April 22, 2012

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Craig Pirrong commented on the supposed crackdown on the supposed gasoline price manipulation.

Yesterday Obama delivered another of his it-must-have-been-some-other-body-it-wasn’t-me (h/t Chuck Berry) speeches on energy.  And, true to form, he delivered another clarion call to round up the usual suspects: evil speculators, whom he confabulates manipulators with speculators.  (And I am being generous, because confabulation is inadvertent, whereas I Obama’s slander is almost certainly deliberate): …

… He used the word “manipulate” or “manipulation” 11 times in his relatively brief remarks.  In typically dishonest fashion, he isn’t responding to specific, credible evidence of manipulation; he provides no evidence that manipulation is rampant or is at all responsible for current price levels.  Hell, he can’t even come up with a current example, having to reach back more than a decade to Enron (itself a dubious example).  He merely insinuates and implies.  But the average listener or reader will conclude from his remarks that manipulation is causing their pain at the pump.  Rather than encouraging a sober and realistic appraisal of the role of speculative trading in energy, he is feeding suspicions and encouraging a witch hunt.

Moreover, note the repeated and casual identification of manipulation and speculation.  This is itself a manipulative use of language.  Manipulation is not even a proper subset of speculation: hedgers can be some of the most dangerous manipulators.  It further encourages the popular suspicion that financial trading in commodity markets is inherently dishonest and crooked. …


Washington Post editors were not impressed either.

President Obama is fond of saying that there is no silver bullet to bringing down gasoline prices. On Tuesday, however, he went into the silver bullet business.


Yet another Obama insult to Great Britain. He doesn’t have the courage to do this directly, so he indulges in the passive aggressive use of the Argentinean word for the Falklands. Andrew Malcolm has the story.

OK, picture this: President George W. Bush, he of the cast-iron Texas tongue, at a news conference concluding an international summit.

He’s asked about a dispute involving Argentina and Great Britain, our closest overseas ally, the one that’s lost 408 soldiers by our side in Afghanistan, where we’ve fought a decade together to prevent a second 9/11.

In his answer, Bush refers to the disputed territory by the wrong name, misplacing the islands by some 8,000 miles. Worse than his geographic ignorance, instead of backing Britain, whose prime minister he just buddy-buddied at an NCAA game and White House state dinner, Bush says, Well, that’s not really something he thinks the United States would take sides on.


Or Argentina?


Do you think there might be some prolonged outraged news coverage back home about the latest Bush blunder, this time a two-fer?

Well, Bush never did that. But Barack Obama did last weekend.

We’ve seen ample coverage of the Colombian prostitute situation since. But have you been impressed by the media mockings of this latest international stupidity by the 44th United States president, who’s previously talked about such things as the Austrian language, the president of Canada, E Pluribus Unum the national motto and traveling all 57 states? …

… Apparently in the Colombian news conference Obama was seeking to use the Spanish term Malvinas for the islands, as Argentina prefers. Instead, he said Maldives, which are islands off India. But the attempted use of Argentina’s name over Britain’s and Obama’s support for bilateral negotiations about what London regards as a closed matter is prompting strong feelings across the pond.

Nile Gardiner wrote this week in Britain’s Telegraph:

“A stance of ‘neutrality’ is an act of cowardice by Barack Obama in the face of Latin American pressure, and another slap in the face for Britain.” He refers to widespread suspicions in the U.K. that as the son of a Kenyan socialist, Obama harbors ill feelings toward that country’s former colonial ruler. …


Toby Harnden has fun with the Maldives slip.

President Barack Obama managed to commit two major gaffes in a single sentence by attempting to refer to the Falkland Islands as the Malvinas while instead calling them the Maldives, which are 8,123 miles away.

Mr Obama was speaking at a joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sunday when he was asked about ‘Cuba and the Malvinas’.

The American president attempted to use the Spanish word for the Falklands – a snub to Britain – but managed to botch it by instead referring to the Maldives, a group of atolls to the south of India. …


Chris Cillizza with an interesting chart about public perceptions of the Supreme Court.

 …A majority of people don’t know the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. More frightening? Eight percent named Thurgood Marshall, who not only was never the Chief Justice but also died in 1993. And let’s not even talk about the four percent who think Harry Reid, a Senator not a member of the Supreme Court, is the Chief Justice. …


If you are smart and ignore the news, you might have missed the major of chuckle over dogs. You see, years ago the Romney family went on vacation carrying their dog on the roof of the car. Bien pensants have been outraged everywhere. Gail Collins has mentioned the incident in 50 columns over the past four years. Turns out someone actually read one of Obama’s two autobiographies and learned The One dined on dog when he lived in Indonesia. James Taranto gives us all the delectable delicious details.

… In a more serious vein, Lincoln Mitchell of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute writes at the Puffington Host: “For many voters, treating a dog this way is unimaginable and could only be done by somebody who has a problem empathizing with others.”

But then Jim Treacher, the Daily Caller’s resident wag, picked up his dog-eared copy of “Dreams From My Father,” Obama’s 1995 autobiography, and sniffed out this passage from the second chapter. If Axelrod’s tweet was a dog whistle, Treacher’s post is a dinner bell:

“With Lolo [Obama's stepfather], I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”

It reminds us of the conclusion of the sci-fi tale “A Boy and His Dog”: “It’s a cookbook.”

The jokes write themselves. 

#ObamaDogRecipes: Yorkshire terrier pudding, mutt chop, Pekingese duck, bichon frisee salad, beagle with cream cheese, pure bread.

“So, Mr. President, where shall we go to eat?” “I know a great Spot.” …


In another more serious vein, why has it taken so long for the main stream media to read Obama’s book? Or, did they read it and were just continuing to cover for him? Tim Stanley asks the question in a London paper.

… But the really big question here is why didn’t we know about this earlier? Like me, I’m sure many journalists just didn’t get far enough in to Dreams from My Father to spot the faux pas. If you could grind that book down and bottle it, you’d have a cure for insomnia. Couple it with a couple of grams of Edward Heath’s autobiography and you’ve got an elephant tranquilizer.

But given the mainstream media’s intense study of Romney’s life and its constant regurgitation of its many errors, it’s odd that this shaggy dog story slipped through – especially given that Dreams from My Father has been gathering dust on the bookshelves since 1995. Where did it come from when it finally broke on Tuesday night? The Romney campaign and the conservative site Daily Caller. That’s right: Republicans have to break and publicise stories themselves if they want to get them heard. The mainstream media either ignores a lot of anti-Obama stuff or dismisses it as inconsequential.

Maybe, as the Romney campaign suggests, this trading of dog anecdotes is just a silly distraction from the serious issues of jobs and healthcare. But while the economy is certainly struggling, all the media wants to talk about is character, character, character. On Monday, Ann Romney sat down to an interview with Diane Sawyer and what did they discuss? Seamus the dog. And what were all the headlines about following the discussion? Seamus the dog. This constant focus on trivialities might be more sufferable if it were at least balanced. But it’s always the conservatives who are repeatedly asked “What would you do if your son was gay?”, “What newspapers do you read?”, or “Why do you hate black people so much?” Yet Barack Obama – who went to the church of an anti-American radical loon, messes just about everything up and eats dogs – gets a free pass.


Or course, there’s a new website named Dogs Against Obama. Instead of the normal cartoons, we have many of their items.

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