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    • Why Hillary Clinton Is the Worst Kind of Leader
      Guest Post by Hugh Hillary Clinton doesn’t just make mistakes, she makes big mistakes, the kind that cost a lot of other people their lives and leave ruin and chaos in her wake. She doubles down on them and persists in them long after virtually everyone else has come to realize that they were mistakes. […]
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Reactivity

A couple of observations:

1.) Trump seems to think he can be as wildly and stupidly provocative as he wants to be and he will suffer no dire consequences. I think this is probably true. He gets support from white supremacists and yet, I know some people who lean Trump who would not consider themselves racists. They just like the way he doesn’t hold back. So, I’m fairly confident that he could get the endorsement of NAMBLA and nothing bad would happen. Why is this? I think it’s because the average Trump supporter has been conditioned to contemptuously hate what they perceive as “liberals” more than they hate any other group of people in the country.

If they are pissing you off with their crazy ass support of dangerous gun nuts, racists and sexist assholes, they’ve done their work for the day.

2.) I met some people on Twitter who were freaking out that Hillary Clinton isn’t actively defending herself against every accusation of wrongdoingdishonestskullduggerylawbreakingindictment that pops up in the media. I tried to explain that it wouldn’t really matter what she or her surrogate said about the latest scandal of the day hour.  You either see through this as irrational media pursuit of Hillary for ratings or you don’t. There’s not a lot she can do to address it through the regular “get a surrogate on the TV box thing to defend her” type deal.

Hillary conspiracy theories are a little bit like 9/11 theories. They are completely resistant to actual facts.Journalists are convinced that a Hillary supporter is an old, crusty, uneducated, walker using granny who feebly shakes her bottle of geritol at Hillary on the TV without much enthusiasm. Protests to the contrary do not seem to penetrate reporters’ thick skulls. So, why bother? You’re never going to make Hillary cool to them and reacting to anything they say is a losing proposition. It always puts the campaign on the defensive and who wants to be constantly defending oneself? It’s exhausting.

And pointless.

This is not to say that there are not strategies to get around media bias and crazy ass supporters of the Trumpian variety. It’s just that reacting to it seems like a losing proposition.

The best defense is a good offense.

3.) One place that *might* be worth pushing buttons is Twitter. Many Hillary skeptics (let’s call them that to be nice for now) take to Twitter to disgorge the same stupid, tired old arguments against her. One I see constantly is the notion that the Tweeter doesn’t want a coronation of Hillary. This meme deserves a reply. Because becoming a queen depends on nothing but birth. People who spout this stupid meme are completely invalidating the hard work, experience and accomplishments of a woman who has been a lawyer, first lady of a state and country, a twice elected US Senator and a Secretary of State. What kind of message does that send to other accomplished women? I’d like to see more challenges, and I mean aggressive challenges to this meme.

4.) One last thing, Trump is carpet bombing on Clinton’s marriage, or so I’ve heard, since I don’t watch cable TV.

Is the carpet bombing more effective because of the saturation level or because of the level of disgust it provokes in the viewers? Provoking the sensation of disgust is a very effective propaganda tool and there are a lot of elderly people who find the idea of putting a dirty, urine spouting penis in their mouths the epitome of disgusting things.

Something to keep in mind as the election season goes on and as the audience is conditioned to be disgusted by Hillary while taking a pass on a creepy orange serial philanderer who reportedly doesn’t shake his moist little hands with his supporters.

He probably finds that disgusting.

5.) Ok, one more last, last thing. I think the key to taking down Creamsicle is to make him look like every other Republican political panderer. He’s got to get funding from somewhere and he’s got to learn to play nice with the politicians in his own party. Let us count the ways the system will rein him in, shall we?

Oh, and see if we can find video of him as Melania’s birth partner or doing something sufficiently Sensitive New Age Guy.

The Candidate Index

I’m sure they will feign innocence but how much time and space are our media sources devoting to all of the candidates running for president of the United States.

To refresh your memory, there are currently 3 major candidates still remaining. We aren’t counting Martin O’Malley.

The *three* major candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Hillary Clinton (D)

Bernie Sanders (D)

Donald Trump (R)

Sanders and Clinton? Who are they, you might ask? Indeed. What have they been doing in the last week? Judging by our nation’s sources of truth, we would have no idea. We wouldn’t know if they have any policy ideas, or struggles with campaign financing (seems inevitable with so much attention focused on the other guy), or anything really.

So, how are we going to show how much free publicity has been gifted to each candidate? I’m thinking I need a table of three rows for the candidates and multiple columns for media outlets’ front pages. Media outlets would be: NY Times, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC and Fox. I’ll count the number of times the candidate’s name shows up in a headline on the front page at 6am. Wait, does anyone have any insight on morning deadlines?

Also, what kind of metric should we be going for here?

Gotta go to work but I’ll be back later so if you have any ideas, put them in the comments.

For today, so far I see 3 headlines featuring Trump’s name, 0 featuring Clinton’s name, 0 featuring Sanders. 2 op/ed featuring Trump’s name (Krugman), 1 op/ed featuring Clinton’s name. Elsewhere on the front page of the NY Times, Trump’s name appears 6 times, Clinton’s appears 0, Sanders appears 0.

I can’t wait for Ezra Klein to tell me how surprised he was by this.

 

Random Stuff and Stupid Trolls

I’ve been thinking about the recent True Confessions from our media people and something struck me as odd.

They seem to be alarmed at Trump’s rise but somewhat convinced that when we switch to the general election campaign that voters will see that Hillary is overqualified and the obvious stable choice. So, you know, no reason to do any heavy lifting on her behalf.

I used to think I would be happy if they just stopped with the incessant pick-pick-pick at everything she does and the constant calls for her to disclose more and more just for disclosure’s sake. But I don’t think that will be enough for me anymore. Now, I want them to be proactive just like they were proactive with Obama.

Yeah, women so often get criticized but when they exceed our expectations, we just act as if it’s to be expected. Sorry, I don’t think that’s right. Women need mentors and cheerleaders too. Otherwise they’re accomplishments look just average.

I think Hillary has been running for so long that we have forgotten how much effort this actually takes. Think about how long she has succeeded and persevered and never got a single pat on the back from anyone in the national media. Oh, I’m sure there have been exceptions. But they’re always couched in “We all know she’s not perfect and then there are her emails” stuff. It’s like there is a fear of praising too much.

Is that some kind of biblical holdover or something? Thou shall not praise a woman too much?

If it is, can we let it go, please?

Let’s practice. In the next week, when you see a woman do something well, praise her.

Who’s with me?

*****************************************************************

This is funny.

I had three comments that ended up in moderation. There doesn’t seem to be a trigger word that landed them there. Maybe the moderation queue is just getting smarter.

What’s amusing is that all three of them start off exactly the same way. Then they go on to brag about we’re too stupid to understand how the intertoobz work to stop them. And you know, they have a certain point. WordPress doesn’t give us all the tools to tinker with the Apache server to make sure they can’t post here. It doesn’t give us ALL the tools, but it gives us enough, especially for those of us who have a clue what all these weird TCP/IP thingy whatsits are. We can’t stop you from a concerted attack but we can certainly make it harder for you to post from the same host over and over again.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share the three comments from

HollaBeatch
HillKunt@DemFuk.org

JR
Robinson@KuntPunch.org

and

MI1st
Goldfarb@KuntPunch.ru

Here’s the content of the email:

“Creative Class”… You use that word as some sort of epithet. Well, you know who else is for Bernie? Us queers and faggots and Black Lives Matter. Oh yeah, all of us ‘others’. All of us that you geezers and hags just don’t get.

Yeah, and all of us that can post on this circle-suck, mutual admiration site and you can’t block because you’re too dumb to know what a TOR exit router is, and you don’t know how to fingerprint or read a user-agent string.

The Billary is another in a long line of criminal or near-criminal professional pols who are all the same. The only difference between Hillary and Mitt Romney is that Hillary’s balls are bigger.

We’ll be lucky when you rapacious boomers are all gone. But then again, we’ll be living in the industrial wasteland that you created… so there’s that:/

Have a nice dotage, old-fags…

I know, right?

It’s hysterical. I actually do know how to fingerprint and I know all about bit strings, hashing.

But I didn’t have to do any of that for these three idiots to end up in the moderation queue.

How embarrassing. I swear, the caliber of trolls has gone down in the last eight years. The trolls that Chicago sent out for Obama were so much more sophisticated and evil.

BTW, I don’t blame Bernie Sanders for these idiots.

How to beat Trump

bilde-262x300After 8 long years of deliberately isolating myself from cable news, I listened to CNN on TuneIn radio on my iPhone last night. For three long hours, I listened to Anderson Cooper, followed by some new dude who appears to be Larry King’s replacement, talk about Trump.

It was all Trump, all the time.

It reminded me of the good old Monica Lewinsky era.

They talked about Trump rallies, how he has the worst negatives of any presidential candidate in human history, the math to the nomination, how the GOP would react to Trump’s nomination, would they give him the nomination, would there be riots, are there riots right now, and Megyn Kelly.

Let’s stop right there. Is there anything weirder than Fox News writing a perfectly reasonable statement defending Megyn Kelly against sexism and misogyny and Donald Trump’s crazy, scary obsession with her?

Sometimes I think that if Donald Trump didn’t exist, the Democrats would have to invent him. Because who in their right mind would vote for this guy, right?? It’s got to be a shoe in for Hillary. Then I think that’s what a rational person would think and nothing about this year is remotely rational. In fact, the more the media covers him and points out what a creepy, disgusting, violence inciting, self-tanning mistake of a human being firmly pinned to one end of the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum he is, the more supporters he gets.

I could almost hear the gears whirring in the noggins of Anderson Cooper and his guests trying to figure out how to stop him. “We cover him and he does outrageous things and it’s clear that someone is going to get hurt eventually and women are really going to suffer under a Trump regime, and the more we cover this, the more people want to elect him. What if we… Nahhh, we can’t”

Yes, you can. You can just stop covering him. No, I take that back. Someone might say that it is your responsibility to cover a “legitimate” presidential candidate. Yes, it is, which is why it was so surprising that Hillary’s name was uttered so infrequently last night. And Bernie Sanders wasn’t mentioned at all. If, god forbid, something caused Hillary to drop out, Democrats would happily get behind Sanders in a way that Republicans would not get behind Ted Cruz. But nary a peep about Bernie Sanders. The network has been completely highjacked by Trump.

Think, people, think! You’ve been doing your best work against the Clintons.Why has Trump completely emasculated you??

All you need to do is cover him in completely misleading ways. You know how this is done. Get snippets of his speeches and paste them together to make it sound like he said something his supporters don’t want to hear. Like, “Putin and I are golf buddies. We’re going to talk trade policy and I’m going to get the best deal for both countries.” or “If you lose your job, you can apply for one at Mar-a-Lago. Can you speak Spanish?” or “I’m going to work with Congress and learn to play its game”. Tinker with the color balance in the shots you take of him. Drain the orange from his face and replace it with a nice shade of light bluish gray. Catch him being nice to a Mexican on his estate or accepting some small gift from the King of Saudi Arabia. Or laughing in the Green Room with Megyn Kelly. Find footage of him attending a LaMaze class with Melania.

You know how to do it.

If you really have to cover the candidates, you have to cover all of them, not just the ones that look like the car wreck you’ve been waiting impatiently in your car for 45 minutes to see.

I gave CNN three hours of my life I can’t get back. I now realize that I had made the right choice eight years ago. But not all of us can get beneficially nauseated by the news to stay away from it. If CNN is really that worried about the gigantic asteroid called Trump that is hurtling towards us, it needs to apply the Clinton rules of coverage to him now.

If it doesn’t, then it’s just looking for ratings and it’s part of the problem.

Killing Me Softly With His Drone

I keep thinking I should write up something thoughtful.  That I should find a way to express my opinion about The Drones, The Presidential Kill List (complete with Power Point presentations!) and the almost complete silence about the issue in both televised media and the fashionable progressive blogosphere.  But my brain is stuck on a simple phrase, “Are you fucking kidding me?

In a delayed reaction, I’m wondering – Is “militant” more like a religion or an activity?

Glenn Greenwald, Deliberate media propaganda

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration, in order to conceal civilian deaths caused by their drone attacks, “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.” Although I wrote at length about the NYT‘s various revelations, I wrote separately about that specific disclosure, in order to emphasize the implications for media outlets reporting on American drone attacks:

What kind of self-respecting media outlet would be party to this practice? Here’s the New York Times documenting that this is what the term “militant” means when used by government officials. Any media outlet that continues using it while knowing this is explicitly choosing to be an instrument for state propaganda.

Early this morning, the U.S. fired a missile from a drone in northwest Pakistan — its first since the NYT story – and killed two people.

(snip)

There is, as usual, no indication that these media outlets have any idea whatsoever about who was killed in these strikes. All they know is that “officials” (whether American or Pakistani) told them that they were “militants,” so they blindly repeat that as fact. They “report” this not only without having the slightest idea whether it’s true, but worse, with the full knowledge that the word “militant” is being aggressively distorted by deceitful U.S. government propaganda that defines the term to mean: any “military-age males” whom we kill (the use of the phrase “suspected militants” in the body of the article suffers the same infirmity).

Jane, at FireDogLake has been silent about Obama’s Kill List (at least as far as I can tell – I’ll add links if I’m wrong.) But I stumbled across this great post by Dissenter, The Media on Obama’s ‘Kill List’.  It’s a long list discussing some of the stories I’ve mentioned in my posts and a couple I’m including today as well as some you haven’t seen from me.

Laugh or cry – or both: MSNBC: No Time for Obama’s Kill List?

The New York Times’ lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama’s drone “kill list” should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama’s criticism of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies “militants” who are targeted for assassination?

But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC.

(snip)

But what about the channel that would seem the natural place for some of that left-leaning analysis? MSNBC has been mostly quiet. A search of the Nexis news database turns up nothing on Obama’s kill list. The program Morning Joe had one discussion (5/29/12) where the panelists mostly supported the program, though host Joe Scarborough expressed some reservations.

What was more newsworthy? MSNBC’s prime time shows seemed to have plenty of coverage of “birther” Donald Trump.

In an almost illegibly formatted piece from The Nation makes a pretty good point: US president’s kill list is illegal and immoral:

The Times described the president as poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies – their “baseball cards,” as one unnamed official put it – and making the final determination of whether and when a suspected terrorist leader, and sometimes his family, will be killed.But if the president’s personal involvement is laudable, the killings themselves are no less controversial. And, if the Times’s reporting is accurate, the programme itself is illegal.Becker and Shane confirm what we could only guess from remarks made by Obama’s advisors in the past: that the United States is targeting to kill individuals overseas who do not pose an imminent threat to the United States and who are not directly participating in hostilities against Americans. That’s a violation of international law.

And from Stephen Colbert (Video starts playing – with sound – as page loads!!!) – Two Birds With One Drone

Thursday: Turning the Worm

Sorry I haven’t been around much these days.  Thank you, Katiebird for keeping the place up.  :-)

I haven’t got much news this morning but I did hear an interesting interview on The Naked Scientists podcast about the “worms” that television media outlets use during campaign season.  The worm is a graphical overlay on a broadcast debate or interview that records and displays the real time responses of a set of participants to what the politicians are saying.  It turns out that the worm may have a larger effect on the general audience than what the politicians are actually saying. It is also possible to “freep” the worm in order to deliberately introduce bias.  Here’s a snippet:

Chris –   So how did you actually do the study?

Colin –    Well, we ran what was conceptually a very simple experiment, although technically it was somewhat difficult.  We had two quite large groups of subjects come in on the evening of the final election debate last year (on April 29th), and they watched a version of the debate that includes the worm (the squiggly line going up and down).  But we played a little trick on our subjects because although they were watching the genuine live debate, which we were getting from the BBC stream, the “worm” that they were seeing wasn’t the real worm, it was controlled by us.  I was sitting in my office, watching the debate, and pressing some keys to move the worm about and hopefully making it look plausible.  The worm that our subjects saw was based on the one that I was moving about, but biased in a particular direction.  So for one group the worm was systematically biased in favour of Gordon Brown, and for the other group it was biased in favour of Nick Clegg.  Then we used some video mixers so that we could superimpose our worms over the live BBC broadcast.  Based on people’s responses afterwards via questionnaire, we can tell that our deception was successful, so the subjects on the whole believed that this was a real broadcast and the worm was genuine.

Chris –   But more critically, what was the outcome when you ask the students who won the debate?

Colin –   What our results suggest is that the worm is having a huge influence.  In fact, it’s much greater than we had anticipated.  Our two groups had completely different ideas about who had won the debate and their opinions were consistent with what the worm had been telling them.  So the group that saw a worm which favoured Gordon Brown thought that he had won the debate, whereas the group that saw the worm which favoured Nick Clegg overwhelmingly thought that he was the winner.  And more worryingly perhaps, we saw a similar, slightly smaller effect when we asked people about their choice of preferred Prime Minister.  So if people had been voting immediately after this debate, it seems like our manipulation could have had a significant effect on how they voted.

Give this one a listen or read the transcript.  The Confluence has always recommended caution when viewing broadcast and cable news.  Here’s one more reason to avoid it and stick to C-Span.  Pssst, pass it along.

For those of you who like to read studies of this kind, here’s the link to the PLOS paper, Social Influence in Televised Election Debates: A Potential Distortion of Democracy.   Here’s the money quote from the Discussions section:

In principle, televised election debates allow voters to form judgements about the leaders and their policies without the filter of (often unbalanced) media sources. Some writers have argued that this absence of “spin” is also a positive aspect of the worm:

I love the crawler and think that it really helps you understand what’s going on in the debates – in particular, it helps you take one step back from your own prejudices. It’s also just about the only input into debate commentary that comes more or less unmediated; the anonymous “undecided” focus group participants might be dumb or irrational, but they’re at least not pushing an agenda. Raw data is always good to have. [30]

According to this perspective, the worm is simply an additional source of “raw data”. Schill and Kirk [10]agree with this perspective, arguing that broadcasting the worm is “fundamentally empowering”, in that “it provides viewers more information to consider when watching the debates and forming their own opinions”. However, we dispute the claim that this is empowering to the viewer. Rather, our results indicate that the presence of the worm makes it more difficult for viewers to form opinions that are truly their own.

Caveat Emptor.  The rest of the podcast is pretty good too.  This week, the Naked Scientists features an extended section on cell phones.  Yep, all the information you can eat on how to fry your brain with radio waves.  Check it out.

Tomorrow is my last day of work.  I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to finding a new one.  That starts in earnest today.  I should have more time on my hands for blogging and I have a few topics I want to cover, like the Walmart class action gender discrimination lawsuit.  That could be a biggy.  There are a number of similar lawsuits pending, such as the one filed by women working at Lockheed-Martin.  Does this sound familiar, ladies?:

The lead plaintiff in the case, Carol Bell, a more than 20-year veteran of the company, asserts that she and other females employed by Lockheed Martin face a “glass ceiling” that prevents them from being considered for upper management level positions. Moreover, Plaintiffs allege that women who do hold these senior leadership positions are primarily relegated to “traditionally female” departments, such as Human Resources, Ethics, and Communications.

The suit also alleges that women in positions across various levels at Lockheed Martin are disproportionately paid less than men who perform substantially similar work, with similar or lesser skills and experience, and are disproportionately rated lower than men as a result of the company’s “bell curve” forced rating systems. Lower selection rates in “stretch” positions, leadership training, and other advancement track opportunities have resulted in lower compensation for female professionals; in contrast, male employees with lesser qualifications and experience find themselves on a fast track to promotion.

According to the complaint, it is Lockheed Martin’s practice to restrict posting of open positions Director-level and above (contrary to its policy for lower-level positions which are posted). The suit alleges that Lockheed Martin does not have an application or a formal interview process for these management positions, and instead makes promotion decisions in secretive meetings in which women often are not present.

The Walmart suit could have a domino effect on other similar suits, like Lockeheed Martin’s, and Bayer’s.  The Bayer one hits particularly close to home.  Go read the examples from the complaint on that one.  Amazing and very disturbing. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.  We finally have the magical 30% female composition on the court but will they be persuasive enough with old Catholic fogeys like  Scalia and particularly Kennedy?  Or will the six boys schedule their own meeting and come to a decision without Sotomayor, Kagan and Bader-Ginsburg?

Keep your eyes on this one.

In the meantime, it’s time to say goodbye to the best job I ever had.  Many thanks to all of my colleagues who have made my last seven years so rewarding:

The truth is biased


Big Tent Democrat:

There is a new celebratory quality to journalism that manifests itself in different ways. In the Beltway, it’s being in with the government In crowd. That means sacrificing objectivity and the truth.

Davies seems to have allowed, indeed he appears to be celebrating, his belief that Assange is a loathsome figure (not about the sex he makes clear) interfere with his duties as a journalist.

Can Nick Davies be considered an objective reporter on Wikileaks or Assange in the face of that admission? Similarly Wired magazine appears to have made similar moral judgments about Assange. In an e-mail he sent to Glenn Greenwald, the entirety of which he published himself, Wired’s Ryan Singel wrote of Assange and Wikileaks:

Suffice it to say I’m disappointed by your article, which I find to be warped by your allegiance to Wikileaks, which gets nothing but glowing accolades from you, despite ample evidence that Assange and Wikileaks aren’t acting in good faith.

Now whether Assange or Wikileaks are acting in good faith is an important part of the Wikileaks story, but it strains credulity to believe that a reporter who has concluded that Assange and Wikileaks “aren’t acting in good faith” can present itself as, in the words of Newsweek, “objective and nonpartisan.”

First of all, let me remind you that BTD thought media bias was a good thing when it came to selecting the Democratic nominee:

As most of you know by now, the difference maker for me in supporting Barack Obama in the primaries was the fact the he is the Media Darling of the election.

Secondly, while the media should be somewhat objective and neutral at the beginning of researching/investigating a story, by the end they should have formed an opinion. They can’t put aside their own knowledge and experience and that will affect their perceptions.

More importantly, we rely on reporters (and cops) to evaluate what they see and hear and give us an accurate picture of what they think really happened. But, just like cops, they need to present us with ALL the information they have gathered so we can double-check their conclusions.

How many times in recent years have we seen the media present both sides of as story as equally credible when they’re not? How often have they given us a completely one-sided presentation?

Both approaches are equally wrong.


Caveat: I’m talking about what’s called “investigative journalism.” When reporting on something like a political debate the media should try to present both sides as accurately as possible so the voters can form their own opinions. But even then they should fact-check misstatements and incorrect information.


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