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Ed Driscoll

Liberal Fascism

‘The Secret Torment of Joni Mitchell’

September 1st, 2014 - 2:31 pm

Other than the self-hating misanthropy of “Big Yellow Taxi” (“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Yes, and over the last 150 years, “they” also put up electric lights, air conditioning, the polio vaccine, and err, the musical instruments, concert halls, record players, radio and TV networks, and the commercial aviation that made your career possible), I’ve enjoyed a number of Joni Mitchell’s songs, and her adventurous musical spirit. But this article in today’s London Daily Mail paints a picture of a very tormented 70-year old soul:

Reflecting on her childhood, Mitchell reveals she was terribly affected by Bambi, particularly the scene where the deer’s mother was trapped in the fire. It was an unlikely spark for her artistry. The traumatic scene made her obsessively draw pictures of fire and deer running, in an attempt to exorcise it from her mind.

‘I think maybe that’s the beginning of my contempt for my species and what it does. How ignorant it is of sharing this planet with other creatures. Its lack of native intelligence, common sense, or spirituality addressed to the earth…’, she told the author.

* * * * * * * *

While living luxuriously between two homes, she’s adamantly negative on America and the industry that made her so successful.

‘America is like really into Velveeta (the processed cheese). Everything has to be homogenized. Their music should be homogenized, their beer is watered down, their beauties are all the same. The music is the same track’.

But it’s in America that her music is playing in department stores and in elevators. Joni Mitchell has become the soundtrack to millions of lives, and the royalties from those songs have made her very wealthy.

* * * * * * * *

But it’s not a recurrence of polio.

‘Morgellons is constantly morphing. There are times when it’s directly attacking the nervous system, as if you’re being bitten by fleas and lice. It’s all in the tissue and it’s not a hallucination. It was eating me alive, sucking the juices out. I’ve been sick all my life’.

Mitchell broke off friendships feeling she was wasting her time with some people she calls ‘deadwood’.

She lost her drive and doesn’t follow projects through to conclusion. She’s forgetful and can’t remember what she just said, Marom writes.

If she’s out walking and has a thought she wants to remember but no notebook, she won’t remember when she gets home.

‘There’s a lot of lethargy with my illness. I’m fatigued’, she laments. And the medicines she was taking gave her brain fog, adding: ‘My creative energy went into survival and into furnishing the interior of the house [in British Columbia]‘.

If you hate mankind so much that admit “contempt for my species and what it does,” then you must on some level hate yourself, your own existence, as well. Honest question: how much stress does that put on a body and impact a person’s health?

“Engel told Andrea Mitchell on Meet the Press that the growth of ISIL in Iraq and Syria was ‘incredibly predictable,’” the Washington Free Beacon noted yesterday, watching NBC’s Meet the Press so the rest of us don’t have to:

“We reported about it. Reporters risked their lives going into Syria to talk about this buildup of extremists in the country, yet nothing seems to have been done. And now we have a very serious situation,” said Engel.

Engel also reported that military commanders are “apoplectic” over the president’s inaction in Syria: “I speak to military commanders, I speak to former officials, and they are apoplectic. They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done.”

“One official said that this was a Freudian slip,” Engel continued, referring to Obama’s admission last week that he does not have a strategy yet for Syria. “That it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria, even when you have ISIS, which has effectively become a terrorist army, roughly 20,000 strong.”

As Engel told Andrea Mitchell, his fellow Democrat operative with a byline, The rise of ISIS was entirely predictable. Particularly when you have a president who, as Sen. Blutarsky might say, f***ed up and trusted the advice that Richard Engel proffered to Jay Leno on NBC’s Tonight Show in 2011:

LENO: Well, I mean, our goal initially was to hunt down bin laden and kill him. It took us ten years. We killed him. Over? Time to get out?

ENGEL: It’s time to have a withdrawal from Afghanistan. I think that’s what the speech was talking about tonight. And it’s probably time to end the global war on terrorism. Think of it this way. Osama bin laden organized an attack that was carried out against the United States, New York, Pentagon, and the other aircraft, with 19 attackers, 19 guys with box cutters. An attack that’s probably cost almost nothing. And in the end, Osama bin ladin was killed by 24 Americans in helicopters. So what did we do in between? And all of the ground wars, the Iraq war, which had nothing to do with al qaeda. Afghanistan, which is going on now. Still going on. And I think that’s what I think needs to end. This chapter in our history.

Recently retired President Obama evidently agreed, as it was during that same year that he exited virtually all US troops from Iraq. The entirely predictable result had multifaceted consequences. A year ago, Boston talk radio host Michael Graham noted how having those troops there would have influenced the administration’s actions in Syria.  As Graham wrote, “Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will be viewed by history as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders of all time.” Or as Richard Fernandez posited last month, “The Obama administration has reached what one might call the ‘Pol Pot Aftermath’ of its Middle Eastern policy.”

But hey, aren’t those all acceptable results from Engel’s perspective? In 2006, Engel was quoted by Howard Kurtz, then still with the Washington Post, as saying, “I think war should be illegal. I’m basically a pacifist.”

George Orwell, call your office. In  1942, Orwell wrote, “Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other:”

Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.

It’s certainly helpful to ISIS, both in their formation to capitalize on America’s withdrawal from the region, and now, as they spread death everywhere they go. Or as Mark Steyn noted last month, “ISIS are fast-track Nazis” with a penchant for YouTube-friendly snuff films of their many victims.

But then, Engel isn’t the only Democrat operative at NBC to have a change of heart on the issue. As I quipped last month, Rachel Maddow transformed herself into a neocon so slowly, only Moe Lane happened to notice; the Red State blogger wrote:

Mind you, I agree that ISIS needs to be squashed like an absolute bug.  I just wish that I had a time machine.  It would be priceless to see the reaction on 2004-Rachel Maddow’s face when she saw video evidence that 2014-Maddow was now committing herself to a morals-based, easy-to-escalate campaign in Iraq and Syria.  Or, shoot, the look on June-2014 ‘Iraq is the new South Vietnam**!’ Maddow’s face.  Because I’m pretty sure that Maddow was kind of arguing back then that, hey, the Communist takeover worked out all right over there, hey? She certainly didn’t want to go back into Iraq then.

Seriously, this is why you pick your principles first, and then let your policy positions be informed by them.  Because when you don’t – when you pick what you want to do, and don’t bother working out why you would want to do it – then you end up like Rachel Maddow.  Because she’s not really a neoconservative, you see.  If Maddow was, she’d have a moral center to her universe that was simply better than Barack Obama wants to do this, and I trust him implicitly. And she wouldn’t be required to change her opinions every three months, because the problem here is that Barack Obama here has no moral center that’s better than I want to do this, and I trust myself implicitly.

And the mother of MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow is also vacillating wildly on the issue:

mia_farrow_then_and_now_8-30-13-2

Don’t worry though, Maddow, Engel, and others at 30 Rock have plenty of time to reassess things, depending upon who wins in 2016:

Related: Left-leaning Business Insider.com had the following headline on Friday: “White House: We’re Not At ‘War’ With ISIS.”

To paraphrase the famous aphorism often attributed to Leon Trotsky, you may not be interested in war with ISIS, but ISIS is very interested in war with you.

Quote of the Day

August 30th, 2014 - 3:26 pm

In essence, the entire establishment of a South Yorkshire town accepted that the cultural mores of Islam superseded whatever squeamishness they might otherwise have about child rape.

So now, in the new multiculti Britain, the child sex trade is back, as part of the rich, vibrant tapestry of diversity – along with Jew-hate, and honor killings, and decapitation porn. The solutions to the internal contradictions of multiculturalism are (a) David Cameron’s expanded security state; (b) Afsun Qureshi’s universal prostration before Islam; or (c) an end to mass Muslim immigration. The last is too obvious for any viable western politician ever to propose it.

“The Reformation of Manners,” Mark Steyn, who adds, “Not every Muslim wants to chop your head off. Not every Muslim wants to ‘groom’ your 11-year-old daughter. But these pathologies nest within Islam, and thrive at the intersection of Islam and the west.”

And as Brigitte Gabriel noted this summer, the peaceful majority of moderate Muslims are sadly irrelevant compared to the millions who are neither peaceful nor moderate:

The era of media that former President Obama nostalgically longs for.

Bill Clinton understandably believes his fellow Democrats with bylines “are de facto allies,” as the Washington Post put it in 2006. So when a Democrat starts crying media bias, you know he’s in big trouble. Al Gore at least waited until after the 2002 midterms to blame the media for his party’s woes at the ballot box. Ditto Frank Rich, then still with the New York Times, in December of 2010. Yesterday, the growing disconnect between former President Obama’s mouth and brain caused him to get a couple of months ahead of the curve in that department, while fundraising in upstate New York in between golf games and late-night bull sessions with actors and musicians:

President Obama on Friday said social media and the nightly news are partly to blame for the sense that “the world is falling apart.”

“I can see why a lot of folks are troubled,” Obama told a group of donors gathered at a Democratic National Committee barbecue in Purchase, N.Y.

But the president said that current foreign policy crises across the world are not comparable to the challenges the U.S. faced during the Cold War.

Acknowledging “the barbarity” of Islamist militants and Russia “reasserting the notion that might means right,” Obama, though, dismissed the notion that he was facing unprecedented challenges.

“The world’s always been messy … we’re just noticing now in part because of social media,” he said, according to a White House pool report.

As my colleague Rick Moran quips, “Hear that, you twitterers? You’ve already ruined our president’s vacation. Now you want to go and scare people half to death by reporting on events around the world? Shame on you!”

This isn’t the first time the man who wafted into the Oval Office in 2008 based on a tissue-paper thin resume and massive amounts of help from social media — and big media as well — has lashed out at social media. Obama’s words yesterday confirm an initially surprising admission from Chuck Todd (no stranger to propping up Democrat election campaigns himself) on NBC’s Meet the Press in April of last year, the day after the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

CHUCK TODD: What I wonder how many people realized at the end [of Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner] when he did his, you know, there’s always this part at the end where they get serious for a minute. And it’s usually the part where presidents say, “You know, I think the press has a good job to do and I understand what they have to do.” He didn’t say that. He wasn’t very complimentary of the press. You know, we all can do better.

It did seem, I thought his pot shots joke wise and then the serious stuff about the internet, the rise of the internet media and social media and all that stuff — he hates it. Okay? He hates this part of the media. He really thinks that the sort of the buzzification — this isn’t just about Buzzfeed or Politico and all this stuff – he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it. And I think he was trying to make that clear last night.

“He hates it. And I think he was trying to make that clear last night,” Todd would go on to say.

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Obamaville, RFD

August 29th, 2014 - 5:33 pm

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

Documents obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services reveal that the Obama administration spent $3,184,000 in taxpayer funds to produce and air national television ads promoting Democrats’ health care overhaul plan.

The ads, starring television icon Andy Griffith, were meant to educate “Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers and family members about forthcoming changes to Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act.” However, multiple media outlets, including the nonpartisan FactCheck.org, called the ads misleading.

“How Much Did Taxpayers Pay for Andy Griffith to Promote ObamaCare?”, the Blaze, December 1st, 2010.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) slammed President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and characterized him as “Barney Fife” who has “his head buried in a hole somewhere on the first green” on Thursday’s broadcast of “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.

He reacted to Obama’s announcement that the United States does not have a strategy on ISIS by saying, “He did say we don’t have a strategy, but he followed that up by saying the strategy is to nip it in the bud. Well, unfortunately it’s not in a bud, it’s full blossomed, and do you know who made that line famous? Barney Fife. We have Barney Fife running our foreign policy now.”

“Gohmert: Obama Is ‘Barney Fife’ on Foreign Policy,” Breitbart TV, yesterday.

Elia Kazan’s classic A Face in the Crowd is a good primer on Barack Obama’s rise and fall. Lonesome Rhodes [played by an astonishingly manic Andy Griffith in an early star turn -- Ed] arises out of nowhere in the 1957 film, romancing the nation as a phony populist who serially spins yarns in the most folksy ways — confident that he should never be held to account. Kazan’s point (in the film Rhodes is a patsy for conservative business interests) is that the “folks” are fickle and prefer to be charmed rather than informed and told the truth. Rhodes’s new first name, Lonesome, resonates in the film in a way that Barack does now. Finally, an open mic captures Rhodes’s true disdain for the people he champions, and his career crashes.

–”Our ‘Face in the Crowd’”, Victor Davis Hanson, August 17th, 2014.

I’d ask when we can expect the ghost of Aunt Bee to become intertwined with the hapless Obama administration, but she appears to be shilling for Elizabeth Warren these days.

Ferguson Fizzles

August 29th, 2014 - 3:41 pm

“It was televised, but it wasn’t the revolution,” Charles C. W. Cooke writes:

Michael Brown’s death remains a great mystery. The witnesses’ accounts disagree, there is confusion as to which pieces of evidence are legitimate and which are not, and the police officer at the heart of the matter has not yet spoken. In lieu of hard information, two possible routes have presented themselves: speculation or patience. By and large, the American people have opted for the latter.

Which is to say that when Harvard Law School’s Charles Ogletree proposed this week that Brown’s killing was similar to the murders of Emmett Till and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. he had it precisely backwards. The cases of Till and of King were so powerful because they were so clear-cut — because both victims were self-evidently innocent parties whose lives were publicly taken from them by hate-filled men. Michael Brown, by contrast, could still turn out to have been the villain of the piece. We simply do not know what happened. This has made it difficult for those with an agenda to profit from the case. Ambiguity does not national outrage make, nor can effective political conversations be scripted by know-nothings.

The riots, too, served only to muddy the waters. It was damaging enough to the emerging narrative that those responsible for the unrest had so prematurely determined the officer’s guilt, but it was fatal that their anger was directed at private businesses whose owners and customers were unconnected to the matter at hand. The most effective revolts are simple in nature and morally clear. Legally, it would not have been more acceptable if Ferguson’s mutineers had elected to burn down the police station or to sack the town’s courthouse. But it would have brought their complaint more clearly into focus. Rash and irresponsible as their cry of “injustice!” was, agitators were nonetheless trying to convey to the general public that they are routinely mistreated by the system — that, in other words, Michael Brown is just one of many. There are many among us who would not dismiss this claim out of hand. Most of them, however, will fail to see the connection between striking a blow for the universal rights of man and burning down a QuikTrip. It is tough to keep the attention on the participants in the fight when you have, by your actions, created another set of victims on which the newspapers may fixate.

Gee, you mean taking your protest strategy from the ending of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is a pretty stupid idea? Other than 99 percent of the American public, who knew!

Related: Rather than dwell in the lurid revenge fantasies crafted by Lee and other “Hollywood Violence Profiteers” as Michelle Malkin dubs them in her new column, “Blacks Must Confront Reality,” Walter E. Williams writes at Townhall:

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent. A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.

Unfortunately for everyone in America, the elite left cannot preach what it practices, as Charles Murray brilliantly put it, and instead, quietly practices conservative day-to-day values which they refuse to pass on to others less fortunate who would benefit from them as well:

That’s because the new upper-class has “lost self-confidence in the rightness of its own customs and values, and preaches nonjudgmentalism instead.” Non-judgementalism, he writes, “is one of the more baffling features of the new upper-class culture. The members of the new upper class are industrious to the point of obsession, but there are no derogatory labels for adults who are not industrious. The young women of the new upper class hardly ever have babies out of wedlock, but it is impermissible to use a derogatory label for non-marital births. You will probably raise a few eyebrows even if you use a derogatory label for criminals. When you get down to it, it is not acceptable in the new upper class to use derogatory labels for anyone, with three exceptions: people with differing political views, fundamentalist Christians, and rural working-class whites.”

As Marco Rubio said last month, “I was taught certain values that led me to live my life in a sequence that has a proven track record of success. In America, if you get an education, find a good job, and wait until marriage to have children, your chances of achieving economic security and professional fulfillment are incredibly high.”

But success and self-reliance don’t feed the left’s ever-growing victim-industrial complex, which helps to explain why elite leftists  can’t preach what they quietly practice amongst themselves.

It also helps to explain why, “After Hearing What a Tea Party Group Recently Did in Ferguson, You Likely Won’t Be Surprised That You Haven’t Heard About It.”

(Click here for my recent interview with Murray on his new book, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead.)

What If There’s No There There?

August 29th, 2014 - 2:58 pm

Jay Cost is asking if the clothes have no emperor, in the Weekly Standard:

Toward the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term, a friend of Vice President Bush encouraged him to think carefully about what a Bush presidency should look like. According to Time, Bush responded, “Oh, the vision thing.” Fairly or unfairly, this phrase came to characterize the Bush 41 tenure. Despite his impressive résumé spanning three decades in government, he seemed not to have a clear view of what he wanted to do.

When Barack Obama campaigned for the White House in 2008, that hardly seemed like his problem. Obama would take in the whole sweep of American history in his speeches to suggest that his candidacy was its culmination. His heavy-handed propaganda​—​from the Greek columns to Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster​—​suggested a man with a vision surplus.

In the sixth year of his presidency, it is clear that Obama does not have much of a vision at all. Sure, he is a man of the left and possesses a commitment to its goals; he thinks government should grow larger and taxes should increase. Beyond that, he does not seem to have a firm sense of the reforms he should implement, how to implement them, how he fits into the constitutional schema, what a sensible U.S. foreign policy should be or how to execute it.

This is not to say that the White House does not offer positions on the issues. We are inundated with Obama positions. We are also treated periodically to longer “think pieces” from sycophantic authors granted extraordinary access to reinforce the point that this is a president deeply engaged in the issues of the day, struggling to bring order from chaos.

Yet the constant positioning and propagandizing belie deep-rooted ambiguities in this administration, which​—​it must be noted​—​has taken flak from left and right for years. Radical academic Cornel West recently suggested that Obama is a corporatist stooge, while Rand Paul fretted about the “socialist nightmare” the president is creating. Some might think these critiques accidentally demonstrate that the president is down-the-center. More likely they point to the absence of “the vision thing.” Sometimes he’s a corporate crony, sometimes a socialist; it all depends on what side of the bed he wakes up on.

Read the whole thing. Of course, corporatism and socialism have been deeply intertwined by their very nature since the days of Otto Von Bismarck, as Jonah Goldberg noted in Liberal Fascism. And as Jonah writes in his latest G-File regarding Mr. Obama’s own lack of the vision thing:

The reality, alas, is that Obama is — and has always been — out of his depth on the international stage. Given the prestige of the presidency and the incredible institutional forces behind the office, particularly when a liberal is elected, it takes time to burn through all of the political capital that comes with the job. But Obama has been throwing that political capital on an Oval Office bonfire like so much kindling on a clean and safe Anchorage night. In yet another metaphor that threatens to burn out the dilithium crystals , the credibility inferno is reaching China Syndrome proportions (“You should have said ‘literally’ a lot! Literally means ‘pay attention to how smart my metaphors are.’ Wheeeeee!” — Joe Biden). For a depressing but brilliant analysis of this meltdown, see Bret Stephens’s piece in the new Commentary coincidentally titled “The Meltdown.”

Remember the famous SNL clip where Phil Hartman plays Ronald Reagan? He’s an amiable dunce in public, but get him behind closed doors and he’s a master strategist? Well, maybe that stuff about Obama being the liberal opposite of Reagan is true. Out in public, he seems like he’s the Chess Master (though I never saw it). But get him behind closed doors and he’s in the chair next to Biden shouting “I can spin faster than you!”

Unlike Reagan, who was a master orator at the podium, while the introverted GWB was often painfully inarticulate on the world stage (there are many, myself included, who sympathize deeply with his fear of public speaking), as left-leaning pundit Jonathan Rauch noted in the Atlantic back in 2003 in “The Accidental Radical,” Bush #43 came to Washington with a clear vision of reform, much of which came from observing the mistakes his father made, and set about executing his plan.

In his new article, Cost compares the distance between Obama’s mesmerizing performance on the campaign stump in 2008 and 2012 and behind-the-scenes, his sleepwalking haze as chief executive to FDR and LBJ, who were excellent campaigners and could shape policy behind closed doors. But FDR had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy and governor of New York before becoming president, and LBJ spent decades in both houses of Congress before circumstances thrust him into his own role as an accidental radical.

In sharp contrast to the long careers of both men, Obama made three brilliant calculations to leapfrog so quickly into the White House: One: Since the McGovern debacle, Democrats often nominate a chameleonic newcomer to the national scene onto whom they can project whatever policies they wish to advance that year. Two: Race trumps gender on the left, and a majority of Americans would be thrilled to vote for a black president, provided he wasn’t a radical far left bomb thrower in the Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson mold. And finally, even though Obama was precisely that, given the background he marinated in all his life, from his radical parents to his years at the foot of Rev. Wright, that the media would be similarly thrilled to push all of that aside for him. And he was certainly right about that:

As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough told Hugh Hewitt a couple of weeks ago, the memoirs to come from Obama White House insiders will make for astonishing reading, once the former president makes it official and leaves office:

This president wants yes men around him. And again, I hear that from my Democratic friends, I hear that from his own former chiefs of staff. If anybody steps out of line, they’re immediately insulated and pushed out. You know, I said this on set after the cameras were turned off to a couple of people who I knew wouldn’t say it on the air. I said guys, you know as well as I do that the second this administration is over, the books are going to come from former secretaries of state. The books are going to come from former chiefs of staff. The books are going to come, and this president is going to have to deal with 20-30 years of disparagement from his own side, calling him one of the least effective presidents, because he’s one of the most insulated presidents.

I suspect the material that emerges will be alternately thrilling, terrifying, and laugh-aloud funny, often within the same sentence. Not the least of which being when we discover how the famous conclusion of Robert Redford’s 1972 movie The Candidate played out in real life, once a real-life far left tyro senator won the biggest political title in the land in 2008:

Say what you will about the man, but at least until today, the one thing Obama could do reasonably well was look sharp in a suit — hence all of the “clothes have no emperor” gags, dating back to 2008 when conservative blogs attempted to warn voters, Cassandra-like in retrospect, to think twice about the national purgatory they were about to inflict upon America. (And it’s actually not a bad suit; but it is such a dreadful choice when you’re trying to project power on the world stage that you have to wonder if he chose it deliberately for that purpose. But to paraphrase Hanlon’s Razor, never attribute to conspiracy that which is adequately explained by incompetence.)

Of course, today’s tweet was only a matter of time from Esquire — after all, this is the far left magazine which declared “John Kerry: Political Badass” on its cover in June of 2004, and was so in the tank to the Democrat party, it was publishing throne-sniffing “Summer of Obama” pieces around this time in 2011:

Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, before the next batch of stupid scandals and gaffes, before Sarah Palin tries to convert her movie into reality and Joe Biden resumes his imitation of an embarrassing uncle and Newt and Callista Gingrich creep us all out, can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph. Whatever happens this fall or next, the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama.

No really, Esquire honestly allowed that to be printed, and I don’t even think they meant it at all ironically. Twenty years from now, we’re going to look back at this time in which a nation’s pundit class went absolutely insane — and no matter how badly they disclaim knowledge of their past writings, it’s up to the rest of us to preserve their glorious nonsense as a warning to future generations.

Of course, in his defense, Obama could just claim that hey, at least I wasn’t stupid enough to trust Esquire’s latest fashion advice

(That last link via Kathy Shaidle. I for one, prefer to remember a much more elegant Esquire, from a relatively more civilized time.)

Update: Also in the president’s defense, he can claim that he wasn’t stupid enough to take Vox’s sartorial advice:

Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds goes all contrarian on his readers.

By the way, Esquire speaks about being the president of Sears as if it was a bad thing.

Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?

August 28th, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

As Britain’s Malcolm Muggeridge noted a half century ago, there’s no way for any satirist to compete with real life — and real leftists — for pure absurdity.

(Of course, the moral equivalence that compares global terror with global warming is nothing new for the far left. Freud called it displacement — as did columnist Julia Gorin, when she noted the connection in 2006 in the Christian Science Monitor.)

With Obama publicly declaring that his administration has yet to formulate a plan to combat ISIS — hey those golf courses don’t play themselves when you’re on summer vacation, you know — Tony Lee of Big Government offers up a pair of nice callbacks:

After Obama accepted the nomination in front of Greek columns on August 28, 2008, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin asked, “But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot, when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan?”

Palin also predicted in 2008 that Russia could invade Ukraine if Obama became president. She was mocked for these prophetic remarks:

After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.

When Mitt Romney recently declared that Obama was even worse then he expected, Glenn Reynolds quipped, “Really? Because he’s pretty much exactly like Sarah Palin predicted.” Which makes the unexpected shot at Palin in an otherwise solid piece in the new issue of Commentary by the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Stephens on “The Meltdown” of the Obama administration rankle so much:

Should any of this have come as a surprise? Probably not: With Obama, there was always more than a whiff of the overconfident dilettante, so sure of his powers that he could remain supremely comfortable with his own ignorance. His express-elevator ascent from Illinois state senator to U.S. president in the space of just four years didn’t allow much time for maturation or reflection, either. Obama really is, as Bill Clinton is supposed to have said of him, “an amateur.” When it comes to the execution of policy, it shows.

And yet this view also sells Obama short. It should be obvious, but bears repeating, that it is no mean feat to be elected, and reelected, president, whatever other advantages Obama might have enjoyed in his races. In interviews and press conferences, Obama is often verbose and generally self-serving, but he’s also, for the most part, conversant with the issues. He may not be the second coming of Lincoln that groupies like historians Michael Beschloss (who called Obama “probably the smartest guy ever to become president”) or Robert Dallek (who said Obama’s “political mastery is on par with FDR and LBJ”) made him out to be. But neither is he a Sarah Palin, mouthing artless banalities about this great nation of ours, or a Rick Perry, trying, like Otto from A Fish Called Wanda, to remember the middle part. The myth of Obama’s brilliance paradoxically obscures the fact that he’s no fool. The point is especially important to note because the failure of Obama’s foreign policy is not, ultimately, a reflection of his character or IQ. It is the consequence of an ideology.

“Artless banalities.” Shades of how JFK’s elitist liberal inner circle turned on his successor, despite Lyndon Johnson taking all of JFK’s policies and with the Great Society, super-sizing them, Texas-style. Which was the problem: Johnson’s Texas mannerisms, southern drawl, and lack of Ivy League hauteur trumped his actual politics — which the Beltway crowd adored, but couldn’t reconcile with the artless banalities of the person advancing them, as Jeffery Lord noted a couple of years ago at the American Spectator in a piece titled, “JFK and the Death of Liberalism:”

The attitude toward Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson that was evidenced by Kennedy’s liberal leaning staff, by the Washington Georgetown set, by Washington journalists — slowly seeped into the sinews of liberalism itself.

Recall Caro’s descriptions of people who were “in love with their own sophistication,” who were “such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not.” Think of the snotty arrogance displayed as these people laughed at LBJ’s accent, his mispronunciations, his clothes, his wife (“Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop“).

Slowly, and then not so slowly, these elitist, arrogant and if not outright snotty attitudes sought out a new target during the years when LBJ was sitting in the White House — when, in the view of these people, “Uncle Cornpone and his Little Pork Chop” had replaced the King and Queen of Camelot.

That new target?

The American people themselves. They had, after all, elected LBJ in a landslide in 1964. Now Uncle Cornpone was the elected President of the United States. To make matters more unbearable, LBJ was using his newfound power and popularity to actually pass the liberal agenda of the day, which Johnson labeled “The Great Society.” Uncle Cornpone, it seemed, wasn’t such a ridiculous figure after all when it came to getting the liberal wish list through the Congress.

No one better than JFK would have known instantly what a huge mistake this elitist attitude would be. Discussing the relationship of a presidential candidate with the American people, JFK had told historian and friend Theodore H. White, author of The Making of the President series, that, in White’s re-telling, “a man running for the Presidency must talk up, way up there.” It was a principle Kennedy surely would have applied to his own party — and did so while he was president. Not from JFK was there a drop of elitist contempt — from a man who unarguably could claim the title in a blink — for his fellow countrymen.

But in a horrifying flash, JFK was gone. And the elitist tide spread.

To both sides of the aisle in the Beltway media, it seems.

Update: Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell in 2008: “Palin’s Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘extremely far-fetched scenario.’” He had plenty of company to share that bit of conventional wisdom with, including Time, Foreign Affairs, and other establishment leftist publications, as recently as earlier this year.

More Mush from the Wimp

August 28th, 2014 - 2:49 pm

“Obama REFUSES to call 1,000 Russian troops and tanks in Ukraine an ‘invasion’ and sticks to sanctions but McCain says he’s living in ‘Putin’s Orwellian universe,’” the London Daily Mail notes, reporting on the former president’s speech today. I’m not sure why the “But” is included in their headline though:

President Barack Obama refused to label Russia’s military action inside eastern Ukraine as an ‘invasion’ on Thursday, calling it an ‘incursion’ despite facing a reporter’s specific action [sic] about his choice of words.

Following a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama told reporters that the two leaders agree ‘that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine. … Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.’

‘And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.’

He insisted that the Russian tanks filmed rumbling through Ukraine on Thursday are merely ‘a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now.’

* * * * * * *

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republicans’ top dog on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reacted angrily before Obama’s brief press conference.

‘Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine can only be called one thing: a cross-border military invasion,’ he said. ‘To claim it is anything other than that is to inhabit President Putin’s Orwellian universe.’

‘A sovereign nation in the heart of Europe is being invaded by its larger neighbor,’ McCain declared. ‘This runs completely contrary to the civilized world that America and our partners have sought to build since World War II.’

Of course, as Victor Davis Hanson writes today in “Obama’s Hazy Sense of History,” the recently retired president apparently believes that postwar world was something that merely happened organically:

Obama often parrots Martin Luther King Jr.’s phrase about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice. But King used that metaphor as an incentive to act, not as reassurance that matters will follow an inevitably positive course.

* * * * * * *

A Pollyannaish belief in historical predetermination seems to substitute for action. If Obama believes that evil should be absent in the 21st century, or that the arc of the moral universe must always bend toward justice, or that being on the wrong side of history has consequences, then he may think inanimate forces can take care of things as we need merely watch.

In truth, history is messier. Unfortunately, only force will stop seventh-century monsters like the Islamic State from killing thousands more innocents. Obama may think that reminding Putin that he is now in the 21st century will so embarrass the dictator that he will back off from Ukraine. But the brutish Putin may think that not being labeled a 21st-century civilized sophisticate is a compliment.

As VDH concludes, “Obama’s naive belief in predetermined history — especially when his facts are often wrong — is a poor substitute for concrete moral action.”

And speaking of a lack of concrete moral action, “President Obama said Thursday he doesn’t have a strategy yet for defeating Islamist militants in Syria,” the Washington Times adds:

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Mr. Obama said in a news conference at the White House. “We don’t have a strategy yet. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress.”

Really, Mr. Obama will consult with Congress? Well, there’s a first time for everything I guess. (Not the least of which is the former president’s tan gaberdine suit. It’s a nice choice — if you’re hoping to project an image that says, “Hey, I’m a friendly laid-back toff enjoying this fine summer day. Say, who’s up for a few Mojitos at the bar!” And Putin, if not ISIS, will very likely understand the semiotics of the president’s rather blasé image.)

Speaking of which, if the former president does sound rather blasé about Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, or ISIS slaughtering troops and journalists and uploading videos of the carnage to YouTube, there is one foreign affairs issue that fires him up and finds him “enraged” and ready to punch back twice as hard:

In a neighborhood featuring Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran, just to name a few of the actors, President Obama was “enraged” at … Israel. That’s right, Israel–our stalwart ally, a lighthouse of liberty, lawfulness, and human rights in a region characterized by despotism, and a nation filled with people who long for peace and have done so much for so long to sacrifice for it (including repeatedly returning and offering to return its land in exchange for peace).

Yet Mr. Obama–a man renowned for his lack of strong feelings, his emotional equanimity, his disengagement and distance from events, who New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd refers to as “Spock” for his Vulcan-like detachment–is not just upset but “enraged” at Israel.

As Peter Wehner of Commentary writes, “It’s clear to me, and by now it should be to others, that there is something sinister in Barack Obama’s constant anger aimed at Israel.”

Great priorities there, Barry. By the way, if you’ve lost CNN…

Update: At Strategy Page, Austin Bay notices the timing of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine:

In August 1939  — 75 years ago this week — Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed the Hitler-Stalin Pact. In the wake of the Russo-German alliance, newspaper wits coined the term “ComunNazi.” Communist-Nazi. Yes, “red” and “brown” entwined as the dictatorships they are.

The two dictators’ legions of liars hailed the deal as a peace treaty. Peace? Eastern Europeans in the dictators’ gun sights scorned the falsehood.

“Peace in our time, ” Neville Chamberlain had proclaimed after the wretched Munich deal of 1938, which gave Hitler permission to annex slices of Czechoslovakia. Of course, when given a slice, Hitler annexed the whole.

Expansionist dictators take until stopped by superior power.

Or until blinded by really sharp lightweight bespoke summer suits, and/or the power of the #hashtag:

More: “Wish he was as angry with ISIL as he is with the GOP.”

Ahh, the catty wars of the distaff Democrat newsreaders. “Couric Accused Sawyer Of Trading Head For Headlines,” the Daily Caller quips, quoting from the err, juiciest detail from Sheila Weller’s upcoming book, The News Sorority:

It’s a battle of the female news anchors in veteran journalist Sheila Weller’s tell-all book, “The News Sorority,” which outlines the fiercely competitive careers of Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour. Though the book doesn’t hit shelves for a full month, its revelations are prematurely exploding everywhere.

The Daily Beast published some highlights, and perhaps the most shocking is how Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer allegedly fought for exclusive stories:

“When Diane beat Katie on an interview with a 57-year-old woman who’d given birth to twins, Katie mused aloud, according to a person who heard the comment: ‘I wonder who she blew this time to get it.’”

And speaking of whom, “As Diane Sawyer Signs-Off, a Look Back at Her Fawning Chats With Repressive Dictators,” from Scott Whitlock of NewsBusters:

World News anchor and long-time ABC journalist Diane Sawyer signed off for the last time on Wednesday night. The host’s final show included a music montage as she offered a behind the scenes look at how the program is created. Sawyer praised World News as “the flag ship broadcast of ABC where Peter Jennings created a signature of such curiosity and courage.”

Talking to viewers, Sawyer said of the people behind her show: “Determination and the certainty of purpose: They’re doing it for you.” [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Sawyer joined ABC in 1989 and if there’s been one constant during her long career, it’s been fawning, credulous reporting on dictators. On February 19, 2008, she cooed over Fidel Castro: “From a tiny island, a larger than life personality….Castro knew life is a stage and played the part of the dashing revolutionary, coming to New York, getting rock star treatment.”

Here are some of Sawyer’s most gushing reporting on repressive regimes, starting off with a trip to North Korea:

Whitlock notes that while meeting with a group of young brainwashed North Korean students, Sawyer described them as living in “a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want our viewers to have to deal with too much of that unruly American individualism! And Diane’s rival Katie Couric certainly doesn’t — just a reminder, during Thanksgiving week in November of 2009, as the late Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters spotted back then, Couric used a rewritten version of “The Night Before Christmas” to plump for Obamacare:

Twas just weeks before Christmas and what do you know

Senate Democrats are once again praying for Snowe.

They won 60 votes to start the debate

But they’re back to square one and the just have to wait.

Wait for Blue Dogs like Nelson and Lincoln

Who say a public option would mean the economy sinkin’.

Wait for Joe Lieberman who says it won’t pass

And hope Mary Landrieu can change her mind fast.

The Republican votes right now total zero

But a trigger could make one woman a hero.

The moderate who hails from the land way up north

Could save Harry Reid’s Christmas with a deal she brought forth.

Urging government plans for when private ones fail

To think: both sides happy, can both sides prevail?

At this point no compromise looms within sight

That means after Thanksgiving it’s on with the fight.

Enjoy your turkey and know we’ll be here

To help make this tough topic just a little more clear.

Gosh, and to think viewers tuned her out droves shortly thereafter — I wonder why?

And finally, from the world of distaff Democrats with bylines, Rachel Maddow transformed herself into a neocon so slowly, only Moe Lane happened to notice:

Mind you, I agree that ISIS needs to be squashed like an absolute bug.  I just wish that I had a time machine.  It would be priceless to see the reaction on 2004-Rachel Maddow’s face when she saw video evidence that 2014-Maddow was now committing herself to a morals-based, easy-to-escalate campaign in Iraq and Syria.  Or, shoot, the look on June-2014 ‘Iraq is the new South Vietnam**!’ Maddow’s face.  Because I’m pretty sure that Maddow was kind of arguing back then that, hey, the Communist takeover worked out all right over there, hey? She certainly didn’t want to go back into Iraq then.

Seriously, this is why you pick your principles first, and then let your policy positions be informed by them.  Because when you don’t – when you pick what you want to do, and don’t bother working out why you would want to do it – then you end up like Rachel Maddow.  Because she’s not really a neoconservative, you see.  If Maddow was, she’d have a moral center to her universe that was simply better than Barack Obama wants to do this, and I trust him implicitly. And she wouldn’t be required to change her opinions every three months, because the problem here is that Barack Obama here has no moral center that’s better than I want to do this, and I trust myself implicitly.

Presumably Maddow is simply returning to the opinion she and the rest of the American left held in 1998:

Let’s give Diane Sawyer the exit quote, which connects the dots on this post rather nicely. “You know, I wanted to sit on a jury once and I was taken off the jury. And the judge said to me, ‘Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?’ And I said, ‘That’s what journalists do.’ And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I’ve ever had.”

News You Can Use

August 27th, 2014 - 7:17 pm

And/or your Quote of the Day:

Instead of propagandizing young people with the fear-mongering lie how a homeless person is just the same as anyone else but for a few bad breaks, Miley would have done our culture a greater service by having her prop (let’s be real, he wasn’t really her date) admit to all of the awful life choices he made that led him to living on the streets.

How about this for a speech:

I’m homeless and I’m living on the streets and I don’t want this to happen to you. So don’t do what I did. Don’t break into an apartment, don’t smoke pot, don’t break parole. Get an education and have a solid and dependable plan for a job. Don’t move to LA (one of the most expensive cities in the country) and don’t try to be a model (one of the most unreliable professions in the world.)  

Live right. Get an education. Get a real job.  

It may not be a formula for fame and fortune, but it’s a formula for not being homeless.

“Miley’s Date Deserves To Be Homeless,” Larry O’Connor, the Washington Free Beacon, today.

“CNN: Hey, Our Suspicious Shooting Audio with More Shots than a Battle in Fallujah Might Be Real!”, Bryan Preston quips at the PJ Tatler:

Well, this is funny — and a little too representative of today’s so-called mainstream media.

So CNN was asking two guys who know nothing about the case to speculate about an unconfirmed alleged audio from an unidentified man.

The experts both expressed their strong doubts that the audio was real.

The CNN time-waster had a strong rebuttal, though.

After the first guest says it’s most likely a hoax, and might just be a Howard Stern prankster, he allows, more out of politeness than conviction, “But it could be real.”

And it could very easily be fake. No one knows, which is the point.

Bryan lists several reasons why CNN should have been suspicious about the audio — the one that jumped out at me on his list was “No one on the recording reacts to the supposed gun shots,” which if they’re loud enough to be picked up on audio, had to have been even louder in person. If you’re on the phone and hear gun shots — even a car backfiring — human emotion would force even the most intent hot chatter away from his reverie to respond, “Geez, what was that??” Plus, “There are at least ten audible ‘shots,’ more than any autopsy of Michael Brown has revealed (Officer Wilson may have missed some, but police will know from the number of shell casings at the scene, testimony, etc).”

Rather than vet the audio before airing, CNN of course rushed it out and just about put in a loop yesterday; from their ratings-hungry perspective, the “timing of the release made perfect sense,” John Nolte notes at Big Journalism:

The leftwing network dropped the audio the day after treating the funeral of Michael Brown as though he was a head of state. With the death porn concluded and the Ferguson streets quiet, CNN needed to fill the race-baiting vacuum with something.

This is the second time CNN has been unforgivably irresponsible with audio. Using unintelligible audio of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, CNN falsely claimed Zimmerman had described Trayvon Martin as a “f**ing coon” before fatally shooting the teenager. CNN not only fabricated this evidence against Zimmerman, after it was proven Zimmerman didn’t use the racial slur, CNN continued to lie to its audience and claim he had.

“Credit CNN for self-auditing,” P.J. Gladnick adds at NewsBusters, “but only after the fact. Their vetting capabilities still remain incredibly woeful. It was only this past Sunday that they got pranked for the umpteenth time by [infamous Howard Stern show fan, Captain Janks aka Tom Cipriano] while they were covering the Napa earthquake in California.”

Yesterday, in my post titled “How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers,” I mentioned that the late Ginny Carroll, of the then-Washington Post-owned Newsweek, admitted on C-SPAN that during the 1992 Republican Convention, she wore a button that said, “Yeah, I’m with the Media — Screw You.” Carroll was as a bureau chief for Newsweek in first Detroit and then Houston — no doubt her professionalism, or the lack thereof, filtered down to the employees there who reported to her.

On Twitter today, Howard Mortman of C-SPAN spotted my post and pointed me to this clip from C-SPAN’s archives of Carroll and other Democrat operatives with bylines fuming to segment host Brian Lamb about how they were treated by delegates at the 1992 Republican Convention. It’s a brilliant example of journalists dropping the mask and demonstrating both their undeserved hauteur and their visible loathing of their customers:

“My reaction to that button [`Rather Biased'] and others, in part, is a button I bought yesterday that says `Yeah, I’m In The Media, Screw You!’….I do understand why a lot of people are upset with us, why we rank somewhere between terrorists and bank robbers on the approval scale. We do criticize. That’s part of our role. Our role is not just to parrot what people say, it’s to make people think. I think that sometimes I want to say to the electorate `Grow up!’”

When Matt Drudge became the first person to very visibly take advantage of the newfound freedom of the Internet, the revulsion that the MSM demonstrated towards him in the late 1990s was visceral. This pattern would be followed by how the MSM responded to the launch of the Blogosphere a few years later, and then the Tea Party.

And they wonder why many on the right cheer when there’s news of fresh disaster concerning old media. This clip and others like it, such as this example featuring the late Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace sneering at the US military, are reminders of how much the MSM despises their readers — and much of America in general. Just ask them.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage created using a modified Shutterstock.com file.)

Tom Brokaw, NBC Execs Fuming at New Boss

August 27th, 2014 - 12:27 pm

“NBC News president Deborah Turness had to apologize after infuriating top execs and talent by announcing the network news organization had been asleep for 15 years:”

Turness, who came to the job from Britain’s ITV News one year ago, dropped the tactless clanger in a New York Times interview on Sunday, saying, “NBC News hadn’t kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years . . . I think the organization had gone to sleep.”

Sources tell us Tom Brokaw, managing editor and anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News” from 1982 until 2004, Turness’ predecessor Steve Capus (NBC News president from 2005 to 2013 and now executive producer of “CBS Evening News”) and CNN chief Jeff Zucker “are apoplectic” over Turness’ remark.

One network insider fumed, “Turness is making enemies. Her ‘asleep’ comment is incredibly disrespectful to many of NBC’s top journalists, especially Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, and her predecessors Steve Capus, Andy Lack, Neal Shapiro and Jeff Zucker.”

Damn straight — just look at the brilliant product that NBC puts on on a regular basis — and how tightly edited is. I mean, we’re talking down to the sentence here:

Its investigative resources always on the alert to uncover the dirt voters need to know about political poseurs on the eve of a critical election:

And then there’s the professionalism of its hosts, growing by leaps and bounds every day:

How does Furness improve upon that? This is the finest product NBC has put out since the glory days of Fred Silverman in the late 1970s:

Product so good, its ratings should be investigated!

You Stay Classy, Zara Clothing

August 27th, 2014 - 11:49 am

And by “classy,” read: grotesquely anti-Semitic:

I missed the memo — who set the world’s clock back to 1939?

Spot the Correlation

August 26th, 2014 - 11:48 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

 

Earlier: How to Lose Friends and Alienate Customers.

Related: “If I have understood this ridiculous situation correctly, the EPA is now in a position in which it may have to admit in court that some of its previous official statements about ocean acidification were not supported by available evidence.”

And from Roger L. Simon: “Climate Change to the Rescue?”

“Vox.com’s Matt Yglesias wants you to know that he’s ‘no angel,’” as spotted by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, who reads Vox.com so you don’t have to:

I had an “encounter” with the police when I was eighteen and getting ready to head off to college. . . .

I also dabbled in drugs and alcohol. Even used Swisher Sweets to roll blunts from time to time. For that matter, I also did some shoplifting. Got caught one time by a security guard at the K-Mart on Astor Place who confiscated the stuff I’d stolen and yelled at me a bunch. So I suppose that, when an undercover officer came upon me and two friends smoking cigarettes and drinking beer on a park bench that night, he could have shot us dead.

As Taranto quips, “We’d like Glenn Kessler or somebody to fact-check these claims. Why should we think Vox has street cred if it doesn’t have any other kind of cred?”

Fact checking is always necessary when ever Matt Yglesias speaks or sets fingers to a keyboard. Just ask Matt Yglesias:

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

Breaking News from 1987

August 26th, 2014 - 8:04 pm

“Al Sharpton Is a Huge Fraud,” shouts…Vice.com?

Sharpton’s tardiness in denouncing police militarization is perhaps partly explainable by the fact that, per his own reckoning, he literally operates as a proxy for the Feds—namely the Obama administration. CBS’s 60 Minutes reported on this posture as such: “He’s decided not to criticize the president about anything, even black unemployment that’s twice the national rate.” Since acquiring his own MSNBC show, Sharpton—a former FBI informant, it was revealed in April—has regularly glommed onto highly charged controversies (such as the killing of Trayvon Martin) by presenting himself as a sort of de facto emissary between the White House and the “community” he purports to represent.

Sharpton postures as a fearless critic of state violence, but one can’t simultaneously be an honest broker about what’s going on in Ferguson—the federal government at Obama’s direction is complicit in extreme terror, escalation, and civil liberties infringements—while simultaneously affirming that the chief executive of the federal government ought to be off limits for scrutiny.

“Sharpton has a long and well-documented history of leveraging his civil rights profile for his own benefit,” journalist Wayne Barrett, who chronicled his travails for 37 years at the Village Voice, wrote on the sordid occasion of Sharpton’s 2011 ascension to the 6 PM MSNBC time slot, replacing Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks. Uygur had garnered excellent ratings in the preceding months, so the removal seemed somewhat puzzling—until Uygur revealed that network executives summoned him to a cartoonishly melodramatic closed-door meeting in which they issued a threat: Think twice before saying anything that might upset certain unnamed “people in Washington.” Uygur didn’t do that, and not long thereafter, he was replaced by Sharpton, a reliable peddler of pro-administration talking points.

Gee fellas, what took you so long to notice?

(Incidentally, who at NBC isn’t a reliable peddler of pro-administration talking points?)

Update: “MSNBC Continues Ratings Slide Despite Sharpton, Ferguson.” As James Taranto quips, responding to Newsmax’s headline, “Fox Butterfield, Is That You?”