March Madness is here. Earlier in the week Reuters reported that Libyan rebels called out for George Bush, not planet healer Barack Obama, to save them:
“Bring Bush! Make a no fly zone, bomb the planes,” shouted soldier-turned-rebel Nasr Ali, referring to a no-fly zone imposed on Iraq in 1991 by then U.S. President George Bush.”
It is possible, and soon we will hear this as an excuse from the Obama Hopium hobbled, that the Libyan rebels have been made loopy by the beatings and bombings they are getting from their loser leader. Loopy Libyans might have forgotten that George W. Bush is long gone and we have our own loser leader called Barack Obama. But it has been three lonnng years since Mess-iah Obama has been in office so we doubt that forgetfulness is the reason for the “Bring Bush” pleas.
If it’s not forgetfulness then perhaps it is a total lack of knowledge. This could be another excuse for Libyans shouting “Bring Bush” instead of ‘Save Us Mess-iah Obama’ – that Libyans, now completely deprived of internet access, have never known that Obama, not Bush, is driving the car into the ditch. The problem with this excuse is that it kills a favorite Big Media narrative about Facebook, Twitter, and what amounts to today’s version of CB radio.
Big Media keeps telling us that all the uprisings, rebellions, revolutions, hissy fits, in the Muslim/Arab world are a major product line of the internet. But that narrative falls apart when an examination of internet penetration is made:
“The movie “The Social Network,” which is about the founding of Facebook, received far more media commentary than any other movie in 2010, despite being only the 28th highest U.S.-grossing film that year.
This applies to foreign affairs as well. In the context of the events occurring in the Middle East, the Western media loves to argue that Twitter and Facebook constitute catalysts for revolution in the modern era. Indeed, some articles called the 2009 Iranian protests the “Twitter Revolution.” One excited journalist at the time wrote:
Iranians are blogging, posting to Facebook and, most visibly, coordinating their protests on Twitter, the messaging service. Their activity has increased, not decreased, since the presidential election on Friday and ensuing attempts by the government to restrict or censor their online communications. [snip]
The trouble with all this is that in June 2009, the entire country of Iran only had 19,235 Twitter users, according to statistics assembled by Sysomos. This is about half the number of people who attend a professional football game. [snip]
But it certainly is not enough to make a “Twitter Revolution.” Foreign Policy analyst Golnaz Esfandiari probably provides a more accurate analysis of Twitter’s role in Iran:
Twitter was definitely not a major communications tool for activists on the ground in Iran.
Nonetheless, the “Twitter Revolution” was an irresistible meme during the post-election protests, a story that wrote itself. Various analysts were eager to chime in about the purported role of Twitter in the Green Movement. Some were politics experts, like the Atlantic‘s Andrew Sullivan and Marc Ambinder. Others were experts on new media, like Sascha Segan of PC Magazine. Western journalists who couldn’t reach — or didn’t bother reaching? — people on the ground in Iran simply scrolled through the English-language tweets posted with tag #iranelection. Through it all, no one seemed to wonder why people trying to coordinate protests in Iran would be writing in any language other than Farsi.
The recent revolutions in the Arab world also, in all likelihood, have very little to do with either Twitter or Facebook, whatever the Western media might say. Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen have a combined total of 14,642 Twitter users. That is a tiny, tiny number. There are more people in a major public university than Twitter users in these three countries combined.
Facebook is relatively more widely used throughout the world; its penetration in Egypt was 4.58% as of July 2010.. This is better than Twitter, but the usage pales in comparison to – say – the percent of the population that watches Al Jazeera. Fortunately, given the nationwide Internet shutdown in Egypt, journalists are not talking about a “Facebook Revolution” in Egypt.
But the articles about Facebook or Twitter supposedly inciting revolution continue. [snip]
But only 10% of people in Sudan even have access to the Internet, let alone use Facebook or Twitter. One wonders how many people in Sudan (or Egypt or Iran, for that matter) even know that these websites exist.
Indeed, the primary users of Twitter and Facebook seem to be well-educated, Internet-savvy Westerners – the type of people who, not coincidentally, write articles for the New York Times and Washington Post. The Western media’s focus on so-called “Twitter Revolutions” may tell less about the revolution and more about the preoccupations of the American journalists who cover about the revolution.”
The Emir backed Al Jazeera is the big fish in all these protests not Facebook or Twitter. Al Jazeera is very biased but Hillary Clinton was right when she essentially said Al Jazeera had better coverage of the news in the Middle East than what passes for American news outlets. Hillary Clinton is absolutely right, though much too polite, when she slams Big Media. Our Big Media sucks and only fools would defend it. After Hillary made her remarks only a very few Republican/conservative websites wrote rationally about her remarks. Many of these sites went into instant Hillary Hate instead of realizing she is correct. We’ll stick by Hillary and to hell with Big Media.
So take your pick: (a) Are the Libyans loopy and going through their own March Madness or; (b) do they simply respect George W. “Bring Bush” Bush more than weak Barack Hussein Obama (don’t forget Bill Clinton’s dictum that it is better to be wrong and strong than weak and right – and we are not saying for a moment that Obama has done anything right)?
Also, are the Libyans internet savvy or current events ignoramuses (ditto the rest of the Middle East revolutionaries)? We won’t ask about Hillary – we know she is exactly correct when she says Big Media stinks.
The Libyans, loopy or not, were not alone in yelling “Bring Bush”. The loser leader of the Hopium hobbled cadres was yelling “Bring Bush” too:
“Miami – Seeking support for increasing the country’s investment in education, President Barack Obama appeared at a high school here on Friday with an unlikely ally he described as a “champion of education reform” – Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida.
Obama chose Central Miami Senior High School at Bush’s suggestion for a rare moment of bipartisan collaboration on an education agenda that, at least in general terms, the two can agree on. [snip]
Obama said Bush “is someone who championed reform when he was in office, someone who is now championing reform as a private citizen.” And he called for a bipartisan effort to end to the “status quo” in education, using the example that he and Bush set in their appearance together.”
Obama then turned to Jebby Bush, gave him a Charlie Crist hug, and followed up with a deep throat tickling kiss. We jest. We know ‘sacrifice and live within our means’ Obama is only grappling with gay marriage. Blame our whimsy on March Madness.
“I believe the status quo is unacceptable, it’s time to change,” Obama said. “It is time for us to work together, just like Jeb and I are doing—coming from different parties, but we came together not as Democrats and Republicans but as Americans.”
Apparently he’s back to being a uniter not a divider too.
The teachers protesting in Wisconsin hate what Jeb Bush did to education and Obama proposes many of the same things:
“In theory, Obama’s education reform agenda makes room for many of the same ideas.
His “Race to the Top” program, which requires states to produce aggressive education reform plans in order to compete for billions in federal money, has resulted in states allowing more charter schools, moving to merit-based-pay systems for teachers, and raising student performance standards. [snip]
Four years after Bush left office, critics see a legacy of tension with teachers unions, underfunded schools and just moderate gains in student performance.
But by courting Bush, Obama is aligning himself with a politician who otherwise could damage Obama’s own hard-earned credibility on education reform. Obama’s connection with Bush can be seen as an effort to win over independents and moderate Republicans — in the same vein as December’s tax-cut compromise.”
“Race to the Top” is Obama’s career path strategy, not education reform. A man who did nothing raced to the top to do damage. We don’t jest. Well, perhaps just a little. Blame it on March Madness.
While loopy or not loopy Libyans and racing like a spinning top Barack were yelling “Bring Bush” oppressed Americans were yelling “Bring Jobs“. Some of us remember Jobs, Jobs, Jobs:
“I remember all too well my refrain in the fall of 2008: “It’s all about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”
We created 192,000 headline jobs in the February employment report. It’s not enough, but it certainly is welcome news and it is heading in the right direction — although too slowly.
We also learned from the February report that the unemployment rate finally trended below the psychologically important 9 percent mark. This is a very big development, considering the rate was pushing the 10 percent level several months ago.
Upon closer scrutiny though, there is another factor contributing to the drop that is not necessarily good news: The official size of the U.S. labor force is shrinking.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the “Labor Force Participation Rate” each month, along with a litany of other metrics that are used to give us the headline jobs number and the unemployment rate.
The government’s definition of the labor force is all individuals 16 years of age and older, who are employed or seeking employment. It does not include students; retirees; anyone with unreported income, or “discouraged” workers.
The participation rate is the comparison of the “labor force,” those looking for work or employed, and everyone else. That ratio is currently 64.2 percent seasonally adjusted, and 63.9 percent non-seasonally adjusted, the same level as last month. Both of those percentages are currently running at 27-year lows, meaning the percentage of Americans not working or even trying to join the work force is at a near three-decade high.
The last time the participation rate was above 66 percent — the 10-year average — was in August 2008.
It is imperative that we continue to monitor this relationship in order to determine if an improving unemployment rate means that American workers are finding jobs, or have just given up looking.”
Robert Reich, the short Hillary Hater, thinks it is not only jobs, but the green stuff too:
“To get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent by 2014 we’d need over 300,000 new jobs a month, every month, between now and then.
Overall, the number of unemployed Americans — 13.7 million — is about the same as it was last month. The number working part time who’d rather be working full time — 8.3 million — is also about the same.
But to get to the most important trend you have to dig under the job numbers and look at what kind of new jobs are being created. That’s where the big problem lies.
The National Employment Law Project did just that. Its new data brief shows that most of the new jobs created since February 2010 (about 1.26 million) pay significantly lower wages than the jobs lost (8.4 million) between January 2008 and February 2010.
While the biggest losses were higher-wage jobs paying an average of $19.05 to $31.40 an hour, the biggest gains have been lower-wage jobs paying an average of $9.03 to $12.91 an hour.
In other words, the big news isn’t jobs. It’s wages.”
The Short Reich, he who endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton possibly because she once dumped him as a suitor, is possibly right that “…the unemployment rate will continue to decline. But so will the pay and benefits of most Americans.”
The Short Reich (blame our insensitive insult on March Madness too) is also expectations setting on behalf of Barack Obama when he talks about needing 300,000 jobs a month in order to get to 6% unemployment by 2014. The Short Reich is trying to help Obama by moving the goal post from 2012 (election year) to 2014 and by lowering the jobs needed per month.
The Short Reich is expectations setting for tall Barack and trying to distract from the Obama misery index. Jay Cost explains why:
“This item from Reuters caught my eye:
With a leading Republican candidate yet to emerge, the biggest risk to President Barack Obama’s quest for a second term next year is a jobless rate that has hovered between 9 and 10 percent for months.
Friday’s jobless report is expected to show nonfarm payrolls soared in February by 185,000 jobs, but the overall unemployment rate is nonetheless expected to edge up to 9.1 percent…
Analysts say the jobless rate needs to drop below 8 percent by autumn 2012 for voters to feel optimistic about the economy — and Obama’s handling of it — when they go to the polls that November.
This notion — that 8 percent is a magic threshold — has been making the rounds of late. It has absolutely no basis in established fact. None whatsoever. It is pure speculation.“
Jay Cost explains why The Short Reich and others and trying the ol’ switcheroo:
I put this graph up a few months ago. The implication of it is simple. Forget 8 percent. In the 16 presidential elections since 1948, unemployment has been around or above 7 percent on Election Day five times. The incumbent party’s success rate in those contests is just 20 percent. And even that victory, in 1984, depended mightily upon 7.2 percent economic growth that year (as well as a 5.6 percent annual jump in real disposable income per capita, more than anything we’ve seen since).
Look carefully and you’ll see that there are precisely zero elections held since 1948 that have had unemployment at 8 percent or higher. So why 8 percent is any kind of threshold is beyond me.”
Cost is not making a case for what will happen in 2012. What Cost is saying is that “Ultimately, he [Obama] is going to be judged on whether the public is satisfied with the pace of the clean-up.” Cost makes an even strong case on the dwindling population that is employed:
“If you look at the percentage of the total adult population employed, you might wish to conclude that we are actually in the second phase of a double-dip jobs recession.
This often overlooked trend is something that the unemployment rate is not going to pick up when large numbers of workers become discouraged and drop out of the labor force. This graph helps explain why George W. Bush was hounded by criticism of a “jobless recovery” in 2004 despite the fact that the unemployment rate was low. You will also see that, though the country added jobs last year, those have basically just kept up with population growth, meaning that we’re still at the bottom of a huge crater.“
We, Americans, are at the bottom of a huge crater. It’s as if we are oppressed Libyans being thrown into the ditch by a loser leader. The loser leader is Obama – who is getting ready to race to the top for his own personal benefit and glory. It’s March Madness.