Day in and day out, I watch, read, listen, and write about news. And because I do so much watching, reading, and listening. I tend to notice recurring themes. A major recurring theme is how much time the so-called "news" [sic] media spends on speculation.
Most of that speculation centers on the 2016 presidential election, focusing specifically on Hillary Clinton vs (currently) Chris Christie. Newsflash, "journalists": It's only 2013, and you started this endless loop of What Ifs the day after Election 2012. This is ludicrous. This is not news, this is meaningless filler and a shameless ploy used to pull in viewers.
And hey viewers, how about you stop enabling?
Then again, there is very little "real" news reporting any more, not since news departments became commercialized all those years ago. Not since it became all about profit, which news stories sell, which headlines attract ratings, and as a result, attract sponsors and their buckets of money.
And don't get me started on media bias. The CBS "60 Minutes" Benghazi story scandal is only the latest, and if you're a regular reader, you know that the Sunday morning talk shows have an obvious rightward slant.
But back to that nasty speculation habit. When you watch the "news" shows, you see them produce hours upon hours of What If about future elections, about the *gasp!* doomed fate of the Affordable Care Act, about which freedoms we might lose if we don't do something about some catastrophe that might or might not happen, about which new scandal *could* result from Darrell Issa's umpteenth witch hunt about absolutely everything/nothing.
You can actually see concrete examples of all this speculation in their TV chyrons, like, Low Obamacare enrollment numbers: Sign of problems to come?"; "A third 'Bush' in office?"; "Will the world end in 2012? Many people believe so." We get a ton of cowardly headlines in the form of a question, Alex, so that nobody has to commit to actual, you know, reporting.
Well now it's our turn. News outlets want to speculate? Fine. Let's turn the tables and speculate about them for a change:
You all know what a big fan I am of protections for we little guys/gals. Wall Street, thanks to the GOP, have had their Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at our expense. Well, stepping up to the front of the line to protect us from further abuses and hopefully further bailouts, are two unlikely allies. Not that either alone wouldn't be of great marquee value but when old school meets new school, you've really got something quite formidable. Perennial wild card, Sen. John McCain and consumer protection expert, Sen. Elizabeth Warren have begun their mission -- the new Glass-Steagall Act. Not too long ago, I wrote about it as well as posted Senator Warren's kind response.
So it was with great relish that I heard that she had taken on the talking heads over at CNBC recently and gave them a schooling. So much so that CNBC demanded YouTube take down the video of Senator Warren's smack-down on SQUAWK BOX claiming it was violating copyright.By the time the video was removed, it had already gone viral. The damage was done. Here's a HuffPo report on it.
Now, if you want to see the entire banned segment, you can. CNBC has reversed itself after it's public shaming and the video is back up on YouTube. We have it here for your listening and viewing pleasure.
Senator Warren has never been better. Please enjoy:
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Laffy did a wonderful piece on Senator Warren yesterday. Please check it out here if you haven't seen it yet. We have a true fighter for us up in Senate.
How nice for private companies that so many Congress members continue to be in their corner. So touching, so precious. The battle over immigration reform has now resulted in the proposition of a border spending "surge" that will benefit-- wait for it-- private firms. The Los Angeles Times calls it a "financial bonanza."
While many of us support a pathway to citizenship, the more conservative among us are salivating over a pathway to profits.
And don't get me started on the hypocrisy of the GOP when it comes to all their previous whining and kvetching over wasteful spending and how austerity and budget cutting are the only way to revive sluggish economies, even recovering ones like ours. (See Graph, Bikini.)
Yet the Times also describes the plan as a "spending gusher."
[T]hanks in part to lobbying by security contractors, the Senate immigration bill that goes to the Republican-led House this week includes a computerized "biometric" exit system that could cost more than $7 billion.
The plan is part of the bill's $46-billion border "surge" of security measures, a 10-year spending gusher that would produce a financial bonanza for some of America's largest aerospace, technology and security companies, as well as some border states.
The legislation would force the Homeland Security Department — which has a total proposed budget of $39 billion in fiscal year 2014 — to absorb a staggering increase in funding, equipment and staff at a time when most federal agencies and departments are struggling with budget cutbacks, furloughs and reduced services.
But that doesn't matter, it's just money after all. All that spending jumped tenfold in order to win the hearts and minds of Republican lawmakers who don't seem too concerned with winning the hearts and minds of voters, despite their fanfare-itude over a Big Exciting Fancy Schmancy New Outreachy Makeover.
Talk about a credibility gap.
Speaking of which:
Among other problems, the Homeland Security Department, which was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has a reputation of poor management and wasteful spending.
Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
The Times article goes into more detail about the expensive expenses expended. Then there's this:
Most immigration violators are sent to jails and detention facilities owned or run by private companies under contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Their role is likely to grow substantially.
Judith Greene, director of Justice Strategies, a nonprofit research group, said this:
Prosecution of more border crossers "would be a huge boon for the private companies."
Are we sensing a trend here?
There's been so much lobbying going on, it will make your head spin just reading about it, as will all the greed and frothing over impending financial gain.
And before I hear the standard response to so many posts, "Why are you surprised?"... I'm not. In fact, most of my writing at TPC expresses outrage, not surprise. I've always wondered why I so often hear that response to my posts and others'. But I digress...
I'll end with the Times final quote:
"There are some members of Congress who are just obsessed" with biometric exit systems, said Paul Rosenzweig, a former Homeland Security deputy assistant secretary for policy who now heads a consulting company. "The private sector guys on the sidelines are more than happy to make money."
No surprise there.
I have an aversion to writing or making predictions about 2016 presidential prospects, but this was too good to pass up because of the direct references to Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush. As far as I'm concerned, all the Hillary Clinton talk has already devolved into overkill and, well, premature speculation.
The Latino population is growing as the GOP grasp of reality is shrinking. So while so many Americans may suffer from premature speculation, the Republican Bubble O' Oblivion brings this Moment of Seinfeld to mind:
Their political impotence has led to revelations of what a sham their whole laughable "outreach effort" has become; it just hasn't clicked with voters, because Americans aren't the gullible pushovers that conservatives seem to think they are.
Check this out from The Hill:
A new poll of likely Hispanic voters in the 2016 presidential election shows strong support for the two candidates seen as potential Democratic nominees: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden.
The survey, by Latino Decisions, also revealed Republican candidates continue to significantly trail among Hispanic voters, with even champions of immigration reform like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush significantly behind top Democrats.
73 percent of likely Hispanic voters give Hillary a big thumbs up. Biden scores with 58 percent.
Rubio, on the other hand? He has 31-29 positive favorability rating. And Jebby should go back to whatever it is Jebby does (ALEC-related, corporate, anti-union Bushy stuff):
Jeb Bush — also a proponent of immigration reform — is underwater with his favorability ranking. While a third of Hispanic voters don't know him, 39 percent view him unfavorably and 27 percent view him favorably.
Oh, and a measly two in 10 Hispanic voters view Paul Ryan favorably, while Chris Christie rates a 38-12 percent, trailing Rubio when Hispanic voters were asked who they would vote for in a Republican primary.
Meanwhile, back at the '08 ranch, early supporters of Barack Obama support a Hillary Clinton run in 2016, per The Hill.
One thing Hillary Clinton has always been good at is speaking her mind. Now she'll be getting paid to do just that:
(CNN) - As she gets ready to kick off her speaking engagements, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has selected Harry Walker Agency to represent her on the circuit, the company announced on its website.
The same agency represents her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and a host of other high-profile names from politics and media, including former Vice President Al Gore and former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Hillary still swearstogod she has no plans to run for higher office... well, except for that ambiguous silence about 2016. But now that ambiguous silence will be replaced by speeches. And that ambiguous silence will also increase curiosity, which means it will increase her audience sizes and those of cable news shows as viewers hang on her every nuance, every word that could, maybe, perhaps, kinda, possibly suggest a run for president.
Let the parsing and speculating begin... er... continue!
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