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Ed Driscoll

ISIS Hot Stuntaz

December 27th, 2014 - 12:12 am

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


“Mystery of ‘Britain’s White Jihadi’ with the baby face: Counter-terrorism experts probe meek-looking Islamic State suspect amid claims photo could be sophisticated fake,” the London Daily Mail reports, embedding the above photo, which quickly that went viral on Twitter.

Fake or not, I sense something. A presence I’ve not felt since


The douchebaggery…the douchebaggery…

Obama made his bones thanks to his “autobiography,” in which he later was forced to admit that his college-era girlfriend in Dreams of My Father was a “composite” of several women he knew way back when. And 2012 saw the debut of her cousin, the Obama reelection campaign’s distaff mascot, the equally imaginary, Orwellianly-named “Julia.”

And the composites keep coming, with Barry telling People this month:

The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced,” President Obama said. “It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.

With this latest bit of imaginary bad news revealed, at Ricochet, Stephen Miller attempts to round-up all of the imaginary scrapes and imaginary horrors that have befallen the otherwise “Extraordinary Life of Barack Obama’s Imaginary Son:”

Once again, Barack Obama’s imaginary son has found himself unfairly in trouble with the law. If you recall, his imaginary son was also shot by an imaginary neighborhood watch guard in the same style as Trayvon Martin. But Obama’s imaginary son is plucky and resilient and has lived a hard life in the hood so he keeps bouncing back.

In his life, Obama’s imaginary son has been shot at, concussed out of football, and racially profiled. Yet he keeps picking himself up and carrying on. Obama’s imaginary son should be an example to us all. No matter what kind of imaginary circumstances we find ourselves in, we can continue on with our imaginary lives.

One day this country can hopefully move on from racism experienced by imaginary people — and, let’s face it, the country doesn’t have the best of history of its treatment of imaginary people. We have, however, made progress in the civil rights of imaginary people and for that we, as a country, should be proud. We shouldn’t ignore, however, the real truth that racism toward imaginary sons is still a real problem, as our President constantly reminds us. We can’t be afraid to have the conversation, no matter how painful it might be, about continuing the racial healing of imaginary people.

President Obama, however, also should look inward and ask why his imaginary son continues to put himself in these situations. Perhaps it is also his own failings as an imaginary parent. Maybe his imaginary son is trying to rebel against the pressures that come with being the first imaginary son of the United States. Perhaps the President can get him some better-fitting clothes and tell him to stay in school instead of having constant run-ins with imaginary police.

Potemkin villages — and kids — all the way down.

‘Dear GOP: Show, Don’t Tell’

December 26th, 2014 - 10:29 pm

One night on the campaign trail in 1992, running against Bill Clinton, his Oprah-esque ”I feel your pain” statements, and goofy proto-emo sycophants like the infamous ponytail guy, George H.W. Bush “literally read his stage direction off a cue card, like Ron Burgundy in ‘Anchorman,’ proclaiming ‘Message: I care,’” Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest column. “I always wondered if, afterwards, some aide had to tell him, ‘Sir, you were supposed to convey that message, not literally read it out loud.’” Similarly, regarding Bob Dole’s promise to be the next Gipper four years later, all the way up to the GOP’s current crop of presidential candidates, Jonah adds:

If you want to be the next Ronald Reagan, be the next Ronald Reagan. Don’t tell people, “Starring in the role of Ronald Reagan tonight will be…” Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich or whoever’s turn it is at the podium.

I’ve heard nearly every 2016 wannabe tell conservative audiences about the importance of optimism. Jeb Bush is particularly high on it these days. He says the nominee must be “joyful.” I agree. But stop telling me about the need for joyfulness and start showing me some frickin’ joy!

One of the main reasons Republicans read their stage direction, I think, is that they see politics as a game. And, as a game, they don’t take it as seriously as those who see politics as an obsession or even a religion.

This speaks well of them as human beings because it suggests that, unlike a lot of liberal Democrats, they don’t think politics — and by extension government — is everything and all-important. That’s a trait I want in a president. But it’s a real problem in a presidential candidate.

So please, more show, less tell.

And just about every potential Democrat candidate for the White House the GOP will be running against in 2016 absolutely believes in politics as their religion. Which dovetails well with Paul Mirengoff’s new post at Power Line: “Will 2016 resemble 1968 for Democrats?”

While it would take the Carter administration another decade to infamously put a name to it, 1968 was when he anti-progress malaise mindset became a permanent fixture of the American left’s presidential bids. In other words, with the arguable exception of the aforementioned 1992, doesn’t every presidential election year resemble 1968 for Democrats?

A Home-brewed Dictator, On the Other Hand…

December 26th, 2014 - 8:55 pm


TNR morphed from a fairly sensible center-left publication to a clone of Salon and Slate so quickly, I hardly even noticed. But the Website, revamped under the new ownership of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has noticed that during the Christmas holidays, things really are brighter, and they’re vexed by this notion. Terribly vexed:

Two years ago, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy reported that of the eight types of outdoor lighting it studied in 2010—”building exterior, airfield, billboard, railway, stadium, traffic signals, parking and roadway”—over 178 million individual lamps were in use, up from 73 million in 2002. The Astronomical Observatory at Florida Atlantic University has also done extensive research on nighttime lighting. It found that in 2012, more than 35 billion kilowatts per hour (KWh) were used in “estimated wasted outdoor lighting”—considered to be “lights that are on where not needed or where no one is around to use them, on when they are not needed, or are directed upwards where no one can use them”—and it cost consumers $3.4 billion.

It’s possible to estimate the cost of holiday lighting on an individual level—a handful of websites provide calculators. But to get an idea of energy usage and cost increases between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we’ll have to wait until NASA releases data on the 2014 holiday season, at which point it’s likely that universities and government agencies, not NASA, will study the implications.

As Twitter user Scott Welch writes in his reply to Virginia Postrel’s link to TNR’s article, you know what else uses plenty of energy, lights, and air conditioning? The server farms that Facebook and TNR run on. I look forward to the folks at TNR running a “study” on how much electricity, lighting and freon is consumed during that process.

Ordinarily, this is the time where I insert my usual rejoinder to what Virginia aptly calls leftwing environmental puritanism and call on TNR that if they want to walk the walk, they really need to set an example for the rest of us and close up shop first, if they perceive that “global warming / cooling climate change / climate chaos” is so dire that the rest of us need to turn off our Christmas lights and transform America into the second coming of North Korea at night.

Fortunately though in this case, TNR is for once far ahead of the curve:

Faster please — do it for Gaia’s sake, fellas.

Related: “David Brooks Calls New Republic Owner Chris Hughes ‘Callow And Incompetent,’” the HuffPo notes. I’m not at all sure if Brooks meant that as an insult or not, given his prior track record with callow and incompetent members of the far left.

Your Moment of Christmas Zen

December 25th, 2014 - 11:42 am

“A Dog Dressed Like Santa Zooms Around on a Roomba, and It’s Awesome,” People magazine exclaims in hyper-BuzzFeed style. I’m not sure about awesome!!!!, but it is oddly hypnotic.

As is

OK, that truncated headline is a perennial. The full version of John Nolte’s story at Big Journalism is “Narrative Journalism Fail: HuffPo Blows Story of Last Night’s Police Shooting,” which as John notes, “took place just a few miles from Ferguson, Missouri:”

After the hoax was revealed, The Huffington Post removed the phony interview and posted a correction:

“A previous version of this story included an interview with a man claiming to have been at the scene of the shooting and friends with the deceased. As police have released statements saying the second person involved in the incident has fled the scene, the source is now suggesting he was never there.”

As of now, police officials say Martin pulled a gun on the police officer. A surveillance video appears to back the officer up.

Like the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” lie spread by a reckless and unquestioning media after the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson, the Huffington Post got it horribly wrong in an apparent rush to be the first to use the Martin shooting to further the phony and now-deadly  media narrative that cops are on the hunt to kill black men.

And just as the media’s “Hands Up, Don’t, Shoot Lie” lie resulted in months of hell raining down on the predominantly black working  class city of Ferguson, the Huffington Post’s recklessness (in the obvious name of Narrative Journalism) could have opened a whole new chapter of mob violence on that small city.

But then, HuffPo might as well end the year the same way the left’s media has operated throughout the year — with tragic results for all of America:

It’s a Wonderful Fountainhead

December 25th, 2014 - 10:38 am

“For New York leftists, Pottersville represents a wonderful life,” Paul Mirengoff writes this week at Power Line. And indeed it does, as I wrote in my “It’s a Wonderful Fountainhead” post, originally posted last year:

From now until December 25th (and perhaps January 1st), Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life will be playing somewhere. It’s available on Blu-Ray. There’s currently a sharp-looking copy on YouTube. It will be on TV, where the film’s reputation was made during its many annual repeats; it was unexpectedly flat at the box office during its initial 1946 big screen run. And it will likely also be playing at a revival theater near you. My wife and I caught one such showing at the movie theater in San Jose’s Santana Row yesterday, which was actually the first time I had seen it on the big screen, in a beautifully remastered digital version. It was a vivid reminder that as popular as It’s a Wonderful Life is on TV, this was a film made to be seen by a large audience in a theater, and their knowing laughter during the film’s best moments — and likely, their weeping by the end of the film as we were — adds immeasurably to its impact.

The film is now a double piece of nostalgia, something not intended by its makers. Certainly Capra and company viewed its initial flashback scenes to the early 20th century, the 1928 high school dance and the 1932-era bank run, as nostalgia. But the film’s contemporary setting of post-World War II America is now almost 70 years in the rearview mirror, as are the morals of the people who made the film.

You certainly can get a sense of that merely from reading the film’s Wikipedia page, when you come to the section on how the film is viewed by leftwing urban critics today, particularly the scenes set in “Pottersville,” the segment in which small town Bedford Falls is transformed into Reno on the Hudson:

In a 2010 piece, Richard Cohen described It’s a Wonderful Life as “the most terrifying Hollywood film ever made”. In the “Pottersville” sequence, he wrote, George is not “seeing the world that would exist had he never been born”, but rather “the world as it does exist, in his time and also in our own.”] Nine years earlier, another Salon writer, Gary Kamiya, had expressed the opposing view that “Pottersville rocks!”, adding, “The gauzy, Currier-and-Ives veil Capra drapes over Bedford Falls has prevented viewers from grasping what a tiresome and, frankly, toxic environment it is… We all live in Pottersville now.”*

The film’s elevation to the status of a beloved classic came decades after its initial release, when it became a television staple during Christmas season in the late 1970s. This came as a welcome surprise to Frank Capra and others involved with its production. “It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,” Capra told the Wall Street Journal in 1984. “The film has a life of its own now, and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I’m like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I’m proud… but it’s the kid who did the work. I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.”In a 1946 interview, Capra described the film’s theme as “the individual’s belief in himself” and that he made it “to combat a modern trend toward atheism”.

Of course, atheism doesn’t necessarily mean socialism — even if that’s how it invariably works out (more on that later); and after the page break, allow me to reprint my 2010 post titled “It’s a Wonderful Fountainhead,” which compares Capra’s 1946 film with its very different contemporary, which was based on Ayn Rand’s novel about a young man who dreams of going to the big city, becoming an architect and building giant phallic symbols, and, unlike George Bailey, who has to reconcile never leaving his small town, succeeds on his own terms. Followed by some further thoughts and links from 2013, and a jaw-dropping moment at Wikipedia.

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Not a very Christmas-themed post, but then, the idea of December being a slow news cycle has been rendered anathema in the “never let a crisis go to waste” even if you have to gin the crisis up yourself era of Mssrs. Obama and Holder. And as Charles C.W. Cooke writes at National Review Online, “What a difference party identification makes:”

Also playing this game are Media Matters (2011: rhetoric is lethal; 2014: rhetoric is harmless); the NAACP (2011: civility is crucial; 2014: civility is irrelevant); and Al Sharpton (2011: our political discourse has real consequences; 2014: such thoughts are misguided). Elsewhere, the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery — a man who was quick to jump on Sarah Palin’s map back in 2011 — yesterday mocked the notion that words and behavior might lead to murder, while Politico’s Glenn Thrush pooh-poohed suggestions that he had once made himself. In 2011, his Twitter feed shows, Thrush treated Gabby Giffords’s shooting as “a watershed moment that will immediately redefine current debate and view of pols embracing of extreme rhetoric.” Yesterday, he shamed Governor Pataki for advancing the very same theory.

What a difference party identification makes.

Well yes. But then, it was the left that decided to collectivize guilt and race shame the American people merely for daring to vote out the Democrat majority two months before the tragic incident in Tucson, by some of the same Democratic operatives with bylines pundits that Charles quotes in his article.

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2014 - 10:07 am

Mark Steyn in the London Spectator on that most American of songs, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas:”

In the end, ‘White Christmas’ isn’t a song about snow. They had white Christmases in Temun, Siberia, where Berlin was born, but a white Russian Christmas wouldn’t be the same: It’s not about the weather, it’s about home. In 1942, those GIs out in the Pacific understood that. Twelve years later, building a new movie named for the song, Berlin acknowledged the men who made it special, in the best staging in the picture: Bing singing in the rubble, accompanied only by Danny Kaye’s musical box, as the boys rest their chins on their rifle butts and think of home. Berlin couldn’t have predicted Pearl Harbor, but there’s no surprise that, once it had happened, his were the sentiments the country turned to.

Christmas was not kind to Irving Berlin. At 5 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Day 1928, his 31/2-week-old son, Irving Junior, was found dead in his bassinet. ‘I’m sure,’ his daughter Mary Ellin told me a few years back, ‘it was what we would now call “crib death”.’

Does that cast ‘White Christmas’ in a different light? The plangent melancholy the GIs heard in the tune, the unsettling chromatic phrase, the eerie harmonic darkening under the words ‘where children listen’; it’s not too fanciful to suggest the singer’s dreaming of children no longer around to listen. When the girls grew up and left home, Irving Berlin, symbol of the American Christmas, gave up celebrating it. ‘We both hated Christmas,’ Mrs Berlin said later. ‘We only did it for you children.’

To take a baby on Christmas morning mocks the very meaning of the day. And to take Irving Berlin’s seems an even crueller jest — to reward his uncanny ability to articulate the sentiments of his countrymen by depriving him of the possibility of sharing them.

Berlin was a professional Tin Pan Alleyman, but his story, his Christmas is there in the music. 23 years after his death, he embodies all the possibilities of America: his family arrived at Ellis Island as poor and foreign and disadvantaged as you can be, and yet he wove himself into the very fabric of the nation. His life and his art are part of the definition of America. Whatever his doubts about God, Berlin kept faith with his adopted land — and that faith is what millions heard 70 years ago in ‘White Christmas’.

Pour yourself an eggnog and read the whole thing.

And some various and sundry Christmas-related items we’ve linked to over the years. First up, Chris Muir’s Day by Day:

From Hot Air‘s boss emeritus:

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Neo-Neocon: “Twas the bloggers’ night before Christmas.”

Orrin Judd has lots of Christmas-related posts. Just keep scrolling.

From Reason TV via Instapundit, it’s Christmas, TSA-style! (Shudder.)

From Claire Berlinski at Ricochet, Happy Jewish Christmas!

And from Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades, some parting words (at least for now) from a Mister L. van Pelt:

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Update: If Santa hasn’t arrived yet, he sends his apologies for running late.

Originally posted in 2012.

Oh and reminder this year to always respect diversity as much as those obsessed with the topic respect your beliefs…

Heh. But then, as that parody of the typical leftist’s thoughts about Christmas remind us, as Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard wrote a decade ago to explain why “the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.”

As for the rest of us, see headline atop this post.

“EXCLUSIVE: 911 operators made ‘anti-police’ remarks, causing quarrel with FDNY dispatchers as 2 NYPD cops were dying,” sources tell the New York Daily News:

A war of words erupted in the city’s 911 call center Saturday over allegations two operators made “anti-police” remarks after the assassinations of two cops, the Daily News has learned.

The fracas occurred when news broke that Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu had been shot execution-style by a deranged gunman, sources said.

The remarks were allegedly made by a couple of the 911 operators who handle NYPD calls — and two Fire Department dispatchers in earshot got heated in response, sources said.

The alleged comment that created the most friction was when one said the cops had “deserved it,” said a law enforcement source.

Even if a Republican wins the White House in 2016, good luck resetting an out of control American culture if the rot on the left is this deep and systemic. And in the meantime, linking to the above article, Ace writes, “It’s hard to claim this is all just a Few Bad Apples when you have 911 operators rooting on the murders even as the cops are bleeding out in the streets.”

And as Moe Lane adds in a post on “Black Bloc” cop-hating anarchists infecting Ferguson and other protests, “the murder of two cops was not a function of a failure of the system.  It is a function of the system.  And it was the more mainstream Left’s job to keep these… people… under control.  But apparently nobody on the Left actually knows how to do something like that.”

You stay classy, “Progressives:”

According to a report via the well-connected* Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush in Politico, those commuters were not entirely unmistaken. Though de Blasio may not have felt himself entirely in league with the protest movement, he certainly sought to cater to them so as to avoid inflaming an already volatile situation.

People close to de Blasio also said he supported the Garner protesters not because he backed their position, but because he wanted to avoid antagonizing them in the wake of the grand jury decision not to indict the officer who killed Garner. Above all, one source said, de Blasio wanted to avoid provoking riots akin to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white cop shot an unarmed black man whom he later said had attacked him.**

This disconnect between America’s elected officials, who have been effectively intimidated by a small but menacing anti-law enforcement protest movement and the greater public has, in part, fueled the backlash against the mayor’s office in the wake of the execution-style murder of two NYPD officers.

In an effort to project concern, New York City’s embattled mayor requested that the city’s protesters, to whom he has extended a perhaps inappropriate level of deference over the last several weeks, to observe a moratorium on demonstrations against the NYPD until after slain Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were laid to rest. De Blasio’s appeals have gone ignored.

According to a CNN reporter who was on the scene in Brooklyn on Monday at a memorial honoring the fallen officers, a group of protesters stormed the commemorative service and began screaming at the attending officers (h/t The Blaze).

While reporting on this episode, Sara Ganim made an effort to insist that the vast majority of those who attended this memorial were supportive of the NYPD. Her efforts could not have been more thoroughly undermined, however, by the sounds of angry protesters whom she had to speak over in order to be heard.

Crashing memorials for brave men killed in the line of duty? Why, it’s as if:

* Well, that’s one way to describe them. This definition works as well.

** Why does that sound like Thrush and Haberman are attempting to cast doubt on Darren Wilson’s story? Oh right, see previous footnote.

Related: “Bill de Blasio goes after media.” As I said at the start of the month, “There’s One More Shoe Waiting to Drop.” Since the far left de Blasio likely views all of the media — New York media(!) — as being to his right, does this count as our first big right-wing media bias sighting of the post-election season? In any case, this probably won’t end well for him.


At NewsBusters, P.J. Gladnick quotes from a juicy Washingtonian article on how David Gregory — once nicknamed “Stretch” by President Bush due to his 6’5″ height — lost his swank gig as replacement for the late and sorely missed Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet the Press. Network news executive Deborah Turness, imported in 2013 from England’s ITV channel, played a large role in Gregory’s exit, but not before she engaged in classic network meddling with the show. Including — as if Gregory wasn’t enough of a reactionary leftwing dinosaur — the suggestion that “Gregory stack newspapers on his desk to give the set an intimate, coffeehouse feel.” To which Gladnick quips “How about a pile of VHS movies placed on his desk for that traditional old timey feel?” But as if Gregory wasn’t hosting a clown show already (see above photograph of Gregory’s nadir as the second coming of Network’s crazed Howard Beale, or perhaps NBC’s own Keith Olbermann), Turness’s wacky ideas would only get worse:

And she pressed the staff to book more politically active celebrities that non-white, non-male, non-senior citizens—the people who aren’t watching Meet the Press—might be drawn in by.

Gregory chafed at these changes, people close to him say, fearing they were too radical and would cheapen the brand. But he complied. On one show, rapper joined former White House communications director Anita Dunn, Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, columnist Kathleen Parker, and Chuck Todd for the roundtable segment. Instead of loose, as Turness wanted, the result was utterly stiff.

So,, what is your opinion of Dodd Frank? The Quantitative Easing by the Federal Reserve? Okay, forget all that. What’s the latest dish on Beyonce?

At one point, Turness suggested that Gregory have a live band close out the show to commemorate the death of Nelson Mandela. Gregory was appalled, people close to him say. Although he recognized the need to broaden the program’s appeal to a younger, more diverse audience, he worried that Turness’s approach was about to turn Meet the Press into a political gong show.

How about Peter Pan flying around the Meet The Press set on wires to commemorate the victory of nepotism in live musical TV productions?

Suddenly, stories about the palace intrigue at Meet the Press began appearing with suspicious frequency. By March 2014, only two months into Turness’s turnaround effort, rumors that Gregory was on the chopping block had gained so much traction that he asked NBC to respond and quell them.

“I cannot be more declarative about David—[he] is our guy, is going to be our guy, and we are really happy with him,” Turness’s top lieutenant told the Huffington Post.

Translation: “Stretch is a dead duck who doesn’t know it yet.”

Gregory was becoming a spectacle, and it was clear to him, friends say, that this was no accident—someone was planting these stories in the press to discredit him. The question was who.

Do we really need to call in Sherlock Holmes to find the source?

Heh. Maybe Dan Rather, O.J., or Rolling Stone could investigate.

But Gregory’s debacle wasn’t something that happened in a vacuum, and it didn’t occur overnight. There’s a great book waiting to be written, along the lines of Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad’s Backstage History of Saturday Night Live or William McGowan’s Gray Lady Down, on the recent history of NBC and its subsidiary channels. NBC was the network in the 1980s, whose shows, from Cosby to Cheers to Miami Vice and beyond, appealed to a vast audience. Its network news division was seen as relatively fair, at least by today’s standards. During the early to mid-1990s, while Roger Ailes oversaw CNBC and the very early days of MSNBC, those channels didn’t antagonize conservative viewers. On the flagship network during the mid-1990s, Seinfeld, Friends, and Mad About You continued the winning sitcom formula. By the early “naughts” though, the dramatic events of the 2000 election, followed by 9/11, sent a psychic shock through the network, and certainly through its then-network president Jeff Zucker, these days working his “magic” with CNN. During his reign of error at NBC, the network and its subsidiary cable channels all swung increasingly to the far left, and tossed objectivity out the window, in everything from the sports programming on NBC to the rampant racist obsessions of MSNBC. When the bottom fell out in 2013, parent channel NBC finished fifth in the ratings, losing to ABC, CBS, Fox — and even to Spanish language channel Telemundo.

How this sea change in philosophy swept through a once great network and increasingly rendered it anathema to mainstream viewers would make for excellent reading, if any of its current or former executives would be willing to go on the record and explain how advocacy replaced ratings and at least the appearance of objectivity at this once great institution.

‘This Org Gives Me an icky Feeling’

December 22nd, 2014 - 6:10 pm


“BOMBSHELL REPORT: IRS Targeted ‘Icky’ Conservative Groups,” Patrick Howley writes at the Daily Caller. Money quote here:

4. Lois Lerner expressed her frustration about having to potentially approve a lot of groups, and her colleagues in the agency assured her that she wouldn’t have to.

“Lois [Lerner] would like to discuss our planned approach for dealing with these cases. We suspect we will have to approve the majority of the c4 applications,” IRS official Holly Paz wrote to colleagues.

IRS official Don Spellman replied, “This line in particular stood out: ‘We suspect we will have to approve the majority of c4 applications.’ That’s an interesting posture.”

Deputy Division Counsel Janine Cook replied, “[G]uess they are thinking they’ll have suspicions about reality but the paper/reps will pass muster.”

5. So the IRS reached out to outside advisers to help come up with ways to deny tax-exempt status to “icky” organizations.

“It appears that the org is funneling money to other orgs for political purposes,” a Cincinnati-based IRS agent working under Lois Lerner wrote to tax law specialist Hilary Goehausen in April 2013. ”However, I’m not sure we can deny them because, technically, I don’t know that I can deny them simply for donating to another 501(c)(4). . . .  Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated.”

“I think there may be a number of ways to deny them,” Goehausen replied. “Let me talk to Sharon [Light] tomorrow about it and get some ideas from her as well. . . .This sounds like a bad org. :/ . . .  This org gives me an icky feeling.”

Trust your icky feelings, Luke. You know them to be true:

Perhaps the House of Repeal can take up this issue as well.

Related: “Report: IRS ‘totally politicized’ by Obamacare, targeting of Tea Party applicants,” from Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner.

What Could Go Wrong?

December 22nd, 2014 - 2:26 pm

“The apocalypse that is Hollywood gossip guru Nikki Finke may soon descend upon Washington like a dark mushroom cloud,” Betsy Rothstein writes at the Dailler caller. “The NYT reports that Politico is ‘in talks’ to bring her on as a political columnist:”

NYT Magazine writer and This Town author Mark Leibovich is all for it. “I’m for anything that injects discomfort into the system. Especially from a media platform,” he said.

But one former Politico staffer is aghast at the prospect of Finke coming to This Town.

“Nikki is brilliant but she is way more trouble than Politico needs,” the source said. “Who in that newsroom is going to have the spinal fortitude to deal with Nikki and the people she enrages routinely? Do they really want unhinged Hollywood types (including Nikki) screaming down the phone every day? Will they back her up? Let’s hope for everyone’s sake this doesn’t go through.”

That same ex-staffer referred to Finke as “so crazypants.”

When told that some former Politico staffers think a Finke addition could really work and that Politico could function under such drastically opposing viewpoints, the source replied, “WTF? Maybe they just don’t know the raging ball of crazy that is Nikki Finke. And let’s face it, Politico is not exactly safe haven for difficult women.”

I’m sure the late and sorely missed Cathy Seipp is loving this story somewhere. And it’s not the first time that the de facto Obama house organ has hired someone who was a little, um, on the edge — even by Politico standards — before. Fortunately, he didn’t last long there:

And as for crazypants? Well, Politico’s veteran columnist Roger Simon, no relation to our beneficent Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus, has had that base covered from time to time as well:

C’mon Politicomake this happen. And if things hit the fan between you and Nikki, we’ll be happy to BenSmith away the chaos. Trust us — just like we trust you.






“Where is the Left that was concerned about what unstable people might make of violent political rhetoric?”, John Sexton asks at Big Journalism. “Why are they silent now, when it seems what they claimed they feared may actually have happened?”

To ask the questions are to answer them.

God has quite a sense of humor when He wants to, as Box Office Guru notes this week:

Dropping heavily in its second weekend was the Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings which took in an estimated $8M this weekend a drop of… 66.6% from last weekend. You can’t make this stuff up folks. Any slight change up or down would make that percentage change as well but still, it’s almost as if someone planned it. The cume for Exodus now stands at $39M with a final total in the $55M range likely.

“Exodus, Stage Left,” John Podhoretz quipped in the headline of his review of Ridley Scott’s latest film at the Weekly Standard:

Raise your hand if you want to see Moses portrayed as an insurgent lunatic terrorist with a bad conscience, the pharaoh who sought the murder of all first-born Hebrew slaves as a nice and reasonable fellow, and God as a foul-tempered 11-year-old boy with an English accent.

All right, I see a few hands raised, though maybe they belong to people who are still demonstrating about Ferguson. So let me ask you this: How many of you want to see how Hollywood has taken the story of the Hebrew departure from ancient Egypt—by far the most dramatic tale in the world’s most enduring book—and turned it into a joyless, dull, turgid bore?

I don’t know when I’ve seen a movie as self-destructively misconceived as Exodus: Gods and Kings, the director Ridley Scott’s $200-million retelling of the Moses story that has as much chance of making $200 million at the American box office as Ted Cruz has of winning the District of Columbia in the November 2016 election.

For one thing, Exodus: Gods and Kings is jaw-droppingly offensive in the way it bastardizes its source material. The God of Sh’mot, the second book of the Torah, manifests Himself in many ways—as the burning bush, as a cloud that follows the Hebrews on their journey, as rain and fire, even as a trumpet blast. But he most certainly does not manifest as a human being, since the incorporeality of the divine is a central feature of Jewish theology, the third of Maimonides’ 13 principles of faith. I know Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population and are therefore not collectively a box-office consideration—but if you’re going to make a movie out of their holy book, shouldn’t you, I don’t know, be careful not to throw the holy book into the garbage can?

Well, yes; it’s not hard to understand what went wrong. While the motley young Turks who replaced the old guard in Hollywood in the 1960s had widely varied backgrounds, though with the exception of John Milius, identical left-leaning politics, as filmmakers, they shared one trait in common. As Peter Biskind wrote in Easy Riders Raging Bulls, they loved themselves plenty of genre deconstruction. On the surface, Warren Beatty’s Bonnie & Clyde was a rerun of a 1930s Warner Brothers gangster picture, but in the post-Hays Code 1960s, this time around, the gangsters were the good guys, and the cops and bankers the enemy.

Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider subverted both the Roger Corman biker films of the 1960s, and John Ford’s westerns, to create a beautifully photographed American Southwest, albeit one filled with xenophobes terrified of two hippies on their Harley Davidsons and their football helmeted lawyer. (A few years later, Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles would really deconstruct the western and pummel it into the ground for good.)  Jack Nicholson’s Chinatown is on the surface, a Sam Spade-style private eye film, but its environmental subtext argues that Los Angeles should never have been built.

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In the “United States of Anxiety,” Kevin D. Williamson of NRO writes:

Liberal, open societies are always vulnerable to encroachments from illiberal forces with sufficient motivation, whether it’s the totalitarians in Pyongyang, the ones in Riyadh, or the ones in Cambridge, Mass. That’s especially true when elites lose their confidence in such liberal principles as free speech and freedom of conscience. As soon as you accept the premise that a person’s right to free speech (or a professor’s ability to conduct his class) is circumscribed by another person’s “right” not to be offended, then you have jettisoned principle entirely, and all that’s left is brute-force negotiation — a situation in which the partisans of liberty and humaneness always find themselves lamentably outnumbered. And if we’ve learned anything from the waning days of Harry Reid, during which Senate Democrats attempted to repeal the First Amendment, it is that our own elites do not have very much confidence in traditional American liberalism.

In “Collectivism and the presumption of guilt,” Red State’s John Hayward rounds up the First Lady’s then-and-now flashbacks of her 2011 trip to Target, Samuel L. Jackson’s cry of racism in the deaths of petty criminals Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the Australian “I’ll Ride With You” journalistic fable and similar stories and concludes:

What all of these stories, and so many others, have in common is the assumption of bad faith by liberals, who claim they can read the minds of everyone from dinner-party guests to society at large and detect the dark secret impulses seething beneath every word and deed.  The worst bad motives are assumed for every action, including something as harmless as a short woman asking a taller department-store patron to grab a box of detergent off the top shelf for her.  If events that cannot be construed as social-justice crimes are not ready to hand, the liberal will simply invent them, transforming lies into Deeper Truth with the magical power of leftist ideology.  We’re even presumed guilty of crimes no one actually committed, most notably the horrible “anti-Muslim backlash” that never actually happens after Muslim terrorists commit atrocities.

This presumption of guilt is absolutely crucial to collectivism.  The Left must teach its subjects to think of themselves as criminals.  That’s the only way law-abiding people will endure levels of coercive power that would normally require specific accusations, a fair trial, and the possibility of appeals.  Social-justice “crimes” can be prosecuted without any of those things.  There is no appeal from the sentence, and no statute of limitations on the crimes, as any left-winger who thinks today’s American citizens need to suffer for the historical offense of slavery will be happy to explain to you.  There’s no evidence you can present in your defense, for the Left has read your mind, and knows better than you what demons lurk in its recesses.

This is one reason the Left dislikes the trappings of constitutional law and order.

And increasingly, through once-respected journalistic outlets such as the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Washington Post and NBC, they’re not afraid to admit it.

“Time Magazine warned of a growing threat to cops nationwide in September 2010,” Scott Greer writes at the Daily Caller today, one of many visits to the memory hole that conservatives are doing today, to remind readers of just how paranoid the left were from mid-2009 when the Tea Party movement first swept the country, until their orgy of anti-right wing rhetoric in the wake of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords*  by an apolitical lunatic. As Greer noted, “The nationally renowned publication argued that sinister individuals would launch targeted attacks against police officers and even ambush them in their patrol cars…Who are these groups that present such a threat to police? Right-wing militias, according to Time.” At the end of his article, Greer notes:

The author specifically warns that these groups pose an imminent threat to law enforcement officials and should be closely monitored. Gellman relies heavily on a retracted 2009 DHS report — simply titled “Rightwing Extremism” — for his finding. That very same report was quickly pulled by the DHS after its release and was widely criticized for claiming that ordinary citizens upset by the election of President Barack Obama pose a danger to the country.

Since the article’s publication, there have hardly been any reported cases of violence stemming from individuals connected to the militia movement. There is one possible case from June of this year, but it could not be determined whether the two killers in the Las Vegas shooting spree had any connections with militia groups.

Meanwhile, the suspected gunman behind the Saturday ambush of two New York City police officers was certainly not a right-wing militant. Ismaaiyl Brinsley was reportedly a member of the notorious prison gang, the Black Guerrilla Family, which espouses a mix of black nationalism and Marxism. The gang declared “open season” on NYPD officers earlier in December following the non-indictment of the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. (RELATED: Suspect In NYPD Cop Execution Sought Revenge For Mike Brown And Eric Garner)

A thorough search of Time’s archive produced no stories about the threat that communists, black nationalists or prison gangs pose to police.

Until this past summer, Time magazine was owned by Time-Warner-CNN-HBO. CNN would hire admitted communist and 9/11 truther Van Jones to co-host Crossfire, (a brand name the network reviewed despite their pledge in January of 2011 to cease using gun-related language) and Piers Morgan to aggressively push their radical anti-Second Amendment agenda. Jones would later go on to demagogue the Ferguson riots last month while on location for CNN.

* And a federal judge appointed by George H.W. Bush, usually forgotten by the left because he didn’t fit the requirements needed to advance their anti-GOP narrative.

Should MSNBC Cancel Al Sharpton?

December 21st, 2014 - 4:06 pm


In 1987, while I was still living in New Jersey, I watched Al Sharpton’s initial TV debut in 1987 on the infamous Morton Downey Jr. Show on WWOR, and read in horror as he orchestrated the even more infamous Tawana Brawley hoax that same year. In 1991, I reead about the Crown Heights riots, where, as Jay Nordlinger wrote, “A rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, was lynched. Over a hundred others were injured.” So I was more than a little horrified to watch Sharpton transform into “Al Sharpton, Power Dem,” as Nordlinger dubbed him in 2000, when Democrat presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Al Gore felt obligated to make the trek to Sharpton’s office and kiss his, err, ring.

And then there was MSNBC a decade later. The Comcast-owned cable network began 2011 vowing a new tone of civility (no really) and comparing gun and violence-related metaphors to the N-Word. That was in January. By August of that same year, MSNBC was demonstrating its commitment to the Era of New Civility and Measured Discourse by giving Al Sharpton his own show. Even New York magazine noted early on that Sharpton’s “biggest opponent so far” was the teleprompter, and in the years since, Sharpton’s nightly “Resist we much!” battle with the teleprompter has become the stuff of legend.

But that didn’t stop Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC from telling NPR that “I’ve known [Sharpton] quite a bit. he’s smart. He’s entertaining. He’s experienced. He’s thoughtful. He’s provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is.” And curiously, the NPR anchor was apparently non-horrified at that thought.

But today, after Sharpton-led protests have lead to an escalating spiral of violence culminating last night in the death of two NYPD patrolmen,  Peter Ingemi, writing at his Da Tech Guy Blog, has had enough:

You might say, “But DaTechGuy Mr. Sharpton has 1st Amendment rights” indeed he does, but said right does not extend to a programing on MSNBC, if that was the case then I would demand one myself.

I call upon the network to immediately “suspend” Mr. Sharpton and remove his show from their lineup.

It is their network and they of course have the perfect right to ignore my call for this action, conversely I have the perfect right to express my opinion that a failure to do so is a direct endorsement of the events of Saturday afternoon by MSNBC and by their parent company Comcast and consumers should act accordingly.

The Comcast contact page is here.

You can contact MSNBC here.

Or perhaps you might choose to contact their advertisers, I’m sure they must be delighted to have their brands associated with the face of the anti-police movement at this time.

Closing thought, If Comcast decides the Rev Al is a liability & removes him from MSNBC & said reverend’s followers quit the network in protest, would anyone be left watching?

Presumably, Phil Griffin believed that hiring Sharpton was a Corleone-level masterstroke: by having Sharpton on the NBC payroll, he’s not very likely to defenestrate another NBC or MSNBC anchor as he did to then MSNBC-star Don Imus in 2007. But Griffin had to know that he was making a Faustian bargain by hiring Sharpton.

However, reasonable people can disagree with Ingemi as to whether or not Sharpton should be dumped in the rapidly escalating wake of the violent protests Sharpton helped gin up. As with past anchors Keith Olberman at his must lunatic, Alec Baldwin at his most violent, and Martin Bashir at his most scatological, Al Sharpton is the spokesman for MSNBC — and Comcast — right now. After all, Sharpton is “all the things” its network president thinks “that MSNBC is.” as the network’s president says. And he’s a powerful daily reminder of just much hatred lurks in the hearts of the left: