No, The Obama Team Did NOT Claim They Would Raise $1 Billion

Hackery in a nutshell:

1) Make a false and exaggerated claim as to the amount the Obama campaign expects to raise this election season.

2) When a very healthy quarterly fundraising figure is announced, use the exaggerated claim to try to cast what is actually very good news for President Obama as very bad news for President Obama.

Noah Ashman of Ology.com, hang your head in shame.

Here’s his post claiming Obama’s campaign raising $68 million last quarter sucks because it means they’re way off target to reach their supposed target of $1 billion.

On Wednesday night, the president attended several fundraising events in Chicago, but it will be an uphill battle to get to the much ballyhooed “billion dollar” campaign that the Obama White House had claimed they would mount in 2012. In 2008, then-Sen. Obama raised $745 billion for his election effort.

At this rate, Obama’s reelection team would need to raise nearly $200 million per quarter to get to $1 billion by November. When asked about the lackluster total, Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina said that “the billion-dollar number is completely untrue.”

Wondewhat I was reading that led me to believe that was the Obama teams goal? Once again, the White House reaches for the “who should you believe; me or your lyin’ eyes” argument. It must sting when you’re underperforming George W. Bush’s fundraising pace at this point in his presidency – in the fourth quarter of 2003, Bush had raised $47.5 million for his reelection effort.

If, unlike Rothman, you actually read any of the links he’s provided in his post, it would be immediately apparent that nowhere does Obama or a member of the Obama team claim that they’re aiming for a target of $1 billion dollars. The only mentions of this mythical figures are: a completely sourceless claim that ‘advisers are hoping’ to raise it, and this:

[On Obama raising $1 billion] It’s definitely within reach, as he raised three quarters of a billion last time,’ said Michael Malbin, executive director of the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute.

Non-partisan institutions apparently speak for Obama’s campaign. Now we know why Gingrich and co want to do away with the CBO.

The truth is, as this ABC report states, the Obama campaign never came up with this $1 billion figure, it’s purely an invention of the media and has absolutely no basis in fact. So, yes, Mr Rothman, it appears your eyes are deceiving you. Or you’re too lazy to read beyond a headline. Or you’re a deliberately dishonest hack.

Also: George Bush raising more in the 4th quarter of 2003 can’t have had anything to do with the fact the economy hadn’t crashed at that point, leaving people with greatly reduced disposable income, if any income at all. Nah.

 

News International And War Dead Relatives

In the wake of the News of the World’s depraved phone-hacking of dead soldiers’ relatives, I thought it would be a good time to revisit what its daily sister paper considered such a grievous insult to our war dead it led a manipulative and nasty campaign against then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Misspelling a dead soldiers name, poor handwriting, and worst of all, not dotting his Is:

COMMITTED four other spelling mistakes: Greatst for greatest, condolencs for condolences, you instead of your, and colleagus for colleagues.

He also wrote the letter “i” incorrectly 18 times – mostly by leaving the dots off them but once by using two in “security”.

And he ended with a repetition – writing “my sincere condolences” and then signing off “Yours sincerely”

What an evil, evil man. How did he ever sleep at night?

The Sun proceeded to callously exploit the mother’s grief for its own ends, to viciously attack Brown. Which is the hallmark of Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets of course – exploitation, manipulation and hit jobs to try and obtain a certain political outcome.

News International: where spelling mistakes when writing an emotionally difficult letter to a dead soldier’s mother is a hanging offence, but illegally invading and violating the privacy of relatives is A-OK.

NOTW Phone Hacking: Dead Soldiers’ Families Also Targeted

Sweet Jesus. The News of the World scandal hits rock bottom:

Phones owned by relatives of dead UK soldiers were allegedly hacked by the News of the World, a national newspaper reports.

The Daily Telegraph claims the phone numbers of relatives of dead were found in the files of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

The Government can’t resist calls for a full public inquiry for much longer. And who knows what further revelations are coming? However, it will be extremely hard for it to get worse than being discovered to have hacked the phones of bereaved families of the men who fought and died for us. I’m running out of variants of ‘disgusting’ to describe this loathsome rag’s actions.

 

 

Rebekah Brooks Is Either Incompetent Or A Liar

Rebekah Brooks continues to deny all knowledge of the despicable hacks into Milly Dowler and 7/7 families’ phones, leading to only two possible conclusions: either Brooks was so incompetent an editor that she had no control over and no idea of what was being done by her own newspaper, or she’s a liar, neither of which does her credit.

As the Independent revealed today that she asked the same private detective who dug up the Dowlers’ number to do other searches, I’m leaning towards the latter.

Ms Brooks, while editor of NOTW, used Steve Whittamore, a private detective who specialised in obtaining illegal information, to “convert” a mobile phone number to find its registered owner. Mr Whittamore also provided the paper with the Dowlers’ ex-directory home phone number.

The Information Commissioner’s Office, which successfully prosecuted Whittamore for breaches of the Data Protection Act in 2005, said last night it would have been illegal to obtain the mobile conversion if the details had been “blagged” from a phone company.

Ms Brooks, who said yesterday she was “shocked and appalled” at the latest hacking claims, admitted requesting the information. But she said it could be obtained by “perfectly legitimate means.”

I highly doubt that, but let’s leave the ‘means’ aside for a minute and focus on her actual request – trying to discover the private owner of a private mobile phone for no justifiable reason, on top of gaining access to a phone number that was removed from the directory books precisely to stop unwanted callers from obtaining it. Ethics, schmethics.

 

The First Rule Of Sirota’s Holier Than Thou Club (UPDATED)

UPDATE: As the subject of this post has dropped by for a visit, I am going to clarify: I am not defending, and did not defend, the deliberate targeting of minority-dominated neighbourhoods for frisking, drug swoops etc. Nowhere did I even mention those in this post. I was responding to Sirota’s criticisms of the increase in the number of arrests and the money and time Bloomberg is choosing to spend on it. I think that’s pretty obvious when you read the actual paragraph in question. But then, I’m not chronically intellectually dishonest.

….is the rules must be constantly changed to deny all but David Sirota membership.

A theme you will often see with Salon’s twin beacons of supreme self-righteousness, David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald, is that they are ‘courageous’ for holding the opinions they do, for Evil Obama Cultists or Imaginary Evil Authority Figures are, as we speak, threatening to throw them in the gulag for daring to speak out against what most people see as sanity and common sense, but they see as the creeping onslaught of fascism.

Now Sirota goes even further in this narcissistic hogwash in his latest screed about a NYT’s reporter’s tweet on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy. This tweet, in fact (which I will agree is too deferential in tone for my liking too, but otherwise has valid points):

So what? Bloomberg shouldn’t be given any kudos at all for championing gay rights. He’s mayor of fucking New York City! The only place safer to support gay rights is a gay bar…in San Francisco! So yeah, big deal Bloomie. Or so says David Sirota, for whom being right (ie being of the same mind as Sirota) is now no longer enough to get you that Scooby Snack. No, now you have to be right while locked inside an asylum filled with lunatics, screeching howler monkeys and rabid dogs infested with fleas carrying the Black Death.

As mayor of the Big Apple, Bloomberg is a national political figure — and his positions supporting dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, backing gay marriage and defending the right of an Islamic center to be built in Lower Manhattan are certainly of national interest, laudable and pro-freedom. However, two of those three positions (Ai Weiwei and gay marriage) are hardly politically courageous in a socially progressive city like New York. More important, citing these three isolated examples to declare Bloomberg “The Freedom Mayor” who represents a “full-throated defense of liberty” is a propagandistic whitewashing of his larger anti-freedom record — and such hagiographic sloganeering is particularly disturbing coming from an allegedly objective meme-shaper like Barbaro.

Being a pragmatist, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Given that New York State’s last attempt to legalise gay marriage failed in the  Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo says the votes still aren’t there, the support of an independent, powerful political figure and former Republican could prove extremely useful. But there I go again, bringing common sense into the argument. And standing up for the 1st Amendment, the cornerstone of freedom in the Constitution,during the ridiculous fuss over the Park51 project,  is what I’d call a ‘full throated defence’ of liberty.

While there are many valid criticisms to be levelled at Bloomberg, the other criticisms Sirota offers are, to put it mildly, laughable. His chief concerns are the NYPD arresting people for possession of pot and ‘Big Brother’ surveillance cameras. Whether you think pot should be criminalised or not, the fact remains it is currently against the law and will be until the law is changed. What exactly are the police supposed to do – not enforce a law because some people don’t agree with it? You know, believing pot leads to people taking harder drugs is a perfectly legitimate position to have, and Bloomberg has every right to get tough on it if that is his position.

As for this ‘ZOMG Big Brother is watching us!!11eleventy!!” reaction to surveillance cameras, what these hysterical morons seem to forget is that the the cameras are recording to tape so they can be closely examined later in the event of a crime occurring, and people in the observation rooms are on the lookout for antisocial and criminal behaviour. They are not interested in watching you, Mr Par. A. Noid, adjust your tin foil hat every 5 seconds.

Interview With A Mental Patient

I’m not entirely sure what the Independent’s Robert Chalmers was hoping to achieve by sitting down with “racistislamophoberepublicantimuslimbigot” Pamela Geller (she forgot “starkravingmadlyinsanelunatic”). If he was doing a study on mental illness, I could have seen the point, because if we knew exactly what afflicts Geller’s mind we might be able to stop it spreading to normal human beings.

But treating this woman as a person to be seriously interviewed and to have her delusions held up to “is it x or y” scrutiny?

It kinda pisses me off that she gets an interview in a national newspaper while millions of sane, politically aware people willing to share their opinions are ignored because a freak show makes better copy than actual insightful analysis on any given topic.

Shirley Sherrod Returns to USDA, Andrew Breitbart To Cry Self To Sleep

Good news: Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was smeared by Andrew Breitbart, causing them to wrongfully fire her, will be returning to the department albeit in a different capacity:

Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who was forced out after a portion of a videotape was misleadingly used to show her making a racially insensitive remark, will start working for the USDA again, the department told POLITICO Friday. But she’s not getting her old job back.

Instead, Sherrod will help the USDA improve its dismal civil rights record.

No one should ever have to go through what Sherrod did, and the tragedy of it all is that nothing was learned from it, just as Sherrod’s humiliation came about because nothing was learned from Breitbart’s false editing of the ACORN tapes. What would be a greater reward than any compensation won from the lawsuit she launched against Breitbart for slander and defamation, is if the media refused to take anything that passes through Breitbart’s slimy, lying hands seriously ever again. But that’s about as likely to happen as Breitbart showing any kind of remorse for his despicable and destructive actions.

The Real Jane Hamsher Isn’t A Pretty Sight

Mike Elk shines a light on the vicious, narcissistic, lying bully that is Firedoglake’s founder.  He reveals that Jane Hamsher, far from being a tireless defender of the little man, is actually anti-union. This kerfuffle began when Elk objected to Hamsher going to bat for Arianna Huffington against bloggers who organised a boycott against the Huffington Post after Huffington sold the HuffPo to AOL without them seeing a penny of the money.

Now, I’d like to make it clear that while I support the idea of a HuffPo boycott, it’s for their disgraceful journalistic standards – such as writing ‘health’ articles promoting the long-since debunked vaccine scares – and not for profiting from her tacky website while the bloggers received nothing.  Elk and the other bloggers willingly gave their services free of charge when asked, and so Huffington did not exploit their labour or cheat them out of money they were due, as they claim. But it nevertheless shows that Jane Hamsher isn’t the staunch supporter of the little man against privileged elites she likes to pretend she is.

As for the exchange Elk has with her, well, it’s classic Jane Hamsher: for starters, she is deliberately dishonest about what he writes and distorts it to cast herself as the victim:

On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 5:43 PM, Mike Elk wrote:

Wow Jane you’re the name caller and I’m the one with no ability to conduct analysis.

You just have no shame Jane and I defended you when people in the labor movement called you a Botox liberal

On May 12, 2011, at 6:22 PM, Jane Hamsher wrote:

So now you’re making mysoginistic [sic] slurs on top of it all:  “botox liberal.”

It’s embarrassing when people like you try to call yourself “liberals.”

Of course, anyone with a 5 year old’s level of literacy can see Elk did nothing of the sort, in fact talked about defending her from other people who called her that. She proceeds to attack him with slurs about mental illness, knowing full well Elk has Asperger’s syndrome, which he calls her out on. To which he gets this response:

On May 12, 2011, at 5:39 PM, Jane Hamsher wrote:

You don’t have “analysis,” you’re either a liar or you have no ability to discern the truth.

You can’t blame either on asperger’s syndrome.  That’s not a symptom.  Your reflexive crouch into tribalism and “poor me” to excuse reprehensible behavior is really feeble.

This may be due to the fact that you’re incredibly sick, and unable to discern reality.  In that case I wish you the best, and hope you’ll seek help.  Failing that, you’re just a liar and a bad faith artist.  But this list is not a place for you to be working through either of those issues.

Self-awareness is not Hamsher’s strong point. It’s she who ‘crouches into tribalism’ and self-pity to excuse her own appalling behaviour, as she is doing in the very same email that she accuses Elk of this. Elk attempts to be civil, and never actually insults her – he merely says he wouldn’t want her to be his shop steward, an opinion fully justified by Hamsher’s anti-union activities which are the subject of Elk’s post – and she reveals herself to be an extremely nasty human being.  Afterwards, Hamsher sends one of her cult members to send Elk a “You’ll Never Work In This Town Again” email. I have friends on Twitter who have reported receiving this threatening treatment from Hamsher subordinates after daring to call her out loudly and boldly, so this too can be chalked up to typical Hamsher behaviour.

It goes without saying that “it’s embarrassing when people like” this pathetic excuse for a human being “try to call themselves liberals”, not Elk.

Maddie Fatigue

Actually, to be more accurate, it’s more ‘McCann fatigue’. Heartless this may sound, but I am truly sick of the sight of both Kate and Gerry McCann. Today came news that no less a person than the Prime Minister is personally intervening and ordering the police to reopen the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance.

The intervention came after Kate and Gerry McCann made an impassioned appeal for the PM to help them revive the search for their daughter.

The girl vanished in Portugal in 2007 shortly before her fourth birthday.

The Metropolitan Police are to now “bring their expertise” to the search for Madeleine after a personal request from the Prime Minister.

“There has been a huge amount of public interest in this case since it began, Madeleine McCann has been missing for a long time, there is the international dimension,” Mr Cameron’s official spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister has been clear that he wants to do everything he can to support the family.”

The part highlighted in bold is apparently what makes the case ‘exceptional’ enough to merit the country’s leader personally lending a powerful hand. One can only imagine what the family of Ben Needham, who vanished without trace in 1991 must feel, as he too has been missing for a very long time, went missing overseas, and at the time there was considerable public interest in his disappearance too. Yet they received no response whatsoever from the Prime Minister then or now, as this BBC article shows.

100000 children go missing in the UK every year. Yet only a fraction ever receive attention from the media, and certainly none have had the Prime Minister intervening to try and ensure they are safely found. Why is Madeleine McCann different? Why, instead of throwing so much effort into helping one couple, does David Cameron not try and do something which will improve the chances of children who disappear in the future of being discovered alive? This is what annoys me so much about this case. We have seen several cases where the parents of children who have gone missing or been murdered who have led campaigns to try and stop it happening to other children. Look at Sara Payne, who after her daughter Sarah was brutally murdered, went on to fight for ‘Sarah’s Law': a law that would inform parents about any paedophiles that were living in their neighbourhood.

The McCanns have done no such thing. To the contrary, they have literally used their daughter’s disappearance to their own benefit – using money donated by generous, kind hearted people to help find their daughter to pay their mortgage instead,  cashing in further by writing a book (what can Kate McCann possibly have to tell us that she hasn’t told us several hundred times over the past four years?) I no longer have the slightest sliver of sympathy for them. I do however, feel desperately sorry for poor little Madeleine, who is probably long since dead, who had the deep misfortune of having parents so self-absorbed they were quite happy to leave her and her siblings alone in a flat in a foreign country while they went out and had a good time.

The tragedy of the Madeleine McCann case is that it reaffirms what many of us have long believed in regards to missing children: help, attention and concern will only come if the child in question is lucky enough to be cute, white and from an upper-middle class family.

So Many Strawmen, So Many Words To Knock Them Down

Shorter Glenn Greenwald: Eric Holder is asserting the president has the right to kill US citizens, contrary to what he said while Bush was president, therefore ALL Democrats have abandoned their principles regarding the War on Terror. And  I declare my position to be on the fringe, so I’m courageous. Also, too.

I’ve had my eyes opened to Glenn Greenwald’s persistent intellectual dishonesty a while now, but since President Obama brought Osama bin Laden to justice, Greenwald has gone full-on Pinocchio. Every column he’s produced since then has been an exercise in constructing self-aggrandising, supercilious strawmen. Take his latest, where 3/4 of the column is spent pointing out things administration figures and liberals have said supporting the idea of Terrorists (capitalisation is Greenwald’s – evocative of his permanent snideness) being tried and convicted like the criminals they are, before pronouncing:

“That view now, of course — once the centerpiece of the Democratic Party’s Terrorism arguments — is decreed to be a fringe and radical view.”

He then proceeds to offer not one shred of evidence showing that this is the case.  This is unsurprising, for no one either in the Obama Administration, the Democratic Party (save perhaps Joe Lieberman, and he is hardly a Democrat) or any mainstream liberal figures have ‘decreed’ this, much less changed their minds that trying and convicting terrorists is the ideal, and right path to take. And in his haste to pin down Eric Holder for hypocrisy, Greenwald chooses to forget that this is the same Eric Holder who fought very hard to bring KSM to trial, in a civilian court, in New York, because that would blow the straw right out of Glenn’s hands. By supporting Awlaki’s assassination, Holder isn’t so much guilty of hypocrisy as of accommodating to reality, which to an ideologue like Greenwald is the worst sin of all.

The problem with Greenwald’s defence of  Awlaki’s right to a trial and his opposition to bin Laden’s killing is that both these men repeatedly proved by their own words and deeds that they are indeed terrorists, or serving the terrorist cause. Bin Laden repeatedly and gleefully admitted to being behind 9/11. Awlaki doesn’t consider himself American and calls for attacks against America and the death of Americans. The man has to all intents and purposes renounced his citizenship. Both called for jihad against America, are/were an active and present danger to America and so the American president has every right to treat them as enemy combatants. Furthermore America has killed citizens who threaten other US citizens’ lives all the time – how many hostage situations have ended with the shooter being shot dead? Plenty. This is neither as abhorrent, nor as singular, nor as dangerous as Greenwald would like you to believe.