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The Future and its Enemies

The Hunter Biden Chronicles

October 22nd, 2014 - 1:57 pm

“Everything you need to know about Beltway nepotism, corporate cronyism and corruption can be found in the biography of Robert Hunter Biden,” Michelle Malkin writes today in her syndicated column. “Where are the Occupy Wall Street rabble-rousers and enemies of elitist privilege when you need them? Straining their neck muscles to look the other way:”

Continually failing upward, Hunter snagged a seat on the board of directors of taxpayer-subsidized, stimulus-inflated Amtrak, where he pretended not to be a lobbyist, but rather an “effective advocate” for the government railroad system serving the 1 percenters’ D.C.-NYC corridor.

So, where does a coke-abusing influence peddler go after raking in gobs of Daddy-enabled dough and abusing the U.S. Navy’s ill-considered generosity? Back to Cronyland! Hunter joined Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings — owned by a powerful Russian government sympathizer who fled to Russia in February — this spring. The hypocritical lobbyist-bashers at the White House deny he will be lobbying and deny any conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, Just Like You Joe was whipping up class envy in South Carolina last week. “Corporate profits have soared,” he railed, thanks to “these guys running hedge funds in New York,” who are to blame for “income inequality.” You know, like his son and brother and their Beltway back-scratching patrons.

Corporate profits have surged thanks to Wall Street manipulators? Man, wait’ll President Goldman-Sachs hears about that – just watch the kabuki hit the fan then.

“A new poll from Pew Research breaks down conservatism and leftism in the media – and comes up with a number of interesting results. As it turns out, leftists are far less tolerant that conservatives and implicitly trust government sources,” Ben Shapiro writes at Big Journalism:

Fox News Has a More Balanced Audience Than MSNBC. The poll shows that 55 percent of those who watch Fox News are either mixed in political viewpoint or leftist; 52 percent of those who watch MSNBC are either mixed or conservative. The most balanced outlet: The Wall Street Journal, although surprisingly, those who are consistently conservative read the paper the least of all ideological groups (13 percent of the audience is consistently conservative).

Leftists Think Humor Is News. Leftists trust The Colbert Report and The Daily Show as news. We knew this already from polls of young people who cite these shows as some of their top news sources, but it underscores the point that leftists simply do not take politics seriously – they’re happy to take their cues from people who began their careers making fart jokes. It is worth noting that the audience for The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and The Huffington Post are virtually identical in ideological composition. The Daily Show’s audience does not exist on the political right, with just 7 percent of its viewers identified as conservative in any way.

Nobody Trusts BuzzFeed. The least-trusted news source is BuzzFeed. It is not trusted by consistent liberals, mostly liberals, mixed political viewpoints, mostly conservatives, or consistent conservatives. At least consistent conservatives trust The Rush Limbaugh Show and consistent leftists trust The Ed Schultz Show. Nobody trusts BuzzFeed.

And note this Twitter exchange on the poll last night:


The irony is that Time magazine was founded by Henry Luce in the 1920s to appeal to a center-right audience — and did so quite well, until Luce relinquished control of the magazine in the mid-1960s, before passing away in 1967. Three years later, and Time was doing their best Pauline Kael impersonation and trying to figure out who on earth were these strange pro-American Nixon voters who still wanted America to win in Vietnam?

Time magazine is a classic example of former National Review editor John O’Sullivan’s First Law of Politics in action: “Any institution that is not explicitly right wing will become left wing over time.”

And actually, so is Pew:

Unexpectedly!

October 22nd, 2014 - 11:47 am

bloomberg_unexpectedly_10-22-14-1

Ahh, Bloomberg, home of the “unexpected” bad economic news since, oh, about January of 2009, don’t ever change. Normally Bloomberg only applies the “unexpected” adjective to economic news that’s bad for the rest of us, but from the point of view of the president is good news: after all, he tore up the American healthcare system, openly called for bankrupting energy companies; his first “energy” “czar” demanded skyrocketing “European-style” energy prices, and numerous others of their leftwing ideological bent have demanded higher costs on energy and consumer goods, from Tom Brokaw to hapless wannabe Obama advisor Fareed Zakaria to this poor sod-ette in the UK Guardian:

Clothes and food should cost much more than they do in Britain to reflect their true impact on the environment, Vivienne Westwood said on Wednesday night. Speaking at a Guardian Live event at Chelsea Old Town Hall hosted by columnist Deborah Orr, the controversial fashion designer said: “Clothes should cost a lot more than they do – they are so subsidised. Food should cost more too – you know something is wrong when you can buy a cooked chicken for £2.”

Westwood also declared that capitalism was over.

So, all in all, good news, Mr. President?

‘The Arkansas Senate Election is Now Over’

October 21st, 2014 - 2:51 pm

“And let’s not even bring up the fact that this thesis of Pryor’s argues mightily that the Democratic party’s single most favorite piece of political mythology – the so-called ‘Southern Strategy’ – was and is a lie told to the credulous, given that in Arkansas the Democratic party continued to dominate the state for decades,” Moe Lane writes, responding to the Washington Free Beacon unearthing Democrat Mark Pryor’s neoconfederate 1985(!) college thesis. “Oh, wait, I just did bring that up.  My bad.  Guess we’ll see just how poorly the Democratic party thinks of its own base…”

As Moe adds, “OK, OK, it’s been over for a while now and Tom Cotton is going to win.  But this event counts as a moment of clarity.”

Elsewhere in the south, “New flier from Georgia Democrats: You must vote in November to … prevent another Ferguson,” as spotted by Allahpundit who writes, “Note that this comes from the Georgia Democratic Party itself, not some no-name outside outfit that’s looking to boost its profile by tossing racial grenades:”

Time for predictions. Which red-state Democrat will be next to use an over-the-top racial pander to goose black turnout? I’m tempted to say Pryor, just because he’s seemed like a dead duck for so long now, but I’m going to go with Grimes. She’s within a single point in one new poll and can’t rely on DSCC TV ads to help her going forward. She needs a cheap, dependable way to get Democratic base voters excited to vote. Time to pull the pin on another racial grenade.

Allahpundit-esque exit quotes:

Indeed.™

The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

October 21st, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Shot:

 

 

Chaser:

Update: Don’t ever change, MSNBC.

Is Mark Steyn’s PR Firm Accepting New Clients?

October 20th, 2014 - 10:02 pm

undocumented_mark_steyn_10-20-14-1

Because seriously, I don’t know how they do it. The week that After America came out in 2011, the Dow Jones dropped 512 points on Thursday, and S&P shorted America’s credit rating on Friday. When After America was released in paperback the following year, riots across the Middle East broke out, a feckless “Quantitative Easing” program by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve began, and the POTUS ran roughshod over the First Amendment.

Today, The Undocumented Mark Steyn, an anthology of his columns, hits the streets; its introduction is titled “Me and My Little Black Dress.” It begins with Mark flashing back wistfully to the 1990s, America’s holiday from history, having just won the Cold War (we thought) and the Gulf War (we thought) and seemingly without a care in the world, when we could laugh at a hapless randy president and his extramarital affairs. Since Miss Lewinsky wasn’t taking many interviews at the time, Mark hopped into the Clinton White House’s Hot Tub Time Machine and flash-forwarded to 2018 to interview her older and wiser dress instead:

She is older now, her once dazzling looks undeniably faded, her famous beauty worn and creased.

“Sorry about that,” she says. “I was supposed to get ironed yesterday.”

Yes, it’s “that dress”— the dress that, 20 years ago this month, held the fate of a presidency in her lap. It has been two decades since the day she gave her dramatic testimony to the grand jury and then promptly disappeared into the federal witness protection program. Even as she recalls her brief moment in the spotlight , she looks drawn. But that’s because, following extensive reconstructive surgery, she’s been living quietly as a pair of curtains in Idaho.

“What do you think?” she says, saucily brushing her hem against the sill as her pleats ripple across the mullions. “It cost less than Paula Jones’ nose job.”

To be honest, I was lucky to get the interview. The dress was supposed to be doing the BBC— the full sob-sister treatment, Martin Bashir, the works— but, to protect her identity, they wanted to do that undercover secret-location protect-your-identity trick with the camera that makes part of the screen go all fuzzy and blurry. “Are you crazy?” she yelled at them. “It’ll look like I’ve still got the stain.”

Apparently to tie in with his book’s launch, somehow Mark’s PR people managed to convince Lewinsky to join Twitter on the very same day The Undocumented Mark Steyn debuts. “Monica Lewinsky Joins Twitter—To Fight Cyberbullying,” Fast Company.com reports today; since the Hillary Clinton campaign and its operatives at Media Matters and CNN are experts on the topic, I can’t wait to see Monica’s incredible lack of response when the cyberbullying really starts to fly — which it likely will starting sometime in mid-November, or perhaps early next year.

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There’s No Time to Lose!

October 20th, 2014 - 1:45 pm

Shot:

Chaser:


Two questions: What was the previous Ebola “czar” up to before she went under Obama’s legendarily huge and non-carbon-friendly bus? And two: where’s No-Time Toulouse when you need him?

‘Thunder on the Left’

October 20th, 2014 - 12:38 pm

“Much has been written about the right-ward shift of the Republican Party, but far less about a mounting left-wing movement among Democrats,” Joel Kotkin writes at the Orange County Register. “While the media tends to dismiss the right-wingers of the GOP as ‘wingnuts,’ it typically refrains from categorizing even the extreme left of the Democratic Party in a similar manner.” Gee, wonder why?

But now many on the political left are openly critical of the president, notably for his close ties to the moguls of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. These moguls have been the predominant beneficiaries of his economic policies while middle-class incomes have continued to languish – and even fall.

This disenchantment can be seen among many professional progressives and their allies in the associated media. Michael Moore, for example, recently suggested that in the future Obama would be remembered simply for being the nation’s “first black president.” This disenchantment is also spreading to the Left’s grass-roots, with the president’s favorability ratings dropping even in such progressive bastions as New York and California.

This situation resembles that which conservatives confronted in the waning days of the Bush administration. Bush’s failure to construct a successful market-based economic agenda, as well as his ill-conceived foreign policy engendered widespread anger on the right. The initial Tea Party insurgency had its roots in the movement by Bush, a “big government conservative,” to bail out the nation’s giant financial institutions.

Now, it’s the Left’s turn to be disappointed, and some, such as liberal commentator Sally Kohn, suggest that it’s time to create their own progressive version of the Tea Party.* These liberal critics, correctly, in my view, have been mortified by the Obama administration coziness – taking a page from Bush – with large financial institutions as well as increasing inequality.

The new left Democrats have little interest in embracing Obama’s clever meme of portraying himself as a moderate, bipartisan figure, something that helped him both win suburban voters and raise a ton of money from parts of the corporate elite. Instead of expanding crony capitalism, which has been the Obama default, but the new Left openly seeks to reshape the economic system itself.

Don’t worry — I’m sure it will work this time, right?

* Didn’t we already have that with the debacle that was Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011? Not to mention, as Glenn Reynolds noted just a few months before OWS kicked off, similarly stillborn efforts as “the Coffee Party, the Brownbaggers, The Other 95%, A New Way Forward, the One Nation Movement — am I leaving any out? I can’t remember — and none of them has gone much beyond a spot of initial positive coverage from the NYT.” Which brings this post full circle with Kotkin’s observation at the start of his article on the MSM seeing nothing but Skittles and unicorns** and double rainbows when it observes the far left.

** Yes, that was intentional.

The Toxic President

October 19th, 2014 - 5:55 pm

“Chalk it up to karma, fate or bad luck. Whatever you call it, the Ebola scare is proof that Bad Things Happen to Bad Presidents,” Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post today:

Credibility is like a reservoir or a bank account. You make deposits in good times so you can make withdrawals when you need them.

Obama never made the deposits. It’s been all downhill since Day One. He blames others for failures, and when cornered or ambitious, reaches for a lie. Routinely.

The claim that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” is a defining example, but hardly the only one. Don’t forget “shovel-ready jobs” to justify a trillion-dollar boondoggle. Or there’s “not a smidgen” of corruption at the IRS. And Benghazi was caused by an anti-Muslim video.

His lies are legion and now he’s like the boy who cried wolf. When he makes a national appeal on Ebola, the trust tank is empty.

Just as a reminder, it was a year ago this month when the disastrous Obamacare rollout permanently sullied the semi-retired president’s reputation, even among his true-believers in the MSM. (Headlines on this day a year ago today include the San Francisco-based Health Care Blog Website asking: “Should the Obamacare Exchanges Be Shut Down?”, and the left-leaning Website Mediaite noting, “CNN’s Don Lemon Savages ‘Terrible’ Obamacare Rollout: Makes Good Case for the GOP.”

And of course, as Goodwin noted above, last year it became clear that Mr. Obama repeatedly told the American people what is arguably the biggest lie ever spoken by a US president:

Which is why today, even the rank and file former true believers aren’t sticking around to hear what the president has to say, in what could be quite a metaphor for his party next month:


Exactly:

As reported in the New York Observer this past Wednesday, heretofore rarely a hotbed of anti-Obama sentiment:

In perhaps the most stunning documentation yet of abuses by Eric Holder’s Justice Department, two former Assistant United States Attorneys spoke to defense attorneys and revealed appalling deceit and corruption of justice. This latest litigation time bomb has exploded from multi-million dollar litigation originally brought by the Department of Justice against Sierra Pacific based on allegations that the lumber company and related defendants were responsible for a wildfire that destroyed 65,000 acres in California.

********************************

Sierra Pacific Industries and other defendants were compelled to pay $55 million to the United States over a period of five years and transfer 22,500 acres of land to settle massive litigation brought against them by the United States alleging that they caused a 2007 fire that destroyed 65,000 acres in California. Sierra Pacific has always maintained that the fire started elsewhere and that the state and federal investigators and Department attorneys lied. Now that settlement may go up in smoke because of the new evidence of outrageous misconduct by the federal prosecutors and the investigators from state and federal offices, as well as findings earlier this year by a state judge.

********************************
The Sacramento Bee reported on the Defendant’s filing. Indeed, the Defendants’ motion informs us that a former Assistant United States Attorney came forward and disclosed that he believes that he was removed from the original prosecution by “his boss, David Shelledy, chief of the civil division in the United States Attorney’s office,” because he “rebuffed” pressure to “engage in unethical conduct as a lawyer.” Of course, like other former prosecutors who were unethical, Mr. Shelledy is to receive Attorney General Holder’s highest award for excellence—this week.The defendants also reveal that another former federal prosecutor, Eric Overby, left the Moonlight Fire prosecution team also, stating: “It’s called the Department of Justice. It’s not called the Department of Revenue.” According to the motion, Mr. Overby told defense counsel that in his entire career, “I’ve never seen anything like this. Never.”

Well, sadly we have, and we’ve been reporting on it as fast as we can. This is part of a disturbing and rapidly increasing pattern of abuses by this Department of Justice to line government coffers or redistribute the wealth to its political allies—using its overwhelming litigation might and federal agencies as a tool of extortion and wealth redistribution.

The entire original prosecution against Sierra Pacific appears to have been driven by the Department of Justice’s interest in hitting a “deep pocket” for millions of dollars of revenue. The Defendants’ motion to set aside the settlement reveals a series of fraudulent acts by federal and state authorities that defiles our system of justice.

The news about the shakedown of Sierra Pacific comes on the heels of this report from a year ago on Lumber Liquidators being raided:

Although details were initially sketchy, Lumber Liquidators’ (LL) stock price plunged as much as 10% early Friday after a reported raid by federal investigators on its headquarters related to a probe of illegal imports.

In a statement, the top flooring retailer with more than 300 stores nationwide, said it would provide to investigators information and documents related to the import of certain products.

The Department of Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Justice conducted the raid, acting under a sealed court-issued warrant.

Lumber Liquidators said it gets products from more than 110 U.S. and international mills globally, and has more than 60 people who monitor imports.

“The company takes its sourcing very seriously, and is cooperating with authorities to provide them with requested information,” the company said in a statement.

Specific details on what the Department of Homeland Security agents were searching for were not immediately available, and the company and government officials declined to comment beyond the initial statements.

Federal agents conducted the search of Lumber Liquidators headquarters in Toano, Va., and at one of its stores in Richmond, Va.

The unannounced search was reminiscent of earlier raids on Gibson Guitar facilities.

Indeed. What is it with the Obama administration and lumber-based businesses?

(I know: as opposed to coal-based businesses, oil-based businesses, businesses with GOP or Christian CEOs, small business in general, and pretty much every other business except Comcast, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO and Goldman-Sachs, apparently.)

Question Asked and Answered

October 17th, 2014 - 1:59 pm

“Who Do They Think We Are?”, asks Peggy Noonan, adding that “The administration’s Ebola evasions reveal its disdain for the American people:”

The language of government now is word-spew.

Dr. Frieden did not explain his or the government’s thinking on the reasons for opposition to a travel ban. On the other hand, he noted that the government will consider all options in stopping the virus from spreading here, so perhaps that marks the beginning of a possible concession.

It is one thing that Dr. Frieden, and those who are presumably making the big decisions, have been so far incapable of making a believable and compelling case for not instituting a ban. A separate issue is how poor a decision it is. To call it childish would be unfair to children. In fact, if you had a group of 11-year-olds, they would surely have a superior answer to the question: “Sick people are coming through the door of the house, and we are not sure how to make them well. Meanwhile they are starting to make us sick, too. What is the first thing to do?”

The children would reply: “Close the door.” One would add: “Just for a while, while you figure out how to treat everyone getting sick.” Another might say: “And keep going outside the door in protective clothing with medical help.” Eleven-year-olds would get this one right without a lot of struggle.

If we don’t momentarily close the door to citizens of the affected nations, it is certain that more cases will come into the U.S. It is hard to see how that helps anyone. Closing the door would be no guarantee of safety—nothing is guaranteed, and the world is porous. But it would reduce risk and likelihood, which itself is worthwhile.

Africa, by the way, seems to understand this. The Associated Press on Thursday reported the continent’s health-care officials had limited the threat to only five countries with the help of border controls, travel restrictions, and aggressive and sophisticated tracking.

All of which returns me to my thoughts the past few weeks. Back then I’d hear the official wordage that doesn’t amount to a logical thought, and the unspoken air of “We don’t want to panic you savages,” and I’d look at various public officials and muse: “Who do you think you are?”

Now I think, “Who do they think we are?”

“The ones we’ve been waiting for” as the man leading the con game said to his rubes. And speaking of one of the biggest of those rubes, if only Peggy had asked her question in the fall of 2008.

Incidentally, note that her column was written last night, before Obama appointed a Democrat hack and political fixer as his Ebola czar — or in reality, his new Ebola czar, as the previous one has been memory holed by the administration.

Nowhere to Run To, Baby, Nowhere to Hide

October 16th, 2014 - 10:47 am

 ”A Year of Living on the Brink,” as charted by the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger:

History will mark down 2014 as the year predicted 49 years ago by Martha and the Vandellas. In 1965 the group recorded a Motown classic, “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide.” We’re there, at the brink.

Liberia, ISIS, Ukraine, Hong Kong, a hospital fighting Ebola infections in Dallas, the year’s stock-market gains obliterated, and I almost forgot—just last week Secretary of State John Kerry warned that climate change could end life as we know it.

Then this week the clouds parted and the year’s best news arrived: Led by Europe’s sinking economies, global economic growth is falling, taking stocks and bonds with it, and the world’s central bankers say they have run out of ideas on doing anything about it.

How this is good news requires explanation.

Read the whole thing; as Henninger writes, “No one should underestimate the political dangers of persisting with a Keynesian economic model that looks depleted.”

Depleted? This 80 year old economic policy wouldn’t jump-start the economy if you put four million volts through it! It’s bleedin’ demised! This is an ex-policy! Bereft of sanity, it rests in peace!

But as Henninger writes, mentioning alternatives which revitalized the economies of America in the 1980s, Canada and the post-Soviet Union satellite nations in the 1990s, and Germany in the mid-naughts, first America needs a president who will junk the left’s cargo cult of Keynes, as one former Democrat did when he was elected to the office in 1980.

In the meantime, as Roger L. Simon asked last night, “Could It Possibly Get Any Worse?”

To paraphrase the slogan of our semi-retired closeted crypto-Keynesian president, yes it can.

Space: The Totalitarian Frontier

October 13th, 2014 - 9:01 pm

Shot:

1. Star Trek (1966-1969). The original Star Trek takes place in a future where humanity has transcended all forms of warfare and cash transactions. The Starship Enterprise’s adventures throughout the galaxy are supposedly by the Federation’s “prime directive,” which forbids humans from intervening in the domestic affairs of the planets they visit.

And yet when he’s not engaging in zero-gravity sex with an endless procession of comely space aliens, Captain James T. Kirk is mucking around with every civilization from here to the Romulan Neutral Zone like LBJ on Viagra.

And let’s face it: The sequel series are just as rotten from a libertarian perspective.

“The 5 Most Anti-Libertarian TV Shows Ever!”, Meredith Bragg & Nick Gillespie, Reason.com, October 10, 2014.

Chaser:

Volkswagen wants people to think of its electric cars as futuristic, so it hired William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy to appear in this German language commercial. It shows a young and hardcore Trekkie getting the thrill of his life when William Shatner moves into his neighborhood.

“William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Reunite in a Funny Volkswagen Commercial,” Neatorama.com, October 10, 2014.

Looking for Anarchy in All the Wrong Places

October 11th, 2014 - 7:54 pm

 ”‘Weekend of Resistance’ in Ferguson takes disturbing turn,” Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air, noting:

Whenever large scale social unrest breaks out and crowds gather, the two ideological groups which seem to flock to the violence – and seek to augment it – are the anarchists and the communists. (The irony of this should be lost on none of us, given that the two seek precisely opposite social reformation goals.)

And similarly, in a recent post titled “Fundamental Concepts — Government is Theft,” one of Ace of Spades’ co-blogger writes:

It is often said in the liberal media that we conservatives hate and mistrust government (broadly true), and that we want no government at all (False, that would be the anarchists, a group that should be furthest right on the political spectrum but oddly, these days, seem to be mostly leftists**).

As with fascism, anarchism is an ideology that historically has its roots on the left. If you’re unfamiliar with its history, then Abe Greenwald’s article in the March, 2011 issue of Commentary titled “The Return of Anarchism” is a great way to get up to speed. And while there have been libertarian-oriented anarchists, note the paradoxical nature of the term, as it’s been historically understood by most:

Originally a part of the socialist left in 19th-century Europe and Russia, anarchism arose in response to an undeniably unjust social, political, and imperial order. Anarchists railed against regimes in countries in which genuine monopolies were sanctioned and the poor were punished by all manner of law and taxation. The Industrial Revolution had taken hold, and modernization had created wealth among capitalists but had done little to distribute that wealth equitably. Working conditions were often unspeakable, and as farm workers made the uneasy transition to industrial labor, emperors, kings, and czars took one another’s measure and conspired to expand their empires.

In France, revolutions and coups shape-shifted the country repeatedly from a monarchy to a republic to a dictatorship and back again. When settled, at last, as a republic, France allied with Czarist Russia after 1870 to stave off the threat of a rising industrialist Germany. In Russia, where industrialization was lagging, social unrest following the liberation of the slave class in 1861 was greater than anywhere else in Europe.

Into this turbulent mix came socialists of various stripes, offering hope to peasants and laborers who found no regime worthy of their allegiance. It is among these socialists that anarchists first appeared. Strangely enough, anarchists do not believe in anarchy in the literal sense, a state of utter bedlam. Rather, they are proponents of “anarchism,” a political philosophy defined by seminal Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin in 1910 as “a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government.” In such a society, he said, harmony would be achieved “not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.”

This pacific ideal notwithstanding, anarchism did not actually express itself in a peaceable manner. Indeed, anarchism was the source of a new kind of violent pandemonium without precedent in Western history. Dynamite-throwing, bombing, stabbing, and shooting—these were the tools with which anarchists sought to bring about their earthly paradise under a doctrine they called “propaganda of the deed.” Thus was the conduct we call “terrorism” born.

Or as Instapundit reader Rob Crawford noted back then in response to Greenwald’s article, “The modern anarchists are just the far-left’s muscle. Look at when and where they show up, who they march with and for, and how carefully the press ignores them and their acts.”

And note how anarchy came into existence concurrently in the mid to late 19th century along with the rest of the forces that make up Liberal Fascism.

Questions Asked and Answered

October 11th, 2014 - 3:19 pm

“Why do so many liberals despise Christianity?” Damon Linker asks at The Week, in response to Slate getting one of its periodic Margaret Dumont-style cases of the vapors over the prospect of, as Linker writes, “missionary doctors and nurses in Africa and their crucial role in treating those suffering from Ebola.” Linker also notices at least one Christian college losing its accreditation because of its opposition to gay marriage. After describing these incidents in detail, he asks:

What happened to a liberalism of skepticism, modesty, humility, and openness to conflicting notions of the highest good? What happened to a liberalism of pluralism that recognizes that when people are allowed to search for truth in freedom, they are liable to seek and find it in a multitude of values, beliefs, and traditions? What happened to a liberalism that sees this diversity as one of the finest flowers of a free society rather than a threat to the liberal democratic order?

I don’t have answers to these questions — and frankly, not a lot hinges on figuring out how we got here. What matters is that we acknowledge that something in the liberal mind has changed, and that we act to recover what has been lost.

Actually, the answers are all relatively simple: (1) they’re not “liberal” in any sense of the word; as Fred Siegel wrote earlier this year in The Revolt Against the Masses, the word “liberal” was a stolen base by leftists designed to distance themselves in the early 1920s from the failed policies of Woodrow Wilson, which made “Progressivism” a dirty word, one of several rebrandings that leftists have done over the last century. (2) Leftism is a holistic philosophy designed to supersede religion, with the motto that “the personal is political,” the English redubbing of the original Italian phrase, “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato.” (3) The world’s longest modified limited hangout, the pose that the left sustained that it was pro free speech, while it was making its long march through the institutions has now concluded.

Related: “America’s current revolutionary inspiration seems to derive more from Robespierre than Madison,” Victor Davis Hanson writes at NRO.

gm-logo-3

I’ve looked at corporatism from both sides now.

Corporatism is the socialist fusion of Big Government and Big Business, working strong-arm and arm, one mode clearing a path for the other, and neither side losing much sleep over what the customer wants, until the preference cascade kicks in and begins to snowball, and everyone eventually wakes up to reality with a raging hangover. In its pre-breakup day, think of Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine the Bell Telephone operator smugly blustering, “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company.” Or today, the handlers of Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack and Michelle Obama screwing journalists. Or the disastrous late period products of General Motors, even before they became for several years under the Obama administration, Government Motors.

The Pontiac Aztek, in production at GM from 2001 and 2005, was sort of the equivalent of East Germany’s Trabant — both cars were designed by committee and were so bad they became goofy pop culture icons (the Trabant via the rock group U2, the Aztek via Breaking Bad). In a series of vignettes at Car & Driver, Bob Lutz, the chairman of GM during the period when it hit all the icebergs and sank into the abyss of Government Motors explains how the disastrous Aztek came to be:

I kind of got hired [as GM's vice chairman of product development] because of the Aztek. I was getting an award, and [then-GM chairman] Rick Wagoner introduced me and took a couple of funny digs. When I gave my speech, I said, “It’s curious that the man who oversaw the Aztek would comment on my failures.” It brought the house down. When I apologized later, he said, “Ah, I was expecting it. We’re disappointed in the Aztek. I’d enjoy hearing what you think we’re doing wrong.” After three conversations, he offered me a job.

* * * * * * *

A bad car happens in stages. The Aztek concept car was a much leaner vehicle. Decent proportions. It got everybody excited. At the time, GM was criticized for never doing anything new, never taking a chance. So Wagoner and the automotive strategy board decreed that henceforth, 40 percent of all new GM products would be “innovative.” That started a trend toward setting internal goals that meant nothing to the customer. Everything that looked reasonably radical got green-lit.

* * * * * * *

These things require a culture of complete acquiescence and intimidation, led by a strong dictatorial individual who wants it that way.

* * * * * * *

The guy in charge of product development was Don Hackworth, an old-school guy from the tradition of shouts, browbeating, and by-God-I-want-it-done. He said, “Look. We’ve all made up our minds that the Aztek is gonna be a winner. It’s gonna astound the world. I don’t want any negative comments about this vehicle. None. Anybody who has bad opinions about it, I want them off the team.” As if the public is gonna give a sh** about team spirit. Obviously, the industry is trying to get away from that approach.

That last paragraph is highly indicative of the other side of corporatism, isn’t it? As Megan McArdle wrote last November (ironically at Bloomberg.com, the “unexpectedly!” Website that often serves as a corporatism cheerleader for the Obama administration) during the rollout of Obamacare, the Pontiac Aztek of health insurance:

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.

In the years before it became Government Motors, while its unions were busy devouring their host, GM was dubbed “a health-care provider that makes cars as an industrial by-product.” No wonder it and the equally feckless Obama administration were made for each other.

That was the Week That Was

October 10th, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Oh, and then there was this showstopper: “Michelle Obama calls ‘Bruce Bailey’ (D-CAND, Iowa Senate) a ‘Marine,’” Moe Lane writes:

Here’s the video of the event: it autoplays and I can’t turn it off, so skip ahead to 3:28 – where, indeed, the First Lady called Bruce Braley a USMC veteran*. I hope I need hardly note that Bruce Braley is not, in point of fact, a military veteran? And that, in fact, his opponent Joni Ernst is still serving in the military? That Ernst, indeed, was deployed to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom? – Because everybody else in that room – heck, in Iowa – knew that**.

Tell me again how having the First Lady swoop into problematic races is going to be helpful to the Democrats. No, really, tell me. Because I already know how it’s proving to be helpful to the GOP.

All of these meltdowns by the left are Jim Geraghty is proffering “A Cause for Cautious Optimism about the GOP’s Midterm Prospects.”

Great cautious optimism kid — don’t get cocky, the Insta-professor might say, paraphrasing a certain legendary Corellian freighter pilot.

 Update: “Ohio’s Ed FitzGerald enters candidate stupidity contest with help from Amanda Bynes.”

Two JuiceVoxers in One!

October 8th, 2014 - 4:02 pm

So was Kliff lying then, or is she lying now? Fellow JuiceVoxer Matt Yglesias says yes:

Yet another reminder that Jeff Bezos is looking increasingly prescient not handing over his tip money to Ezra “Not everything the Nazis touched was bad” Klein, Matt and the gang earlier this year.

Two MSNBCs In One!

October 7th, 2014 - 2:18 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“English miners celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death, while U.S. conservatives mourn.”

—Headline, MSNBC.com, September 13, 2013.

“Chris Hayes Envisions A World Where No One Has A Job Mining Coal.”

—Headline, the Washington Free Beacon, last night.

And given that Thatcher’s goal was to break the stranglehold that British Unions had (as Mark Steyn has noted) over the rest of the UK’s citizens, note who Hayes had his conversation with:

Hayes told United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts that “in 50 years, no one should have a job mining coal, in the world.”

Roberts, who also serves as Vice President of The AFL-CIO, pushed back on Hayes’s comments, telling him to “accept science” just as Hayes wants him to “accept science” supporting climate change.

“You know and I know that’s not going to happen,” Roberts said. “Let’s talk about reality…do you really believe that in your lifetime, you’re a young man, that you’re going to see the day that China stops using coal or even cuts back on using? No, you’re going to be 85 years old, heading into 90 years old looking to be on that Smucker’s jar and China is going to be burning more coal than they are right now, and India is going to be burning huge amounts of coal.”

Hayes said if that happens “everyone’s screwed,” but offered no alternative to help combat climate change.

To bring this post full-circle, exit quote and video:

Related:Video: Top Grimes Donor: ‘She’s going to f**k ‘em when she gets elected.’” “He’s referring to coal workers and the coal industry,” Glenn Reynolds adds. Sounds like good news from Chris Hayes’ perspective — shouldn’t he be putting this clip into heavy rotation on his show?

More: Watching the Goalposts Being Moved.

You Had One Job…

October 6th, 2014 - 6:15 pm

You had one job, CDC, as Glenn Reynolds notes at USA Today:

And, of course, the various busy-body looks at playgrounds, smoking in subsidized housing, and the like. As The Federalist‘s David Harsanyi writes: “The CDC, an agency whose primary mission was to prevent malaria and then other dangerous communicable diseases, is now spending a lot of time, energy and money worrying about how much salt you put on your steaks, how close you stand to second-hand smoke and how often you do calisthenics.”

These other tasks may or may not be important, but they’re certainly a distraction from what’s supposed to be the CDC’s “one job” — protecting America from a deadly epidemic. And to the extent that the CDC’s leadership has allowed itself to be distracted, it has paid less attention to the core mission.

In an era where new disease threats look to be growing, the CDC needs to drop the side jobs and focus on its real reason for existence. But, alas, the problem isn’t just the CDC. It’s everywhere.

Not the least of which, at the Secret Service, which also has one job, and similarly has recently proven to be miserable failures at it, as Jonah Goldberg writes, also in USA Today:

The scandal besetting the Secret Service offers a valuable lesson. One of the greatest assets the agency has is its reputation. If would-be attackers believe you are infallible, odds are they won’t test the proposition, much in the same way few criminals waste much time pondering how to rob Fort Knox. Recent events have dealt the agency an incalculable reputational blow.

Omar Gonzalez, a troubled man, stormed the White House with a knife and made it deep inside the building. A felon with a handgun rode an elevator with the president of the United States. A still at-large gunman fired a high-powered rifle at the White House.

Is there any doubt that terrorists and madmen are taking notes? Someone at al-Qaeda is surely slapping his forehead and shouting, “If we only knew!”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has been on the receiving end of a lot of mockery for arguing that the Secret Service should be quicker to use deadly force. “If you project weakness,” Chaffetz argued in hearings last week, “it invites attacks.”

While no one — including, I am sure, Chaffetz — wants to see a trigger-happy Secret Service, no one disputes his basic point, at least when it comes to the Secret Service.

As the debacles add up, Bill Kristol writes that “The decomposition of the Obama presidency has created what Obama might call a teachable moment:”

This is, needless to say, a loathsome phrase, reeking as it does of liberal sanctimoniousness and professorial condescension. Still, who can resist appropriating it, if only for this one occasion? Because it is, really, a moment. It’s a moment when minds can be opened to conservative truths, ears can be induced to hear conservative insights, eyes can be fitted with contact lenses so as better to see conservative arguments.

Are the young struck by the dashed hopes of Obamacare? Give them a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit. They can’t believe the Secret Service farce? Introduce them to James Q. Wilson on bureaucracy. They’re befuddled by the exploitation of an unfortunate incident in Ferguson? Have them read Edward C. Banfield’s The Unheavenly City (especially the chapter he titled “Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit”). Liberalism’s domestic policies aren’t working quite the way they were supposed to? Acquaint them with Irving Kristol: “I have observed over the years that the unanticipated consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.”

The economics and (particularly) the tax laws of the late 1960s and 1970s favored mammoth corporations such as Penn Central Railroad, formed in 1968 and spectacularly bankrupt less than two years later, and conglomerates whose component parts had every little to do with each each other such as Beatrice, whose very name became synonymous with what is now referred sardonically as “Too big to fail:”

From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, the company expanded into Canada and purchased a number of other food firms, leveraging its distribution network to profit from a more diverse array of food and consumer products. It came to be the owner of brands such as Avis Rent A Car, Playtex, Shedd’s, Tropicana, John Sexton & Co, Good & Plenty, and many others. Annual sales in 1984 were roughly $12 billion. During both the Winter and Summer Olympics that year, the corporation flooded the TV airwaves with advertisements letting the public know that many brands with which they were familiar were actually part of Beatrice Foods. These ads used the tagline (with a jingle) “We’re Beatrice. You’ve known us all along.” After the Olympics, advertisements for its products continued to end with the catchphrase “We’re Beatrice” and an instrumental version of the “You’ve known us all along” portion of the jingle, as the red and white “Beatrice” logo would simultaneously appear in the bottom right hand corner. However, the campaign was soon found to alienate consumers, calling attention to the fact that many of their favorite brands were in fact part of a far-reaching multinational corporation, and the campaign was pulled off the air by autumn.

The mammoth federal government is now an assortment of fiefdoms each of whom are Beatrices and Penn Centrals in and of themselves. (Actually worse — Penn Central couldn’t sic the full weight of the government on someone to threaten him or access his tax records.) Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 because he was, at the time, the best spokesman for such an antiquated worldview. We now know he’s one of the worst managers of such a concept.

Still, he’ll rake in millions starting 2017 on the speaking circuit, where he really will, at last, have only job.

Update: “Obama Writes His Own Ballot Epitaph.”