Monday, August 13, 2007

Cox and Forkum on the Clinton as Presidential Candidate

Cox and Forkum handle the Dem's concerns that Hillary Clinton as Presidential Candidate would have a negative impact at the bottom of the party. They usually have some good quotes and commentary, but I usually just go there for the illustration.

To quote, though, a little tidbit:

A strategist with close ties to leaders in Congress said Democratic Senate candidates in competitive races would be strongly urged to distance themselves from Clinton.

"The argument with Hillary right now in some of these red states is she's so damn unpopular," said Andy Arnold, chairman of the Greenville, S.C., Democratic Party. "I think Hillary is someone who could drive folks on the other side out to vote who otherwise wouldn't."

Golly, but politics sure are fun.

Boing Boing Doesn't Understand Why 9/11 Was Important

I simply can't stand the revisionist history surround the Iraqi war. Beforehand, everyone believed that he had WMD's, he'd broken the cease-fire that ended the first Gulf War on multiple occasions, and he was know for giving money to the family of suicide bombers. That's a little venting.

This Boing Boing story, though, seems to demonstrate their absolute ignorance of the significance of 9/11. Everything really did change that day. The first WTC bombing was just a harbinger of what was to come (and about with Clinton did absolutely nothing), the USS Cole, the African Embassy bombings, etc., etc., were all bad enough.

But 9/11 changed the rules. It showed that we're no longer just batting at flies, that these Islamic fundamentalists can and will do some real damage if given half the chance. And so, of course, 9/11 should have changed everyone's opinion on what war might be worth fighting.

Just because Bush chose to focus on all the wrong reasons for removing Hussein from power, doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing to do. Even if he wasn't an immediate threat, he was a future one.

According to Study, the Mainstream Media's Losing It

This story at Ars Technica confirms what I've always believed about the mainstream media (MSM): it's biased, unprofessional, uninformed, anti-American, and no longer serves its mission as protector of America's Constitutional Republic. At least, as a recent Pew study shows, most Americans would agree with me.

Some interesting items:

This, however, doesn't mean that the public isn't keeping up with drinking a tall glass of press "hatorade." Pew notes that, since 1985, the public generally sees the mainstream press as doing an increasingly bad job at remaining moral, protecting democracy, and avoiding bias. Only 39 percent of Americans surveyed felt that the media managed to get the facts straight, compared to 46 percent in 2001 and 55 percent in 1985. "As a consequence, the believability ratings for individual news organizations are lower today than they were in the 1980s and 1990s," writes the report. Americans also feel that the press is less professional than it was in 1985, with 66 percent of survey respondents describing the press as professional compared to 72 percent (although there was a particularly low dip to 49 percent in July of 2002).

The Internet crowd feels even more strongly:

The Internet news audience is even more critical of news organizations as a whole. "The internet news audience is particularly likely to criticize news organizations for their lack of empathy, their failure to 'stand up for America,' and political bias," reads the report. "Roughly two-thirds (68%) of those who get most of their news from the internet say that news organizations do not care about the people they report on, and 53% believe that news organizations are too critical of America." Comparatively, only 53 percent of the general public believes that news organizations don't care about the people they report on, and 43 percent believes that they're too critical of America.

And then, of course, there's the partisan line:

But there's another set of data lurking below the surface that is taking its toll on these numbers. It's no secret that Republicans and Democrats feel differently—and, in some cases, very strongly—over exactly how biased and accurate the mainstream media is, and Pew's data reflects this. For example, almost three times as many Republicans (63 percent) say that the press is too critical of America compared to Democrats (23 percent), "and there is virtually no measure of press values or performance on which there is not a substantial gap in the views of partisans," Pew found.

This is an important study. I wonder how well the MSM will cover the Pew results.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 4462 Diggs, is a predictable celebration over Karl Rove's resignation. The vitriol present in the comments is something to behold.

More on Russian Politics

This summary of the Russian political situation posted on the Free Republic is pessimistic but, I believe, too close to the truth. Putin is already a shoe-in for the 2012 election, and there's some certainty that whomever is "elected" in between will be merely a temporary fill-in.

Put another way:

Back in early June on WAMU's Diane Rehm talk show, Andrei Sitov, the Washington-based representative for Russia's government-owned and controlled ITAR-TASS news service (and himself a government spokesman pretending to be a correspondent), portrayed the Russian election as analogous to the U.S. race. "There are two frontrunners now," he stated, "the two First Deputy Prime Ministers [Sergei Ivanov and Dmitri Medvedev]. An intriguing possibility is that [Putin] will say 'I endorse both--you choose'--the Russian people choose." Sitov went on to explain how these two would be promoting themselves to the Russian electorate just as American presidential candidates would do after the two parties have completed their nomination process.

At which point the U.S. commentators cried foul, explaining that Medvedev, a St. Petersburg lawyer and former head of Putin's administration, and Ivanov, the former defense minister and an old KGB crony of Putin's, are members of the same ruling cabal that has been progressively tightening its grip on Russia.

A comparable situation in America, clarified Stanford's Michael McFaul, would be "if George W. Bush decided that Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice would be the two candidates and all opposition Democratic candidates would not be allowed to run. Second, all of the television stations from which Russians get their political news are either owned or controlled by the state. These are the reforms that Putin has instituted as president of Russia."

And what do we have to look forward to?

Even worse, the new man will be trying to show that, like Putin, he can rule with an iron fist. This means belligerence and a search for scapegoats bordering on the irrational will be the order of the day. For a taste of things to come, ponder the anti-U.S. tirade from TASS's Sitov towards the end of the WAMU broadcast. It would have done the Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky proud: "The Putin course will continue," Sitov declared. "He is saying this to the future U.S. president's administration. You need to know that the good old days when you could lie to Russia and steal from Russia, when you could trample on Russia--all those days are over."

It's a quick read, and worth it.

Putin Continues Harsh Rhetoric

Putin continues to turn up the heat. He just doesn't like the West infringing on former Soviet states. This story in the Financial Times basically summarizes what's been going on now for some time.

Relevant quotes:

Washington insists the anti-missile system is to deal with “rogue” states, but Mr Putin has said the installations would risk turning Europe into “a powder keg” and has threatened to retarget Russian missiles on Europe if the US goes ahead with the plan, opening the most serious rift in Moscow’s relations with Washington since the cold war.

Regarding moves back towards a command economy:

Mr Putin said fulfilment of plans to double Russia’s annual production of military aircraft by 2025 would require a radical shake-up of domestic aircraft engine manufacturing capacity. “The competitiveness of aircraft engines produced in our country today is, unfortunately, low, extremely low.”

The government plans to consolidate aircraft engine manufacturing companies into a large, state-controlled holding similar to Oboronprom, the helicopter monopoly, and Rosoboron export, the state arms export company.

And Putin sounds a little like Iranian President Imajihadi (or whatever his name is) when it comes to announcing weapons that can't be defeated:

The Navy also announced that Russia was ready to launch serial production of its new Bulava submarine launched intercontinental nuclear missile which Putin has said can penetrate any defence system.

However, military experts said testing of the Bulava was incomplete and that the Navy chief was sabre rattling.

Read the whole thing.