The story is disturbing: Chinese hackers have compromised U.S. weapons systems including missile defense (the PAC-3, THAAD, and Aegis systems), aircraft (the F/A-18, the V-22, the Blackhawk helicopter, and the F-35), as well as the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship.
But imbedded within the story is another angle, the fact that Eric Holder would now appear to be cleared hot to tap the phone lines of the Washington Post, the private cell phones of its reporters, as well as their texts and e-mails.
How so? The report the Chinese hacking story is based on information that is not intended for public release (emphasis added):
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
As such, the President’s war on the press should be set to continue unabated.
If consistency counts for anything, one would expect the Administration to go after the Washington Post.
Will they have the stones to do so? Don’t count on it. The Washington Post does not equal Fox News.
Carlos Lozada at the Washington Post-It has cracked the President’s code on the political class’s call for all sorts of “national conversations.”
There’s the national conversation on gun violence. And the one on immigration. And income inequality. And marriage equality. And debt. And climate change. And obesity. And bullying. And, of course, race.
And, of course, it’s about to get worse.
Speaking last month with the New Republic, Obama affirmed that, in his second term, he and his White House team will be “spending a lot more time in terms of being in a conversation with the American people as opposed to just playing an insider game here in Washington.”
Mr. Lozada sees through the Presidential propaganda.
First, Mr. Obama is a super-partisan. Next, he’s just another Washington insider. Finally, the President has no real desire for a “national conversation.” (Now as for the President’s speechwriters crafting more and more “national lectures,” that’s another story….)
But are these national conversations really conversations? Or is the term a political ploy, a kindly euphemism for our bitter divides? Or, in Obama’s case, is a national conversation a fail-safe when face-to-face conversations fall short?
Answers (in order): no, yes, and yes.
No, these aren’t national conversations: they’re efforts from the political and media left to control the message, push the agenda, and stifle dissent.
The President doesn’t have the arguments, intellect, or temperament to engage in a national discussion (let alone debate) and as such, he is reduced to calling for a national conversation, something he—and his fellow travelers—really have no interest in.
What is the real reason for the call for myriad “national conversations”? It’s the unending campaign. Don’t believe me? Think of the post-election evolution of the President’s PAC.
Right from the get-go, Klein goes full-Obama apologista with the following:
There’s no mystery as to why Congress is not doing more to help the economy: Disagreements between Republicans and Democrats have paralyzed the institution.
The fundamental postulate, that the government can manufacture jobs, is a total fallacy and if you don’t believe me, look it up.
The next idea Klein offers is that the President has been hamstrung by the Congress. None of this is Barry’s fault, even though Obama made himself the face of America’s way ahead in the 2008 campaign.
Who should really be blamed: Bush? Check.
Congress The House? Check. Obstinate Republicans? Check. Typhoons, an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid? Check. Obama’s debt, food stamps, imperial power grabs, disability payments, “you didn’t build that” philosophy, our budget-free Senate, etc.? No way, man!
Ezra, did you ever consider that when voters turned the House over to Republicans in the 2010 elections, it was because they wanted the Democrat Congress paralyzed?
Later, Klein offers an additional Obama gets-off-the-hook apologetic:
But there’s a real mystery as to why the Federal Reserve is not doing more to help the economy. Ben Bernanke, after all, keeps saying the central bank can do more, and if the economy gets worse, it will do more. But the economy keeps getting worse, and the Fed keeps not doing more.
Right. We all forgot the Fed is the keeper of the keys for the economy and the President’s influence is totally limited (except Bush, whose influence was unlimited and who put us in this deep, deep hole). So Bernanke is to blame as well. Bernanke and Bush, that is. And obstinate Republicans. And Congress (except the Senate).
That’s a source of much amusement to me. How can the traditional media blame Bush, who was simultaneously an evil genius, conspiracy king, puppet master, destroyer of economic value, and simpleton while they ignore the “accomplishments” of Barack Obama, he of the trillion dollar deficits, 40-something months of 8 percent-plus unemployment (and closer to 18 percent actual unemployment), and of course, being our most intelligent president ever?
Wow, that was a really long sentence. Sorry.
The sad thing is what’s been discussed so far reflects the most cogent parts of Klein’s article, which contains another message:
…I am convinced that there is something more the Fed can do, and that now is the right time for them to do it. I call it Uncle Ben’s Crazy Housing Sale.
Ezra appears to have found the codeine-laced cough syrup again and just started typing.
Say goodnight, Ezra. Please.
Mr. Milkbag misses both the forest and the trees as it regards President Obama and almost certainly with malice and forethought, a la Brian Ross.
After all, President Obama has been to America what John Elway was to the Cleveland Browns (that is, poison, death from above, bad medicine, etc.).
The Milkbag fails to see his favorite Kansas-Kenya cowboy has captained our nation during the biggest debt run-up, the greatest economic non-recovery, and the most imperial presidency in our history.
Throwing rocks at “Obama nuttiness” can’t hide the fact Barry Oh! makes Jimmy Carter’s epic failure look like the very definition of a successful presidency.
Kathleen Parker, a Washington Post-It house conservative, makes the point the Obama campaign has reached an all-time low:
When it comes to over-the-top politics, the Obama campaign has set a new standard with recent attempts to paint Mitt Romney as a felon.
This clever and utterly false allegation was advanced more than once by Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager.
But what’s the conclusion Parker gives her piece on the bogus Obama smear, perpetrated in no small part by the aforementioned Cutter?
It’s a shame that Cutter, a smart, talented woman, was drafted for such a dastardly role. Negative ads are one thing; slander is quite another.
Drafted? Drafted?! Where’s the evidence of drafted? Cutter is Obama’s deputy campaign manager and this is politics: it’s an all-volunteer force.
So in summary, if I have Parker’s characterization correct, Cutter is an over-the-top Obama campaign mercenary who will apparently say and do anything in order to get her boss reelected. But yet at the end of the day, she’s smart and talented.
Kathleen, this sort of disconnect makes you unserious.
From the Washington Post:
The [White House] visitor logs for Jan. 17 — one of the most recent days available — show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access.
A regular presence, eh? Snip.
The White House visitor records make it clear that Obama’s senior officials are granting that access to some of K Street’s most influential representatives. In many cases, those lobbyists have long-standing connections to the president or his aides. Republican lobbyists coming to visit are rare, while Democratic lobbyists are common, whether they are representing corporate clients or liberal causes.
The President’s promise to ‘change the culture of Washington’ is a joke. Actually, maybe he has changed it: he’s made it worse. That’s what happens when we have to suffer under the most inexperienced, inept, unexplainable, partisan grifter to sit in the Executive Office.
Are we shocked to discover this self-evident truth? No.
Are we shocked to see it in the Washington Post? Yes.
November 2008: America fooled once, shame on Obama. November 2012: if America is fooled a second time, shame on us.
Political analysis ain’t rocket science, unless you think of it as North Korean rocket science.
In a political culture that long ago surrendered to the permanent campaign, Obama has managed to take things to a whole new level.
After some well-deserved Obama bashing with a dash of ‘Republicans do it too’ (even though not nearly at the whole new level previously mentioned) Milbank needs to ask a question and get off the stage:
… Obama’s acquiescence to an intolerable status quo raises a question: Shouldn’t presidential leadership be about setting an example?
The obvious answer is yes. The real-world challenge in squaring the circle is seen in much the President does ranging from private money to Super PACs to his own tax return. It can be summarized as Do as I say and not as I do, or alternatively, Pay as I say and not as I pay.
While it is all quite unseemly, I don’t think these issues will keep Mr. Milbank from again voting for President Obama.
From David Maraniss writing at the Washington Post comes the article The luck that propelled President Obama’s rise.
The article just begins to touch on the President’s luck, which unless he’d had Bob Dole to run against, would be difficult to improve upon.
Better lucky than good.
Yesterday afternoon, I was asked to give a speech on the 2012 elections to an elementary school. It ended up being an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day crush of my own non-stories and endless failures and to have my thinking challenged by my contemporaries, always a useful thing. It was right before recess and everyone was a bit on edge; it also made me think more broadly about what matters, and what doesn’t really matter, in 2012.
With that non sequitur out of the way, let me now try and convince you about what won’t matter in the upcoming elections, or better said, why I don’t want you to think it will matter as much as the coverage of it might imply.
The South Carolina primary: Mitt Romney’s success or failure there won’t matter because he’ll lose the general election. Want proof? I don’t know one person who’d vote for Romney.
The campaign: Romney will struggle against President Obama because (as I’ve already explained) I don’t know one person who’d vote for Romney. The people I know really do think Obama has been a disaster for America, but like me, they’ve all made too big a psychic investment to admit as much, let alone to vote for a barbarian like Romney.
Blunders: During the course of the campaign, any Obama gaffe will be buried, unless it appears in a live debate. Oh, it might show up on YouTube before Google blocks it, but future blunders will be swept away, just as they should be and just as past blunder have been.
Money: Both Obama and Romney have enough money to compete. But Obama will have more, which is the metric my inner circle uses as a measure of goodness. Actual votes you say? How archaic.
Early polls: Honestly, just ignore them unless they favor Obama or anyone with a “D” by their name.
Mitt Romney’s candidacy: There’s strong evidence suggesting that John McCain exerted a substantial drag on the Republican ticket in 2008. There’s no way Romney’s candidacy will be as inept as McCain but it just won’t matter.
But here are some things to watch that do matter:
The economy: the President handlers told me he has done such a great job with the economy that this, as an area of concern to the American people, will largely take care of itself.
Europe: because the President wants us to look like Europe, what Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the European Central Bank do in the next six months might matter in the election. Or they might not, I’m not really sure.
The fiscal drag: in 2011, the President’s handlers told me he created 1.6 million jobs. If there hadn’t been any Republicans, he could have created something closer to 100 million jobs. The point here is that sources matter.
Taxes: One line on the election is that it’s going to be about jobs, but I think it’s going to be about taxes. Three reasons: First, the President’s handlers told me so (and sources matter). Second, the GOP’s top priority is creating or preserving taxes cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Third, Republicans think they have a winning issue in painting Obama as Jimmy Carter. Fools.
Congress: InTrade gives Democrats a 30 percent chance to take back the House and only a 20 percent chance to keep the Senate. Remember what I told you about polls: ignore them unless they favor Democrats.
The Supreme Court: the Supreme Court is very old, like the Constitution, in fact, well over 100 years old. Since it’s over 100 years old, it gets tired and can’t hear all the cases it should, like on giving a ruling endorsing the Obamacare mandate.
The lame-duck session: On January 1, 2013, the Obama-approved Bush tax cuts expire and the spending trigger goes off. That means that unless President Obama rightfully seizes power from the Congress, we will see $4 trillion in tax increases, $500 billion in defense cuts, and $500 billion in domestic spending cuts.
Unknown unknowns: A few months ago, the President killed Osama bin Laden from a White House video-teleconference center. If another such event is needed six months from now to win the election, the President could reveal that bin Laden really isn’t dead (some sort of military-induced DNA error would be used as an excuse for the mistake), followed by a convenient “escape,” and then, whaddya know, the President could “kill” him all over again. So it’s entirely possible that man-made events like that, man-made global warming, or DOJ-observed ‘voting-irregularities’ invalidating the results from all the red/swing states, may take the election in a direction only Tim Tebow, Chuck Norris, or Al Gore can then affect. All it takes is lawyers, guns, and money, items the Democrats possess in massive advantage.
Wonkbag is compiled and produced with help from Dana Milkbag and Karl Schwinger.
The Washington Post asks when is it okay for the U.S. government to kill Americans abroad?
Their answer comes in two parts: one, an endorsement of the administration’s position when
such strikes would be carried out only if the targeted individual presented an imminent threat, the foreign country in question was unable or unwilling to act, and capture was not feasible.
Part two, unstated it would appear, is when a Democrat president has signed off on the order. In that case, such as we now have, the Posters just want the “framework” the Justice Department drafted explaining the criteria. I don’t think they’ll get it.
In the mean time, expect either silence or Bush-did-it-first as an explanation.
(If you must, read Eugene Robinson’s original column here)
By Eugenic Robinson, Published: September 29
WHETHER or not he lets himself be persuaded to run for president, Chris Christie creates a large (literally, read on) measure of danger for Democrats seeking election. As a part of the unbiased media, I therefore need to ridicule him on his weight.
You could argue that this is none of my business, but I disagree. Because I thoughtlessly carry the Democrat’s water on all sorts of issues, Christie’s weight is not a private matter. Unlike Obama’s smoking problem which he masterfully masks (to his great credit) and his competency problem (which he needs to work harder at masking), weight is something altogether different. Like Larry King doing Shakespeare, weight is something you can’t help but unfavorably notice.
Christie has a candidness problem in general, but on rare occasions, he speaks about his weight. “I’m really struggling, been struggling for a long time with it,” he told CNN’s Piers Morgan in June. “And I know that it would be better for my kids if I got it more under control, and so I do feel a sense of guilt at times about that. Not guilty enough to eat less or exercise more, but still guilt.”
Six weeks later, the New Jersey governor was hospitalized for asthma — a condition that he has had for most of his life. Researchers say that many respiratory problems, including asthma, are worsened by obesity. So why would we want a fat politician with asthma when we can have an asthma-free stick figure like Obama?
As he left the hospital, Christie acknowledged the connection. He described himself as “relatively healthy by all objective indicators,” but added that “if I weighed less, I’d be healthier.”
“The weight exacerbates everything,” he said.
And this is why it’s important for me to relentlessly point out this Christie flaw. That and the fact he carries an (R) by his name.
According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity puts people at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, certain types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and gallbladder and liver disease. It’s thought to increase hemorrhoids, asteroids, and meteoroids as well.
The NIH estimates that nearly 34 percent of U.S. adults can be classified as “obese,” meaning they are really fat. By this standard, a man who stands 5-foot-11 — Christie’s reported height — would be really fat if his weight reached 215 pounds. While Christie does not disclose his weight, it appears to exceed the 286 pounds that would place him among the American adults whom NIH classifies as “really, really fat.” Do we really want a really, really fat president, one who looks like us?
I refer to obesity as an epidemic because the percentage of really fat adults has doubled in the past 40 years — and childhood obesity is increasing even more rapidly. Again according to the NIH, “obesity is associated with over 112,000 excess deaths due to cardiovascular disease, over 15,000 excess deaths due to cancer, and over 35,000 excess deaths due to non-cancer, non-cardiovascular disease causes per year.” Do we really want a really, really fat president who looks like many of us when we can have a slender, smoking-hot (literally) geek-god like President Obama?
On average, health-care costs for fat people like Christie are higher than costs for individuals whose weight falls into the “normal” range, like Obama. It costs Medicare $1,723 more a year for an obese beneficiary than a non-obese one. For Medicaid the differential is $1,021, and for private insurers it’s $1,140. In other words, obesity is helping propel the rise in health-care costs, which are fueling the long-term rise in the national debt.
My intention is not to blame Christie for the federal government’s deficit spending — or, in fact, to blame him for his own obesity. I’m a Democrat and we never blame anyone for anything other than Republicans for their self-evident evil. Instead, I’ll use a traditional left-wing media method and suggest 1) doing it for the children and 2) hypocrisy.
First, Christie is just 49 and has four young children; politics aside, I’m sure he wants to be around to share the milestones in their lives. Therefore, because he’s fat he should not run for president. For the children. His children.
Next, the hypocrisy issue. He prides himself on bullheaded determination and speaks often about the need for officials to display leadership. Well, Gov. Christie, lead thyself.
Politically, I disagree with Christie on almost everything. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to tell him why. Today, I’d just like to offer him a bit of unsolicited advice for a man who might end up running for president: eat a salad, walk, and don’t run.
I think this situation requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part. I’m just the guy to do it.
WASHINGTON — The Republican establishment is said to (“is said to” is what I use when I have absolutely no source other than my own opinions) have grave qualms about Gov. Rick Perry. But here’s a bigger problem: there is no Republican establishment. While there used to be a Republican establishment, it has squandered its own political capital and credibility.
There is a solution, in part, for this issue and it comes from those of us who are non-Republicans with our own grave Rick Perry qualms. Our fear is that he will be a more conservative, more formidable, more effective, small government version of George W. Bush. As such, we must work against Rick Perry feverishly and attempt to destroy him by any means possible. Exaggeration? Of course. Innuendo? Mandatory. Fabrication? Guys like me have been making up our own reality for years.
The biggest concern is the growing realization that President Obama will not be difficult to beat as long as Obama’s handlers let Obama be Obama. This feeling was bolstered by Tuesday’s special election that handily sent a Republican to Congress from New York’s 9th District for the first time since 1923 and a blistering 20-plus point Democrat loss in battleground state Nevada.
So if Perry is to be defeated, we non-Republicans in the media will have to do the job ourselves. And because we tend to be self-referential, the week’s most important political news is that we will try and do just that.
We worked overtime to put Perry’s vulnerabilities on display at this week’s CNN/tea party debate where he still hasn’t proven to our satisfaction that Social Security is little more than a government-endorsed Ponzi scheme. Plus, we will also try and hurt Perry for his position on immigration. If he were a blue-state man, we’d praise him for it, but as it is, we’ll have to subvert our personal feelings for the good of the team. So expect to hear lots of things like that sound like “Let’s talk about Rick Perry’s immigration problem with Republican voters.”
Perry’s biggest issue with primary voters may be his order requiring immunizations against a disease that causes cervical cancer. While we’re personally all for mandatory things of all sorts, we have to try and make the charge into a dangerous one, that of influence peddling. Because we’re already in the bag for President Obama, we’ll set aside any scrutiny regarding the Administration’s fraud, lies, crony capitalism, influence peddling, and criminality. Remember, we picked our team long ago and we’re nothing if not loyal. Nothing here to see folks, move along.
Any anti-Perry charges will help Mitt Romney, who we still loathe, but much less so than Perry. Also, any Romney gains will cheer those former “establishment Republicans,” the bright lights who steered Bob Dole and John McCain into national-level elections. Despicable business lobbies, who could be a moderating force for the tea party, are now largely out for themselves. “It’s only business,” they say, but think how sad and unpatriotic it is that any individual, partnership, or organization of any sort would choose to act in its own self interest instead of submitting, being assimilated, and working for the government’s benefit.
Another plan to weaken Perry is to try and somehow use the Republican triumph in New York as a tool to dissipate the Republican’s confidence and manufacture a showdown with the so-called tea party. We’re still working on the details, but your ideas are welcome. Meanwhile, less-evil, moderate Republicans (like Arlen Specter…oh wait, he…never mind), the ones who have played ball with Obama’s team, now have a diminished voice as they fear for their political futures.
Yet if these stupid, dangerous, and likely wicked Republics see New York 9 as further evidence that Obama is a pushover, Rick Perry — if he doesn’t self-destruct — will be able to tell them he is the guy who can undo the self-evident benefits of the Obama Era with one decisive blow. And then, if the media has failed, only the courts will be able to stop his treacherous agenda of circumscribing America to the limits found in the Constitution.