It’s not Hillary, Matthew Continetti posits in the Washington Free Beacon, inasmuch as the first black president, as Toni Morrison noted in the New Yorker in the mid-1990s was Mr. Hillary:
“In terms of stereotypes, various psychological studies show that men gravitate to the hard power of command,” Joseph Nye wrote in 2012, “while women are collaborative and intuitively understand the soft power of attraction and persuasion.” He adds, “Recent leadership studies show increased success for what was once considered a ‘feminine style.’” Collaborate, intuitive, soft, attractive, persuasive—these attributes of the “feminine style” are perfect descriptors of Barack Obama’s relation to the world, or at least to those parts of the world that are not Republican or Israeli.
Nye describes the path women must travel to reach power: “Women are generally not well integrated into male networks that dominate organizations,” he writes, “and gender stereotypes still hamper women who try to overcome such barriers.” What he writes about women could also be written about Obama, who disdains glad-handing and networking, who “doesn’t really like people,” who in domestic politics has given up entirely negotiations with the “male networks that dominate organizations” such as the House of Representatives, who every day is hampered by the stereotype that he is brilliant, logical, debonair, pragmatic, witty, world-changing, deeply read, hip.
Yet Obama has overcome such barriers. He is one of a kind. Knowing their struggles, sharing their opinions, committed to abortion whenever and to contraception for all, supportive of equal pay for equal work, practicing the soft power of defense cuts, of negotiations, of needling, of chiding, delivering geopolitical statements from pre-school classrooms, snapping selfies with the girls at state funerals, displaying almost every trope of womanhood outlined by the theoretician of soft power himself, Barack Obama has as much of a claim as the next girl to being the first woman president. Do not “other” him. Love him. Celebrate him. Open your mind, as I have. And Hillary: Take note. We already have a woman in the White House.
And why not? If there’s one thing we learned from leftwing pundits in 2008 and 2012, it’s that Barry Lemon Moodring can be anything, or anyone that you like. As he once said, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views:”
Last week, the Democratic Party had their winter meeting and MRCTV’s Dan Joseph decided to ask DNC committee members and guests if they’re ready for Hillary–and why.
Some said she had about a hundred moments of greatness when she served under President Obama – but, strangely, couldn’t name a single accomplishment of hers, besides marrying Bill Clinton.
Another attendee mentioned Clinton’s stance on abortion as a reason to be super excited for Hillary Clinton in 2016. As for her accomplishments, none came to mind, but she noted that Obama saw a reason for her to be nominated as Secretary of State.
Uh, it’s called politics.
Click over to watch the video, which seems eerily reminiscent of this video from late 2007 or early 2008:
But then hey, you don’t have to fall in love, you just have to fall in line, to coin a phrase.
Having been president for more than five years, we can now render some reasonable and informed judgments about Mr. Obama, including this one: he is an amateur on par with Jimmy Carter. And to see the crude and brutish Putin run circles around Obama—on negotiations over nuclear weapons, on granting asylum to Edward Snowden, on convincing Obama to undercut our allies in Poland and the Czech Republic, on establishing ties with Egypt, on strengthening the murderous Syrian regime, and now invading Crimea and threatening the rest of Ukraine—is painful for any American to witness. As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers put it, “Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles, and I don’t think it’s even close.”
Governing is harder than Barack Obama ever imagined. But it isn’t that much harder.
It is when you’ve spent your entire life believing that the world is as you pictured in the Harvard faculty lounge break room. Or as Paul Bonicelli writes at Foreign Policy, “Putin Brings Real-World Experience to the Graduate School Seminar Crowd:”
Obama and his advisors, from grad school until now, have apparently seen the entire world as a single collection of nation-states just waiting to cooperate if the right people came into power in the United States to midwife it through dialogue and nice-making. Surely that belief has evaporated. It is time for the Obama administration to embrace reality and do what Putin did long ago and the rest of Russia’s reluctant neighbors are doing: Make two lists, one of your friends and the other of your enemies; support the first and torment the second. It might be distasteful to some, but it is the real world.
At the risk of being churlish, it’s worth noting that half of the country happened to recognize Mr. Obama’s arrogance, incompetence and hallucinatory worldview long before anyone at Foreign Policy did.
Can Washington turn America into one giant bankrupt Detroit? Yes it can, writes Daniel Greenfield in the latest essay at his Sultan Knish blog:
Increasing welfare is only a form of Death Panel economic triage that doesn’t compensate for the lack
of productive workers. It’s easy to model Obamerica as Detroit, a country with a huge indigent welfare population and a small wealthy tax base. The model doesn’t work in Detroit and it’s flailing in New York, California and every city and state where it’s been tried.
After a century of misery, the left still hasn’t learned that there is no substitute for the middle class. It’s not just running out of money, it’s running out of people.
The welfare state is bankrupt and doesn’t know it yet. Reality hasn’t caught up with the numbers. Instead the welfare state is floating on loans based on past productivity, old infrastructure and a diminishing productive population whose technological industries employ fewer people and don’t require their physical presence in the United States.
The welfare state has no future. It is only a question of what terms it will implode on and what will happen to the social welfare political infrastructure when it does. The violence in Venezuela and the slow death of Detroit give us insights into the coming collapse of the welfare state.
Read the whole thing.
Related:“When Our Government Commits Fraud,” from Richard Epstein of the Hoover Institute, on the duplicity of of the executive branch “in its dealings with Fannie and Freddie’s private shareholders.”
In an extraordinary—and I don’t use the word in a complimentary way—interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg, President Obama follows his secretary of state in warning Israel and its leader that a failure to “make peace” now with the Palestinians will have terrible consequences. Israel is “more isolated internationally,” and will become more so; there will be more Palestinians and Israeli Arabs as time goes on, not fewer, so Israel had better move now; and not to move now is to create the conditions for a “permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank….there comes a point when you cannot manage this anymore.”
The wild logical contradictions in his remarks expose the degree to which the American approach in the Kerry peace talks is to haunt Israel with the dire nightmare it will face should the talks fail; Palestinian rejectionism plays almost no role in the Obaman calculus here.
The Palestinians, in Obama’s view, do not actually need to make changes; astonishingly, he says, they’re ready for peace. “The Palestinians,” the president says, overlooking every piece of polling data we have about the opinions of the Palestinians, “would still prefer peace. They would still prefer a country of their own that allows them to find a job, send their kids to school, travel overseas, go back and forth to work without feeling as if they are restricted or constrained as a people. And they recognize that Israel is not going anywhere.”
In 2006, when then Secretary of State Condi Rice expressed a similarly cheerful take on the Palestinians to Cal Thomas, then hosting a Fox New program, Thomas asked what Mark Steyn described at the time as “a shrewd followup: ‘Do you think this or do you know this?’”
Given that the geopolitical worldview of both Messrs. Obama and Kerry flow from the fantasyland intersection of academia and radical chic, and that they’re invariably “unexpectedly” surprised when the world doesn’t quite conform to their expectations, that would be a worthwhile question to ask the president or his aides as well, if there were any interviewers who were prepared for the confrontation to follow — especially after the cameras are switched off.
Our allies — or at least our allies as of the end of 2008 — should plan accordingly to maximize their chances of survival in what Obama booster Fareed Zakaria of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO would call (approvingly) the post-American World.
That’s not me being reductivist or twisting the meaning of yesterday’s lead editorial at the Washington Post. It’s a quote of their own headline, which is itself a good recapitulation of their overall message. Barack Obama and John Kerry talked about “19th century act[s]” and Vladimir Putin’s lack of game on “soft power,” but all that did was highlight the fantasy world both inhabit when it comes to the threats in this 21st-century reality:
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.” …
Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.
Gee, if only the Post and its subsidiary publications Slate and Newsweek had figured that out in 2008 — or even 2012 — before going all-in to support Mr. Obama. Which brings us to the passage below, which has made the rounds on the Internet and email lists for several years; one of Ace’s co-bloggers linked to it yesterday:
The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their President.
I don’t really blame the American people — particularly in 2008 — who voted for Obama. For over six years (allowing for a brief timeout in the left’s culture war during 9/11) they were bombarded with messages that George Bush was the anti-Christ. By 2007, began to be bombarded by a same volume of messages that Obama was the perfect cure — not just for American politics, but to the heartbreak of psoriasis and waxy yellow buildup as well. Given the media — including the Post, as their late ombudsperson Deborah Howell admitted in November of 2008 — went all-in to promote the man, it’s a wonder the election was as close as it was.
L to R: Breitbart, Glenn Reynolds, Driscoll at 2008 GOP convention.
Today is the second anniversary of the death of the ultimate happy warrior, Andrew Breitbart. I met and interviewed Andrew on several occasions from 2005 until his death in 2012 at age 43, which was the very definition of the phrase “untimely passing.” That year, shortly after he passed away, I dusted off the cassette tape of the first interview I had with Andrew, recorded a couple of weeks after meeting him for the first time at the PJM launch in Manhattan on November of 2005. We discussed his first book, Hollywood Interrupted, for quotes and background material for an article on Tinseltown’s woes that I was writing for Tech Central Station. What follows below is the post I wrote in 2012, when I originally ran that interview.
In retrospect hitching his star to Drudge was a brilliant decision. This was hardly a given in 1995. Political blogger Mickey Kaus, someone who understood the power of the Internet, recalled, “I first met Breitbart when he showed up at a panel I was on at UCLA. He told me he was the guy who posted items for Matt Drudge, and I immediately realized he was the most powerful person in the room. Nobody could understand why I was sucking up to the crazed hippie kid in shorts.”
The power of Drudge Report comes from the large audience it has generated. By 2007 it was regularly attracting over three million unique visits. The average visitor spent an incredible one hour and six minutes on the site, an eternity in Internet terms. The average visitor went to the site 20 times a month. The Washington Post, a popular link for Drudge, noted in 2006 that its “largest driver of traffic is Matt Drudge.”
Flash-forward to the fall of 2004, and Andrew’s behind-the-scenes power was very much in evidence, this time changing the face of television news. As Scott Johnson of Power Line noted at the start of the month:
I learned in the course of [my week-long visit to Israel in 2007 with Breitbart] that it was Andrew who changed my life in 2004, linking to our “Sixty-First Minute” post early that afternoon with the screaming siren on Drudge. He confided that Matt Drudge did not like blogs, but that he (Andrew) was a fan. On September 9, 2004, he was following the action online. Thank you, Andrew. Thanks for everything.
But along the way, Breitbart also took detours into other ventures, such as helping to build the architecture of the Huffington Post, and co-writing, with Mark Ebner, their 2004 book Hollywood Interrupted. As I mention in the podcast below, I met Andrew in person for the first time the week of November 14th 2005, during the launch week of PJ Media in New York. After we both had returned to California, on November 28, 2005, I interviewed him by telephone for an article I was working on for Tech Central Station, now called Ideas In Action TV.com, aboutHollywood’s box office woes, which was published a week later and titled, a la Woody Allen, “Hollywood Ending.”
I loved Hollywood, Interrupted, and I was certainly aware of Andrew’s backstage work at the Drudge Report and the celebrity-oriented Huffington Post. So I definitely wanted to get his take on how the movie industry, a medium that we both loved, had been utterly transformed, and not necessarily for the better, since its golden era of the 1930s through the mid-1960s.
This interview was originally recorded onto a cheap mono tape recorder, originally for the purpose of pulling quotes for my Tech Central Station article. And while I’ve done a considerable amount of restoration work (employing both extensive amounts of Izotope’s RX audio restoration software and the noise gate plug-in built into Cakewalk’s Sonar program), it’s still much cruder sounding than the podcasts and radio shows I’ve produced for PJ Media in the years since. But with Andrew’s passing, I thought it would be worth sharing. So apologies for the sound quality, but I think hearing Andrew riffing on the topic of how the Hollywood of old became, as he would say, Interrupted, is well worth listening to.
There are several observations that Andrew makes here that have withstood the test of time. Early on, there’s a grimly hilarious remark by Andrew concerning his ailing grandmother, who emitted a piercing primal scream of terror, whenever anyone attempted to change the TV channel from her beloved CBS, the only channel she apparently ever watched, in sharp contrast to today’s world of hundreds of cable and satellite channels and millions of Websites and blogs. At about 17 minutes into the interview, he mentions the punitive liberalism and growing nihilism of Hollywood’s product, the latter of which being a topic I discussed extensively with Thomas Hibbs last month, the author of the definitive look at Hollywood nihilism, Shows About Nothing. And two minutes later, Andrew makes a great observation on the popularity of today’s show-biz-oriented reality TV shows as a sort of payback by the American people for today’s drug-addled screw-up stars abandoning the glamour they maintained during Hollywood’s earlier era. Near the end of the interview, you can sort of hear the Big Hollywood Website starting to coalesce in Andrew’s mind; a topic he and I would discuss a few years later on PJM’s Sirius-XM radio show in 2009.
A transcript of this interview, which I originally typed up in 2005 as raw material for my Tech Central Station article, and thus paraphrases some of Andrew’s more stream of consciousness remarks, follows on the next page.
Click below to listen to the podcast:
(28 minutes long; 26 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this week’s show to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 8 MB lo-fi edition.)
Since in the past, a few people have complained of difficulties with the Flash player above and/or downloading the audio, use the video player below, or click here to be taken to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.
We are suffering in great part from the politicization of everything and the spread of government not in a useful way but a destructive one. Everyone wants to help the poor, the old and the sick; the safety net exists because we want it. But voters and taxpayers feel bullied, burdened and jerked around, which again is not new but feels more intense every day. Common sense and native wit tell them America is losing the most vital part of itself in the continuing shift of power from private to public. Rules, regulations, many of them stupid, from all the agencies—local, state, federal—on the building of a house, or the starting of a business. You can only employ so many before the new insurance rules kick in so don’t employ too many, don’t take a chance! Which means: Don’t grow. It takes the utmost commitment to start a school or improve an existing one because you’ll come up against the unions, which own the politicians.
It’s all part of the malaise, the sclerosis. So is the eroding end of the idea that religious scruples and beliefs have a high place that must culturally and politically be respected. The political-media complex is bravely coming down on florists with unfashionable views. On Twitter Thursday the freedom-fighter who tweets as @FriedrichHayek asked: “Can the government compel a Jewish baker to deliver a wedding cake on a Saturday? If not why not.” Why not indeed. Because the truly tolerant give each other a little space? On an optimistic note, the Little Sisters of the Poor haven’t been put out of business and patiently await their day in court.
I think a lot of people right now, certainly Republicans and conservatives, feel like a guy in a batting cage taking ball after ball from an automatic pitching machine. He’s hitting the ball and keeping up and suddenly the machine starts going berserk. It’s firing five balls a second, then 10. At first he tries to hit a few. Then he’s just trying to duck, trying not to get hurt.
That’s how people feel about the demands and dictates. The balls keep coming at them politically, locally, culturally. Republicans and conservatives comprise at least half the country. That’s a lot of people.
That’s the conclusion of my piece in the latest issue of National Review, which you can now peruse online, assuming you’ve got an hour to kill (it’s a testament to the state of play in California that an essay this long left an awful lot of material on the cutting room floor).
Here’s the gist of the argument: complaints about the travails of California’s economy tend to focus on the deleterious effect that big government is having on business, which is, to be sure, a very real development. That meme, however, often obscures the fact that the group leaving California in the largest numbers is the middle class. These are not unrelated phenomena.
It should come as no surprise that the exodus of business and the wealthy has an outsized effect on labor markets, with jobs being increasingly hard to come by in the Golden State. Compounding this problem, however, is the fact that the liberal gentry that governs California has imposed its tastes as a matter of public policy.
As Fred Siegel wrote at the start of his new book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class,’” a motto that Sacramento has internalized to a man.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That adage has more application than usual in California, where Democrats hold all of the statewide offices and supermajorities in the legislature. They can enact any policies they want, with only the judicial branch offering belated checks on their power. And when I say belated, that’s literally the case with state Senator Rod Wright, whom a jury found guilty in January of committing eight felonies regarding his residency and eligibility for the office he held.
Normally, politicians who get that kind of a verdict have the decency to resign. If not, the body in which they serve would almost assuredly eject them — but not California Democrats:
Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a move to expel their Democratic colleague Sen. Rod Wright by sending a Republican proposal to the Rules Committee, where it could permanently stall.
Sen. Steve Knight, a Republican from Palmdale, introduced a resolution to expel Wright from the Senate because a jury found him guilty of eight felonies last month for lying about living in the district he represents.
“This will be precedent-setting,” Knight said as debate on his measure was being quashed on a 21-13, mostly party-line vote.
Democrats insist that Wright does not need to resign until after sentencing, because the judge could overturn the verdict. That’s a possibility, but it’s rare. Judges almost always abide by the verdicts of juries in criminal cases, especially because they have the opportunity themselves to dismiss charges if they determine that the state has not met its burden of substantiating the charges for a jury to find a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you’ve ever wondered what Detroit or Cook County would have been like with much better weather, look no further than the once-Golden state.
● “The only known solution to ecological overshoot is to decelerate our population growth faster than it’s decelerating now and eventually reverse it—at the same time we slow and eventually reverse the rate at which we consume the planet’s resources.”
The legislative branch matters, until it doesn’t. The filibuster matters, until it doesn’t. Yesterday’s positions get dropped if they interfere with today’s needs. The Right is dealing with extremely adaptive foes who, for the most part, have no hesitation about lying to get what they want.
In the Obama-era Left, a promise repeatedly emphasized with passion and vehemence can and will be suddenly dismissed with a shrug. The highest-profile example of this is “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Even today, long after the promise has been declared the “Lie of the Year,” the White House website has a page labeled “Reality Check” that proclaims the accuracy of the pledge: “Linda Douglass of the White House Office of Health Reform debunks the myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.”
But even before Obamacare was committed to paper, the individual mandate that is now Obama’s signature domestic achievement represented a useful wedge issue in 2008’s Democratic primaries — from the position of opposition. He ran attack ads against Hillary Clinton: “What’s she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.” Yesterday’s intolerable outrage becomes today’s sensible policy.
When Democratic members of Congress were recently reminded of their promise that the “Affordable Care Act” would “save $2,500 per family,” they responded with awkward silence and then laughter.
Why, it’s almost as if they don’t really believe anything they say.
Read the whole thing, which dovetails well with the cover of the new issue of National Review on Dead Tree:
That cover reminds me a lot of the Photoshop I created in mid-January for one of Steve Green’s weekly articles on the latest Obamacare disasters, I don’t think it was an intentional swipe; Three Card Monte and shell games sum up Obamacare and the Obama administration’s games-playing on a host of issues sadly all too well:
Both pieces of artwork are reminders that “If you sit in on a poker game, and you don’t see a sucker at the table, get up. You’re the sucker.”
It’s not even the end of February yet, and already, a pair of frontrunners has simultaneously emerged for the lie of the year. First up, all bad news everywhere about Obamacare is simply one giant Kochtopus-funded lie, says Harry Reid:
As Allahpundit writes in response to the above clip, “Great news from Harry Reid: All ObamaCare horror stories are untrue:”
Actually, the real meta-problem for Democrats on ObamaCare that this clip exemplifies is that, from the beginning, they simply would not and could not pitch this boondoggle as a matter of trade-offs. Yes, Obama could have said, if you like your plan you may not be able to keep your plan, but the trade-off is that you’ll get “comprehensive” coverage from now on. Yes, the White House could have said, healthy young people will get hosed by being legally compelled to buy insurance they almost certainly won’t need, but the trade-off is that the money insurers make off of them will be used to pay for treatments for very sick people. Yes, Harry Reid could have said, there are some real horror stories involved in this program, but the trade-off is that it’s made life better for more people than the old system did. They could have said this, but acknowledging trade-offs means admitting that Democratic proposals do indeed have serious costs, possibly serious enough to fatally wound public support for them while they’re making their way through Congress. So we get another Big Lie instead.
The Hannah Arendt Center’s Roger Berkowitz explores “The Irony of the Elite” by way of Peggy Noonan’s observation on how much real-life congressmen enjoy Kevin Spacey’s dark portrayal of their profession in House of Cards, and Kevin Roose’s new book Young Money. Roose’s book presents Wall Street financiers mocking, as Berkowitz writes, “anyone who would question their inalienable right to easy money at the expense of rubes in government and on main street”:
What is more important than the decadence on display is the self-satisfied irony. The elites in Washington and Wall Street seem not to care about their decadence and even take joy in the revealing of their decadence. It is as if a burden has been lifted, that we all in the outside world can now know what they have borne in secret. With the secret out, they can enjoy themselves without guilt.
This embrace of the revelation of decadence recalls the cultural milieu of Weimar Germany, and especially the reception of Berthold Brecht’s classic satire the “Threepenny Opera.” Here is how Hannah Arendt describes the arrival and reception of Brecht’s play:
“The play presented gangsters as respectable businessmen and respectable businessmen as gangsters. The irony was somewhat lost when respectable businessmen in the audience considered this a deep insight into the ways of the world and when the mob welcomed it as an artistic sanction of gangsterism. The theme song in the play, “Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral” [First comes the animal-like satisfaction of one’s hungers, then comes morality], was greeted with frantic applause by exactly everybody, though for different reasons. The mob applauded because it took the statement literally; the bourgeoisie applauded because it had been fooled by its own hypocrisy for so long that it had grown tired of the tension and found deep wisdom in the expression of the banality by which it lived; the elite applauded because the unveiling of hypocrisy was such superior, wonderful fun.”
Brecht hoped to shock not only with his portrayal of corruption and the breakdown of morality, but by his gleeful presentation of Weimar decadence; but the effect of “Threepenny Opera” was exactly the opposite, since all groups in society reacted to Brecht’s satire with joy instead of repulsion.
Arendt has little hope for the mob or the bourgeoisie, but she is clearly cut to the quick by the ease with which the elite felt “genuine delight” in watching the bourgeoisie and the mob “destroy respectability.” As Arendt explained, the “members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.” Because the elite had largely rejected their belief in the justice and meaningfulness of the moral and common values that had supported the edifice of civilization, they found more joy in the ironic skewering of those values than they felt fear at what the loss of common values might come to mean.
Linking to the above post, Glenn Reynolds writes, “This is a disturbing thing to read, coming from the Hannah Arendt Center.” But it’s not at all a new development. As we’ve quoted several times before here, back in 1986′s The Closing of the American Mind,Allan Bloom noted the Weimar-ification of America, by way of the Frankfurt School and other Weimar-era exports, who arrived in America after being expelled from Nazi Germany. Arendt herself was a Weimar-educated German who found success in the hothouse intellectual environment of postwar Manhattan, as illustrated, albeit likely unintentionally, by the New Yorker. Its February 16, 1963 issue, the debut of their serialization of Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem thesis, featured on its cover the newly open Pan Am building co-designed by Walter Gropius, the founder of the German Bauhaus, the original wellspring of modernist design, whose lifespan paralleled the existence of the Weimar regime itself almost perfectly, until Hitler shuttered its doors in 1933. (There are numerous actors portraying Arendt’s fellow New York intellectuals clutching rolled-up copies of that issue while they angrily confront her in the 2012 German-made docudrama on that period of Arendt’s life, as we mentioned in our post on that film, last month.)
February cable ratings are in – Piers Morgan may be out at CNN, but what about the rest of the network’s primetime, that looked none too good for the month, all losing around half their audience compared to same month last year. Anderson Cooper at 8 PM dropped 47%, February to February, in overall audience, to average 421,000 viewers, and 46% in the news demo, to 127,000 news-demo viewers for the month, according to Nielsen. In his defense, Cooper’s leadin, Erin Burnett Outfront dropped 39% to post an average of 293,000 viewers in Feburary, and slipped 32% in the news demo, to 100,000 viewers. Morgan’s getting scrubbed from 9 PM at CNN because, for instance, he logged 347,000 viewers for the month — down 46% – and 100,000 demo viewers — down 38%.
Meanwhile, FNC has now reached 146 consecutive months at No. 1 in total viewers, in both Total Day and Primetime, among cable news networks, and is for February the only cable network up in both total viewer and demo compared to last February. In all of cable, FNC ranked third in primetime (8-11 PM) – behind USA and History – and fifth for total day. Meanwhile, neither CNN or MSNBC were able to crack the top 20 in either daypart. CNN ranked 39th in prime and 34th in today day, MSNBC 26th in prime and 27th in total day. Every hour of the day, FNC dominated CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewers. FNC also beat both networks in the news demo.
CNN not only made an objective fool of itself last week, the network was once again exposed as something as far-left as MSNBC, but without MSNBC’s integrity to admit it. Bill Maher calls Sarah Palin a c**t and he’s invited to guest host a CNN primetime hour. But Nugent (who said something just as indefensible about President Obama) is used by almost the entire CNN staff to boost Texas Democrat Wendy Davis.
The American people see through this. And even if you are ideologically aligned with CNN, no one likes to be lied to.
With its increasing left-wing bias, this shrill, phony, obnoxious “attitude” Zucker has asked for, and the non-stop violation of trust for those viewers looking for straight, intelligent coverage of the day’s events — CNN is turning viewers away in droves
This week is looking just as bad as last. It’s only Tuesday and the network is already on an anti-Christian rampage against an Arizona bill guaranteeing religious freedom. The coverage has been ignorant, biased, hysterical, and intentionally misleading. I personally oppose the Arizona bill in its current form, but I can still see what CNN is doing.
The reason conservative Christians are fighting this fight today is because it’s a firewall. The real danger, of course, is that Christian pastors and preachers will eventually be coerced into performing same-sex marriages. (Note: It is entirely possible for someone to believe gay marriage is fine, and to still oppose forcing people who hold strong religious convictions to participate — but I suspect that is where we are heading.)
Think of it this way. If you were a congregant in a church, wouldn’t you expect the pastor to marry you? Why should you be treated different?
Any pastor — if he or she wants to maintain the church’s tax status, that is — had better grapple with this now.
Whether the analogy is fair, or not, refusing to officiate a gay wedding can just as easily be called “denying service.” And it will predictably also be compared to the bad old days of Jim Crow — where racist Christians opposed interracial marriage (until the courts struck down state laws prohibiting biracial marriage).
Gay rights and religious liberty are on a collision course.
The Arizona bill should be a classic example of “We Report, You Decide.” But instead, the half-hour of CNN I was forced to watch last night while on the treadmill at the gym featured Anderson Cooper dressing down an Arizona senator for daring to support the bill, making it very clear to his audience that where he expects them to come down on the story.
“Piers Morgan Wasn’t Rejected Because He Comes from England. He Was Rejected Because His True Nationality Is The Isle of Smug.” Ace writes today, but he’s far from the only person at CNN suffering from that condition, in front of the cameras, or behind the scenes. As Troy Senik wrote last fall at Ricochet,“Populism’s Hard When You Don’t Like the People,” and the contempt that the Time-Warner-owned channel has for at least half of its audience is visible on a daily basis. Which is why they’ll never take the excellent advice that Iowahawk proffered yesterday on Twitter — their internal office politics, literally and figuratively, simply won’t permit it:
CNN execs: spending gazillions trying to steal 25% of MSNBC’s audience, when they’d be better off stealing 10% of Fox News.
Update: “Sunday night, after David Carr broke the news that Piers Morgan would be ending his CNN show, I searched Twitter to find how his fans were taking it. This was a mistake. Really, who was a Piers Morgan fan? Have you ever met one?”
Mark Steyn’s 2011 book After America, which famously featured a deceased Uncle Sam wearing a toe tag on its cover, was the sequel to his 2008 book America Alone. That book expanded upon his magnum opus January 1st, 2006 essay, which appeared in the New Criterion and the Wall Street Journal, and began thusly:
Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the western world will survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands— probably—just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the west.
One obstacle to doing that is the fact that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the west are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society—government health care, government day care (which Canada’s thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain’s just introduced). We’ve prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith, and, most basic of all, reproductive activity—“Go forth and multiply,” because if you don’t you won’t be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare. Americans sometimes don’t understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I don’t think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health & Human Services.
But I bet Chuck Hagel would — even after Kathleen Sebelius has made such a hash of the department. Because from their boss’s perspective, socializing medicine is where the action is these days. As William A. Jacobson writes at his Legal Insurrection blog, the former Republican Senator from Nebraska was nominated to marginally placate Republicans once Mr. Obama’s prized defense department cuts occur.
And here we go:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.
The proposal, released on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.
Officials who saw an early draft of the announcement acknowledge that budget cuts will impose greater risk on the armed forces if they are again ordered to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time: Success would take longer, they say, and there would be a larger number of casualties. Officials also say that a smaller military could invite adventurism by adversaries.
As Jacobson writes, “I’m convinced more than ever that none of our declines is a coincidence.”
No, they’re yet another example of promises made, promises kept for the president. It’s unfortunate though that as much that Mr. Obama advanced on the campaign trail in 2007 and 2008 they weren’t exactly congenial promises, but America can’t say it wasn’t warned.
Since our defense spending allowed Europe to virtually eliminate any serious armies in favor of its welfare state, I wonder how this move will play overseas? Or as Allah warns, “For the United States, the age of occupation is over. Whether that means an age of occupation is beginning for someone else, stay tuned.”
“Bachelor Pad Economics,” Aaron Clarey tells me about his new book in our latest podcast interview, is focused upon “maximizing your amount of time on this planet to spend on you and leisure and not be slaving away eighty hours at the office and just so you can afford that big mansion in the suburbs or the BMW SUV.” Clarey stresses the importance of minimalism in his financial planning. “Material wealth really doesn’t matter,” he tells me. “I’m the biggest capitalist there ever was. But truthfully, the only thing that really matters, the true source of happiness is other humans. And the great thing about humans is they’re free.”
Is it possible to enjoy America’s decline from your swank bachelor’s pad, knowing that you’re financially prepared to ride out the worst of the remaining years of the Obama era? Yes we can, shouts Clarey, the self described “Captain Capitalist” and “the only motorcycling, fossil-hunting, tornado-chasing, book-writing, ballroom-dancing, economist in the world,” in Bachelor Pad Economics. Clarey’s new book brings financial planning to the themes of his previous title, last year’s Blogosphere hit, Enjoy the Decline.
During our nearly 19-minute long interview, Aaron will explore:
● The only source of happiness in a period of national decline.
● What is the chief underlying cause of American decline?
● The importance of minimalism as a financial strategy.
● How did Aaron make the jump from financial analyst to new-media maven?
● How to survive the higher-education bubble.
● What role does real estate play in Bachelor Pad Economics?
● What is the infamous “Smith & Wesson Retirement Plan”?
And much more. Click here to listen:
(18 minutes and 51 seconds long; 16.5 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 3.10 MB lo-fi edition.)
If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.
Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.
In his latest USA Today column, Glenn Reynolds looks at the FCC backing off plans to “monitor,” Soviet “Zampolit” style, American newsrooms, the Department of Homeland Security cancelling plans to build a nationwide license plate database, and on the state level, well-deserved pushback in the form of civil disobedience from Connecticut’s gun registration scheme and writes:
This is more “Irish Democracy,” passive resistance to government overreach. The Hartford (Conn.) Courant is demanding that the state use background-check records to prosecute those who haven’t registered, but the state doesn’t have the resources and it’s doubtful juries would convict ordinary, law-abiding people for failure to file some paperwork.
Though people have taken to the streets from Egypt, to Ukraine, to Venezuela to Thailand, many have wondered whether Americans would ever resist the increasing encroachments on their freedom. I think they’ve begun.
Faster, Please, as my PJM colleague Michael Ledeen would say.
And speaking of gun control, even Variety, rarely a font of conservatism, asks if his obsession on the topic has dropped Morton Downey Jr.-wannabe Piers Morgan’s ratings into the cellar. “#3 with a bullet,” Jim Treacher quips in response, noting that “Over ten times more people follow Morgan on Twitter than watch his show, which is on CNN, a former cable news network.”
As James Lileks likes to say, joyless monomania kills a blog, and it doesn’t do much for a talk show either. At least the avuncular Larry King never sneered at his guests.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
As the Weasel Zippers blog notes today, “UNREAL: NY Times Suggests Killing ‘Climate Change Deniers’… Note the woman in the top right box using an icicle to stab a ‘denier’ in the chest.” I’m embedding the entire page with the New York Times’ logo on it, to make it obvious that the cartoon is appearing on their Website. Click on image above to expand. As the Zippers suggest, take a good look at the right-hand panel. Global warming has made much of the country so cold that the Times is instructing its readers to use giant icicles to bludgeon the non-believers to death.
Before declaring radical environmentalism passé by cashing out last year to Big Oil, Al Gore titled his 2008 book on his global warming obsessions The Assault on Reason — apparently the Times is taking his advice all too literally. According to this Website, the above cartoon is part of a new series that debuts at the start of the year. In their lengthy and once-respectable history, other than reporting on the editorial cartoons of other newspapers, the New York Times has never really been known for cartoons of any sort; after this stillborn attempt at “humor,” they would be advised to reconsider their current experiment.
When politicians and scientists started calling people like me “deniers”, they crossed the line. They are still doing it.
They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.
Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.
I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.
* * * * * * *
Like the Nazis, they are anti-capitalist. They are willing to sacrifice millions of lives of poor people at the altar of radical environmentalism, advocating expensive energy policies that increase poverty. And if there is a historically demonstrable threat to humanity, it is poverty.
I’m not talking about those who think we should be working toward new forms of energy to eventually displace our dependence of fossil fuels. Even I believe in that; after all, fossil fuels are a finite resource.
I’m instead talking about the extremists. They are the ones who are sure they are right, and who are bent on forcing their views upon everyone else. Unfortunately, the extremists are usually the only ones you hear from in the media, because they scream the loudest and make the most outrageous claims.
Such as murdering those who disagree with them, in the real estate of the best-known newspaper in the world.
Twenty years before he died at the age of 597 years old*, legendary Stalinist Pete Seeger told the New York Times, “I like to say I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.” He’s not alone amongst his fellow leftists for harboring such back-to-the-future reactionary beliefs. Economically, the entire ideology is hard captive to a cargo cult mentality that ping-pongs back and forth between the let’s break out the shovels and build the Hoover Dam and roadways mentality of the FDR era, and the build nothing nowhere, save the snail darter and and delta smelt mentality ushered in by 1970′s first “Earth Day.”
In the late 1990s, when cable modems ushered in 24/7 Internet access, I used to find Salon and Slate virtually interchangeable; they were both establishment liberal, but the veneer of literary competence helped to make the socialism relatively palatable. However, while Slate has remained relatively sane, particularly after it was bought by the pre-Bezos Washington Post, in recent years, Salon has gone completely off the rails, personified by the non-stop racialism of “editor at large” Joan Walsh, whose recent book was titled, What’s the Matter with White People?
Somewhere, there is some poor person whose job it is to sell the concept of ‘bidets’ to the American public. That person is right now feeling an inexplicable kinship to the author of this article: look, another advocate for a nice idea that does not sell! Seriously, it’s been my experience that when you start talking about pursuing a marketing strategy that have First, reeducate the public into liking your product as a hidden first step, things are unlikely to end well.
Perhaps it lies in updated vertical integration models inspired by the old studio system — say what you will about the old system, but everyone working within it got paid and lots of great films got made.
Say what you will about the old system, but people were chronically underpaid, the top brass running things routinely trampled quality into the dirt, and a godawful amount of utter dreck got made. Which, astoundingly, is more or less Salon’s complaint about the current system.
And perhaps none of these suggestions hold the answer, but we need ideas because, whatever the answer is, it can’t simply be to unquestioningly make more features.
…Leaving aside the fact that the first part of this sentence effectively alerts the reader that he just wasted five minutes of lifespan that could have been more profitably spent watching Adventure Time, the question is duly begged: why can’t people unquestioningly make more features?