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Ed Driscoll

It’s Deja Socialism All Over Again

July 21st, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

“Elizabeth Warren Would Be the Most Liberal Democratic Nominee Since 1972.”

– Headline, FiveThirtyEight, today.

“Study: Obama most liberal senator last year — A new study suggests Obama had the most liberal voting record in 2007.”

– Headline and lede at CNN, January 31st, 2008.

In both cases, the headline writers spelled Leftist wrong — and in both cases, the far left senators had nightmarish theme songs to kick off what seemed at the time like longshot presidential bids. And in both cases — well, if I was Hillary’s campaign advisor, I’d be more than a little worried right now.

Minor language and sanity warnings apply:

The Bear Is Loose

July 21st, 2014 - 2:51 pm

Former President Barack Obama’s* penchant for fundraising during world crises is explored by Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon:

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

As Steve Green writes, “That might be the single most devastatingly accurate paragraph I’ve ever read about Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, but you’ll want to read the whole thing.” An earlier president knew who the bear was, and take him seriously — and was ultimately rewarded for his efforts:

*Hey, if Obama has decided to check himself out of the day to day process of what was once called “running of the federal government,” he should be titled accordingly…

RIP, James Garner

July 21st, 2014 - 1:27 pm

As Mark Steyn writes, “James Garner was one of those actors who was watchable in almost anything, even commercials:”

He had great sexual chemistry, which is why his leading ladies loved working with him. For my money, when it comes to Sixties sex comedies, he was better with Doris Day than Rock Hudson was, and not just for the obvious reason. In Move Over, Darling, Doris and Polly Bergen crank it up a tad too much too soon, and it’s Garner dialing it back and reeling it in who keeps the picture’s contrivances from getting too much. Over a third of a century, he made three movies with Julie Andrews, and made her seem desirable, which is a trick not every leading man could pull off. And, of course, he and Mariette Hartley turned those Seventies/Eighties Polaroid commercials into such mini-masterpieces of effortless charm that most viewers assumed the relationship had to be real. The chemistry was so good Miss Hartley began going around in a T-shirt proclaiming “I am NOT Mrs James Garner.”

He was also one of the few Hollywood leading men of the 1960s to survive and prosper in the awful decade that followed, in which American coastal elites in New York, Washington, and Hollywood all lost their way, producing horrid results for the rest of us. (Talk about déjà vu.) Somehow though, with the Rockford Files, as John Nolte writes in “A Tribute to The Mighty James Garner” at Big Hollywood, Garner, producer Roy Huggins, writer Stephen J. Cannell. and Universal TV managed to capture “lightening in a bottle,” and in an odd way, the 1970s middle American zeitgeist as well.

While he had nothing in common with the character he played, my dad loved James Garner on Rockford, and it’s easy to see why. During that period, when Hollywood was still in its post-Easy Rider “youth phase,” the cool leading men of the 1950s and ‘60s were in short supply: Cary Grant had retired, Sean Connery seemed to vanish in his early post-Bond years, and Steve McQueen’s career was in that fallow period that had begun with the dark grotesqueries of Papillon, and arguably never recovered. You respected Charles Bronson’s characters for their macho toughness and steely brass balls, but no guy really wanted to be Charles Bronson. Which left Garner, who made looking cool easy, unlike McQueen and Paul Newman, each with an ice cold veneer which masked an venomous anger just under the surface. (Arguably in real life, as well.)

As John Nolte – who once featured Rockford’s business card  on his Twitter homepage — adds, “Amiable, broad-shouldered, and handsome, Garner spent a half-century easily moving back and forth between television and film roles, a feat very few lead actors have successfully pulled off. Garner was the rare leading man who could spend countless hours in our living rooms without losing the quality that made him a movie star.”

In a phrase that’s applicable less and less to those in show business, James Garner was truly a class act. RIP.

Update: In his obit for Garner, Andrew Klavan writes that no men like the beach bum private eye characters portrayed in the mid-’70s by both Garner and David Janssen in ABC’s then-concurrent Harry O series exist on TV these days. “I don’t say that out of nostalgic grumpiness but as a matter of fact. You cannot pitch a private eye show to the networks. I’ve tried it. You can’t even get in the door.”

“I began by saying that the Obama presidency is unraveling, and that it was a creation of the culture,” Drew adds. “Part of what the culture did to help create this disaster was to lose its faith in the man alone, and put its trust in princes and principalities.”

Offstage, Garner was a cast-in-the-mold Hollywood liberal seeking — whether he knew it consciously or not — authoritarianism, collectivism, and big government. But he was smart enough to portray characters who fought against that authoritarianism, sometimes won along the way, and retained their heart and individuality in the process. And compared to today’s smarmy and chestless Hollywood actors, that was more than enough.

The Sleeping Policeman

July 21st, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Greg Gutfeld writes that when America had executive leadership, we used to understand “that small matters when confronted, as a group, can prevent bigger matters. Now we see everything as ‘not our business,’ without taking the next step and asking, ‘Then whose business is it?’

So what should be done here about that field of horror in Ukraine? What should the leader of the free world do?

That field is no longer a war zone. It is an international crime scene, and we must lead the way, immediately, to secure it. And save the evidence, and seek justice. If Putin sees this as troubling, then it is up to him to make the “hard choices,” lend a hand—or back off and vote “present.”

Here’s a plan: 12 nations had victims on that plane. Those nations must be assembled together into a force of investigators, by the United States, who are pretty good at this kind of thing. That crew must go to the site, asap.

Of course, we must demand a cease fire, and all “bystanders” currently in control (or rather, standing in the way), must go. It’s not up to Russia; it’s up to the Dutch, the Malaysians, the US, Australia, etc. The sooner we stop the movement of wreckage, evidence and bodies, the better. We must comb the area and track down all witnesses, if they haven’t already been terrified into silence.

We need those black boxes and must fly their manufacturers in to determine whether they’ve been tampered with (once we retrieve them). If the boxes are gone, then an investigation must determine where they went. And if they’re in Moscow, those boxes must come back—or become the costliest of Putin’s possessions. According to the latest reports, the rebels claim they’ll be handing these boxes over, but it would be foolish at this point to believe it.

Oh please, let’s see the Obama administration forcefully demand the black box from the plane be recovered in a condition where the data can be retrieved. In the areas of record keeping and data recovery, the Obama administration is absolutely unimpeachable….

As for America being a sleeping policeman, hey, its attorney general is forever vigilant when it comes to “homegrown violent extremists” — whom he defines as anybody who disagrees in the slightest with whatever the Obama administration’s worldview is on any given day.

‘All The News Hamas Sees Fit to Print’

July 21st, 2014 - 12:02 pm

“Something important is missing from the New York Times‘s coverage of the war in Gaza,” Noah Pollak writes at the Weekly Standard:

It appears the Times is silently but happily complying with a Hamas demand that the only pictures from Gaza are of civilians and never of fighters. The most influential news organization in the world is thus manufacturing an utterly false portrait of the battle—precisely the portrait that Hamas finds most helpful: embattled, victimized Gaza civilians under attack by a cruel Israeli military.

A review of the Times‘s photography in Gaza reveals a stark contrast in how the two sides are portrayed. Nearly every picture from Israel depicts tanks, soldiers, or attack helicopters. And every picture of Gaza depicts either bloodied civilians, destroyed buildings, overflowing hospitals, or other images of civilian anguish. It is as one-sided and misleading a depiction of the Gaza battle as one can imagine.

The concept of Pallywood doesn’t just refer to the Palestinians faking the news, but influencing willing dupes in the MSM to slant their coverage to make it as favorable to their side as possible:

Oh and speaking of Pallywood, like the fortunately late Yasser Arafat, a Washington Post “reporter” has developed the same ability say one thing to one audience, and a deliver a very different message to another, as spotted by Tim Graham of NewsBusters:

The lead reporter on Monday’s Washington Post story on Palestinian protests is Britain Eakin, whose Twitter bio reads “Graduate Student Extraordinaire in Journalism and Middle East Studies at UA, Tucson.”

Eakin is in no way a neutral observer of the Israel-Palestine conflict. As she’s reporting “objectively” for the Post, she’s tweeting out an editorial she’d written defending the Palestians against “Israel’s disproportionate war on Gaza”  for al-Jazeera America[.]

As Moe Lane commented last week when the Post ran an ugly cartoon showing Benjamin Netanyahu punching a Palestinian infant(!), “I was unaware that @amazon’s Jeff Bezos hates Jews.” Like GE funding first MSNBC and now Ezra Klein’s equally far left JuiceVox Mafia, Bezos will have to ponder how much he wants to let his news and opinion organization spiral out of control, lest it harm the reputation the cash cow that allowed him to purchase it.

Related: Of course, the crony socialism has paid off bigtime for GE: “Governor Andrew Cuomo just bet $135 million of New York taxpayer dollars on backing GE’s silicon carbide manufacturing efforts and IBM’s gallium nitride efforts:”

Which raises the question: if this technology is so terrific, why can’t the private sector do the research and development on it without extra funding from taxpayers? Part of the answer may be that the productivity gains from the technology are incremental rather than exponential. A GE report on silicon carbide touts that the material “could” improve the efficiency of wind and solar farms “by more than one percent.”

The other part of the answer is that the companies are able to find politicians, like President Obama and Governor Cuomo, who are willing to put public funds on the line. For the politicians, the danger is that the investment will result in a well-publicized failure, like the Obama administration’s investment in Solyndra, the solar energy company that went bankrupt. But in a lot of cases, the politicians will be out of office and on to other things before success or failure becomes obvious.

I await Vox’s explanation of why using tax payer funds to enrich behemoth corporations is an unalloyed public good.

The O By Numbers

July 21st, 2014 - 10:55 am

As Twitchy notes, “Obama by the numbers puts things in devastating perspective.” They link to the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog which notes:

According to author Brendan J. Doherty, from 2008 to 2012 Obama went to 321 events, compared to just 80 for Ronald Reagan.  And, as the chart below shows, he’s done 72 events in his second term – 34 this year alone. So far, he’s ahead of  the pace of George W. Bush, who had been to 30 events at this point in 2006. In his two presidential terms combined, Bush hosted 318 fundraisers. Obama has already smashed that number with 393 events to date.

Talk about the law of diminishing returns — and expectations.

Audio Interview: Ed Klein on Blood Feud

July 20th, 2014 - 11:26 pm

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Much to the chagrin of the Washington Post, Ed Klein’s Blood Feud is outselling Hillary Clinton’s new memoirs.  Naturally, Klein is elated. “It is a terrific thrill to knock Hillary off the top of the [best-seller] list, I have to tell you. She helped me a lot, because she put out a committee-written book that has absolutely nothing new in it.”

In contrast, Klein’s Blood Feud is loaded with juicy details, and dramatic scenes of five of the most powerful people on the planet scheming against each other.

Five? In addition to his portraits of the Clintons and the Obamas, Klein’s Blood Feud sheds new light on one of the most mysterious members of Barack and Michelle’s inner circle, Valerie Jarrett. As Klein describes Jarrett, she’s the distaff equivalent of Tom Hagen, the dangerous consigliere pulling the strings behind the scenes of The Godfather.

During our 18-minute long interview, Klein will discuss:

● What roles did Jarrett and Hillary play in the Benghazi debacle starting on September 11, 2012?

● What was the key promise that the Obamas made to Bill and Hillary, that the president would later renege on?

● Obama’s political skills versus his performance on the job he’s landed with them.

● How will Hillary perform on the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016 and, if she wins, as president?

● What are the health issues plaguing Bill and Hillary, and how serious a threat are they?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(18 minutes, 50 seconds long; 17.2 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 5.38 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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“Liberals are increasingly religious about their own liberalism, treating it like a comprehensive view of reality and the human good,” Damon Linker writes at The Week:

From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible — that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning.

Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things.

With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good.

But liberalism’s leading theoreticians (Locke, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Mill) never intended it to serve as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good. On the contrary, liberalism was supposed to act as a narrowly political strategy for living peacefully in a world of inexorably clashing comprehensive views of reality and the human good.

The key to the strategy was the promulgation of the pluralistic principle of toleration.

Which is why the proper response to the distinctive dogmatism of our time is to urge liberals to return to their tolerant roots. That’s what I’ve been trying to do in my own writing, and my efforts will continue until more liberals come to their senses and begin recalling their comrades to a robust defense of their own pluralistic principles.

Two comments: First, this is all old news to anyone who read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism six year ago. And second, a return to liberalism’s “tolerant roots?” Good luck with that, champ.

(Photo at top of page of the Joe Louis fist memorial in Detroit, placed there in 1986, during the disastrous and racist 20 year reign of Democrat Mayor Coleman Young. Photo by James Marvin Phelps, Shutterstock.com.)

‘Schrödinger’s Crime’

July 20th, 2014 - 3:04 pm

“FedEx Indicted For Failing To Look Into Its Packages To See If Any Online Pharmacies Were Sending Drugs,” TechDirt reports:

Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from “illegal internet pharmacies.” Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that’s a whole different discussion), but it’s insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don’t want shipping companies to be liable for what’s in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.

Apparently, FedEx was unwilling to fall on its sword and cough up a similar amount to the US government, so the DEA and DOJ have announced they’ve gotten a grand jury to indict the company for delivering drugs associated with internet pharmacies. You can read the full indictment, which tries to spin a variety of stories into evidence that somehow FedEx “knew” what was in those packages.

As several of Instapundit’s commenters note, FedEx is but the latest non-union company to be shaken down by the Obama administration. “Unexpectedly.”

(Headline via Twitter user “The Hired Mind.”)

Hell of a Pinpoint Gaffe, John Kerry

July 20th, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Reason number 1,327,922 why the left hates Fox News: the MSM only catches Republicans on hot mics and call them on their rhetoric; leftist icons such as Kerry and his boss are always given a pass for their gaffes:

Fox News Sunday reports on a hot mic that caught John Kerry mocking Israel’s “pinpoint operation” against Hamas in Gaza:

“It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry was recorded as saying, in the middle of network interviews. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.”

“We’ve got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around.”

Because if there’s anybody that the Israeli government will listen to — especially when he lurches leans on them in person, it’s John Kerry, who in recent months has called Israel an “apartheid state” during its Holocaust Remembrance Day, and reminded them — as if anyone could ever forget — that he’s served in Vietnam, where he was “attacked before by people using real bullets, not words, and I am not going to be intimidated.”

When John Podhoretz called Kerry on his apartheid slur in the New York Post, he quipped, “What are you going to do about it, tough guy? Windsurf over me?”

Oh, and speaking of pinpoint gaffes, “US Under Secretary of State apologizes after tweeting ‘United For Gaza’ hashtag.”

Micheal Kinsley, call your office.

Tweet of the Day

July 19th, 2014 - 3:24 pm

I hope they’re both put out of their misery, the latter merely rhetorically, of course.

CNN Reporter: Israelis Are ‘Scum’

July 18th, 2014 - 12:17 pm

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This is CNN:

CNN International correspondent Diana Magnay referred to a group of Israelis as “scum” after she claimed that they were standing on a hill near the town of Sderot cheering as bombs landed in Gaza, according to a screen-shot of the comment captured by National Review.

“Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #Gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong’. Scum,” Magnay tweeted and then quickly deleted, though it was retweeted nearly 250 times before being taken down.

Magnay has been removed from covering the conflict and CNN issued an apology for her tweet.

Which they do on a regular basis when their correspondents express their true feelings regarding the Middle East. Right around this time in 2010, I wrote:

I must confess that as one of the vast majority of Americans who no longer watches CNN unless trapped in an airport, I hadn’t heard of Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor of Mideast affairs, until I stumbled over a YouTube clip of her discussing the Gaza flotilla for today’s “Cold Civil War” video.  But, she’s now the latest CNN journalist to let the mask slip on her biases via Twitter. Or as as the URL of Daniel Helper’s post at the Weekly Standard describes succinctly, “cnn-editor-mourns-loss-terrorist:”

How did CNN senior editor of Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr celebrate July 4? By mourning the passing of Hezbollah’s Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. Here’s what the CNN editor posted on her Twitter account:

Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot..#Lebanon

I grabbed a screen shot of Nasr’s Twitter, both to illustrate this post, and because Tweets from leftwing old media figures occasionally seem to disappear from time to time.* “Oddly enough,” as Reuters, a news agency with a similar worldview as CNN, might say.

After Nasr was pushed out of CNN, I wrote:

Hey, Nasr was just carrying on where former CNN propagandist reporter Peter Arnett, soon-to-be departed Christiane Amanpour, and former head honcho Eason Jordan all left off. (Not to mention founder Ted Turner.) Unfortunately, much like Jordan himself when he preposterously declared at Davos in 2005 that US troops in Iraq were deliberately targeting journalists (after admitting that he was perfectly cool working for a former Iraqi dictator who was busy targeting US troops), Nasr also dropped the mask, and eliminated any shred of “objectivity.”

She eventually wound-up at MBC — the Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Center. Perhaps MBC considers CNN their farm team.

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Jim Geraghty on our asleep-at-the-wheel administration:

Russian president Vladimir Putin didn’t order the separatists to shoot down the airliner. But his intelligence agencies and military have provided all kinds of support to these separatists. To borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s metaphor, Putin gave whiskey and car keys – and powerful explosives – to teenage boys. The disastrous consequences were not hard to foresee. You can see it in the absurd, nonsensical, instant justification by one of the speakers that if the plane is labeled, ‘Malaysia Airlines,’ it must be a disguise for a spy plane. Putin didn’t commit murder; just reckless endangerment.

There will be a lot of debates and discussions about what the United States can or should do in response to this reckless, deadly decision. But let’s begin by asking, if we had the opportunity to reach out and strike 23 Russian separatists involved in the decision to launch this missile, would we do it? I’d like to think so. Fighting a war is not inherently evil, nor is stupidity, but the combination of the two is a fertile ground for evil. These guys need to be taught a lesson, and it’s not clear who can teach them.

Commercial airliners fly – usually quite highly – over dangerous or not-so-friendly parts of the world all the time. Right now commercial jets are avoiding Eastern Ukraine. Should they avoid Syria, too? Iran? Iraq? Afghanistan? If so, you’ve just cut off India and a big chunk of Asia from Europe.

These guys need to pay – and Putin needs to see consequences of his reckless support of these dumb, brutal goons.

Moe Lane: “I never thought that I’d see the day that the US government would just shrug off a no-fooling war crime committed against our citizens.”

Well, we know that the State Department has far more important things to do — such as tweeting out fashion tips.

And the president has far more important things to do — such as expressing his love of guacamole.

Perhaps they’re simply waiting for one of the FLOTUS’ talking shopping carts to provide instructions, HAL 9000-style.

Fortunately though, Mr. Obama’s would-be successor is pouncing at the opportunity to set a much more focused example of what she would do if in office. Nahh, just kidding:

No, Obama’s caution is another example of the president refusing to address crises in a timely fashion due to what he probably believes is an attachment to the doctrinal fantasy that the United States is overextended in the world. Hillary Clinton confirmed that when she told Charlie Rose on Thursday night that this whole plane mess is really Europe’s problem.

“As you know, the Europeans have tried to figure out the best way forward,” she said when asked how the United States should respond to clear evidence that pro-Russian separatists using Russian hardware killed nearly 300 foreign civilians. “From my perspective — and I have the benefit of not being in the government — if there is evidence linking Russia to this, that should inspire the Europeans to do much more.”

After noting that the world should put “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin on notice” and not “stand idly by,” Clinton reassured Rose that the United States would stand idly by.

“So Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this,” said the former secretary. “It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.”

That sucking sound you hear is the rapid formation of a power vacuum in Europe as the United States signals its noninterest in matters of regional and global security.

Hey, after World War II, Europe was happy to hand over their defense to America, so that they could spend all of their taxpayers’ money on expanding their socialist welfare states. And they loathed America’s past “Cowboy Presidents” and their lack of nuance and politesse.

I guess European leaders never counted on their defense winding up in the hands of wannabe Europeans. But then, to be fair, neither did most Americans.

The Cut and Paste President

July 17th, 2014 - 1:59 pm

“Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. by casually devoting mere moments to the deaths of 295 people aboard a Malaysian airliner on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, and then launching into jokes and his prepared remarks on the need to expand America’s transportation infrastructure,” the London Daily Mail reports:

Twenty-three Americans are feared dead after the jetliner crashed in eastern Ukraine.

Obama declared that ‘it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy, but not before enthusiastically declaring that ‘it is wonderful to be back in Delaware.’

‘Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.’

‘And I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian governemnt. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and passengers, wherever they call home.

Obama quickly returned to his prepared remarks.

‘I want to thank Jeremie for that introduction’ he said. ‘Give Jeremie a big round of applause.’

‘It is great to be in the state that gave us Joe Biden. We’ve got actually some better-looking Bidens with us here today. We’ve got Beau and his wife, Hallie, are here. Give them a big round of applause. We love them.’

Obama also acknowledged the presence of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with a joke.

‘Jack Lew’s signature is actually on your money,’ he said, ‘although it’s kind of illegible. We teased him when he first became treasury secretary that he was going to have to fix his signature a little bit because it looked just like a caterpillar running along the bottom.’

From there he launched into a 16-minute speech about transportation projects he wants Republicans to fund, complaining bitterly about their objections to his end-runs around the federal legislature.

See, that’s the problem when the president is utterly dependent on his speech writers and teleprompter programmer that he’ll relentlessly stick to the script on such a grim news day, one in which 23 Americans were reported killed.

Meanwhile, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also ignoring the disaster in the Ukraine while “briefing” the press today, Allahpundit speculates that goal by Mr. Obama and Psaki is to make the White House appear as if “They’re in control of the narrative, not the media — or at least they want to be. In reality, [Fox's Sheppard Smith] and Jennifer Griffin are laughing at them and going back to covering the crash. Baffling, but this is where we are with two and a half years to go.”

How bad was Mr. Obama’s performance today? So awful that even Obama groupie Piers Morgan can figure it out:

Update: Jim Geraghty adds, “Some Days, It Feels Like We Don’t Have a President:”

This is the president who didn’t address the country for three days after the attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, who gave a “shout-out” to an audience member moments before his first comments on the Fort Hood shooting, and who attended a campaign rally on September 12, 2012, when most Americans awoke to the news of the murder of four Americans in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

I understand the Obama White House never wants to look like they’re overreacting. They behave as if it’s impossible to underreact.

Note the empty chair in the photo at the bottom of Jim’s post.

Flashback: In sharp contrast to all of the above, “This is how an American president should address Russian aggression.”

With grim news out of Ukraine, Israel on edge, and an American president asleep at the fundraiser, today is shaping up to be a tense day of difficult, painful news. But fortunately, knowing when it’s time to lighten the mood, MSNBC provides us all with a little much-needed comic relief.

Or perhaps a far-too-close-to-the-mark CNN parody.

Israel Starts Ground Invasion

July 17th, 2014 - 1:03 pm

“IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the prime minister’s office confirmed,”  The Jerusalem Post reports, as today’s news cycle accelerates into overdrive:

The purpose of the operation was  to destroy the Gazan terror tunnels leading to Israel, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

“Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night.

The IDF said that the operation will involve infantry, engineering corps, and tank units combined with air force and naval support and intelligence.

Palestinian sources said strikes occurred up and down the Strip, adding that one strike targeted a motorcycle apparently carrying members of a rocket launching cell on their way to an attack on
Israel.

At around 10:00 p.m. rocket sirens sounded in the Tel Aviv area, and in the Shfela. Iron Dome made a number of interceptions in the Tel Aviv area.

I’m reserving judgement on this story until Ezra Klein’s GE-sponsored JuiceVox Mafia tells me what to think about it:

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When America Fell Apart

July 17th, 2014 - 12:28 pm

“The summer of 2014 will go down in history as the season when America fell apart. Let’s take a tour of the disasters,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. After going through Obama’s alienation of Germany, Japan, terrorists running rampant over the Middle East, looming war between the Palestinians and Israel, Putin’s efforts to swallow up Crimea and Ukraine, Snowden’s leaks, the shrinking American economy, the stillborn “Stimulus” program, the disaster at the American border, the IRS scandal, Obama, Susan Rice and Hillary lying about a video causing Benghazi, and the Bowe Berghdal debacle, VDH writes, “The scandals now come so fast and furiously that we no sooner hear of one than yet another new mess makes us forget it:”

What keeps the country afloat this terrible summer?

Some American companies produce more gas and oil than ever despite, not because of, the Obama administration. Most Americans still get up every day, work hard, and pay more taxes than they receive in subsidies. American soldiers remain the most formidable in the world despite the confusion of their superiors. The law, regardless of the administration, is still followed by most. And most do not duck out on their daily responsibilities to golf, play pool, or go on junkets.

It is still a hard thing to derail America in a summer — but then again, we have a long way to go until fall.

Yes, Obama’s “dense-pack” assault of endless recurring scandals and disasters actually works in his favor by numbing voters — and the media, both of whom are overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the debacle. Just imagine how the MSM would be reporting the endlessly horrible news if there was a Republican in the White House, or in the case of LBJ in 1968, a fellow Democrat they actually loathed:

To amend my Dr. Strangelove reference in the previous post on the Malaysian Airlines flight crashing — quite possibly due to a SAM — in Ukraine, say what you will about Peter Sellers’ effete President Muffley, but Kubrick and Terry Southern didn’t depict him heading out for a fundraiser at the Charcoal Pit burger joint after hanging up the phone with Premier Kissoff:

Gee, did he clear that healthy meal with Michelle? And note that fist bumps were also involved on a day when a plane may have been shot down:

But hey, as Twitchy (source of the above headline) notes, it’s all par for the course, to use a metaphor referencing another favorite Obama pastime:

Exit quote from my friend Steve Green:

I should ask Steve if I could borrow a cup or twenty of vodka right now.

drudge_plane_shot_down_headline_7-17-14

Well, here’s a headline you never, ever want to see. Matt Drudge links to a report from Sky News (grimly named in this case), which is putting the “shot down” in quotes in its headline, and preceding it with the word “reportedly” in its lede, implying that while there’s been a crash of Malaysian Airlines jet with 295 people onboard, its demise hasn’t been 100 percent confirmed:

The Malaysia Airlines plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was travelling at an altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) when it was shot down, Russia’s Interfax reported.

An adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry told the news agency the Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk ground-to-air missile.

All 280 passengers and 15 crew members who were on the plane are believed to have died, he added.

A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines, still reeling from the loss of flight MH370 in March, confirmed it had lost contact with flight MH17, which took off from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport at 12.15pm local time.

The flight disappeared from radar as it flew over Ukrainian airspace, the spokesman said.

Ed Morrissey adds that “If this plane was shot down, this would mean an enormous escalation in the Ukraine-Russia crisis:”

It’s difficult to believe that either Ukraine or Russia would mistake a commercial flight at 10,000 meters, as Reuters reports it, as a hostile military flight — although that was the explanation offered for the KAL 007 shootdown and the US Navy’s shootdown of an Iranian commercial flight in the 1980s as well.  CNN’s expert wonders whether Malaysia Air’s communications got screwed up again and ended up flashing something other than its proper ID, but it seems a little more likely that if it got shot down — still not yet established — it would have been from forces not used to dealing with the distinction between the various kinds of flights.

Read the whole thing, including this grim-sounding tweet:

And Ace of Spades c0-blogger Drew M. adds this: “Via Noah Rothman…civilian jets are scrambling to get the hell out of dodge right now. Amazing:”

Speaking of flashbacks to earlier “man-caused disasters,” as Mr. Obama’s associates would likely describe today’s incident, “Cross your fingers there was no Archduke aboard,” Kate adds at Small Dead Animals, along with this:

 

Update: Glen Thrush of the Politico retweets this item from Strobe Talbert of the Brookings Institute and Clinton-era Deputy Secretary of State:

And at the Washington Examiner, “Obama, Vladimir Putin talk by phone, discuss reports of downed passenger jet.”

Considering Obama likely fancies himself the second coming of Adlai Stevenson, no wonder I’m getting President Muffley calling Premier Kissoff on the hotline flashbacks from Dr. Strangelove from that headline.

“Developing,” as Matt Drudge would say; more as it comes in.

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Free Salondotcom!

July 16th, 2014 - 7:46 pm

“Twitter Shuts Down Hilarious Salon Parody Account,” Robby Soave writes at Reason’s “Hit & Run” blog:

At approximately 5:50 P.M. EST, it became known that Twitter had shut down @Salondotcom, a hilarious parody of Salon run by The Daily Caller’s opinion editor, Jordan Bloom, and his roommate, Rob Mariani. @Salondotcom constantly tweeted fake headlines that perfectly aped Salon‘s everyone-is-racist-and-Republicans-are-worse-than-Hitler shtick.

Found via Glenn Reynolds — who had his own run-in with the Kafka-esque labyrinthine nature of the Twitter gulag a couple of years ago, and who, despite having over 31,000 Twitter followers and arguably inventing micro-blogging 13 years ago, still doesn’t have a Twitter-verified account.