Friday, May 22, 2015

THE DEFENSE OF JOSH DUGGAR REMINDS ME OF CATHOLICISM'S REACTION TO PEDOPHILE PRIESTS

Mike Huckabee's defense of Josh Duggar has a familiar ring to me:
Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family. Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, 'inexcusable,' but that doesn’t mean 'unforgivable.' ... Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things.... he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life.... It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness.
If you believe that the desire to commit any sin at all can be prayed away, then you don't treat pedophiles as people who are always a danger. You tell yourself that they can purge their inappropriate desires if they seek God's help, and you leave it at that. That's why so many Catholic priests just got ineffectual counseling, or merely a stern talking-to. That's all the backers of Josh Duggar think he needed to transcend this.

Another aspect of social conservatives' worldview is that they utterly reject the notion that it's hypocritical for Duggar and his family to have engaged in anti-gay moralizing. To social conservatives, gay sex is sinful, and people who continue to engage in gay sex are sinning on an ongoing basis and not repent and asking forgiveness. To them Josh Duggar sinned and asked forgiveness. So, to social cons, Josh Duggar is unquestionably a better, less sinful person.

****

And now for the next phase of this story. It will include a lot of pundit pronouncements that include the words "liberal hypocrisy" and "Lewinsky." That's already starting in right-wing comments sections:



I will note, however, that even some conservatives aren't buying that line of argument. Here are the responses to that comment (from a thread at Glenn Beck's Blaze):



So if you're wondering whether Huckabee's rush to back Duggar will actually help him in the presidential race, my response would be: with some people it will help, but with others, including people who might have been backers, it will seriously tarnish him.

WASHINGTON POST GOSSIP COLUMN KEPT NUDGING JOSH DUGGAR TO RUN FOR OFFICE

I haven't got much to add to what's already been said about Josh Duggar, the 19 Kids and Counting star who became an anti-gay, anti-abortion lobbyist for the Family Research Council (as well as a friend to many right-wing politicians), and who's now been revealed to have fondled several young girls when he was in his teens. I will note, however, that the Reliable Sources column at The Washington Post has giddily hinted on more than one occasion that Duggar had a bright future in electoral politics -- an idea Duggar didn't reject outright.

Here's Reliable Sources on October 8, 2013:
The new, young political operative in town hasn’t decided whether he’ll ever run for office. It’s a tough job, Josh Duggar knows.

“I admire these people who are willing to put themselves out there,” he told us, “and live in a glass box and be subjected to the media and all those pressures.”

Aw, Josh, you can deal with that! ...

Tasked with grassroots outreach for FRC, Duggar emphasizes that politics is nothing new -- his dad served in the state legislature; he attended Mike Huckabee prayer breakfasts as a kid; and he campaigned for Rick Santorum. As a used-car dealer, “I learned how you make a payroll and treat people right,” he said. “We could use quite a bit of that in politics.”
An here's a Reliable Sources follow-up on December 4, 2014:
As for running for office himself, Duggar said he’s happy to stick to playing a supporting role. “Politics is quite a game -- it puts things in perspective... I’m not planning to run anytime soon,” he said. “My focus is supporting those people who are doing the right thing.”
Hmmm -- he wasn't planning to run "anytime soon"? I can't tell if he was letting the Post interviewer down easy or acknowledging that this was a possible long-term plan for him. But it seems as if it could have happened, to the delight of at least one corner of The Washington Post.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

THE EXPLOSION OF ANTI-CLINTON ART THAT ISN'T ACTUALLY HAPPENING

The Weekly Standard's Mark Hemingway tweeted this this morning:



Twitchy picked up on it, and the righties had a hearty chuckle. Then, by early afternoon, the Washington Free Beacon was claiming that these posters were being spotted all around ABC headquarters on the West Side of Manhattan. Glenn Beck's Blaze picked up the story a couple of hours later.

Here are some of the additional photos the Free Beacon posted:





Um, I'm not clear how that first one is managing to float in air. Is it attached to anything? The second one looks a bit hinky too. Are they real or are they Photoshop?

Here's the thing: I walk by this area twice a day on my way to and from work. I didn't see these in the morning. Now, maybe I missed them -- I hadn't seen any of the right-wing items I've linked, so I wasn't really looking for anti-Clinton propaganda.

But on the way home, I did look -- and I didn't see anything. I tried to photograph the area, but the light was fading and my phone's battery was dying and I took the pictures without looking at them, so they're absurdly blurry. Still: nothing. No Hillary and George anywhere.







Every so often, there's something like this on right-wing sites and social media -- someone does a poster like this denouncing Hillary or the president or some other Democrat, claims the posters are all over New York or L.A., and Wingnuttia expresses delight. (Example here.) But if the current posters ever actually were on display, I'm pretty sure they were on display just long enough to be photographed. (C'mon, folks -- wheat-paste your work if you're so proud of it.)

Righties, for some reason, are envious of Robbie Conal, who's been posting political art for years. The righty art even looks like Conal's, though Conal's work is much more visually powerful:





Here's the thing, though: this doesn't accomplish much. Conal's work in the Reagan years won him a lot of fans -- but it didn't really slow Reagan down. What the righties are doing now is just as unlikely to change the course of history. Or I should say it's even less likely, because they don't even seem to have the cojones to put their work up and leave it up.

BENGHAZI TIMELINE OBSESSION: NO, REALLY, CONSERVATIVES, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

There's more in The New York Times today about Hillary Clinton's emails, specifically about communications she had with Sidney Blumenthal around the time of the Benghazi attack.

Now, there are a couple of reasons this might be of interest to the public. I think it's valid to ask whether it was wise for Mrs. Clinton to put so much stock in emails from Blumenthal, a Libya neophyte, and to pass them on to State Department personnel as serious intel.

But that doesn't seem to be what fascinates right-wingers about today's stories. What concerns conservatives? As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey explains, what concerns them is exactly what they've been obsessed with for years, to the utter exasperation of the rest of America:
... the e-mails ... show why the Benghazi Select Committee went to the trouble of subpoenaing Sidney Blumenthal. On the day after the attack, Blumenthal chalked it up to the same cause that the White House pushed for at least two weeks, a demonstration over a YouTube video that spiraled out of control. The very next day, however, Blumenthal had changed his tune, emphasis mine:
The next day [September 13], Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said. “We should get this around asap” Mrs. Clinton said in an email to Mr. Sullivan. “Will do,” he responded....
This email shows that Hillary Clinton was made aware by her close friend that the YouTube/spontaneous demonstration narrative was nonsense two days after the attack. She even forwarded that knowledge to other administration officials, underscoring its importance. Yet four days later, Susan Rice repeated the nonsensical talking points on five Sunday talk shows, and Hillary herself told families of the victims the same false narrative later....

Now, one could say that Hillary didn’t consider Blumenthal a reliable source. If so, though, why tell Sullivan to “get this around asap”? Why continue to tell the “spontaneous demonstration” story even while the DIA had circulated a memo on September 16th that corroborated what Blumenthal had told her personally?
The charitable explanation is that the administration went with one story while exercise an overabundance of caution before switching to the other story. The less charitable explanation, obviously, is that the administration was shielding the president from possible political fallout during campaign season.

But, ultimately -- to use a phrase with which the right is obsessed -- what difference does it make? The administration abandoned the video story within a couple of weeks, and did so well before Election Day. If there was a coverup, it broke down almost immediately. And if there was a coverup, who is dead now who'd be alive in the absence of that coverup? What perpetrator of the attack is at large who wouldn't be at large?

What's the remedy conservatives seek? As far as I can tell, the only appropriate remedy for them would be a rerun of the 2012 election, which they regard as stolen. But it's absurd that they consider it stolen. Democrats as well as Republicans may have believed that Benghazi was radioactive for Obama in 2012, but Americans are used to reelecting presidents despite foreign policy failures -- George W. Bush won in 2004 despite Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and a general atmosphere of failure in Iraq. Ronald Reagan won in a landslide in 1984 despite three fatal embassy attacks in Lebanon from 1983 to the fall of 1984.

Of course, they'll take a win in the 2016 election as a substitute for 2012.

But the remedy they seek isn't one that has anything to do with the attack, or with pursuing those responsible for it. It's all about domestic politics. Maybe the American public would respond favorably to right-wingers' Benghazi crusade if we had any sense that they care about the actual attack, rather than the culpability of Clinton and Obama. Right-wingers cry great rivers of crocodile tears for the Benghazi dead, but they don't give a damn about the four victims, except as bloody shirts to wave.

CONSERVATIVE HERO BEN CARSON DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO INVADE AFGHANISTAN

The Hill reports this today:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told The Hill on Wednesday that it was a mistake for the U.S. to invade Iraq, arguing that the nation should have found a different way to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

“I’ve said definitively that I was never in favor of going into Iraq,” Carson told The Hill in a phone interview, noting that he has previously addressed the matter in some of his books....
Though don't get the idea that he's a pacifist:
“I would have gotten rid of the problem of Saddam Hussein some other way,” he continued. “When you go into a situation with so many factions and such a complex history, unless you know what you’re doing or have a long-term strategy, it just creates more problems.”

When pressed on how the U.S. should have toppled Hussein without sending troops into the country, Carson said that “there are a lot of ways to get rid of people.”
Y'know, we have ... ways.

I don't know what he thinks we could have done. But it's true -- he's been saying this sort of thing for a while. In fact, as the Daily Caller noted in 2013, he was against invading Afghanistan after 9/11. He had a simple alternative to that war as well:
“I actually wrote President Bush a letter before the war started and I said, you know, what I would do is I would use the bully pulpit at this moment of great national unity and, very much in a Kennedy-esque type fashion, say within 10 years we’re going to become petroleum independent,” Carson told TheDC.

“And that would’ve been much more effective than going to war because, first of all, the moderate Arab states would’ve been terrified. And they would’ve handed over Osama Bin Laden and anybody else we wanted on a silver platter to keep us from doing that.”
Simple!

And yes, all this was spelled out in his 2012 book, America the Beautiful:
After the 9/11 crisis almost everyone united behind President George W. Bush for a reason. Whether America's ensuing steps into war in Afghanistan and Iraq will be seen as positive remains to be seen, but I can't help thinking there may have been a better way to react that would not have cost us so many lives and financial capital. I believe that if the president had seized the moment and declared that we would become petroleum independent within the next 10 years as part of our efforts to strip terrorism of its resources, that business, industry, academia, and everyone else would have been foursquare behind him, and we would have been much further ahead in the fight against terrorism than we are today.

Oil prices would have fallen dramatically in an attempt to soften our resolve, but good leadership would hopefully have recognized and compensated for such a ploy. The point, of course, is that in some cases, clever tactics can be employed outside of military action to respond to hostile actions
I don't know how this is going to go over when Carson is participating in the presidential debates. (And yes, right now it looks as if he's going to make the cut.) But it's going to be entertaining. I hope someone asks him about Vietnam, and he tries to tell a rock-ribbed Republican audience what he told us in America the Beautiful:
In the case of Vietnam, we were trying to stop the spread of communism, which seems like a noble cause to those who hate communism. However, many people love communism, and certainly everyone should have the right to live under the system of their choosing.
Yeah, that should go over well in front of an audience of Iowa Republicans.

Conservatives who made Carson a hero bought huge quantities of his books. Did they ever actually read them?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WHAT YOUR RIGHT-WING UNCLE BELIEVES ABOUT BIN LADEN'S BOOKSHELF, AND A MORE LIKELY THEORY

We should have known that Rush Limbaugh would say something like this about the newly revealed Osama bin Laden reading list:
RUSH: Well, look at this. So they declassified the documents found in bin Laden's compound when we went in there and killed him....

The National Intelligence Director has declassified some of these documents, and there are books by well known leftists, like Noam Chomsky. Bin Laden was reading books with titles like Wage Inequality in France. He was a leftist. Is it any shock that Osama Bin Laden was a leftist? In fact, as I understand this, there is even an outtake on video of bin Laden either giving or rehearsing a speech on class warfare and the despotism of big money. He goes on for about 40 seconds and starts stumbling and losing his place, and he gives up. But the guy was a redistributionist. He was a typical leftist.
This will probably become conventional wisdom on the right. Philip Bump of The Washington Post has a different assessment:
Bin Laden's library was the equivalent of an Internet conspiracy theorist's browser history. There was a print out of a weird article about a card game that was said to have predicted the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He had an e-book about voter fraud conspiracies from BlackBoxVoting.org. He had books documenting the fringes of American politics. He had a 1928 book called "The Secret Teaching of All Ages" that details various aspects of forgotten religions and the occult; he had a book unveiling "The Secrets of the Federal Reserve."
Regarding that last one: Oliver Willis noted in 2010 that it was on Glenn Beck's bookshelf:
Beck promoted the work of an anti-Semitic 9-11 truther

...On the September 22 [2010] edition of his Fox News program, Beck attacked early 20th century diplomat Edward House for saying of the Federal Reserve, "I am suggesting that the Central Board be increased from four members to five and their terms lengthened from eight to ten years. This would give stability and would take away the power of a President to change the personnel of the board during a single term of office." While Beck spoke, on-screen text indicated that the House comment was "Quoted In 'Secrets of the Federal Reserve,'" which was authored by Eustace Mullins....

In their profile, the ADL said Mullins was "an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist for over half a century." They further wrote: "Throughout his life, Mullins produced numerous books, essays and articles and delivered scores of speeches and lectures with a common bigoted theme: that Jews are allegedly responsible for many of the problems and evils that have confronted the modern world." ...

Mullins is the author of "Adolph Hitler: An Appreciation." ...

Mullins reportedly spoke at [a] 9-11 conspiracy conference, blamed [the] attacks on the Israeli Mossad....
Another book on the list is Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil by Michael Ruppert. Here's a description:
... its core premise is fairly straightforward: the amount of oil available for human consumption peaked in the mid-’60s and has been quickly declining ever since (a concept known as "peak oil"). In order to reach the world’s precious remaining reserves, the US government was willing to perpetrate unthinkable acts.

According to Ruppert, then-Vice President Dick Cheney ignored warnings that hijacked planes might be used for terrorism in the US’ northeast corridor in the months leading up to September 11th. In May of that year, Cheney sent fighter planes from military bases in the northeastern US to Alaska. Ruppert concluded that the move was a calculated effort to leave the northeastern US vulnerable. Then, "the US government had deliberately leaked the information to the al-Qaeda ‘hijackers’ so that the attacks could be carried out effectively," Ruppert wrote. The ultimate goal: to start a war and secure unfettered access to Middle East oil.
So bin Laden was reading conspiracy material about his own organization. He also read a 2005 L.A. Times opinion piece that suggested that Al Qaeda didn't really exist. You get the feeling that he really would have been eager to read Seymour Hersh's theories about his own assassination. I'd say it was an effort to assess Americans' beliefs about his group, but he also read general-interest craziness like Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier. Was he a conspiracy nut, or did he think most Americans are?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: YES, HE COULD HAVE BEEN A CONTENDER

Josh Marshall thinks Chris Christie's presidential dreams were unrealistic from the start, long before Bridgegate or the Sandy moment with President Obama:
Christie comes from a pretty blue state. He is characterologically very much a product of the tri-state area, where a very brash and aggressive personal style is de rigueur, especially for Republican politicians. By national standards he is only just on the cusp of RINO status. To many, indeed, he's the ultimate RINO.

It's true that one could say some of these things about Mitt Romney, though that isn't exactly a major selling point after the 2012 election. But Christie is quite simply a creature of New Jersey and tri-state politics who both by his manner and his policies would be a tough sell - certainly a tough primary campaign sell - in the red states where presidential candidates are chosen.
But why? As Marshall says, Romney was nominated by the mostly non-coastal, Southern-based GOP -- and while Christie doesn't have Romney-style money in his own bank account, he sure is chummy with a lot of people who do. So with a few strategic position adjustments -- like the ones I see Scott Walker and Marco Rubio making now on immigration -- why couldn't he have de-RINO'd himself enough to contend? I still say that if not for the Sandy moment and the humiliation of Bridgegate -- yes, I know those are big ifs -- Christie could have been a first-tier presidential candidate.

Marshall thinks it's a culture clash that never could have worked out in Christie's favor. He blames the media:
But the real issue here, I think, is the extremely distorting lens of the New York media world and the very particular breed of people who make up tri-state Republicanism, particularly how the two interweave with each other. Media-prominent, big time New York and New Jersey Republicans tend to be very well-off and very conservative. But they are usually not terribly focused on the evangelicalism-tinged social issues that drive Republican party identification in its heartlands....

Remember, Fox is based out of New York City. Limbaugh originally broadcast out of New York City when he first went national and the show's staff is still based there. The New York Post, which is a major driver of national media coverage, is in New York City. The National Review is based in New York City. And let's not forget that a huge, huge amount of the money that drives Republican politics (similar but not quite the same with Dems) comes out of New York City.

It's just not where the voters come from.
But then why do all those heartlanders watch Fox? Why isn't there a culture clash between Fox and its viewers? Why do they love Long Island's Bill O'Reilly and Long Island's Sean Hannity and New York-born, Connecticut-bred Ann Coulter? Yes, they're extremely fond of Fox's blondes, but why aren't they completely turned off by mouthy, dark-haired Jeannie Pirro of Westchester County? If these personalities go over big in Red America, why not Christie?

And sorry, but Marshall's Rudy Giuliani comparison doesn't stand up to scrutiny:
What [New York-area] Republicans prize is law and order politics and politicians who can stand up to and knock around the entrenched Democrats and liberal political norms they see all around them. When I say law and order, I mean not just tough policing and long jail terms but the general no nonsense, not putting up with pussy-footing and complaining and indulgent labor contracts and all the rest. That applies to law and order and cracking down on the thugs, teachers unions and Islamofascist bad guys abroad - all of whom they tend to see in a somewhat similar light. They are much more anti-liberal - in the sense of big city urban liberal politics writ large - than conservative, per se. And this all explains why Rudy Giuliani - dubbed "America's Mayor" by a handful of media yakkers and Republican backers in New York City - was the ultimate avatar of this particular tri-state, not-gonna-take-any-more-BS breed of Republicanism.

And how did he do when he ran for President? Of course, he comically crashed and burned and barely made it to the first primary. Not that he wasn't popular in a way with national Republicans - but as a general symbol of butt-kicking and a conservative - of a sort - who could clean up New York City. He was very popular. And so was Christie as the guy who ended up in viral videos yelling at whiny teachers or other liberal complainers. That behavior applies to something deep in the base conservative Id. But it's not enough to actually garner sustained electoral support, which inevitably comes back to policies. With Rudy, when it came to actually making the grade as a conservative in a GOP primary, he couldn't even get off the ground.
But Rudy was pro-choice on abortion -- an absolutely inviolate litmus test in the GOP, then and now. Rudy was pro-gay rights (and had lived with two gay men for a time, not to mention his onstage cross-dressing). Christie has never supported abortion rights, and doesn't support gay marriage. The religious right mounted a concerted effort to ensure that Giuliani did not become the nominee. There's no evidence that the same would have happened to Christie if he'd been a serious contender.

Christie isn't pure enough on some issues, but he could have been forgiven if he'd tweaked those positions, avoided the Sandy and Bridgegate errors, and \ continued bashing the Fox audience's enemies in the past year or so (a year he spent collecting chits as head of the Republican Governors Association). He's a rude, secular East Coast jerk, but so is much of the Fox prime-time lineup. Yes, he could have been a contender in the modern GOP.

FORGET JEB -- HERE'S HOW THE IRAQ WAR DEBATE IS BEING PUSHED RIGHTWARD, BY THE "LIBERAL MEDIA"

I suppose I'm somewhat pleased that, thanks to Jeb Bush, Republican presidential candidates are finding it necessary to repudiate the Iraq War, at least up to a point -- they still generally think overthrowing Saddam was a swell idea, and they're still insisting that we went to war because of an intelligence failure, rather than a deceitful White House propaganda campaign.

But while we've been experiencing schadenfreude watching Jeb, Marco Rubio, and other Republicans squirm, we're running the risk of turning the Iraq War into our Benghazi -- a past foreign policy blunder we're sure will decide future elections if we just keep talking about it. It's not going to work that way. Benghazi is not going to win the 2016 election for the Republicans and the Iraq War is not going to win the 2016 election for the Democrats.

And besides, while we're enjoying the GOP candidates' momentary discomfort, a different narrative is emerging on the Iraq War -- courtesy of the "liberal nedia."



Yes, I know: That's from Fox Nation, not the "liberal media." But Fox Nation linked that story from the Daily Beast:



And now here's NBC's Richard Engel with the same narrative:



ENGEL: For the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops who fought in the Iraq War, the loss of Ramadi is painful and personal.... Back in 2004, Brian Iglesias was one of many Marines who made ridding Ramadi of Islamic radicals his life, his mission, risking everything, and losing friends to do it. We were there with him.... Back then, it worked. Ramadi was hard fought, and won. But today the city is in ISIS hands, and Iglesias, now a businessman in New York, is heartbroken....
Look, I'm sorry it worked out this way for everyone who fought there. But I'm not sorry we withdrew -- I'm sorry we sent these troops to a war we never should have asked them to fight. It's a harsh truth, but yes, their sacrifice was for nothing. That's our fault. They did what we asked them to do. We deserve to burn in hell for asking them to do it.

But this is the new narrative: Bush-level war forever, or you hate the troops.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

IF DAVID BROOKS WERE A LIBERAL, WOULD HIS JOB BE ON THE LINE NOW?

I know this was the ridiculous part of the latest David Books column, the part Scott Lemieux called "stoned-dorm-room stuff," rather than the truly meretricious part, which rewrote of the history of the Iraq War, but I think Brooks is lucky he can get away with it, because I don't think a liberal would:
If you could go back to 1889 and strangle Adolf Hitler in his crib, would you do it? At one level, the answer is obvious. Of course, you should. If there had been no Hitler, presumably the Nazi Party would have lacked the charismatic leader it needed to rise to power. Presumably, there would have been no World War II, no Holocaust, no millions dead on the Eastern and Western fronts.

But, on the other hand, if there were no World War II, you wouldn’t have had the infusion of women into the work force. You wouldn’t have had the G.I. Bill and the rapid expansion of higher education. You wouldn’t have had the pacification of Europe, Pax-Americana, which led to decades of peace and prosperity, or the end of the British and other empires.

History is an infinitely complex web of causations. To erase mistakes from the past is to obliterate your world now. You can’t go back and know then what you know now. You can’t step in the same river twice.

So it’s really hard to give simple sound-bite answers about past mistakes.
Do you think a liberal on a major newspaper's op-ed page could get away with saying that maybe Hitler's rule had a silver lining? If a liberal columnist wrote this in order to set up the argument that one should be careful before rethinking a major policy blunder by a Democratic president, how long would it be before Drudge or Breitbart or Gateway Pundit or Twitchy had the screaming headline "LIB NY TIMES COLUMNIST SAYS FEMINISM, SOCIALISM JUSTIFY HOLOCAUST"? How long would it be before aging survivors of the camps or World War II combat were appearing on Fox to say that the columnist desecrated the memory of the six million of the men who died on Normandy Beach? (And no, I don't think it would be any help if the columnist, like Brooks, happened to be Jewish, if this argument was made in defense of a Democratic president or a liberal policy.)

I realize that True Conservatives don't consider Brooks one of their own, and I know that Brooks says some negative things about the war in this column (though not nearly enough). But the Hitler bit is meant to defend the war, its architects in the Bush administration, and its onetime cheerleaders, Brooks included. So he's doing the right's bidding. That means this is non-controversial, in a way it wouldn't be coming from a liberal.

****

For an excellent parody of this column, go read Yastreblyanky.

OLD PEOPLE LIKE MARCO RUBIO

Well, old Republicans like Marco Rubio, at least, according to Pew:


Maybe you were thinking Mike Huckabee had the highest rating among elderly Republicans? Nahhh -- he doesn't even do as well among seniors as he does among the middle-aged. Scott Walker does well with the elders, as does Jeb -- but Marco Rubio kills it with older Republicans. Meanwhile, he has terrible numbers among younger voters, even though he's the youngest candidate in the race.

Why? Is he the son (or grandson!) every Republican would like to have? The boyish, smooth-cheeked, commie-averse offspring older Republicans wish were their own? And are young Republicans lukewarm toward him because he seems like the kid in sixth grade who wore a suit to school every day?

I've noted this before, but years ago Michael Kinsley described Al Gore as "an old person's idea of a young person." For Republicans now, as I've said before, that's true of Marco Rubio.

So will we have a race in 2016 in which Hillary Clinton wins the youth vote and Marco Rubio wins the elderly? We'll see.

Bonus observation: In which group of Republicans does Rand Paul do best? Please note: It's the middle-aged, not the young. Discuss.

RICH GUY WITH SOFT JOB MOCKS RICHER GUY WITH SOFT JOB

So I guess we're all supposed to be shocked to learn that people on high-profit network TV make money:
ABC has plenty of reasons to be freaking out over the George Stephanopoulos scandal -- 105 million, to be exact.

The “Good Morning America” and “This Week” anchor renewed his contract last year for $105 million, TV industry sources told The Post Monday.

The seven-year deal ... was supposed to keep Stephanopoulos in front of ABC’s cameras through 2021.
That's from Page Six at the New York Post. Stephanopoulos's earnings apparently shocked Joe Scarborough:
After holding up the Post’s Tuesday cover, Scarborough and the panel couldn’t help but express their surprise and amazement at the figure.

“By the way, a lot of people are wondering why ABC is, you know -- kind of jumped out front, as quickly as they did on the whole Stephanopoulos thing. The New York Post provides some insight this morning,” Scarborough said. “Wow.”

“Which puts the donation in a whole different perspective,” panelist Dorian Warren added....

“If you want to know why he lost count, he didn’t know what the $75,000 -- ‘gee, did I give them $75,000 or not?’ Maybe that’s why. $105 million,” Scarborough said.

“That’s his salary?!” asked guest Mike Barnicle.

“That’s his salary.” Scarborough responded while laughing hysterically. “That’s his salary! ABC has put all of their money on -- yeah. I wouldn’t let him go scuba diving, I mean, holy cow.”
OK, let's see: Stephanopoulos has seven-year, $105 million deal. What is that a year? $15 million.

How much does Scarborough make? Well, here's what TMZ told us in 2013:



To be specific, $99,038 a week. That's $5,149,976 a year.

So a guy making $5 mill a year for sitting on his ass and talking is bitching about a guy who does the same thing and makes $15 mil a year.

Joe? I make less in a year than you do in a week. So shut the hell up.

THE GANG THAT COULDN'T INFLUENCE-PEDDLE STRAIGHT

I read that damn New York Times story, and while it gives me pause to learn that Sidney Blumenthal was sending Hillary Clinton emails on Libya, based on his experience as a neophyte in the country trying to get various businesses started up, it doesn't look as if his "intel" was taken very seriously:
Not infrequently, Mrs. Clinton’s subordinates replied to the memos with polite skepticism.

In April 2012, [Ambassador Chris] Stevens took issue with a Blumenthal memo raising the prospect that the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was poised to make gains in the coming parliamentary elections. The Brotherhood fared poorly in the voting.

Another American diplomat read the memo, noting that Mrs. Clinton’s source appeared to have confused Libyan politicians with the same surname.

Mrs. Clinton herself sometimes seemed skeptical. After reading a March 2012 memo from Mr. Blumenthal, describing a plan by French and British intelligence officials to encourage tribal leaders in eastern Libya to declare a “semiautonomous” zone there, Mrs. Clinton wrote to [deputy chief of staff Jake] Sullivan, “This one strains credulity.”

Mr. Sullivan agreed, telling Mrs. Clinton, “It seems like a thin conspiracy theory.”
And while as a rule it's helpful to have friends in high places if you're doing business, it doesn't seem to have done Blumenthal much good in Libya:
Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture ... was ultimately unsuccessful....

The projects -- creating floating hospitals to treat Libya’s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools -- would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.

... their plans sputtered....
I'm reminded of another recent Times story, about attempts by Hillary's brother Tony Rodham to take advantage of his relationship with Hillary and Bill. Having relatives in high places doesn't seem to have helped Rodham much:
On and off for two decades, the affable Mr. Rodham has tried to use his connections with his sister and his brother-in-law, former President Bill Clinton, to further a business career that has seen more failures than successes....

When Mr. Clinton worked as a co-chairman of Haiti’s earthquake recovery commission, Mr. Rodham and his partners sought a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the country....

Mr. Rodham’s Haiti project never did happen....

Mr. Rodham described his dire financial situation during ... court proceedings in 2012. As a result of a series of failed business deals -- including some in oil and gas, water, housing, tutoring and pharmaceuticals -- he said he had not made a mortgage payment in 10 months and was fighting home foreclosure.
There's impropriety here -- but it doesn't amount to much. You may think the Clintons are sleazy corrupt-o-crats, but if so, they're not very good at it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

RELAX, BROOKS AND DOUTHAT WILL FIND A WAY TO BE SMUG ABOUT THE BIKER BLOODBATH

I'm sure you know about the good clean fun that a few high-spirited gentlemen in Waco, Texas, had over the weekend:
A police spokesman said on Monday that 192 people were being charged in the shootout among rival motorcycle gangs at a busy shopping plaza in the Central Texas city of Waco on Sunday that left at least nine bikers dead and 18 others wounded.

Law enforcement officials said the gun battle was primarily between the Bandidos and Cossacks gangs, a continuation of a long-running feud between the two groups, though members of the Scimitars and two other gangs were also involved....

The gunfire erupted about 12:15 p.m. on Sunday outside the restaurant, and the fight spilled into the parking lot, initially involving just fists and feet, but escalating quickly to chains, knives, clubs and firearms....

“There were multiple people on the scene firing weapons at each other,” Sergeant Swanton said. “They then turned on our officers. Our officers returned gunfire, wounding and possibly killing several.”
Charlie Pierce mocks the usual gang of tut-tutters, whom he expects to be conspicuously silent about this:
I am sure that, when the dust settles, and the 200-odd (!) people who were arrested get arraigned, we will hear a great deal from the usual suspects about the cultural pathologies inherent in white society that are at the root of episodes like this one. David Brooks will notice that white people -- many of whom wear ponytails and mullets -- also tend to fk without his approval, and Ross Cardinal Douthat will wonder whether we'd even have motorcycle gangs if Pius XII were still alive. Earnest pundits on television will agree that we must discover immediately how many of the assembled grew up in two-parent homes.
But I think Brooks and Douthat really might get on their high horses about this, even given the low melanin levels of the participants. In their crowd, it's very common these days to say that, yes, black people have a defective culture, but it's all liberals' fault, and now poorer whites are behaving badly as well, for the same reasons. Here's Douthat last year:
... I do think that if you’re looking for a discussion of the “culture of poverty” that isn’t particularly racialized and that’s pretty intently focused on social problems in the white (and Hispanic) working class as well as in African-American communities, you can find it quite easily among right-of-center policy thinkers, in the pages and pixels of conservative journals and magazines, and (occasionally, if too-infrequently) in the rhetoric of conservative politicians as well.

... it’s at least noteworthy a generation [after The Bell Curve], the name “Charles Murray” is mainly associated with a controversial argument about cultural collapse in downscale white America, and the most recent cover story on poverty, culture and welfare in a political magazine was Kevin Williamson’s grim essay on Appalachia in National Review.
The Charles Murray argument appeared in a 2012 book titled Coming Apart, which Brooks gave a rave review:
’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.” I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.

... there are vast behavioral gaps between the educated upper tribe (20 percent of the country) and the lower tribe (30 percent of the country). This is where Murray is at his best, and he’s mostly using data on white Americans, so the effects of race and other complicating factors don’t come into play.
In the case of Waco, it wouldn't surprise me to see Brooks and Douthat argue, following Murray, that white social pathology stems from the fact that rich people who've mastered the manly and Christian art of self-control no longer live on the hill just overlooking their moral inferiors, but now live way out there, where their profound moral influence can't be felt. They may also blame the sixties -- hey, the Cossacks were founded in 1969! -- and to ignore the fact that America has been worried about biker gang violence since at least the 1953 film The Wild One, which traces its origins, in part, to news reports of a California biker riot that took place in 1947.

Brooks and Douthat won't care. They'll blame the Summer of Love and the Grateful Dead for what happened in Waco. They'll say rich liberal elitists should have prevented a Texas bar fight. Moral scolders gotta scold.

Meanhile, what's our plan for the aftermath in Waco? I assume the everyone who matches the biker profile -- white, male, beer gut -- will now be stopped and frisked by the cops, based on "reasonable suspicion." Right?

HOW IS JIM HOFT LYING TO YOU TODAY?

Here's today's Gateway Pundit lie:



The post from Gateway Pundit (emphasis in original):
Obama DOJ Announces Plan to Pay Community Organizers $163 Million to ‘Build Trust’

The Obama administration announced plans today to build trust between police and communities they serve.

Now the rioters will be rewarded.

... Part of the announced plan today includes hiring positions (community organizers) to focus on building community trust. The DOJ is setting aside $163 million for this operation.

$163 million!

It’s like ACORN on steroids.
The link takes you to this ABC News story:
Amid continued tension between police and communities of color, President Obama will travel to Camden, New Jersey this afternoon to highlight the city’s efforts improve police-community relations.

... Camden -- recently named a “promise zone” and a My Brother’s Keeper community challenge partner -- is making strides, and the Obama administration wants to help other cities follow suit.

Here are six things they're doing to shore up trust between law enforcement and minority communities:

... 3. $163 Million

The Justice Department today is announcing $163 million in hiring grants for positions focused on building community trust.
So no reference to "community organizers" in the linked story, much less to any effort meant to ensure that "the rioters will be rewarded." Is there a primary source where we can find out what's really going on?

Why, yes, there is -- it's this press release, dated today.
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services today announced the release of the final report from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing....

The COPS Office today also announced five separate Fiscal Year 2015 grant funding opportunities now open to the field for submission of applications....
And now here's the key line (emphasis added):
Grants will provide a total of up to $163 million to state, local, territory and tribal law enforcement agencies to meet a variety of resource needs, including sworn officer positions, training and technical assistance, and expansion of problem-focused task forces.
So these grants aren't going to ACORN-like organizations. They're going to the police. Go to the link if you want to read the details.

Jim Hoft has a lot of readers, and a lot of influential friends on the rabble-rousing right. When he lies, people listen. And he's lying now.

ON IRAQ, RUBIO BAMBOOZLES LIKE A PRO

On Fox yesterday, Chris Wallace asked Marco Rubio about Iraq, and the exchange has now been portrayed as a gaffe by both Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and Chris Jansing of NBC News. I disagree. I think Marco Rubio did a really professional job of refusing to answer the question.

Haberman writes:
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida struggled on Sunday to give clear answers about whether it was a mistake for the United States to go to war against Iraq in 2003, becoming the latest Republican presidential candidate to trip on the wisdom of the military invasion.

Under a barrage of questions from Chris Wallace of Fox News, Mr. Rubio repeatedly said “it was not a mistake” for President George W. Bush to order the invasion based on the intelligence he had at the time. But Mr. Rubio grew defensive as Mr. Wallace pressed him to say flatly whether he now believed the war was a mistake. Mr. Rubio chose instead to criticize the questions themselves, saying that in “the real world” presidents have to make decisions based on evidence presented to them at the time....

The back-and-forth resulted in a three-minute video clip that Republican opponents could use against Mr. Rubio in the future, given that he came across as a politician used to debating fine points and nuances in the United States Senate-- a problem that then-Senator John Kerry faced in his presidential run in 2004 -- rather than as a seasoned leader used to giving clear statements.



Oh, please. No Republican opponent is going to use what Rubio said against him. For that matter, no Republican opponent is going to use Jeb Bush's multi-day stumble on the same question against him. (I was lurking at right-wing sites after that Megyn Kelly interview, and there was much more concern about Jeb's less-than-hardline responses on immigration in the same interview.) The damage for Jeb comes from how much he's now been mocked by the mainstream media and by liberals. (No GOP voter wants to vote for a candidate who's a laughingstock. If you're being mocked by us, you have to get angry and fight back.)

I don't think Rubio seems defensive. He certainly doesn't seem guilt-ridden, the way Jeb did in one Iraq answer after another. Rubio seems angry at the question. He defends a Republican president who's still popular with the base. He doesn't have any qualms about killing Saddam or a bunch of Muslims -- always a plus in Republican primaries.

The Republican base wants this kind of unapologetic pushback -- whatever the facts:
WALLACE: But that's the question I'm asking you. Was it a mistake for the president to go into Iraq?

RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into Iraq --

WALLACE: I'm not asking you that. I'm asking you --

RUBIO: In hindsight. The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there. I wouldn't characterize it -- i don't understand the question you're asking.

WALLACE: I'm asking you, knowing as we do, as we sit here in 2015 --

RUBIO: But that's not the way president's think. A president cannot make a decision on what someone may know in the future.

WALLACE: That's what I'm asking you. Was it a mistake?

RUBIO: It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information he had as president. Today we know -- if the president had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction at the time, you still would have had to deal with Saddam Hussein but the process would have been different. I doubt very seriously that the president would have gotten, for example, Congressional approval to move forward with an invasion had they known they were no weapons for mass destruction. That does not mean he made the wrong decision because at the time he was presented with intelligence saying there were weapons of mass destruction. He wasn't dealing with a Noble Peace Prize winner, he was dealing with Saddam Hussein and he made the right decision based on the information he had at that time.
(Full transcript at Real Clear Politics.)

Notice that this exchange isn't going viral -- as I write this, the YouTube video has only 13,821 views. This is not a stumble for him.

Rubio turns it around on Wallace -- he questions the validity of asking the hypothetical. Most people don't like journalists these days, so that's a smart move. And while Chris Wallace is a Fox journalist, the Fox audience will see him as asking questions the LIE-beral media would ask, out of an overabundance of fairness and balance. So it's a good move to go after him this way.

Jeb needs to find this kind of resentment in himself. It's as if he needs a preppy version of Obama's anger translator. (Hey, I hear Mitt Romney has some time on his hands these days....)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

NO, FOX IS NOT REALLY HURTING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

James Fallows thinks Fox News is doing serious harm to the GOP:
Let me recommend for your weekend reading, or for your weekday reading if you’re seeing it then, a detailed study by Bruce Bartlett called “How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics.” You can download the 18-page PDF from this site of the Social Science Research Network.

... Bartlett’s accumulation of detail show[s] (a) that Fox’s core viewers are factually worse-informed than people who follow other sources, and even those who don’t follow news at all, and (b) that the mode of perpetual outrage that is Fox’s goal and effect has become a serious problem for the Republican party, in that it pushes its candidates to sound always-outraged themselves.
It beats me how having ill-informed voters is a bad thing for the GOP if what the voters think they know keeps them voting Republican -- so let's look at the other apparent problem. (And note that we're supposed to take this analysis seriously because Bartlett is a veteran of the Reagan and Poppy Bush administrations, and has worked with Ron Paul, which means he's not saying this stuff because he likes the Democrats.)

This is Bartlett's key assertion:
On mood, Bartlett includes this quote after the 2012 election from Lincoln Mitchell, a political scientist at Columbia:
“Fox has now become a problem for the Republican Party because it keeps a far right base mobilized and angry, making it hard for the party to move to the center or increase its appeal, as it must do to remain electorally competitive....One of the reasons Mitt Romney was so unable to pivot back to the center was due to the drumbeat at Fox, which contributed to forcing him to the right during the primary season.”
But here's the thing: In 2010 and 2014, Republicans did amazingly well at the polls. They did so well that they now utterly dominate American politics, apart from the presidency:
Republicans now control the Senate and have their largest majority in the House since World War II.

... there are more 7,000 state legislative seats in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

... Republicans now control more than 4,100 seats -- their highest number since 1920. After taking over 11 legislative chambers from Democrats in 2014, Republicans now control 30 state legislatures completely -- and have full control of state government (state legislature and governorship) in 23 states. Democrats, by contrast, have full control of 11 state legislatures and total control of state government in just seven states.
Why do you think this is? It's because Fox, along with talk radio, has found a way to turn rabidly partisan politics into mass entertainment, at least for the third of the country that's conservative. Fox and talk radio keep these people thoroughly focused on politics at all times. The conservative media keeps Republicans wanting to vote, even in off-year elections, when many of the rest of us don't bother. Fox isn't bad for the GOP -- it's terrific for the GOP.

Well, OK -- it's terrific except in presidential years. Democrats seem to have an electoral lock on the presidency. That's really bad for the GOP, right?

We'll see if that holds in 2016. Meanwhile, how will we recall Barack Obama's presidency? As an impressive first two years followed by six years in which nothing the president wanted to do could get done. How terrible is that for the GOP, really? Especially when the Fox-driven anger at the president led to huge gains for Republicans in congressional, state, and local elections -- a pattern that could easily be repeated in a Hillary Clinton presidency.

When Fox pushes Republicans so far to the right that they start losing governorships and state legislatures, then the GOP will have a serious Fox problem. We're nowhere near that point yet.

SURPRISINGLY, ONLY SOME WINGNUTS ARE ROOTING FOR ISIS TO BEHEAD THE PRESIDENT

At Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft reports:
BREAKING: ISIS Promises to Behead Barack Obama -- Posts Bloody Photo Online

Following the news today that US elite forces had executed ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf, ISIS supporters threatened to kill President Obama online.

Vocativ reported:
... “If they took Abu Sayyaf, we will take Obama,” one ISIS supporter posted in the hours after the raid, which took place near the eastern Syrian city of al-Amr.
... ISIS supporters also promised to behead President Obama.

Surprisingly, there are commenters at Hoft's place who would be upset at this outcome ... in their own way:
As much as I despise that son of a bitch in the white house, it should be a cold day in hell before we let the likes if ISIS do him in. As bad as he is, he is still the elected leader of our country. You people saying "do him", ask yourself this question. If you were angrier than you had ever been before, at your 10 year old kid, would you let someone you hated discipline him? I know Obama doesn't come close, but the office IS our collective child. It is ours. I, for one, will not delegate the authority to punish that iffice, or the prick that holds it, to anyone. That is our job. I say we get busy doing our job. Get rid of him and install someone these towel heads will be afraid to threaten.

****

very well spoken and has my whole-hearted agreement. Assasinated presidents are considered martyrs and heroes. Every awful thing they ever did is forgotten and their memory is iconized and enshrined in a collective conscience. I NEVER want Barack Obama likened to Lincoln or Kennedy (both men with feet of clay when they lived)

****

Thank you, Lisa, but it is so much more than that. While I have NO problem with Obama meeting an untimely and uncomfortable demise, the thought of allowing those of any caliphate associated with islam, just doesn't set well with me....

****

Yeah, it is our job to drag him out in chains and put him on trial as Egypt had to guts to do to Morsi, Obama's sockpuppet.
So there: Don't kill him ... because he may be a bratty ten-year-old, but he's our bratty ten-year-old, dammit! And we don't want anyone feeling sympathy after he's assassinated! Let us kill him instead!

Other responses are more what you'd expect:
So uh, I CAN or CAN'T blow that photo up into a wall poster?

****

Hmmmmm....promises, promises....

****

Is that supposed to bother us?

****

Can we take up a collection for his airfare?

****

and the down side would be what exactly...??

****

This ISIS charm offensive is starting to win me over lol
The most common reaction is skepticism because -- of course! -- Obama is on ISIS's side:
Our Moslem in Chief is an enemy of ISIS? or so they think. I think he's been their greatest facilitator and America's worst enemy.

****

I just can't believe the religion of peace wants to decapitate one of its greatest advocates!

****

It's a sham. They love Obama. He's been more than good to them.
And, needless to say, for right-wingers, anything is an excuse to go back to the classic memes, which never get old:
Looks like workplace harassment to me....

****

No worries. ISIS is just a jv team

****

I couldn't care less about Obama. If they get him, let it be because they crossed the border illegally.

****

"If they took Abu Sayyaf, we will take Obama"... As Hillary would say, "WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?"...

****

So there you have it. The reaction's pretty much the same at Free Republic, although I'm struck by one commenter's take on how this would affect U.S. race relations:
They’d be doing us a favor.

Just think no long trial for treason, and his hood rat minions will turn their attention to killing muzzies instead of killing whitey IF such trials were to go through.
There's your GOP base. And you wonder why we can't work out our political differences in America?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

DEAR GOP ESTABLISHMENT: YOU WENT WITH THE WRONG RETREAD

There was a moment when it looked as if both Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney would be running for president. Then, apparently, meetings were convened in the modern-day equivalent of smoke-filled rooms, and Romney decided to bow out, allowing Bush to be the graybeard choice of the party Establishment.

More and more, it seems as if the party made a mistake. Mitt and Jeb are both sad emblems of an embarrassing past, but Jeb appears to be a worse campaigner than Mitt, and Jeb refuses to budge from positions that are anathema to the party base. What's more, the party's voters want a candidate who's an grudge-driven attack dog, which is why the first candidate to shoot to the top of the charts this year was Scott Walker.

If the party Establishment wanted an establishmentarian and Republican voters want a guy motivated by resentment and grudges, Mitt Romney would have been a much better choice. Consider what happened last night at the end of Mitt's charity boxing match with Evander Holyfield:
Holyfield was then declared “The Heavyweight Champion of the World!” while Romney smiled like he’d just knocked out all of his liberal opponents.

And then he took his best jabs of the night at those political foes in a post-fight speech.

The former Massachusetts governor joked about not wanting to take too many hits to the head out of fear he might become a Democrat.
Rimshot!
He teased presidential candidate Hillary Clinton about her clean computer server.

Direct quote:



He elicited loud laughter by quipping, “I’m ready to take on Harry Reid’s exercise equipment.”
Double rimshot!
Perhaps his strongest shot came while explaining that John Kerry set up this fight against Holyfield.

“I’m happy to fight against anybody,” Romney said, “as long as Candy Crowley isn’t the referee.”
Yes, it's been nearly three years and he's still angry at Candy Crowley for accurate statements about Benghazi in the second Obama-Romney debate.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It -- it -- it -- he did in fact, sir. So let me -- let me call it an act of terror...

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He -- he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take -- it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.
But, well, Romney got a laugh back in March when he made the same joke about Crowley on (where else?) Fox News:
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney suggested Tuesday he could put up a fight against boxer Evander Holyfield -- who he will face as part of a charity event in May -- as long as the referee isn't the moderator of one of his 2012 debates with President Obama.

"I can fight anybody, so long as Candy Crowley isn’t the referee," he said on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
Romney will be nursing this grudge for the rest of his life. To the Republican base, that makes him more appealing than he was in 2012. GOP Establishment, why didn't you recognize that? If you wanted to back a retread in this race, he was the guy to back. You could have sold him as a seasoned, grandfatherly moderate, the 2016 version of 1968's New Nixon, come general election time.

SO HOW ARE RICH CEOS DOING IN THEIR CONCENTRATION CAMPS THESE DAYS?

We all know that Fuhrer Barack Obama has made life almost unendurable for rich corporate executives in America, but how bad is it, really?

This bad, according to The New York Times today:
At public companies with market values of more than $1 billion and that had filed proxies by April 30, the average package for the top 200 best paid chief executives was worth $22.6 million, trumping last year’s average of $20.7 million, and the median was $17.6 million. Those are the highest amounts since Equilar began keeping track in 2006.

... like an all-you-can-eat buffet for America’s captains of industry, it seems there is no end to how much money executives can devour. For the first time, all 10 of the top-paid C.E.O.s on Equilar’s list received at least $50 million last year.

... Chummy boardrooms, easily achieved performance targets and large discretionary bonuses -- these are the hallmarks of executive compensation today. They persist despite decades of attempted reform, the best efforts of shareholder advocates and concern about rising inequality.
Yes, it's an even greater crime against humanity than you realized. How much more can the rich tolerate? Tom Perkins, the billionaire venture capitalist, certainly was correct when he wrote this in a letter to The Wall Street Journal last year:
From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent.....

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?
Oh, but the executives whose pay packages are surveyed in the Times today aren't the hedge-funders and private-equity guys who've also compared Obama to Hitler in recent years. How are those poor souls doing, according to the Times?
However large, these pay packages [for corporate executives] do not represent the pinnacle of executive compensation. Hedge fund and private equity firm leaders can make not just tens of millions of dollars a year, but more than $1 billion.

The top 25 hedge fund managers took home a combined $11.62 billion last year, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine, or nearly a half-billion dollars each. The top earner, Kenneth C. Griffin, the founder and chief executive of Citadel, brought home $1.3 billion. Private equity chieftains did nearly as well. Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group made $690 million last year, up from $450 million in 2013.
That would be the same Stephen Schwarzman who was very concerned about life under Obama in 2010:
President Obama and the business community have been at odds for months. But in July the chairman and cofounder of the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private-equity firms, amped up the rhetoric. Stephen Schwarzman ... was addressing board members of a nonprofit organization when he let loose. “It’s a war,” Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
But let's get back to those CEOs of publicly traded companies. Give me a few examples of what they;re suffering through these days:
It pays to work for John C. Malone.

The billionaire who built a cable and communications empire is 74, and no longer a chief executive himself. But Mr. Malone still exerts sway from various boardrooms, and the C.E.O.s at the companies he oversees are routinely among the best compensated managers on the planet.....

Take Discovery Communications, the cable group behind Shark Week and shows like “Cake Boss.”... [Malone's] choice for chief executive, David M. Zaslav, received total compensation worth $156 million last year, making him the highest-paid chief of an American public company....

Just behind Mr. Zaslav on the list of the highest-paid chief executives is Michael T. Fries of Liberty Global, an international cable and wireless group that Mr. Malone presides over as chairman.... [Fries] got a package worth $112 million.

Gregory B. Maffei, one of Mr. Malone’s closest lieutenants, was paid twice in 2014. As chief of Liberty Media, which owns the Atlanta Braves baseball team and a big stake in the satellite radio provider SiriusXM, Mr. Maffei received compensation of $41.3 million. As chief of Liberty Interactive, a related company that owns stakes in home shopping networks, he received $32.4 million. Mr. Malone, the chairman of both companies, awarded his friend a total of $74 million last year, placing him sixth on the list.

Thomas M. Rutledge, another Malone confidant who oversees the regional cable operator Charter Communications, where Mr. Malone and Mr. Maffei are board members, was given a $16 million package last year, an increase of 259 percent over 2013....

Taken together, the four C.E.O.s were awarded more than $350 million last year, occupying three of the top six spots of the study....
All that pain and anguish in the corporate family of John C. Malone. No wonder he said this to The Wall Street Journal in 2010:
Mr. Malone: Well, my wife, who is very concerned about these things, moved all her personal cash to Australia and Canada. She wants to have a place to go if things blow up here....

We have a retreat that's right on the Quebec border. We own 18 miles on the border, so we can cross. Anytime we want to we can get away.

It would probably be illegal but we could go. Actually our snowmobile trail goes right on the border....

WSJ: Do you think President Obama should be re-elected?

Mr. Malone: I don't think he should have been elected in the first place. I think he's incompetent. But now, I've thought that of the last couple presidents. [Obama's administration] is all academics and lawyers. I'm afraid that our real problems are systemic and long term. And lawyers are primarily trained in fighting over the pie, not making the pie bigger. And this country definitely needs to think about making the pie bigger.
Yes, the pie slices certainly are small for all of Malone's CEOs, aren't they?