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Ed Driscoll

Whatever Gets You Through the News Cycle

July 31st, 2014 - 12:43 pm


“When CIA Director John Brennan — then the White House counterterrorism adviser — laid out the Obama administration’s new approach to fighting Islamist terrorism on June 29, 2011, he mocked conservatives who suggested that Islamist extremists were plotting to re-establish a caliphate across the Middle East,” the Washington Examiner reminded its readers last month. Back then, Brennan was saying:

Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.

So how are things working out in the Middle East these days? As the Washington Examiner noted last month in its headline, “Lack of intelligence: What CIA chief said is ‘never going to happen’ is happening in Iraq and Syria.” And that was before Hamas launched its latest attacks on Israel. Between ISIS in Iraq, and Hamas’s attacks on Israel, as Jeff Dunetz, the self-described “Yid with Lid” notes today, “The Only Difference Between Hamas and ISIS Violent Goals Are Their Names.”

This Hamas goal was outlined by Fathi Hammad Minister of Interior and National Security for  the Hamas government in Gaza who said in November 2013:

 We look forward to future victories, in which, Allah willing, we will liberate our land, our Jerusalem, our Al-Aqsa [Mosque], our cities and our villages, Allah willing, all this in preparation for establishing the next Islamic Caliphate. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are at the brink of a period of global Islamic culture, whose fuel is Gaza, whose spearhead is Gaza, its Jihad fighters (Mujahideen) and commanders are Gaza, Allah willing…

And as the leftwing UK Guardian reported last month, “Isis announces Islamic caliphate in area straddling Iraq and Syria.”

To be fair to Brennan, no doubt, his words sounded good at the time, and it got the administration through another news cycle, which is ultimately all it cares about anyhow. But to paraphrase Bill Clinton, he might want to put a little ISIS on his ego, as his reputation — and that of the Obama administration’s foreign policy as a whole — are badly in tatters.

Oh and speaking of foreign policy reputations in tatters, as John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post, John Kerry and his staffers “have taken to whining — not sure there’s a nicer word — over how unfairly he’s being written and talked about in Israel:”

John Kerry fought in Vietnam, threw his medals away, served decades in the Senate, ran for president, did some windsurfing and then became secretary of state of the most powerful country on Earth.

He’s a big boy. But there are those who seem to feel otherwise, that Kerry is a fragile and tender reed in need of delicate care — people who work for and with him. Not to mention Kerry himself.

Over the course of the past year, on several occasions, Kerry and other staffers have taken to whining — not sure there’s a nicer word — over how unfairly he’s being written and talked about in Israel.

In January, after Israel’s defense minister was twice quoted speaking disparagingly about Kerry’s peace-process efforts and his nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Kerry actually called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain.

This was an odd thing, given the relative power of Kerry and the relatively minor position of Moshe Ya’alon. Kerry could have brushed Yaalon’s words off as a giant brushes off a fly.

But it was so hurtful to Kerry that he made sure the world knew about it. His spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said at a public briefing that Ya’alon’s “comments were not constructive.

Perhaps Iowahawk has the best explanation for Kerry & Co’s kvetch fest:

 

Say there (former) Madam IRS Commissioner, do you let your ideology influence your job and whom you choose as your next victims? And as Glenn Reynolds wrote yesterday, “As bad as the emails that have been released are, the ones they’re hiding must be just dreadful.” But how bad is the above sample? So bad, Noah Rothman notes at Hot Air today, that even Democrat operatives with bylines and microphones are grudgingly forced to admit Lerner’s insanely obvious bias:

While most of the major news networks have not yet made note of the latest emails, CBS This Morning did bring its audience up to speed on the latest controversy. After asking if the latest emails represent a “smoking gun,” CBS quoted Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) who told reporters that the Lerner had evidenced “a political bias against conservatives.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts made a startling admission when tackling the issue of the latest emails. While the panel’s Republicans were animated about these newest developments, the majority of the program’s liberals were silent. Only NBC News personality Willie Geist offered his thoughts on the newest revelations.

“If the question is, ‘was there political, ideological bias inside the IRS?’ Geist asked, “It’s hard to argue ‘no.’”

CNN’s New Day politics panel offered a similar take on the latest emails. Asked if the latest correspondences could create a critical mass which might force the administration to surrender control of the IRS investigation to an independent investigator, Associated Press White House reporter Julie Pace said she did not think so. She did, however, concede that it appears the former IRS official accused of discriminating against conservatives “had a real axe to grind” with conservatives.

National Journal Editorial Director Ron Fournier was more succinct. “To borrow the president’s phrase, there’s at least a smidgen of bias in the IRS,” he said.

And while the IRS is busy being weaponized against its citizens, the CIA confesses, “Yeah, we hacked the Senate’s computers,” as also spotted by Rothman today:

The outrage over the CIA’s claimed abuse of authority was bipartisan. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the allegations against the spy agency “dangerous to a democracy.”

“Heads should roll, people should go to jail, if it’s true,” Graham said at the time. “I’m going to get briefed on it. If it is, the legislative branch should declare war on the CIA, if it’s true.”

War, it would seem, is imminent.

On Thursday, the CIA admitted to secretly and improperly hacking Senate staffers’ computers linked to the internal review of the agency’s tactics under George W. Bush.

“CIA Director John Brennan has determined that employees ‘acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding’ brokered between the CIA and its Senate overseers, according to agency spokesman Dean Boyd,” National Journal reported. In the statement, Boyd apologized to the committee chair and vice chair who were misled by Brennan.

Barack Obama promised fundamental transformation; a grimly amusing cartoon at Small Dead Animals sums up how the “Progressive” alphabet soup created by successive prior Democrat administrations has been corrupted and weaponized during BHO’s administration.

And as Charles Murray notes on Twitter, there’s bipartisan room for change:

But don’t worry — the left and the RNC will cheerfully go back to sleep and resume the status quo until the taxpayer money runs out.

Obama: Promises Made, Promises Kept

July 31st, 2014 - 10:48 am

Shot:

chris_hayes_forgets_obamas_war_on_coal_7-31-14

Chaser:

Or as Jon Gabriel of Ricochet tweets in reply to Hayes, “Your #WarOnCoal is working. Glad you looked in the eyes of your victims.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time that an MSNBC newsreader forgot about the ramifications of the anti-energy policies they’re forced to defend.

Breaking News from 2013

July 30th, 2014 - 7:36 pm

“The Republican Occupation of Detroit,” as charted by Sally Kohn in — where else? — the Daily Beast:

Detroit is no longer a city. Sure, it looks like a city. But that’s a façade. The oldest city in the Midwest—home of the first traffic light in America and the first urban freeway, the birthplace of Motown and the automobile and the ice cream soda—is now a ghost. Detroit, the place, is recovering—even thriving in some ways. But Detroit, the political entity, is dead.

In 2011, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 4, which gave the state the power to place cash-strapped cities and school districts under the control of state-appointed emergency managers. In 2012, Michigan voters overturned that law. But in 2013, Snyder signed a barely revised version of the emergency manager law—and then used it to take over Detroit.

So in the fall of 2013, Detroit voters went to the polls to elect a new mayor and City Council, but it didn’t matter. The powers of the mayor and City Council have effectively been suspended. Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, appointed by Snyder, has all the power and then some. A Democratic city that elected Democratic leaders is now controlled by the appointee of a Republican governor.

Kohn skips about a two-thirds of a century worth of history in her conclusion:

In the early 1900s, African Americans moved to Detroit to escape the inequality and injustice that persisted in the South. Much of the Detroit as we celebrate it in our national lore sprang from black political self-determination, economic leadership, and cultural expression. Plenty of dynamics conspired to dismantle Detroit’s greatness. But even bankrupt, struggling, falling apart, Detroit could still cling to its identity as a city—whatever price that meant in the past, whatever hope it held for the future. Now because of Snyder, even that is gone.

But the “Detroit as we celebrate it in our national lore [that] sprang from black political self-determination, economic leadership, and cultural expression” arose in the late-1960s after the city’s riots of 1967, prior to which, as Thomas Sowell wrote, “Detroit’s black population had the highest rate of home-ownership of any black urban population in the country, and their unemployment rate was just 3.4 percent.”

After the riots, the result was a generation of leadership under Mayor Coleman Young, who used racial grievance politics to maintain his power base, even as he was driving the city into the ground. (Today, Detroit’s unemployment rate is a whopping 23 percent.) Zev Chafets’ brilliant 1990 book Devil’s Night and its portrait of Young’s massive damage to the city reads as if it could be written yesterday. Dresden, Hiroshima and Berlin were all rebuilt in just a few years of their bombings. In contrast, Young mercifully left office in 1994, and yet time stands still in that particular war zone.

And note the mirror images on display in these quotes. In his 1990 book, Chafets quoted Arthur Johnson (1925-2011), then the president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP and a vice-president at Wayne State University:

“Detroit has helped nurture a new black mentality,” Johnson said, pounding his desk for emphasis. “More than any other city, blacks here make an issue of where you live. If you’re with us, you’ll find a place in the city.”

Whites often say, in their own defense, that many middle-class blacks also leave the city at the first opportunity. I mentioned this to Johnson, but he waved it away. “The majority of the black middle class is here. We are engaged in the most determined, feverish effort to save Detroit. Why? Because Detroit is special. It’s the first major city in the United States to have taken on the symbols of a black city. It has elected a strong, powerful black mayor, powerful in both his personality and his office. Detroit, more than anywhere else, has gathered power and put it in black hands.”

In her new article, Kohn writes:

Detroit—a majority African-American city—is now controlled by a governor elected by a majority of white voters in the state. It really doesn’t matter that Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager, is black, nor that Mike Duggan, Detroit’s mayor, is white. What matters is that half of the state’s black population lives in Detroit. So through the state takeover, “half of black Michiganders have essentially lost the right to vote,” says Ife Kilimanjaro, co-director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council.

Kohn is, knowingly or unknowingly, continuing in the tradition of racial demonization that Young used to build his career. Beyond the subtext of her politely calling Orr, the emergency manager of Detroit’s exhausted city government an Uncle Tom, it’s not as if the rest of her column is breaking any new ground here. Kohn is following in the footsteps of MSNBC newsreaders last year during Detroit’s announcement that it was declaring bankruptcy, such as Art Melber, who blurted out that “Detroit is fast becoming the most libertarian city in the United States.” Not to mention Ed Schultz and the network’s veteran race-baiter, Melissa Harris-Parry:

Detroit’s fiscal ruin and subsequent bankruptcy was actually the result of the city being pretty much a “conservative utopia,” Ed Schultz informed us. It’s what happens when “government is small enough to drown in your bathtub” and “exactly the kind of thing many Republicans would impose on us,” insisted Melissa Harris-Parry.

A few months ago, Kohn explained “What I learned as a liberal talking head on Fox News” to the Christian Science Monitor:

My time at Fox News was marked by meeting and working with some of the kindest, smartest, and most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in life. As I said in my TED talk, Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet – and even now that I’ve parted ways with Fox, he remains a good friend and mentor.

For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me to meet people such as Mr. Hannity, Karl Rove, Monica Crowley, Sarah Palin, and so many others, and see that – though we certainly disagree profoundly on political issues – they’re personable and kind and human. Just like me.

It’s strange to suggest that a seemingly simple realization such as that is in fact a profound revelation, but in our hyperpartisan era, when we often vilify the other side as being less-than-human, it is.

That was back in April. Either Kohn has forgotten it all in the months since, or she didn’t believe her epiphany in the first place.

Blue Falcon

July 30th, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Bryan Preston proffers his take on Jesse Ventura’s lawsuit against the widow of the American war hero and American Sniper author Chris Kyle:

Jesse Ventura is a clown, was a terrible governor, and is a full-blown 9-11 Truther. He also sued the widow of America’s most successful military sniper.

Nothing can restore a reputation that Ventura himself ripped to shreds years ago.

Mrs. Kyle is considering appealing the jury’s non-unanimous verdict against her late husband.

When even Anderson Cooper can figure this one out (as seen in the above Tweet), you know you’ve really [insert your favorite NC-17-rated euphemism for making a dreadful mistake here].

For my interviews last year with Chris Kyle’s widow Taya, and American Sniper co-author Jim DeFelice, click here.

Breaking News From 2006

July 30th, 2014 - 3:51 pm

“The authenticity problem: It’s becoming harder for red-state Dems to say what they really believe,” Josh Kraushaar writes at the National Journal. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air): 

But the details in it illustrate the dilemma for Democrats running in conservative states, whose true beliefs probably run counter to a majority of their constituents. That’s been a running theme this election with first-time Senate candidates, such as Nunn and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, who have assiduously avoided offering policy specifics in favor of bland generalities. Staying on message is akin to lacking any type of message.

When Grimes struggles repeatedly to articulate her views on border security, it’s clear she’s caught between exciting the Democratic base, the source for her impressive fundraising, and winning over moderate voters in Kentucky. When Nunn says she would have voted against Obama’s health care law but avoids talking about any changes she’d make to it, it’s easy to assume she’s trying to do everything she can to have it both ways. Unless Democrats have a clear record otherwise (see: Manchin, Joe), it’s going to be hard for voters to find them believable.

Yes, having lied through their teeth to pose and “conservative” “Blue Dog” Democrats in order to win back the Senate and House in 2006 only to become — as Kevin McCullough of Townhall accurately predicted at the time — “Nancy Pelosi’s crash test dummies,” why would any voter trust a Democrat who says he or she is against the policies of Obama, Pelosi and Reid?

For example, Natalie Tennant, running in West Virginia for Jay Rockefeller’s soon-to-be-former seat, pretends to “stand up for coal jobs,” but why should anyone trust when it’s far more likely that if elected to office, she’ll cheerfully vote for the anti-energy policies of fellow Democrats Pelosi, Reid, Obama, or if she’s elected in 2016, Hillary?

Oh, and regarding the Joe Manchin reference above…

mccarthy_obama_impeachment_cover_5-19-14-2

The Washington Times reported on Tuesday that:

Talk of impeachment was cooked up by a White House desperate for something to rally Democrats ahead of November’s elections, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday, flatly ruling out any action on the controversial suggestion.

“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans,” Mr. Beohner said. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

But PJM’s own Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, has a very different take, both in terms of Mr. Obama, and of the general concept of impeachment itself.

During our interview, Andrew will discuss his latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. Andrew tells me, “As Madison put it, impeachment was indispensable in the minds of the framers, as a mechanism for Congress to be able to prevent one of the things that they were extremely worried about during the drafting of the Constitution. Which was the possibility that this incredibly powerful new office that they were creating, the President of the United States, where all of the executive power would be reposed in one official. [The founders worried] that that official could become like a monarch; could become basically what the Revolution had fought against in the first place.”

And there’s little doubt that President Obama thinks of himself of having king-like powers, far removed from the controls of Congress.

During our interview, Andrew will discuss:

● How the Founding Fathers thought of impeachment.
● Is he worried about Democrats fundraising off his new book?
● What does McCarthy think of John Boehner’s plan to sue Obama?
● His thoughts on Congress’s investigations of Benghazi and the IRS scandal.
● If McCarthy was drafting the articles of impeachment for Barack Obama, what would they include?

And much more. Click below to listen:

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

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Yes, Next Question

July 28th, 2014 - 11:35 pm

“Is the Obama administration losing touch with reality?”, Mark Tapscott asks at the Washington Examiner. Considering that Barack Obama alternated posing next to Styrofoam Roman columns and uttering quotes such as, ”We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth,” during his in 2008 presidential bid, this administration and reality were never on very good terms to begin with. But as Tapscott writes, their relationship is much more strained these days:

There is an air of unreality about the Obama crew these days that became starkly evident last week with a letter to Congress from National Security Advisor Susan Rice seeking repeal of the 2002 authorization for the invasion of Iraq and White House press secretary Josh Earnest claiming Republicans are seriously seeking to impeach his boss.

House Speaker John Boehner and every other top GOP leader has denied it, but that didn’t stop Earnest and the Democratic fundraising machine from insisting that impeachment is “part of their agenda.”

Similarly, Rice claimed repealing the 2002 law is needed to “give Americans confidence” that U.S. “ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq” even though House GOPers were preparing to approve a resolution saying U.S. ground forces should not be sent back to Iraq.

But then seeing the Obama administration publicly weaving such fantasies isn’t really surprising, considering they’ve argued for years that one half of one-third of the federal government is responsible for all of America’s problems.

Aaron Hanscom, our lead editor and textual master of ceremonies on the PJM homepage asked me the other day if any president had checked out as dramatically from current events in my lifetime. I told that while it’s a little before my time, the closest analogy that comes to mind is the Wilson Administration, which attempted to maintain the fiction that its namesake was still running the show after Wilson’s devastating stroke in October of 1919, exhausting himself while attempting to pass the League of Nations. Wilson would linger on in office until being mercifully relieved by Republican Warren Harding in February of 1924 as a shell of a man; even Wikipedia notes:

[Post-stroke, Wilson] was insulated by his wife, who screened matters for his attention and delegating others to his cabinet heads. Eventually, Wilson resumed his attendance at cabinet meetings, but his input there was perfunctory. By February 1920 the President’s true condition was public. Nearly every major newspaper expressed qualms about Wilson’s fitness for the presidency at a time when the League fight was reaching a climax, and domestic issues such as strikes, unemployment, inflation and the threat of Communism were ablaze. Neither his wife nor his physician nor personal assistant were willing to assume authority to take upon themselves the certification required by the Constitution to declare his “inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office”. This complex case became an inducement for passage of the 25th Amendment.

It took a stroke to effectively end the Wilson presidency; it simply took Obama discovering that the world and the Beltway are mean places full of mean people who keep saying no to him — to  him! — the ‘Bam Who Would be King for Wright’s sake! — for him to take his golf ball and go home.

Pages: 1 2 | 49 Comments»

Tweet of the Day

July 28th, 2014 - 7:57 pm

eliana_johnson_tweet_of_the_day_7-28-14

Boom.

In Johnson’s piece on “Michelle Nunn’s Campaign Plan,” she wrote:

Her strategists are optimistic that the media won’t prove much of an obstacle. They write that at some point her opponent, who at the time the document was written had yet to be determined, will be “shoveling research” against her. But they say they anticipate they will often have “fair warning” about negative news stories and can work to “kill or muddy” them.

That dovetails remarkably well with an observation Bill Clinton told the Washington Post in 2006:

There is an expectation among Democrats that establishment old media organizations are de facto allies — and will rebut political accusations and serve as referees on new-media excesses.

“We’re all that way, and I think a part of it is we grew up in the ’60s and the press led us against the war and the press led us on civil rights and the press led us on Watergate,” Clinton said. “Those of us of a certain age grew up with this almost unrealistic set of expectations.”

And Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal Constitution seems determined to prove both Bill and Michelle Nunn correct:


Indeed.

Parliamentary Objection

July 28th, 2014 - 7:39 pm

“Why the Left Protests Better: A History of ‘Disobedient Objects,’” is the headline of this Daily Beast article, which posits:

Walking through the show, it’s impossible to miss the trend—virtually all of the innovative, daring pieces of design and art have emerged from left-wing protest groups. The organizers insist this was never the intention, they just couldn’t find any examples from the Right. Grindon told The Daily Beast the realization surprised him, but it seems the Left is more inventive, better at protesting.

“I think, by structure, those movements on the far-right aren’t about creating solidarity, aren’t about creating new worlds. They’re often about preserving at least imagined versions of the world, so they tend [to] not radically experiment with the culture,” he said. “They tend not to have the same level of creativity.”

They tend to have actual jobs:

Not long after [Andrew Ferguson] and I met, we were driving down Pennsylvania Avenue and encountered some or another noisy pinko demonstration. “How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American flag?”

“We have jobs,” said Andy.

—P. J. O`Rourke, from the introduction to Parliament of Whores.

For my interview with P.J. earlier this year on his new book, The Baby Boom, click here.

Barack to the Future

July 28th, 2014 - 6:49 pm

“Is the Left anti-Semitic? Sadly, it is heading that way,” Brendan O’Neill writes in the London Telegraph. Of course, the obvious rejoinder is, “Heading…?”

This is a recurring theme in anti-Israel sentiment today: the idea that a powerful, sinister lobby of Israel lovers has warped our otherwise respectable leaders here in the West, basically winning control of Western foreign policy. You see it in cartoons depicting Israeli leaders as the puppet masters of politicians like William Hague and Tony Blair. You can hear it in Alexi Sayle’s much-tweeted claim that the “Western powers” kowtow to Israel because they are “frightened of it… frightened of the power that it wields”. You can see it in the arguments of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their popular book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which holds an apparently super-powerful pro-Israel lobby in the heart of Washington responsible for the Iraq War and all other kinds of disasters. The claim is often made that Israel has corrupted Western officials, commanding them to carry out its dirty work.

Sound familiar? Yes, this has terrible echoes of the old racist idea that Jewish groups controlled Western politics and frequently propelled the world into chaos – an idea that was especially popular in the early to mid-20th-century Europe. Very often, anti-Israel protesters treat Israel not just as a nation at war – like Britain, America or France, which also frequently launch wars that kill huge numbers of civilians – but also as the warper of policy and morality in the West, as a source of poison in global affairs, as the architect of instability across the globe. Indeed, a few years ago a poll of Europeans found that a majority of them view Israel as “the biggest threat to world peace”. So Israel is undoubtedly singled out by Leftists and others, and even more significantly it is singled out in a way that the Jews used to be singled out – that is, as a sinister, self-serving corrupter of nations and causer of chaos.

Much of today’s anti-Israel protesting has a conspiracy-theory feel to it, with its talk about powerful lobby groups designing wars behind closed doors in order to isolate Israel’s enemies and boost Israel’s fortunes. And this is in keeping with Left-wing politics generally, today. The Left has increasingly embraced a conspiracy-theory view of the world. It is now very common to hear Leftists talk about the “cabals of neocons” who control world affairs, or the “cult of bankers” who wreak havoc on our economies, or the Murdoch Empire that “orchestrates public life from the shadows” (to quote Labour MP Tom Watson). All seriously analytical and nuanced readings of international trends and political dynamics have been elbowed aside by contemporary Leftists, who prefer instead to argue that dark, hidden, mysterious forces are ruining politics, plotting wars, and enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. And, as history shows us, there is a thin line between railing against wicked cabals and cults and wondering out loud whether the Jews are secretly running world affairs, or at least wielding a disproportionate influence.

Meet the new left, just as same as the old left. Or as Jonah Goldberg wrote in his 2006 review of historian Jeffrey Herf’s then-new book, The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust:

According to the standard Holocaust narrative, the “Final Solution” was the product of hate or racism or, often, both. Anti-Semitism became popular in the 19th century; the Nazis expanded on it, constructing a pseudo-scientific biological racism that saw the Jews as a cancer on the body politic and the Holocaust as an attempt to excise the tumor. Herf does not so much debunk this version of history as cut through it.

In “The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust,” he concedes that hatred and racism were important, but he argues that they don’t explain Germany’s unique efforts to destroy the Jews. It’s not as if no one hated the Jews until the 1930s.

The real answer isn’t hate, but fear. Poring through miles of speeches, private comments, journal entries, party memoranda and all 24,000 pages of Goebbels’ diaries, Herf concludes that the Nazis really believed that the Jews ran the world and wanted to destroy Germany. They believed that Jews controlled not only the Bolsheviks to the east but the capitalists to the west. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a mere pawn of his Jewish friends and advisers. The British Parliament, Goebbels wrote in one diary entry, was in reality a kind of Jewish stock exchange. The Jewish-plutocratic enemy was everywhere, benefiting from, and responsible for, every piece of bad news for Germany. In fact, the Nazis were sure that the Jews had declared war on Germany first, giving them no choice but to respond to the Jewish campaign to exterminate the Germans. This paranoia led the Nazis to believe that rounding up millions of Jews and gassing them was an act of self-defense.

What is so frightening is how similar this is to the sounds from the Middle East today. Ahmadinejad — dismissed by sophisticated academics as a blowhard — calls the Holocaust a myth. Indeed, there is no Jewish conspiracy theory too outlandish in the Muslim world. Huge numbers of Muslims — even 45 percent of British Muslims — believe that the Jews were behind 9/11. Theories that the Mossad is behind every bad headline, from the Indonesian tsunami to bad soccer performances, are common on the Arab street. According to Herf, this is only the second time the world has seen this sort of radical anti-Semitic paranoia. And, again, too many in the unspotless West are saying, they can’t be serious.

As Glenn Reynolds noted yesterday at Instapundit, when it comes to Europe’s latest efforts at partying like it’s 1939, “There are a few things going on here. First, there’s guilt-displacement: If Israel is bad, then the Holocaust seems a bit less so. Second, opposing Israel and Jews gives Europe diplomatic leverage in the Middle East, to the point that one European Parliament member has called it a ‘proxy war’ on America.”

That’s from Glenn’s link to Jeffrey Gedmin’s recent Weekly Standard article on “Europe’s Amazing Anti-Israel Ways,” which is also well worth your time, provided you’ve taken the proper high blood pressure medication before reading.

Update: And speaking of partying like it’s 1939, “And Now… Europe’s Kristallnacht.”

Wasting Away Again In Obamaville

July 28th, 2014 - 4:19 pm

obamaville_11-21-11

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

On Tuesday, the chief human resources officers of more than 100 large corporations sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging quick passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The officials represent companies with a vast array of business interests: General Electric, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, McDonald’s Corporation, The Wendy’s Company, Coca-Cola, The Cheesecake Factory, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon Communications, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, and many more. All want to see increases in immigration levels for low-skill as well as high-skill workers, in addition to a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants currently in the U.S. illegally.

“Companies lay off thousands, then demand immigration reform for new labor,” Byron York, the Washington Examiner, September 11, 2013.

But where to house all those illegal immigrants flooding the border to replace American workers? The big box stores emptied out by the Obama economy, of course:

The Obama administration is reportedly looking to house illegal immigrant juveniles in empty big box stores and even airplane hangars across the nation.

According to a report in The New Republic, “in recent weeks, FEMA representatives have sent mass emails to advocacy networks throughout the country soliciting potential detention facilities and offering guidelines for acceptable spaces.” Suggestions for “workable locations” include “Office space, warehouse, big box store, shopping mall with interior concourse, event venues, hotel or dorms, aircraft hangers [sic].”

“Report: FEMA Looking to House Illegals in Empty Big Box Stores, Aircraft Hangars,” Tony Lee, Big Government, yesterday.

Strengthening the American economy: the parties intertwined in the deeply dysfunctional corporatist marriage between the left and big business just might be doing it wrong.

Update: As Investor’s Business Daily notes, “Democrats Admit Amnesty Is For Political Purposes,” which also explains why their enabling friends in big business are so eager to go along.

Truman Shrugs

July 28th, 2014 - 12:44 pm

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“Is Barack Obama John Galt?”,  John Hinderaker provocatively asked yesterday at Power Line:

Now, Barack Obama has decreed that the American Atlas should shrug. Weary of its burdens and tired of being blamed for the world’s problems, America is withdrawing from its global leadership role. And the result, as in Atlas Shrugged, is disaster. Everywhere one looks, there is turmoil and violence. Russia is resurgent; China threatens Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines; Iraq’s Christians are being wiped out; Iran’s nuclear weapons program proceeds apace; the Sunni Gulf states seek new alliances; the Taliban is retaking Afghanistan; American diplomatic personnel are withdrawn from Libya as that country descends into chaos; al Qaeda extends its influence in Africa. The list goes on and on. The United States has gone Galt–everywhere except Gaza, where we are playing a discreditable role in support of a terrorist regime–and the forces of evil and disorder are on the march.

Of course, the analogy ultimately breaks down. In Atlas Shrugged, the world’s producers go on strike in order to show that the Left is wrong. Barack Obama has withdrawn the United States from its leadership role, not in order to demonstrate that the Left’s critiques are wrong, but because he believes them to be right. Unlike the producers in Atlas Shrugged, Obama means for the U.S. to “go Galt” permanently.

It’s an interesting analogy, though perhaps not built around the right person. As John concedes, Barack “You didn’t build that” Obama is no John Galt. (And certainly no Howard Roark, to justify a rerun of the Photoshop I created in 2012.) But he can be seen in many ways to be something akin to Harry Truman. Both were machine hack Democrats, who assumed the office of the presidency deep into global struggles against anti-Semitic terror-based ideologies. Like Obama sitting in the pews of Trinity United rapturously drinking in the poisoned words of Rev. Wright, Harry Truman was raised in a crudely racialist environment:

Many who are aware of Harry Truman’s support for Israel and his desegregation of the armed forces are shocked by the anti-Semitic statements contained in his recently discovered 1947 diary. But Truman’s bigotry comes as little surprise to historians who have studied the man and his career.

Truman’s ugly comments about Jews being “very, very selfish” and, as such, not caring “how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered,” or his charge that “neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog,” are distressingly consistent with his disparaging views about other racial and ethnic minorities. As a younger man, he wrote in a 1911 letter to his wife, Bess: “I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a n***er or a Chinaman.”

Even his reverential biographer, Merle Miller, admitted in the Truman biography “Plain Speaking” that later in life “privately Mr. Truman always said ‘n***er’; at least he always did when I talked to him.” He also often privately referred to Jews as “kikes.”

And like Obama’s Manichean demonization of his political enemies (and like his former boss, FDR), Truman was perfectly prepared to max out the Godwin meter if it suited his career, believing that the ends would justify the means and that such transgressions would largely be airbrushed out of history.

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Victor Davis Hanson knows why:

Glance about — Central America, Venezuela, China, Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Gaza, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Turkey, etc. — and the world outside the West is mostly a nasty place.  The three common denominators in all these catastrophes are the usual demagogic leaders blaming someone else for their people’s own self-inflicted miseries, a comfortable West that shrugs that somehow all these depressing things and mean people will just go away — and a tired global enforcer whose community organizer leader went into retirement and offers “make no mistake about it” warnings between swings on the golf course.

Read the whole thing.

Hillary Clinton Praises George W. Bush

July 27th, 2014 - 3:55 pm

You go, Hill!

“George W. Bush is very popular in Sub-Saharan Africa. Why? Because of the president emergency program for AIDS relief whether you agree or disagree with a lot of what else he did — and I disagree with a lot of it — I am proud to be an American when I go to Sub-Saharan Africa and people say, ‘I want to thank President Bush and the United States for helping us fight HIV/AIDS.’ We spend a lot of money and a lot of time and effort trying to be influential around the world when I think we would be able to succeed more effectively if we were clearer about who we are and what we stand for and the values that we hold.”

Actually, I’d be really curious to hear which of GWB’s policies that Hillary disagrees with, as Bush #43 was, in many ways, an extension of the Clinton administration* — which made the left’s permanent seething all the more ironic to watch.

* Which Hillary is effectively running against, even as she attempts to conjure up nostalgic memories of that period.

John Kerry, Reporting For Duty

July 27th, 2014 - 2:37 pm

“Astoundingly, the secretary’s intervention in the Hamas war empowers the Gaza terrorist government bent on destroying Israel,” David Horovitz, the founding editor of the Times of Israel writes. Though I’m not at all sure why he spelled “absolutely par for the course for feckless archleftist John Kerry” using the word “astoundingly:”

The Netanyahu government has had no shortage of run-ins with Kerry in the mere 18 months he has held office. The prime minister publicly pleaded with him in November not to sign the interim deal with Iran on its rogue nuclear program, and there has been constant friction between the two governments over thwarting Iran’s bid for the bomb. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in January ridiculed Kerry’s security proposals for a West Bank withdrawal, calling the secretary “messianic” and obsessive” in his quest for an accord with the Palestinians that simply wasn’t there. The collapse of the talks in March-April was accompanied by allegations from Jerusalem that Kerry had botched the process, telling Israel one thing and the Palestinian Authority another, including misrepresenting Israel’s position on Palestinian prisoner releases.

But none of those episodes, though deeply troubling and relating to issues central to Israel’s well-being, provoked the kind of outraged disbelief at Kerry’s performance that has been emanating from the Israeli leadership in the past 48 hours. Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described the secretary as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with — in short, a blithering fool.

But actually, it’s worse than that. What emerges from Kerry’s self-initiated ceasefire mission — Israel had already accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal; and nobody asked him to come out on a trip he prefaced with sneering remarks about Israel’s attempted “pinpoint” strikes on Hamas terror targets — is that Jerusalem now regards him as duplicitous and dangerous.

As Bookworm adds, “For John Kerry, when it comes to an American ally and a deadly enemy, it’s 1971 all over again:”

In acceding to Hamas’s demands, John Kerry is injuring not only an American ally (that would be Israel), but America too, since Hamas is, as I mentioned, an official terrorist group, not to mention a sworn enemy of the West.

So, a two-fer, then.

 

“SHOCK: Jewish students shown ‘photos of ovens and told to get in’ by classmates in Chicago:”

CHICAGO – A school principal has been reassigned after a series of shocking bullying incidents that targeted Jewish students.

DNAinfo Chicago reports Ogden International School of Chicago principal Joshua VanderJagt asked to be reassigned because “challenges” arose after two students – one 14 years old and one 8 years old – suffered repeated threats by classmates.

The challenges surrounded allegations from Ogden parent Lisa Wolf Clemente that her 14-year-old and 8-year-old sons were bullied at both campuses by classmates for their Jewish heritage.

The Gold Coast resident said her teen son was shown photos of ovens and told to get in during lunch periods, intended as a reference to the Holocaust.

At the Streeterville campus, Wolf Clemente said her 8-year-old was invited to join a team called “Jew Incinerator” on the popular game app Clash of Clans. The team was allegedly created by Ogden eighth-graders.

In a screenshot provided by parents, the team description reads: “We are a friendly group of racists with one goal — put all Jews into an army camp until disposed of. Sieg! Heil!”

After the incidents, the bullies were suspended for two days – one in school and one out of school. They were also barred from “eighth grade graduation ceremonies,” according to the news service.

As I’ve written before, I shudder to think of how we’ll collectively remember World War II by the time this decade is out. If at all:

Oh, and speaking of Chicago, “Rahm Emanuel: Illegal Aliens are Fleeing Violent Conditions, So Let’s Move Them to Chicago.” Or as JWF quips, faced with the ongoing violence of Chicago, “perhaps the ‘migrants’ might fare better at home.”

US Evacuates Embassy in Libya

July 27th, 2014 - 12:05 pm

“The United States suspended operations at its embassy in Libya Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort amid a significant deterioration in security in Tripoli as fighting intensified between rival militias, the State Department said,” according to a Fox News report:

“Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

The withdrawal underscored the Obama administration’s concern about the heightened risk to American diplomats abroad, particularly in Libya where memories of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in the eastern city of Benghazi are still vivid and the political uproar over it remain fresh ahead of a new congressional investigation into the incident. A senior military official told Fox News the Pentagon has been advising the State Department leave the post for weeks.

“Securing our facilities and ensuring the safety of our personnel are top department priorities, and we did not make this decision lightly,” Harf said. “Security has to come first. Regrettably, we had to take this step because the location of our embassy is in very close proximity to intense fighting and ongoing violence between armed Libyan factions.”

American personnel at the Tripoli embassy, which had already been operating with limited staffing, left the capital around dawn and traveled by road to neighboring Tunisia, according to Harf. Roughly 70 embassy staffers were driven out of the city in a caravan by 80 Marines, Fox News has learned.

Former President Obama is on the case, though.

Nahh, just kidding. He’s on the links, of course:

As Twitchy notes, “Ouch! World in turmoil, President Voting Present golfs; Newt Gingrich brutally nutshells:”

Mark Steyn brutally nutshells as well:

Dinesh D’Souza has a new movie out called America: Imagine A World Without Her – but we don’t really have to “imagine”, it’s happening before our eyes. Nothing difficult and complicated about it: in this decline and fall, the Emperor simply went fundraising.

At any rate, Jamie Weinstein sat in for Hugh Hewitt this week, and took me on a brisk trot round current topics:

MARK STEYN: Well, what’s going on in the world is of very little interest to President Fundraiser. He’s got other priorities, and the rest of the planet, as I believe it’s marked on the State Department maps, can go take a hike… There’s a vacuum of American power. And John Kerry is the physical presence of American absence. Nobody wants to see him. Nobody wants to do the handshake. Nobody wants to pose for photographs.

Finally, at the Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez contrasts additional news of fresh global disaster and concludes, “This is Obama Tranquility Base bidding you goodnight.”

“Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer slammed CNN for its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Thursday on OutFront, telling host Erin Burnett the network did a disservice to viewers by not providing facts and context in their reports on the violence there,” as spotted by the Washington Free Beacon:

Dermer reminded Burnett Hamas has been using schools, hospitals and other non-military installations as weapon depots.

“It would be a disservice to your viewers for a reporter from Gaza not to mention that in the last week we had two different UNRWA schools where we had actually rockets found in the schools and handed over to Hamas,” he said.

Dermer grew angrier when he mentioned he’d watched two hours of CNN and not heard a single reporter tell the viewers of this practice.

“I have not heard a single person say what I just said to you now, and I think that that does a disservice to your viewers to not give them the context they need to make these judgments,” he said. “Hamas is placing missile batteries in schools, in hospitals, in mosques, and there must be outrage by the world at Hamas to end this.”

I’m forced to watch about a half hour of CNN in the background on the monitor above my treadmill at the local gym each night, and while it’s always been a train wreck, sadly, the events of the past two week have been tailor-made for the only thing left that the low-rated Time-Warner owned network can apparently still do: bash Israel and report on horrific plane crashes.

Say, does anybody know Jeff Zucker’s whereabouts when the Air Algerie flight was shot down over Africa this week…

 

Questions Nobody is Asking

July 26th, 2014 - 10:35 am

“What would it take to make you cut off your own leg? The most terrifying ethical dilemmas in torture porn horror movies,” asks Salon

Considering the terrifying lobotomy the once more-or-less respectable Salon chose to administer to itself at some point in the last decade, perhaps it’s a question the publication should kick around in its own offices to diagnose how things went so horribly wrong.

Update: Slate, which played Newsweek to Salon’s Time magazine in the early days of the World Wide Web (or was it the other way around?) has also self-lobotomized in recent years, with similarly painful results.