“Echo Chambers” – An Alternative To The BBC Feature #2

The first installment with my own mission statement is here. Zurcher’s next topic was inevitable, so here goes. Again, I’m doing this without having read any of it other than the title and the first sentence.

Chris Christie’s Bridge-sized Headache

Somebody has leaked or stolen some emails by the popular and prominent New Jersey Governor detailing and gloating about deliberately blocking traffic on a vital commuter conduit in order to retaliate against a local politician who didn’t endorse Christie in the last election. The deputy chief of staff – whom Christie has now fired – seems to have made no bones about what they were doing, and even expressed pleasure in doing so in emails between her and the the Port Authority official in charge of running the George Washington Bridge, who’s a high school friend of the Governor and was appointed by him. It does have all the appearances of being very cozy.

It’s ugly business, not because it’s a national incident but because it’s a clear case of using government power to harm a political opponent, which is a major issue on its own thanks to the IRS scandal, never mind the negative affect it had on ordinary citizens, apparently simply because most of them voted the wrong way. As this editorial from Investor’s Business Daily says, “What’s infuriating is how this kind of politics is becoming the norm.”

This is a major national story also because Christie has a national profile not only because of his public image as a straight talker and a caring, competent administrator after the devastation of parts of his State from Hurricane Sandy, but because he’s been considered by many in the media and political wonk class to be the front runner for the Republican candidacy for President in 2016. Anything that calls his integrity into question is going to be big. It’s especially going to gain legs regardless of the facts because at the moment he’s the number one obstacle to President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton. So Christie now has the biggest target on his back of anyone in the country.

He’s going to get the vetting that the media never did for the Junior Senator from Illinois in 2008, or even during Obama’s first term as President. It’s no secret that the mainstream media knows they didn’t do their job properly, and that they really did use the power of the press to support him and attack enemies. There’s been a little pushback in the last couple of months, and it was probably always going to be inevitable that they were going to overreact in order to reestablish public trust and prove that they really do want to hold politicians accountable and speak truth to power.

As Paul Bedard points out in the Washington Times:

The Big Three networks, in a frenzy over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s traffic headache dubbed “Bridgegate,” have devoted a whopping 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage to the affair in just the last 24 hours.

By comparison, that’s 17 times the two minutes, eight seconds devoted to President Obama’s IRS scandal in the last six months, according to an analysis by the Media Research Center.

“While routinely burying new stories on the IRS scandal, the media practically fell over themselves to start taking shots at the potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee,” said the conservative media watchdog.

It’s important to keep this background in mind when considering the media coverage now, regardless of the facts as they come out. Opinion on the validity of the IRS scandal can be viewed as a metric. So, naturally there’s noise in both the Left and Right echo chambers. Christie says he didn’t know the truth and was misled by his staff about the whole thing. Naturally, some won’t trust him and are asking “What did he know and when did he know it?”, while others are taking him at his word. While it’s impossible to prove a negative, many are pointing to his known brusk, tough-talking, and at times aggressive behavior as evidence that this attitude was endemic in his administration, and thus he shares blame.

A good example of this comes from the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart. Just his blog title says it all:

Chris Christie: ‘I am not a bully’ – LOL

During his 107-minute me-me-mea culpa over the traffic fiasco that plunged his national political fortunes into chaos, Gov. Chris Christie said something that was LOL funny. It came in response to a question from NBC News’s Kelly O’Donnell: “Your critics say this reveals that you are a political bully, that your style is payback,” she asked the New Jersey Republican known for his love of rhetorical fisticuffs and penchant for retribution. “Are you? And does this compromise your ability to serve?

Capehart then cites a couple of instances of Christie making snarky retorts at people asking him challenging questions. Those responses are part of what made independents and people on the Right like him, while it tended to anger those on the Left. To Capehart and those in his echo chamber, it’s proof that Christie is a bully, and proof that he either knew or his style encouraged the corrupt behavior.

At the top of that echo chamber is this editorial from the New York Times:

There are plenty of questions that Mr. Christie and his aides, current and former, need to answer.

First, is it plausible that officials as high up as Ms. Kelly and Mr. Christie’s top appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge, would decide to seek revenge and create this traffic chaos on their own?

Did Mr. Christie know in December, when Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein resigned, that these two members of his inner circle had taken part in the scheme? Did he ever ask them what happened?

Piers Morgan says it’s as big a scandal as Watergate.

The echo chamber from the other side is obviously more willing to give Christie the benefit of the doubt. But they’re certainly not just accepting his side of the story and drawing a line under the incident. Charles Krauthammer is taking a wait-and-see attitude. He even suggests that if Christie’s toughness image comes across after this as “a petty toughness”, he’s “toast”.  That and the IBD sentiment I mentioned above are echoed by Red State’s Eric Erickson (writing for Fox News here):

I’m ambivalent on his run for the presidency . But I don’t see him getting that far for the very reasons underlying this issue — he and his staff operate as divas.I have had congressmen, governors, and the staffers of congressmen and governors tell me horror stories about dealing with Christie’s people.

All of them seem to dread it.

It seems that even if Christie comes out of this with clean(ish) hands, the bully label is going to stick. Of course, nobody in either echo chamber is comparing that to Hillary Clinton’s own horror stories about how she treats people, but it’s only a matter of time if Christie does eventually declare.

So is it going to doom Christie’s presidential hopes? It’s too soon to tell, of course, but there are plenty of guesses out there. Lisa Schiffren in the National Review Online’s “The Corner”, thinks this too shall pass and Christie the (eventual) candidate might even come out of this the better for it. The other echo chamber, here in the form of Jason Linkins of the HuffingtonPost, thinks there’s always the possibility of a “Comeback Kid” story, as the media likes to create these Narratives.

There’s one other facet to this story – particularly the coverage and the opinion-mongering – which goes back to what I said about how opinion of the IRS scandal can be a kind of metric. The same people on the Left who defended the President on that saying he couldn’t possibly have known, and his behavior had no influence on the IRS going after his political enemies, are now certain that Christie’s behavior influenced and led to everything, and of course he probably knew.

Before closing, we must also consider the other, other echo chamber: Twitter.

 

 

It’s too early to know how this will turn out, but the various opinions have been far more revealing of the attitudes and politics of the people making them than about anything in the story itself.

Six Impossible Things

As the US at last gets to vote on the most important election in human history (it must be, to judge from the legion of BBC staff running around over here to cover it), the BBC’s coverage of the whole scene has been making me think of the following from Through the Looking Glass:

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’

The BBC definitely wants you to believe some impossible things when it comes to the President and the current situation in the US. You’ll most likely hear some of these at some point today during the BBC’s wall-to-wall coverage.

(NOW UPDATED TO INCLUDE LINKS, because defenders of the indefensible have decided to be intellectually dishonest today and pretend they’ve never read anything on this blog. I’ll add more later today and this evening when I have more time. Everyone is welcome to post examples in the comments.)

1. Tea Party-led Republican intransigence has blocked His every move for the last two years, but the President has saved the economy, and we’re on the road to recovery.

2. The country is more divided and polarized than it has ever been before due to Tea Party and Right-wing media rhetoric, while at the same time you’re expected to believe that the President did not begin His term in office by sitting down to the negotiating table and telling Republicans, “I won”, and that He has not said or done anything divisive, ever.

3. The Democrat super-majority in Congress – absolute control of both houses – for His first two years which let Him do whatever He liked (except pass a budget, which even the Dems in the Senate weren’t stupid enough to vote for) without bothering to get a single Republican vote, was a Golden Age of Congress getting things done.

4. The only real reason people are voting against the President is racism, or crypto-racism, even though nobody complained when George Bush had a black man and then a black woman as the second-most powerful person in his Administration, and the Tea Party movement was ready to support Herman Cain. All those people who voted for The Obamessiah in 2008 and are not voting for Him today have suddenly reverted to being racist.

5. It’s perfectly natural for Hispanics to vote for their own kind, and want more of their own kind to come to the US. Any laws which impede that are immoral, and the only reason to oppose this kind of racialist thinking is racism.

6. Romney, like George Bush, is a walking gaffe machine, and the President has made only two minor missteps in five years (including the 2008 campaign).

No, thank you. I’m off to vote as soon as I finish my breakfast.

Don’t Blame Him

As if all the other BBC reporting isn’t enough, they got their (freelance) World Service economics correspondent to ask, in the usual manner of journalists posing a question to which they’ve already decided the answer, if the poor US economy is the President’s fault.

US economy: Who to blame for poor economic performance?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: The economy really isn’t that bad if you consider it in historical context, and no, only some people say it’s His fault for not doing enough to fix it.

The opening section is devoted to telling you how the economy really isn’t as all that bad from an historical perspective. Moreover, the US doesn’t look so bad at all compared to the current European situation, as well as Japan. In fact, the latest quarterly figures show the US has made up all lost ground, and is now doing better than before the recession! Never mind the massive debt, or the continuously rising deficit, or the fact that the latest GDP bump is mostly due to the Fed printing more money we don’t have. So before we even get to assigning blame, we’ve softened the blow considerably, and in fact might even cause some people to wonder what’s the point of assigning blame at all.

This follows on Walker’s report from the other day defending the President on unemployment, where he dutifully regurgitated the latest jobs report without mentioning that previous jobs figures keep getting revised down. So when he then tells you that Romney will be lying if he now claims that the President has presided over a net jobs loss, you don’t actually know the whole truth. Interestingly, the last two lines of that piece are actually a set-up for this one.

In any case, now that Walker has established his premise that the economy really isn’t so bad if you think about it, he sets about pretending to ask if the President is to blame.

For the “It’s not His fault, you see” side, he links to a Bloomberg opinion piece by two economic academics explaining the historical context, and declaring that the current doldrums are nothing unusual. In fact, they say, history tells us this was always going to be the case after such a bad financial crisis. It’s not His fault, you see.

For the racist side blaming the President’s policies, Walker mentions two other economic academics, but links only to a PDF file of the “Romney Plan” on the Romney campaign website. It’s written by the people he mentions, but this is obviously going to raise a red flag with readers. It’s a partisan campaign manifesto, so not to be taken as seriously as the view Walker offers from the other side. Even though he allows as how the other economics experts are sympathetic to the President, an independently researched and published book and opinion piece isn’t even remotely the same thing as an actual party platform. It’s rather disingenuous to present these as apples-to-apples.

I suppose it would be churlish to compare word counts here, like they did for the debates. This is just one more piece to support the BBC’s overall Narrative that there is no legitimate opposition to the President’s policies, and that those who express the desire to vote against Him are motivated by something else.

For a hint at Walker’s personal political views, see this old piece where he sanitizes the political views and writings of that well-known eugenics fan and Stalinist, Bernard Shaw.

Mardell Stares Into The Abyss

Mark Mardell seems to be preparing himself for a Romney win. Of course, it won’t be the President’s fault. From the BBC’s in-house magazine:

Mark Mardell… Our man in Washington

Millions more will turn out for the general election, but Mardell senses a great disillusionment in America and believes that this could be crucial to President Obama’s chances for reelection. Asked for a prediction, he replies that it will come down to turnout. ‘I think if he’s defeated he will be defeated by people who quite like him, don’t like Romney that much, but decide to stay at home [on election day].’

“Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!  (John XIII:38)

What’s this disillusionment about? Why would these people who like Him decline to vote for Him? They’re not racist all of a sudden, are they?

He admits that problems with the economy perhaps stem from American policies rather than presidential decisions….

What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.  (Romans IX:30-32)

It’s not His fault, you see. Congress failed Him. The people failed Him. Nothing to do with His policies. However, by blaming the faithful for failing Him, the awkward question of why all those people are voting against Him can be avoided.

Plus a nice delusional dig at Romney:

…but believes that foreign policy will certainly take a different ‘tone’ under a Romney term, with ‘implications’ for the UK.

It’s hard to imagine Romney racking up a bigger body count than the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate-in-Chief. How many new countries has the President taken war into again?

Actually, Mardell has always been firmly against the UK helping the US in Iraq and Afghanistan (he mentions them specifically), and for some reason thinks Romney will be George Bush all over again and drag you into new wars. Hasn’t the President been very clear, for example, that He won’t allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, and that there were “no options off the table”? This is a White House talking point, nothing more. Of course, it could also be a tacit admission that in a second term, the President will let Iran, China, and Russia do whatever they like. Which makes Mardell’s focus on Bush’s wars and the (economic) “It all started in America” meme all the more curious. After all, the President did tell Medvedev to sit tight on the European missile situation for now because He’ll have more flexibility then. But Mardell’s worried about what Romney will do.

Read the rest of it for laughs. His continued bewilderment by us United Statesians would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad and a little tiresome. My favorite line, though, is this:

While Mardell is cautious with his language at times, worried about how it might be interpreted, there are hints that he is a passionate man with strong beliefs.

Understatement of the year. They know it, and Mardell knows it. They just don’t care. But by all means, they expect you to continue to trust them on US issues.

Katty Kay Tweets Political Endorsement

The latest tweet from Katty Kay, BBC Washington correspondent and anchor of what’s left of BBC World News America, and the highest-profile Beeboid in the US:

First of all, Bloomberg is no longer a Republican, hasn’t been for years. He quit that Party and has been calling himself an independent since 2007 – which Katty knows for a fact – so the whole “bi-partisan” thing is false right away. Not only that, but as Katty also well knows, Bloomberg is a life-long Democrat who switched to Republican only so he could run for New York City mayor without having to bribe the Democrat machine in certain outer boroughs because he felt he’d stand out better among the Republican candidates. Quite frankly, Katty Kay is being dishonest when she calls this a bi-partisan ticket.

_______________

UPDATE: Katty’s partisan ticket isn’t even an original thought. She’s merely regurgitating partisan opinion from her friends within the Beltway Bubble:

 

 

 

That’s the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker, btw.

_______________

Just another biased display from perhaps the most hyper-partisan Beeboid in the US. Here’s Katty displaying her advocacy for Climate Change legislation with Mayor Bloomberg himself. And here she is just the other day on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (where she’s a regular panelist in her official BBC capacity) expressing her frustration with the lackluster message coming out of the President’s campaign. Why trust this woman on anything anymore? A complaint has been sent to the BBC, and since she does work in the US and report on US issues, they can’t give me the brush-off right away.

Note that this is an officially sanctioned BBC twitter account. The logo is featured prominently and there is no “views my own” get-out-of-bias-free disclaimer.

Over to you, professional journalists and media experts who defend the indefensible.

Like A Warrior, He Will Stir Up His Zeal

That line from Isaiah, 42:13, just about sums up the BBC’s breathless anticipation of tonight’s debate rematch between the President and His enemy political opponent. Jude Sheerin in Washington (another one? how many Beeboids are there in the US now? -ed) is here to reassure the faithful that the President will come out fighting.

Obama team raises expectations for debate with Romney

We get assurances from both the President’s mouthpiece as well as from Romney’s camp that the President will do better. Not a single word is given to the viewpoint that the President’s previous failure was due to a lack of substance, not just a problem with style. Tonight’s debate is supposed to focus on foreign policy, the President’s number one Achilles heel at the moment, but since it’s town-hall style with audience questions, I’m not sure how much anyone can guarantee that this will be the case.

Oh, wait, yes there is a way to guarantee how the audience will behave: let CNN pick them and put in a few Democrat operatives like they did last time. The moderator has already said that she’s looking to break some rules and take control of the agenda anyway. It fills one with such confidence…..

Sheerin’s piece is full of bits about what the President will do better tonight, and nothing about Romney. Is there another article about his side of things that I’ve missed somewhere?

The most recent poll figures the BBC has on offer shows the President up by two points, but it’s from October 7.  Missing is an entire week of Romney improvement, to the point where he’s now virtually tied with or leading the President in some areas. But the BBC doesn’t want you to know that, so they leave things as they are.

Amazingly, one big, massive, ginormous issue gets tacked on at the very end of this: Hillary Clinton falls on her sword over Benghazi. This is buck-passing at it’s finest. I guess she’s just decided that her presidential aspirations are dead now. She’ll never be able to run with this on her record. Of course we’re meant to understand here that it’s not His fault, and so any accusations about it coming from Romney will be “fact-checked” under the bus along with her.

Meanwhile, the BBC’s US President editor has had to swallow hard and admit that Romney’s performance last time really did help a lot, and polls do show him in the lead. It only took Mardell two weeks to get with reality. So why does that key information have to stay relegated to a blog post and isn’t updated on the official election page?

But Mardell still can’t quite accept it.

On the surface it is just odd that a single debate would have produced such a big shift.

No, it isn’t odd at all, if one has been paying attention to reality. The BBC, on the other hand, has kept it from you. I don’t think there’s a single person here who is surprised by this at all, yet the BBC’s top man in the US just doesn’t get it.

Mardell is also stuck on the superficial, still providing excuses for his Obamessiah.

But perhaps it was simply that he wanted to appear presidential and above petty argument, but missed the mark by enough to seem disengaged and aloof.

This is idiotic. What does he mean by “petty”? Engaging with Romney is beneath Him? Such a statement actually makes the President look even worse, but to Mardell this is acceptable. “The Emperor didn’t want to soil his new clothes, so stayed back from the field. A wise move, but made him look hesitant to some.”

This next bit is interesting to me.

…but I’ve heard an intriguing explanation from Republican strategists. They argue that people who voted for Mr Obama last time in a spirit of hope are looking for permission not to do so again.

His lack of engagement, lack of answers, and lack of enthusiasm in the debate was so different from the mood he inspired in 2008, that it allows them to justify a switch without suggesting they made a mistake.

In other words, nothing He’s done in the last four years has any bearing at all on whether or not someone might be disappointed and not vote for Him this time. Unbelievable.

Amusingly, Mardell is also pre-emptively criticizing Romney about Benghazi. He says that Romney will have to be more clear, do a better job explaining what lessons we need to learn from it. Wrong. Romney needs to show that the Administration is a shambles more than how he’d do it differently next time.

They just don’t get it, can’t accept it. Everything they’ve been investing their emotions and energy in for the last five years is all coming crashing down around them, and they simply don’t know how to deal with it. Maybe the President can turn things around and His team has come up with some real substance to lay out tonight. Maybe there will be some smart audience questions that will put Romney on the back foot. I don’t know, but I have my doubts.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I Corinthians: 58-60

 

“I’m Not Very Impartial When It Comes To US Politics! x” said the BBC journalist.

(UPDATED, see below the fold) On Wednesday’s open thread, DB posted a tweet from BBC journalist, Jude Machin, expressing her hope to wake up in the middle of the night to watch her beloved Obamessiah debate His enemy for the first time. The point DB was making is best expressed visually, so I’ll reproduce it here:

UPDATE: As you can see above, someone has forced a little impartiality on Jude after all. Awww. I’m currently having difficulty uploading the screenshot I took at the time, but fortunately DB took one and posted it in the comments below.

(UPDATE to above UPDATE: The above update was written after Machin changed the pic to one of herself holding what appeared to be an Olympic torch, but before the entire Twitter account was killed. I was referring here to the new profile avatar.)

Jude has gone all out in her devotion, it seems. So much for not doing anything stupid, eh, Ms. Boaden? Naturally, a fellow worshiper chimed in with an “Amen, sister!”


…prompting a response from the erstwhile “Obamamama”:


The sister worshiper is Leah Gooding, BBC Newsround presenter.

They’re all at it, and they don’t care about showing it in public. Ms. Gooding doesn’t have the requisite “views my own” get-out-of-bias free card that most of them do, but neither does she have the BBC logo. So she’s probably beyond the reach of the BBC guidelines.

Are these tweets proof of biased reporting/presenting on their own? No. But added all up, they create a profile of the very kind of echo chamber fellow Left-leaning BBC journalist, Kate Dailey, was warning against only yesterday. It has to affect BBC reporting on some level. If they all share the same approved thoughts anyway, it will happen naturally, without conspiracy or awareness.

Time for some more social media training courses, I think. Somebody should ask Helen Boaden if this is the kind of thing she was talking about when she asked staff to engage the brain before “rushing to communicate.

UPDATE AGAIN: Below are the screenshots. I’ve left the above embeds as is, in order to show that Machin’s Twitter account has been sent down the memory hole. That’s why there’s no more profile pic. It’s possible she killed it once I told them I had screenshots. Another round of training is in order, I should think. At your expense.

Jude Machin Twitter Screenshot Obama avatar

Leah Gooding approves of Jude Machin's Obama Avatar

Mardell Tells A Little White Lie For The White House

I chose the word “lie” with great care, after long consideration. But I can come to no other conclusion. If one has wrong information and then makes a statement based on that faulty info, it’s not telling a lie. If one has the correct information but knowingly makes a statement contradicting that, it’s a lie. I think that’s what Mardell is doing here.

US election: Is foreign policy Romney’s best chance?

The short blog post is mainly about trying to push the idea that Romney’s campaign is in disarray, and that triangulating on a perceived foreign policy stumble regarding the Benghazi fiasco might help his chances. The BBC’s US President editor – a lifelong political junkie who should know better – actually wants you to believe that taking advantage of a new opportunity is the same thing as completely overhauling a campaign because the other ideas aren’t working.

Naturally, Mardell’s conclusion is the one you probably guessed: no, it won’t help Romney in the end anyway, because the people actually care more about the economy than anything else. Why this brilliant bit of obviousness took him 434 words to say instead of two short paragraphs, I have no idea. Since this is Mardell, though, there’s usually a gem amongst the paste. He sets up the notion that Romney’s campaign is desperately spinning wheels trying to find some traction by saying this:

Some in Mitt Romney’s camp are tempted to switch focus to foreign affairs.

As if they never had any plans to mention it, and as if events, dear boy, didn’t provide an opportunity. To back it up, he then says this:

No-one doubts now that the opinion polls show Mr Romney in a whole heap of trouble.

He didn’t say, “most” or “the conventional wisdom” or “expert analysts” or even “no-one with half a brain”. He said “no-one”. This is a lie, because by October 1 Mardell knew all about the following, but chooses to tell you they don’t exist:

Obama and Romney are basically tied in Virginia

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

 The presidential race remains competitive even though voters still trust Mitt Romney slightly more than President Obama when it comes to handling economic matters. Will Wednesday night’s first presidential debate make a difference?

With a race this close, possibly but not likely, Scott Rasmussen argues in his latest weekly syndicated column. “Events in the real world matter more than debates,” Scott writes. “Only in the absence of other news could a slight change in the race coming out of the debates be decisive.”

(More on the debate issue in a moment)

Gallup on Romney’s terrible month

Also, this is registered voters. Likely voters probably favors Romney.

Morning Jay: Are the Polls Tilted Toward Obama?

One important “tell” in my opinion, is this president’s continued weak position with independent voters, who remain the true swing vote.

But wait, there’s more.

The Election Isn’t Over

Only fools and partisans think Obama has it locked up.

Obama and Romney Neck in Neck in OH Poll… WITH D+10 SAMPLE!

What to Make of Declining Democratic Registration?

Basically, there’s a big discussion going on right now about the polls being skewed or otherwise unrepresentative of reality. And Mardell knew it. He just decided none of this was worth a damn and that you should think “no-one” doubts that Romney is in desperate straits.

Before any itchy fingers start trying to tell me that Mardell is right that Romney is in trouble, let me remind you that it’s irrelevant. I’m talking specifically about the fact that he said “no-one doubts”, which is patently false. A lie. At best, dismissing Rasmussen and Gallup and the Wall Street Journal as well as the local stuff, and saying that none of what I’ve linked to is worthy of respect, which just means he’s as biased as we say he is. Only fools and partisans, indeed.

Do I think a lot of this noise can be put down to sour grapes? Sure. Every time I hear someone complaining about skewed polls, that’s what I’m wondering. But that’s not the point. The point is that a lot of otherwise reasonable, respectable people think things are a lot closer than they really are. Also, let’s remember that in 2008 when Candidate Obamessiah had a similar lead over Sen. McCain, the Beeboids were fretting that the polls were skewed due to lying racists and the Bradley Effect. Ah, good times….good times. Funny how we’re not so racist now. Any bets that we will be racists again if Romney wins?

Now about tonight’s debate. The new Narrative in the US mainstream media (whom Mardell has admitted are mostly liberal) is that the debates don’t mean anything. It’s a clever pre-emptive strike at the bounce Romney will most likely get. There’s also been an attempt to revive the myth surrounding that Nixon-JFK debate where supposedly people who watched it on TV thought Kennedy won, while those who listened on the radio thought Nixon did. In other words, since most everyone is going to be watching it, don’t believe your lying eyes if you think Romney won.

Mardell dutifully follows suit. A draw will be a successful result for the President. He also throws in an appeal to authority and has some academic say that the debates don’t usually change anyone’s mind, but at least leave the voters better informed. I’d like some maple syrup on that waffle, please.

At least Adam Blenford’s full-length piece on the debate issues and candidates is pretty well balanced and not obviously biased. I even think that the weaknesses listed for both men can be considered different versions of the same thing. He didn’t mention the President’s whining about having to rehearse and study for it, but never mind.

Mardell will be tweeting during the debate and then blogging his pearls of wisdom afterwards. Joy.

Daniel Nasaw’s Horrible History Lesson

Daniel Nasaw is one of the handful of Beeboids working the US beat who was actually born and raised here. In his latest feature for the BBC online Magazine, a “From Our Own Correspondent” segment, he visits a Civil War battle reenactment to use as a metaphor for a primary Narrative about the current state of US politics we hear across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting: an historic, extreme polarization.

Nasaw doesn’t so much get the basic relevant history bits of the Civil War wrong as he does the lesson which he’s trying to invent from it.

Antietam: Re-enacting a bloody 1862 US Civil War battle

(Audio “From Our Own Correspondent” version is here, beginning @17:18)

In addition to the morale-boosting effect for the North (it was a strategic draw, really but ended Gen. Lee’s push into Union territory), the Battle of Antietam is pretty legendary because of the carnage, so it’s a good choice for Nasaw to hold up as a symbol of how horrible the splitting of the nation was. Which becomes the problem, as we’ll soon see. First, a bit about the whole reenactment thing, which seems to baffle our not-so-humble correspondent as well as amuse him much in the way natives in exotic locations reenacting colorful tribal rituals amuse the tourists.

It really is a pretty big hobby, as Nasaw says. Lots of groups all around the country – even in places that weren’t remotely involved in the conflict – many with the same kind of enthusiasm and attention to detail as any historical hobbyist group. They can be as hardcore as any bunch of enthusiasts, and relaxed about it at the same time. They’re there mostly to have fun rather than declare their allegiance to any political ideology. Not that the history behind the game isn’t on some people’s minds in many cases.

Unlike Nasaw, who seems to have approached this event from another culture entirely, I’ve actually participated in one of these battle reenactments. As these things happen,  a friend of a friend knew someone involved with the local historical society who was putting on one of these battles. They needed bodies, so I jumped at the chance. Also unlike Nasaw, I had no ancestors involved in the Civil War, as mine didn’t even get to the US until more than almost 40 years after it was over. I ended up dressing for the Confederate (“Rebel”) side, simply because that’s where they needed bodies. I was supplied with a period costume of civilian clothing, not a uniform, as the South couldn’t always afford everything for their troops. This also struck home the fact that – as Nasaw points out but apparently doesn’t accept – many really did come out to fight for their homes and safety of their families more than for any political ideal, or to keep their right to own slaves.

We did a few minutes of actual drills from some period military book, and learned to load and fire the percussion muskets (all replicas, not rifled IIRC) used at the time. Having to stand there furiously attempting to reload after one shot while a wall of guns fired at me from the other side, and the next rank of my team running forwards into the volley to their next spot before taking their next shot, told me in about thirty seconds a whole lot more about why these battles were so bloody and not always conclusive than anything I’d ever read on the subject. It’s all a bit of a joke to Nasaw, but it can be a real lesson. As for who decides who dies when, naturally I asked the same thing he did, but didn’t take offense like he seemed to at being told that was a rookie question.  As it turned out, there were a few veterans in charge of each side who would just occasionally say, “You’re dead….now you can die….we need a couple people to die on this next volley,” and so on. Not a big deal.

Now for why Nasaw is wrong to use the Civil War for the message he wants to get across. First of all, the concern about States’ Rights goes back long before the Civil War, right back to the founding of the United States of America. It was a vital issue debated by the founders for years before and after independence. In fact, the Civil War wasn’t even the first time secession came into the picture. Of course, what’s going on here is that Nasaw is trying cast light on the polarized political situation we’re in today. We keep hearing from our media elites that the country is more divided, political discourse is more polarized than ever before. Mark Mardell likes to cite claims of grizzled veterans that we all used to get along so well, politicians were never so partisan, etc., as part of his proof that it’s never been this bad before. They’re all at it, really, because that’s the same Narrative we hear from the mainstream Left-leaning media in the US. And they’ve been doing it for some time, not just recently. It all started, we’re supposed to believe, when the US elected a black man as President. All those anti-Bush protests and the ChimpyMcBushitler posters and celebrities crying about Bush hating black people after Katrina, that wasn’t polarization, you see. It’s only when a Democrat President – particularly this One – doesn’t get His way that we’ve suddenly gone horribly wrong. For example:

March 2010, Mardell: Is US politics nastier than ever?

January 2011: Jonny Dymond ponders “the anger and polarisation apparent in today’s American polity” in regards to a mentally unstable person attempting to assassinate a Democrat politician and murdering a few people in the process

October 2011, Mardell: US ‘divided society’ protests spread (Oh, hang on, that was about their darling Occupiers’ class-war rhetoric, and no Beeboid was fretting about how they were polarizing politics)

August 2012: Paul Mason says the pick of Paul Ryan for VP has “polarized US politics”

September 2012, Justin Webb: What happened to America’s community spirit?

Andrew Marr’s upcoming special film about the four years of The Obamessiah’s reign will see him push the same Narrative.

I’m sure everyone has seen or heard other examples as well. So what’s the most obvious historical example of the US being divided? Exactly. Because subtlety isn’t a quality trait with media types bent on getting convincing you about their world view, Nasaw needs to spell out just how relevant this is to today’s situation. It’s where he delves into the issue of States’ Rights and slavery that he gets it wrong.

Long before Lincoln was elected, slavery was a known problem. In fact, while quite a few founders were slave owners, quite a few more were not, and even the top figures who owned slaves at the time knew it was a bad idea. However, there’s a significant economic dimension to the problem as well. Slavery was actually kind of dying out because the trade became less economically viable, but the arrival of the cotton gin kept it going long after its sell-by date, to the point where it was becoming massively difficult to shift the South’s economic engine away from it. The South would have had to diversify economically eventually, but it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Nasaw, like so many who don’t actually understand the history, sees the Civil War as being exclusively about protecting slavery and the concept of States’ Rights as a smokescreen behind which to hide it. Although it’s watered down in the printed version, in the audio version Nasaw is more explicit about this (beginning @19:18:)

“That’s the familiar slogan wielded by Americans who want to whitewash the stain of slavery from the War’s glory.”

Well, yes and no. While it’s true that slavery was the key right which led to the secession, it’s not something that’s been a major issue from the start. There’s also the fact that many in the South have a particular cultural heritage they want to defend (this feeling might just be familiar to some of you, no?) which has precious little to do with slavery. That gets suppressed every time someone whacks them with the slavery cudgel, which leads to no small amount of resentment. Plus we mustn’t forget the trials of the Reconstruction, when much of the South was occupied militarily and politically by the North. In some places they tend to teach that era of history as if Gen. Sherman left only last week and the remains of buildings are still smoldering in the streets. That’s caused a scar on the regional psyche which goes far beyond a single issue. In short, there’s much, much more to the whole thing than slavery alone. But that muddles the issue, and gets in the way of the metaphor you’re meant to have jammed into your brains. It’s possible that Nasaw is simply unaware of all this, didn’t learn anything other than the standard liberal tropes (history being not only written by the victors but updated by future elites), and really does see it in the simplistic terms he lays out here due to ignorance and not just pure ideology. In “reporting” from this biased perspective, he’s denigrating millions of United Statesians.

Nasaw gets a Civil War expert to tell us that today’s debate goes all the way back to the War, it actually goes back much further. Of course a Civil War expert is going to focus on his area, and of course this makes it a nice red herring. It’s here where Nasaw starts to make some offensive parallels. His goal is to make a direct tie from today’s Tea Party protests and critics of ObamaCare to those desirous of keeping slavery going. He wants to show that it’s the same mentality, the same people, the same belief system. That’s how he sees it, and that’s the story he set out to tell.

I probably don’t need to point out how this also ties right in with the overall BBC Narrative that there is really no legitimate opposition to the President’s policies and that all those complaints are really driven by crypt0-racism, but reminders can be found here, here, here, and here.

While many of the Founding Fathers were slave owners, many equally felt that it was wrong, and that it was something that would eventually have to go away. But more important than that specific issue is that, besides the North-South divide we know about today, there was also originally a kind of chasm between the wealthy Eastern States – industrial and mercantile Northeast, coastal trade cities, etc. – and the poorer, rural West. When I say “West”, however, I’m using it as defined at the end of the 18th Century. Back then, the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee were a largely unexplored frontier. In other words, very rural, and not wealthy. Even in the country’s early years there was a kind of resentment from those States.

Added to this strain is the more obvious cultural division between the more industrial, mercantile North and the largely agrarian South. Different European heritages also played a part. A further cultural difference was that many in the Southern region looked to Republican Rome for an example of how things should work. This was fine for a largely agrarian nation, not so much for an increasingly urban and commerce-driven one. So there was an innate suspicion of too much central government power from the very start, and for a variety of reasons. Slavery was not the only causus belli.

In fact, the State of New York under Governor Clinton (not the guy from Parliament-Funkadelic, and no relation to the former President) threatened to secede back in 1788 because he felt the ratification of the very Constitution we’re talking about today actually went too far in curtailing his own State’s autonomy. That was all about finalizing borders and maintaining the independence of a country – a State with a capital “S”, which is why I tend to write it that way – which he had been enjoying until then. Like several other key figures, he accepted it once they added the Bill of Rights. Even more important was Clinton’s objection to the new Federal Government imposing a national tariff on foreign commerce, New York’s cash cow. In other words, very much like the kind of objection involving States’ Rights and the Federal Government’s ability to tax commerce we heard about ObamaCare in front of the Supreme Court. More secessionist noise was going on under President Jefferson a few years later for other reasons, which is partly why Clinton was brought in as his Vice President (Somebody ask Paul Mason about a VP pick polarizing the country, right?). Yet Nasaw wants you to focus exclusively on slavery when discussing the concept.

Basically, the Civil War was the culmination of all this stuff, which had been brewing for more than 75 years. The right of secession had long been accepted. The irony of the early instigators of the Revolution’s feelings of being slaves to the British Crown while owning slaves themselves wasn’t lost on them. They knew, but were for reasons best left to people much more intelligent and informed than I, ultimately incapable of sorting it out early on. Lessons hadn’t been learned well enough, the South became too economically dependent on free labor, a lot of people in power didn’t want to suddenly have hundreds of thousands of opposition voters appear on the scene all at once (like in Mississippi, for example, where blacks would have instantly outnumbered whites) and the rest is…well, you know.

But Nasaw doesn’t seem to know any of this. All he sees is a chance to equate slavery enthusiasts with people who oppose a Federal Government wanting to “reform healthcare systems”. The very term “reform” is loaded with positive connotations, a biased perspective on its own, although that’s a discussion for another time, and one we’ve had before anyway. Any opposition, then, to new powers of the Federal Government are similarly tainted. This stifles debate even before it begins. When a couple of the people he meets object, Nasaw sneers. He gives the game away when he asks those playing the Union side if they feel “morally superior” to the Rebels. It’s all black and white to him (no pun intended, although it’s pretty unavoidable).

If one is going to have an honest discussion about the origins of the States’ Rights debate, one has to go way past the Civil War, all the way back to the years before the founding of the country. The concept is entrenched in the US Constitution for a reason: it was vitally important to the founders, who had been debating the topic for years already. It’s about something far beyond a single issue, even one as culturally and morally important as slavery. To simply dismiss the whole thing by tainting it with support for slavery, full stop (subtext: You’re A Racist!), does a disservice to the audience, to the debate itself, and to the nation’s history.

I understand that no humble correspondent can be an expert on every subject, and it’s impossible to do in-depth research for every story. But this is a clear example of a reporter having a preconceived story he wants to tell, one that is exactly in line with the perspective put forth by nearly every other report on the subject, and really screwing with history to get his point across.

 

PS: Amusingly, Justin Rowlatt’s preceding segment about Las Vegas’ economic struggles gives you in a few seconds more information about the looming economic catastrophe in China than pretty much all other BBC reporting in the last few months put together. Unfortunately, though, he’s yet another Beeboid who see that the money has run out but is unable to grasp why that is.

Mardell Redistributes His Political Ideology

This post from Mark Mardell has to one of his most misguided and biased efforts yet. In an attempt to get his readers thinking that quasi-Socialism is in fact a very American ideal, he plays coy, pretending that he’s only asking a question, as if he’s merely opening debate on the topic and doesn’t have a position. It’s quite obvious that he does, although as we’ll see, his understanding of it is rather bizarre. His ultimate goal, of course, it to prove that Mitt Romney is wrong.

Is redistribution a foreign idea to the US?

Mitt Romney, in the wake of his “47%” comments, told Fox News that government redistribution of wealth is an “entirely foreign concept” to Americans.

He repeated the point today: “I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America.”

I am not sure whether Mr Romney means that such ideas come from abroad or just that redistribution is alien to American values.

But he is on to something.

What Mardell means is that Romney may have hit on something that will appeal to the uglier instincts of the voters.

Despite being factually wrong, he has hit upon a central reason why American politics can seem so very different to what happens in Europe, including in Britain. Specifically, conservatism here is very different from conservatism there.

See, when I said that his goal was to prove that Romney is wrong, it wasn’t just my biased inference. “Factually wrong”, eh? How so?

There is a large section of the American right, indeed of the American people, which does not accept the grand central bargain of post-war politics across the other side of the Atlantic.

And we all know how well that has worked out, don’t we? Or is the sad situation in Greece and Spain, and the general death spiral of the Euro something Mardell hasn’t quite grasped? He’s writing as if Euro-style Democratic Socialism is the correct way to go, and those who don’t accept it are on the wrong side of history. So how is Romney wrong?

The Republican candidate of course protests too much. In a technical sense, any system of taxation involves a redistribution of wealth, from the individual to where the government chooses to spend it.  

Ah, here we go, Mardell is going to demonstrate how Romney is wrong.

Of course, hundreds of years ago it was distributing the wealth of the masses upwards to the kings and lords. But nowadays, even if every citizen paid exactly the same in a minimalist state there would still be redistribution to defence manufacturers, or to the police force, or whatever.

???????

This is a joke, right? Some under-educated teenage prankster has hacked into Mardell’s blog and stuck this in, right? Can he seriously believe that the basic business of government – defending the borders, keeping the peace, or whatever – is the same thing as the kind of wealth redistribution we’re all talking about? I mean, technically, using tax revenue to fund government agencies like the military and the police meets the definition of the word “redistribution”, but that’s got absolutely nothing to do with the concept that’s causing all this debate. Yet Mardell seems to equate anything the government is supposed to do on the most basic level with everything it can do if it wants.

In other words, he’s claiming that Romney said that not funding basic local services is the real American way. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Mardell has actually revealed his misguided beliefs before. In March, he displayed a serious misunderstanding of the entire argument against the individual mandate of ObamaCare, which forces people to purchase health insurance or face a serious tax penalty.

The centrepiece of Obama’s changes to the healthcare system is what’s called “the individual mandate”.

This means that Americans have to buy health insurance, just as in most countries you have to have car insurance if you drive.

The opponents say the government can’t require people to buy services, any more than they can make them buy bananas.

Notice how he doesn’t understand the difference between health insurance and car insurance, or the concept of commerce. The Supreme Court thought otherwise. Even the liberals on the Court understood how Mardell is wrong. As Justice Kennedy would point out in the hearing, when one buys car insurance, one has already engaged in commerce by buying the car. ObamaCare is forcibly creating commerce just so they can regulate it.

Furthermore, car insurance is first and foremost about protecting other people against what the insurance policy-holder might do. All the other coverage is subsequent. Not so with health care. Yes, the Court eventually upheld the individual mandate, but my point isn’t about whether or not it’s constitutional. The point is that Mardell’s analogy is wrong, that he has a poor grasp of the subject, and that his personal belief system shows through in his commentary. In fact, he also showed this same misguided opinion in this piece, where he says that the Individual Mandate is:

weird jargon for an accepted fact of life in most countries, that everyone has to have health insurance, just as in most places everyone has to have car insurance if they want to drive.

His bias on the issue makes him criticize the opinion of people on which he’s reporting. Even if he provides space for the other side of the argument, he’s not supposed to take sides. Yet he does, repeatedly. Like when he declared that the Supreme Court’s approval of ObamaCare was “good for democracy”. He’s a titled BBC “editor”, so that means he’s allowed to write opinion pieces. How or why one is supposed to separate his opinions from his allegedly impartial reporting, I have no idea.

Mardell then writes a couple of paragraphs demonstrating that he actually does know the difference between progressive wealth redistribution and basic government spending. Which makes it all the more ridiculous for him to conflate the two as he does elsewhere. He opens the next section of his piece by again using biased terminology, although very cleverly begins what he thinks is an epic takedown of Romney with this setup:

But he is right that in America has only slowly embraced anything that looks like redistribution of wealth. After all it was that arch-reactionary, Otto von Bismarck, who introduced the world’s first welfare system, including the old-age pension, in Germany in the 1860s.

America didn’t get anything like it until Franklin Roosevelt – FDR – brought in the New Deal, including a pension for the poorest in 1935.

Maybe it is something about presidents with three initials, but the real expansion of redistribution came with LBJ’s Great Society.

“Embraced”. And then he uses von Bismarck as some kind of “Mikey likes it” example of the palatability of wealth redistribution. Gosh, if an “arch-reactionary” can like it, what’s my problem, right? Never mind the vastly different political, social, cultural, and economic heritage of an only recently largely feudal Europe and the clean break, independent-minded heritage of the US.

Richard Nixon built on this, but many conservatives have never accepted the changes.

The one time Leftoids use Nixon as a good example of anything. Yawn.

This is in contrast to Europe, where both main political traditions after World War II seemed to broadly agree that while Soviet Union-style socialism didn’t work, capitalism if left to its own devices produced inequalities which if not softened could prove dangerous.

Dangerous when? How? Shut up, just accept the Gospel.

We know from Mardell’s infamous appearance at the BBC College of Journalism that he believes that Britain is superior to the US because of this difference.

He then holds up “Butskellism” and Mrs. Thatcher as still more proof that Conservatives ♥ wealth redistribution (his line about how she actually didn’t destroy the welfare state after all ought to shock a few BBC producers and favored edgy comedians, no?). Again we see that Mardell is showing his own personal bias on this political issue. Look, he’s saying, proper Conservatives and reactionaries (Tea Partiers take note) have long embraced wealth redistribution. Those who still reject it are wrong-headed.

Mardell then makes a fatal error.

Until a few months ago it was a core part of Mitt Romney’s argument that President Barack Obama was leading the US towards a “European-style entitlement society”.

Until a few months ago? Never mind that Romney’s only been the actual nominee for about three weeks, as he’s been the de facto nominee for a few months now. Mardell is suggesting that Romney hasn’t mentioned it much since, I suppose, Rick Santorum dropped out. Even so, during the Republican challenge for the nomination, the candidates were picking apart each other and not really focusing too much on the President. However…..

Mardell opened this piece with a mention of Romney’s recent interview on Fox News. Apparently he didn’t he notice that Romney said this:

Obama, supporters, ‘more European than American’ in outlook

Oops. Did Mardell miss this part? Not understand it? Ignore it entirely because it didn’t suit his agenda for this article? I mean, what does Mardell think that whole 47%er thing was about? Think it’s only just now popped back up? Think again:

June 27: “He’s taking us down a path towards Europe.”

Sept. 22: ‘European socialist policies not right for US’

In reality, it’s still a core part of his argument. I have no idea why Mardell chose to say that. Quite frankly, it destroys his credibility. Finally, this being a Mark Mardell report for the BBC, he has to get in a dig at the Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party stands for “taxed enough already”, but it was given life by one man’s revulsion at the Obama administration’s financial help for home owners who couldn’t pay their mortgages – a classic redistribution of wealth.

The “one man”, as Mardell’s link shows, is Rick Santelli, the CNBC reporter whose rant from the trading floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange gave the name to a movement which had already quietly started about a month earlier. But, contrary to Mardell’s narrow mischaracterization, Santelli was talking about sub-prime mortgages which should never have been given out to people who – as we now know – could not have afforded them in the first place. It was that whole Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac propping them up which led to the disastrous debt bubble which crashed our economy. Santelli’s point was that this was the government promoting bad behavior by supporting the idea that it was okay to get into massive debt that you could never pay because the Nanny State would take care of it.

Instead, Mardell wants you to think this was about the government merely stepping in to lend a warm helping hand to those temporarily in need, tending to the poorest and most vulnerable. So he demonizes millions of people for their “revulsion” (an emotional term chosen to manipulate you against them) for something he believes he’s already established is right and just and already accepted by proper Conservatives. Because that’s how he sees it.

His personal political ideology informs his reporting from start to finish. It leads him to misinterpret, misrepresent, and misunderstand what’s going on.

Now for an alternative viewpoint about the US and the inherent “revulsion” at “classic redistribution of wealth”. It’s a quote from early United Statesian icon Davy Crockett. Yes, that Davy Crockett. It’s rather long, but well worth your time, and hopefully you’ll get a better understanding of the US perspective than anything the BBC’s US President editor can provide.

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: “Don’t be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted.”

He replied: “I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say.”

I began: “Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and…”

“’Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

This was a sockdolager… I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

“Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.”

“I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.”

“No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?”

“Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with.”

“Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?”

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

“Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.”

“It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.

The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.”

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

“So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.”

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

“Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.”

He laughingly replied:

“Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.”

“If I don’t,” said I, “I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.”

“No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday a week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.”

“Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye… I must know your name.”

“My name is Bunce.”

“Not Horatio Bunce?”

“Yes.”

“Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go.”

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him—no, that is not the word—I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story: The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted—at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

“Fellow citizens—I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.”

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

“And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

“It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.”

He came upon the stand and said:

“Fellow citizens—It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.”

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

“NOW, SIR,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

“There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men—men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased—a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

(Source)

Censoring The Gaffe-O-Matic

Yesterday, the President of the United States made a campaign appearance in Florida (the same day He got hugged at a pizza joint, video of which the BBC dutifully has up, and will have for days). He made yet another classic gaffe, but this is a video you will not see on the BBC:

“Three proud words: Made In The USA”

Yeah, it’s an easy mistake. We all know what He meant to say. But that’s not the point. The point here is that there are no Beeboid tweets at all. Not from any of them who laughed at Sarah Palin for “refudiate”. When the President of the United States – who has a history of eye-watering errors, if you get your news from somewhere other than the BBC – makes yet another dopey slip, the BBC is silent, and BBC staff see nothing worth tweeting or even retweeting. Probably none of the Left-wing media outlets or pundits or bloggers or activists they all follow mentioned it, so nothing to retweet.

But when someone who holds no public office, is not running for office, runs no major organization, and holds no position in any political party tweets an accidentally made-up word, the BBC is all over it. Several Beeboids tweeted their laughter (can’t provide links as old Biased-BBC comments are unavailable, and I can’t seem to search for tweets by date – if I find them I’ll add them). Worse, the BBC’s top journalist in the US, Mark Mardell made a snide reference to it in one of his blogposts.

Most ridiculous is that the BBC World Service did a full segment on it. A tweet. Not a speech, not an interview, not a press conference. A tweet.

The thing is, the President really does have a history of silly gaffes like this, yet the BBC remains silent every time (with one exception, which I’ll get to later). No Beeboid thinks it’s worth tweeting, or even feels someone else’s comment is worth retweeting. Why is that?

At the risk of creating a straw man, I’d have to suggest that one line of defense would be that Sarah Palin had a media reputation for gaffes, while the President does not. So media people report in that context. Another Palin goof, haha. But the President? We all know what He meant, He’s the smartest man in the room, etc., nothing to see here. It’s as if they don’t see any of His mistakes.

In order to counter this and demonstrate that there really is a history of bad slip-ups which create the historical context of a gaffe-prone politician, here’s a partial list of Obamessiah gaffes which the BBC has censored (in no particular order):

When the President was negotiating that awful debt ceiling deal with the Republicans, He said this: “Don’t call my bluff,” the president said. “I am not afraid to veto and I will take it to the American people.” The BBC mentioned the heated negotiations, but censored that bit out.

He called the Malvinas the “Maldives” (two gaffes in one, actually, as not calling it The Falklands betrays our greatest ally).

Claimed He’d visited 57 States.

Said in a speech at a NATO gathering, “I don’t know what the term is in Austrian…”

Said that Lincoln was the “founder of the Republican Party”, when he was in fact one of the founders of a local chapter.

Refered to Hawaii as being “in Asia”, at an Asian economic summit – in Honolulu.

Called Auschwitz a “Polish death camp”.

Signed in with the wrong year in the Westminster Abbey guest book: 2008 instead of 2011.

Spoke out of turn when toasting the Queen, speaking over the band instead of following instructions. Actually, the BBC did report that, but they initially tried to blame the band for it and not Him.

Referred to the “Intercontinental Railroad”.

Said that “The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries.”

I’m sure others can come up with more, since there’s plenty. The BBC did report two gaffes that I’m aware of. One was when He accidentally said it was great to back in Kansas, when He was actually in Texas. The other was more of an unfortunate joke rather than a real goof like the rest of these.

Basically, the President really does make a lot of stupid errors like this, at least as many as George Bush or Sarah Palin. It’s only partisan blinkers which keep certain people from seeing it. One can complain that He may be smarter and whatever else than either Bush or Palin, but that’s irrelevant to the count of the gaffe-o-meter. He makes these errors, and the BBC not only refuses to report them, but the Beeboids themselves betray their bias by not laughing at Him on twitter or on air the way they do with Republicans, even those who hold no public office and are not running for any. The Obamessiah does have a history of gaffes, and each new one is just as worthy of reporting as a single tweet by a popular civilian.

Defenders of the indefensible are invited to find tweets of a BBC employee laughing at the President for any of these mistakes. Daniel Nasaw’s concerned tweets about Biden’s repeated misuse of “literally” don’t count, but I’ll give them an honorable mention. I’m talking about the President Himself.

Now come on, do what you’re good for. Prove me wrong.

BBC Censorship: DNC Taken Over By The Israel Lobby Edition – UPDATED

(SEE UPDATE BELOW) With all that website space taken up with Mark Mardell’s encomium to Bill Clinton, a dishonest attack piece on Govs. Jindal and Haley, and Kate Dailey’s furrowed-brow musings over Elizabeth Warren’s mewling about horrors of “income inequality” (making sure not to mention Warren’s fake Cherokee ancestor controversy), the BBC News Online editors had no more room to report that the convention bosses had to force an acknowledgment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital back into the Party platform. That must be the reason why the BBC seems to have censored the controversy from all news outlets.

Along with putting back the term “God-given” talent, it took three votes from the delegates to get the language restored to the platform. Party bosses who were not under the thumb of the Israel Lobby had removed the acknowledgment of Jerusalem, and what must be either public, media, or Israel Lobby pressure made them want to put it back. All censored by the BBC.

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UPDATE: The BBC has now posted an article on it. Jonathan Marcus must have been filing this while I was writing my post.

Democrats’ headache over Jerusalem status

How to describe the city of Jerusalem has caused controversy at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, with confusing scenes on the convention floor as a vote was held on the issue. BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus explains why.

“Confusing scenes”, eh? Well, that’s “accurate”, alright. Some people were confused by what happened. But that’s all the BBC will allow you to know. They decided to keep censoring what actually happened: the majority of the crowd voted No, but the Party bosses decided to go ahead anyway. This is what democracy looks like?

Marcus reports claims that the President Himself personally intervened to get Jerusalem put back in. He also admits at last that the President said when running for election in 2008 that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. But then we get doublethink: the President’s personal position is not the same as the US Government’s position. Can He be in two places at once as well?

Who decides the Government’s position on issues, then? Hillary? She’s already said Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, so it’s not her. So who? Valerie Jarrett? Michelle Obama? Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? The family dog? Marcus doesn’t explain.

No mention whatsoever, though, that this controversy has been ongoing for months. It’s just a political football, Romney was going to use it as an attack angle, etc.

Having said that, I’m very glad to see the BBC busting the dual loyalty myth about Jews. I applaud them for being brave enough to say that, because I expect they’ll get swamped with complaints about them being controlled by the Zionist Entity. They get complaints from both sides, you know.

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

As anyone can see from the video, at least half the delegates didn’t want this to happen. There’s no way to know if most of the objection was about the “God-given” bit or about Jerusalem, but only one of the issues has been an ongoing controversy. And there’s no way the BBC doesn’t know about this.

Useful Jew and Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the press that this was done “to maintain consistency with the personal views expressed by the President and in the Democratic Party platform in 2008″.  In other words, there have been enough complaints about the fact that the White House position says the fate of Jerusalem should be left up to the Palestinians and Israelis to fight it out (I paraphrase slightly, of course) which directly contradicts what Candidate Obamessiah said in 2008. White House mouthpiece (and personal friend of Katty Kay) refused to say what the Adminstration’s official position was when pressed on it. Worse, The Obamessiah Administration decided last year to remove “Jerusalem, Israel” from passports of US citizens born in Israel, because that defines the city as the capital. The White House also redacted all references to Jerusalem from photos of a Biden trip there, replacing it with “Israel”. So they had to force it back in there.

CNN’s video, with the text in question visible on the big screen, can be seen here.

So the Israel Lobby got to the Dems, and the BBC is silent. I’m not surprised, really, because reporting this now means they would have to admit there has been a controversy at all about the President and Jerusalem’s status. They’ve been censoring news of that all along, so can’t really start talking about it now. Too messy, and it makes Him look bad.

I find this silence interesting. In May of this year, HardTalk brought in anti-Israel activist Norman Finklestein to declare that most United Statesians were fed up with Presidents being controlled by the Israel Lobby. In October 2009, the BBC discovered a Jewish Lobbying group of which they can approve: J-Street, whose goal is to fight against the influence of the pro-Israel Lobby. This was actually the second time the BBC discovered this “new” group. They made a similar report in April 2008. Sometimes, the BBC does approve of Jews trying to influence US foreign policy. In 2007, the BBC reported on the controversy over a book about how bad the Jewish Lobby is. The article opened with this:

The power of America’s “Jewish lobby” is said to be legendary.

So why the silence now, when this has been in the mainstream news? Because it makes the President look bad, and makes the Democrats look anti-Israel. I’m not sure why the BBC cares about the latter, but they definitely care about the former. So you’re not informed about real controversy and are instead treated to manufactured ones about “income inequality” and fake Christians.

Your license fee hard at work, supporting the leader of a foreign country.

 

Where Ignorance Is Bliss

The opening night of the Democratic National Convention and the First Lady’s speech were a rousing success, according to Mark Mardell, the BBC’s US President editor. And his ignorance is on full display.

For Michelle, the personal is political

Mardell has been seeking inspiration for months, and seems to have found it. But first, a little sneer while making a lazy attempt to compare Michelle Obama’s speech to Ann Romney’s:

Both women stressed their husband’s compassion. Both talked lovingly about their love. Both talked about their early life with their husbands in relative poverty. Tell me, is a coffee table found in a rubbish lorry and an ironing board as a dinner table a requirement for keeping down with the Joneses?

It’s very amusing to see this sniffing at class war rhetoric from a man who has no problem using it himself. Just the other day he was reporting that Mitt Romney made a statement “from his lakeside vacation home”, as if it mattered from where he was, and writing as if taking the day off was something strange and unlike how most Americans marked Labor Day. Mardell knows perfectly well what this is all about. and has played his part in creating the environment.

Obviously the main rap on Romney is his wealth. That’s just about the only thing the Dems have on him, really, so it’s a no-brainer that Ann Romney would have to play that game. But the First Lady? It’s especially amusing that Mardell’s readers will be confused by why Michelle has to “keep down with the Joneses”, with all her talk of struggle and a working-class background. The BBC has censored all news of her lavish vacations, and the backlash caused by them, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop, yet has fawned all over her expensive designer dresses without shame. Unbeknownst to those who get their news from the BBC, there’s a lot of concern in the US about the Obamas, particularly Michelle, being out of touch, with their Martha’s Vineyard dalliances, fancy clothing, and expensive parties. Mardell can’t point out why the First Lady would even bother with this angle, because then he’d have to reveal a lot of unpleasant things. Can’t have that. So he moves quickly on.

Here’s Mardell suggesting that the President should be a cynical manipulator. He quotes this from Michelle Obama’s speech:

“Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it… and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.”

And then says this:

Note, by the way, that last part – there is a big appeal to the gay vote here. Just think how powerful that would have been, if Obama had announced his support for gay marriage in the middle of last week’s Republican Conference, if Joe Biden had not blown it for him, and forced his hand.

Yes, just think how powerful that would have been in the President had been able to cynically manipulate voters’ dreams like that and use what they say is a human rights issue for political gain. Is that the kind of Hope that inspires Mardell? Would it be even more courageous of Him to wait until the right political moment?  Mardell isn’t even thinking about that. All he sees is political angles and theater. What’s more is that it gives him away as a supporter – of both the issue and the President – moaning about a missed opportunity.

Now about that ignorance. Mardell acts surprised at the major focus on women voters.

It is ironic that just as the convention got underway there was some evidence that women are going off Obama. ABC’s pollster Gary Langer writes about the new opinion poll under the headline “Obama’s popularity dips underwater”.

It is, he says, “the lowest pre-convention personal popularity of an incumbent president in ABC News/Washington Post polls since the 1980s.”

But the dip in the women’s vote is perhaps even more important.

Ironic? I don’t think that word means what you think it means. It’s only ironic if they don’t know about it.

Whether the Democrats knew about the polling evidence or not they had designed their first day to allow women to tell stories portraying President Obama’s re-election as important for them.

Is he kidding? Of course they know all about this. Who imagines that Mardell has some poll data that the White House doesn’t? They probably get the press release before he does. It’s actually a sad statement on how out of touch with reality the BBC’s top man in the US apparently is. The President has been concerned about the female vote for months.

Last year His stock among women voters was slipping, and the Dems were happy to see a rise in approval from them in February of this year. If there wasn’t an ongoing concern, it wouldn’t have been news in March that He was “gaining in popularity“.

In May, Romney started to do better with Republican women, which helped close the overall popularity gap between him and the President, who was actually losing ground among women. Like I said, it’s been a concern for months. Where has Mardell been?

Of course the Democrats were going to make a big focus on women this week. They’ve only been unsuccessfully pushing the Narrative that the Republicans are engaging in a “War on Women” for most of this year. That was part of how Rep. Akin’s foolish remark got such top billing that people could be excused for thinking he was the third man on the Republican ticket.

MSNBC sure was aware of the connection between the “War on Women” Narrative and the focus on women at the convention. They’re about as in lockstep with the White House as you can get. Did Mardell not know about this? He gets the same campaign emails as everyone else. What is he thinking?

As if this isn’t enough evidence for him that the Democrats know all about their need for focus on women voters, even without the very latest poll result. Why does he think they have two different abortion activists – one from NARAL and one from Planned Parenthood – speaking at the convention, plus the infamous Sandra Fluke, who wants the government to pay for her birth control?  Alert people knew as soon as Akin’s statement hit the fan that the Dems were going to make the “They want to steal our lady parts” a key message at the convention. Two weeks ago people were reporting that they were filling the speakers’ list with women. And you know Mardell and the Beeboids saw the speakers’ list long before I did. Furthermore, women have always been a Democrat core target. Women swing voters more or less gave one election to Bill Clinton (see: “Soccer Mom”). Where’s Mardell been hiding?

No, this is silly. It’s just plain ignorance on his part to wonder if the White House machine knew about the latest poll, or if it was mere coincidence that the first night focused on women like it did. What a failure.

On second though, though, what if Mardell isn’t so ignorant and is playing some kind of game here? What would be the journalistic purpose of feigning ignorance? I’d have thought being more honest about the whole story would make for a more interesting report. Knowing the full facts and background would make both Michelle Obama’s speech and the rest of the evening’s proceedings make more political sense. Mardell knows her speech was political, so why hide what’s behind it? Is he protecting her and the President by declining to mention why she had to “keep down with the Joneses”? Is he somehow protecting the President by acting as if this dip in popularity is sudden and unexpected and by playing the Party for Women they’re acting ironically?

Maybe someone else can explain what he’s thinking here. It’s a very poor effort either way.

Mardell Plays The Race Card

At first, as I was reading this latest report by Mark Mardell I was thinking how amazing it was that it was not about this or that candidate, that it wasn’t about some political issue which affects the President, and that he had made a rare excursion outside the campaign trail to discover something else about the US besides political polarization. Here he is, I thought to myself, talking about art and something interesting.

How wrong I was.

In reality, this was Mardell telling you that we need to re-elect the President cos He is black. Aside from any niceties about the artist, Kahinde Wiley, being used to promote an agenda interviewed about his vision and a brief discussion of his work and what it represents, the message could not be clearer. The editor even has is as the highlight quote:

“I’m looking for a sense of self-possession, a type of swagger, a sense of grace in the world”

Oops, sorry, that was the superficial praise of Him, the revival of the “Oh, look how cool He is,” meme, which has so often passed the lips of Beeboids since He came among us. That’s really all He’s got these days, which is sad. What any of this has to do with running a government I have no idea. But that’s not the point, is it?

The actual quote I’m talking about:

“Obama stands as a signal, that this nation will continue to redefine what it means to push beyond the borders of what’s possible”

See, we must re-elect Him so that other countries think we’re cool. For no reason other than the color of His skin. This is racial thinking, and I object.

The whole thing is really about His race, and about how we need to keep Him in power as a racial symbol. Nothing about His accomplishments, nothing about merit, nothing about ability or achievement. It’s all about race. These are Wiley’s words, not Mardell’s, but it fits in perfectly with Mardell’s own beliefs and the story he wants to tell.

“The reality of Barack Obama being the president of the United States – quite possibly the most powerful nation in the world – means that the image of power is completely new for an entire generation of not only black American kids, but every population group in this nation.”

Yes, it does. We’ve done it. But what does it tell an entire generation of black American kids if we say the only reason to keep the President in power is because He’s black? Do we really tell them that a black person’s only intrinsic value is the color of their skin?

“The way that we’re coded for power has been recontextualised in terms of race. Now there are children who are four or five who would have known only a black man at the seat of power in this nation. It’s an important social message.”

Yes it is. That’s why we elected Him in the first place. Not because we thought His ideas about nationalized health care were so great, not because He was against homosexual marriage at the time, not because we wanted to send George Bush packing, as he wasn’t running for office. We elected The Obamessiah because of the color of his skin, to send that social message. Mostly so the whites among us could pat ourselves on the back more than to actually uplift black people. But why is that a reason to re-elect someone who isn’t up to the job?

I realize that this last question comes from a Right-wing perspective. Mardell, of course, wouldn’t see it that way. As far as He’s concerned, as we’ve seen over an over again from his “reporting”, the main reason The Obamessiah hasn’t been a brilliant President who fixed the economy and saved us all is because He wasn’t allowed to by intransigent Republicans in Congress. So Mardell will see this idea that we will continue to send a positive racial message as mere icing on the cake.

It gets worse:

“There is a cultural shift in the nation that says possibility is not necessary impacted or determined wholly by the colour of your skin.”

Really? Then why is this entire piece about how we must determine our nation’s future wholly by the color of His skin? This doublethink drives me crazy. On the one hand, we’re supposed to accept – which I do – that the election of a black man to the White House means that we have made at least some progress towards seeing beyond skin color, that enough of the country is not as racist as we were led to believe. While on the other hand, we’re supposed to say that we must keep Him in power simply because He’s black. Again, I must point out that there’s nothing here about His character or accomplishments, or trying to prove He’s done a good job and deserves a second term.

“That said, this society has a long way to go, and – as we go through this election cycle – there are echoes of racism that continue to enter and occupy the American imagination.

“There is – and always will be – the legacy of chattel slavery in this nation, an obsession with racial and gender differencec, but I think that, at its best, this nation is capable of creating standards for itself and reaching towards those standards.

“Obama stands as a signal that this nation will continue to redefine what it means to push beyond the borders of what’s possible.”

And so on. There’s quite a bit more on this theme: it’s important to keep a black man in power, regardless of His competence or policies, because the US has an unfortunate history on racial issues.

The BBC has gone from the 2008 election message that if we don’t elect The Obamessiah it’s because we’re racist to saying that any opposition to His policies is based on racism, to how we must re-elect Him because of past racist sins. This really isn’t much of a positive statement about how He’s done as President, is it?

This is all they’ve got.  Mardell is dimly aware that the President is going to have a tough time running on His record, which is why the campaign is all about how evil the Republicans are. Mardell simply cannot let go of his racialist views, and so sought out Wiley to use as a tool to promote this message: the US is a racist country, and not only did we have to elect Him to assuage some of that guilt, but we must now re-elect Him because of it.

There can be no other message taken from this. It’s sad not so much because it attempts to dismiss any legitimate objections to the President’s policies and how might govern if given free reign in a second term. It’s sad most of all because this infantilizes black people.

At the end of the day, people of African-American descent are not valued by Mardell or his kind for their character or their accomplishments, but only for the color of their skin. This is racialist thinking, and it’s coming from the BBC’s top man in the US.

If you don’t vote for Him in November, you’re a racist who wants to send the wrong message to black children, and wants to tell the world that we’re not cool, and that there is no longer any Hope. What’s that? You have an objection to one of His policies? Racist!

Think I’m making it up? Seeing something that isn’t there? In his next piece, Mardell says it explicitly:

The core political debate about the redistribution of wealth is sharpened by redistribution to people who “are not like us”.

This is the same slander he babbled to the BBC College of Journalism last year. The rest of the very long outburst is about how this election is all about race, and if we don’t re-elect Him, black children will feel bad.

If, on the other hand, he loses, many African Americans will take it personally, will be worried and hurt, and see the result as another reverse in their long struggle.

Go Ahead, Make My Day

Here’s Clint Eastwood’s performance at the RNC, soon to be considered a classic. A bit wobbly, but still pretty funny.

Will it change anything? I doubt it. I can’t see any worshipers switching sides because of this. But it does give a morale boost, and every little helps. I generally hate celebrities using their fame to push political ideology, and I’d feel that way about this appearance except that Eastwood at least spent a couple years as mayor of Carmel, CA. He ran for office and everything. A small thing, sure, but better than the rest of the Hollywood luvvies. It was apparently too mind-numbingly grinding for him to deal with his wealthy neighbors and their petty zoning squabbles, so he didn’t seek a second term. But he has at least that experience, a little bit of credibility, which none of the Obamessiah-worshiping celebs do.

However, I was momentarily taken aback by Eastwood’s harsh swipe at the war in Afghanistan. The current President didn’t start it, so it can only be taken really as a criticism of the whole war, which means of Bush. Maybe I’m the only one who took it that way, and even some – not most – in the audience laughed. But it sure sounded like he was criticizing the war in total with that dig about the Russians being there for 10 years. None of the punditocracy seems to have noticed, not that I’ve seen yet, anyway.

Other than that, it was very cutting, not at all kind to the President. Beeboids probably burning any Eastwood DVDs they own right about now.

May as well make this a thread for discussion of the BBC’s attacks on the convention in general, so I’ll also point out that once again the BBC went for a Left-wing, partisan voice for their “Viewpoint” piece. The same one as last time, actually: P.J. Crowley. He was previously asked by the BBC to come up with several biased foreign policy questions for the Republican candidates. Crowley’s latest contribution is equally biased, insulting “neo-conservatives who want to save the world”. Much worse is his telling the outright lie that criticism of the President’s job performance is “about style more than substance”. That’s an unbelievable lie. What was the criticism of ObamaCare and the Stimulus and Solyndra and caving to the Russians and China, to name just a handful of examples? That was all criticism about specific policies, and not about how the President appeared detached, or was too cool, or any of that BS. But fits right in with the BBC viewpoint: there can be no legitimate criticism of Him and His Word.

Wake me up when the BBC asks someone from even slightly right of center to write any Viewpoint piece on any topic.

Please feel free to add critiques of other BBC output about the convention to this thread.