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Ed Driscoll

Liberal Fascism

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

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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.

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.”

“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.

Quote of the Day

July 25th, 2014 - 5:52 pm

So, I’m skeptical of the death penalty’s administration because the criminal justice system is a disaster. But, assuming guilt, I don’t really care much about the morality of killing people. The nation-state is all about killing people. Its sole reason for existing is that it’s better at killing people in large numbers than any other form of human organization. If you don’t like the idea of the state killing people, you don’t like the idea of the state. If you don’t realize this, it’s because your thinking is confused.

—Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com, today.

‘Obama: Stop Me Before I Invade Iraq!’

July 25th, 2014 - 4:04 pm

As Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page, “This is probably one of the more confusing stories to come out of a completely confused administration:”

The Obama administration is calling on Congress to fully repeal the war authorization in Iraq to ensure that no U.S. troops return to the country, which is under siege by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

White House national security adviser Susan Rice petitioned Speaker of the House John Boehner (R., Ohio) in a letter Friday to completely repeal the war authorization, officially known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq, or AUMF.

“With American combat troops having completed their withdrawal from Iraq on December 18, 2011, the Iraq AUMF is no longer used for any U.S. government activities and the administration fully supports its repeal,” Rice wrote. “Such a repeal would go much further in giving the American people confidence that ground forces will not be sent into combat in Iraq.”

Wait, the Obama administration is actually claiming it will cooperate with a GOP-led Congress? Perhaps they could demonstrate their sincerity by first complying with its subpeonas. I know — I keed, I keed.

In the meantime, Greenfield has the perfect metaphor for this latest absurdity from the administration led by the recently retired President Obama. (Language alert, for obvious reasons. Please address all complaints to Mel Brooks and/or Warner Brothers Pictures, a division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO):

Obama-VW-Lemon-Parody-8-6-10

“The very expensive death of the Chevy Volt,” as diagnosed by John Hayward at Breitbart.com:

I’ve been a student of the Chevy Volt electric-car debacle since the first time I took a stab at figuring out the actual per-unit cost of each car, with the subsidies figured in.  The thing launched with a sticker price of $41,000, but direct state and federal subsidies – i.e. taxpaying chumps forced at gunpoint to pay for part of your shiny new electric car – could take it down to $33,500 or less.  But if you figured in all the subsidies those taxpayer chumps were forced to give manufacturers, they really cost at least $81,000 apiece.  You paid $33k or so, while people who will never drive a Volt, and maybe never buy a Chevy, covered the rest.

Later Voltologists suggested I was being far too generous to this boondoggle, because the subsidies indirectly drawn into production of the vehicle and its battery were far larger than the direct nuts-and-bolts subsidies I was counting.  It has been suggested the real unit cost was closer to $200,000 per car.

Hayward goes on to note:

Well, here we are in 2014, and it can be decisively stated that skyrocketing Volt sales are not in the cards.  In fact, Detroit News reports that the European version of the Vault is being scrapped completely.  As for domestic sales…

Volt sales have also struggled and never met GM’s initial forecasts for sales growth.

Volt sales fell 34 percent in June in the United States to 1,777 and are down 12.6 percent this year to 8,615. GM cut prices of its plug-in hybrid Volt last year. It’s also offering hefty incentives for its slow-selling plug-in Cadillac ELR, which has sold just 390 vehicles in the first half of the year.

Last September, then GM CEO Dan Akerson told The Detroit News the automaker would take on upstart EV automaker Tesla Motors. Akerson said the Detroit automaker plans to confront Tesla via its Cadillac brand.

“If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac,” he said.

Yes, and you want to do it with your own money, you corporate parasite.  What’s the big strategy for the crippled Volt taking down the arthritic Tesla in the Who-Gives-A-Damn electric car micro-market?

While GM will cheerfully continue rake in tax payer dollars to build their hybrids, their deep down sense of shame is perhaps reflected in their recent ad for the coal-powered Cadillac, whose strutting theme is the antithesis of the welfare state, corporate and otherwise:

Whitewashing Israel

July 25th, 2014 - 1:18 pm

“Mainstream-media outlets in the West love to run photographs of Palestinians, typically looking sympathetic in the ruins of bombed-out buildings. On the rare occasions when editors include photos of Israelis, the images bear a striking similarity to one another: All the people in them are white,” Nathaniel Zelinsky writes:

In reality, Israelis — including thousands of soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — are not uniformly white or even Jewish. Consider the commander of the Golani Brigade, one of the country’s elite infantry units, currently fighting in Gaza as part of Operation Protective Edge. Colonel Rasan Alian is an Arab Druse who has served in the IDF for over two decades. Recently wounded in the eye and hospitalized, he returned to the front lines as quickly as he could to lead his men. In Alian’s own words, quoted in the Israeli press, “I want to go back to Gaza, and get to as many terrorists as possible.”

Do you find it intriguing that an Arab abhors Hamas and has spent 20 years of his life defending the Jewish state? Well, CNN doesn’t. Its investigative journalists prefer to malign Israelis as “scum.” Apparently Rasan Alian just isn’t a compelling story.

Or what about Chief Warrant Officer Baynesian Kasahun and Staff Sergeant Moshe Malko, two of the Israeli soldiers tragically killed in combat? They are both black. In fact, peruse the entire list of those who have given their lives to stop Hamas’s reign of terror. There is a lot of diversity there.

Funny how the MSM, which is obsessed with skin color, can’t see its diversity when it comes to those whose ideology they despise.

Obamacare’s Orwellian Godfather

July 25th, 2014 - 12:37 pm

“‘He who controls the past controls the future,’ observed George Orwell. ‘He who controls the present controls the past.’ This, in one pithy, symmetrical little maxim, has been the story of Obamacare from its conception to the present day,” Charles C.W. Cooke writes at NRO:

Today, we are witnessing the fall from grace of the progressive health-care wonk, Jonathan Gruber, a primary architect of Obamacare who is renouncing his previous testimony with all the giddy enthusiasm of a veteran clerk in the Kruschev administration. Once upon a time, Gruber was admirably honest on the subject of how his creation worked, and what it did and did not permit the federal government to achieve. On a tour of the country in 2012, Gruber urged recalcitrant states to set up their own health insurance exchanges, explaining in no uncertain terms the consequences of their declining to do so. A video unearthed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute shows Gruber not merely laying out how the law works, but why it works as it does. “What’s important to remember politically about” Obamacare, Gruber explains, in what he happily refers to as a “verifiable, objective” presentation, “is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” Why not? Because, while the federal government is permitted to establish an exchange per se, it is not permitted to offer any tax subsidies through it. “The law,” Gruber records flatly, “says if the states don’t provide [the exchanges], the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it.” This, Gruber contended, was a “blatant enough political reality,” and one that he hoped would be enough for states to “get their act together and recognize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges” — billions of dollars, he went to great lengths to clarify, that would not be available through a federal exchange. No state exchange, he explained, no money.

“Fast forward a year or so, though, and you will see Gruber radically change his tune,” Cooke writes, adding, “We have always been at war with Eastasia.” Read the whole thing.

But then, we have always been at war with Eastasia:

‘Make that Juicebox a Double’

July 25th, 2014 - 11:30 am

As Twitchy reported, a video showing Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admitting in 2012 that residents of states that don’t establish their own health insurance exchanges won’t receive Obamacare subsidies has been making the rounds and sticking in liberals’ already-crowded craws. But as we all know, it’s not really a party until Ezra Klein shows up. Fortunately for us, the King of the JuiceVoxers didn’t disappoint:”

ezra_klein_juicebox_meltdown_7-25-14-1

Click to enlarge schadenfreude.

But actually, someone did tell Ezra:

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Oh, and Matt’s surprised he got played as well. “Definitely a weird thing that happened!”

 

“Let me save you a bunch of time: All the news overseas is bad this morning. Bad, bad, bad,” Jim Geraghty writes:

Breaking news out of Algeria:

An Air Algeria-operated MD83 carrying 116 passengers and crew disappeared en route from Burkina Faso in Africa to Algiers, the aircraft’s owner said.

The plane, which took off in the west African country shortly after midnight, was supposed to land at 05:10 a.m. local time, Swiftair, a charter company based in Spain said in a statement today. The plane carried 110 passengers and six crew.

“There has been no contact with the plane until now,” Swiftair said. “Emergency teams and the company’s personnel are working to figure out what happened and will notify people as further information is available.”

Ukraine: “While Kiev made significant advances against rebels in the country’s east in recent days, Ukrainian and U.S. officials say Russian weapons are continuing to pour over the border. The escalation in fighting suggests Russian President Vladimir Putin has no intention of dialing back his support for the separatists, denting Western hopes that international attention from the airliner crash would force him to change course.”

In contrast, a “tiny bit of good news” spotted by Jim out of Israel…

“Under pressure from Israeli and American officials, the Federal Aviation Administration lifted a temporary ban on flights by American carriers to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport late on Wednesday night.” The European airlines are reinstating flights.

…Followed by more grim news from Europe, which reads like the continent is reverting back to 1930s-era antisemitism.

Meanwhile, Time magazine, as Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air, is running the following cover:

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Naturally, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO has a serious case of amnesia as to how we got here. To refresh their memory, here’s the man they propped up in 2008 holding a copy of Time columnist and CNN droning head Fareed Zakaria’s then new book, which portrayed the brave new “Post-American World” as if it were a good thing. Here’s CNN clearing a path for Barack Obama in mid-2008 via “The Wright-Free Zone”:

In November of 2008, even before he took office, Time magazine declared Barack Obama the next FDR. Apparently, now Time-Warner-CNN-HBO is surprised to see a similar amount of moral relativity from this president in regards to Russia and Putin as FDR displayed towards Stalin and the Soviet Union.

No one perhaps more so than Candy Crowley of CNN, who asked Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) if she “believes that U.S Russian relations are now at cold war levels.”

Feinstein responded yes.

Gee, who knew?

And who did everything she could to derail Romney’s chances in 2012? But of course:

I’m not sure which is worse — Time-Warner-CNN-HBO feigning surprise that the world has ended up as ugly as it has during the administrations that they greased the skids for twice, or their amnesia regarding their complicity. But in any case, today’s news of fresh disaster was sadly all too predictable — and avoidable.

Update: “How Our World Fell Apart,” from Ed Klein at Townhall. For my interview earlier this week with Ed, click here.

Well, of course. But it’s always nice to have confirmation:

“The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task,” according to a new study, “The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems,” from Duke University and the University of Munich. The team of researchers concluded this after working with 259 participants from Berlin who grew up on opposite sides of the infamous wall.

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

The results were that “East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall,” leaving the researchers to conclude the “the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens’ basic morality.”

And then there’s the game that asks: who goes national socialist? 

Popular during the predecessor regime to the former East and West Germany and increasingly en vogue today.

Update: QED.

Tweet of the Day

July 23rd, 2014 - 4:40 pm

As one person writes on Twitter, “Netanyahu’s expression in this photo with John Kerry speaks for all sane human beings who see through the bullsh**.”

Related: “Kerry to Mother of Fallen IDF Soldier: ‘How’s Your Day?’”

Dispatches from Airstrip One

July 23rd, 2014 - 3:50 pm

“Did I Hear This Correctly? (From the BBC Files),” a Ricochet poster asks:

Was just watching BBC World News which I do when seeking the Global Left line on the news.  According to the BBC, the “International Community” (who are those guys?) have two demands:

1.  Ukrainian separatists must stop launching missiles which threaten commercial aircraft and the Russians must stop supplying such missiles.

2.  Israel must stop attacking those who are launching missiles which threaten commercial aircraft.  No mention as to what those who are supplying such missiles should do.

It’s not at all a coincidence that Orwell was inspired to create the “Ministry of Truth” and Room 101 from his days at the BBC.

Or that the BBC views 1984 as a how-to guide:

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

● “Univision anchor: No government should be in the business of deporting children.”

—Headline, Hot Air.com, yesterday.

“‘No business should ever have to turn away customers’: Nathan Fielder reveals how liquor stores can sell alcohol to minors LEGALLY.”

—Headline, the London Daily Mail today, linking to a Comedy Central skit.

Obviously, one of these headlines is a cable TV star playing a TV anchor befuddled by reality as the rest of the world knows it — the other is a headline that was sponsored by Comedy Central.

In any case, the advice proffered by future Senator John Blutarsky seems highly apropos right now given the state of the country and its media overlords.

“It’s a genuine pleasure to watch Trey Gowdy work,” Jim Treacher writes. “Why should he bother to hide his contempt for someone who holds such obvious contempt for the truth, and for United States taxpayers?”

Meanwhile,  Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings — who doesn’t know the names of the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee –  “calls for end to ‘public harassment’ of IRS chief John Koskinen,” Glenn Reynolds notes, adding that “Naming and shaming is all we’ve got, when the machinery of government has been totally politicized.”