Those Interracial Right Wingers

Part two of the interracial Cheerios commercial was released for the Super Bowl, and of course, it’s adorable.

Of course, this was seen as yet another opportunity to pointlessly race-bait by MSNBC, which released this now deleted tweet.

Eventually, MSNBC apologized which is a minor victory in itself.

But they didn’t apologize before they had pissed off a lot of interracial conservative families, prompting this twitter hashtag # MyRightWingBiracialFamilyThat brings us round to the Volokh Conspiracy law blog, now run by the Washington Post.  In the post, New Evidence on the political views of mixed-race adopted and step-families, they break down the data on mixed race families using the GSS data, one of the largest social science surveys on the US population.  In fact some bloggers do nothing but mine the GSS data for interesting tidbits, so just about any sort of social science query on Americans can be teased out if you have patience and a familiarity with statistical methods.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.  The gist is that there is virtually no statistical difference between liberal and conservative mixed race families.

“Thus, there is no evidence in the GSS data that Republican, conservative, or conservative Republicans who were living with step-children or adopted children were less likely to live in mixed-race households than Democrats, liberals, liberal Democrats, or moderate Democrats in adopted or step-families.  Indeed, in each instance the point estimates for living in a mixed-race household were insignificantly higher for the right side of the spectrum than for the left side.

This is not really a surprise, unless of course you work at MSNBC.

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Chief Propaganda Minster Jay Carney

I enjoy the occasional sparring on the political forums.  Not because I expect to change anyone’s mind, but just for the entertainment of the process.  It’s like a hobby.  But occasionally I actually learn something new.  The other day, in the course of a discussion on, what else, Obamacare, my left leaning antagonist mentioned a quote by Speaker of the House John Boehner, alleging that Obamacare would be a major job killer for the years 2010 and 2011.  The time frame seemed a little squirrely, so I asked for a source.

And the adventure began.

The “source” turned out to be a link to ‘The Last Word,’ Larry O’Donnell’s MSNBC show.  O’Donnell referred to a video clip of Press Secretary Jay Carney saying that Boehner said that (at about the minute mark).

A video of somebody saying that somebody said something isn’t exactly my idea of a source.  At that point I decided to check Google.  Ten seconds later, I had this:

Boehner Tweet

A tweet from Boehner of a Bloomberg News Report with the title, “Health Care costs will skyrocket next year thanks to ObamaCare.”  So there was never a Boehner quote. It was the title of an article.

Now I don’t blame my forum opponent so much.  Most lefties just depend on their usual propaganda sources and I didn’t have much expectation that he would have a legitimate source.  I don’t even blame Larry O’Donnell so much. His job is to be a propagandist for the administration. If he lies, well, consider the network he works for.  That’s what they do.  The entire network is geared to provide talking points.

But I do blame Jay Carney.  He’s the Press Secretary of the Obama administration.  He has an obligation to be factual, or at least as factual as should be expected at the time he says something.  Although he’s supposed to provide talking points, they are supposed to be somewhat moored to the truth.

But there is actually more blame to go around; the Washington Press Corps.  Carney made that statement in an entire room of Washington reporters.  Supposedly these are supposed to be savvy, insiders who should have sniffed out a falsehood.  Instead, they bought it hook, line, and sinker.  Not one of them had the presence of mind to fact check Carney.  So the fact that the White House Press Corps won’t do their job means that Carney, rather than functioning as the White House Press Secretary, gets to function as a Propagandist instead.

The Talking Points Debate

When even the MSNBC hosts agree that Romney won last night’s debate with President Obama, and Chris Matthews looked like he had been crying off camera, then yeah, I guess Romney won.  I admit I called this one wrong.  Not that I didn’t think Romney would do well, but I thought no matter how well he did the MSM would call it a tie at best.  I figured they could only call it for Romney if Obama totally screwed the pooch, Obama wasn’t quite that bad (no major gaffes) but I honestly didn’t expect Obama to do as poorly as he did.

Obama was clearly poorly served by his debate preparation team.  His habit of scowling when hearing things he doesn’t like is well known, and he knew he was going to hear things he didn’t like so he should have been prepared for that.  Also his annoying habit of looking down and not looking at his opponent… come on guys, that’s basic freshman Speech class stuff!  All this from someone who allegedly prepared more for these debates, “than any sitting President in the modern era.

Obama didn’t even bother to offer “the audience a sandwich.”

Even Jeff Greenfield, no fan of the right, said:

Yes, it wasn’t the best atmospherics for Obama to look down, purse his lips, appear distracted, while Romney was attentive, engaged, relaxed. But this was much more than atmospherics. This was about one candidate who came with a frame for the evening, and who was prepared to engage on every question; and another who, perhaps because of his documented faith in his own abilities, felt he could wing it with snatches of familiar verbiage.

One really feels the loss of the teleprompter.

But optics and atmospherics aside, the real difference is that Romney came to the debate armed with facts and familiarity with the issues.  Obama came with his talking points, such as the one about the tax break for shipping jobs overseas.

Obama: “But I also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to provide tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States,”
“Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense. And all that raises revenue.”

Romney: “Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant, but the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case.” 

There is no tax deduction for moving businesses overseas.  Costs of business are deductible, like closing (or opening) manufacturing plants, but that isn’t a deduction that gives a special break to a company to move overseas.  However this has been a leftie talking point for years.  They listen to themselves repeat the same things over and over until they never doubt the truth of it.  Romney made Obama look like he had no idea what he was talking about, which was actually the case; Obama didn’t know what he was talking about.  Sorry lefties, there is no special tax break for outsourcing American jobs.

 The other issue was that Romney’s tax plan would raise the deficit 5 trillion and raise taxes on the middle class in order to give the rich a tax cut.  Once again, Obama relied on his dubious talking points only to be confronted by a Romney denial that his tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class, lower taxes on the rich, and increase the deficit by 5 trillion dollars.  I know a little something about this issue since I demolished a claim made by the Tax Policy Center in August that Romney’s tax plan couldn’t work as planned.  You can get the details here, however the gist is:

Romney’s plan is revenue neutral, so there is no, I repeat, no cut in tax revenues.

Even though rates are lowered, the deductions and credits are removed to make up the difference.  This makes for a simpler tax code.

The Tax Policy Center admitted that the plan they actually scored, was only similar to Romney’s plans, and they had to make up the details.

The Tax Policy Center counts the 20% cuts in tax rates on top of the Bush tax cuts, which will no longer be in force when Romney would be President.

There were probably more talking point moments by Obama, but these were the big ones.  Meanwhile, over at MSNBC, the gang was apoplectic about Obama not using even more talking points!

Although one debate can probably be dismissed as a bump in the road, I hope that the President does take Chris Matthews advice and start getting his talking points from MSNBC.  Obama armed with even more inaccurate talking points would make the rest of the debates must see TV right up to the election.

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Andrea Mitchell, Leaning Leftward

Since MSNBC started its Lean Forward campaign, I’ve gotten a kick out of the network’s show hosts video shots where they earnestly expound the latest liberal tropes.  It’s a bit surprising because I had thought MSNBC wanted to keep pretending it was an actual news network instead of merely a televised version of Media Matters or Think Progress.  Of course I for one am glad the mask is finally off. Be free MSNBC!  Be who you are!  It really bugs me for liberal TV news channels to pretend to be objective while at the same time presenting “The News” from a liberal slant.  At least MSNBC is out of the closet.   If you’ve not seen them (and I realize that I’m among only a couple of hundred regular views of the network) they can be a real hoot.  Like this one from Lawrence O’Donnell:

That never struck me as plausible that the GI Bill was derided as some sort of welfare program.  Sure enough, Politifact rated it as mostly false.  No surprise there.  But this is MSNBC.  It’s more about a mood than mere factual accuracy.

Most of the hosts have done a series of Lean Forward ads.  Some try to push unconscious buttons like Rachel Maddow’s evocation of Socialist realism with her Hoover Dam ads:

My son came into my office one day while I was watching this promo and asked, “Who’s that fella?”

But that Hoover dam ad vaguely reminds me of something…

And of course, there is the always incoherent Al Sharpton.

He’s trying to tell a parable of how everything is really Bush’s fault.  A line that never gets old with the left.  But the execution makes him sound as incoherent as Grandpa Simpson.

The credit for these mish mash of promos can go to Spike Lee, who produced these Lean Forward spots for MSNBC, although the quality makes me suspicious that Mookie showed up to direct instead.

But the real disappointment is how MSNBC takes and warps their few real journalists into just one more Ed Schultz.  And really, did we need more than one?

Andrea Mitchell has been a real journalist.  While working at NBC she has been the Chief Congressional correspondent, Chief White House correspondent, and Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent. With such a resume, it would make sense that she would back away from doing a Lean Forward promo about how the Republicans stole the GI Bill with a Blueberry pie on top of the Hoover dam.

And in fact her first Lean Forward promo touted her foreign policy credentials:

But MSNBC must have kept leaning on her, until she agreed to do this:

Obviously she is referring to Voter ID laws; a thorn in the side of Democrats who feel voting is so fundamental even illegal aliens and the dead should have it.  Unlike Al Sharpton, she can’t bring herself to actually name the villains in this piece, Republicans trying to maintain the integrity of the process.  Still, it’s as far as she has officially gone to begin the slide over to pure opinion journalism.

Must MSNBC contaminate every host?  Careful Andrea, or after decades of professionalism, you’ll find yourself dragged down to the level of Al Sharpton arguing about Republicans eating your blueberry pie.  Once you go down that road, you can’t come back to being a legitimate journalist again.

Just ask Chris Matthews.

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There’s a Lynch Mob Down South…

…and by down south, I mean Sanford Florida, which is south of me, about 10 minutes away.  So the Trayvon Martin issue was a local news item several weeks before it became an international one.  But the character of the tragedy has changed over time:

SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Investigators with the Sanford Police Department are still trying to figure out exactly what happened during an altercation which resulted in a fatal shooting in the Twin Lakes area.   The shooting happened just after 7 p.m. Sunday evening on Twin Trees Lane.  A man who witnessed part of the altercation contacted authorities.

“The guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help! Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911,” said the witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John.

John said he locked his patio door ran upstairs and heard at least one gun shot.

“And then, when I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”

So in this eyewitness version, the attacker was the one who ended up dead, and Zimmerman was the one crying for help.  That leads me to think there is ample reason for the police to at least take seriously a possible self defense angle and it makes sense that the police would investigate this thoroughly before either making an arrest or closing the case. But as far as the mass media is concerned, there has only ever been one issue in this case: race.  Of course, this incident occurred almost a month ago.  And apparently it’s not nearly as good a story as the one that the media decided to run with. The news coverage this week has had quite a different flavor.  Over the top is more like it.

The big tent of this particular circus is MSNBC, (Leaning Leftward!).  Today hosting on the Martin Bashir Show, Karen Finney, frequent MSNBC guest, went into what seemed to be a prepared monologue in which she blamed both Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich for the climate that lead to Trayvon’s death. Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski went out of her way to blame the shooting on Rush Limbaugh.  Also on Thursday she stated that that if Zimmerman was bloodied and disheveled, he probably did it to himself.  Great police work there Mika!

The entire coverage of this incident has resembled much more peasants lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks than actual coverage.  Of course, there are motives.  Hysteria is a good sell, but the racial issue warps our attention away from facts to make this issue only about race.  For some on the MSNBC payroll, like Al Sharpton, racial rabble rousing is his career.  Even though he is responsible for more dead bodies than George Zimmerman, Sharpton can be expected to ride this to even more influence.

The basic facts of the case don’t seem to make this a racial issue, but everyone wants it to be.  However the basic facts no longer matter. Usually, the US has a fairly adequate, if by no means perfect, justice system.  However when it comes to race, everything goes out the window.  Race makes us lose our damn minds.  That’s why Casey Anthony can get a fair trial and get acquitted (even though we all know she did it), but the police who beat Rodney King were given a second trial in violation of constitutional protections against double jeopardy to make sure the second trial gave the “right” verdict.

This isn’t an attempt to excuse Zimmerman.  The minute he decided to follow Martin after the 911 dispatcher told him not to, he was in the wrong.  The problem with police wannabes like Zimmerman is that they do tend to attract police attention one way or the other.  Even if Martin later turned around and attacked Zimmerman for some unknown reason, the whole thing could have been avoided if Zimmerman had just sat in his car.  He didn’t and now a teenage boy is dead.

It would be easy to get on the bandwagon and demand Zimmerman’s head on a pike.  That is what all the cool kids are doing.  However I’m perfectly content to see what the investigation uncovers.  I’ve no desire to join the other villagers in burning down the windmill until we have more facts, instead of inaccurate ranting from MSNBC hosts.  Ultimately though, it may not matter what facts are uncovered.  We’ve moved beyond mere facts now.

Meanwhile, as Sanford has its own bonfire of the vanities, I expect Tim Wolfe will write the nonfiction version of this story. Another thing I’m sure of is that Zimmerman will be indicted for something; anything.

The mob demands it.

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Self Sacrificing Self Indulgence

I clicked on the TV for a few minutes today to catch up on a little news during lunch and saw MSNBC’s “breaking news” of George Clooney being arrested in from of the Sudanese Embassy. It wasn’t totally surprising, since Clooney had been outspoken on the Issue of Darfur for years.  When I had time I checked the internet I got a little more detail

John Prendergast and George Clooney in Souther...

Image via Wikipedia

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(Reuters) – Hollywood movie star George Clooney was arrested at Sudan’s embassy in Washington on Friday at a protest of an escalating emergency as Sudan blocks humanitarian aid from reaching a volatile border region where hundreds of thousands of people are short of food.

Clooney, his father Nick and other anti-Sudan activists ignored three police warnings to leave the embassy grounds and were led away in plastic handcuffs to a waiting van by uniformed members of the Secret Service, a Reuters journalist covering the demonstration said.

“We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” Clooney told reporters just before his arrest.

“The second thing we are here to ask is for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That’s all we ask.”

Clooney, who on Wednesday was a guest at the White House banquet in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and several others posted bail and walked free later on Friday.

“You never know if you are accomplishing anything … We hope it helps,” Clooney told reporters after his release, adding that the arrest was his first and “let’s hope it’s my last.”

 

Yes you never know.  Although I’ve never been arrested, I don’t think if I did it would particularly accomplish anything.  But of course, I’m not George Clooney, in spite of the uncanny resemblance. I don’t know about the starving masses in the Sudan, but I’m pretty sure Clooney’s publicist feels that something was accomplished.

These sort of stunts really bring out the cynic in me.  Not because I think Clooney is insincere; far from it.  Clooney has been involved in and has been on many trips to Sudan over the years, trying to raise attention to the “crisis” that’s over a decade old.  But what Clooney actually accomplished today did nothing to help the humanitarian crisis, but everything to burnish his “activist” credentials.

Like First Ladies, Hollywood stars, once they make it big, are usually issued a “cause” to identify with.  This is pretty basic public relations.  It can generate news and interest that have nothing to do with a stars latest box office bomb, drunken arrest or failed marriage.  It can also raise trashy to respectable.  Angelina Jolie went from being thought of as brother kissing, blood necklace having, tattooed freak, to United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.

But for celebrities, getting arrested in a protest isn’t just about pleasing their publicist; it gives them street cred to think of themselves as “activists.”  During the Civil Rights era, real activists got fire hosed, attacked by dogs, beaten by nightsticks, and spent a bit more time in the pokey than a few minutes filling out paperwork.

A celebrity activist merely has to submit to an afternoon of inconvenience.  I remember in the 1980’s during the height of the anti-apartheid protests, it was common practice for celebrities to trespass on the grounds of the South African embassy, get arrested, and presto, instant credibility as an activist.  Bill Cosby even had his limo drop his kids off at the South African embassy to be arrested, then have the limo pick them up at the police station.  That sounds like a fun afternoon.

I’m sure the law enforcement personal forced to waste their time and valuable taxpayer dollars so that celebrities can assuage their egos really appreciate being props in a Hollywood publicity stunt.  If celebrity activists or celebtivists (yes I coined it!) really want to impress me, they should fly to the Sudan and have their little protest in front of Sudanese President al-Bashir’s palace.  A couple of international celebrities in Bashir’s jails for a few weeks would not only raise attention to the multi year long crisis in Sudan, it could provoke an international incident, depending on how long Bashir wanted to keep beating and starving his Hollywood guests.  In either case, that would do far more not only to bring attention to the issue but perhaps even force the US government to act.

Now that would earn my respect!  Far more than Clooney getting dropped off in front of the Sudanese Embassy in a limo anyway.

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