Is Wolf Blitzer demented?
(P.S. for those who want to paint me as a “radical right wing”. I’m not. I’ve got a rant boiling about Bush and No Child Left Behind, but that is for another day. I’m staunchly “Heart of the Eagle”. It’s just that, being out of power, the Republicans have been a bit short on material for the last couple of years… So at some point I’ll be going off about a “Radical Right Wing” loon, too. Just not today. Today is Loony Lefty day.)
I’ve sat on this for a couple of days, hoping the feeling would just go away, but it won’t. As you have undoubtedly heard, we had a US Congresswoman shot in Tucson, Arizona. Oddly, she was at a Safeway just a ways off of the main freeway ( I-10 ). On my trip to Florida to watch the shuttle her husband is going to drive “not launch”, I stopped in Tucson. At a Safeway. Bought a bunch of lunch fixings and just hung out a bit bored for a while as ‘bench butt” wore off. If there had been a congress critter giving a speech, I’d have wandered over just for the entertainment value. But the Safeway I stopped at is about 6 miles due south of the one she stopped at and I passed trough a couple of months early. Still, it’s a bit “unnerving” to be watching the news and have “Safeway”… “Tucson”… sink in… To be that close in time and space to both her, and her husband. Odd connection, that.
But back at Blitzed Blizer….
So I’m watching Fox, and they go to commercials. I swap over to CNN just to see how they are covering this tragic event. A crazy guy shoots a wonderful, intelligent, and beautiful accomplished woman. Several innocent bystanders killed. So many ways you could run with it. Why was this guy crazy? Did he have some life experience or incapacity that made him a nut job? Had Giffords advocated something that a vocal fringe group in Tucson didn’t like? Who were the innocent dead? What sorts them from us, or are we more alike than different? Loads of substance available to work with.
So what is Blitzder ranting about? Sarah Palin.
OK, sometimes I’m not the fastest at catching on to how propaganda works. Sometimes it takes me a while to see what kind of bogus tenuous connection is being played. But in this case it was a complete blank. Sarah? She’s up in Alaska. Yes, she, too, is a politician. Yes, she too is very good looking. And yes, she too is a smart woman (though the loony left likes to think she isn’t). After that the comparisons start to leave me going nowhere.
So it’s somehow Sarah’s fault that a nut job in Arizona goes off the deep end? Ok…
(The short form is that the left didn’t like the ‘country’ rhetoric Sarah used on an advert and seems to think it was marching orders to folks ‘clinging to their guns’… just crazy talk. More on that below.)
OK, so Mr. Blitzed then launches into a tirade about how we don’t know the political leanings of the shooter and since he listed both Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto as favorite readings we didn’t know if he was a left wing nut job or a Nazi Right Wing Nut Job. At that moment, Mr. Blitzer has let his bigotry shine through in spectacular fashion.
Dear Wolf Blitzer: Nazi is a short form of National SOCIALIST Party. That is NOT an American right wing ideal. The American “Right Wing” has nothing to do with the Euro-socialist folks from either their Right Wing nor their Left Wing, and in fact the “wings” do not apply to America at all. A better fit here is the Libertarian Ideal (as presently being typified by the Tea Party). So you have managed to mangle two errors together into one incredible bit of bigotry, and shove it into the face of your audience right when you ought to be asking “Who was this fine woman? What did she stand for? What is her future likely to be now? Is she likely to recover? Who were the innocents killed by this nut? Who was this nutcase, and why did he have these broken behaviours? Why did he have problems with both the police and the military (who rejected him) yet was left un-tended by his family, friends, and eventually the greater society? Where did this event come from, and where is it headed now?”
No, none of that.
Instead we get an attempt to conflate the Republicans with “right wing” and Nazi. Then a mud ball tossed at Sarah Palin ( I guess Wolf felt it appropriate to gratuitously attack a woman who is better than him on a news show about someone gratuitously attacking a woman better than him.) Frankly, I think he ought to be fired for such a blatant show of stupidity, bigotry, insensitivity, and, frankly, lousy journalism. But it was OK propaganda, and I guess that’s what CNN wants to be. The “Peoples Propaganda Network”. PPN.
CNN ( and I briefly stopped at MSNBC who were also rabidly trying to drag Sarah Palin into this, somehow. The Left does have it’s “Talking Points Machine” well oiled, even if it is inept.) continued to display truly terrible taste and continued to try to make this into a political propaganda show and anti-Republican. I couldn’t stand it and just went back to Fox. It’s pretty bad when I can’t stand something. After all, I watch Al Jazeera on Link TV, and Link is about as Lefty as you can get.
OK, back at Sarah. The “accusation” comes down to two tag lines on some political pages that nobody ever heard of before now. One said, roughly, that when things get bad and you lose, conservatives “don’t quit, we reload”. Well guess what: Politics and our culture are just chock full of references to military effort and the focus and courage that goes into them. If the Loony Left wants to slam Sarah for that, then they need also never say “Lock, Stock, and barrel” as that is reference to a gun “lock” mechanism that makes it go, the gun stock that holds the parts together, and the barrel ought to be pretty clear. Also they need to drop “go off half cocked” as that’s a reference to that “lock” being in the “safe” or “half cocked” position and the gun won’t fire. Oh, and no more taxes “targeted” at the rich, and no more “targeted” middle class tax cuts either. They get to also police “short fuse” and “flash in the pan” (when a flint lock rifle has a misfire) along with a few hundred others. I note that in the picture above Ms. Giffords seems quite comfortable with military context.
The other thing that got Blitzer’s panties in a bunch was that someone had put up a web page ( I think on Sarah’s site) that said the Republicans ought to “target” certain congressional districts (that included the one of Ms. Gifford). There was an outline of a scope site on an image of the district. Somehow this is supposed to be inciting nut jobs to go kill people? Honest, they said they thought this would induce folks to start shooting!
I’ve worked on a Psyche Ward. I’ve dealt with crazy people. If you want to start banning anything that might cause THEM to do crazy things, then everything is “causal”.
Once, before I ever worked on the ward, long before then, I got to help talk down a guy who was sure he was going to be shot by folks who had just arrived “in that car across the street”. He was in a flat out cold sweat and completely panic stricken. He was a black guy, so it seemed reasonable to me that someone might be out to get him. I resolved to keep him alive and figure out how to cool everything out. First, I called the cops (over his protests that the cops were not to be trusted either, but I knew the local cops…) Long story short, that car had been parked there for about a week, there were no people, and the guy was just rabidly paranoid. It did take a while to figure this out, however.
The point? Crazy people are just crazy. They see things that are not there. They hear voices. They think God is telling them to do things. An innocent parked car becomes proof of attack. Do you really want to let THEM decide what you do and do not get to say? How you may think and speak? They are prone to thinking parked cars are reason to start running away, or start shooting. They are prone to thinking that “Hello” means “I want to kill you” and that “I’ll call for some help” means “I’m one of them too and I’m going to help capture you”. Yes, it really is that bad some times. If your standard of discourse is “it can not cause a crazy person to act irrationally” then we can all just stop saying anything at any time to anyone. Ever.
So just toss in the trash this notion that what might set off a wacko is speech to be abandoned. It’s “crazy talk”, and we know where that leads… someone might want to get a gun and protect themself from it… (see the problem?).
OK, one more reminder on NAZI:
Their leader was a vegetarian.
They advocated (and passed and implemented) gun “control” and confiscation.
They had a ‘green movement’ and held the sun in high regard (the swastika is a religious sun symbol).
They had a public fitness movement that pushed fitness and exercise.
They believed in a strong central control of the society, not a messy world of individual freedoms.
They advocated for a public health care system (and got it).
Public education was mandatory and driven for the creation of a ‘better citizen’…
Sound familiar? That’s not a Republican agenda… It is almost the antithesis of a Libertarian agenda. Take a laundry list of USA Socialist Agenda Items and put it side by side with the Nazi Government programs and you get a very stong match. So, Mr. Blitzkrieg, take your Democratic Party agenda, write it down side by side with the Republican Party agenda, and see which one has a closer match to the Nazi Party agenda. Hope you don’t mind some anguish…
CNN will not be visited by me for a long time. It’s not even useful as a ‘view on the other side’ anymore. It’s just agitprop, and of the worst kind. Maybe I’ll check back in a few years, or maybe not.
Wolf Blitzer on my screen is now an immediate dive for the “jump” button. If I see more than 5 seconds of his face, someone else had the remote and I had to take it from them.
Frankly, the attempt to smear Sarah as a sidebar to this event makes my stomach turn and it, alone, assures I can never vote for any left wing democrat ever again. I don’t care what the alternative is, I’m taking it instead. Call it “zero tolerance” for abusing women.
I’m very heartened to learn that the gunman was very unlucky when it comes to Ms. Giffords. The bullet entered her temple and exited her forehead. This will have sent some bone fragments into the brain (and the news did report that some fragments were surgically removed) but only into the pre-frontal area. There are sinuses at that part of the skull. With luck, she will have some sinus problems and otherwise make a full recovery. This path dodges all the structures of the ear, the optic nerves, and the bullet does not blow through chunks of the brain. It’s about as optimistic a result as you can get. If the bone fragments are small and shallow enough, you get little damage and good healing. That the bullet left with much of the energy intact, means that energy did not do damage to Ms. Giffords. I wish her well and all the best. IMHO, it is highly likely she can return to her duties in Congress in a modest amount of time.
The prefrontal area is involved in things that DO matter, especially to politicians. Concern about the future. Planing with long lead times. Some involvement with motivation and visioning. But the fact is that many folks can take some damage there with little ill effect and occasional benefits as irrational worry can be reduced. Also, as far as I know, there is no right / left asymmetry so if one side is intact the ability ought to be intact. But more importantly, all the major areas of function: things like speech, hearing, vision, memory; and all the important bits of who we are, personality, along with motor control… those are all untouched.
Who she is will be changed by the nature of this event, but “not too much” and not from tissue damage to the brain. Again, all IMHO.
So, God willing, Ms. Giffords can be back at her desk in some months and the evil of this assassin can be thwarted.
Mr. Blitzer: THAT is what you ought to have been reporting.
Sidebar to NASA: It would be a very good and humane gesture to delay the shuttle launch. To put a different pilot in charge is to double traumatized the good man married to Ms. Giffords. To launch with him on the original schedule will give him a conflict of professionalism vs personal family duty – to be with his wife in her time of need. It would be a great kindness to a family that needs a little TLC right now to “let it slide”… just a bit… America will understand.
Today, 10Jan 2011, I listened to just a small part of a BBC news broadcast. The interviewer was talking to someone in the US and was desperately trying to get this person to “confess” that Palin’s “map” with the cross-hairs on it was a direct incitement to fire-arms violence.
This gobsmackingly blatant political, socialist twisting went on for another 20-30 seconds of the interviewer presenting his own personal biases in the form of questions before I switched off in a rage.
My own personal political affiliations matter not. What I cannot abide is the BLATANT propagandisation of the actions of an insane person who had no relationship with any form of reality.
There was an outline of a scope site on an image of the district.
Interestingly, Tim Blair has expanded on this “crosshairs” map,
claiming the things are actually “crop marks” used in the printing trades.
He then tries to link to another site (not sight) to show a real scope view of J.D. Hayworth. That link didn’t work just now but has before and is available elsewhere.
While Blair is correct about the distinction of crosshairs in a scope and crop marks, I think this is a technicality that will not go far.
Some other folks have mis-stated the issue by saying the Palin site had the X over Gabrielle Giffords face, but as you mention it is within the State of AZ, near the district.
I don’t have a working TV and your current review isn’t going to have me rushing about trying to hook one up.
Thoughtful sidebar to NASA. You have a great heart, E.M. Best wishes to Rep. Gifford and her family. Can one say a “lucky” wound? Condolensces to the families of those who were killed or wounded by, most likely, a paranoid schizophrenic. The sheriff may have been very delinquent on this one.
I am glad you are finished with CNN. I have had nothing to do with the declining corporate-statist-lamestream media — CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS etc — since the last primary and presidential election. I watch Fox sometimes; they are better, but how much? I like your words: ” It’s not even useful as a ‘view on the other side’ anymore. It’s just agitprop, and of the worst kind.” They refused to do even the smallest investigation into a candidate who had no resume to run even a small company, much less the U.S. They refused to ask why he hid and continues to hide all his records. They refused to take seriously his rabidly marxist-maoist-black-liberationist background. I remain perplexed that this multi-million dollar effort has not been foiled by brilliant Americans. I continue to try to defuse my paranoia and conspiracy theories. So glad that investigative “journalism” — and wisdom — continues to blossom on the internet.
OT but hilarious and a little bit scary
Check this out – are you on the green hit list? Put your site and personal details in and find out what they are saying about you!
The CNN train has run out it’s track a long time ago.
But it’s not only CNN.
The same media that called for caution an restraint as to the religious identity of the Ft. Hood shooter are now blasting Palin and the right from all barrels.
They have been waiting for the occasion.
There is nothing more to the killing than a mentally disturbed person who fired a gun.
But Palin and freedom of speech will be on trial because they pulled the trigger.
Read V-for Vendetta because that’s where we’re heading.
CNN has been crap since Bernard Shaw left the network. Recognize the AC360 doesn’t even have a journalism degree. He got the job because of his mommy’s name.
That an armed bystander stopped the bloodshed and the shooter’s friend refered to him as “liberal”, has conviently been ignored by the Left Wing Media for obvious reasons. I refuse to call them mainstream any longer.
This nut first met Giffords in 2007 at a previous such “Congress on your Corner” event. Apparently he had some sort of obsession with her. He kept a form letter her office sent him from that 2007 visit. Note that this long pre-dates Palin’s “cross hairs” picture. It also pre-dates Obama’s “if they bring a knife, we will bring a gun” statement.
The political left in the US is desperate. They have just taken a major shellacking at the polls. Those media outlets that generally carry water for the Democrat party are going to do whatever they can to capitalize on this. It is sick, but it is true.
Apparently the nut was embarrassed back in 2007 when he asked Giffords “How do you know that words mean anything” and she answered him in Spanish.
It is just despicable that these people, including the Pima County Sheriff would attempt to make political hay out of this. That nut was not registered with either party (he was an independent) and he didn’t even vote in 2010.
This wasn’t political, it was philosophical. This guy thought “the government” was using words for mind control. That is the whole government, across administrations both Democrat and Republican.
I don’t watch CNN anymore. I rarely watch Fox now that Brit Hume is gone. My favorite radio show is the John Batchelor show. I can’t go for the ones with people ranting and raving.
And if you want to hear some really nasty political rhetoric, maybe one should go back and read the material put out between Jefferson and Adams.
The sheriff of Pima County should lose his job. He is now blaming Rush Limbaugh for the shooter’s actions though the shooter “hated” Limbaugh and there is no evidence he ever listened to his show.
This just has to stop. It is becoming a circus. They will tell these lies so often that people will begin to believe them.
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E.M. and all,
Spouse says it’s bad form to yell at the television and that I should stop it. we get BBC World New America for an hour most evenings and find out about a lot of things we might not otherwise. It seems to have the lowest available level of “Why hasn’t the government protected us from …..” except maybe for Fox.
I think (make that hope) most people would like to get the political discourse down to polite debate. I also imagine it possible that trying to draw a connection between supposedly over the top rhetoric from political candidates, talk show hosts, and so forth and what at first might have looked like political violence wasn’t entirely irresponsible as wrong as it actually was.
And I’m sorry but I don’t buy the theory that the pips on Palin’s political map were innocent. I would characterize them as part of her cutesy “mama grizzly” schtick which I find politically uncompelling.
The thing that’s frustrating about the “news” outlets listed by Pyromancer76 above is that they all seem to go off the deep end with this stuff. I think few of them have ever been away from the North East Corridor – or outdoors for that matter.
I get The BBC America. Watched a fair chunk of it tonight. Somehow it was (while still trying desperately to ‘spin’ things) not as bothersome as Wolf Blitzer. Perhaps it’s the distance in time; more likely it was just that the event was still barely hours old and even basic information was lacking when Blitzer was going into this paranoid fantasy of a political connection to Palin. I don’t know. I only watched about 1/2 an hour of the BBC, then swapped to something else. But I’ll return to them. They often do have decent news mixed in (just sometimes you have to allow for their ‘filter’ – for example, tonight they were pushing for gun restrictions. They don’t understand how we could have a personal liberty. That’s just a blindness on their part.)
I try to listen to “All Sides” before reaching conclusions. I watch and listen widely. During the cold war I regularly tuned in to Radio Moscow and Radio Havana, just for balance. Each “side” tends to expose the weaknesses in the other, so even if I think someone is dead wrong, I’ll tune in as there will often be some bit that is useful.
Right now, with tensions globally largely being Muslim vs non-muslim, I watch Al Jazeera (and read their web page) with some frequency. Oddly, other than a few areas where they are fairly rabidly dogmatic, most of their news is very ‘straight’ and well reported. Frankly, I’m impressed with them. Even on the Muslim-centric things where they get a bit frothy, it does let me see “the other side’s” point of view and lets me compare and contrast to my own.
That is what I very much prefer to do. (One of my favorite newspapers as a kid was The Christian Science Monitor. Renownd for being painfully honest and even, if a bit flat emotionally and dull in that sense.)
About the only thing that gets an immediate “shutdown” is when folks just want to do a mean-spirited propaganda dump. Even there, I’ll sometimes keep them on if they have any humor value (some of them can be funny when they go too far ’round the bend’…) Basically, bullies and a-holes get dumped. I expect them in “nattering nabobs of negativity’ in comments, but not on national TV shows. Those are supposed to have editors… Frankly, one of the things on Fox that gets me to hit “jump” and move on to the next channel is when they have a half dozen folks all in full throated rant at each other. No information content then… jump… When they take turns and I can hear each side, then I hang out.
So for me to just give up on a show, well, that takes talent on their part (and not talent of a good kind…). I have to decide that they are not even useful as a view into the attitudes and tactics of “their side” AND that they have no entertainment value AND that they are not even useful as “A bad example”. Basically “No redeeming social value” and no amusement one either.
BTW, not only was the Sheriff delinquent in his real duties (IMHO) he was one of the first on TV to be blaming this on “Right Wing Rhetoric”. That seems to be the new talking point of the Left Wing, the desire to shut down any communications they don’t like. (Gee, didn’t we see that in Climategate too?…)
When I was a kid, we had a STATE senator come to my little town. Not even a Federal. BOTH of our town police ( I did say it was a small town ;-) were there for the event. The County Sheriff had a car in attendance as well. Heck, you can’t even have a baseball game without “rent a cops” at the place. ( The local hockey arena has a half dozen on site for each game. Real police, in uniform.) So why was a political public event taking place and there was not a single uniformed officer in sight? Or at least an undercover? IMHO, unforgivable negligence on the part of the Sheriff. We can have traffic cops pulling over kids for “10 over” and we can have 20 person raids in full riot gear to bust some guys stoned eating donuts, but can’t put one guy in a blue suit at the side of the stage? Does the phrase “high value target” mean nothing? So we’re confiscating toothpaste and baby milk bottles at the airport while we feel up the passengers, but major Federal Representatives are left bare naked on the security front? Just incredible.
Per Mr. Obama: In America, any natural born citizen can become president. The people voted him in. His IMHO “questionable” resume and socialist / maoist background don’t matter. He was elected. He is my president. Unless someone can show he really is not a citizen, but with his mom being a citizen it’s a hard thing to show and would hinge on a very slim technicality. As I understand it, she was 17 when he was born and there is some oddity that says he has to be on US Soil and can’t inherit her citizenship if she is under 18? Something like that. Not really worth fussing about, IMHO. He’s as American as I am and as my sister is. (She was born to a 17 year old English mom, in England. But has a US passport as Dad was a G.I.) So the “birthers” have a lot to prove to change that essential allegiance. So far, they don’t have much traction.
At any rate, per NBC, CBS, ABC. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched one of them. It’s almost entirely local news out here and I just don’t care who’s dog catcher or what happened at the local bar.
OK, with that said:
I find it very distressing that the more Rabid Loony Left have decided to push for “hate speech” and other restrictions on freedom of speech. It is the sure sign of a dictator in the making. And, frankly, it’s terrible strategy. As a cop, you WANT the bad guys to be shouting on the street corner that they are nutcases who want to kill someone. It makes them much easier to find. Please please please lets put up a soap box with “Hate Whitey” day and “Hate Blackey” day and “Hate Jews” day and “Hate Christians” day. We will have every single one on film and know who they are and what they want to do. Contact tracing will then give you all the rest of the like minded ilk.
Make it illegal and bottle it up and two bad things happen. First off, you have no idea where to start your undercover ops (that cost a fortune more, now) and second, it will blow up explosively rather than be partly vented in public. (Some guy shouting stupid things being pelted by a few dozen pounds of tomatoes might just catch a clue that he was an idiot… and in any case folks will know not to listen to the idiot covered in tomato juice… )
On Fox… I’ve found that over the last few years they have “lost something”. Don’t know what it is, exactly. Juan Williams has brought some of it back. I think it is open and honest debate. (For a while, some of the shows have been mostly partisan bickering… jump ;-) and I much as I like a little of that sometimes, it gets old very quickly. My Florida Democrat friend (who is more conservative than me on some things) stopped watching Hannity as it was, in his words “mostly just folks shouting at each other”. They used to be, I *think*, more ‘both sides of the middle’ perhaps with a bit of a shift toward the conservative side. Then they moved to more of “Way to the conservative side VS. way to the liberal side”.
I don’t know. If I stopped watching Fox there would be very little news I did watch. But I’ve shifted to just watching “bits” and jumping more.
Tonight there was a very thoughtful segment with Mara Liasson and Juan Williams on it, and some of the old “magic” was back. It was calm. Both side presenting their view of things. Give and take with the conservative voices ( and I’ve forgotten which of them it was…) But I felt like I was seeing the issues inspected from all sides.
Oddly, much like I used to feel when listening to public radio… back when you had Firing Line with William F. Buckley AND the liberals too.
At any rate, now it’s mostly just when “something happens” I’ll turn on the news.
Strangely, I find that I get more “straight news” from the Financial Channels. For example, tonight on CNBC World they had the Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard on for a good 5 to 10 minutes solid talking about the events in Queensland. Not just some ‘sound bite’, the whole speech. Followed up with what the likely extent of things really was.
And Bloomberg has had better coverage too:
So I spend most of my ‘news time’ on the financial channels, some on Fox for political commentary and the quick sound bites, do a quick tour of “variety news” and sometimes hit Mosaic on Link for Al Jazeera and other middle east viewpoints (they also have the Israeli news agency in the mix). But ever more of my time goes into web based news… And I don’t think I’m alone in that. When I was a kid, nightly TV news had about a 30% to 50% “share”. Now it’s down to single digits and dropping…
I suspect you are right. Most of the “talking heads” have never left the Bos-Wash NYC metroplex unless it was on a biz jet to L.A. or in a limo / high end hotel in Europe. All grown up in the suburbs, off to college, and a cushy high paying job. The era of folks who have “grit” in their background has whimpered out in a flood of pampered ‘charmed life’. (Yes, that’s a gross over generalization… but I’d like to know how many of them can last a week on their own in the woods… even with a cabin and gun… or how many can change the oil in their car.)
Frankly, I think that’s part of why I like Sarah Palin. She DOES have some grit. ( I don’t agree with all she says and does – for example her quitting as Governor was dumb IMHO – but I admire that she’s a genuine person.) To have the “know nothings” use her as a ‘target’ is just wrong. What they ought to be asking is: Why was this kid kicked out of college for psych reasons and not ever seen by a shrink? Where were the parents? Why was there no deputy hanging out at the event? But that would lead to uncomfortable answers about their cherished beliefs…
It’s odd that we would disagree on Palin’s abdication. I have little use for her in a political sense and suspect her of intellectual laziness. But I thought giving up the governorship was done out of respect for the office. Her continuation in office would have been a circus that would have hampered the governance of Alaska. And I think on that she was right. She might have handled it better. And I should add that the circus she apprehended would not have been remotely her fault.
I think if people did think a bit more about the rhetoric it might be good – and maybe a bit more mature. “Don’t retreat, reload.” doesn’t inspire the most constructive response to the healthcare juggernaut.
What I think we should be worrying about is the development of the list of those mentally unqualified to buy guns. I hate lists not because they might be ineffective but because people will find themselves on them who don’t belong there and will be forced through all sorts of hoops to get off them.
Thanks for not handing me my head on the crosshair issue. I didn’t buy the idea from the screamers on TV, i didn’t see them. It was my reaction at the time it was published. But I do believe that lousy metaphor that it was, it was meant harmlessly as was the “reload” pitch.
And I’ll continue to think that aggressive talk with violent metaphors however innocent raises the headroom the crazies live under. I accept that we cannot prevent the unthinkable because someone who isn’t thinking will do it, but without all the tough talk, maybe we would have been spared Blitzer’s idiotic harangue.
As you’ve already pointed out, the “other side” of the bell curve can be, and often is, just as stupid and extreme. We just have to get rid of the current program where cable and sat TV providers sell us packages of their own choosing. We MUST be at the point by now (technically) that people can choose what channels they want (and what channels the DON’T want). OR – Where channels get “paid” on the basis of actual viewership. Why are we subsidizing channels we don’t watch for the 23.749 perverts who like to watch X, the 14.759 who watch Y, and the 3.979 who watch Z? (Not to mention all the kids who shouldn’t be watching but actually are?) Pay-Per-View probably ought to be the norm and not the exception. CNN et all would reprogram and rewrite if they were actually paid for the amount of viewers per program. Don’t we have a Chinese SuperComputer we could use for this that isn’t needed anymore for end of the 24th Century Climatology Guesstimation? Congress sure knows how to mess our lives up. Shucks! Pooey! Dang! Etc.! etc.!
Pascvaks. Are you ever correct on this. We have DirecTV on the boat which includes dozens of channels I don’t even like to see as I page past them, and can’t get the several channels we don’t have without buying another package which will include even more that we don’t want.
The few commentators on the channels that we do get that I marginally agree with are so rabid about their opposition that I can’t stand to watch them.
Broadcast is already on the way out. The internet will be the end of that era. It’s not totally here yet but it’s coming soon. You will choose your shows and watch them when you want to. I couldn’t even watch the BCS game last night as I don’t have cable, only a digital antenna. I asked around and everyone who doesn’t have cable were watching it on their computers :-)
Ref – Larry Geiger on 11 January 2011 at 6:16 am
So true! But, I guess, my overwhelming concern centered on the perenial complaint of any American with two brain cells to rub together: “If The United States Congress CAN screw it up they will!”
It’s kind’a one of those “Murphy’s Law” things. Some physicist told me it was the first law of everything: “If it can, it will.” I’m sure it’s also true for Ivans, Ians, Tommies, Pierres, Juans, Kims, Lees, Fangs, Wangs, Danny Boys, Kurts, Leifs and Liefs, and all the rest of the World Wide Web’s Werry Wanderers.
First, I have only been following you for the better part of a year, so I missed the Bush years with you. But when you mentioned NCLB – I found myself screaming in agreement with my computer! I have worked in education for about 20 years (in the technical computer areas) and while I am not the “foremost expert” on the issues and problems in education, I know enough to know when somethingn is rotten in the state of denmark. That sure is.
Second, I chuckled a little at your “well oiled” machine reference. Indeed it is. I understand that Krugman was tweeting it was Palin’s fault withing 20 minutes of the event. They are predictable. But something happened between 1998 and 2010 – the public got tired of readin the same excuses. So while there are many (like Blitzer) that are trying to paint the right with their own guilty feelings and deeds, most are not buying it. But the machine has no brain, so expect it to continue (it almost worked in 2000 to defeat Bush). At least until they are left with nothing but the echos of empty halls.
Third, the “cross hairs” that so many on the left are running to in their talking points was not originated by Palin. They were originated by the DNC in 2004. So again the 3 fingers point to the truly guilty (or not if they want to cut the crap).
fourth, You do not have to convince me that Nazis are left. It is clear in their words, deeds and title. But convincing a lefty of that gets you a violent response (not verbal, violent). Indeed, it was the American Nazis that embraced Cindy Sheehan, and it is the American Nazis that embrace the democrats attitude towards Palestinians and Israel. But again, just because the 2 are always in bed together (it seems) does not mean they will recognize each other in the light of the day.
Fifth, Michell Malkin (I know another hater) did a list of – not alleged violence – not violent talking – but of actual left wing violence. It is astounding. And what does the left say? The right talks the violent talk (but apparently does not walk the violent walk). here is Malkin’s piece:
Finally, I do not watch Cable News. I read the sites all the time to get my news, but just do not care to see opinion being trumpted as news (Tom Brokaw anyone?). SO I missed Blitzer et. al. and would not know about them if not for the blogs I read (such as yours) to supplement my information (that you will not find on CNN. MSNBC or even FOX). The written news is bad enough, I do not see how anyone stands the smarmy self important pin heads on TV. Thank you for enlightening me on this subject and so many others on your site.
You are right about what would have happened. My only real “beef” is that it taints her forever with the ‘quitter’ label. IMHO, while it would have been a pain for the governance of Alaska, she ought to have ‘stuck it out’ and just shone a bright spotlight on the folks trying to use her for political leverage.
Then again, I’m probably “exactly wrong” when it comes to political advice… I’m too direct and honest about things.
So I can admire her reasons and strength in doing it, but would rather have had her “take them on front and center spotlight AS Governor”. But yes, she probably did do what was “best for Alaska”.
My kids regularly watch things on Hulu (or related). My daughter had DISH TV in her room and I recently de-installed it. She saw no need for it as she watched her laptop… We have DirectTV in the rest of the house.
(At the time I bought it, you could get at most 2 rooms then had to buy another ‘service’… so I bought DISH for the kids out of spite…)
I share the “500 Channels of Nothing On” problem.
Oddly, we ‘older folks’ are drifting in a slightly different direction. We’re just buying the series on DVD.
At this point there are 3 or 4 series we really like and it’s easier to just wait and buy the disk set.
SciFy and USA tend to screw around with the schedules so much that by the time we figure out where to set the recorder we’ve missed something (or USA has chopped it up so much it’s hard to follow). So instead we catch one or two episodes ‘over the air’ then just watch the disks when they come out.
On the “tech to do it” front: There is no problem. It’s a marketing decision. Individual channels can be flagged as ‘on’ for any individual receiver. You can see this already in the ‘local TV’ channels. At first, there were 9? channels nation wide (I loved it as I could watch LOCAL news from NYC and Virginia or Portland and Dallas). Folks abandoned the local channels, so those guys hollered and congress screwed with things…
Then we got “only our own” local channels.
So when you buy your service, you can pay a bit extra and get YOUR local channels turned on, or not. Someone 50 miles away will have a different mix of “local” channels that they can get turned on. All across the nation.
So they already have “custom channels’ per user, and far more of them than there are “cable networks” in the packages.
It just “markets better” to say you get 200+ channels for your $80 instead of saying you get the 8 you care about for that $80 …. It’s the moral equivalent of puffing air in the package and putting the tiny PB Cup on a large slab of cardboard.
There is also a minor training / expense issue in that it’s easier to have the “tech” who turns on the channels for your ID have a “one of three cluster buttons” to pick instead of “hunt through 500 for 8”.
But, yes, it’s likely that “customer pull” over the internet will lead to the downfall of “provider push” over the air or via satellites. Then again, you can make a lot of money during the 30 years that will take to play out.
Daughter in her 20’s. Me in my 50s. I’ve got about 20 more years, the spouse a bit longer. So, can you say ‘shrinking market’?…
I only started a blog a couple of years back, and initially it was just “my technical notebook” focused largely on GIStemp code and results of porting it. By the time I added some “political” content the Bushes were on the way out. So I’ve not said much about them. (Just thought it a lot…)
Per NCLB (Pronounced Nickle-Bee for No Child Left Behind):
I’m trying to save that one up for some time when I can do it without busting a seam… but the ‘short form’ is that the law says that 100% of kids MUST perform at grade level. Even the “special ed” kids.
So you have kids that can’t even see and hear, that must be able to read and write. ON GRADE.
Then, there is a catch-22 where even if all the schools in a district do pass their leveling tests, a given percentage MUST FAIL. Honest, you can’t make this stuff up. My local school was put on “review” for “failing”. Why? Because they were in the lower quadrant of the schools that all succeeded! There was a legal mandate that (IIRC something like 10%) of schools MUST BE “on review”.
So all the kids MUST be at or above average, yet some schools MUST be failures. God that makes me want to break things….
So we just tell the Special Ed kids to do their best and pay no attention at all to the stupid test. If they can manage it, get their name on the top, then do whatever they want with the rest. (Most of them are trying very hard just to get their name written. These are the ones with real ‘issues’ we’re talking about here, not the general ‘special ed’ ones. Things like SED kids – Severely Emotionally Disabled.) They need help, not be beaten about the head and shoulders every year with “YOU ARE AN ABJECT FAILURE” tests…
BTW, on the Nazi Socialists response: Yeah, I get that crap in comments and email. The way they really want to dodge that relationship is ‘enlightening’. I’ve got one in the moderation queue right now that’s a “You Idiot” rant per the connection. Trying to decide if I ought to let it out (has an invalid email address among other faults), edit it somewhat and festoon with comment, or just pitch it in the dust bin with the other “You Idiot” rants. I’ve noticed that it’s incredibly hard for some folks to be civil. Oddly, most of them seem to come from the far (loony) left. The moderate left isn’t a problem (curiously, most of my friends are from the moderately liberal side) and the moderately conservative side tends to be polite too ( I think I’m from there, more or less, though my beliefs on abortion, sex, and drugs tend to get me called a liberal…) while the Radical Right does rant, they tend to do it with reasoned argument rather than emotional volatility. ( I suspect there is a right brain / left brain thing going on… The Loony Left tends to be right brain dominated, the Radical Right tends to be left brain dominated. So you see a Radical Right talking logic flow and connect the dots while a Loony Left will be fuming emotional state and gestalt.)
At any rate, I’ve noticed that for some reason the folks on the Loony Side Of Left just can’t stand the idea that someone somewhere might have a different point of view and it simply MUST be because they are defective and need “correcting”. Real control freaks. I’ve also noticed that the folks on the Radical Right will also think that you are defective (but will respect your right to be ‘wrong’) while also wanting to “fix” you … but they usually try to do it by “praying for my soul”… and I’m fine with that. It means they are not in my face ;-)
The Looney Left also seems to think that the ends fully justify the means, any means. The Radical Right seems to think that the ends only justify the means if you can find it in the Bible, and that tends to limit the scope of their damage.
Me? I’m sitting here in the middle trying to figure out how to get them both to just leave me alone.
I really don’t understand why the liberals can’t stand the idea of my teaching my own kids (I’ve got a credential even) and owning some guns (as folks have owned for hundreds of years and near as I can tell no one in my family has killed or even shot at anyone outside of W.W.II when in uniform) and maybe even taking care of my own health care. Oh, and deciding how I want to spend my money. And maybe even how large a car I like to drive.
At the same time I really don’t understand why the Radical Right can’t stand the idea that 2 people own their own bodies and ought to be allowed to do what they want with them. If they have the door closed, what business is it of mine? And maybe it would be a good thing if we let folks decide on their own what drugs worked or didn’t work for them in their circumstances. Again, it’s their body. If I don’t own my own body, what do I own?
So I have this Florida Democrat friend, and we regularly get together and bemoan the fact that all either of us want is to just shrink the goverment and have it leave folks alone. (That is the Libertarian in us… but the US Libertarian Party ‘has issues’ too, but I digress).
The end result of this is the Tea Party.
Somehow the Loony Left has decided that trying to smear and vilify these folks “is a good thing”. All it’s done is paint the Left into the “Liars and Scum” corner.
I look at some middle aged folks politely holding signs saying things like “Stop the out of control spending” and looking like my sunday school teacher from when I was 8… and the Loonly Left tries to paint them as “violent” and using “hate speach”?
The Republicans have been a bit more cozy with the Tea Party as I think they saw it as a way back to power. But even there, the Tea Party folks are asking “uncomfortable questions”. And more than a few ‘spend prone’ Republicans have run into a replacement candidate.
As the Radical Right tries to co-opt the Tea Party, though, they are running into the fact that many of the folks who are aligned with it are NOT interested in their radical conservative agenda either.
Most folks just want the goverment to stop robbing us blind and stealing our liberties. Just leave us alone.
That, however, seems to be ‘too much to ask”…
Per “why I watch the news”:
Simple. Part of knowing how markets will move is knowing what’s startled the herd. It’s called “news flow”. So I watch just enough to get the key “news flow” figured out.
I usually do this when I’m a bit burned out from other stuff and need some ‘down time’. I put the TV on, pour a cup of something (be it wine, whiskey, coffee, or tea as the metabolism needs for slower / faster) and kick back to see “What’s got who’s panties in a bunch”. Also, when major news breaks (like a shooting) the news on TV is ‘quicker to find and load’ as it’s usually just ‘hit the on button’.
To some extent it’s a habit I first developed listening to Cronkite “back in the day” as I was growing up; and just haven’t quite outgrown. Yet.
But one network at a time they have been dropped from the “jump list”. For years I watched the Mcneil Lehrer news hour (had a tape recorder set for them, Wall Street Week and The Business Hour. A nice package of ‘all you needed’ in one go.) Then it slowly slid into being a political tool not a news report. It left the mix a decade or two back. ABC / NBC / CBS all left when they became “info-tainment” instead of “News”. CNN came in during that little event in Baghdad. Then slowly has lost ‘viewing hours’ ever since. Finally has hit zero for me. Fox is teetering on the edge. Sometimes going way too far into “all political rant all the time” then coming back to “balanced debate between sides, politely presented” just in time. We’ll see.
So I guess that’s a long winded way of saying I’m ending up where you already have reached. Tired of talking heads haranguing me and spending more time just picking up web based news. Maybe it won’t take 30 years after all…
But it does help you understand whats driving the herd off the cliff on any given day…
I am not American, thus all I can say is that cold is absolutely democratic: It will make no differences. :-)
I would probably be put in the “radical right” category in some respects, but mostly on the government and fiscal issues – in other words get out of my wallet and life! On the social side, I am like you (within bounds – I do not condone beastiality or incest – but poligamy? If you want 3 wives that is YOUR business/insanity).
I guess I get on my horse when I see lies and false allegations. Such as this subject (the shooting). But otherwise, I really do not care about enlightening them as I too am getting up in years and realize you cannot cure stupid (just ignorance). So I have mellowed with age.
As far as NCLB, I will wait for your article on that one as I have a WHOLE lot I hate about it as well, but that is for another time and blog.
I debated with myself on whether to give any political opinion input. I’ll compromise and make it brief. I am a Jeffersonian min-archist. Personal freedom comes first, with freedom’s boundaries being drawn by those acts which either break another person’s bone or pick another person’s pocket. As much as I admire the philisophical purity of the true free-market anarchists, I do not think that we humans have reached an ethical level that will allow us to form a culture without at least some minimal government.
How does that line up with liberal vs conservative? I am neither, and in fact the current U.S. two party system is neither. What we have with Dems and Repubs is two wings of the boot-on-your-neck party. Of the two, I will say that the Republicans give the better speeches, calling for us to rally around the Constitution and limited government. In the real world, however, neither party does anything substantive to cut spending, to cut legislation, to shrink governmental power, or to safeguard our liberty. Those are the things that most Americans claim to want. Why do they fail to do those things? Because they do not represent us. Government programs do not solve our problems because they are designed to increase our subjugation, not our independence.
I unplugged my television 15 years ago. I felt that I was being both stupified and brain washed. After 15 years of television-clean-and-sober, I have come to a conclusion about our government. We do still have three branches of government. Unfortunately, they are no longer Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Now they are Banking, Corporations and Military. They all eat from the same table, and our elected representatives are the waiters and waitresses. We The People are at the table too. We are on the menu.
My apologies for this short rant.
Less we think this is a new issue, 60 minutes did a report on the “Loony Left” in the 80s.
I can’t image ever seeing something like that today, but 60 minutes can still surprise at times.
This helps explain what has happened to England. The roots were laid more than 30 years ago.
Always appreciate the discussions in this blog.
I see nothing that needs apology. Apologies rejected.
“Min-archist” has a nice ring to it…
FWIW, I tossed my TV about 1978? Something like that. I’d only had a dinky one anyway and rarely got to watch anything as I was working full time and going to school full time. Lived without one for many long years…
Then I married a TV that had my spouse attached to it…
The rest, as they say, is history….
FWIW, IMHO, there is no difference between “banking” and “corporations”. Banking is just a subset of corporations and many corporations have banking arms. (GM just ‘sold” GMAC as part of the government TakeUnder, but it will reform. GE Captial is a bank for all practical purposes. Etc.)
So the only thing I’d ‘take issue with’ is your three branches. IMHO, it’s “Corporations, THE Bi-Polar RepDems Party, Military/Police/RegulatoryCops apparatus of all sorts”.
The combined CIA, NSA, FBI, TSA, FDA (food cops), IRS, EPA, and even OSHA et all are just slightly less armored versions of the military. Instruments of force and government power over the people.
Or you could look at the trilogy as “Patrons, Power Mongers, and Instrumentals”.
BTW, that “I am neither” with respect to liberal / conservative or Democrat / Republican is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that “right wing and left wing don’t apply to America”. Most Americans are not on the axis at all. It comes from Old Europe where “Right Wing” was in favor of Kings, Queens and Dictators as the oppressors while “Left Wing” was in favor of communist and socialist Politbureaus and Party Hacks as oppressors. I’m in favor of NO oppressors and folks in charge of their own lives as much as possible. Authority at the lowest level possible. Just as the constitution says.
IMHO, we need to chop out most of the amendments after the first 10 (other than the ones that brought women and blacks into equal status) AND remove the commerce clause from the constitution. Clearly congress can not be trusted with it. Oh, and I’d put in a strict 10% MAX of Net National Income for Federal expenditures. (5% would be better, but probably not doable).
Why is there ANY Federal involvement in Education? Sack the lot of them.
Why is there ANY Federal involvement in things like EPA and OSHA? Let the states sort it out. Sack the lot of them.
Why is there ANY Federal involvment in handing money to foreign countries? (I don’t care if you call it ‘aid’ or “bribes’ or ‘reparations’ or ‘rent’). Stop all of it. They want us in a base there, they can give us the base.
Right on down the list.
I can see a need for a Military, but not a need to have one spread all over the planet all the time. Have the states carry whatever level of National Guard they want, and deploy them where and when it makes sense to the States. The Federal government IS the government OF THE STATES…
I can almost see having a postoffice, but it’s value is dropping fast. It’s now mostly a ‘junk mail delivery service’ for corporations. So I’d have one, but require all mail pay the same rate per ounce or per ‘less than one ounce piece’.
After that, I’m running out of essential things for the Federal Government to do… Most all the rest can be handled by treaties and agreements between the States as they see fit. We use the Penn. Dept. Of Ag. for food safety in a lot of cases already, and the NY Fire Dept stamp is on fireworks. Don’t see why we need Fed. OSHA and California OSHA…
So yeah, I’m not on a ‘wing’ anywhere as I want neither a “King / Queen / Dictator” strong central government nor do I want a “Politbureau / Commisar” strong central government. I want the libertarian minimalist Federal government our constitution describes.
Don’t know what that DOES make me, but it certainly makes me not a Republican and not a Democrat. ( And I don’t want a free for all legal food fight with everything litigated in court so I don’t fit in the LIberatarian Party either…)
Maybe it’s time for the “Leave Me The Hell Alone” party ;-)
So much to say that I deleted it all. Best thoughts. (Nostalgic)The Christian Science Monitor was absolutely excellent, especially its investigative journalism. And all opinions were well founded in fact. If only anything in large-circulation media was like that today.
(Optimistic) It seems to me that the essence of Teaparty is your “Leave Me The Hell Alone”. Plus leave the economy alone and let the entrepreneurs develop, develop, develop. We have the energy resources to make this happen in one big exciting period of prosperity. It is for this reason that I am optimistic. I don’t think those socialist-Dems-old-Repubs can keep us down, nor can the government-teat-sucking corporatists. Creative destruction is the name of the game — unless power again gathers in too few hands.
Decided I should address “Natural Born Citizen”. Do you think the Framers and Founders would have approved of any President who was not born of two American citizens — except for the first generation about which they made a specific exception? Never in a million years; they had fought too hard and risked too much. This is not about birth place or birther anything. Stanley Ann (mother) was a citizen; but BO, Sr. was a citizen of the British Empire-Kenya-to-be. Obama stated he is a “native” born citizen. Why is he about the only American who has not shown his birth certificate (with the hospital and doctor’s signature)? We all have to do so a number of times in our lives. This is a live issue and at some point Americans will be pushed too far and someone in the know — there are many — will begin to spill the beans. Will African-Americans ever be furious.
@ E.M. Yes, I pretty much agree with all you say. The Constitutional powers delegated to the Feds (even with the various amendments currently added) are relatively few. Probably 90% of the Federal budget should be cut to bring us to something approaching the original intent for a national federated government. Not going to happen though. Not unless the system completely breaks down — which eventually happens to all Ponzi schemes. Ask the former head of the GAO what he thinks about the budget. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Q14HOBThM
As for “Maybe it’s time for the “Leave Me The Hell Alone” party”, yes! That really is what freedom is all about. The beginning of all freedom is the simple ability to tell others (including the government — no, ESPECIALLY the government) to just leave you alone. And being left alone is exactly what we do not have now. In today’s enlightened world, my wife and I cannot even catch a flight to another city here in the US without having someone stick their hand up my wife’s crotch.
Something has gone very, very wrong, and while I may not be effective at changing it, I certainly will not smile and say “Please, Sir! may I have another?”
If you have not seen the video “Global Warming Panic Explained” and need a good laugh, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdxaxJNs15s
One thing that is really irritating me is the Left’s ranting about this when they are responsible for these nuts being on the street in the first place. A lot of the homeless are mentally ill because groups such as the left wing ACLU forced the mental institutions to release them. Guess where this nut and the shooter at Virginia Tech might have been without these so called do gooders?
That GAO video matches my understanding of what I’ve called “The Demographic Bomb”.
The problem is pretty simple. We can invent life extension technologies that extend life by a small amount, but cost more than a lifetime of net productivity. Either someone does not get that “care” by fiat (rationing) or someone does not get it because they don’t have the money (market allocation).
There is NO case where everyone gets it.
What we are doing now is saying everyone will get it, and we have begun providing it, and we will continue to do so until bankrupt.
“Good Morning America” is doing the same thing. I could not believe it when they showed that loony Dupnik video and then switched to slinging mud at Sarah Palin.
To make matters worse George Stepanopolos resumed the attack today. Now I need a new channel to tune my TV to in the morning. Unfortunately I don’t like Fox News owing to their belief that “Fair and Balanced” means everyone talking at once.
Not sure if it was here, or another blog, but I mentioned once before that the Tea Party was really incubated during Bush’s term in office.. lots of people griping about NCTB and Medicaid “d”… stunning levels of spending that the feds should never have had their hand in… his idea of “compassionate conservatism” was neither compassionate nor conservative. Flying the “Gadsen Flag”
That was when I started being grumpy at Republicans. They just became “Grumpy Socialists” and “Cranky Democrat Lite”. What’s the point? “Open Wallet / Insert Foot In Mouth” is not a good strategy…
Yeah, when it’s 5 voices at once I hit “jump” and it’s off to some other channel. The idea that 4 or 5 people yelling at each other is “news” just loses me…