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Ed Driscoll

Oh, That Liberal Media!

This is CNN

September 18th, 2014 - 2:45 pm

After a few drams of Balvenie:

 

It’s Real, And It’s Spectacular

September 18th, 2014 - 1:21 am

Upside: Maureen Dowd has written her first column since the Lewinsky era that anyone remembers. Downside: She made the after-effects of eating a candy bar laced with grass sound like something out of a William Burroughs novel. A reminder that “Consume Responsibly” is also excellent advice for those remaining New York Times readers as well.

‘Democrats Turn on Debbie Wasserman Schultz’

September 17th, 2014 - 4:51 pm

With a headline like that in Democrat house organ The Politico, you know DWS is in hot water with BHO and the rest of the DNC:

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most.

Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two recent public flubs: criticizing the White House’s handling of the border crisis and comparing the tea party to wife beaters.

The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda.

She’s become a liability to the DNC, and even to her own prospects, critics say.

As anyone whose seen her TV performances can attest — even in scripted, DNC-friendly environments such as MSNBC — Debbie Downer has always been her own worst liability, as these juicy details spotlight:

In 2012, Wasserman Schultz attempted to get the DNC to pay for her clothing at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, multiple sources say, but was blocked by staff in the committee’s Capitol Hill headquarters and at President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago.

She asked again around Obama’s inauguration in 2013, pushing so hard that Obama senior adviser — and one-time Wasserman Schultz booster — Valerie Jarrett had to call her directly to get her to stop. (Jarrett said she does not recall that conversation.) One more time, according to independent sources with direct knowledge of the conversations, she tried again, asking for the DNC to buy clothing for the 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Debbie denies the charges of course; no word yet if she told Politico that they’ve been “Myzled” regarding her. But in any case, to sum up the new article:

As Dan Riehl adds, “At this point it seems fair to speculate that she’s either going to be gone soon, or this is only going to get worse for her, as well as more ugly.”

With the midterms less than two months out, the timing of this new hit piece is fascinating. There’s plenty of talk recently about the Republicans blowing their chances to recapture the Senate in November. But the Politico hitting DWS from the left indicates a lot of disarray in the Democrats’ camp this fall.

Update: Pile on!

“Shylock & Wongs*: 3 Incidents of Democrat Bigotry In 3 Weeks — Media Mum,” as spotted by John Nolte at Big Journalism:

Wednesday, no less than Vice President Joe Biden used the widely-known Jewish slur “shylock.”

Just last week, a white male Democrat gubernatorial running against incumbent Republican Susana Martinez claimed the Hispanic Governor “does not have a Latino [sic] heart.

Only a few weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made two racist Asian “jokes” in front of a predominantly Asian crowd.

This isn’t the first time Reid and Biden have been caught expressing their bigoted, backwards views.

In 2010, Harry Reid said “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK.” In 2008, Reid said that Obama, was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”

In 2006, while campaigning for the presidency, Biden said, “In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”

High-ranking Democrats who have a history of bigotry just keep hurling it without paying any sort of political price in the unbiased, objective, not-at-all liberal media.

Democrats sure got it good.

Why, it’s almost as if those covering them — and covering for them — in the MSM are actually Democrat operatives with bylines themselves.

* Shylock & Wongs should not be confused with Ginsberg & Wong’s, which fused Chinese and deli food and were located in the lobbies of Hyatt House hotels, and used to have the best, greasiest, giant-sized cheddar cheese hamburgers and corned beef & pastrami sandwiches in the late 1970s and 1980s.

nyt_shylock_tweet_9-17-14

I’m not sure which is worse, if New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro is lying that he doesn’t know what a Shylock is to protect Joe Biden — or if he really didn’t know what the term meant when he wrote above tweet. In any case, as this unsigned article at the Washington Free Beacon notes:

New York Times political reporter Michael Barbaro took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his confusion over a recent controversy in which Vice President Joe Biden employed the anti-Semitic term “shylock” in a speech.

“Raise your hand if you were not familiar with the word ‘Shylock’ before it became a controversy in past 24 hours?” Barbaro tweeted to his followers, prompting much ridicule.

Biden employed the historically offensive and anti-Semitic word in a speech Tuesday. He was forced to apologize early Wednesday after he came under criticism from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and others.

Barbaro, purportedly a trained journalist and political expert, had apparently never heard the word before or come across it in literature. Twitter users immediately ridiculed the reporter for his ignorance. “And you admit that?” tweeted author Ben Cohen.

The Beacon claims their paper mailed Barbaro a hard copy edition of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice “for his further edification.”

Assuming that Barbaro was telling the truth (which is less and less the default position with the MSM, as they are self-admitting with increasing frequency), his admission dovetails remarkably well with another recent article at his place of employment. When I wrote my post on Monday on the Times’ culpability in regards to what Barbaro’s fellow Timesman Roger Cohen dubbed America and the world’s “Great Unraveling,” I wondered if Cohen’s reference to Kipling at the end of his article would go past many New York Times readers, given how PC modern education has become. Did Barbaro, age 34 or 35, who graduated from Connecticut’s Hamden Hall Country Day School in 1998 and Yale in 2002, miss the classes on Shakespeare, or was he no longer taught in high school by the mid-1990s?

We know the Bard is being taught less and less in the 21st century, as Andrew Klavan noted at the start of the year:

City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald is one of the best reporters in the country, one of our most courageous writers and a consistently moral voice. Last year, she gave the Manhattan Institute’s prestigious Wriston Lecture and last Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published an adaptation of that lecture under the headline “The Humanities Have Forgotten Their Humanity.” A fuller version of this brilliant piece will be in CJ’s Winter number. Get your hands on it. Read it.

Heather Mac begins by noting that the leftist academic buffoons at UCLA no longer require that the university’s English majors read Shakespeare, Chaucer or Milton. They do, however, require these students take courses in leftist theories on gender, race, ethnicity and other meaningless subjects whose names I slept through.

In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton or Shakespeare, but the department was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class.”

In still other words, the people tasked with teaching our young about the past have drowned out the voices of the past with their own voices. Their own whiny, unwise, small-minded and bitter voices.

Read on for how today’s low state of American elite culture was anticipated by England’s similar cultural collapse under socialist rule after World War II. In his 1999 book The Abolition of Britain Peter Hitchens wrote, “Just as Evelyn Waugh had once suggested that the Labour government of 1945 was similar to living under foreign occupation, [novelist Kingsley Amis] suggested that the trashing of our culture and literacy were so severe that only a ruthless foreign invader could possibly make them worse:”

A real occupation would almost certainly have produced a resistance, the circulation of banned texts and the holding of secret religious services. But a country which ploughs under its own culture, without violence or open suppression, has no such resistance. The objects of the attack are unaware that they are under attack, and there are no martyrs, no persecution to bring resistance into being.

Incidentally, I like the black sunglasses that Barbaro wears in his Twitter profile — they project the requisite “I’m in the media, screw you” vibe, and simultaneously illustrate how much information is blocked before it reaches yet another exquisitely-cocooned Timesman.

Update: Scott Johnson of Power Line asks, “Hath not a Timesman cultural literacy?” Heh.™

Report: CNN’s Crossfire Begins Dumping Staff

September 16th, 2014 - 4:52 pm

Man, I’m going to miss seeing Pat Buchanan and  Michael Kinsley trading barbs on a TV show together.

Oh wait, that was back in the early 1990s, the last time I actually watched Crossfire on a voluntary basis (as opposed to being forced to watch CNN in an airport departure lounge or while riding a gym treadmill). And since nobody else has watched its recent reboot either, Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller writes that Crossfire will soon be extinguished:

A publicist from CNN describes it like this: “The program is on extended hiatus.”

Most importantly, sources say staffers from “Crossfire” are being absorbed into “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” In fact, CNN personnel from other shows are making room for staffers from “Crossfire.”

Behind the scenes, CNN is allegedly saying the show may make yet another comeback.

Quick question for CNN: If you no longer have a dedicated staff for a show, how is that still a show?

CNN’s “Crossfire” took an eight-year hiatus but resurfaced in September, 2013 with Newt Gingrich, S.E. Cupp, Stephanie Cutter and Van Jones. But the show has never caught on. During the missing Malaysian airliner coverage, the program was routinely dropped for news for lengthy periods of time.

So a show with a former(?) 9/11 Truther was replaced by a show whose host speculated on-air that Flight 370 may have disappeared into a black hole. Killer journalism there, fellas.

And since we’re discussing CNN, let’s check in on how an alumnus of its spin-off network Headline News is riding out his “pariah” status these days:

Despite his pariah status, Beck still has enough loyal disciples to launch a book, Oprah-style, to the top of the charts. In addition to his 6.75 million radio listeners, 400,000 subscribers fork over $99.95 a year to watch his TV channel.

That was spotted by Glenn Reynolds yesterday in the establishment left National Journal — which no doubt wishes it had the same level of “pariah” status as Beck — not to mention his $80 million annual earnings.

Another Neil deGrasse Tyson bollocksed up science anecdote, as emailed to me by PJM’s own David Steinberg:

“During the heat of the space race in the 1960s, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ballpoint pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of approximately $1 million US. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth. The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.”

Neil deGrasse TysonSpace Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

It certainly sounds like Tyson is implying that NASA put US taxpayers on the hook for [insert Dr. Evil voice] one meeeeeeelion dollars rather than using a cheap, simple pencil. Except that according to Tyson’s fellow leftists at Snopes.com, the Fisher company designed their famous Space Pen with a pressurized ink cartridge (that once found itself a running gag in a classic Seinfeld episode) entirely on their own, and then presented it to NASA, which the space agency then purchased from Fisher at a small fee per pen. And as Snopes notes, it’s not necessarily a good thing to be using a pencil in the confined space of a zero-G space capsule in the first place:

Both U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts initially used pencils on space flights, but those writing instruments were not ideal: pencil tips can flake and break off, and having such objects floating around space capsules in near-zero gravity posed a potential harm to astronauts and equipment. (As well, after the fatal Apollo 1 fire in 1967, NASA was anxious to avoid having astronauts carry flammable objects such as pencils onboard with them.)When the solution of providing astronauts with a ballpoint pen that would work under weightless conditions and extreme temperatures came about, though, it wasn’t because NASA had thrown hundreds of thousands of dollars (inflated to $12 billion in the latest iterations of this tale) in research and development money at the problem. The “space pen” that has since become famous through its use by astronauts was developed independently by Paul C. Fisher of the Fisher Pen Co., who spent his own money on the project and, once he perfected his AG-7 “Anti-Gravity” Space Pen, offered it to NASA. After that agency tested and approved the pen’s suitability for use in space flights, they purchased a number of the instruments from Fisher for a modest price.

Click over to Snopes for the Fisher company’s own telling of the story, which notes that it was Fisher who spent one million, not NASA. “In December 1967 he sold 400 Fisher Space Pens to NASA for $2.95 each,” equaling $1180 of taxpayer money, not a million.

(And yes, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve purchased a few Space Pens myself over the years, mostly from the Museum of Modern Art gift store in New York. OK, I’m slightly ashamed. Don’t judge me!)

Earlier: ‘Another Day, Another Quote Fabricated By Neil deGrasse Tyson’

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

Sandy Berger Could Not Be Reached For Comment

September 16th, 2014 - 3:11 pm

Did a Clinton aide remove damaging evidence to help Hillary’s election chances? In addition to, and more recently than Sandy Berger, that is:

Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, writing in the Daily Signal, tells the story of former State Department official Raymond Maxwell, a well-respected 21-year diplomat who personally contributed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Mr. Maxwell has told lawmakers that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s closest aides–including her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan–privately removed politically damaging documents before turning over files to the Accountability Review Board, the independent board investigating the Benghazi terror attack.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz confirmed to Fox News that last year, in a private interview, Maxwell told him and other lawmakers that Hillary Clinton’s aides oversaw the operation, which allegedly took place on a weekend in a basement office of the State Department.

As Peter Wehner concludes at Commentary, “if the details of the Benghazi story were identical but it had happened in the Bush, Reagan, or Nixon administration, there would be a fierce, relentless, around-the-clock investigation led by the major media outlets:”

But not in this case. Not with the Obama administration. Not with Hillary Clinton. Because many in the elite media have a narrative–the truth about what happened about Benghazi doesn’t really matter–and they’re sticking to it. Some reporters may go through the motions now and again, but that’s all. There’s no driving ambition to get to the bottom of this story. They would really rather not know. And the fact that they would really rather not know tells you a very great deal of what’s wrong with American journalism today. Elite journalists are as infected by ideology and motivated reasoning–in this case, by motivated reporting–as members of the DNC or the Obama White House.

Missed it by that much, as the MSM largely are Democrat operatives with bylines, and in some cases self-admitted members of the “non-official campaign” to elect Obama, ever-eager to airbrush the narrative, on the air in real-time if necessary:

Speaking of which, as Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker noted in April, “Attkisson charges Media Matters helps produce news reports for CBS.”

Science! “Conservatives and liberals smell different,” The Week claims:

A new study from the American Journal of Political Science indicates that different political affiliations may actually correspond with different body odors.

The researchers, led by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott, found that conservatives and liberals smell dissimilar. While the difference is small, it is apparently significant enough that we subconsciously prefer the scent of those who vote like we do. “It appears nature stacks the deck to make politically similar partners more attractive to each other in unconscious ways,” the researchers wrote.

Conservatives and liberals smell different? I just can’t see it smell it myself:

“At this point, I’m legitimately curious if any quotes or anecdotes peddled by Neil deGrasse Tyson are true,” Sean Davis writes at the Federalist:

Over the last week, I’ve examined only four, and every single one appears to be garbage. The “above average” headline. The “360 degrees” quote from a member of Congress. The jury duty story. And now the bogus George W. Bush quote. These are normally the types of errors that would be uncovered by peer review. Blatant data fabrication, after all, is the cardinal sin of scientific publishing. In journalism, this would get you fired. In Tyson’s world, it got him his own television show. Where are Tyson’s peers, and why is no one reviewing his assertions?

Somebody seriously needs to stage an intervention for Neil deGrasse Tyson. This type of behavior is not acceptable. It is indicative of sheer laziness, born of arrogance. Please, somebody, help him before he fabricates again.

Read the whole thing, then check out Ace, who asks, “By Tyson’s own lights, is he actually popularizing science, or is making science look rather shabby and stupid by confusing actual science with its sorta-lookalike, ‘Science’?”

Related: As Charles C.W. Cooke recently noted at NRO, “Ironically enough, what Tyson and his acolytes have ended up doing is blurring the lines between politics, scholarship, and culture — thereby damaging all three.”

Asking the Important Questions

September 16th, 2014 - 11:55 am

Are video games sexist? Christina Hoff Sommers takes on the social[ist] justice warriors who, as she says, “wants the male video game culture to die.” It’s also a good introduction to #Gamergate, if you’re still trying to make sense of it all.

Of course, as we’ve noted in our previous post on the topic of #Gamergate, what’s going on the video game journalism industry is the same thing that’s going on in every facet of journalism, where objectivity is discarded and replaced with open leftwing advocacy and “concernocrats,” aka “hipsters with degrees in cultural studies.”

Related: “It didn’t used to be this way. ESPN used to be a sports network that covered sports and wasn’t a delivery system for the social and political message of the day. But, that’s what it’s become.”

Because  the left sees the need to begin “reprogramming the way we raise men.”

Oh swell, time for the left to create their latest model of “The New Man.” What could go wrong?

CNN Gets Mugged By Reality

September 15th, 2014 - 7:08 pm

The National Labor Relations Board, one of FDR’s alphabet soup programs designed to prolong the Depression by dramatically bloating the size of government* “has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers and compensate 200 others for a labor dispute that originated in 2003,” according to show-biz house organ Variety:

The 11-year dispute stems from CNN’s decision to replace a unionized subcontractor called Team Video Services, which provided the network with audio and video technicians, with an in-house nonunion work force in its Washington and New York bureaus.

The decision comes weeks after CNN’s top boss Jeff Zucker hinted at additional job cuts at the Turner-owned [ultimately Time-Warner-owned -- Ed] news channel, which employs over 2,000 people.

“We are going to have to do what we do with less,” he said in a memo to CNN employees. “As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made.”

It’s unclear how the NLRB’s ruling will impact the expected restructuring at the news operation.

The Labor Board found “overwhelming” evidence of anti-union animus in CNN’s failure to bargain with the union about the decision to terminate the subcontracts. The org also found CNN had implemented a hiring plan designed to limit the number of discharged TVS employees to avoid a successorship bargaining obligation.

A CNN spokesperson said, “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we are evaluating our options.”

Really? CNN admits that a Roosevelt-era federal government agency in the Obama era can make a mistake? CNN won’t be having its anchors bake cakes or fist-bump on-air in celebration of this decision? It won’t hire a children’s choir as human shields to sing its praises? Talk about burying the lede — this may be a first for the struggling, little-watched network.

I wonder if anyone at CNN has said, “What right does government have to do this to us?” Now if only we could get them to ask, “What is it that the American government shouldn’t be allowed to do?”

To paraphrase Irving Kristol, a conservative is a liberal that’s just gotten mugged by reality. Of course, it will take far more than this to awaken CNN from their decades of ideological torpor — but then, an angry bureaucracy in the waning days of the Obama era likely has far more to dish out, as well.

* Well, that’s how it ultimately worked out. As socialist Stuart Chase said when dreaming up Roosevelt’s New Deal, “Why should the Soviets have all the fun remaking a world?”

Everybody says so. Everybody. But with so much on the line, who are all those mystical sprites and gnomes who are constantly confounding the pathways between his brain and vocal cords, and forestalling the former president’s immense efforts to be clear?

Speaking of hoary old MSM cliches, it will be fun in 2016 to be constantly told by the MSM that “this is the most important election of our lifetime” — by so many people who got the last two most important elections in our lifetime so wrong.

No Doubt Running on Windows ’39

September 15th, 2014 - 1:52 pm

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

 


Of course, if you’d like to buy a tank or other armored surplus military vehicle for yourself, a payment plan can be worked out; they’re not just for heavily-armed school districts anymore.

Gray Lady Suffers Malaise

September 15th, 2014 - 1:25 pm

Elizabeth Scalia, aka “The Anchoress,” describes Roger Cohen’s piece in the New York Times titled “The Great Unraveling” as “an exquisitely-written dose of reality.” Regarding America in the age of Obama, Cohen describes it in Dickensian terms; “It was a time of weakness”:

The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.

Elizabeth responds, “It is, finally, perhaps a time of dawning realization that the centers are not holding; old orders are in extremis; new orders are in capricious adolescence”:

The troubles briefly enumerated in this sobering op-ed are only the most obvious issues. They are the pebble tossed into the pond, rippling outward in ever-widening circles — expanding to include a unique “time” of global crisis: governments failing at every level, everywhere; churches are divided, their freedoms challenged; citizens are distracted, dissatisfied and distrustful, their election mechanisms in doubt; schools are losing sight of the primary mission of education; families are deconstructed and the whole concept ripe for dissolution; respect for human dignity is doled out in qualified measures; there is a lack of privacy; a lack of time to think, to process and to incarnate; a lack of silence.

It sounds terribly, terribly depressing, yes. Who wants to read that? Who wants to think about that?

Sadly, this is essential reading; this is essential thinking.

Fair enough, but consider the source — over the past 12 years, the New York Times, when not going on benders on the evils of golf courses and air conditioning, and publishing outright fabulism, has, more recently, published pieces calling for the end of the US Constitution, and mocking the “fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity” of its presidential candidates — only, upon further review, to discover that these extreme worldviews are Catholicism, Lutheranism and Mormonism, bedrock religions of America’s history.  Its leading journalists have publicly called the citizens of the American midwest “The dance of the low-sloping foreheads” and filed William S. Burroughs-style stories of openly experimenting with drugs. And of course, in 2008, it went all-in to champion a man who was clearly not ready to be president, to the point of actively burying potentially damaging stories about him and refusing to run op-eds from his opponent.

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With headlines like “Obama’s Scariest ISIS Comment Yet: ‘I’m Not Going to Anticipate Failure’” — even the Obama fanboys at the New Republic are beginning to catch on to the SCOAMF-y-esque* nature of our recently retired former president:

Over the past month, President Obama has weathered frequent criticism for his comments about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Most notable was his “gaffe” on August 28 when he said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” Two weeks later, the president announced a plan to strike ISIS in Syria and provide military aid to moderate rebels. But those days in between were a devastating blow to our place in the world. Or, you know, maybe Washington pundits were overstating the significance of Obama’s comments.

In fact, though, Obama did make a serious error on ISIS recently. They weren’t public comments and they didn’t garner huge coverage, but they represent a dangerous mindset as the country embarks on another multi-year military engagement in the Middle East.

President Obama made the comment in a private, off-the-record meeting with a select group of journalists before his prime-time speech last week. On Sunday, Peter Baker, who was not at the meeting, reported in the New York Times about what was said there. Among other things, Obama was reportedly asked how he would adjust his strategy if his new plan proved unsuccessful. “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point,” Obama responded, according to Baker’s report.

We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we? Why, yes we have:

When the tech geeks raised concerns about their ability to deliver the website on time, they are reported to have been told “Failure is not an option.” Unfortunately, this is what happens when you say “failure is not an option”: You don’t develop backup plans, which means that your failure may turn into a disaster.

That’s from former Obama supporter Megan McArdle’s piece at Bloomberg (unexpectedly!) View on Obamacare last year titled, “Hope Is All Obamacare Has Left.”

In the 1920s and 1930s, as the “Progressive” socialists who had followed Woodrow Wilson into transforming America into a socialist state blanched at America’s return to normalcy, “We planned in war” became the rallying cry that led to the New Deal, staffed with Wilson-era retreads, who saw the New Deal as “The Moral Equivalent of War,” albeit in peacetime.

Gee, that worked out swell for everyone, didn’t it? See also, the busted flush of the “Stimulus” program, aka Obama later discovering that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.” and the Obamacare meltdown, with the former president reduced to muttering, “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy,” and “One of the things the federal government does not do well is information technology procurement.”

But if you’re going to plan for a real battle, and not the moral equivalent thereof, having a contingency plan for what to do if things go completely pear-shaped is usually a good idea. Fortunately though, as past performance on the “Stimulus,” Iraq, and Obamacare each indicates, our current president is far too smart to let that ever happen:

* Sorry Ace.

Our Source was the New York Times

September 14th, 2014 - 5:55 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners. Earlier on Wednesday, he called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to enlist his support for the plan to step up training of the Syrian rebels.

—Mark Landler, the New York Times, September 10th, 2014.

Really? That’s not how I remember history:

Why does the United States need a coalition?

From the start of its confrontation with Iraq, the Bush administration has tried to create the impression that its drive to topple Saddam has broad international support. Having allies–even some who do little more than lend their names to the war–is apparently meant to undercut widespread criticism that the world’s sole superpower is acting unilaterally.

Who are the coalition members?

According to the Bush administration and press reports, they are: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan. Noticeably absent are major powers–France, for example–that were members of the coalition that overturned Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1991.

Are all the members “willing?”

No. Officials in some of the countries have distanced themselves from participating in the war. For example, the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has sharply criticized the attacks on Iraq, and the government of the Netherlands has assured its citizens that Dutch forces won’t enter combat.

Other countries have not been named publicly but are likely members of the coalition. They include Israel, as well as several Arab states that are providing bases or other assistance to the war: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt.

“Q&A: What Is the ‘Coalition of the Willing?’”, the New York Times, March 28th 2003.

At the Daily Caller, Betsy Rothstein quips that one of her readers suggested that “Maybe the Times could have looked for some really hard-to-find information, like at – oh, I don’t know – Wikipedia?”

Or simply, the New York Times.

Of course, Timesmen aren’t the only Democrat operatives with bylines making this same “error.”

From a Command Economy to a Command Reality

September 12th, 2014 - 1:24 pm

“Democratic thinking [typically unfolds] in three stages,” Jeff Bergner writes in “The Party of Reason?” at the Weekly Standard:

1) Policy is predicated on reality as one wishes it to be, not as it is. (2) That policy fails. And (3) its advocates explain the failure by demonizing their opponents. The demonization of political opponents to cover policy failures is an all too reliable indicator that the policies rest on unsound, anti-scientific, irrational foundations.

As Bergner concludes:

Because the left wishes to eliminate poverty by redistribution, it assumes reality can be made to conform. Because it judges fossil fuels bad, they must be allowed no future. Because it insists on human causation for global warming, dissenters must be hounded. Because the left favors unrestricted access to abortion, a woman’s right to choose must be enshrined.

The words of today’s political left are much like ancient incantations. They are magic. But there is one difference: Ancient incantations reflected an underlying belief in an external world that was difficult to control, a world in which humans had at best a modest measure of influence.

Liberals have long favored the notion of a command economy; today they operate in nothing less than a command reality. For the modern liberal, we humans have the power to deconstruct and reconstruct reality as we please. In this brave new world, words are all that is required for a new reality to leap into existence. To speak about an issue is to resolve it. Good intentions suffice. If the results of programs created with good intentions disappoint, it doesn’t matter. Disastrous policy results do not reflect a misunderstanding of reality, but the evil machinations of political opponents.

This of course is not reason; it is hubris. The great power of modern science arises from the understanding that we gain a degree of mastery over natural forces and ourselves only by conforming our thoughts and actions to the nature of reality itself. The incantations of the modern left notwithstanding, reality is not easily bent by words alone.

No, sometimes really devastating magical thinking requires the willing aid of a faux newscaster as well:

“I should’ve anticipated the optics,” the Washington Post quoted Obama saying on Meet the Press this past Sunday:

“Part of this job is also the theater of it,” Obama said, adding that “it’s not something that always comes naturally to me.  But it matters.”

Indeed it does; file this under Example 3,922,627 of What If Bush Had Done This? But fortunately Mr. Obama’s fellow Democrat operatives with bylines are eager to cover for him, Debra Heine wrote yesterday at Breitbart.com:

Not to state the obvious, but as KaBOOM! is a word used to represent loud explosions, wouldn’t they want to leave that logo at home on 9/11 — a day of horrifying loud explosions?

The Washington post kindly left the KaBOOM! logo out of its feelgood description of the Obamas’ visit the school.

As flags flew at half-staff Thursday morning to commemorate the 13th anniversary of 9/11, dozens of volunteers wearing bright purple T-shirts were doing jumping jacks at the Inspired Teaching charter school in the District’s Brookland neighborhood. With feel-good hits playing, the volunteers prepared to build a playground for the school to mark the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

In the early evening, hours after the playground had been built, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived at the school via motorcade to lend a hand.

The couple helped two students fill “playpacks” with books, chalk and other items, which will be given as birthday gifts to children in a nearby homeless shelter, according to a press pool report. They also helped volunteers put a piece of a climbing structure in place, with the president helping to lift the piece and Michelle Obama securing it with a wrench.

As Heine concludes:

I’m trying to imagine what the First Lady thought when she saw the KaBOOM! logos. I know if it were me, my cheeks would have flushed red, and I would have asked to speak to the person in charge, in private. And with the assembled media in mind, I would have asked who the brainiac was who thought 9/11 was a good day for the president and first lady to be seen stuffing backpacks with KaBOOM!

Which is worse: an administration that’s just trolling us all now, or one that’s so incompetent that its staffers can’t see the strange optics of the president and first lady at an organization named KaBoom! on the anniversary of 9/11?

The Delicate, Nuanced Stylings of Susan Rice

September 11th, 2014 - 4:04 pm

Smart power:

For example, on the edges of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, which took place Sept. 5 and 6, 2013, Washington continued to push for international support of military action as it had been doing ineffectively since late August. In one meeting, Rice pressed the German delegation relentlessly for leadership within the European Union. The Germans sought more time and consultation with other EU member states, frustrating Rice to the point that she lost her cool and reportedly launched into a profanity-filled lecture that featured a rare diplomatic appearance of the word “motherfucker.” Germany’s national security advisor, Christoph Heusgen, was so angered that he told an American confidante it was the worst meeting of his professional life.

(Rice’s bluntness and hot temper have undercut her effectiveness throughout her career. In July 2014, the New Republic reported that she once confronted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas outside the Oval Office, saying, “You Palestinians can never see the fucking big picture.” A U.N. ambassador of one of the world’s major powers told me that he didn’t “understand what she thinks she is achieving by talking to us like a longshoreman.” The brusqueness hasn’t helped with her interpersonal relationships within the administration or with her staff, either. It is a particularly frustrating Achilles’ heel for someone who is well known among her friends as having the capacity to be very warm, humorous, and engaging.)

That last sentence is a cute touch from former Clinton administration official David Rothkopf writing at Foreign Policy isn’t it?

European diplomats loathed the straight-talking Reagan and Bush and were terrified of the thought of Vice President Palin. They longed for someone who could speak in a more nuanced, Belgium-approved tone. Enjoy, EU!

(Via Mark Hemingway.)