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Monday, January 13, 2014

Breaking: Rockets Fired at Israel During Ariel Sharon’s Burial Ceremony

Breaking: Rockets Fired at Israel During Ariel Sharon’s Burial Ceremony

Obama vs. Christie Scandals

Why Bridgegate made headlines but Obama’s IRS scandal didn’t

 
Most government scandals involve the manipulation of the system in obscure ways by people no one has ever heard of. That is why George Washington Bridgegate is nearly a perfect scandal — because it is comprehensible and (as they say in Hollywood) “relatable” to everyone who has ever been in a car. This is the reason this one is not going to go away so easily, even if one accepts the contention that Gov. Chris Christie had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Government officials and political operatives working for Christie, for weird and petty reasons, chose to make traffic worse. That’s the takeaway. When they are reminded of the fact that people working on Christie’s behalf thought it was a good political game to mire tens of thousands of their fellow Americans in the nightmarish gridlock that is a daily dreaded prospect for tens of millions, they will be discomfited by that and by the politician in whose name it was done.
And yet, you know what is also something everybody would find “relatable”? Politicians who sic the tax man on others for political gain. Everybody has to deal with the IRS and fears it. Last year, we learned from the Internal Revenue Service itself that it had targeted ideological opponents of the president for special scrutiny and investigation — because they were ideological opponents.
That’s juicy, just as Bridgegate is juicy. It’s something we can all understand, it speaks to our greatest fears, and it’s the sort of thing TV newspeople could gab about for days on end without needing a fresh piece of news to keep it going.
And yet, according to Scott Whitlock of the Media Research Center, “In less than 24 hours, the three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they’ve allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service controversy.”
Why? Oh, come on, you know why. Christie belongs to one political party. Obama belongs to the other. You know which ones they belong to. And you know which ones the people at the three networks belong to, too: In surveys going back decades, anywhere from 80% to 90% of Washington’s journalists say they vote Democratic.
Scandals are not just about themselves; they are about the media atmosphere that surrounds them. They are perpetuated and deepened by the attention of journalists, whose relentless pursuit of every angle keeps the story going. That is exactly what has been missing from the IRS scandal from its outset; Republicans in Congress have been the dogged pursuers, not the press.
There was plenty of material. Just as journalists remain skeptical today about who exactly might have gotten the idea for the lane closures, they could have been asking without letup who got the idea to dig into conservative tax-status applications. Several officials at the IRS resigned, retired and took the Fifth, just as was the case with Christie-aligned Port Authority officials.
It’s pretty clear the questions about how high up Bridgegate went are going to be pursued far more diligently than they have been in the IRS case.
What gives?
There is a fundamental misunderstanding among conservatives about the causes of partisan media bias — the reason there is unequal coverage of scandals of this kind. It exists not because there is a conscious effort to soft-pedal bad news for politicians you like and to push hard on bad news for politicians you don’t.
It’s actually more personal — more relatable, shall we say—than that.
Journalists know the Obamans. Intimately. They know them from college, they know them from work, they know them from kids’ soccer. They’re literally married to them.
To the journalists, the Obamans don’t look like crooks and cheats. Far from it. For them, it’s like looking in a mirror.
In September, Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic Wire took note of 24 major journalists who have taken posts at senior levels in the Obama administration. All of them have worked for decades in various news organizations, thus creating personal ties and bonds of affection with literally hundreds of working reporters and editors.
The journalists are not covering up for their friends and their spouses. They just believe the people they know could not be responsible for behaving badly, or cravenly, or for crass political advantage —and the tone they strike when such things are discussed is often one of offense, as though it is a sign of low character to believe otherwise. It would be, well, like believing the journalists themselves were crooks.
It’s fair to say that most conservatives don’t know people in the Obama administration, and they dislike and disagree with its policies. When they look at it, their dislike and lack of any personal connection make it easier for them to see officials mired in scandal and tush-covering cover-up. This is a direct analogue to the way liberals — of whom journalists comprise a central cohort — viewed the George W. Bush and Reagan administrations.
They saw people with whom they disagreed and who they thought were bad for the country and so found it much easier to believe they were acting out of malign motive and doing evil.
Christie may be entirely innocent of all wrongdoing. Or there may be some connection, even a very tenuous and suggestive one. But there will be little let-up now.
For in the end, because Christie is a Republican. Christie isn’t them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Slow Joe Biden

Gates Slams Biden in Memoir, Reveals He Nearly Quit

 
-- DoD photo
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates greets President Barack Obama in College Station, Texas, Oct. 16, 2009, prior to attending the Points of Light Foundation forum at Texas A&M University. (DoD photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison, U.S. Air Force/Released)
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has harsh words for Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy judgement in his soon-to-be-released memoir.
According to the New York Times, which obtained an early copy of the memoir, Gates calls Biden “a man of integrity,” but questions his record. “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” Gates writes, according to the Times.
Gates, the only high-level holdover from the Bush administration to the President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, reveals he nearly quit his post in September 2009 while Obama reviewed his Afghanistan strategy. According to the Times, Gates writes he was “deeply uneasy with the Obama White House’s lack of appreciation — from the top down — of the uncertainties and unpredictability of war…I came closer to resigning that day than at any other time in my tenure, though no one knew it.”
Gates was a backer of a substantial troop increase for Afghanistan early in Obama’s first term, while Biden argued for a smaller counter-terrorism mission in the country.
The Washington Post quotes a separate exchange in the book between Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where they discussed their opposition to the 2007 Iraq surge in the context of politics. “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”
Gates’ memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” goes on sale next week.


Read more: Gates Slams Biden in Memoir, Reveals He Nearly Quit | TIME.com http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/07/in-memoir-gates-slams-biden-reveals-he-nearly-quit/#ixzz2pkrgA6iX

Client #9, Spitzer

Spitzer caught sucking Lis Smith’s toes in topless hot tub romp

Sleazy Eliot Spitzer turned a resort hot tub into a steamy love cauldron over the weekend — kissing and sucking the toes of his topless mistress, Lis Smith, in front of families with children, mortified witnesses told The Post.
The still-married former Love Gov and Smith, Mayor de Blasio’s ex-mouthpiece, were spied frolicking near the family pool at around 4 p.m. Sunday at the Half Moon family resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
“It was gross,” said a hotel witness, who was vacationing with her family. “She had her top off.”
The disgraced Spitzer — infamous for wearing his signature black knee socks while having sex with hookers — appears to have a bit of a foot fetish as well, according to onlookers.
“He was licking her toes,” the witness said. “She would sit in his lap. Then he’d put her feet in his mouth. He licked her toes and was playing with her feet.”
Modal Trigger
The hot tub where Spitzer and Smith were caught canoodling.
He also cuddled and whispered sweet nothings into the ear of Smith — a political flack who lost her chance at being a top spokesperson for de Blasio in part because of her relationship with the raunchy Spitzer.
The couple’s public display became a spectacle at the resort, which was frequented by John and Jackie Kennedy during his presidency.
A 10-year-old boy who saw Smith topless in the pool ran back to his parents and shouted, “Mom there’s an old guy in the Jacuzzi with this girl and she’s topless and she’s got her legs wrapped around him,” sources said.
The boy’s cries — “He’s sucking on her toes!” alerted other guests, who walked over to catch an eyeful.
Spitzer and Smith checked out of the hotel on Sunday night after a five-day trip that started on New Year’s Day.
On Jan. 2, Smith tweeted a cryptic message and picture from the tropical location: “Happy New Year. Here’s to spending 2014 with the person (or ppl) you love.” On Sunday night she followed up with, “I’m at the mercy of the JFK airport gods.”
One passenger on their flight back to New York was disgusted to see the duo.
“Guess who is on our plane? Eliot Spitzer . . . ” Linda Geraghty, @geraghtyvl, tweeted on Sunday night.
“He’s with female companionship,” she later wrote.
Lisa Linden, a spokesperson for Spitzer, denied the account. “These assertions are totally untrue,” she said.
Spitzer and his long-suffering wife, Silda Wall, announced the day before Christmas that they are getting a divorce.