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Ed Driscoll

The Memory Hole

Update (12:14 AM PDT): “Scottish referendum: Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence,” the BBC reports; scroll to bottom of post for update.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. “Obama Personally Tweets Opposition to Scottish Independence,” Jeryl Bier of the Weekly Standard noted yesterday:

Though he didn’t say it in so many words, President Obama came out today personally opposed to Scottish independence, which is set to go to a vote tomorrow. Wednesday afternoon, the president took to Twitter with this message:

The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united. -bo

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 17, 2014

Tweets sent out on the White House Twitter account that include the president’s initials indicate that the president himself personally posted the message. The White House has previously indicated a preference that Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom.

Bier goes on to write that White House press secretary Josh Earnest additionally said, “We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about the — along these lines.  But as the President himself said, we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”

Huh. Back in March of 2009, after Mr. Obama, then-newly ensconced in the White House, churlishly returned a bust of Winston Churchill to Britain that had sat in President Bush’s Oval Office since shortly after September 11th, blogger and longtime friend of PJM Juliette Akinyi (aka “Baldilocks”) noted, “Many observers seem puzzled.  I’m not and neither is the UK press.  It’s about Kenya”:

If you recall, before Kenya became Kenya (1963) it was a British colony known as British East Africa.  Between 1952 and 1960, there was this little “difference of opinion” between the UK and the natives of British East Africa—primarily from the Kikuyu tribe.  That conflict is known as the Mau Mau Uprising.  There were tens of thousands of African civilians killed and, according to Wiki, seven to ten thousand Africans interned by the British colonial masters.  In Dreams from My Father, President Obama says that his grandfather was tortured by the British during the conflict, though he was not a Kikuyu but a Luo.  Guess which prime minister ordered the Mau Mau insurgency to be put down.

Mystery solved.  It seems that the president is seeking to humiliate the progeny of those who humiliated his ancestors.  Revenge isn’t that complicated a motive.

However, a question remains.  Is this any way for a President of the United States to behave?

Flash-forward to the present day, which sees, as is his wont on virtually every issue, former President Obama reversing course on the issue of England maintaining the empire. Of course, some see a more Machiavellian reasoning to Mr. Obama’s tweet; as Greg Pollowitz of Twitchy writes, “Hey Scotland: vote Yes bc Obama wants you to vote No.”

Others wish the former president would return to his golf game and late night bull sessions with rock stars and film directors:

Heh. And still others looks to the more mysterious to discern their take on how to vote:

loch_ness_monster_scottish_independence_9-18-14

Of course for most Americans, the question of what to think about Scottish independence all boils down to one exceedingly important issue.

Update: Realizing the immense negative power of his influence, Paul Krugman also subtly comes out in favor of Scottish independence:

Sometimes you simply have to consider your initial impulses, and then Costanza them:

Watch this palindromic ad all the way through — it’s only a matter of time before an American political consultant rips it off.

Update (12:14 AM PDT): “Scottish referendum: Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence,” the BBC reports tonight:

With 31 out of the country’s 32 council areas having declared after Thursday’s vote, the ‘No’ side has an unassailable lead of 1,914,187 votes to 1,539,920.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond called for unity and the unionist parties to deliver on more powers.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted the UK would remain together and called for national unity.

Mr Cameron said the three main unionist parties at Westminster would now follow through with their pledge to deliver more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

“We will ensure that those commitments are honoured in full,” he said.

All of the UK press are reporting similar initial results, based on this lineup of tweets from their early editions rounded up by Twitchy.

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

I have been in the White House on a number of occasions when military operations are launched and once the decisions are made and the orders have been issued the people in the White House from the President on down are really out of the action, at least is they are smart. And President Bush was especially good as was President Reagan of giving the military their mission, their orders and staying the hell out of the way. And not trying to micro-manage the conflicts, so you don’t have a Lyndon Johnson going down the situation room picking targets as he did in Vietnam. Bush and Reagan stayed out of the way, so when the land war started we were basically in the receive mode, just waiting for information to be past in the Presidents case from either Powell or Cheney and in our case the same way, about how things were going and the only information we really had after the beginning of the ground war was simply that it was going well and that the units had broken through the lines very fast.

– Robert Gates, then-Deputy National Security Advisor, quoted by PBS’s Frontline as part of their “Oral History of the [1990-1991] Gulf War. Flash-forward to the present day:

“The U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Obama to exert a high degree of personal control over the campaign, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential sign-off for any strike in Syrian territory,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The requirement for the Syrian strikes will be far more stringent than those in Iraq, at least at first, to assure the Syrian air campaign remains strictly limited, in an attempt to mitigate the threat that the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the conflict, according to the U.S. officials.”

“Obama to Personally Control Strikes in Syria,” Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, yesterday.

As Moe Lane writes in the headline of his blog post linking to the above story, “Attention, whoever in the White House monitors this site. Google ‘Lyndon Johnson micromanagement Vietnam’ — Google that RIGHT NOW:”

Speaking dispassionately, you can understand – sort of – why LBJ and Richard Nixon both were very bad about trying to run the Vietnam War by themselves: it was probably the first real war we had where a President could, in something approximating real time.  And it obviously was a major temptation, given the way that both men and their staffs succumbed to it.  But also note that Presidents since have largely learned from that particular set of catastrophic mistakes and tried to keep their oversight restricted to strategic goals, not tactical ones.  Largely.  Most of the time.  Good faith efforts were made.

Alas, nobody explained any of this to Barack Obama.  Or, more likely? Somebody did, but he didn’t bother to listen, because whoever was doing the explaining wasn’t Barack Obama.

After the New York Times reported the other day that the recently retired president was offering freelance consulting advice over the transom to ISIS, Iowahawk tweeted:

And now he thinks he’s a better strategist than his generals. And speaking of whom: “Remember When Democrats Were Saying ‘Listen to the Generals?’”

Related: At Ricochet, Jon Gabriel posits, somewhat conspiratorially, “Obama Can’t Afford to Win in Iraq:”

The only reason that Obama acted at all is politics. Polls showed that midterm voters demanded a military response to ISIS’ beheading of American journalists and repeated threats to our homeland. Drones, air strikes and military advisors are merely a PR campaign to assuage moderates that their Democratic president is “doing something.”

Obama does not want to win his new Iraq war. He can’t afford to. If the projection of American military power successfully solved the problem of Islamic terrorism, it would shatter Obama’s entire worldview.

Well, so far, the recently retired president is doing everything he can to live up to that impression.

In the Clearing Stands Two Boxers In One

September 17th, 2014 - 3:34 pm

“Corker’s Kerry Critique Leaves Boxer ‘Shaking and Trembling,’” Breitbart TV notes, complete with (autoplay, alas) video of the far left San Francisco Democrat* in action:

Wednesday at the Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on U.S. strategy for combating ISIS, after Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) criticized Secretary of State John Kerry, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was left “shaking and trembling” in shock.

Boxer said, “I think it is shocking and a sad state of affairs that we heard just now, such angry comments aimed at you, Mr. Secretary, and through you, at our president instead of at ISIS, a savage group who decapitated two Americans and have warned, and I quote, that their thirst for more American blood is right out there.”

“I think it’s shocking,” she continued. “I’m actually shaking and trembling. This is not the time to show anger at the people who are working night and day, whether you agree with them or not, to protect our people.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want to show anger at someone working day or night, whether you agree with them or not, to protect Americans from Islamic terrorism:

At the time, Boxer defended her tirade by using the phrase “speaking truth to power,” a phrase whose origins date back to a mid-’50s pamphlet written by the American Quakers as a form of moral equivalence at the height of the Cold War. As we noted at the time:

Attempting to defend her much-publicized attack on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice due to Rice’s lack of children Thursday, Barbara Boxer invoked one of the hoariest clichés in the political lexicon:

Asked if her exchange with Rice was, as some suggest, a personal attack, Boxer insisted it was not.“I spoke the truth to power,’’ she said. “Condi Rice is in the room when George Bush decides to send 20,000 more of our beautiful men and women into the middle of a civil war.

“And I’m not going to apologize for making an extremely clear point,’’ she said.

As Allahpundit writes in response:

What bugs me is the self-congratulation. If one of the most powerful pols from the most powerful state in the most powerful country on earth can assume the mantle of “speaking truth to power,” then what’s left of “power”? Is that just a synonym for “Bush” now?

Isn’t it always?

Last week, the Washington Examiner speculated that the 73-year old Boxer may be retiring in 2016. Given her increasingly frail nerves, her shaking and trembling, and Claude Rains-esque level of shock, perhaps it’s time.

Related: “Gee, if only that Obama fellow showed the concern for constitutional niceties on warmaking that George W. Bush did.”

* As Jean Kirkpatrick would say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democrats sure got it good.

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

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

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

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

Neil deGrasse TysonSpace Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandy Berger Could Not Be Reached For Comment

September 16th, 2014 - 3:11 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Sorry Ace.

Our Source was the New York Times

September 14th, 2014 - 5:55 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

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

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

Really? That’s not how I remember history:

Why does the United States need a coalition?

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

Who are the coalition members?

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

Are all the members “willing?”

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

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

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

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

Or simply, the New York Times.

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

Question of the Day

September 14th, 2014 - 3:46 pm

Which bumper sticker will leftists need to remove from their Prius or Smart Car in the coming weeks? “For example, this typical car spotted yesterday in Berkeley, with 2008-era bumper stickers,” as photographed by Zombie. I don’t want to steal the photo, so click over to see it:

On one side: “No Blood for Oil“; on the other: “Obama ’08.”

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

One of those stickers simply has to be scraped off. Otherwise the cognitive dissonance would be too intense to tolerate.

But which sticker to remove?

The answer to that question may determine America’s political future in the near term.

Will anti-war liberals hold true to their unwavering belief that whenever America wages war in the Middle East, it is “for oil”? Or will they defend Obama politically as he once again sends American troops to Iraq?

Because when Obama invades Iraq, as he is about to do, you can’t have it both ways.

As former Democrat National Comittee chairman Howard Dean once claimed, “I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy.” Given the left’s utter obsession on the topic, it’s fun to call them out, but the cognitive dissonance that led to Obama’s coronation in 2008 could lead to far worse things as well.

“Obama’s Ship is Sinking,” Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post today. “I fear, we are on the cusp of tragedy,” he warns. It is reasonable to assume the worst-case scenarios about national security are growing increasingly likely to occur:”

Obama’s fecklessness is so unique that our adversaries and enemies surely realize they will never face a weaker president. They must assume the next commander in chief will take a more muscular approach to America’s interests and be more determined to forge alliances than the estranged man who occupies the Oval Office now.

So Vladimir Putin, Iran, China, Islamic State, al Qaeda and any other number of despots and terrorists know they have two years to make their moves and advance their interests, and that resistance will be token, if there is any at all.

Throw in the fact that Europe largely has scrapped its military might to pay for its welfare states, and the entire West is a diminished, confused opponent, ripe for the taking. Redrawn maps and expanded spheres of influence could last for generations.

Of course, there is a possibility that America could rally around the president in a crisis, and there would be many voices demanding just that. But a national consensus requires a president who is able to tap into a reservoir of good will and have his leadership trusted.

That’s not the president we have.

Long before the media tied their collective panties into knots over the Tea Party, Obama’s self-described “non-official campaign” staffers worked exceedingly hard in 2007 and 2008 at dividing America, dubbing anyone who was against him as racist, all the way to Bill and Hillary Clinton — and the workaday Democrat Americans who supported them in the primaries. Between alienating both sides of the aisle in Congress with his aloofness, pitting the rest of America from 2007 until today against itself and most recently angering his dove-ish BUSH SUX MAN! supporters by threatening ISIS, Obama’s has burned through an enormous amount of political capital and good will.

Perhaps with only a couple of years left in his administration, he didn’t think he’d need very much of it by now.

But in regards to Zombie’s statement that “when Obama invades Iraq, as he is about to do, you can’t have it both ways,” of course you can — if there’s a (D) after your name, you can flip-flop and contort your ideology — 360 degrees or more, as Maxine Waters might say — on every issue like you were John Kerry catching some really tasty waves on his windsurfing rig:

Symmetrical Sophistry

September 12th, 2014 - 10:19 pm

“There Are Now 52 Explanations For The Pause In Global Warming,” Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller writes:

It’s been a busy year for climate scientists, who have been trying to explain why there has been no global warming for nearly two decades.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported in February there were eight mainstream explanations for the pause, but there are now a whopping 52 explanations for why there has been no warming trend for the last 215 months.

Which oddly makes sense: the savants of settled science are proffering almost as many explanations as to why there’s no global warming as the number of maladies supposedly caused by global warming.

I blame Leonard Nimoy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Heine concludes:

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

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

Have You Seen Me?

September 12th, 2014 - 11:06 am

cindy_sheehan_missing_milk_carton_9-8-14-1

“Where exactly is the anti-war movement?”, Howie Carr asks in the Boston Herald:

Have you see a single “No Blood for Oil” sign in Cambridge?

To paraphrase the John Kerry of 2004: “Can I get me a candlelight vigil here?”

Whatever happened to Cindy Sheehan? Where is Code Pink? I haven’t seen an “EndLESS War” bumper sticker in years, since 2009 to be exact.

The anti-war movement is MIA as this war, er counter­terrorism operation, begins. Back when Bush was waging war, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Now it’s “racism.” If you speak truth to power in the Obama era, they call it hate speech. The IRS will audit you.

Obama’s media sycophants described his prime-time speech as “nuanced.” I’d call it ragtime.

I thought the moonbats didn’t want the U.S. “going it alone.” You hear that phrase on the networks now about as often as you hear the words “full employment.”

And why is the president so outraged about a couple of beheadings? When a Muslim terrorist yelling “Allahu akbar!” murdered 13 servicemen at Fort Hood, Obama shrugged it off as “workplace violence.”

Now Obama’s suddenly “all wee-wee’ed up” about non-Muslim Muslims murdering Americans.

Flag-draped coffins at Dover AFB are no longer a feature of the nightly news. Remember Wolf Blitzer’s nightly trumpeting of Bush’s plummeting approval ratings?

Now the polls are so bleak for the Kenyan Katastrophe, CNN doesn’t even mention them anymore. I’m surprised they ran the Kerry soundbite even once about how we’re not really at war against SIS, or is it SIL?

Last year, when Bruce Springsteen, Susan Sarandon, and other members of the Hollywood anti-war crowd of the first eight years of the naughts were silent as our jingoistic president and Secretary of State (who by the way, served in Vietnam) thumped the war drums against Syria, I put their faces on milk cartons in an effort to help find them. Earlier this week, someone on Twitter suggested the same for Cindy Sheehan, so I’ve added her above.

Yesterday, Allahpundit asked, “When exactly did President Obama decide that the Bush doctrine is awesome?”, by waging preemptive war in Iraq. What has cased the anti-war left to become nouveau neocons as well? Protestors were silent in early 1960s when Kennedy sent “advisors” to Vietnam, but as Jeffrey Lord noted in the American Spectator a while back, were quickly driven insane by LBJ’s southern drawl. Does that explain why the reverse has happened — GWB’s Texas twang drove them bonkers, but BHO’s poseur preppy baritone is far more soothing? But why were they silent when this Southern president was bombing Iraq?

Obama: There is No I in ISIS

September 11th, 2014 - 4:37 pm

“Sorry Mr. President, ISIS Is 100 Percent Islamic,” Daniel Pipes writes in response to the recently retired president’s speech last night:

In a televised address on how to address the Islamic State this evening, President Barack Obama declared the organization variously known as ISIS or ISIL to be “not Islamic.”

In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic. Bill Clinton called the Taliban treatment of women and children “a terrible perversion of Islam.” George W. Bush deemed that 9/11 and other acts of violence against innocents “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”

None of the three has any basis for such assertions. To state the obvious: As non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not. As Bernard Lewis, a leading American authority of Islam, notes: “It is surely presumptuous for those who are not Muslims to say what is orthodox and what is heretical in Islam.”

Indeed, Obama compounds his predecessors’ errors and goes further: Clinton and Bush merely described certain actions (treatment of women and children, acts of violence against innocents) as un-Islamic, but Obama has dared to declare an entire organization (and quasi-state) to be “not Islamic.”

So just to review how the left has responded to a 100 years of inconvenient history, National Socialism wasn’t “real” socialism, except that it certainly was — it was just socialism that the rest of of the left didn’t like. The Soviet Union wasn’t “real” communism or socialism, except that as Tom Wolfe once impolitely reminded “liberals” in the mid-1970s, ”On the contrary — it was socialism done by experts!” And now ISIS isn’t Islamic. Gotcha.

But say, in regards to all of the above “isms,” what about the “peaceful majority…?”

Not Your Father’s Nightline

September 10th, 2014 - 12:03 pm


Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

The Iranian hostage crisis contributed greatly to Jimmy Carter’s loss of the presidency in the 1980 election. Americans had lost confidence in their leader. It wasn’t difficult. Each night television newscasts relayed images of angry anti-American mobs outside the embassy in Tehran, shouting “Death to America,” “Death to Carter.”8 The creation of the television program, Nightline, devoted strictly to discussion of the crisis, was a blatant reminder of Carter’s failure to secure the hostages’ release. Each night TV news commentators posted the number of days the hostages had been held in humiliating, terrifying captivity, their president impotent in finding a way to bring them home. “This is the 325th day of the Iranian hostage crisis,” the journalists would say, and on and on it went. Election day was the anniversary of the seizure, an irony that wasn’t lost on the American people, who voted for Ronald Reagan by large margins.

—Page at The White House Historical Association Website on “Jimmy Carter and the Iranian Hostage Crisis.”

And Nightline, these days a component of the House of Stephanopoulos and other Democrat operatives with bylines at ABC have certainly learned their lesson well:

As of September 10, 2014, it’s been 300 days since ABC’s Nightline covered ObamaCare. In the 43 weeks since November 14, 2013, the show has avoided problems with the health care law and instead focused on extremely superficial topics, such as nude reality shows and the royal baby.

When the Associated Press reported, “More people newly insured by Medicaid under ObamaCare are seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms,” the hosts of Nightline didn’t notice. Two new reports found that ObamaCare has not cut the rate of uninsured children. Again, Nightline was silent. What were the hosts covering instead? See a video montage below to find out.

—”Blackout: 300 Days Since ABC’s ‘Nightline’ Covered ObamaCare,” Scott Whitlock, NewsBusters, today.

Of course, ABC isn’t the only broadcast network keeping their readers in the leftwing cocoon, but they certainly do build it exceptionally well there — which occasionally, even the newsreaders discover to their chagrin when forced to temporarily vacate that cocoon:

Two Administrations in One!

September 9th, 2014 - 4:17 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

President Obama told congressional leaders in a meeting Tuesday that he has the authority to launch broader attacks against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, downplaying the prospect of a Capitol Hill vote on his military plan ahead of his prime-time address to the nation Wednesday night.

Obama “told the leaders that he has the authority he needs to take action against [the Islamic State] in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address tomorrow,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting that included Obama, Vice President Joe Biden; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

—”Obama to lawmakers: I don’t need your approval to attack Islamic State,” the Washington Examiner, today.

Huh — it was just a month and a half ago when the Obama administration begged Congress to prevent it from going to war in Iraq:

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

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

Rice’s letter was sent as Congress just hours before it approved a resolution opposing U.S. military intervention in Iraq, where the terrorist group ISIL claims to have established an Islamic caliphate.

“We believe a more appropriate and timely action for Congress to take is the repeal of the outdated 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq,” Rice wrote, according to a copy of her letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

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

“White House Wants Repeal of Iraq War Authorization: Move could be boon for ISIL terrorism in Iraq,” the Washington Free Beacon, July 25, 2014.

Shades of all of the flip-flopping ultimately signifying nothing on Syria — right around this time last year. (Actually worse than nothing, as it made the administration look feckless in the eyes of Vladimir Putin, who then happily began to gobble up Ukraine.)

When Obama declared ISIS to be the Junior Varsity team at the start of the year, it’s astonishing how much projection was involved.

Update: Welcome those readers clicking from the Drudge Report and Instapundit.com. Please look around; there may be more here which you’ll like.

Vercotti Brothers

“The company that runs the conservative Breitbart.com news site says the IRS has selected the network for an audit, in a move company executives suggest is politically motivated,” Fox News reports:

A copy of the IRS notice to Breitbart News, obtained by FoxNews.com, asked about the company’s financial information for calendar year 2012.

The IRS asked for a litany of documents, including logs of its receipts and expenses, but also its partnership agreement and a “written narrative” of the business.

Larry Solov, president and CEO of Breitbart News Network said: “We stand ready to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service on its audit of our company, but this will not deter us in the least from continuing our aggressive coverage of this president or his administration.”

The company was founded by the late media entrepreneur and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.

The main website, Breitbart.com, houses a number of offshoot sites including Big Hollywood and Big Journalism. The website played a key role in breaking the scandal over former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner sharing sexually explicit photos on Twitter.

I’m sure the Economist, which this week is running a cover story on “The Criminalization of American Business,” Bloomberg News and other agencies largely staffed by Democrat operatives with bylines would chalk all of the above up as occurring  “unexpectedly,” despite the fact that Mr. Obama “joked” about siccing the IRS on his political enemies in 2009.

Related: “A senior communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder seemingly called House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa’s staff by accident and asked for their help spinning new revelations about the IRS scandal, Issa said in a September 8 letter to Holder.”

The Economist Meets the Underwear Gnomes

September 9th, 2014 - 11:13 am

economist_9-9-14-1

Complete with its headline, “The Criminalization of American Business,” the cover of the latest issue of the Economist stared up from the magazine rack at the local Safeway yesterday. 

Gee, how did American business become so criminalized in recent years? Some of the mile-markers along the way are pretty frightening stuff. Incidents such as the raids on Gibson Guitar and other businesses. Siccing the IRS on small businesses after “joking” early in his administration that he’d do just that. Operation Choke Point. And small-time videomakers being tossed into jail. It’s not like the Economist would condone such actions, would they?

Oh, right:

economist_obama_covers_2008-2013_6-6-13-2

Economist Obama covers through the years. Click to enlarge.

As I’ve written before, you can a pretty good sense of the arc of the left’s Obama worship by checking the various Economist covers from 2008 through the present.  The outlier in the collage above is the image of a punch-drunk and bandaged Obama after the bruising fight to pass ObamaCare in 2010; but note that the Economist was firmly back in the tank by 2011. Nice touch having Michele Bachmann waving at the president while brandishing a sniper rifle; take two Krugmans out of petty cash, boys.

So to review how we got here, let’s borrow from a beloved meme from TV’s South Park:

  1. Support a socialist-loving community organizer turned tyro senator who had completed less than a full term before choosing to run for the White House blindly, pretend, like most Democrat operatives with bylines, that he walks on water.
  2. ?
  3. Wonder why American business has become increasing criminalized.

When it was obvious as early as mid-2009 that Mr. Obama was having more than a little trouble staying afloat while walking on water, Mark Steyn wrote:

This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.

And how about this?

In an accomplished press conference this week, Mr Obama reminded the world what an impressive politician he can be. He has a capacity to inspire that is unmatched abroad or at home.

Oh, dear. That’s so January 20th it makes these toffee-nosed Brits sound like straw-sucking hayseeds.

And I wasn’t exaggerating about the Economist believing that former President Obama walked on water. Recall their cover last fall, during the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, which itself will further criminalize millions of small businesses:

economist_walk_on_water_cover_11-21-13

As I noted last November, “Hey rubes! Considering that the only people who thought that Obama could walk on water in the first place was the MSM, the Economist tacitly flashes back to their naïveté. Which would be charming, if its end result hadn’t been so destructive to the country.”

Which brings us to the Economist’s latest cover. But I doubt they’ll connect the dots and point a few fingers at themselves.

Update: A very good rule indeed:

Britain’s Summer of Hate

September 7th, 2014 - 6:44 pm

“The UK recorded more anti-Semitic incidents in July than any month in the last 30 years,” Yair Rosenberg of Tablet magazine tweets. “This video helps explain why:”

Don’t worry; the historical ignorance that fuels such hatred and idiocy can’t happen in America, right? Well, so much for that idea:

“The paths of political correctness and conformity lead to terrible places in culture,” Erick Erickson of Red State wrote this past week:

 Francis Schaeffer, the theologian, wrote a remarkable book called The God Who is There in 1968. In the book, Schaeffer posits that the United States lags Europe by about thirty years in cultural shifts and he predicted a thirty year or so lag in growing secularism and conformity in the United States.

Just imagine the culture of both nations in the coming years. Or as Mark Steyn wrote in After America, “Look around you. From now on, it gets worse:”

In ten years’ time, there will be no American Dream, any more than there’s a Greek or Portuguese Dream. In twenty, you’ll be living the American Nightmare, with large tracts of the country reduced to the favelas of Latin America, the rich fleeing for Bermuda or New Zealand or wherever on the planet they can buy a little time, and the rest trapped in the impoverished, violent, diseased ruins of utopian vanity.

Surrounded by people with no sense of history, who think that Israel is the second coming of the Third Reich.

Or as Victor Davis Hanson asks today, “Are the Orcs Winning?”

“This was the week when global warming jumped the shark. Just like it did last week. And the one before…”, James Delingpole writes at Breitbart London:

Doctors at a Washington, D.C. paediatric clinic are increasingly prescribing sunshine and outdoors – “nature time” – for their young clients, reports Lynne Peeples for HuffPo.

But the story isn’t as heartwarming as you might think from the first paragraphs. That’s because stalking this charming scene like a ravening, blood-crazed, razor-fanged death creature with a sinister cowl kind of like a wicked evil monk’s probably concealing a grinning death’s head face and an evil as old as time, is climate change.

Yes, Peeples has managed to find at least two eco campaigners so shameless and utterly desperate that they have been prepared to put their names to quotes suggesting that “climate change” is threatening to make outdoors a no-go zone.

“Nature is critical to health,” says Martha Berger, a children’s health officer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Climate change, she added, could “further alienate kids from nature.”

“One of the things contributing to [kids not getting enough play outdoors], along with many societal factors, is that some of the conditions are becoming more difficult to deal with,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, during a media call last month for the group’s report, “Ticked Off: America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change.”

As Delingpole writes, “Soon children will have forgotten what outdoors looks like, claims HuffPo.”

Yes, it could happen as soon as 1978 — because in 1968, Bobby Kennedy was making these exact claims in his presidential campaign ads, which repudiated the New Frontier optimism of his late brothers. In ten years, JFK thought we’d be landing on the moon. In ten years, Bobby believed we’d all be wearing gas masks outdoors:

As I noted in 2011, while Jimmy Carter didn’t make his infamous “Malaise Speech” until 1979, the intellectual rot and box canyon thinking that drove its depressing assumptions had seeped into the left shortly after it was obvious that LBJ’s Great Society was a failure — and as the excerpt above from James Delingpole’s post above spotlights, the left haven’t yet found a way to break the endless Mobius Loop they’ve been trapped in ever since.

For my interview in April with James on his Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism, click here to listen.