have only grown more dubious.

Among the first excuses was one floated not by Clinton herself but by reporter Rachel Stockman, the daughter of Reagan-era budget director David Stockman. In a post published on the New York website LawNewz.com just one week after Clinton made her look-into-it pledge, Stockman quoted financial “industry insiders”who said that high-profile corporate speakers like Clinton are often barred from revealing the content of their speeches by nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements.

If accurate, the nondisclosure defense would mean “game over” for anyone seeking transparency from Clinton. Trouble is, Clinton has never voiced support for the defense, and for good reason: It isn’t viable.

Even before Clinton uttered her look-into-it promise, word had leaked that her standard speaking appearance contracts, negotiated by the prestigious Harry Walker Agency, include provisions that prohibit all press coverage of her talks, as well as audio- or videotaping. However, other typical provisions, some of which were reproduced in a Feb. 7 BuzzFeed article, require that stenographic transcripts be made and that Clinton be accorded sole ownership and control of the transcripts. The decision to release the speeches apparently is hers and hers alone.

Much the same can be said of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s initial claim, made in a televised February town hall moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, that in 2013, when she began her speaking tour after resigning as secretary of state, she “didn’t know” she would be running for president in 2016. Because she had no firm ambitions for high office, she told Cooper, she saw no conflicts in accepting whatever Goldman and the other firms offered to pay her.

While it’s true that Clinton did not formally announce her candidacy until April 2015—after the long line of engagements chronicled by McChesney had ended—she had been publicly mulling a second presidential run as long as two years earlier.

As a Yale-educated lawyer, a skilled litigator and polished politician, surely she knew that her Wall Street confabs would at a minimum create the appearance of impropriety if she once again threw her hat in the ring. Any contention to the contrary is the stuff of “Saturday Night Live” comedy that can’t pass the straight-face test.
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Equally unpersuasive are Clinton’s three other basic excuses: that she did nothing more than other former high-ranking government officials have done in signing lucrative speaking deals; that she should be held to the same standard as other presidential candidates and will release her speech transcripts only when they do; and that there is no “quid pro quo” proof she ever has been influenced by Wall Street money.

The first claim is eerily reminiscent of the smokescreen Clinton concocted in defense of her use of a private email server during her stint as secretary of state—namely, that her immediate predecessors, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, also conducted official business by means of private email.

Neither Powell nor Rice, however, went so far as to set up their own personal Internet systems in their homes, free from government oversight and beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act. Additionally, while Powell, Rice and other former officials may have cashed in on the motivational speaking gravy train, they’re not running for president. Clinton is. Any claim of equivalence rings hollow.

False equivalence also undermines Clinton’s plea that she be held to the same standard as other candidates. Sanders, her only remaining Democratic rival, has no Wall Street speeches to divulge. And Donald Trump, her narcissistic, racist and misogynist GOP counterpart, offers no standards she should seek to emulate under any circumstances.

As the editorial board of The New York Times—normally, a strong Clinton ally—admonished in an op-ed published Feb. 25: “Public interest in these speeches is legitimate, and it is the public — not the candidate — who decides how much disclosure is enough. By stonewalling on these transcripts Mrs. Clinton plays into the hands of those who say she’s not trustworthy and makes her own rules.”

But of all the excuses Clinton and her acolytes have concocted, none approaches her “quid pro quo” contention for sheer chutzpah and duplicity. The stunted idea that the only form of political corruption lies in outright quid-pro-quo bribery—campaign contributions in exchange for votes or executive actions—lies at the heart of the Supreme Court’s infamous 2010 Citizens United decision, which gutted existing campaign finance law and paved the way for the corrosive emergence of super PACs.

In reality, of course, political corruption extends beyond the crass exchange of money for votes and favors. It embraces, as Harvard Law School professor and erstwhile presidential hopeful Lawrence Lessig has instructed, “an economy of influence that leads any sane soul to the fair belief that private influence has affected public policy.”
Even if there is no smoking quid-pro-quo gun in Hillary’s history, there is plenty to suggest Lessig’s economy of influence. From her lackluster record in the Senate as an advocate of the poor and middle class to her intervention in 2009 as secretary of state to stave off criminal prosecution of the Swiss banking giant UBS, the fundraising shenanigans of her family foundation that has netted $2 billion in donations from American corporations and foreign governments, and the millions raised by her super PACs in the current election cycle, Clinton has fostered the widespread perception that she’s become part of the oligarchy that is destroying American democracy.

Producing the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches could transform that perception into certainty. It’s easy to understand, therefore, why Clinton is stalling on her look-into-it promise.

Still, the longer Clinton waits, the greater the risk she incurs of permanently alienating a critical mass of Sanders voters, including McChesney, whose backing she will sorely need as November approaches. As McChesney put it in our interview, “If she can’t show her real constituents simply what she said … she will never get my vote. Ever.”

116 comments:

  1. That's Ruf's gal for ya.

    Shameless, perfidious, criminal but no longer destitute as she claimed to be when leaving the White House with BillyGoat, taking the silver service and furniture with her....

    What can one say ?

    Ruf can't even pick up on a Drudge headline.

    The above article is totally lost on him.



    ReplyDelete
  2. She doesn't need that guy's vote. Very few Americans expect ex-Presidents/Secretaries of State/Senators to take vows of poverty.

    Soaking some rich bankers isn't exactly equated, in the public's mind, with scamming poor would-be real estate flippers out of their life savings, and bankrupting their families.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very few Americans expect ex-whatevers to be world class corruptocrats like Hillary and BillyGoat.

      The lower IQ and rural drunks among us may not care all that much, or at all, bet a lot of other Americans still do, and one way or other Hillary seems on track to finally get hers.

      Any person that would vote for Hillary is either dumb as a rock or has lost his/her moral compass entirely.

      We are supposed to be better as a country than this sort of horse shit.

      You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Rufus.

      There is always the option of not voting at all, if you can't stand the Republicans.

      At least you'd hang on to your basic human dignity.

      One can be excused for voting for Trump with all his warts because he is, after all, as an office holder still an unknown X......Hillary is all too well known, so there is no excuse at all when voting for her.

      She LIED to the relatives of those dead in Benghazi, for Christ's sake.

      And that goes way way beyond money.

      Delete
    2. How was that ?

      Delete
  3. Someone said, "We're all born ignorant, but you have to work hard to Stay stupid."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That presupposes we all have the capacity to learn, remember, advance.

      You obviously lack this capacity.

      In fact, you have proven you possess what might be termed 'a negative capacity'.

      That is, presuming you were born more or less normal, you have regressed, not advanced.

      Before, you knew nothing, were ignorant.

      Now, you know less than nothing, a true and rare achievement !

      Delete
  4. I remember that, as soon as Bill was elected President, she went to work trying to get a healthcare bill passed. They worked hard, putting together a comprehensive, and complex bill, only to get it shot down in Congress.

    She, immediately, went back and put together a coalition to pass the Children's Healthcare Program. Thanks to her, 16 Million Parents don't have to fear for their children's ability to receive top-flight healthcare.

    I would vote for her for that reason, alone.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I also remember that in 2007 she was a strong supporter of biofuels - ethanol/biodiesel.

    Now she's promoting 500 Million, I think it is, Solar Panels in her first term.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In her debates with Bernie she's been banging the drum for a $12.00 Minimum Wage; I can get behind that.

      Delete
  6. She's brought the VA system to us all, Bless her.

    My friend Dale thanks her from The Other World.

    What happened to all those solar panel investments of the O'bozo Administration ?

    She might have accomplished something if she'd been beating her drum for nuclear.

    Or fracking.

    She came out against the pipeline, IIRC.

    Minimum wage ?

    Nothing new about minimum wage increases.

    They accomplish zero in the long run.

    The price of burgers, you know, and rents......not that anyone is really against them.

    It's just the cost of doing business.

    I have heard a number of times recently that fully 1 out of 5 American families have no one working at all.

    Much of this is in the democratic cities of the Northeast. They have been run by democrats for decades now.....

    You have evaded the heart of the matter.....her corrupt heart.

    Time for bed here.

    Cheers !





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  7. Sure she's a crook, a liar, and a cheat,
    but she's my crook.

    - Rufus

    ReplyDelete
  8. Medicare/Medicaid - 1 Trillion

    Social Security - 900 Billion

    Defense/War - 585 Billion

    Income Security - 300 Billion

    Interest on Debt - 241 Billion (Historically low rates)

    Federal Pensions - 265 Billion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.usdebtclock.org/

      Delete
    2. As illustrated in the graph below, at the very same time that the federal deficit has been soaring, the Federal Reserve has been quite literally creating trillions of dollars out of the nothingness and using this brand new money to purchase United States debt – not directly from the US government, but through the markets. (Money printing for Wall Street)

      http://danielamerman.com/Images/Resources/Conflict/GConflict4.jpg

      Thus there is nothing fortuitous or "lucky" about the current very low interest rates – but rather they are a direct result of governmental policies.

      Delete
    3. Obama: Wall Street's biggest benefactor yet.

      ...as he decries the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us.

      Delete
  9. Hillary says she knows a lot of men, like Rufus, that tend to get 'off the reservation' once in a while, and she knows how to buffalo them back onto the reservation.

    If need be she's capable of getting out the buffalo knife and scalping them, even using the tomahawk to butcher them into mince meat.

    Rufus doesn't know it but she's stampeding him right over the buffalo jump.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a man had said this about women getting 'off the reservation' all hell would break loose.

      I may be in THE BOX but Rufus may soon find himself back on the reservation.

      Delete
    2. I thought only a small part of him came from the reservation.

      Delete
    3. Back to bed. Woke up laughing about her statement, had to pass it on for Rufus.

      bwabwabwahahaha

      Rufus is "buffaloed", as my aunt used to say.

      Delete
    4. Small part, yup, it did, 1/8th or something, but it doesn't matter to Hillary, she's ready to put us all on the reservation if we get out of line.

      ;)

      Delete
  10. O my God, Hillary has promised that BillyGoat's not going to be on the reservation, but right there with her in the White House, like the old days, co-president in effect....old blank staring, lame minded, lip chewing BillyGoat as co-pres....

    Maybe THE BOX is the most secure place to be in that case.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Scareface is dead, aged about 25, shot to death outside of Gardiner, Montana.

    This won't mean a thing to you city sitters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Hmmmm,

      I admit I don't. Now, I heard of Scarface, both the movie and the bear, but not Scareface. Is that the latest in the Scary Movie series?

      .

      Delete
    2. Fuck it, early morning

      Delete
  12. .

    ...the Supreme Court’s infamous 2010 Citizens United decision, which gutted existing campaign finance...


    Antonin Scalia was a divisive figure and I personally found some of his thoughts and comments a little bizarre; but the one thing I liked about him was that he was an originalist, that is, he felt you interpret the Constitution the way it was written not the way you want it to be written and if you don't like it you change it not through the courts but through Congress or the people.

    The worst three SCOTUS decisions I have seen in my lifetime have been...

    Roe v Wade

    Citizens United

    Obamacare

    I say so because in my view they all involved the Court making law not interpreting it.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent, Quirk, and I agree with you entirely.

      Delete
  13. This election. I think most folks are just tired of ideologies being shoved down their throats. Bush: nation building, neoconservatism, stomping out evil. Obama: global warming, the gay agenda, US and Its citizens aint so great (apology tour). Clinton will continue to kick Obama's can down the road. And she absolutely cannot be trusted.

    Trump's foreign policy is about putting the US and its citizens first when making global and other decisions. His stance is patriotic. A word Obama and the dims have vilified. I find it extremely refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Clinton lacks the stamina to be president. She got ZERO accomplished as SoS.

    ReplyDelete
  15. .

    A clip from today's Today show.

    Clinton Apologizes To Coal Miner


    The Today Show titled the clip 'Clinton apologizes to coal miner'. I guess I missed it. Did anyone else see an apology? I didn't see Clinton apologizing for her comments. What I saw her doing was apologizing for pissing off potential voters.

    Clinton will say anything anytime that she thinks might forward her political or personal ambitions. There is nothing funnier than seeing her adopt a southern drawl when she is in the south or try to sound black when in a black church (except maybe when Obama does it). Every where she goes she makes the tortured case that she has history with that particular community.


    She sounds like Johnny Cash singing...

    I've Been Everywhere

    .

    ReplyDelete
  16. No HR dept in the world would hire her based on her resume.

    ReplyDelete
  17. .

    For those naive enough to still believe that the system isn't rigged against the little guy...

    The Wall Street tactic that costs German taxpayers roughly $1 billion a year


    The trove of transaction logs, emails, marketing materials, chat messages and other communications among deal participants involves a who’s who of the world’s big banks and institutional investors.

    German lawmaker Gerhard Schick, deputy chairman of the Parliament’s finance committee, said: “Personally as a taxpayer, I feel as if somebody was pulling my leg when I found out banks that we rescued do trades at our expense.” (Maurizio Gambarini/AP Images)

    In deals like these, some of America’s largest money managers briefly lend out some of their German holdings each year. Those shares are temporarily held by German investment funds and banks that by law pay no tax on German dividends or can claim refunds for tax withheld. The borrowed shares are returned shortly after the dividend is paid.

    The banks or funds that borrowed the shares receive the dividends tax-free and then transfer that money to the stocks’ original owner, minus fees for middlemen. The foreign investors typically end up with added income equivalent to about half the dividend tax that would have been owed. Some firms, like BlackRock, run their own security lending programs, while others lend through big global banks that package the deals.The Wall Street tactic that costs German taxpayers roughly $1 billion a year...


    .

    ReplyDelete
  18. .

    You want a good conspiracy theory? See Donal Trump.

    From MSMBC...

    In the latest case, Trump seized on a ludicrously thin-sourced National Enquirer story to insinuate Sen. Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was involved in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot,” Trump told Fox News over the phone. “I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”


    Ted Cruz is not the most personable person in the world. He rubs everyone the wrong way. But put that aside as you watch the following video.

    In the video, Cruz rips Trump a new one, he pins it. At about minute three, he launches into a psychological analysis of Donald Trump that is spot on. This video won't help Cruz in Indiana or California but it provides a reality check for those who would vote for Trump. You ought to at least know what you are voting for. Then, there should be no complaints if you get it.

    Cruz on Trump

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Classic question is cut off at the end: After nine minutes of Donald's history, something about

      "Why is it you were up two weeks ago..."
      ===
      But Cruz has proved his utter tone deafness by repeatedly allowing himself to be seen with Glenn Beck.

      The one good thing that could come out of this campaign would be Beck being institutionalized after going permanently off his rocker.

      Delete
    2. Looks like your average family in their humble home to me:

      http://ww3.hdnux.com/photos/43/12/16/9216906/9/920x920.jpg

      Delete
    3. Mere words could not express, even if uttered by Cruz:

      http://www.sfgate.com/homes/article/At-home-with-Donald-and-Melania-Trump-6743792.php#photo-9216930

      Delete
    4. Nice looking slut that loves jewelry that knows to say 'yes' in five languages.

      She's way too young for him.

      When he starts to shit his diapers she'll be gone.

      Our first center fold First Lady.

      I ain't impressed.

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Two excellent comments in a row, SMUG

      Not bad, in fact, the best you've ever done.

      Delete
  20. Quirk wrote:

    “Ash, you have said you don't know about TPP and I am not trying to be smart when I say the arguments you are making seem to come from a college macro economics course.”


    Your arguments, quirk, appear to be those of an old retired coot who spends most of his days surfing the net looking for enlightenment. Similar to Bob and his reliance on Jihadwatch and American Thinker for his brilliant ideas.

    I did tell you I haven’t spent much time in the weeds of TPP. Heck, most of those links you put up refer to a lot of coulda’s and woulda’s and not much time at all on the actual content of the agreements. One of my main criticisms of agreements like TPP is that they split the world up into trading blocs instead of a level playing field for all. But something is better than nothing.

    Let me try, briefly, to address the points you found worthy to post. They were unattributed so I assume you wrote them.

    Quirk wrote:

    “1. Investor-State Dispute Resolution

    This procedure would allow companies to sue foreign governments over claims of unfair treatment and to be entitled to compensation. Critics say the measures undermine the power of national governments to act in the interests of their citizens. For example, they warn that tobacco giants could use the procedure to challenge restrictive regulations, citing a case in Australia, where Philip Morris Asia used a 1993 trade agreement with Hong Kong as the basis for a legal move to stop a change to packaging.”


    Yes, the measure would undermine the power of national governments – that is the point of the agreements; to limit trade protectionist measures that national governments are inclined to enact. There needs to be a dispute settlement method and one that has teeth.


    Quirk wrote:

    “2. Food standards

    Critics also worry about the impact on food standards, arguing that the EU has much stricter regulations on GM crops, pesticide use and food additives than the US. They say the TTIP deal could open the EU market to cheaper products with poorer standards.”


    One method of trade protectionism used by national governments are non-tariff barriers. The EU, and France in particular, have a long history of heavy farm protection measures. The French farmers are actually unionized, I believe, and have engaged in violent protest. A NAFTA/WTO example is the ‘Made in America” food labelling requirements. These really messed up the beef industry as sorting out where the “beef” was made was virtually impossible due to the integrated production across the borders. A NAFTA tribunal forced the reversal of this non-tariff barrier.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Quirk wrote:

      “3. Intellectual Property and Privacy

      In 2012, after a widespread protest, the European Parliament rejected a multilateral agreement to harmonise and step up anti-counterfeiting law. Protesters had claimed the agreement threatened privacy by encouraging surveillance of personal data. Some critics have suggested proposals in TTIP on intellectual property could have a similar effect to the proposed anti-counterfeiting measures.”


      Some critics have suggested have they? I am not familiar with the European anti-counterfeiting laws but agreements on Intellectual Property rights are a good thing. The US has been a strong proponent of Intellectual property protections. China and India have been notoriously lax. It would be good thing if a multiplicity of nations could harmonize their laws in this arena. I do find the demands by the US entertainment industry and Pharmaceutical industry for extremely long patents and copyrights to be problematic some protections are indeed warranted. Have the come up with firm numbers yet in the TPP agreement?

      Quirk wrote:

      “After the 2008 financial crash, the EU and US embarked on different programmes of reform to the regulations governing banks and other financial institutions. The TTIP deal would attempt to harmonise those regulations. Critics say TTIP could weaken the rules governing banks by diluting the tougher reforms adopted in the US.”


      Critics say do they? Do the TTP rules weaken banking regulations and capital levels? Has the agreement fallen short of what the US is currently doing? Some critics say it does…
      And then there is the hubbub over secrecy as if governments around the world will secretly enact secret legislation enabling the corporate monsters to rule the world even more cruelly.

      Delete
    2. Keep up talk like that about his surfing habits and he'll blow you out of the water by turning on his web cam to display the Q-Man in his glory, resplendent in his board shorts.

      http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0228/8535/products/David_Boardshorts_1_1024x1024.jpg?v=1441402178

      Delete
    3. !:o)!

      Why, Quirk ! Goodness....

      Delete
    4. .

      Geez, what do you expect, Doug? The water was really cold that day.

      .

      Delete
    5. .

      Your arguments, quirk, appear to be those of an old retired coot who spends most of his days surfing the net looking for enlightenment. Similar to Bob and his reliance on Jihadwatch and American Thinker for his brilliant ideas.

      Ash, it seems you have taken offense at my comment (something I didn’t intend) that it seems to me you are merely parroting the ‘standard wisdom’ that has been offered up for decades on the subject of trade.

      I was serious when I said it and was not trying to take a jab at you. I believe you would have to admit that if I were trying to be snide what I posted was a very weak effort. What I meant to say, and didn’t know a better way of saying it, is that you are commenting on deals you yourself admit you haven’t paid much (any?) attention too. The general tone of your comments indicates to me you are merely repeating the ideas generated in every college macro-economics class, trade is good, trade is good for everyone. And to that I say ‘No, it’s not’.

      .

      Delete
    6. .

      Your arguments, quirk, appear to be those of an old retired coot who spends most of his days surfing the net looking for enlightenment.

      You accuse me of surfing the net for enlightenment, i.e. trying to get information with which to form my opinions. As if that is a bad thing. I find that amusing coming from you. I can only assume you use the opposite approach. You admit you don’t know much about TPP and you don’t appear willing to look it up. Did you read any of those source articles I put up for you? Did you look up any others? I doubt it. You have established believes and you are too stubborn to even check to see if those views might be wrong or at least need to be modified.

      .

      Delete
    7. .

      Frankly, Ash, were you bother to read up on TPP or TPIP you might realize what an ass you sound like right now.

      And then there is the hubbub over secrecy as if governments around the world will secretly enact secret legislation enabling the corporate monsters to rule the world even more cruelly.


      You are credulous that governments might do something in secret, Ash? How friggin naïve are you?

      TPP and later TTIP have been being talked about for a decade. Negotiations have been going on for about seven years and the final negotiations since 2013. In that time, the 500 official US trade advisors (read corporate interests) have been involved in the negotiations. The public, the press, and even Congress have been locked out. That’s what I would call secret. What do you call it? What we know of it is from leaked documents. (Wikileaks)

      The process. To guarantee that secrecy and stifle public debate, Obama demanded ‘fast-track’ authority and he was granted it by a narrow margin. What that means is that Obama will negotiate the the deal for the US (problematic given his record). It will then be given to Congress to read and comment on for a limited time. No amendments will be allowed. Congress must then vote the deal up or down.

      Try to think of the conflicted thinking the process induces. Does Congress can a deal that has been in negotiation for a decade and involves 11 other countries? Do the Dems stick it to their president on his way out the door? Does the GOP stick it to their main constituency, Wall Street and big business?

      Encouragingly, opposition to the agreement seems to be growing in Congress.

      .

      Delete
    8. .

      But something is better than nothing

      Moronic.

      .

      Delete
    9. .

      There needs to be a dispute settlement method and one that has teeth.


      There is a dispute mechanism that has teeth. Tell me how you like it.

      If there is a dispute, for instance if a corporation sues for damages against a country like the US for instituting a minimum wage law or banning a chemical for health reasons, it will be referred to an arbitration council made up of corporate lawyers who are being asked to rule against a corporation they may be working for tomorrow.

      Sweet eh? No chance of a conflict of interest there (sarcasm off).

      And who pays if the corporation wins? The public. National laws become secondary to corporate interests.

      .

      Delete
    10. I haven't ever taken a college economic course so I wouldn't know what ideas prevail there.

      I think, in general, level playing fields, free trade, is a good thing. Helps with productivity, helps with combatting corruption. Governments trying to steer the economy through protectionism and on the other side direct or forced investment (i.e. subsidies) does not make for an equitable or healthy economy. What I think leads to healthier economies are government regulation protecting their nationals and making the economic spoils available to all on a level playing field.

      That's in general. The TPP is a still to be negotiated treaty isn't it?

      Delete
    11. They, are negotiating as we speak are they not?

      Delete
    12. .

      As for your comments on food, to me they represent a bunch of elitist and self-serving bullshit

      It’s not just one country arguing about GMO products out of the US, it is most of the EU. And it's not just the governments. Why do you think all those protests are going on over there over TTIP?

      And the US is hardly one to argue about protectionism in agriculture not with all the subsidies and breaks we give big ag. Try selling that to the Mexican small farmers who were devastated by NAFTA.

      .

      Delete
    13. .

      I could go on, but why bother? If you want to talk about TPP with me, learn something about it first. You might want to even check out the internet. Or, I guess you could just dig out your old college Macro-Economics 101 textbook (that by the way, was meant to be snark).

      Meanwhile, don't waste my time.

      .


      Delete
    14. .

      If anyone else here is interested in what is going on, here is an article by Elizabeth Warren...

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

      By Elizabeth Warren February 25, 2015

      Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the Senate.

      The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?
      One strong hint is buried in the fine print of the closely guarded draft. The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.
      ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work.

      Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.


      {...}

      Delete
    15. {...}


      If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

      If the tilt toward giant corporations wasn’t clear enough, consider who would get to use this special court: only international investors, which are, by and large, big corporations. So if a Vietnamese company with U.S. operations wanted to challenge an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, it could use ISDS. But if an American labor union believed Vietnam was allowing Vietnamese companies to pay slave wages in violation of trade commitments, the union would have to make its case in the Vietnamese courts.


      {...}

      Delete
    16. Sounds like Q's patience is being sorely tested here....

      Delete
    17. {...}

      Why create these rigged, pseudo-courts at all? What’s so wrong with the U.S. judicial system? Nothing, actually. But after World War II, some investors worried about plunking down their money in developing countries, where the legal systems were not as dependable. They were concerned that a corporation might build a plant one day only to watch a dictator confiscate it the next. To encourage foreign investment in countries with weak legal systems, the United States and other nations began to include ISDS in trade agreements.

      Those justifications don’t make sense anymore, if they ever did. Countries in the TPP are hardly emerging economies with weak legal systems. Australia and Japan have well-developed, well-respected legal systems, and multinational corporations navigate those systems every day, but ISDS would preempt their courts too. And to the extent there are countries that are riskier politically, market competition can solve the problem. Countries that respect property rights and the rule of law — such as the United States — should be more competitive, and if a company wants to invest in a country with a weak legal system, then it should buy political-risk insurance.

      The use of ISDS is on the rise around the globe. From 1959 to 2002, there were fewer than 100 ISDS claims worldwide. But in 2012 alone, there were 58 cases. Recent cases include a French company that sued Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage, a Swedish company that sued Germany because Germany decided to phase out nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and a Dutch company that sued the Czech Republic because the Czechs didn’t bail out a bank that the company partially owned. U.S. corporations have also gotten in on the action: Philip Morris is trying to use ISDS to stop Uruguay from implementing new tobacco regulations intended to cut smoking rates.

      ISDS advocates point out that, so far, this process hasn’t harmed the United States. And our negotiators, who refuse to share the text of the TPP publicly, assure us that it will include a bigger, better version of ISDS that will protect our ability to regulate in the public interest. But with the number of ISDS cases exploding and more and more multinational corporations headquartered abroad, it is only a matter of time before such a challenge does serious damage here. Replacing the U.S. legal system with a complex and unnecessary alternative — on the assumption that nothing could possibly go wrong — seems like a really bad idea

      This isn’t a partisan issue. Conservatives who believe in U.S. sovereignty should be outraged that ISDS would shift power from American courts, whose authority is derived from our Constitution, to unaccountable international tribunals. Libertarians should be offended that ISDS effectively would offer a free taxpayer subsidy to countries with weak legal systems. And progressives should oppose ISDS because it would allow big multinationals to weaken labor and environmental rules.

      Giving foreign corporations special rights to challenge our laws outside of our legal system would be a bad deal. If a final TPP agreement includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the only winners will be multinational corporations.


      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kill-the-dispute-settlement-language-in-the-trans-pacific-partnership/2015/02/25/ec7705a2-bd1e-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html

      .

      Delete
    18. Thou Shalt Not Put Q's Patience To The Test, saith the LORD.

      Delete
  21. I've always wondered what/who was behind the Kennedy killing.

    Never did buy the idea that Oswald acted alone, or that LBJ had JFK bumped off, or this stuff about Castro, about the Mafia.....

    I always felt it had all the earmarks of a theological killing....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've almost died several times myself when Cruz tops off a sermony sentence with that almost indescribable Jim Baker style inflection, or whatever it is.

      Delete
    2. .

      But like Jon Snow you always make it back.

      .

      Delete
  22. I'm now getting the first exit polls from my folks on the ground in Indiana.

    Trump is ripping Cruz a third asshole....maybe a fourth by now....

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love Drudge. It's a way to keep Rufus informed without taxing his capacities -

    Former Bill Clinton lover begins spilling the secrets...

    Hill denies 'off reservation' remark was about husband...DRUDGE



    One thing we can always be certain of.....Rufus is simply too blank to ever wander off the Clinton Reservation....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's actually for taxing his capacities, as long as the one percent are taxed 99 percent.

      Delete
    2. He's for taxing capacities only cause he has no capacities to tax.

      Delete
  24. Interpretation needed:

    http://ww2.hdnux.com/photos/43/12/15/9216885/3/1024x1024.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are not getting it from me.

      I put my handy desk magnifying glass to that and it still didn't make any sense.

      Off topic:

      Could you please tell SMUG to knock it off with his too frequent use of the idiot word 'problematic' ?

      Thanks, ib

      Delete
  25. Time to put Glenn Beck on a suicide watch......EVIL has won out over GOOD in Indiana....the FAST has FAILED......

    ReplyDelete
  26. WOW, did Quirk ever take SMUG apart limb from limb above.....

    Just !!WOW!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOOK AT THIS !!!

      QuirkTue May 03, 06:50:00 PM EDT

      .

      I could go on, but why bother? If you want to talk about TPP with me, learn something about it first. You might want to even check out the internet. Or, I guess you could just dig out your old college Macro-Economics 101 textbook (that by the way, was meant to be snark).

      Meanwhile, don't waste my time.


      SMUG has been full blown Snarked !!

      Delete
    2. (perhaps this is the well deserved non lethal mugging I have wished for our young smart aleck dreamy SMUG?)

      Delete
  27. All these years of negotiating and they haven't come up with the text yet. Up or down vote in Congress when they finally come to a finish sounds reasonable to me.

    ReplyDelete
  28. A Cruz speech I enjoyed:

    That's All, Folks !

    ReplyDelete
  29. (IraqiNews.com) Nineveh – On Tuesday, a source within the paramilitary Kurdish Peshmerga forces announced, that the Peshmerga forces gained control over the town of Tal-Skuf north of the city of Mosul.

    The source said in a statement followed by IraqiNews.com, “Peshmerga forces had managed to regain control over the town of Tal-Skuf north of Mosul,” noting that, “The international coalition aviation, Nineveh Plain forces and volunteers had helped the Peshmerga forces.”

    The source, who requested to remain anonymous, added, “Tens of ISIS [elements] were either killed or wounded inside the city,” pointing out that, “ISIS had used more than 40 suicide bombers and 25 booby-trapped vehicles in the operation.”

    ReplyDelete
  30. This election is getting ready to be a very bizarre. It will be ugly like we've never seen. Strap on the seat belts.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Edgar Winter
    Johnny Winter
    Shelley Winters
    Jonathan Winters
    I think all are dead but Edgar?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      Winter is coming' as in Game of Thrones.

      'Winter is coming' represents J.R.R. Martin's vision of the apocalypse.

      Perhaps, I am overstating the case.

      .

      Delete
    2. And perhaps Ive never read nor seen Game of Thrones. I was joking anyway......but you're right, winter is coming. No doubt about it. Yessiree.

      Delete
    3. .

      I've been clear about what I think of Trump but my next comment has nothing to do with him or his family personally or his run for office. It's just an observation.

      I was watching Trump's victory speech in Indiana. He was surrounded by his family. I couldn't turn away. The image it presented reminded me so of Martin Scorsese's Dracula 2000 movie with Trump replacing Gary Oldman as Dracula. The similarities were startling. Oldman and Trump sporting the same outrageous hair arranged meticulously on their heads. The ladies on the stage resembled Dracula's 'family', tall lean women, their make-up adjusted to thin and elongate their faces, long hair streaming. Even the boys, lean and pale, seemed in character.

      Just saying.

      Maybe it was the lighting.

      .

      Delete
  32. Strikes in Syria

    Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted four strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Shadaddi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Raqqah, two strikes struck an ISIL finance center and an ISIL weapons storage facility.

    -- Near Mara, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Rocket artillery and ground-attack, fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 25 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL weapons cache.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed and ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Rutbah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Bashir, a strike destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle and four ISIL tunnel entrances.

    -- Near Beiji, two strikes destroyed four ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL tunnel entrances and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Fallujah, six strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL tunnel entrances, two ISIL staging areas, an ISIL beddown location, an ISIL-used bridge, an ISIL medium machine gun and an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery piece.

    -- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun and suppressing an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL vehicles, three ISIL assembly areas, three ISIL weapons caches, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL rocket rail and suppressing an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Qayyarah, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, destroying 19 ISIL rocket rails and an ISIL mortar position and denying ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

    ReplyDelete
  33. .

    I saw Newt Gingrich trying to explain how the GOP has many qualified for people for Trump's VP. Then he mentioned guys like Rubio, Scott Walker, and finally Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan.

    I can only assume Newt was drunk or whatever political instincts e had disappeared long ago. In Snyder's first term, I thought he was pretty god. Now, he will be lucky if he's not in ail over the Flint water crisis when the next president takes office. Gingrich must be nutz.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      I have to admit I was very wrong. I thought Trump would be history by the first Super Tuesday in the South.

      .

      Delete
    2. I think the General Election is going to be closer than the "common wisdom" is expecting, also.

      yikes.

      Delete
    3. .

      Sanders won in Indiana.

      Hillary will be taking it from both sides for some time to come.

      Heard someone make the observation that there's a good chance Hillary will find it harder campaigning against Trump than an ordinary GOP candidate. His rationale? He thinks if Hillary goes left, Trump will attack her from the right. If she moves right, he will attack her from the left. Trump can turn on a time and it doesn't seem to bother his supporters. Or, at least, they won't admit it does.

      .

      Delete
    4. Unlike all the other Republican geldings, Trump will actually dissect and criticize her.

      ...and hopefully continue to not be cowed by the MSM, even after they turn on him big time in their effort to elect their Sainted Hillary.

      Delete
  34. The coming campaign ?

    Gonna be a winter campaign for sure, siege of Moscow '42....

    It's gonna be ancient music, for sure -

    Ancient Music

    Winter is icummen in,
    Lhude sing Goddamm.
    Raineth drop and staineth slop,
    And how the wind doth ramm!
    Sing: Goddamm.

    Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
    An ague hath my ham.
    Freezeth river, turneth liver,
    Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

    Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
    So 'gainst the winter's balm.

    Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm.
    Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

    Ezra Pound


    Best dog I ever had, a Brittany Spaniel who knew how to hunt from before birth, I named after Ezra Pound.

    His name was, unsurprisingly, 'Ezra'.

    He weren't no worthless city mutt led on lease to piss a fire hydrant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      My dogs have to be chained lest they depopulate the hamlet.

      .

      Delete
    2. More like the hamlet would depopulate your dog kennel.

      A fire hydrant is, by the way, public property and shouldn't be used as a pisser.

      Delete
    3. .

      Do you even have fire hydrants out in the sticks?

      I thought you probably still used those hand pumping fire engines.

      .

      .

      Delete
  35. Trump is fortunate to be running against Hillary.

    She can' point the finger at him without having three pointing back at herself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ezra knew exactly what to do.

      We'd hunt a draw, with a nod of head, or a slight wave of hand, even a finger point....he'd respond perfectly.

      Never trained him at all....he was a canine god.

      Delete
    2. .

      Big Red would turn his head slightly and look back at me for a second when I saw him stalking the deer in the back woods and called him back. Then he would bolt and I wouldn't see him for a couple minutes.

      I would throw him a ball and tell him to bring it back to me and he would run and get it and ignoring me would lay down and start chewing it.

      Then while I was running him and the other dogs to the park in my SUV, he would stand with his paws on the console and occasionally rub his cheek against mine waiting to get petted while I was driving.

      He would lay out on the front lawn in the afternoon waiting for the kids coming home from school and for neighbors coming home from work to come over and pet him.

      There were more people in the neighborhood who knew my dog's name than knew mine. When he got sick a couple months ago, I had people I didn't even know coming up to me and asking how Red was doing.

      When he died, we received 15-20 sympathy cards. The lady across the street send a $50
      contribution to the Humane Society in his name.

      He was a good one, and he's missed.

      .

      Delete
    3. Nice story.

      Sorry for your loss.



      Delete
    4. But could Big Red track down Big Foots ?

      Delete
    5. .

      Yea, but he preferred cheese.

      .

      Delete
  36. It's time for healing now, and coming together, you ignorant mother fuckers.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Sanders did really well.

    He beat Hillary by 5%.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I put up a post the other day about a science study showing dog heart beats get in sync with the beats of their owners hearts.

    Your heart beat rises, your dog's heart beat rises, yours goes down, your dog's goes down.

    Disappearing post syndrome got it.

    Dogs are marvelous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loyal dogs refuse to leave side of dying baby girl....DRUDGE

      Delete
    2. .

      With the exception of one, all my dogs have lived to be around 15.

      Each one of them represents a big chunk of your life.

      .

      Delete
    3. “Dogs are marvelous.”

      Wolves are dogs.

      Delete
    4. Undomesticated, savage ancestors of dogs.

      But OK in their place.

      Northern Canadian wolves should have no place in Idaho.

      The ones that were here, our 'lobos', are now gone, along with our elk.

      Delete
  39. US researchers are set to announce they have found what they believe are the remains of famed 18th century British sailor Captain James Cook's ship the Endeavour in Rhode Island's Newport Harbour.

    ...

    Cook stands out for leading one of the first Western explorations of the Pacific that did not end with all or most of the crew dying.

    ReplyDelete
  40. ISIS executes 17 people in Mosul for refusing to fight Iraqi forces

    (IraqiNews.com) Nineveh – An informed source in Nineveh Province stated on Monday, that the so-called ISIS has executed 17 people in the city of Mosul for refusing to fight the Iraqi security forces.

    The source said in a statement obtained by IraqiNews.com, “Today, ISIS executed 17 citizens in Mosul for refusing to join the battles against the Iraqi security forces.”

    The source, who asked to remain anonymous, added, “ISIS carried out the execution by firing squad in one of its camps in the city.”

    It's hard being an Iraqi

    ReplyDelete
  41. 120 ISIS militants killed in Tel Skuf battles

    (IraqiNews.com) Nineveh – A source in Nineveh Province announced on Tuesday, that the Peshmerga forces managed to kill 120 ISIS militants in the battles taking place in Tel Skuf City north of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad).

    The source said in a statement received by IraqiNews.com, “Today, Peshmerga forces managed to kill 120 ISIS fighters in the battles taking place in Tel Skuf City north of Mosul,” adding that, “The Kurdish elite forces began attacking ISIS fighters to retake the areas seized by the organization in the District.”

    Earlier today, ISIS attacked Tel Skuf City north of Mosul (405 km north of Baghdad), and was able to control some regions.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't

    ReplyDelete
  42. The Mythology Of Trump’s ‘Working Class’ Support

    His voters are better off economically compared with most Americans.

    By Nate Silver

    It’s been extremely common for news accounts to portray Donald Trump’s candidacy as a “working-class” rebellion against Republican elites. There are elements of truth in this perspective: Republican voters, especially Trump supporters, are unhappy about the direction of the economy. Trump voters have lower incomes than supporters of John Kasich or Marco Rubio. And things have gone so badly for the Republican “establishment” that the party may be facing an existential crisis.

    But the definition of “working class” and similar terms is fuzzy, and narratives like these risk obscuring an important and perhaps counterintuitive fact about Trump’s voters: As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off.

    The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

    These figures, as I mentioned, are derived from exit polls, which so far have been conducted in 23 primary states.1 The exit polls have asked voters to describe their 2015 family income by using one of five broad categories, ranging from “under $30,000” to “$200,000 or more.” It’s fairly straightforward to interpolate a median income for voters of each candidate from this data; for instance, we can infer that the median Clinton voter in Wisconsin made about $63,000.2 You can find my estimates for each candidate in each state in the following table, along with each state’s overall household median income in 2015.3

    Trump voters’ median income exceeded the overall statewide median in all 23 states, sometimes narrowly (as in New Hampshire or Missouri) but sometimes substantially. In Florida, for instance, the median . . . . .

    Told ya

    ReplyDelete
  43. Obama’s Boasting Reagan-Like Approval Ratings, So Where’s The Media Attention?

    For a leader regularly written off by the press as a lame duck 18 months ago, President Obama has tallied some major wins during his second term, and voters have taken notice. He’s normalized relations with Cuba, implemented a historic Iranian nuclear deal, signed a global climate pact with nearly 200 nations, overseen the continued success of Obamacare, all while the economy has recorded 73 straight months of job growth.

    No wonder that polls point toward a Democrat succeeding him in the White House.

    So why isn’t there more media credit directed his way? Is the press making the mistake of reading off the Republican campaign script this year, which insists America is teetering on collapse? (Obama joked at the White House Correspondents Dinner: “The end of the Republic has never looked better.”)

    Whatever the reasons, let’s note there hasn’t been a media rush to document Obama’s strong standing in recent weeks. CNN last month timidly suggested, “there’s some evidence that the public is viewing Obama ... more fondly.” The first clue? Obama’s approval rating hit a three-year high of 53 percent, according to Gallup. (He boasts a staggering 66 percent approval rating today among voters 18-29.)

    Obama’s strong showing has remained steady since March: Gallup on Monday pegged his approval rating at 52 percent.

    Note that the president’s approval rating dropped down to 40 percent just 18 months ago during the midterm election cycle in 2014, which means he’s ridden a 13-point surge over the last year-and-a-half. Doesn’t that qualify as news?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The president averaged a nearly 50 percent approval rating from January 20 through April 19, his 29th quarter in office, according to Gallup. That 29th quarter represents “one of the higher quarterly averages in his presidency to date.” That’s especially remarkable considering second terms are not traditionally kind to presidential approval ratings.

      Recall that our previous two-term president left office with a 22 percent approval rating, while his vice president signed off with a thumbs-up from 13 percent of voters.

      What’s also impressive is that in today’s hyper-partisan environment, Obama has been able to boost his standing while getting almost no support from Republican voters.

      “Obama is the first president since polls existed to have never gone above 25 percent approval from the other side,” noted Paul Waldman at the American Prospect. Obama’s approval among Republicans currently stands at just 14 percent, according to Gallup. Given today’s rugged political terrain, “If a president can stay at 50 percent, he should be counted a remarkable success,” Waldman argued.

      But don’t look for lots of media tributes. The truth is, during his two terms the press has repeatedly worked to depict Obama’s standing as being on the decline, and often downplaying his success. (Also, good news is no news.) As Media Matters noted in 2010, “Beltway scribes today have made it plain that when it comes to Obama and polling, good news is no news.”

      And when Obama’s standing did fall, the press eagerly piled on, as I laid out after Democratic losses in 2014:

      Delete
    2. Right after the election, a November Economist editorial announced, “Mr. Obama cannot escape the humiliating verdict on his presidency.” Glimmers of hope after the midterms were no reason to think Obama had “somehow crawled out of the dark place that voters put him,” the Washington Post assured readers. (Post columnist Dana Milbank has recently tagged Obama as a hapless “bystander” who’s “turning into George W. Bush.”) And a McClatchy Newspapers headline declared, “President Obama Is Now Truly A Lame Duck.”
      So it’s not surprising the same press corps is in no rush today to detail Obama’s recent surge in popularity, and in fact seems to tiptoe around it.

      In January, The New York Times looked ahead to Obama’s final year in office and stressed, “polls show doubts about his handling of critical issues.” Contrasting his second term with Bill Clinton’s and Ronald Reagan’s, the Times insisted Obama began the year “without the advantages of popularity that Reagan and Mr. Clinton had.”

      In other words, both Reagan and Clinton were very popular during their final year in office, but Obama was not. Yet recently, Obama’s Gallup approval rating slightly exceeds Reagan’s from the same point in the Republican’s eighth year in office.

      Obama’s Gallup rating April 25-May 1, 2016: 51 percent.

      Reagan’s Gallup rating May 2-May 8, 1988: 50 percent.

      So where are the media acknowledgements? (In the press, Reagan is often used as shorthand for a universally popular president.) In recent months, the Times has made only a few passing references to Obama’s approval ratings, according to Nexis.

      In early March, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Obama’s approval rating had risen to 51 percent, up from 45 percent in December. Big news, right? Nope. The Post reported that 51 percent fact in the ninth paragraph and devoted just one sentence to his surge.

      Here’s another example: Last June when a . . . ..

      More Popular than Reagan

      Delete
  44. .

    From the NYT...

    Medical errors may now be third-leading cause of death in the U.S.

    A new analysis showed that mistakes claim 251,000 lives each year — more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe ObamaCare is not so bad after all.

      If one can't access of a doctor because of ObamaCare perhaps one's chances of surviving longer go up.

      Delete