Patterico's Pontifications

6/4/2016

Stop the Presses: Mega-Wealthy but Needy San Francisco Lefty Loves the Clintons

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — JVW @ 9:44 am

[guest post by JVW]

Evan Halper of the Dog Trainer yesterday treated us to the story of one Susie Tompkins Buell, a San Francisco matron who has parlayed her vast wealth and a friendship with Bill and Hillary! Clinton (especially apparently the latter) into becoming a major player in Democrat fundraising, and her home in Pacific Heights is now recognized as a must-stop for left-wing politicians looking to cash in. First we meet the subject of the article herself through the clichéd J-school use of a banal anecdote:

When Hillary Clinton parachuted into Los Angeles recently, some of the well-heeled donors who swarmed her brought unsolicited campaign advice, while others brought ambitions of White House appointments. Susie Tompkins Buell brought a bag of dry-roasted chickpeas.

It was fitting that Buell, a wealthy San Franciscan who ranks near the top of the sprawling national network of Clinton benefactors, was obsessing about the candidate’s nourishment. Few people in the orbit of the Clintons have done more for their care and feeding than this 73-year-old fixture of Bay Area philanthropy and salon society who wanted nothing to do with politics — she didn’t even vote — until a chance meeting with Bill Clinton well into her adult life.

Because nothing says “credible political thinker” quite like an admission that you cared nothing for matters of policy or politics until you met some fast talking snake oil salesman from an area that you probably think of as Dogpatch. But it’s not just the ex-President who has charmed his way into Ms. Buell’s life. Enter Her Clintonic Majesty:

Buell not only has become a fundraising powerhouse since then. She has also become Hillary Clinton’s soul mate. Theirs is among a handful of friendships that have been key to fueling the candidate’s ambitions, providing emotional and financial sustenance. It reflects the uncanny Clinton ability to build and maintain unyielding loyalty from the people positioned to help them the most – even people, like Buell, who have no business interests or political aspirations the couple might advance. In many cases, the bonds have only solidified through the stresses of scandal, electoral disappointment and Democratic Party rivalries that the Clintons have powered through.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the Clintons don’t have friends, they only have people in their orbit who are useful in service of their ambitions. Would Ms. Buell be Hillary!’s “soul mate” if she was a retired teacher on a $59,000 per year pension in Turlock? Hardly.

From there the article provides a bit of background on Ms. Buell, and it turns out she is the embodiment of the mega-affluent Bay Area leftie whose introduction to the Clintons sounds as if it were scripted by the laziest screenwriter on the studio lot. Was she a hippie in her young adulthood? Check. Did she and her husband hit the financial jackpot by starting trendy clothing labels like Esprit and North Face? Roger that. Did she end up divorcing the husband? Certainly. Did she first hear of Bill Clinton at some gathering of insufferable Baby Boomers at a tony resort in Big Sur 25 years ago? You got it. Did she then meet Bubba at a fund-raiser where her turned on his legendary douchebag charm (and it’s not at all coincidental she was at the time an attractive recently-divorced rich woman)? Oh yeah. Did he play on her wealthy progressive guilt by yammering on about poverty? Indubitably! Did she immediately write him a campaign check for $100,000? But of course.

Soon, Ms. Buell would meet Ms. Clinton, and according to our earnest scribe Mr. Halper: “The women clicked immediately, and Buell grew more enamored when she saw [Hillary!] Clinton deliver an impassioned Mother’s Day address at Glide Memorial Church, a hotbed of leftist activism in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.” Mr. Halper goes on to report that some $15 million has since passed from Ms. Buell’s bank account to “the campaigns and causes of the Clintons.” And the article wants us to know that this largesse is all done in the spirit of altruism. Yet, confusingly enough, while Ms. Buell allegedly does not discuss politics with her friend the former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State (“I don’t want to be one more thing she has to think about [. . .] She knows who I am, she knows how I feel. We don’t talk shop.”), she has no such compunction about haranguing less-fortunate Democrat supplicants: “This is the same donor who showed up at a high-stakes fundraiser for President Obama near the end of his first term and told him to knock off the small talk when he began to genuflect. Then she launched into a scold about his failure to get a landmark climate change bill through Congress.”

The remainder of the piece is a howler in its vivid description of a rich dilettante (dilettantess?)* whose comfy lifestyle stands in stark contrast to her bleeding-heart politics. For instance, naturally Ms. Buell is staunchly against the Keystone XL project. I mean, no one that she knows needs a job in the energy sector, and what’s paying a few more extra bucks to fly to Aspen or Davos if it means saving the planet? According to the always-obnoxious Senator Barbara Boxer, her friend Ms. Buell has all the proper opinions on women’s rights and children’s rights, and I don’t think it’s much a stretch to assume that she’s fully supportive of the whole San Francisco smorgasbord of lifestyle liberalism from guns to gays.

And it wouldn’t be a mindless puff piece if some tedious himbo politician like Gavin Newsome didn’t drop by to try to exculpate Ms. Buell for living the life of the one percent of the one percent. Of the aforementioned Pacific Heights home, Lieutenant Governor Newsome assures us that even though it has a gorgeous view of the bay, “There is an austerity to it. It is an opulent building, an opulent view. But the space itself is austere.” Mr. Halper, ever the helper, adds “The rooms are sparsely but carefully appointed. Pieces worth more than a small condominium share rooms with stylish items plucked from far-flung flea markets.” Because it is just delightfully whimsical to put your $750,000 artwork next to the crazy lamp from the souk in Marrakesh that you bargained down to 30 dirham.

The article goes on with quotes from both Clintons rhapsodizing poetically about their deep and unwavering friendship with Ms. Buell, and President Obama drops by the austere Pacific Heights mansion to suck up some of the guilt money that (largely white) San Francisco lefties like to spread around to progressive politicians. Along the way we’re treated to a description of how much of an imposition it can be when Secret Service agents are roaming around your home to protect your special guests, because that’s something that all of us are going to have to face at one point or another.

I hold no animosity towards Susie Tompkins Buell, nor am I particularly jealous of her financial success. I grew up in the 1980s when Esprit was the hip fashion line for teenage girls, and I grew up in Colorado where every guy who even fleetingly gazed upon the Rocky Mountains felt compelled to do so in a North Face jacket. Good for Ms. Buell (and her ex-husband) for building a fashion empire and getting filthy rich off of it. But I am under no obligation to respect or admire the predictable leftwing groupthink opinions of a woman who by her own admission didn’t care at all about public policy or politics until she was 48 years old and facing a midlife crisis. That she fell under the influence of the two most dishonest and corrupt politicians in America is sad and lamentable, but it goes to show the weird spell those two continue to cast over a certain strain of needy Baby Boomers. It’s an important reminder that people like Bill and Hillary! Clinton depend heavily upon the patronage of people like Susie Tompkins Buell and, I suppose, people like her need the Clintons for intellectual and moral validation. Chalk up another case study for the weird symbiotic relationship between aging boomers.

– JVW

*Holy smokes, right as finished typing the word “dilettante” it was used in the movie I am watching on TV. That’s eerie.

12/14/2015

L.A. Times Tries to Draw Moral Equivalence Between San Bernardino Killers and One of Their Outspoken Victims

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:48 pm

Oh, they would deny it. But that’s what they’re doing.

The L.A. Times ran a piece on December 12 titled The shooting victim at the center of the debate about politics, religion and free speech. Yes, that’s right: the “debate.” You can see where they’re going right from jump street:

Nicholas Thalasinos wasn’t shy about his beliefs.

He took to Facebook and Twitter several times a day to opine about radical Islam, President Obama, abortion and Israel.

Thalasinos was one of 14 people killed in the Dec. 2 attack at a holiday party for the San Bernardino County Public Health Department. One of Thalasinos’ co-workers at the department, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire in what is the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil since 9/11.

And in the days after the slaughter, Thalasinos has become the focal point of an incendiary debate about free speech and the use of social media as a tool for persuading and proselytizing.

Has he now? Maybe around the L.A. Times water cooler. Out here in the real world we’re talking about trying to find ways to keep radical Islamist fanatics from killing more people.

A conservative Messianic Jew who believed in Jesus Christ as his savior while adhering to traditional elements of Judaism, Thalasinos enjoyed initiating spirited discussions about politics and religion with anyone who would listen.

He was seldom seen without his tzitzis — Jewish tassels — and was known for bright shirts, suspenders and a star of David tie clip. His social media persona was even less inhibited.

You know who had a social media persona that was even less inhibited than that of Nicholas Thalasinos? You know who also wasn’t shy about her beliefs? Why, that’d be Tashfeen Malik.

The New York Times has reported that Tashfeen Malik “talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad. . . . She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it.” Rather “uninhibited,” wouldn’t you say? Yet, in her zeal to place moral blame on the godbotherer Thalasinos, the rabid leftist L.A. Times reporter (I am making a guess here regarding her politics, but it’s an educated one) does not mention any of Malik’s far more incendiary postings. More from the L.A. Times article:

Two weeks before the shooting rampage at the Inland Regional Center, Stephens said, she called Thalasinos during a lunch break and overheard him talking about Islam with Farook, a fellow health inspector.

Thalasinos told her that Farook was defending Islam as a peaceful religion.

The conversation, Stephens said, was “nothing out of the ordinary. It was like an everyday conversation. It didn’t set off any bells or whistles for me.”

This is perhaps the most disgusting part of a disgusting article — as the writer goes out of her way to suggest that Thalasinos may have borne some moral responsibility for the massacre.

Keep in mind that, as he defended the peaceful nature of Islam, Farook and his wife had quite clearly planned violent jihad for quite some time. His wife’s pro-jihad postings were “old” (according to the New York Times), and we now know that they were made before she came to the U.S. in July 2014 — because it has been reported that U.S. officials did not look at them pursuant to Obama administration policy. (The L.A. Times has hidden that fact from its readers, but we know anyway.)

Why, they even occurred before her husband had a discussion with the evil Nicholas Thalasinos about the allegedly peaceful nature of Islam!

Nor was Farook himself a peaceful Muslim who suddenly became enraged upon talking to the dastardly Thalasinos. Consulting another New York Times article:

“At first it seemed very black and white to us that he changed radically when he met her,” said one of the officials who declined to be identified because of the continuing investigation. “But it’s become clear that he was that way before he met her.”

She came to the United States in July 2014, remember. So Farook had been radicalized (or, as the goofballs at the L.A. Times like to say: “self-radicalized”) for more than a year and a half before his ever-so-fateful conversation with Thalasinos.

There is no basis to imply that Thalasinos had anything to do with Farook’s and Malik’s murderous and fanatical actions. Other than being a Jew who dared think differently than these killers, he did nothing to deserve being murdered. Nor did his Facebook postings even begin to approach the violence described in Malik’s postings.

There is no moral equivalence here. None.

But that doesn’t stop the L.A. Times from trying to draw one.

Steve Lopez Error on Mass Shootings Corrected

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:38 pm

It’s a tough job keeping these folks accurate, but that’s why we’re here.

That error by Steve Lopez regarding the number of mass killings in the U.S. has been corrected:

FOR THE RECORD

Mass shootings: In the Dec. 4 California section, a column about the San Bernardino shootings said the incident was the 355th multiple-death shooting in the country this year. It should have said San Bernardino was the 353rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year, not all of which involved deaths.

My original post on this was here. I’m confident this was not deliberate on his part, by the way. He explained to me by email that he misread a report about it, and I accept the explanation.

L.A. Times Buries Any Mention of DHS Policy of Not Reviewing Visa Applicants’ Social Media

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:25 pm

Richard Serrano reports in the L.A. Times:

San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day, two top federal law enforcement officials said Monday.

The new details indicate U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies missed warnings on social media that Malik was a potential threat before she entered the United States on a K-1 fiancee visa in July 2014.

The phrase “missed warnings on social media” suggests that federal officials were empowered to search social media to screen visa applicants for suboptimal characteristics — such as, for example, expressing a desire to kill a lot of people in service of the cause of jihad.

But, as the blog you are reading noted this morning, according to ABC News, a former senior official from Homeland Security has made a rather serious allegation — namely, that Obama’s Homeland Security guy, Jeh Johnson, prohibited immigration officials from looking at visa applicants’ social media, for fear of bad P.R.

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

The Hill reported just after 6 a.m. Pacific time this morning that Cohen’s allegation has been confirmed by other officials:

One current and one former senior counterterrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account to ABC.

A DHS spokesman told ABC News that in the fall of 2014 after Cohen left, the department began three pilot programs to include social media in vetting, but officials say it’s still not a widespread policy and a review is underway.

Fall of 2014? Too late to catch Tashfeen Malik, who entered the country in July 2014.

Not only is there no hint of these revelations in Serrano’s story, but Serrano dutifully repeats the Administration’s line to the contrary:

John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said officials are reviewing the K-1 visa screening process in light of the gap exposed in San Bernardino. Applicants must provide fingerprints and pass multiple checks of U.S. criminal, immigration and terrorism databases, as well as a consular interview, to get the visa approved.

The investigations don’t necessarily include every applicant’s social media history, however.

“If a consular officer … feels like it would be valuable or necessary to look at the social media presence of an individual, they can and do conduct those reviews,” Kirby told reporters Monday. “But it’s not absolute in every case. Each one is taken individually.”

That’s not what John Cohen says. Yet nowhere in Serrano’s mindless stenography is there even a hint that there was a deliberate policy, created by Obama’s hand-picked DHS guy for reasons of public relations, to prevent officials from reviewing social media.

Serrano’s article was first published at 3:47 p.m. today.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.56.09 PM

I published my post regarding Cohen’s allegation at 7:39 a.m. today.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.59.05 PM

Is it really possible that I was aware of this allegation more than eight hours before a Los Angeles Times reporter whose job it was to report on this issue?

Or did Serrano know, and just decide not to report it?

I don’t know the answer to that question for sure, but here’s a clue: the briefing cited by Serrano in which Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said that consular officers were allowed to look at social media. I found a transcript here — and guess what? In that briefing, someone asked about the very report I mentioned!

QUESTION: Okay. My last one here: There – obviously we know now that the DHS and the State Department has a policy which gives – affords them the right to do these background searches on social media. Was there a time in recent history, as has been reported, that they were prohibited from these types of searches for whatever reason?

MR KIRBY: I’m not aware of any prohibition in the past, as – I know you’re looking at press reports with respect to that.

So. The question remains: did Richard Serrano not know about this, even though it was reported by reputable news organizations early this morning, and brought up at the very briefing that he cites in his article? Or did he know about it, and decide not to tell his readers? (Or, did he try to tell readers, and have an editor chop the information out?)

I’m very curious to know the answer. Aren’t you?

If you want to ask him, he’s reachable by email at richard.serrano@latimes.com, or on Twitter at @rickserranoLAT

6/14/2015

Dog Trainer Editorial Writer Brilliantly Parodies Obamabot Media

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — JVW @ 10:43 am

[guest post by JVW]

Jon Healey, a member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board, wrote an opinion piece on Friday which brilliantly trolls progressives by pretending to make an argument that only the most pathetic and desperate Obamabot could conceive of floating. The gist of the clever piece is contained in its incredible headine: “House GOP leaders are outmaneuvered again on fast-track vote.” Virtually every single other left-wing media outlet rightly recognized the failure of the House to pass both trade authority bills last week as a “major blow” and “stunning defeat” for the President with one outlet pointing out that Obama failed to win over even California Democrats whose state should theoretically benefit from more Pacific trade. Other media outlets who have generally supported the Administration are left wondering if this signals and end to Obama’s ability to work with even his own allies in Congress. But Healey, that charming scamp, has decided to troll progressives (or is he trolling conservatives? — maybe he’s just trolling all of us) by spinning this as a defeat for the GOP:

It’s tempting just to blame (or credit, if you’re anti-TPA or anti-free trade) Democrats for the results, which were a major setback for the Obama administration and its trade agenda. But consider this: About 125 of the Democrats currently in the House voted to renew the trade adjustment program three years ago, compared to 40 on Friday. Had the Democrats produced 125 votes for the TAA Friday, it still would have fallen short because Republicans voted by almost a 2-1 margin against that portion.

By contrast, 191 Republicans voted for the TPA provisions. Had that many Republicans voted for the trade adjustment section, it would have passed easily, and the package would have gone to President Obama to sign.

In other words, the House GOP leadership couldn’t persuade Republicans to back a program they dislike in order to pass a bill that they strongly support, while Democrats happily voted against a program they cherish in order to block TPA.

Oh, that clever Healey! It’s not a failure of President Obama to bring along his fellow Democrats to support a key item in the administration’s agenda, it’s a failure of Republicans to vote us further into hock to support the “trade readjustment program” — a typically inefficient and unsuccessful federal program beloved by progressives because it spends federal dollars to give the appearance of “caring” about workers. So Healey is completely baiting the Barbra Streisands of the world by telling them that the reason Obama may be the first President in a generation to fail to receive the ability to fast track trade deals is because of the recalcitrant GOP, not a Democrat Party that is in bondage to organized labor and the anti-capitalist left. This is of course just the message that clueless yet smug progressive Los Angeles Times readers long to hear and will be happy to parrot. Talk about your Irish wit, Mr. Healey! Keep up good work poking fun at gullible liberals.

– JVW

11/16/2014

The Dog Trainer Finally Acknowledges Grubergate

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — JVW @ 4:47 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Los Angeles Times (affectionately known here as the Dog Trainer; this is Patterico’s first recorded use of the term for you site historians) has just this afternoon finally deigned to mention Jonathan Gruber’s interesting week:

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, made headlines recently for telling the truth or, to be more specific, telling the truth as he sees it.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass,” Gruber said of “Obamacare,” in an unearthed 2013 video that went viral last week.

Transparency is generally the enemy of elites who believe in an end-justifies- the-means mentality. The general public, meanwhile, is supposed to sit quietly in the corner while the big boys talk and figure out what to do.

You can find this piece on the website in — um, let me see. . .

[checking]

. . . in the sports section, as the introduction to an opinion piece concerning the lack of transparency in the NFL.

Oh, and it’s an opinion piece that they picked up from a writer named John McMullan at a blog called SportsNetwork.com.

But don’t let it be said that the Gruber scandal went unremarked upon on the pages (well, webpages at least) of the Los Angeles Times.

– JVW

5/15/2013

L.A. Times’s Michael Hiltzik: Hooray for the IRS’s Targeting of Tea Party Groups!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Scum — Patterico @ 7:35 am

The IRS’s targeting of conservative groups has at least one unabashed fan: Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times. As evidence mounts that the IRS fast-tracked applications by left-leaning organizations while erecting burdensome obstacles for conservatives, Hiltzik cheers from the sidelines, praising the IRS and placing the word “scandal” in scare quotes:

It’s strange how “scandal” gets defined these days in Washington. At the moment, everyone is screaming about the “scandal” of the Internal Revenue Service scrutinizing conservative nonprofits before granting them tax-exempt status.

Here are the genuine scandals in this affair: Political organizations are being allowed to masquerade as charities to avoid taxes and keep their donors secret, and the IRS has allowed them to do this for years.

. . .

It’s about time the IRS subjected all of these outfits to scrutiny. The agency’s inaction has served the purposes of donors and political organizations on both sides of the aisle, and contributed to the explosive infection of the electoral process by big money from individuals and corporations.

The problem, as Hiltzik well knows (but almost entirely ignores), is that the IRS did not treat “both sides of the aisle” equally. A USA Today story describes how, just before the new anti-Tea Party policy went into effect, an Illinois Tea Party organization had its application speedily approved. But, the story goes on to explain:

That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.

In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.

As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months.

. . . .

Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like “citizen participation” or “voter education and registration.”

The Inspector General’s report is now available, and it confirms USA Today‘s conclusion that the IRS’s criteria do not appear to have been impartial:

[T]he criteria developed by the Determinations Unit gives the appearance that the IRS is not impartial in conducting its mission. The criteria focused narrowly on the names and policy positions of organizations instead of tax-exempt laws and Treasury Regulations.

The report has a chart that shows criteria in June 2011 for increased scrutiny:

The harshest criticism Hiltzik can muster for these one-sided criteria is that they provide “too coarse a screen.” He does not seem at all troubled by the fact that the only names singled out for extra scrutiny were names associated with conservative principles such as limited government and lower taxes. In fact, he implies — without a scrap of evidence and in contradiction to the IG report and virtually every extant news article to have examined the subject — that the criteria were even-handed and that we are hearing only about the extra burdens placed on one side.

The bottom line is that we live in an America where 501(c)’s run by, say, convicted bomber and leftist serial partisan harasser Brett Kimberlin are put on the fast track, whereas 501(c)’s that are concerned with the expansion of government are delayed to the point of absurdity. And Michael Hiltzik thinks that is just peachy.

Hiltzik is not a stupid man, just a dishonest one. He knows full well that the problem with the IRS’s actions is the disparate treatment given conservatives and leftists. If you want absolute proof that Hiltzik’s views are partisan hackery as opposed to a genuine concern over dirty money in politics, you need only read this passage:

[O]nce again, now that the agency has tried to regulate, the regulated parties have blown its efforts up into a “scandal.” It’s amusing to reflect that some politicians making hay over this are the same people who contend that we don’t need more regulations, we just need to enforce the ones we have. (Examples: gun control and banking regulation.) Here’s a case where the IRS is trying to enforce regulations that Congress enacted, and it’s still somehow doing the wrong thing.

Keep that in mind when you hear politicians — and they’re not exclusively Republicans — grandstanding about how the IRS actions are “chilling” or “un-American.” It turns out that none of the “targeted” groups actually was denied C4 status.

Oh! Well, if they weren’t denied C4 status, then all is well!

Except that, as the IG report details:

[T]he applications for those organizations that were identified for processing by the team of specialists experienced significant delays and requests for unnecessary information.

And again, these delays and burdensome and unnecessary requests fell primarily (if not exclusively) on one side of the aisle, and caused many conservatives to give up on obtaining tax-exempt status for their group.

Apparently Michael Hiltzik thinks that it would be OK to have a four-hour line for Republicans at the DMV, while “progressives” speed through an express line. Hey, no Republicans were denied licenses, were they?

We probably should apply greater scrutiny to tax-exempt organizations generally. I’d be fine with abolishing such organizations entirely. Indeed, the fact that taxpayers subsidize political activity is what gives government the power to favor one side over another.

But any extra scrutiny needs to be even-handed, and that is the problem that Hiltzik deliberately overlooks.

Memo to Hiltzik: the IRS itself has apologized and said that their targeting of conservatives was inappropriate. How much of a hack do you have to be to defend them after they admitted what they did was wrong?

Boy, it sure would be awful if the Koch brothers bought the L.A. Times and folks like Michael Hiltzik quit in a huff. How could we survive without utter partisan nonsense like this in the pages of our hometown newspaper?

3/18/2013

Kochs to Buy LAT?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:32 pm

Ace, on the rumors floating about that the Koch brothers are considering buying the L.A. Times:

If they buy this thing, I’d suggest they ask Mickey Kaus and Patrick Frey for some critiques of the paper as it currently stands.

Thanks for the mention. I’ll get to my critique, but let me clear my throat and have a sip of water first.

Ahem. OK, I’m ready.

My critique is as follows: take a wrecking ball to the place.

You’re welcome.

2/25/2013

L.A. Times Scares Readers Re Those Awful Sequestration Non-Cut “Cuts”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

The top article on the L.A. Times web page is a scare story about how awfully awfully terrible those horrible sequester “cuts” (which are not really cuts) will be:

When it comes to the nation’s debt, payback time might be here.

Years of low tax rates and rising federal spending, amplified by the devastating economic effect of the Great Recession, have driven the U.S. borrowing tab to more than $16 trillion from less than $1 trillion in 1981.

Deficit reduction has become the dominant issue in Washington. The first major tax increase since 1993 took place last month. And large automatic spending cuts — $1.2 trillion over the next decade — are set to kick in Friday.

Oh, the drama. Why not just say it’s $200 quintillion over 30 years? Ginormous “cuts” in the future that will never happen are a fiction, and the L.A. Times treats them like fact. But it’s a joke. You can’t control anything past this year, and Marc Thiessen explains what’s really going on this year:

The problem with the sequester is not the amount of cuts it requires. Cuts of $85 billion this year is about 2 percent of our $3.5 trillion federal budget, or about nine days of federal spending. Even after the sequester, we will still spend about $15 billion more this year than we did in last year. The sequester does not actually “cut” spending — it simply slows its growth.

At no point does the L.A. Times story put the “cuts” in their proper context — that they aren’t even cuts from last year’s spending. Instead, it’s Scare City:

In addition, government officials said the looming spending cuts would affect most federal programs. The effect would be widespread, hitting state and local programs that depend on federal aid and businesses with government contracts.

But some would directly affect the general public, with the furloughing of government workers leading to fewer food safety inspections, reduced hours at national parks and longer waits at airports.

For example, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the $600-million cut facing the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2013 budget would force the agency to furlough the “vast majority” of its 47,000 employees for at least one day every two-week pay period, reducing staffing at airports and forcing the closure of 100 small air traffic control towers starting around April 1.

“This is very painful for us because it involves our employees, but it’s going to be very painful for the flying public,” LaHood told reporters Friday.

Also, we’re told, the federal government spending less is somehow supposed to hurt the economy:

But Democrats and Republicans, along with many analysts, said the indiscriminate nature of the budget cuts make them a bad move right now when the economy still is struggling to grow.

This is how people stay “informed.” By reading garbage like this.

We have to change it, somehow.

1/10/2013

Now You Tell Us™ (Part 4): Obama Not Getting Big Money Out of Politics As He Promised To Do

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Obama — Patterico @ 7:21 am

(Note: “Now You Tell Us”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s disclosure of negative information about Barack Obama that didn’t come out during the election.)

Between the election and the inauguration is the traditional time for the L.A. Times to reveal negative facts about Barack Obama that many of us already knew, but that the electorate at large evidently did not. Today example, from this morning’s L.A. Times web page:

The beginning of the story:

Even before Barack Obama was sworn in as president the first time, he touted his efforts to “change business as usual in Washington” by setting strict rules for his inauguration: No corporate donations were allowed; individuals could give only $50,000.

This time, Obama’s inaugural committee is seeking million-dollar contributions from corporations and offering perks in return, such as tickets to the official ball. The six companies that have given so far include AT&T, Microsoft and Financial Innovations, a marketing company that received $15.7 million to produce merchandise for Obama’s reelection campaign and is the official vendor for the inauguration. The committee has put no limit on how much individuals can give.

The relaxed rules reflect how Obama has largely dropped his efforts to curb the role of money in politics, a cause he once vowed to make central to his presidency.

It’s OK to say . . . now that he’s safely elected.

(Entries from 2008 found here, here, and here.)

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