The recent stream of classified information leaks compromise our national security on a number of fronts, and they only add to the crisis in public trust in government, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Watergate.
While the main body of leaks is investigated by Congress and the Justice Department there are several subplots, or as lawyers and editors like to call them, sidebars to this sad saga that should not go unattended.
The first is the misuse of anonymous sources. It has reached epidemic proportions among traditional and new media. Those journalists, or pseudo journalists, who use them have absolutely no public oversight. The users and abusers answer to no one, except in some cases, a faceless, nameless editor who may be as much a participant in the misuse as the reporters. We don’t get to judge. Continue reading →
Two weeks ago the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics dropped a bomb on the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama when it released data showing only 66,000 jobs had been created in May – far below estimates – and that the top-line unemployment rate rose from 8.1 to 8.2 percent.
This past Friday at a press conference, in response to a question about the GOP’s contention that it is his Administration’s policies that are strangling job growth, President Obama said, “the private sector is doing fine.”
He went on to explain that the rise in unemployment is largely due to budget difficulties at the state and local government level because mayors and governors are not getting the “kind of support they need from the federal government.” The federal government needs to send money to states and cities so those governments can hire more people. People who may do important work, but create nothing.
A few short hours after Obama had essentially proclaimed the return of prosperity for private industry, Bloomberg.com was running a piece by Chris Burritt headlined, “CEOs Losing Optimism as Job Slowdown Imperils U.S. Growth.” Continue reading →
Today, David Axelrod, the chief of the Reelect Obama Campaign, announced that it will formally join the Occupy Wall Street protests and start mobilizing against the policies endorsed by the Obama administration.
Axelrod brandished a Tim Geithner bobblehead doll, which he stabbed repeatedly with a pen knife while chanting an indecipherable spell, which he later said he hoped would lead to the Treasury secretary’s immediate departure from his office.
Axelrod, in announcing this unusual campaign, said: “We have decided that we aren’t going to defend the indefensible. Yes, we have terrible unemployment. Yes, Wall Street is getting away with murder. Yes, people have lost faith in the future. As much as I have tried, we can’t blame Bush for this anymore. We have to blame the Obama administration.
“I believe in Barack Obama, the campaigner. I have lost faith in Barack Obama, the president. So our campaign will basically run against the president and urge his replacement with the guy on the campaign.” Continue reading →
I first encountered the word Zugzwang in a 1985 New York Times Magazine column by the late William Safire. It’s a chess term that means “compelled to move, but imperiled by doing so.” The word’s political implications are profound.
For the past 25 years, I’ve regularly witnessed the repercussions of that hard-to-pronounce term. During the 1990s, my friend Arne Christenson (who served as chief of staff to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich) and I would lament some thorny political problem faced by Republicans or Democrats and how being “compelled to move” would cause unavoidable collateral political damage. Arne would just shake his head and say, “Zugzwang.” We both knew exactly what he meant. Continue reading →