Ed Driscoll

Ed Driscoll

Gaslighting, Then and Now

May 22nd, 2015 - 3:13 pm

“Bill Clinton is the greatest gaslighter in modern American politics,” Jonah Goldberg notes in his latest G-File. Click over for the Wikipedia definition of the term if you’re unfamiliar with it; after which Jonah writes:

A truly sociopathic liar (though his sociopathologies hardly end there), Clinton has a gift for making other people feel like there is something wrong with them for objecting to his deceptions.

At the outset of the 1990s, liberals had worked themselves into a moral panic about sexual harassment. If anything, it was a bigger obsession than the campus-rape panic we’ve been witnessing over the last few years (no doubt in part because there was more factual basis to the problem). Male politicians — Bob Packwood, John Tower, et al. — had their careers summarily ended because of their “womanizing” — a term popularized by Tower’s predations. (Ironically, the original meaning of the word was to “make effeminate,” i.e., to turn into a woman. Given the mainstreaming of sex-change surgery, maybe it’s time to rehabilitate the older definition?)

Then, the country was presented with proof, incremental and suggestive at first, overwhelming and indisputable by the end of the decade, that Bill Clinton was an irrepressible and irresponsible sexual predator, at least by the moral and evidentiary standards established by feminist activists and the press corps that loves them. And, rather than face the consequences of applying their own principles consistently, they prostrated themselves to the Oval Office. Gloria Steinem raced to the pages of the New York Times to advance the “one free grope” rule. Susan Estrich, Susan Faludi, and countless other professional feminists defenestrated their principles in a desperate attempt to defend Clinton.

It was a perfect example of what Lord Acton really meant by power corrupting. He didn’t mean that rulers are corrupted by power, he meant that intellectuals become corrupted by their worship of the powerful.

When Bill Clinton had to “apologize” to his cabinet for playing baron-and-the-milkmaid with an intern and lying about it, he asked if anybody had a problem with it. Donna Shalala foolishly assumed he was being sincere. She chimed in and said she had a problem. He berated her for her effrontery, explaining that her prudish standards would have prevented JFK from being president. And while those of us not ensorcelled by the cult of that charismatic mediocrity might respond, “Yeah, so?” this was a debate-settling argument for many liberals.

Clinton’s sexual exploits were only one facet of his full-spectrum gaslighting of America. He sold pardons. He sold the Lincoln bedroom. He lied and cheated in innumerable ways, large and small, and he successfully made the people who objected, or even pointed out the truth, seem like the weird ones.

Jonah mentioned the campus rape panic in the second paragraph quoted above; in her latest column, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal writes, “Readers know of the phenomenon at college campuses regarding charges of ‘microaggressions’ and ‘triggers,’” and adds, “quite a bunch of little Marats and Robespierres we’re bringing up” — or actually, being programmed by their socialist teachers and professors. Noonan’s column is on the censoring of classic books and epic poems such as Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” which students at Columbia University attempted to suppress:

The class read the myths of Persephone and Daphne, which, as parts of a narrative that stretches from the dawn of time to the Rome of Caesar, include depictions of violence, chaos, sexual assault and rape. The student, the authors reported, is herself “a survivor of sexual assault” and said she was “triggered.” She complained the professor focused “on the beauty of the language and the splendor of the imagery when lecturing on the text.” He did not apparently notice her feelings, or their urgency. As a result, “the student completely disengaged from the class discussion as a means of self-preservation. She did not feel safe in the class.”

Safe is the key word here. There’s the suggestion that a work may be a masterpiece but if it makes anyone feel bad, it’s out.

That goes as well for public speakers who risk harshing the kids’ collective mellow, Mark Hemingway writes in the Weekly Standard:

At [Christina Hoff Sommers'] speech in April at Georgetown University, multiple undercover policemen were placed in the audience. At Oberlin, also in April, uniformed police officers never let her out of their sight and after her speech escorted her in a police car from the campus to a dinner. In May, she was the guest of honor at a Washington, D.C., meetup of “Gamergate” supporters—video gamers concerned about radical feminism’s influence in the video game industry (more on that later). In response, Salon and Daily Beast columnist Arthur Chu started a social media campaign to pressure the bar where the gamers were meeting to drop the event and sent emails to the venue accusing them of hosting a “right-wing hate group.” Despite the pressure, the owner of the bar, Local 16, emailed Sommers to tell her they “would never keep any group out. This is America.” A bomb threat soon followed, necessitating a heavy police presence and a tour of Local 16 by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Through all this, Sommers says, “I didn’t feel threatened. I’d never known feminists to be violent.” Her calm in the face of feminist extremism is in marked contrast to the fury of her critics. “I am a threat to their health, to their mental well-being. That attitude is new,” she says. “Before, they might have thought, ‘Oh, her views on feminism are reactionary.’ But now it’s that her views are a threat.”

Indeed, an inability to distinguish between threats and disagreements seems to be a hallmark of this contemporary feminism. Sommers is scary precisely because she doesn’t shy away from heightening the contradictions. Where op-ed writers have patiently picked apart the discredited “wage gap” statistics feminists insist on recycling, Sommers shows up in the proverbial lion’s den, calmly points her finger at the scolds-in-training, and challenges them to prove their commitment to female equality by changing their major to the lucrative and male-dominated field of petroleum engineering.

These days, campus feminists make no attempt to debate Sommers on substance. Instead, she routinely faces attempts to shun her, silence her, or distort her message. After her Georgetown speech, there were demands that the student group that had hosted her remove the protesters from video of the event. A university administrator warned that if the upset students weren’t edited out, “Georgetown [would] need to step in.”

Got that? Protesters showed up at a public event to draw attention to their message—but then realized that footage showing ostensible adults holding signs saying “Trigger Warning: Antifeminist” was an embarrassment to the students and bad PR for the school, so they wanted it censored. Another embarrassment is young feminists’ ignorance. When Sommers joked at Oberlin that the Junior Anti-Sex League had occupied campus feminism, a voice from her audience yelled, “What the hell is that?”

For the most part, Obama and Hillary love keeping already high-strung college kids on emotional tenterhooks, ready to swing into action at the latest perceived racial or sexual “microaggression,” and anyone who dares commit doubleplus ungood Emmanuel Goldstein-esque thoughtcrime. But isn’t there a huge, equally Orwellian contradiction here? Hillary is counting on those same college kids, who see sexism, male oppression and rape everywhere to swing enthusiastically into action to support her. (Presumably, as is Obama, as Hillary is a far safer bet to preserve his “legacy” than a Republican president.) Completely ignoring the fact that she’s the enabler of a former president whom Rand Paul dubbed one of Washington’s most prominent sexual predators. As Paul noted on C-Span last year:

Democrats are being hypocritical by criticizing Republicans as waging a war on women while at the same time embracing Mr. Clinton, who was impeached for lying about a sexual relationship with a White House intern.

“They can’t have it both ways. And so I really think that anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back,” Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, said. “If they want to take position on women’s rights, by all means do. But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.”

Or is the assumption that because Hillary will do “good things” (read: expand government and restrict freedoms — including, as she herself admits — freedom of speech) the same college kids obsessed with rape and sexual predators will overlook Bill’s serial macro-aggressions?

It’s too bad that Lord Acton is yet another dead white European male; because as Jonah wrote above, the Clintons really are the perfect example of what Acton “meant by power corrupting. He didn’t mean that rulers are corrupted by power, he meant that intellectuals become corrupted by their worship of the powerful.”

And young, self-styled wannabe intellectuals as well, as yet another generation of leftists are gaslighted.

I know the aforementioned Rand Paul did a fair amount of battlefield prep last year by pointing out Bill’s past, noting that “Mr. Clinton’s settlement with Paula Jones in 1999, in which he paid $850,000 to settle Ms. Jones’ claims of sexual harassment, is an admission of guilt by the former president.” Not to mention Bill’s “friendship [with] seedy billionaire and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein,” as Sean Hannity discussed this past February. But I’m surprised more Republican candidates aren’t mentioning this enormous contradiction, which seems ripe for exploiting.  And/or anyone on the left who’s serious about opposing her. Isn’t it time for the spouse of the man who made “Sister Souljah” a verb to experience a “Sister Souljah moment” of her own from one of her fellow Democrats?

We’ve mentioned the left devouring its own several times in recent months. The “campus rape epidemic” seems like a bizarre intellectual climate to serve as the background for Hillary’s campaign — and she has no one else to blame but her fellow Democrats for creating it. Or am I simply gaslighting myself?

In Tom Wolfe’s famous essay “The Great Relearning,” originally published in the December 1987 issue of the American Spectator and included in his 2000 collection of essays, appropriately titled Hooking Up, Wolfe believed that a leitmotif of the 21st century would feature mankind recovering the rules about art, aesthetics, and human relations that various degrees of socialism stripped away in the 19th and 20th centuries in the rush to “Start From Zero” by discarding vast quantities of man’s accumulated knowledge and wisdom.

But for that happen, first the “Swaddled Generation” needs to replace their diapers with the big boy pants and begin growing up.  RINO Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, last seen helping grease the skids of the ultimate swaddled man-child to reach the White House by shivving Sarah Palin in the fall of 2008, appears to perhaps be on the verge of experiencing the aura of the penumbra of second thoughts over whom she helped bring to power and his negative impact on today’s college students:

It seems that mostly conservative sites and writers are concerned with the increasingly draconian suppression of free speech on college campuses. But then, it is mostly conservative writers and speakers who are treated as though they’re bringing the Ebola virus rather than contrarian ideas to the sensitive ears of what we may as well name the “Swaddled Generation.”

A trigger warning is usually conveyed on a sign carried or posted near the auditorium where a speech is to be given, alerting students to the possibility that the speaker may express an idea that could trigger an emotional response. A discussion about campus rape statistics, for example, might cause a rape victim to suffer.

This was the case recently at Georgetown University when Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Stole Feminism?,” was greeted by sign-carriers warning: “Anti-Feminism,” with the room number of a “safe space.”

Students elsewhere have taken their trigger-phobia a step further, urging professors to add warnings to syllabuses alerting swaddlers to the possibility that a course might prompt uncomfortable thoughts. At Rutgers University, a student proposed flagging F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” as potentially upsetting owing to “a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence.”

Protections against unpleasant thoughts can be arranged only by managing unpleasant speech. Thus, anyone who dares question any of the communally collected “understandings” of proper thought, presumably embraced during share-time and group hugs, will not be celebrated as a curious mind but condemned as a “hater.”

Now there’s a winning debate argument. If you’re 5.

Which neatly sums up the intellectual development of the far too many college kids, and the leftwing professors and pundits who enable them:

Found via Josh Good of the American Enterprise Institute, whose description of Parker’s article and his allusion to Tom Wolfe work better as a meme than the Post’s own headline writers:

Update: This tweet by Twitchy.com manages to tie together both of the elements of our headline above:


Update: Leon H. Wolf of Red State on the corrosive impact of “The Emma Sulkowicz Generation,” on both their victims and their pet causes.

osama_book_shelf_5-21-15-1

“Bin Laden had the book on Obama,” Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, who asks, “What should we make of the bookshelf?” Bin Laden’s bookshelf that is. Beyond being photographed on the 2008 campaign trail — chillingly in retrospect — holding fellow leftist Fareed Zakaria’s then-recent book The Post-American World, the pop culture-obsessed Mr. Obama seems to prefer binge-watching television to reading.

But Bin Laden’s choice of reading material is fascinating, as Mirengoff writes, who notes that Bob Woodward has the rare distinction of being on both Nixon’s enemies list, and Osama’s reading list:

Above all, it confirms that bin Laden was obsessed with the United States. Unlike ISIS, which strives to capture territory and create a caliphate, bin Laden focused on attacking America and American interests.

But attacking America wasn’t an end in itself. Bin Laden’s overriding goal was to drive the U.S. out of the Muslim world so that al Qaeda and its affiliates could topple hostile governments in these regions.

Once we understand this, we must see bin Laden as more of a success than a failure. And we must see President Obama as the vehicle through which bin Laden succeeded.

Under Obama, the U.S. is basically exiting the Muslim world. We pulled out of Iraq (and haven’t re-entered to any significant degree). We’re pulling out of Afghanistan. We never pulled into Syria, despite the advice of many in both parties that we should.

We didn’t stay in Libya. We’ve been driven out of Yemen. Our influence with Egypt and Saudi Arabia (two countries of special interest to bin Laden, surely) has waned considerably.

As for the toppling of governments, bin Laden’s dream is partially realized. The Afghanistan government hasn’t fallen, but it may well, once the U.S. leaves. And the government’s hold on large portions of the country is weak to non-existent.

The Iraqi government hasn’t fallen, but it has lost huge chunks of territory to Islamic terrorists, with even Baghdad now threatened. The government of Syria is in basically the same condition.

These two pop culture icons couldn’t be happier about the rapidly disintegrating state of the world:

obama_letterman_finale_iraq_5-21-15-2

(Artwork atop post created using multiple AP and Shutterstock.com images.)

Letterman’s departure is 15 years too late,” Kyle Smith writes in the New York Post, tracing Letterman’s shift over the years from midwestern anti-comic like his doppelganger Bill Murray to hack showbiz insider:

When Letterman got a new job at CBS in 1993, it was even better. Now he was on at 11:30 p.m. instead of 12:30 a.m. I’d miss fewer shows, plus my new job (I started at The Post the day after he launched “Late Show”) meant I didn’t have to get up until noon. I saw practically every episode, for years.

But, somewhere around the turn of the century, I lost interest. The show became less and less surreal. Real celebrities started showing up, and I winced as Dave would suck up to them. Suddenly, everyone had a perfectly polished, self-deprecating anecdote — invariably meant to prove the utter fiction that Celebrities Are Just Like Us — that sounded suspiciously crafted by a team of writers. Suddenly, each episode had as many as three celebrities, with Letterman being unctuous and insufferable and fake-laughing his way through every minute.

At times Dave would turn depressingly earnest, particularly when he thought he had a Deep Political Point to make. He had George W. Bush on during the 2000 campaign and started grilling him about capital punishment. It was crushingly wrong for Dave to turn into a finger-wagger, especially since he seemed woefully out of his depth on any issue. His comedy started to sound like everybody else’s, with the same potshots at the same easy targets. His act sounded less like dada, more like Dad.

Letterman was the barking dog who caught the car, was invited in, and curled up delightedly on the seat. He was the outsider who joined the very club on whose doorstep he used to leave a flaming sack of dog poop. He was the cool guy who became Mr. Big-Time Showbiz Personality. Letterman shouldn’t retire. He should just continue doing his shtick. In Vegas.

Shortly thereafter, just as Vietnam and other events of the late 1960s cleaved American pop culture in two, 9/11 had a similar effect, alienating much of show business from its potential audience, including (especially) Letterman, who was far less adapt than Jay Leno at bridging the gap between the worldview of his fellow leftwing show business elites and Red State America.

CBS’s response to Letterman’s finale? They’re literally kicking his show to the curb, another article at the Post notes:

​Just hours after Letterman said farewell after 33 years on late-night TV, Ed Sullivan Theater crews hauled off blocks of blue stage and hacked up pieces of the iconic New York City bridges that made up the set of the “Late Show​.”

Fans and passers-by gathered around a police barricade cordoning off the Ed Sullivan to watch workers unceremoniously chuck red theater chairs into an overflowing Dumpster and ​take reciprocating saws to his miniature Brooklyn Bridge.

“It’s an end of an era,” commented onlooker Alex Lafreniere, 24, a fan visiting from Oklahoma.

The complete breakdown of the set is expected to take about a week.

No word yet if Cosmo Kramer will discover the remains of the set moulting away in a garbage skip and launch his own talk show from his Upper West Side apartment:

And as John Nolte adds at Big Hollywood, that’s not the only element of Letterman’s show that CBS is tossing into a dumpster:

Despite all the hype and hoopla and nostalgia around Letterman’s finale, CBS will not be filling his old timeslot with “Late Show” reruns.

Until Stephen Colbert arrives in September, CBS believes reruns of the CBS drama “The Mentalist” will attract more viewers than reruns of Letterman.

Ouch.

Did the door hit Letterman on the way out?

Probably not, it was already in the dumpster.

Sounds like the brass at CBS is as eager to be rid of Letterman as the rest of us.

Update: “One Final Insult: Leno Beats Letterman In Finale Ratings” — Leno’s last Tonight Show attracted “almost a million more [viewers] than Mr. Letterman’s [finale] did.”

Ace of Spades calls out lefty Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, after the latter man plays the moronic “Is David Letterman a liberal? It’s surprisingly hard to say” game. No it isn’t — you could ask him, as Howard Stern did last year at the conclusion of his half-hour interview with him, which Roger Friedman of ShowBiz 411 accurately calls “Letterman’s Most Revealing Interview.” Click on the above clip to go straight to the relevant bit about Letterman’s politics, or go to Friedman’s post to hear the whole thing. And as Ace writes:

You could compare his extremely hostile interviews with Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh — in one he snapped, without smiling, that what O’Reilly was saying sounded like pure “bullshit” — with his fawning, Tell Me More interviews with Rachel Maddow and undisclosed (but obvious) liberals like Brian “Chopper Warrior” Williams and Tom Brokaw.

Not to mention the 2006 interview with O’Reilly in which Letterman admitted to essentially be rooting for Al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to ISIS:

In now a famous “You Tube” moment, Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel, went on Letterman to be the recipient of the host’s rude and sophomoric antics. As the segment shifted into high gear, O’Reilly asked Letterman a pointed and direct question: “Do you want the United States to win in Iraq?”To the surprise of no one but his sycophants, Letterman could not or would not answer the question. When pressed by O’Reilly to answer, the best he could do was to play to his mostly left-leaning audience for cheap debating points and say, “It’s not easy for me because I’m thoughtful.”

But that segment of Ace’s post is really the least interesting aspect, as everyone who is honest knows Letterman is on the left, and everyone who isn’t is lying about him, as Cillizza attempts to do. What’s really fascinating is this:

One of the types of comedy Letterman has long been far too enamored with is Time-Wasting Anti-Comedy. In the early days of his show, Letterman got a lot of laughs by doing pointless, time-wasting (and sometimes budget-wasting) stunts.

The best of these were things like Throwing Objects Off a Fifth Floor Roof, or throwing himself, in a suit of Velcro, at a Velcro wall to see if he would stick. (He did, in fact. Science!)

The worst of these was Letterman just wasting time, having pointless chats with Schaeffer (Letterman would probably claim the pointlessness *was* the point, or some stupid meta-comedy conceit like that), or, as Norm MacDonald wickedly parodied him, just repeating the same word over and over, believing that if he said “Ehhhh…. Got some gum?” enough times, it would become funny.

Letterman got away with this in his early days because the show’s conceit was that the whole thing was an elaborate prank on the network, that they had no business being on TV, and that they were wasting the network’s time and money by staging this deliberately stupid, pointless show.

It made you think — if you were young, and fan — like you were in on the joke, and that you were right there alongside Dave wasting precious Network Minutes and Dollars for this lame thing.

Here’s what the Oscars did, though, at least for me: Letterman’s time-wasting nonsense — his “Oprah… Uma” introductions (between Winfrey and Thurman) that went on for two minutes and then was repeated later in the show — finally made me see the light:

Letterman wasn’t just wasting The Network’s time with this sort of so-unfunny-it’s-funny (but actually not) non-material.

He was wasting my time, too.

All long I thought I’d been in on the joke.

Suddenly, I realized: No, I was not in on the joke. I was in on one joke, the superficial one about vengeance against the network, but definitely not in on the deeper joke, the real joke.

The real joke is that while Letterman’s show was gleefully slapdash, I was still a prisoner of it five nights a week, and voluntarily so.

The real truth was — and perhaps Letterman intended us to understand this; and perhaps he should be praised for trying to make us understand this — was that if you were watching TV, you were wasting your time.

In the previous post, I quoted longtime Johnny Carson head writer Raymond Siller, who noted that “Johnny was a lot more sarcastic than his on-air persona, but he couldn’t bring himself to ridicule his fans.” But for Letterman, it’s an illustration of how his postmodernism was ultimately a vicious circle: Letterman’s early schtick was that he was doing cheap gags that made fun of the pointless nature of TV; so what does that say about the people who watched it religiously? No wonder Dave seems to have such a tortured relationship with his audience.

Or in recent years, the increasing lack thereof.

Earlier: ‘After Losing to Jay Leno, David Letterman’s Bitterness Cost Him His Indiana Soul’ and from last year, Colbert Replaces Letterman; CBS Forgets the Lessons of The Late Shift.

When NBC and Jay Leno took the dream of hosting the Tonight Show away from David Letterman, “the sweet, charming, irreverent Indiana kid became the angry, bitter, lazy New York asshole.” Spot-on take from John Nolte at Big Hollywood on how David Letterman lost his midwestern soul and alienated so many potential viewers, beginning with losing the Tonight Show to Jay Leno in 1992:

It was sometime around 2003 when I began to realize Letterman didn’t like me anymore. His anger was no longer subversive and clever, it was bitter and mean-spirited and palpably real. He was a jerk playing to his loyal audience — urban, cynical, elite, Blue State jerks. The humble, self-deprecating Dave had become the nasty, arrogant Letterman, an unrecognizable bully who reveled in pulling the wings off those he saw as something less.

Chris Christie’s weight; Rush Limbaugh’s personal life; everything Bill O’Reilly; Bush, Cheney, Palin, and the last straw, a statutory rape joke about Palin’s 15 year-old daughter. Suddenly you were a dangerous idiot for protecting the most Indiana of things — your gun.

The man who could make you laugh at yourself now wanted to hurt and humiliate.

Letterman’s politics were never the issue. You can’t share my passion for show business and movies and let politics get in the way. Carlin was probably to the left of Letterman, but Carlin was funny and thoughtful and smart. Watching Letterman berate and hector and attempt to humiliate conservative guests over guns and the climate and the brilliance of Obama was boorish. Describing Mitt Romney as a “felon” was just sad.

The American Heartland had disappointed its own Indiana son, and for more than a decade the son was out for payback.

Or maybe Letterman was just so scared and insecure about losing what little audience he had, that he sold out his genius and Midwestern decency to bitterly cling to them? He certainly never again displayed the courage to challenge them, or to make them feel in any way uncomfortable.

Night after night the man who became my hero for biting the hand was now licking the boot — and convinced while doing so that he’s superior to the rest of us.

How I pity him.

While I rarely watched Letterman on a regular basis by the mid-naughts (especially beyond the Top Ten List), all it took was one question from his guest Bill O’Reilly in 2006 that caused Letterman to drop the mask, and caused me to permanently tune out his show:

In now a famous “You Tube” moment, Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel, went on Letterman to be the recipient of the host’s rude and sophomoric antics. As the segment shifted into high gear, O’Reilly asked Letterman a pointed and direct question: “Do you want the United States to win in Iraq?”To the surprise of no one but his sycophants, Letterman could not or would not answer the question. When pressed by O’Reilly to answer, the best he could do was to play to his mostly left-leaning audience for cheap debating points and say, “It’s not easy for me because I’m thoughtful.”

I don’t think it was anything in the water particularly at CBS; all of the Big Three are filled with equally cocooned and equally smug leftists. But Peggy Noonan, who began her career working for Dan Rather, had a revealing profile of what caused both his warped worldview and ultimately his self-destruction in 2004. This passage also rings true of Letterman; just substitute Indiana for Texas:

Ultimately this is what I think was true about Dan and his career. It’s not very nice but I think it is true. He was a young, modestly educated Texas boy from nowhere, with no connections and a humble background. He had great gifts, though: physical strength, attractiveness, ambition, commitment and drive. He wanted to be a star. He was willing to learn and willing to pay his dues. He covered hurricanes and demonstrations, and when they got him to New York they let him know, as only an establishment can, what was the right way to think, the intelligent enlightened way, the Eastern way, the Ivy League way, the Murrow School of Social Justice way. They let him know his simple Texan American assumptions were not so much wrong as not fully thought through, not fully nuanced, not fully appreciative of the multilayered nature of international political realities. He swallowed it whole.

He had a strong Texas accent, but they let him know he wasn’t in Texas anymore. I remember once a nice man, an executive producer, confided in me that he’d known Dan from the early days, from when he first came up to New York. He laughed, not completely unkindly, and told me Dan wore the wrong suits. I wish I could remember exactly what he said but it was something like, “He had a yellow suit!” There was a sense of: We educated him. Dan wound up in pinstripe suits made in London. Like Cyrus Vance. Like Clark Clifford. He got educated. He fit right in. And much of what he’d learned–from the civil rights movement, from Vietnam and from Watergate–allowed him to think he was rising in the right way and with the right crew and the right thinking.

That’s also a reminder of something that Christopher Caldwell wrote a decade ago at the Weekly Standard on the motivations of small town liberals:

There are basically two kinds of people in small towns–those who assume, as Shaw put it, that the customs of the tribe are the laws of nature; and those who have sussed out that there is a big and varied world beyond Main Street. This division used to have little to do with politics. But small-town politics in its Norman Rockwell variant–all those democratic battles over school bonds and ousting the crooked sheriff–is not what it was. Now, all politics is national. Political ideology, for most people, is a matter of whether they prefer to have Bill O’Reilly or Diane Rehm console them for their impotence in the face of events happening elsewhere.

At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns. It is hard to say how it happened: Perhaps it is that Republicans’ primary appeal is to something small-towners take for granted (tradition), while Democrats’ is to something that small-towners are condemned for lacking (diversity). Both appeals can be effective, but it is only the latter that incites people to repudiate the culture in which they grew up. Perhaps it is that at universities–through which pass all small-town people aiming to climb to a higher social class–Democratic party affiliation is the sine qua non of being taken for a serious, non-hayseed human being.

For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it’s something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is 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.

When Tom Landry retired from the NFL after coaching the Dallas Cowboys from their birth as an NFL franchise, his then-recent losing seasons were quickly forgotten, and as Skip Bayless wrote in his biography, Landry was free to become his own legend. The many losing seasons that Letterman racked up at CBS will similarly be forgotten, and what will be remembered will be the breakthrough of his early NBC years. Its empty postmodernism ultimately sewed the bitterness of Letterman’s unwatchable last years, but for a time, his willingness to puncture all of television’s most beloved tropes sure made for great viewing, didn’t it?

Related: “Johnny Carson Worried David Letterman Would ‘Self Destruct,’” former Tonight Show head writer Raymond Siller notes at Big Hollywood:

In ‘95 I invited Johnny to lunch for his 70th birthday at a restaurant in Malibu. Letterman, having lost The Tonight Show to Jay Leno, had begun The Late Show at CBS. Johnny had hoped he’d inherit his job, but NBC chose Jay. The helicopter dad in him was critiquing his protégé.

David’s on self-destruct and it may be too late to pull out. He’s consistently two ratings points behind Leno. People won’t want to say they watch him among their friends and he’ll never get them back. He’s changed since he went over to CBS. He makes his staff stay after the show each night to analyze it. And the way he makes fun of people. I could never do that.

Johnny was a lot more sarcastic than his on-air persona, but he couldn’t bring himself to ridicule his fans.

“I didn’t like how he handled hosting the Oscars. You’re at their event. You have to respect it”.

Then on the Letterman reclusiveness. “I’m private, but David is secret”.

Last year, when he reviewed former longtime Carson confidant Henry Bushkin’s memoirs at Commentary, veteran TV producer Rob Long praised Carson’s incredible acting skills:

It was Carson’s mother, according to the unlicensed psychoanalysis of Henry Bushkin, who was at the root of his emotionally distant, even cruel, behavior. “As long as [Ruth Carson] lived, he strove to win her love, and he never received it. He was the child of an emotionally abusive mother—no matter how strong or successful he became, he was a child whose trust had been betrayed.”

Others agreed. “‘She was selfish and cold,’ Johnny’s second wife, Joanne, once told an interviewer. ‘No wonder he had trouble dealing with women. Mrs. Carson was cold, closed off, a zero when it came to showing affection.’”

And when she died, he called Bushkin with the news: “The wicked witch is dead.”

None of this is really news, of course. We’re all primed to hear stories of movie stars and celebrities and their creepy emotional problems. But for actors—who, after all, appear only on screen, in character, or in a few carefully stage-managed publicity appearances—it’s easy to cover up the seams of a psychotic or broken-down personality.

But Johnny appeared on television every weeknight. He was playing himself—or, rather, an idealized version of himself: jovial, chummy, witty, warm. The strain of that kind of acting must have been monumental. It’s no wonder that real movie stars—Jimmy Stewart, Michael Caine, a whole bushel of A-listers—respected him so much. In one of the best stories in a book filled with great stories, when Johnny arrives late to a very exclusive industry event filled with movie stars, he lights up the room. He wasn’t just the king of late night television. He was the king of managing not to appear like the rat bastard he clearly was.

Given Carson’s own legendary anger issues off the air, Letterman’s palpable on-air burnout in recent years is a reminder of what a brilliant performance Carson gave pretending to be himself while the cameras were on, even as, like Letterman, his life became increasingly insular and isolated. But then, knowing what we now know about Carson’s inner demons, in an odd way, perhaps Johnny was personally far better at being a practicing the on-air art of postmodernist distancing than Letterman ever was, as he delivered nightly what Kathy Shaidle once dubbed “Carson’s cool-warmth — that charming-yet-menacing mien.”

How to Answer the Question of the Week

May 20th, 2015 - 1:22 pm

“I am mystified as to why Republicans are always so polite to journalists who are, obviously, allied to the liberal side of American politics and are willing to carry water for it,” John Steele Gordon writes at Commentary. And we all know what the question is, at this point, right? ““Knowing what you know now, would you have invaded Iraq in 2003?”

So, if I were running for president (alright, no snickering in the back of the room, please), I’d answer in one of two ways. First way, ask the journalist a question. In response to “Knowing what you know now, would you have invaded Iraq in 2003,” ask “Knowing what you know now, would you have abandoned Iraq in 2011?” and then talk about how the new president in 2017 will have to deal with the results of the most shockingly inept American foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson sailed for Paris a century ago.

The second way to answer would be to ask, “Excuse me, is this a history show or a news show? Are you a historian or a journalist? If the latter why aren’t you asking about what I would do in the future, not what I would have done in the past? Are you trying to protect the Obama Administration from the criticism it so richly deserves for its disastrous foreign policy?” When the journalist, inevitably, says no to that, say, “Well, you could have fooled me. How about asking me an honest question?”

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, punch back twice as hard.

This is the GOP primary, remember? Republican voters love it when their candidates punch back twice as hard against the MSM. George W. Bush lost no voters in 2000 when an open mic caught calling out the New York Times’ Adam Clymer as the big, well, Clymer he is. Newt Gingrich rose from the political dead to becoming a hair’s breadth away from securing the GOP nomination in 2012 purely because GOP primary voters loved watching him taking clueless DNC-MSM reporters’ questions and jamming them back into their throats. We saw Rand Paul do something similar recently when he tossed a hand grenade of an abortion question right back to the MSM and one of their de facto leaders, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

But why aren’t we seeing clip after clip this year of all of the Republican candidates employing similar tactics? They’ve had three years since watching both Newt nearly secure the nomination and Mitt Romney’s earnest but clueless presidential bid that followed. Old media’s tactics are, well, old. For once, why can’t the Stupid Party grow a brain?

At his new Diary of a Mad Voter site, Roger L. Simon noted last night, “Refighting the Iraq War of 2007 is waste of energy.  We are up to our necks in a bigger one now and absolutely devoid of strategy.”

John Nolte answers the question thusly:


Particularly when, as Moe Lane writes, “Barack Obama campaigned on losing the war in Iraq” — and campaigned hard on doing just that in 2008. And concurrently banked (successfully) on his allies in the media having a serious case of amnesia concerning their fellow Democrats:

Update: “Ted Cruz dropped the hammer on the media for continuing to ask him about gay rights.” Don’t miss the clip at the conclusion of the post of Cruz pushing back against a DNC-MSM “that is obsessed with sex,” as Cruz tells one Democrat operative with a byline.

Speaking Truth to Sharpton

May 19th, 2015 - 11:57 pm

The other day, I mentioned the old cliche of journalism that invariably when a superstar “objective” MSM reporter or anchorman retires from his beat or unclips his lavaliere for the last time, he begins giving speeches and writing op-eds that reveal conclusively what everyone simply assumed from his story selection and tone — that he’s a flaming full-on lefty. (QED: Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather among many, many others, which is why it’s such a cliche.) Duke professor Jerry Hough is the very definition of politically correct; as Steve Hayward wrote yesterday at Power Line, in the 1980s, Hough’s anti-Reagan rhetoric was so extreme, “You wondered sometimes whether he was on the Soviets’ payroll.”

In other words, he’s MSNBC and NPR’s core demographic. Which is what makes Hough’s recent letter to the New York Times all the more powerful:

In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in the word “colored.” The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.

So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.

I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.

It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King [statue]. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.

As Steve Hayward notes, “Hough is not backing down, sending a follow up comment to a local TV station:”

“I am strongly against the obsession with “sensitivity.” The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident. I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as “colored.” They pushed ahead and achieved. Coach K did not obsess with all the Polish jokes about Polish stupidity. He pushed ahead and achieved. And by his achievement and visibility, he has played a huge role in destroying stereotypes about Poles. Many blacks have done that too, but no one says they have done as well on the average as the Asians. In my opinion, the time has come to stop talking incessantly about race relations in general terms as the President and activists have advocated, but talk about how the Asians and Poles got ahead—and to copy their approach. I don’t see why that is insensitive or racist.”

Sadly, those two statements read as remarkably truthful words concerning the last 70 years of assimilation and advancement and the lack thereof, so naturally, the left are already attempting to devour Hough for his comments. But at age 80, presumably with a fabulous pension, what can they do to him? As Glenn Reynolds writes, “Even being an old commie apologist isn’t enough to keep you from being savaged over this badthink. But if you can’t say what you believe is true when you’re an 80-year-old professor, when can you?”

‘Why Does the Left Kowtow to Islam?’

May 19th, 2015 - 6:27 pm

In the 1930s as a result of a rival faction of socialists having seized control of post-Weimar Germany, the founders of the leftwing Frankfurt School fled to America. By the fall of 1941, several of the Frankfurt School big boys eventually wound up in southern California, as a New York Times writer noted in 2010, in a passage much beloved for its deadpan irony by the late Andrew Breitbart:

The Frankfurt School of philosophers emigrated from Nazi Germany and became dyspeptic critics of American culture. Several landed in Southern California where they were disturbed by the consumer culture and the gospel of relentless cheeriness. Depressive by nature, they focused on the disappointments and venality that surrounded them and how unnecessary it all was. It could be paradise, Theodor Adorno complained, but it was only California.

Just as a reminder, this was at very pinnacle of the film industry’s studio system, a period in which Hollywood was routinely cranking out such titles as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Stagecoach, Citizen Kane, the Thin Man movies, and dozens and dozens of other classic audience-pleasing films.

“But it was only California.”

As Andrew Breitbart wrote in his 2011 book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World:

We always feel that our incredible traditions of freedom and liberty will convert those who show up on our shores, that they will appreciate the way of life we have created—isn’t that why they wanted to come here in the first place? We can’t imagine anyone coming here, experiencing the true wonder that is living in this country, and wanting to destroy that. But that’s exactly what the Frankfurt School wanted to do.

These were not happy people looking for a new lease on life. When they moved to California, they simply couldn’t deal with the change of scenery—there was cognitive dissonance. Horkheimer and Adorno and depressive allies like Bertolt Brecht moved into a house in Santa Monica on Twenty-sixth Street, coincidentally, the epicenter of my childhood. They had moved to heaven on earth from Nazi Germany and apparently could not handle the fun, the sun, and the roaring good times. Ingratitude is not strong enough a word to describe these hideous malcontents.

If only they had had IKEA furniture, this would have made for a fantastic season of The Real World.

Brecht and his ilk were the Kurt Cobains of their day: massively depressed, nihilistic people who wore full suits in eighty-degree weather while living in a house by the beach.

And the socialist Frankfurt School set about in earnest poisoning the idea of freedom and democracy in America, despite America having taken them in from National Socialist totalitarianism in Germany.

Nearly a decade later, as Mark Steyn noted last year, “a young middle-class Egyptian spending some time in the US had the misfortune to be invited to a dance one weekend,” and like the emigres of the Frankfurt Institute, was similarly “horrified at what he witnessed,” in which another Hollywood product again inadvertently played a leading role, causing our “young middle-class Egyptian” to feverishly write:

The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips . . .

Where was this den of debauchery? Studio 54 in the 1970s? Haight-Ashbury in the summer of love? No, the throbbing pulsating sewer of sin was Greeley, Colorado, in 1949. As it happens, Greeley, Colorado, in 1949 was a dry town. The dance was a church social. And the feverish music was “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” as introduced by Esther Williams in “Neptune’s Daughter.” Revolted by the experience, Sayyid Qutb decided that America (and modernity in general) was an abomination, returned to Egypt, became the leading intellectual muscle in the Muslim Brotherhood, and set off a chain that led from Qutb to Zawahiri to bin Laden to the Hindu Kush to the Balkans to 9/11 to the brief Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt to the Islamic State marching across Syria and Iraq. Indeed, Qutb’s view of the West is the merest extension of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” — America as the ultimate seducer, the Great Satan.

I’m a reasonable chap, and I’d be willing to meet the Muslim Brotherhood chaps halfway on a lot of the peripheral stuff like beheadings, stonings, clitoridectomies and whatnot. But you’ll have to pry “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from my cold dead hands and my dancing naked legs. A world without “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” would be very cold indeed.

I know it’s taken me a while to get there, but I wanted to set the stage for Robert Tracinski’s new article at the Federalist, in which Tracinski asks The question of the 21st century West, in both America and Europe: “Why Does the Left Kowtow to Islam?”

You might suspect that the question answers itself. They kowtow to Islam precisely because it is a real threat, a macroaggression that trumps all of the microaggressions. So you could say that it is simple cowardice. They protest against people they know are extremely unlikely to harm them, and they shut up about the fanatics who might actually follow through on their threats.

But I don’t think that’s the fundamental cause. After all, most lefties are not being called upon to take any personal risk, because somebody else has already stuck his neck out. Drawing or publishing a cartoon of Mohammed might get you put on an al-Qaeda hit list. Simply saying that you support the cartoonist’s defiance of that threat won’t get you on anybody’s list.

In fact, a running theme of the left’s arguments, repeated with a great deal of apparent sincerity, is the notion that it is irrational to fear Islam, that describing the religion as violent and dangerous is “Islamophobia.” They seem to have largely talked themselves into believing that they have nothing personally to fear from Islam. Jihadists may throw gays off of buildings in Syria, but it can’t happen here.

This is nonsense, of course, but it is revealing of the mindset. They actually talk themselves into believing that “censorship of LGBT artists” is an equal or even greater threat, far more urgent than anything having to do with Islam. For the left, the main source of evil in the world always comes from within America and from within the West, never outside of it.

Read the whole thing, which traces the weird twists of the leftwing history from its original “Progressive” era at the dawn of the 2oth century to today. And to bring this post full circle, note that as Glenn Reynolds wrote in response to photos of Iranian and Afghani women pre-Ayatollah and pre-Taliban strutting their stuff in mini-skirts, high-heels and uncovered Liza Minnelli-inspired hairdos, “In the 1950s Western culture was confident, and thus widely imitated. Our cultural leaders soon fixed that.”

Sayyid Qutb, Osama bin Laden, and the Ayatollah Khomeini couldn’t have “fundamentally transformed” the Middle East without them.

Update (5/20/15): “Confirmed: Bin Laden was into conspiracy theories, including 9/11 conspiracy theories,” Allahpundit writes today at Hot Air:

That’s the choicest morsel from this morning’s kinda interesting but not terribly newsworthy document dump by the feds of what they found in Casa Osama. The SEALs reportedly took more than one million documents from the compound in 2011, including evidence of Al Qaeda’s relationships with Iran and Pakistan, but all the White House is comfortable with Americans knowing is the fact that Bin Laden read Noam Chomsky. Which we already knew, as if we couldn’t have guessed. (Chomsky returned the compliment after Bin Laden was killed, calling the operation a violation of international law and absolving Bin Laden of any role in 9/11.)

And as the Washington Post noted on October 1st 2010, “Osama bin Laden embraces his inner Al Gore” as well:

The al-Qaeda chief’s recorded messages are ordinarily calls to arms against the West, warning of apocalyptic consequences for enemies of his puritanical strain of Islam. But the latest message, released Friday, is instead devoted to the consequences of climate change.

But of course. He certainly worked hard to reduce lower Manhattan’s carbon footprint.

“Remember the protests (and riots) in Ferguson last summer? It looks like at least some of the protestors were told they would be paid to show up and now they’re upset the checks haven’t arrived yet,” Katie Pavlich writes at Townhall. “Weaselzippers has the full story and the screen shots showing “protestors” using the Twitter hashtag #cutthecheck in response to non-payment. Based on tweets, Organize Missouri is responsible for issuing payments:”

On May 14, protesters, upset with not being paid their promised checks for protesting, protested outside MORE, Missourians Organizing For Reform and Empowerment, an ACORN organization which had received funding through George Soros to fund the protests.

To understand how we got here, it’s worth flashing back a few decades. In 1970, Tom Wolfe’s publishers packaged his classic lengthy New York magazine “Radical Chic” article, on Leonard Bernstein allowing the Black Panthers to fundraise in his opulent Park Ave. duplex, as a double-feature with his lesser-known article “Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers,” which captured seething leftist protests on the other end of the wealth spectrum in San Francisco. While it lacks the star power of “Radical Chic,” “Mau-Mauing” offers several key insights into what made the Great Society years and their aftermath hell for millions of Americans, and possibly the first appearance in print of the phrase “community organizing,” our current president’s erstwhile former occupation:

It was a truly adventurous and experimental approach [Johnson-era bureaucrats] had. Instead of handing out alms, which never seemed to change anything, they would encourage the people in the ghettos to organize. They would help them become powerful enough to force the Establishment to give them what they needed. From the beginning the poverty program was aimed at helping ghetto people rise up against their oppressors. It was a scene in which the federal government came into the ghetto and said, “Here is some money and some field advisors. Now you organize your own pressure groups.” It was no accident that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale drew up the ten-point program of the Black Panther Party one night in the offices of the North Oakland Poverty Center.

To sell the poverty program, its backers had to give it the protective coloration of “jobs” and “education,” the Job Corps and Operation Head Start, things like that, things the country as a whole could accept. “Jobs” and “education” were things everybody could agree on. They were part of the free-enterprise ethic. They weren’t uncomfortable subjects like racism and the class structure—and giving the poor the money and the tools to fight City Hall. But from the first that was what the lion’s share of the poverty budget went into. It went into “community organizing,” which was the bureaucratic term for “power to the people,” the term for finding the real leaders of the ghetto and helping them organize the poor.

And how could they find out the identity of these leaders of the people? Simple. In their righteous wrath they would rise up and confront you. It was a beautiful piece of circular reasoning. The real leaders of the ghetto will rise up and confront you … Therefore, when somebody rises up in the ghetto and confronts you, then you know he’s a leader of the people. So the poverty program not only encouraged mau-mauing it, it practically demanded it. Subconsciously, for administrators in the poverty establishment, public and private, confrontations became a ritual. That was the way the system worked. By 1968 it was standard operating procedure. To get a job in the post office, you filled out forms and took the civil-service exam. To get into the poverty scene, you did some mau-mauing. If you could make the flak catchers lose control of the muscles around their mouths, if you could bring fear into their faces, your application was approved.

And by 2014, Ferguson as a media event existed as pure kabuki for the network mini-cameras. (Never mind the innocent businesses looted and burned — the networks sure didn’t.) In August, NBC allowed Al Sharpton to jet out there to organize the protestors, which his network colleague Andrea Mitchell Orwellianly referred to as Sharpton being “on a peace mission.” The protestors which Sharpton had ginned up threw rocks as part of their “peace mission,” narrowly missing his network colleague Chris Hayes, who was on scene. Hayes took it all “unexpectedly” well — as  Larry O’Connor wrote at the Washington Free Beacon, “MSNBC Wouldn’t Be This Calm If Tea Party Protesters Threw Rocks at Their Hosts.” Camera crews working for MSNBC “endangered lives by shining its lights, spotlighting police officers in the crowd of Monday night’s violent racial protests,” the Daily Caller reported back then. CNN trotted out Spike Lee, last seen in 2012 attempting to publish the home address of George Zimmerman’s parents, who blurted on the air to Anderson Cooper, ”I just hope that things will really blow up if the people aren’t happy with the verdict of this upcoming trial.”

Lee got his wish, and then some, as we’ll explore right after the page break.

Pages: 1 2 | 47 Comments»

“Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who has carried a mattress around campus as part of an art project for the past year, has graduated. And she carried that mattress across the stage during the ceremony — to much applause,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner. That stunt could end up being a very costly one for Columbia:

Paul Nungesser, the man she accused of raping her, and who was cleared by a campus hearing and the police, was forced to watch, having walked across the stage just a few minutes earlier.

Nungesser is now suing Columbia for facilitating a harassment campaign against him. He alleges in his lawsuit that by allowing and even praising Sulkowicz’s mattress project, the school was complicit in defaming him.

On Monday, Columbia circulated an email banning students from bringing large objects to graduation. It appeared at the time that Sulkowicz was being disallowed from carrying her mattress across the stage. But evidently, that was not the case.

Allowing Sulkowicz to carry her mattress may have helped Nungesser’s case in court, as the school made clear that large objects were banned but then did nothing to stop Sulkowicz.

Nungesser’s lawyer, Kimberly Lau, told the Washington Examiner that Columbia’s acceptance of Sulkowicz’s graduation stunt was “absurd” and would help her client’s case.

“This goes beyond mere facilitation; they have now granted a special exception,” Lau said.

Meanwhile, Samantha Power, the ambassador to the United Nations for America’s self-proclaimed “blank screen” of a president praised Sulkowicz’s wacky primitivism in her Sunday commencement address to Bernard College, Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, quoting a Daily Caller report that “Power also suggested that Afghanistan is superior to the United States in at least one way in terms of women’s rights because women currently hold 28 percent of the seats in Afghanistan’s parliament.” * As Mirengoff writes:

For context, the Daily Caller’s Owens reminds us that the Barnard students whom Power addressed have just received an education that costs $250,000. This does not include four years of off-campus expenses in New York City or the expenses incurred during jaunts in exciting study-abroad locales such as France and Spain.

In war-torn Afghanistan, gross national income per capita is approximately $1,960, according to Owens.

But maybe college campuses are war zones for females students. Power suggested as much when she invoked the case of Emma Sulkowicz, a student across the street at Columbia University who carried a mattress around campus on her back all year to protest the school’s handling of her rape allegation.

As I discussed yesterday, however, Sulkowicz’s allegation is almost certainly false. A campus tribunal found no merit in it.

Moreover, the cleared male student has produced numerous text messages and social media conversations from before and after the night when Sulkowicz claims he raped her. The messages undermine her claim by showing that Sulkowicz made comments about having anal sex with the male student before the night when she says he anally raped her. She also messaged him several times after that night suggesting that they should meet up.

Is Power aware that Sulkowicz’s rape allegation has been discredited? One hopes not.

Mirengoff describes Power as “the poster child for the smear America, moral equivalence brand of leftism,” but there are plenty of others who vie for that award in Mr. Obama’s far left, radical chic-obsessed administration.

* Shades of HSBC’s ad campaign praising Iran’s pro-feminist film industry!

al_sharpton_daughter_hiking_5-19-15-1

Like Al Sharpton himself, his daughter Dominique has a plan to stick to the man — and like Al himself, she’s her own worst enemy in implementing it:

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s island-hopping, mountain-hiking daughter — who is suing the city for $5 million after purportedly injuring her ankle on a Soho sidewalk — posted more damning Instagram pics Monday of her frolicking in Indonesia as legal experts said her social-media activity could cost her big bucks.

“#Balidays on the Gilis!!!’’ Dominique Sharpton, 28, wrote with two snapshots of herself at what looked like a posh Gili Island retreat.

The new entries came the same day The Post revealed others in which the supposedly hobbled Dominique boasted of climbing a mountain there.

Since allegedly spraining her ankle in October, she has also been pictured in high heels at a hippie party and climbing the dicey terrain of Red Rock Canyon in Nevada.

The photos kill even the slightest chance Dominique had of collecting big bucks from the city, legal experts said, even as the de Blasio administration has been shelling out more money than ever to settle lawsuits.

The New York Post quotes a legal expert who predicts that as a result of her photos undermining her case, Sharpton’s daughter would collect only $5,000 to $7,500. “That would leave her with a net gain of about zero after paying off expert witnesses and her lawyer, he said.”

No word yet on when NBC will be forcing her father to pay his tax bills; “Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses,” the Gray Lady reported last year in a rare moment of journalism from the former newspaper.

Like millions of other voters, I rolled my eyes at the news last night the State Department would be releasing Hillary’s emails, albeit likely in heavily redacted form, in January of 2016, just in time to make maximum trouble for Hillary’s election bid.

“So, why *did* John Kerry pick January 2016 to roll out the Clinton emails?” Interesting theory by Moe Lane:

Remember 2004?  Remember how, just after the end of the Democratic national convention, suddenly Bill Clinton went to the hospital? I remember it quite well: it pretty much had the effect of sucking out all the media oxygen that would have normally followed a political convention. And while it did not cost the Democrats the election, per se, the utter lack of Bill Clinton on the post-convention campaign trail was certainly a factor in George W. Bush’s reelection, and said re-election meant of course that Hillary Clinton would effectively be able to run for President in 2008, and not have to wait for 2012*. And, hey! The Democratic Presidential nominee in 2004 was… John Kerry!

[pause]

What goes around, comes around.

Moe Lane

PS: I am not entirely wedded to this theory, to put it mildly. But I do think that it should be noted that there’s no particular reason for John Kerry to like Hillary Clinton. Or vice versa.

By the way, will any reporter ask Kerry his take on Clinton fixer Sid Blumenthal’s role in Libya, before Benghazi broke? Nahh, didn’t think so. As the aforementioned John Nolte likes to say, Democrats sure got it good.

48 Reasons to Distrust & Despise the Media

May 19th, 2015 - 12:15 pm

“I’m With the Media, Screw You,” the late Newsweek bureau chief Ginny Carroll publicly admitted on C-Span to wearing at the 1992 GOP convention, neatly summing up her industry’s attitude to conservatives, their audience, and the truth. At Big Journalism today, John Nolte has a must-read “Scandal Rap Sheet: 48 Reasons to Distrust & Despise the Media,”  a chronological look back at how the MSM as lied about some of the biggest events of the last two decades.

From NBC News rigging a pick-up truck in 1992 to explode on impact with another vehicle and Newsweek spiking the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, to the L.A. Times assisting Barack Obama by  burying the Rashid Khalidi tape a decade later, and George Stephanopoulos burying his contributions to his former employer’s slush fund earlier this month.

Plus 44 other examples of media malfeasance, from some of the biggest names in news, many of whom still hold themselves out as being “objective,” a reactionary vestigial boast held over from the FDR-era, during the the days where there were only three national radio networks.

These days, as Elizabeth Price Foley wrote this morning at Instapundit, “Mainstream media has died.  RIP.  All that’s left now is a bunch of progressive/liberal zombies out for ideological flesh. Most people know better than to listen to them anymore.”

Well, except for those millions of everyday hard working voters who get their only news from TV at 6:00 or 11:00 PM.

Which is why the lies go on:

(And yes, the far left Salon did eventually add an “alleged” to its headline, but only after being called out.)

The 1.6 Percent Versus the World

May 18th, 2015 - 5:14 pm

“No one knows the exact figure, but a decent estimate tells us that there are about 900,000 police officers in the United States,” Richard Epstein wrote earlier this month at the Hoover Institute, after the radical left’s latest attempt to wage war against them, in Baltimore.

In a post titled “Police and Transgenderism” on his personal blog, Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard noted what else that number allegedly corresponds to:

The reason [Epstein's quote] jumped out at me is that in writing about the transgender debacle at Smith College I took a brief detour to look at the estimates activists give us for transgender numbers in the United States. The line they push is 0.3 percent of the population. That may seem small, but keep in mind that gay-rights activists spent a generation insisting that 10 percent of the population is gay, but the real number turns out to be 1.6 percent.

So in order for us to believe that 0.3 percent of America is transgender we’d have to believe that there’s one transgendered American for every five gay Americans. Or, to put it in another context, we’d have to believe that there are as many transgendered Americans as there are police officers.

About a decade ago at NRO, Jonah Goldberg explored the radical contrast between today’s “Progressives” and how their New Deal/postwar equivalents defined the words “reasonable man” when it came to shaping society:

Today that corrosion takes a predictable form: the overthrow of the reasonable man. Now, I’m not talking about liability or torts or any of that stuff, because I don’t know much about it. I’m talking about the larger societal standards that come with the erosion of authority and how they creep into our law and our culture. The reasonable man was a composite, a statistical average of the aggregate human decency necessary to sustain a society. The reasonable man’s behavior was the group average of moral conduct in a very moral country. Today, all of our arguments are about how much the society must bend to the behaviors and attitudes of the man of the fringe, the outlier, the arrow that sails farthest from the bulls-eye. Schools are paralyzed by the question of what to do about the atheist, the homosexual, the handicapped, while the average kids–i.e., most of them–are given short shrift. Abortion has stalemated the political system for a generation because the debate must be over what to do in the extreme circumstances; the famously horrible trinity of abortion legalizers everywhere: rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Roughly 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas in one way or another, but every year we must haggle about what to do for the thin-skinned atheist who withers from the glare of a nativity scene.

* * * * * * *
Now none of this should be interpreted as a stirring defense of conformity or a denunciation of anyone who might be a square peg in my ideal society of round holes. What a decent, prosperous, historically Christian Anglo-Saxon liberal society should do to accommodate gays, atheists, Jews, Muslims, foreigners, the handicapped, et al. are entirely appropriate questions to spend time and resources on. After all, there is no American who perfectly incarnates the external standard of the average American. We are all scattered plot points on the cluster graph. Groups are made richer by their diversity.

But, as liberals are wont to do, they are once again smashing their own accomplishments. The story of liberalism, after all, is the story of intellectuals building castles and then destroying them a generation later because they believe something new–and therefore more exciting and “better”–can be made with the rubble. Today’s heirs to the Pragmatists want nothing to do with “reasonable men” and “community norms.” For Holmes the norm and the ideal were roughly synonymous. For today’s liberal they are antipodes. The deviant are the role models, the outliers the heroes. And we never could have replaced the old morality with this new stuff if we hadn’t thought we could do without fatty, flabby morality in the first place.

But hey, how else can the left stay in power, except by constantly moving the goalposts, causing the Stupid Party to constantly refight battles on their terms?

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

“Today, I can announce that our review is complete, and that the United States will pursue a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility.

This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant.

[W]e will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe haven to terrorists.”

“Obama in 2011: ‘We’re Leaving Behind A Stable And Self-Reliant Iraq,’” IJ Review, June 18, 2014

The fall of the critically important Iraqi city Ramadi to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a “terribly significant” event that shows the need for more U.S. forces on the ground, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday.

“I think it’s, unfortunately, terribly significant, capital of Anbar Province, the deaths of hundreds, the displacement of thousands and thousands,” he said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Not the 82nd Airborne, but we’ll have to have more people on the ground and this is really serious, the fall of Ramadi,” he said. …

McCain said fault lay with former Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki, for firing competent military leaders. But he also blamed President Obama’s administration for withdrawing all U.S. forces in Iraq in 2011.

“I hate to be repetitious, but the fact is that thanks to the surge, we had it under control and this is another consequence of the failure of this administration and this president to leave a residual force behind,” he said.

“Total collapse: ‘Elite’ Iraqi units routed in Ramadi counteroffensive,” Hot Air, today.

Update: “Time for Military to Admit ISIS is Winning.”

“In my experience, people argue identity when they don’t want to argue policy. And the reason they don’t want to argue policy, usually, is that they’re wrong,” Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today:

But in arguing that everyone who disagrees with them is a racist, or a sexist, or a tool of Big Money, or whatever, the Democrats run the risk of self-destruction. This is basically what happened to the the Labour Party in Britain: A reliance on easy tropes that please the base but alienate other voters.

As Daniel Hannan notes: “When leftists attack the Tories, they’re not just having a go at 300 MPs, or 100,000 party members: They’re scorning everyone who has contemplated supporting the party. … How do you think this sort of thing goes down, not only with anyone who has ever voted Conservative, but with moderate people who, though they haven’t voted Tory themselves, have friends and family who have? When you adopt a bullying tone, you find that 1) voters don’t like it; 2) you solidify the other side’s core support; and 3) some people hide their voting intentions.”

Likewise, to many prominent Democrats and supporters have spent the past six years calling everyone who doesn’t agree with Obama a racist. Now some of the same folks are gearing up to call everyone who doesn’t support Clinton (or, perhaps, Warren, the backup-Hillary) a sexist. For instance, one group of Hillary supporters makes the preposterous claim that saying she is “out of touch” or ‘insincere” reflects a sexist worldview. This technique worked pretty well so far for Obama’s presidency, but it now seems to be wearing thin, even within the Democratic Party.

The 2016 election is still more than a year a way. It’s not too late for the Democrats to start arguing policy. But if they want to stick with shouting about identity, well, the Republicans may be happy to let them.

Have at it with gusto, boys and girls on left — but for the rest of us, remember that the American left argued identity politics amongst themselves in 2007 and 2008 as well — recall Obama and his allies declaring Hillary’s primary voters — their fellow Democrats –as racist bigoted white males and even smearing Bill and Hillary themselves as racists. Many of the same leftists who wrote the most vicious attacks against Hillary in 2008 are wildly supporting her today in classic Oceania versus Eastasia versus Eurasia fashion. In other words, pass the popcorn — but wait until mid-November of 2016 before assessing just how damaging the left’s internecine struggle has been to its presidential election chances.

Related: “If you replace ‘men’ with ‘Jews,’ a huge percentage of Tumblr becomes Nazi propaganda.”

Unexpectedly.

“Writing in the New York Times this weekend, economist, author, and blogger Tyler Cowen says that we might need to get used to the idea that the economy will continue to underperform our expectations,” Yahoo reports, as spotted by Ace of Spades:

Rush Limbaugh was just talking about this article, which had been published in the New York Times. His take was that as it had been excerpted at Yahoo News, Low Information Voters and Millennials (but I repeat myself) would actually see it when they came to Yahoo to read about “Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Jennifer Lopez and her butt.”

The economy might stink for a while.Writing in the New York Times this weekend, economist, author, and blogger Tyler Cowen says that we might need to get used to the idea that the economy will continue to underperform our expectations.

Cowen says that right now there are two core outlooks on the economy, both of which are inherently optimistic.

One says that things like low wage growth and low interest rates are phases that will pass, and the other is that we merely didn’t appreciate how long it would take to recover from the financial crisis.

But is it a foregone conclusion that things will just get back to “normal”?

In February of 2009, back when I was still doing my Silicon Graffiti videos, I produced a clip titled “Rendezvous with Scarcity,” in which I concluded, “Ronald Reagan began his political career as an FDR supporter. Beginning in the 1960s, he took to using FDR’s iconic ‘Rendezvous with Destiny’ phrase in many of his most important speeches. But these days, it’s looking like the next few years—maybe even a big chunk of the next decade—could very well be a rendezvous with scarcity.”

A couple of months prior, Time magazine described Obama as the next FDR. Curiously, they meant it as a compliment.

Was the Iraq War a Mistake?

May 18th, 2015 - 11:36 am

“It’s become the gotcha question for Republicans seeking to win their party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential campaign: Knowing what we know now, would you have ordered U.S. forces into Iraq?,” Michael Rubin writes at Commentary:

Would the Islamic State have existed if the United States had not gone to war? Saddam Hussein turned toward religion and privileged radical clerics in the wake of his defeat in Kuwait. That’s the time when he put “Allahu Akbar” on the Iraqi flag and commissioned a Koran made from his blood. According to the State Department Human Rights reports, Fedayeen Saddam was rampaging through Baghdad beheading women it accused of loose morals in the years before the U.S. invasion. And then, of course, there was the case of Laurence Foley, a U.S. diplomat assassinated in Amman in 2002 on the orders of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man responsible for Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State. Foley’s assassination shows the group to have been active before the war.

It is embarrassing that Governor Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, and others are so ill prepared for the Iraq War question, but it is also embarrassing that the media also conflates so many decisions about the Iraq war into one. First, there was the decision about whether to use military force to oust Saddam. (My take: the right call). Second, there was the decision about whether to replace Saddam with a more democratic structure or his sons or a strongman general (My take: Bush made the right call). Third, was the decision about whether to spend tens of billions seeking to reconstruct and develop Iraq (My take: huge mistake). The world is better without Saddam. Most of the Iraqi deaths following the invasion were caused not by the United States but by the terrorists and Iranian-backed militias whom American forces were fighting. George Bush understood that the proper course of action, as the “Iraq war mistake” question implies, was not to give those terrorist free reign over Iraq. It is sad that so many Democrats and now Republicans give in to what amounts to a journalistic auto-da-fé in which candidates accept a twisted and inaccurate narrative imposed by journalists guided more by politics than fact.

Why don’t we have candidates smart enough to respond to the question, “Was the Iraq War a mistake?”, with something a reply along the lines of, “Certainly, the current war is a mistake; as the New Yorker noted last year, Barack Obama was solely responsible for American troops leaving Iraq in 2011, which created the vacuum that ISIS quickly filled.” And if pressed, respond, “Wait, you’re asking if a war we won is a mistake? A war that Hillary approved? a victory that Joe Biden celebrated?”

Or as Allahpundit writes at Hot Air, after watching “Chris Wallace [spend] three minutes trying to get Rubio to say whether the Iraq war was a mistake,” Rubio “had a better answer available if he wanted it:”

Sure, he could have said, the war was a mistake in hindsight because we naively assumed Bush’s Democratic successor would finish what he’d started with nation-building in Iraq. If Obama had insisted on a residual force of U.S. troops, if he’d been quicker to pull the trapdoor on the ruinous Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq might be relatively stable and ISIS-free today. As it is, the country’s falling apart. In hindsight, it was a mistake for Republicans to launch a war whose successful conclusion might eventually be entrusted to Barack Obama. How come he didn’t give that answer?

Why, oh why, can’t have we candidates who can play the media soundbite game?

Update: Nolte knows how to play the game:

Kurt Schlichter of Townhall runs down the myriad scandals and what they tell us about the “objective” pose of the legacy media:

So, do we really need to rehash the litany of the mainstream media’s recent follies, foibles and fiascos? Oh, hell yes.

We have NBC News paying talentless Parental Lotto champ Chelsea Clinton $600,000 a year to interview ferns. She does deserve some credit, though – she yet to lie about her courage under fire like her fellow NBC newstool Brian Williams. And, for that matter, like her mother.

We have ABC News hiring the Clintons’ tiny human dustpan George Stephanopoulos not as a commentator but as a “newsman,” and thereby lying twice in one word. Then ABC decided he should host the GOP debates, which he did carrying a cheat sheet full of Democrat talking points about such burning issues as the phantom campaign to ban birth control. And then ABC decided that the perfect guy to interview the painstakingly thorough gentleman whose book chronicles Hillary’s vast corruption was the same guy who is not only Hillary n’ Bill’s lil’ minion but who handed over $75K to their slush fund.

And when caught, the MSM doesn’t even bother to try to tell convincing lies anymore: “Oh, yeah, it sorta happened that I gave her money but I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and I guess I … oh well, whatev. Uh, glass ceiling.”

Subjects of MSM utter disinterest include foreign potentates handing millions of dollars to the Secretary of State.

Subjects of MSM curiosity include what Scott Walker thinks of Adam and Eve.

Chatty Candy Crowley? Human Latino-meter Mark Halperin? What about that lying wench from Rolling Stone? How are we to ever again believe a positive review of a Mumford & Sons album?

No, members of the mainstream media are presumptively hacks, and the pain and misery they endure as their organizations convulse and die should inspire laughter and joy. Sure, there are honest reporters out there, but that’s only a fluke of statistics. There have to be some, if only because of the random vagaries of chance. They can get real jobs with the new media. But in general, MSM members’ pain is our gain.

Remember, they hate us. Hate us. They don’t merely not care about us. They don’t simply misunderstand us. They hate what we think. They hate how we live. They hate what we believe. They hate us.

Fortunately, as Schlichter’s examples illustrate, enough masks have dropped in recent months that nobody believes the objectivity lie any more. Now if only the Stupid Party could get smart articulate politicians who can play political jiujitsu with the MSM’s bias.