Cristina Fernandez, viuda de Kirchner, is not happy that the country’s journalists are reporting about her smear campaign against Pope Francis, the real inflation figures ( >25%), and international investors’ loss of confidence in the country. Mary O’Grady has the story,
There have been criminal actions against newspaper officials for editorials it didn’t like, attempts to gain control of the country’s domestic newsprint supply, and the passage of a law that politicizes the granting of broadcast licenses and the sale of spectrum. Then there was the September 2009 raid by some 200 tax agents on the daily Clarín, and the deployments of pro-Kirchner mobs to block the distribution of some newspapers that do not toe the Kirchner line.
Now Mrs. Kirchner is trying to financially ruin her critics in the press. One tool is the government’s $100 million-plus advertising budget—excluding the much larger budget for soccer broadcasts. An analysis by the daily La Nación (which publishes some Wall Street Journal content) of 2012 spending over 2011 shows a 65.3% increase in the purchase of space for public announcements and, more commonly, government propaganda in the country’s newspapers and magazines. Yet the four most important independent newspaper publishers—El Cronista, Clarín, La Nación and Perfil—all lost business from the government in 2012. La Nación lost a whopping 83%. El Cronista was down 48%, Clarín lost 37% and Perfil 12%.
The punishment doesn’t end there. At a meeting on Feb. 4 the minister of domestic commerce, Guillermo Moreno, mandated that supermarket chains would have to freeze prices for 60 days. According to a March 3 report in Clarín, Mr. Moreno also instructed those merchants present to halt the purchase of print advertising in Buenos Aires and the surrounding area media outlets. According to the Clarín report, he said the boycott would include companies that sell appliances and electronics.
The government initially denied that it had decreed any such thing. But according to Clarín, merchants told the newspaper that they are under strict orders not to buy advertising from the independent newspapers in and around the capital. Clarín said that failure to obey such commands, even though they are not law, can be costly. Businesses fear government reprisals in the form of tax inspections, the withholding of import licenses, and lawsuits brought in the name of consumer protection.
As you all know by now, Bob Woodward, the guy who brought down Nixon, has made the White House unhappy by (correctly) asserting that sequestration was Obama’s idea in the first place. So unhappy that, after being yelled at for an hour, Woodward received an email from Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president, promising(?)
But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.
As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Woodward called a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.
Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.
And thus the facade continues: promising peace and delivering expanded war, with new frontiers broken for drone killings of children and other innocents, legal justifications crafted for killing Americans, and near-limitless executive power over nearly every aspect of our lives. Reciting the Progressive line while delivering impoverishment, decreased access and less-affordable healthcare, clearly it matters only what he says, not what is. His hoped-for next act: new goals of gun control that would make the most vulnerable more so, an increased minimum wage that would further exacerbate the inability of those with no work experience to get an entry-level job in which to hone the skills that will put them on the economic ladder, and “green” measures, based, like the Life of Pi, on computer-generated fantasy so much more appealing than dry real-world data.
1) Given how he so often says he wakes up every morning thinking about what he could do to create jobs, it’s interesting that he says his inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform (even when he totally controlled Congress) was his biggest failure. But I suppose that can be written off as simple pandering.
Which, incidentally, didn’t work, since Ramos did not let him off the hook later in the interview,
2) His biggest lesson, meanwhile, is that “you can’t change Washington from the inside.” Wait a second. In the 2008 primaries, his whole argument with Hillary Clinton was over this exact question. She believed that you can change Washington from the inside and Barack Obama said you couldn’t.
You told me during an interview that you and Mr. Holder did not authorize the Fast and Furious operation that allowed 2,000 weapons from the United States into Mexico and they were in the drug trafficking [cartels'] hands,” Univision co-host Jorge Ramos asked Obama, according to a translator, during the interview. “I think that up to 100 Mexicans might have died and also American agent Brian Terry. There’s a report that 14 agents were responsible for the operation but shouldn’t the attorney general, Eric Holder, he should have known about that and if he didn’t, should you fire him?”
Obama responded with similar talking points his administration has used time and again.
“Well, first of all, I think it’s important to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program, begun under the previous administration,” Obama said. “When Eric Holder found out about it, he discontinued it. We assigned an inspector general to do a thorough report that was just issued — confirming that in fact Eric Holder did not know about this, that he took prompt action and that the people who did initiate this were held accountable. But, what I think is most important is recognizing that we’ve got a challenge in terms of weapons flowing south, and the strategy that was pursued out of Arizona, obviously, was completely wrongheaded. Those folks who were responsible have been held accountable. The question now is, how do we move forward with a strategy that will actually work?”
“We are going to have to work with Mexican law enforcement to accomplish this, but I will tell you that Eric Holder has my complete confidence, because he has shown himself to be willing to hold accountable those who took these actions and is passionate about making sure that we’re preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands,” Obama continued.
Ramos followed up in English: “But if you have nothing to hide, then why are you not releasing papers to the –”
Obama responded: “The truth is we’ve released thousands of papers.
“We’ve released almost all of them,” Obama said. “The ones that we don’t release, typically, relate to internal communications that were not related to the actual Fast and Furious operation. The challenge that we have is that, at any given moment in the federal government, there may be people who do dumb things, and I’ve seen it, I promise. Ultimately, I’m responsible and my key managers, including the attorney general, are responsible for holding those people accountable, for making sure that they are fired if they do dumb things and then fixing the system to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and I’m very confident that you will not see any kinds of actions like this in the future, but what I don’t like to see is these kinds of issues becoming political circuses or ways to score political points in Congress partly because it becomes a distraction from us doing the business that we need to do for the American people.”
When pressed on for an independent investigation,
Obama answered: “Well, understand that, not only have we had multiple hearings in Congress, but the inspector general is put in place specifically to be independent from the attorney general. This attorney general’s [sic] report was not a whitewash in any way. I mean, it was tough on the Justice Department, and it indicated that, potentially, more supervision was needed, people should have known in some cases, even if they didn’t actually know. So, it was, I think, independent, honest, it was a clear assessment of what had gone wrong in that situation.”
“And we are happy to continue to provide the information that is relevant to this, but one of the things that happens in Washington is, very quickly, these issues become political distractions as opposed to us actually solving the problems that we need to solve,” Obama continued. “And, this issue of guns flowing south is a hard issue to solve, because this country respects the Second Amendment, we want to protect the rights of gun owners and those who are seeking to purchase firearms, but oftentimes that’s exploited as well. And so we’ve got to make sure we’re properly balancing the rights of U.S. citizens but making sure that we’re also interdicting those arms that would get into the hands of criminals.”
Video below the fold, since it starts right away, (more…)
Spanish-language station Univision is holding two question and answer sessions with the Presidential candidates. Last night was Mitt’s turn.
The show was at the University of Miami in front of a live audience, with simultaneous interpreters (the man translating Romney did a brilliant job). Jorge Ramos, Univision’s Mexican anchorman and pro-illegal immigration/open borders advocate, and Maria Elena Salinas asked the questions. Here’s the first part of the show,
[CORRECTION: video below the fold below since it starts right away]
The first question was on the 47%. Romney answered he’s about the 100 percent of America:
“The last several years you’ve seen greater and greater divisiveness in this country,” said the GOP hopeful. “We had hoped to come back together. But instead you’ve seen us pull apart. And politics has driven us apart in some respects. So my campaign is about the 100 percent of America. And I’m concerned about them. I’m concerned about the fact that over the last four years life has become harder for Americans.”
The second question was on immigration. Romney emphasized that Obama’s recent executive order is a temporary measure, while “I will reform immigration the immigration system”; Salinas tried to interrupt but Romney asserted that he wants permanent solutions and he supports Marco Rubio’s ideas. Salinas asked about deportations and Romney answered that we need to find permanent solutions instead of deportations or Obama’s temporary plan. Ramos pressed on deportations and got boo’ed. Romney replied that self-deportation is an individual’s choice and emphasized legal immigration as vital to the US’s growth. Ramos asked about the Arizona law, to which Romney replied that the reason the states are taking measures is the Obama’s administration failure to find a solution to the problem.
Overall, Romney came across as relaxed, clear, and confident. He had no notes, no teleprompters, and remained on topic, bringing his point across, regardless of the interruptions.
Definitely a good preview for the presidential debates.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirms that the freedom of expression is one of the fundamental principles of our Republic. This freedom is exercised within the framework of the law and under the supervision of the courts when a case is referred to them.
He also reaffirms the principle of laicité [secularism] which, along with the values of tolerance and respect for religious convictions, is at the heart of our Republican Pact.
And this is why, in the current context, the prime minister would like to express his disapproval of any excesses. He urges everyone to demonstrate a spirit of responsibility
Free speech does not mean government-sanctioned speech, and Fabius’s criticism of the magazine’s editorial decision is an entirely reasonable and prudent one. The qualification, however, is crucially important–and, as we noted last week, it was missing from the statements of President Obama and Fabius’s counterpart, Hillary Clinton, about the YouTube film that the Obama administration blames for the recent anti-American violence in North Africa and elsewhere (though the Washington Examinerreports that the White House press secretary today put in a word for “the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution”).
Particularly since the riots are not about the video.
Throughout Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena are special garbage cans marked “Compost,” “Recycle,” and “Landfill.” Each come with signs showing what is to go into them, though most of the errant garbage tossers seem to be using the “Recycle” bins since they don’t have special covers.
At many garbage stations there are “environmental consultants” to help people choose the right bin, or, if need be, reach in and move the garbage to the right one. For example, one of the consultants repeatedly stopped kitchen help at the trash cans to advise which cans to use: cardboard in “Recycle,” food in “Compost,” styrofoam cups in “Landfill.”
One reporter said that a consultant scolded her for not paying attention and using the wrong bins. Another said that one of the consultants — who were barred from talking to the media — pulled his plastic cup out of “Recycle” to place in the “Compost” bin, explaining that the cup was biodegradable. “How am I supposed to know that? It’s plastic,” he said.
I can’t speak for the delegates or ther foreign dignitaries, but many of the journalists I have spoken with here are appalled at the accommodations in Charlotte to which they were assigned by the DNC. National Review was assigned to two Knights Inn properties. Everyone who saw them fled immediately across state lines to an available Marriott in South Carolina rather than stay there. As one of our political correspondents reported:
The Knights Inn was the worst hotel I have ever seen, and I’ve stayed in many bad motels in my life. Two guys were dealing drugs in the room next to me, and a prostitute was working out of the parking lot. And this was in the early afternoon. The room itself was dirty, full of other people’s stuff, etc.
I have never requested a hotel change in 3 years at NR. This was the first time I felt absolutely compelled.
It’s not as if the DNC couldn’t have figured out something was wrong with the properties. TripAdvisor had these recent comments on one of the Knights Inn properties: “wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy,” “scared to death,” and “pimps and prostitutes at night.”
Nor was National Review singled out. Staff members from Politico and theHill abandoned their assigned hotels, too. Staffers from the Hill found refuge in a cheap Microtel and considered it a comparative oasis.
A lesser blogger than I may digress into snark and may point out that the media has insisted on carrying a one-sided fellational relationship with their idol, so they shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t respect them in the morning.
So little respect is there, that, instead of having respected journalists (oxymoronic as that may sound) host coverage for Thursday’s event on BarackObama.com, it’s going to be Kumar.
Kumar? What about Harold? Well, Harold’s in the ad, too, but apparently only Kumar gets to host,
Suppose the country you live in is holding a presidential election and the incumbent is running for another term. Suppose further that the economy is in bad shape. The ranks of the unemployed and poor have swelled, the government is spendthrift, and the central bank is no longer independent.
The president takes no responsibility. He blames everything on the rich. He says they are exploiting the working classes and don’t pay their fair share in taxes. Fomenting class envy and resentment is his stock in trade. Now suppose there are is no independent media.
The Washington Post has seen a decline in newspaper circulation and journalistic business that they have been almost solely reliant on the success of their cash generating education business, Kaplan University. Chairman of the Post Company Don Graham has willfully turned a blind eye to allegations of fraudulent business practices, excessive student debt and hardship, and exorbitant executive compensation at the for-profit college. At the same time, Graham has actively engaged in lobbying to help generate profits on the backs of the very students he claims to serve, and also engaged in suspicious stock trading that has greatly benefited his family.