Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CNN Strikes Out With Democratic Debate Up Against Mets-Dodgers.

What does CNN and the '62 Mets have in common? The '62 Mets were the worst team in the history of baseball leading Casey Stengel their manager to say, "can't anyone here play this game"?

The same could be said about CNN and their often shoddy and dishonest journalism but the powers that be at CNN hit new levels of stupidity by assuring a smaller than expected audience by deciding not to change the date of the first Democratic presidential debate which is going to air opposite a crucial game 4 playoff game between the Mets and the Dodgers.

CNN knew two weeks ago when Major League Baseball released the television schedule for the playoffs that a game 4 between the Mets and Dodgers would be played in New York in prime time on October 13 (game time 8:07).

In case the geniuses at CNN forgot,  New York and Los Angeles are the two biggest markets in the country, the two most populous cities in the two most populous states in the country with the most Democratic voters in the country and only a small fraction will be watching the debates.

The fan base for the Mets and Dodgers in New York and California combined probably exceeds 20 million to be conservative given that the populations of the two states combined is about 50 million, and one can be sure that none of those 20 million will be watching the debate over the Mets-Dodgers playoff game. And that doesn't include the interest the game has for the rest of the country or casual viewers whose interest might be limited to the playoffs.

Knowing two weeks ago this was going to be the case it remains for CNN and the Democratic party, to explain why they didnt move the date so as not to conflict with the playoff game. Yes people can DVR it if they choose and maybe some will but it still doesnt explain the idiocy of not changing the date when the two most populous Democratic states in the country will be watching the Mets -Dodgers and not the Democratic presidential debate. It's also incomprehensible as to why Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Chair of the DNC didnt ask CNN to change the date by a day. Which reenforces Casey's line, "can't anyone here play this game"?

CNN did something similar in 2012 when it scheduled the first Republican presidential debate against a long awaited NFL game on a Thursday night, a game that ended up as the highest rated  Thursday night game of the year.

At the time, Wolf Blitzer, ignoring facts as he usually does to shill for the network introduced the debates by saying " the whole world is watching".They werent. Most were watching the football game. And the same will be true tonight in the two biggest Democratic states with the most Democratic voters in the country most of whom will be watching the only debate tonight that will matter , the one between Kershaw and  Matz and the Mets and the Dodgers.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pentagon Admits Obama Policy Failure in Syria; Obama to Do What He Rejected 3 Years Ago.

In what is the foreign policy Too Little Too Late award of the last 10 years considering the 200,000 civilians already killed in Syria and the millions of refugees created by both Isis and Assad, (George W. Bush will always be the all time leader for his ignoring the actionable intelligence that would have stopped the 911 attacks) Obama has now agreed to do what he rejected three years ago when it would have done the most good -- arm moderate Syrian rebel forces already fighting in Syria.

Ashton Carter in a press conference admitted that the Obama policy of trying to train new rebels as long as they agreed  not to fight against Assad was a failure. That was taking political correctness to new lows since it was not just a failure but a joke. And stupid.

The Obama administration allocated $500,000,000 to vette, train and arm  new Syrian rebels but only if they were willing to fight against Isis alone and not Assad,  a condition so absurd and a policy so inept it's hard to imagine anyone actually thinking that was a good idea.

Since most Syrian fighters want to fight against Assad and to overthrow his dictatorial regime as well as Isis,  that policy resulted in hardly anybody showing up for work which in turn, out of a hoped for number of 5400 fighters produced a grand total of 5, yes five, rebels trained and ready to fight Isis. Which would be a premise for a pretty funny movie if it  wasn't such a horror show as real White House policy.

Having no choice now but to admit a complete policy failure, with even Democrats calling it a joke and with Putin launching the kind of missile strikes against the rebels that Obama promised against Assad if he used chemical weapons before eventually backing down, Obama has now finally agreed to arm moderate Syrian rebels including the Kurds and other groups already fighting in Syria, something Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, three Secretaries of Defense (Gates, Panetta and Hagel) and a CIA Director all advised Obama to do three years ago to fight against both Assad and the rise of Isis.  Recommendations Obama rejected at the time with his now famous line about Isis being the "junior varsity" dismissing them as a threat worth his attention. This,lest anyone forget,  from the president Nancy Pelosi said was ready to be president from day one. 

The AP reported that " The U.S. is abandoning its goal of training a new force and will focus on equipping, arming and supporting established rebel groups already fighting inside Syria."

Carter referred to it as "a more strategic approach" and in a perhaps unintended but honest slap at Obama's original policy said, " I wasn't satisfied with the early efforts in that regard". Welcome to the club. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In Syria, Putin Does What Obama Wouldn't. And is Winning

It was only a year ago that Obama pledged that if Assad used chemical weapons he would launch a retaliatory missile strike from US missile cruisers in the gulf. Assad, having seen Obama fail to stand up, back up, or fulfill his word on anything in his entire 17 year political career including 6 years as president, laughed and then launched a sarin gas attack on Aleppo killing more than 300 children and more than a thousand adults.

MoveOn and other Tea Party Left groups launched an immediate campaign to convince Obama not to live up to his word, which is like trying to convince a ten year old not to eat brussel sprouts. For the Tea Party Left , launching a missile strike from a cruiser in the Gulf was "WAR!". That's what they called it. They circulated a petition rejected by 98% of their membership who refused to sign it,  calling for Obama to back down, another unnecessary waste of keystrokes.

Obama, instead of making good on his pledge decided to put his integrity to a vote. And his integrity lost. Again.

Most in congress refused to vote to give him the authority to launch the missile attack against Assad, an authority Obama didn't need in the first place but it was the cover he wanted and thought he needed to justify backing down. And so he did.

Ironically MoveOn has been circulating emails and petitions over the plight of the Syrian refugees. The irony is its a crisis they can take credit for helping to create since at the time they crowed in emails that it was their petition that influenced Obama to back off the missile  strike ( a preposterous assertion but if they want to pat themselves on the back for that they can do the same for the Syrian refugee crisis which might not have happened had the missile strike Obama promised taken place which would have severely damaged Assad's air power.)

Now Putin has bamboozled Obama again, like he did in Crimea and eastern Ukraine since Putin is now doing in Syria exactly what he persuaded Obama not to do after the Sarin gas attack. 

While it was Obama who backed down on the missile strike and also refused to arm the moderate Syrian rebels, it is Putin who is using his military to prop up the Assad regime by launching air and missile strikes against the rebels in rebel strongholds under the guise of attacking Isis.

Both Obama and new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter have both said they are " concerned" ( why they left out the word " deeply" is anyone's guess) that there are no Isis fighters in any of the areas Putin is attacking and bombing. Which had to make Putin laugh. You can almost hear him saying, "okay go be concerned".

The upshot is, while Obama and those around him were under some kind of self delusion that all he had to do was say " Assad must go", and that would be enough,( maybe he should have said it ten times fast), while refusing to support the Syrian rebels fighting on the ground, the people actually trying to make that a reality, Putin is now doing for Assad and his side, what Obama wouldn't do for his ( a recurring theme for Obama from health care reform to Wall Street to Crimea and eastern Ukraine).

As a result Putin is winning. And air strikes are taking a heavy toll. The latest news out of Syria is that Assad, emboldened by Russian air strikes, has started a new ground offensive against the rebels, while Obama, Kerry and Carter are still figuring out that when Putin said he was going to help Assad in his "lawful fight against the terrorists", to Assad the people terrorizing him are the moderate Syrian rebels fighting to get rid of him, not Isis.

Which means that while Putin and Assad are winning they are also successfully pulling the glass over Obama's eyes. And once more, like in Crimea, like in eastern Ukraine, like with Obamacare like calling Isis " the junior varsity" all Obama decisions that not only failed but made things worse,  if Obama does nothing different or too little too late or another half baked ineffective policy decision, he will preside over yet  another policy failure in a failed presidency marked mostly by what he could have accomplished and didn't. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

With Guns We Do Have a Mental Health Crisis in America: In Congress.

Republican Rep  Michael McCaul , Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in responding to the mass casualty shooting at a community college in Roseburg Oregon,said the problem with this and other mass shootings is not a gun problem but a mental health problem in America.
He's right.  It is a mental health problem. And the mental health problem is with him and conservative members of congress who have seen over 300,000 Americans killed in gun violence since 2004 (compared to 36 killed in the U.S. by terrorism)  and have blocked every piece of meaningful gun control and safety legislation that would reduce the risk of this kind of gun violence. Including blocking all the tepid, lukewarm legislation proposed by the Obama administration  who wrongly thought that if the legislation was weak enough conservatives would go along.
The mental health problem with guns in America  is with conservatives in congress, in state
legislatures around the country, the leadership of the NRA and fringe lunatic gun owners who see guns as some kind of symbolic extension of themselves instead of what they really are, implements of self defense, sport and hunting. This isn't to say all gun owners see guns as some kind of symbolic  extension of their manhood or sexual appendage  (when was the last time there was a female mass murderer?) But it is to say that too many with mental problems do. And that includes gun owners with those kinds of mental problems who haven't committed any  crimes  but who can influence legislators  like Mike McCaul. 
When speaking of the NRA it has to be stated as "leadership" of the NRA  and not rank and file members because there is no indication that the NRA and their positions, represents or is embraced by any but the most radical, lunatic  fanatical NRA members, people who also fall in the category of America's mental health problem with guns and not the bulk of their membership.
 McCaul  who has been in the pocket of the NRA, displayed his mental health problems with guns some time ago when he blocked legislation that would have denied guns to people who were put on no fly lists by the Department of Homeland Security. Maybe you'd like to read that again, then go for a walk, think about it,  discuss it with your friends, and then ask where the real mental health problems are when it comes to guns.
People deemed dangerous enough by Homeland Security  to be in a data base  that would keep them off airplanes because they might blow it up were deemed okay by McCaul to buy guns.
If that's not enough to declare someone like McCaul mentally unfit for office then that's where the discussion has to start.
An even bigger indication of the mental health problems with conservatives in congress is that more than 87,000 Americans have been killed by gun violence since the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school.

So by all means lets deal with the mental health problems in America with regards to guns. And all the other problems that need to be addressed. But it can start with congress,  the leadership of the NRA  And what to do about it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Putin Tells Obama,Get Out of Syrian Airspace and Obama Says Okay.

Yesterday  Vladmir Putin sent a message to Obama and the U.S. blind siding Obama by giving only one hour's notice that Russia was going to begin air strikes in Syria and that the U.S. needed to get out of Syrian air space now to avoid any risk of confrontation. Obama said okay.
The Russian cover story is that they are going to fight terrorists on behalf of Assad.  And John Kerry, living in his unicorn fantasy world said, "We welcome all genuine efforts to fight Isis but we must not and will not be confused between the fight against Isis and supporting Assad".
That was John Kerry not General Buck Turdgison in Dr. Strangelove  who said it as Russian air strikes were targeting Syrian rebels in the city of Homs where there are no Isis fighters but is an anti-Assad rebel stronghold.
Kerry said that if Putin bombs targets unrelated to Isis he and Obama would be "gravely concerned". That is Obama's idea of laying down the law. You can almost hear Putin laughing and saying , okay we'll drop bombs and you be concerned.
Russia is in fact bombing targets unrelated to Isis and if Obama and Kerry have concerns that are grave that is nothing compared to the civilians in Homs who are now digging theirs.
Its clear to everyone but Kerry and Obama that Putin is doing for Assad what Obama wouldn't do for the Syrian rebels  when he ignored  the recommendations three years ago  of 3 Secretaries of Defense, one Secretary of State and one Director of the CIA to arm the moderate Syrian rebels against both Isis and Assad and now it's Putin taking control of the situation, coming to the aid of Assad who Obama has said repeatedly said must go. Which as everyone knows by now carries the weight and moral force of a Telebrands commercial.
Even on the usual pandering CNN, anchors were asking correspondents, " did Obama get played by Putin"?  It wasn't all that long ago that CNN did a segment on Ukraine that asked " did Obama get bullied by Putin"? It's gotten embarrassing. 
And Putin knows there will be no real consequences. Obama's  warning to Assad that if he used chemical weapons he would launch a missile strike against Assad's military was a toothless tiger.  As an aside,  this threat of a U.S. missile strike against Assad on behalf of Syrian civilians who were killed in a chemical weapons strike so horrified the people at MoveOn, ThinkProgress  and DFA who called a single retaliatory missile strike " war" , (just like it was "war" if the congress didn't go along with Obama's capitulation on the Uran nuclear deal)  that they circulated a petition begging Obama not to live up to his word and back down on the missile strike.  Which was a big waste of time because, to paraphrase a Geico commercial, Obama  not living up to his word is what he does.
Adding to the farce is the $500,000,000 the Obama administration finally decided to spend to train Syrian rebels.It belongs in the Guiness Book of World Records winning the Too Little Too Late award.  It has resulted in a grand total of five (5) , yes, 5 Syrian fighters now in the field. Five. That's $100,000,000 per fighter. A B1 bomber doesn't cost that much.
One reason the number of fighters is so small is because the Obama administration making, incredulously, another farcical decision,  refused to train or arm any Syrian fighter who wanted to fight against Assad as well as Isis,and would  only train those only willing to fight Isis. Which effectively drove away 99% of Syrian fighters who wanted to fight both. So while Putin bombs rebels on behalf of Assad, Obama refused to arm rebels fighting against Assad. Though he did say Assad had to go. 
Putin has  made clear his intentions. Its just taking Obama and Kerry a bit longer to come out of their unicorn fantasy world and figure it out when Kerry said, "we will not be confused". Sounds like they are confused. 
Putin said, "Russia will conduct air strikes on behalf of the Assad regime only in it's lawful fight against terrorist groups".  Obviously Obama and Kerry haven't figured out yet that to Assad the terrorist groups are the rebels. 
Kerry said "we will not be confused between the fight against Isis and supporting Assad". It sounds like they still are.
The final bit of farce came from Josh Ernst, Obama's press secretary when the reality of Russia conducting air strikes against the rebels not Isis was clear. Ernst tried to spin it by saying Russian air strikes on behalf of Assad was a sign of Assad's weakness. No it wasn't. It was a sign of Obama's.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton dodges and deflects question about 911 and George W. Bush

On CBS' Face the Nation, Hillary Clinton was asked about a statement that Jeb Bush made during the Republican debate that his brother kept America safe. Clinton was asked if she agreed with that.

Her answer was one of the most obfuscated, circular non-answer dodges about a pivotal, life altering policy and political event in the country's history as has been given so far on any subject during the presidential campaign season. It was an obvious attempt to skirt the question about the unprecedented failure of a Republican president and to avoid both the truth and political controversy. It was not very becoming.

Clinton's answer to the question of whether George W Bush kept the country safe, was:

 " I think it's a complicated question because of course 911 happened. I was a senator from New York. And I was basically consumed by my resonsibility in my state and in the city.  So it did happen. And then I do give President Bush credit for  trying to bring the country together around  the threats that we did face. I have said the war in Iraq was a mistake.  I supported what happened in Afghanistan.  So if you sort it all out, its a mixed picture".

It was also an attempt to completely avoid answering the question.

It was not a complicated question and it was no mixed picture. And no,  George W. Bush not only didn't keep America safe, it was Bush and Rice's  irrefutable and well documented gross, even criminal negligence as president and national security advisor that were responsible for the deaths of 3000 people in a terrorist attack that ultimately changed America and changed the world, one that facts proved could have easily been prevented  had Bush acted on the specific intelligence he was given a month before the attack,  that not only was an Al-Qaeda attack against the US in the US imminent, it was going to involve the hijacking of U.S. airliners.

Clinton's answer did not have anything thing to do with the question  and was a nonsense answer. Saying that 911 happened is a non-answer answer. Everybody knows it happened.  And what she did as a senator had nothing to do with whether Bush kept the country safe when all the facts show he didnt.   Furthermore, Bush did NOT bring the country together around the threats we faced but divided the country  both on the invasion of Iraq and divided the country even further on the use of torture to get intelligence which is ironic since Bush and Rice had been handed all the intelligence they would have needed to prevent 911 and ignored it.

There was nothing to "sort out". It was a  clear attempt at a non-answer answer to  avoid the truth and wanting to avoid a controversy possibly because she knows Democrats would faint dead away before standing up to the truth had she told it.

There is not a shred of doubt that Bush, Rice and Cheney were responsible for allowing  the worst attack on American soil by a foreign enemy in the history of the United States. And they have never been held accountable.

It is this ridiculous reluctance or fear on the part of Democrats to criticize Republicans with the truth that is why Democrats lose elections. And make them look weak.

George W. Bush did not keep us safe and it was no mixed picture. And Bush compounded the problem with Iraq, where he used the 911 attack as the excuse to invade Iraq which neocons had wanted to do for years as Richard Clarke testified when he was literally ordered by Cheney to find a connection between the attack and Sadaam even though Clarke testified he told Cheney Sadaam had nothing to with it, it was Al-Qaeda. This is public knowledge.

In addition, the senate report by the Senate Intelligence Committee when Democrats had the majority proved beyond any doubt that the Bush administration used torture in violation of American values and U.S. law by the CIA  which was unnecessary and  ineffective and no actionable intelligence was ever gotten as a result of water boarding or "enhanced interrogation techniques". Every piece of valuable intelligence was gotten through conventional interrogations. Clinton could have said that too. And been a hero.

Although Clinton is the candidate and bears ultimately responsibility, the blame for this kind of circumvention and a reluctance to be tough is squarely on the shoulders of the  Democratic strategists, aides and politicians around Clinton who have already demonstrated the kind of lousy judgement that has made "Democratic strategist"  an oxymoron for 15 years as evidenced recently by the unnecessary, uncalled for and unjustified apology Clinton made about the emails.

Clinton was right the first time, knowing she did nothing wrong legally or ethically  in refusing to apologize, but recently, in giving in to the pressure Clinton was getting from weak, frightened Democrats who wouldn't go on the offensive against the media and Republicans for their unjustified attacks, it just made it worse. It's clear that after a year of refusing to give in to the attacks, Clinton decided to take bad political advice and its rubbing off in other areas. Like the nonsensical answer about Bush and keeping America safe.  It's called playing not to lose. Which is always a recipe for disaster.

Bush not only didn't keep us safe his administration was directly accountable for the deaths of 3000 people on Sept 11 as the 911 Commission exposed and then, in a panic, used illegal policies of torture to try and insure there was not a second attack because of the gross negligence regarding the first, the result of the Bush Administration's dismissing terrorism as a threat from day one of his administration which  left them unprepared and the country vulnerable. Clinton could have said that too.

It would have been nice if the former Secretary of State who will be asked to testify for the 7th time at the 7th Republican congressional hearing on Benghazi over the deaths of 4 Americans during a terrorist attack would have pointed out a Republican administration's accountability in the deaths of 3000 with no investigations by a Republican congress and said so instead of dodging the question.

For the record, Rand Paul who was up next on Face the Nation, either lied or is badly misinformed about Clinton as Secretary of State arming Syrian moderates which according to him allowed Isis to grow.

 It was Clinton, and three Secretaries of Defense who advised Obama to arm the moderates both against Assad and Isis more than three years ago and that Obama rejected it calling Isis the "junior varsity". That is what allowed Isis to become the threat it is.

 Now, as is typical of Obama they tried to arm the moderates in a too little too late move that has gone beyond farce after congress allocated $500 million to train moderate Syrian rebels,  resulting in five -- yes five -- Syrian fighters trained by the U.S. on the battlefield. Which averages out to $100 million spent by the Obama administration per fighter. So Paul got it wrong. Clinton didnt arm anyone in Syria.  At the time she advised it, her advice was rejected and events have proved it would've been the right thing to do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CNN turns 2nd Republican debate into 3 day promo - for CNN.

With CNN hosting the second Republican  debate, it's clear they are aware of the ratings Fox had with the first. According to Nielsen, a reported 24 million viewers watched the first debates, more than twice the audience for The Walking Dead though if you watched the debates you saw distinct similarities between the two.

But for a news organization who for the last few years has been to journalism what junk bonds are to Wall Street,whose ratings start with a zero,  a potential for 10 million viewers has to be exploited. And so CNN is pulling out all the stops.

For three days anyone turning on CNN would think there was nothing else happening in the world other than this debate. There is virtually nothing else they are talking about and its no accident. Its not a public service decision, CNN hasn't had one of those in 15 years. Its a marketing decision, just like the banners that take up a full third of the bottom of the screen promoting their nighttime entertainment style shows no matter what news story is being covered.

For three days they have even posted that silly countdown graphic that started counting down the time until the debate down to the seconds even when it was 72 hours away.

It is the kind of carnival barker journalism CNN has become with Wolf Blitzer the principle barker, but every other CNN anchor doing the same.

CNN is hoping to build up as much interest in their debate as possible in the hopes of snagging the millions of viewer CNN hasn't seen in two decades.

And they will try and wring every last ratings point they can get meaning they will be talking about nothing else for days after the debate, and then try to figure out more ways to exploit it. Maybe by strapping Martin Savage into the cockpit of Trumps jet a la MH-17.

It will probably have the opposite effect as it always does, driving people away who actually want to get some news.

And just so you don't miss the point, while Fox promoted the debate as " The First Republican Debate", CNN has opted to put in the word "BIG", on screen graphics, referring to it as "Big GOP debate tonight" , kind of like " Big Dance Tonight"  making no bones about what they are hoping for. Which is Big. As in ratings.

CNN has gotten so cheesy  and shameless about it they are doing promos for the debate featuring  interviews with the technicians and crew setting up the technical side of the debate telecast complete with cameras zooming in on sound mixers,  panning shots of the control room,  quick cuts of stage hands putting up lights, and  panning shots of the stage, because they want you to know, this is BIG.

Just in case you didn't get  it from all the other CNN promos.

NOTE:  According to the published Neilsen ratings for the debate, 22 million watched, short of Fox's 24 million but still the largest audience in the 35 year history of CNN.  Which means that if Trump's presidential bid fails you can count on CNN offering Trump the store to have him do a one hour political commentary show on CNN.