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Ed Driscoll

The Memory Hole

“Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will represent the United States at the 70th anniversary ceremony for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday—rather than President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—while other countries are slated to send their heads of state,” according to Daniel Wiser of the Washington Free Beacon:

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will represent the United States at the 70th anniversary ceremony for the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Tuesday—rather than President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden—while other countries are slated to send their heads of state.

Tuesday’s ceremony will likely be the last major anniversary where a significant number of survivors of the Nazi camp are present. About 300 are expected to attend, and most of them are in their 90s or older than 100. Nazi authorities killed 1.1 million people at the camp, mostly Jews, which was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945.

“Heads of state from France, Germany, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, and Denmark will be present,” Wiser adds.

Insert obvious reference to Obama in 2008 imagining his uncle liberated Auschwitz here.

And as with Obama blowing off the enormous march in Paris earlier this month to protest the killing of a dozen people in the Charlie Hebro offices, after seeming to embrace mammoth gatherings such as his speech in Berlin in 2008 and his Styrofoam column acceptance speech later that year, gentlemen, start your conspiracy theories.

Or just chalk it up to the fact that, as Michael Walsh writes today, “It’s Barack Obama’s Cloud Cuckoo-Land and We Just Live In It.”

It’s Come To This

January 23rd, 2015 - 1:35 pm

“An Israeli barber has fashioned what he calls ‘magic’ yarmulkes out of hair, designed to allow religious Jews to cover their heads without attracting unwanted attention from anti-Semites,” AP reports:

Shalom Koresh said his skullcap, known as a yarmulke in Yiddish and a kippa in Hebrew, was inspired by rising anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere. He said he has seen particular interest from buyers in France and Belgium.

“This skullcap is washable, you can brush it, you can dye it,” Koresh said in his salon in central Israel. “It was created so people could feel comfortable going to places where they are afraid to go, or places where they can’t wear it, and feel secure.”

France has seen a spike in anti-Semitic attacks in recent years. The killing of four French Jews in a hostage standoff at a Paris kosher market earlier this month has deepened fears among European Jews.

But remember, all of those no-go zones in Europe are just a myth now that Marco Rubio has referenced them, even though CNN, Newsweek and the New York Times all reported on them a decade ago; some sources even prior to the French Banlieue riots and car-b-ques starting in 2005.

Naturally, leave it to John Kerry to completely invert the problem, comparing the “lack of integration” of Muslims in Europe to the U.S. Civil Rights struggles of the 1960, to paraphrase the headline of this article from Jeryl Bier at the Weekly Standard, which quotes Kerry bloviating at length when asked by a reporter on the topic:

Well, let me just begin quickly on the integration issue. When I was – I entered college in 1962. And in 1963, ’4, ’5, we were deeply embroiled in this country, and we – college students in the Civil Rights Movement. And we were deeply impacted by that and have always been, I think, as a generation, much more sensitive to this question of minority and rights and integration and so forth. We’ve made unbelievable progress in our nation, unbelievable progress in the years since then. But it would be completely disingenuous not to say to you that we still have some distance to travel. We’re not finished. We’re still – you heard the President last night talk about voting rights. So what was won in 1965 still has to be fully embraced and implemented here, and other things that are linked to that. We’ve seen our own struggles in some communities and great debates about race in America in the last year.

So it would be dishonest of me – and I’m not involved in domestic politics right now, so I’m not going to go into it in depth, except to say that therefore, I think I can say with honesty that there is a challenge in many other parts of the world. And Federica is absolutely correct; this particular incident of violence wasn’t a specific targeting that grew out of that, but we all can do work in many parts of the world that I have seen where one minority or another or another is not able to share fully in the full integration in whatever country they happen to be living. So the world has a road to travel on that, and that’s why we continue to put such a high premium here on the issue of human rights and democracy, and to continue to push, because I think we’ve learned through our own experience the difference that it can make to the strengthening of the quality of our democracy, to our society, and people benefit when we live by that high moral standard.

As with most of the gaseous rhetoric uttered by the Secretary of State, who by the way served in Vietnam, that’s entirely bass-ackwards, as Ed Morrissey writes:

Unlike the US in the Jim Crow era (or South Africa during apartheid, to use another example), the issue in France and other nations on the continent is not official policies of discrimination. It’s not even cultural pressure to marginalize and “otherize” Muslims. The insularity of those communities is self-imposed. They want to be separate, and thanks to a perverse prioritization of multicultural sensitivity in France and other countries over assimilation, those cultures allow them to do so on an extraordinary scale.

And needless to say, they have no interest in accepting the traditions of other cultures in nations they immigrate to.

Just ask these fellows.

In 2012, NBC became notorious — at least on the right — for deceptively editing George Zimmerman’s 9/11 call to make him — before he was known to be of Hispanic decent — appear to be an anti-black racist.

But any hack leftist can do ransom note editing to smear his opponents through subtraction. (Jon Stewart in a rare left-on-left critique would dub NBC “The Splice Channel” when it was caught.) It takes a unique skill to make your opponents appear racist by adding words to their statements. Or as Ann Coulter writes, “That MSNBC routinely, almost compulsively, mischaracterizes what conservatives say is nothing new. It’s what makes the network so adorable. But in a recent trend, anchor Rachel Maddow has been upping the ante, altering quotes we just heard her play on tape:”

On Monday night, for example, Rachel ran a news clip from President Reagan’s 1983 Martin Luther King Day signing ceremony:

“Chris Wallace, NBC Reporter (by miraculous coincidence, currently a Fox News anchor): ‘There was an air of celebration in the Rose Garden and an underlying tension. White House officials wrestled for days how to usher in a holiday the president opposed. They finally decided to embrace it. … Maybe that’s what today was about, that blacks have the power to make politicians do things.’”

End tape, cut to Rachel, taking notes, muttering with disgust: “The blacks now have the power …”

Except Wallace didn’t say “the blacks.” Refer to the tape. By adding the simple article “the,” Rachel turned Chris Wallace from a garden-variety 1980s news reporter into Archie Bunker. It takes a special kind of zealotry to play a tape of someone and then immediately lie about what viewers just heard him say.

Rachel’s rewrite of Wallace (again, a Fox News host) was astonishingly similar to her misquote of Republican Senate candidate — now senator — Joni Ernst just before the November elections. Maddow inserted the word “the” into Ernst’s statement, entirely changing her meaning.

Ernst had said — as anyone could hear from the tape helpfully played by Rachel: “I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from a government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

The very next line in the transcript has Rachel sneering — as if repeating Ernst’s line: “I believe in my right to defend myself from the government with my beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter.” She then riffed on her own rewrite of Ernst’s statement, warning that a Senate candidate “is threatening to turn to armed violence against the government if she doesn’t get what she wants …”

Obviously, there’s a pretty big difference between a Second Amendment right to defend yourself from “a government” and “the government.” One is theoretical — referring to some future tyrannical government or even a foreign government. “The government” is referring to a specific set of government officials currently constituting our government.

Or as anyone at MSNBC could tell you, it means: “THERE’S A BLACK MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”

Don’t ever change Comcast. Don’t ever change.

(Via Five Feet of Fury.)

Well yes — I know a guy who wrote a book about that stuff in 2008. As Jonah Goldberg later wrote, it was Stalin who initially launched the smear:

Joseph Stalin championed the idea that all of his political opponents should be dubbed fascists, including many of his fellow Bolsheviks, such as Leon Trotsky (whom Stalin had assassinated), and much of the Red Army’s officer corps (whom he had executed), and countless Ukrainians (whom he had liquidated). Stalin insisted that even mentioning the man-made – i.e., Stalin-made — Ukranian famine was evidence you were an agent of the Nazis.

Under Stalin’s “theory of social fascism,” any socialist, social-democratic, or progressive group or party not loyal to him had to be called fascist. Hence, for a while Moscow insisted that FDR and even Norman Thomas (head of the Socialist Party of America) were fascists.

Ultimately, Communist propagandists and their allied intellectuals would reflexively blame fascism for everything, regardless of the facts. That’s what prompted George Orwell to remark that “the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.’”

And FDR and Truman were happy to play along. In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, Roosevelt “displayed a Nazi Iron Cross and said it should be presented to a columnist of the New York Daily News who was one of the president’s most bitter critics,” as Commentary noted in a 2010 review of an FDR biography. In his 1944 State of the Union speech, Roosevelt similarly thundered:

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

As Jonah quipped in 2012 in response to the above quote, “Ah yes, if we go back to the 1920s, an era of rampant prosperity and expanding liberty we will have surrendered to Fascism. That is grotesque.”

Equally grotesque were Truman’s tactics in a similar vein. As the New York Times’ headline screamed, “President Likens Dewey to Hitler as Fascists’ Tool,” on October 26 1948, near the conclusion of the presidential election year. CBS’s Walter Cronkite and Daniel Schorr would go on to use similar tactics to destroy the libertarian-themed presidential bid of Barry Goldwater in 1964, a particularly disgusting attack by two “objective” journalists acting as blocking backs for LBJ, considering that Goldwater was half-Jewish.

In short, it’s shameful, reactionary stuff, whose shelf-life is now three-quarters of a century old. Fortunately, there’s at least a little pushback these days on such tactics.

Incidentally, if you’re not a subscriber to PJTV, you’re missing the regular conversations between Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle on conservative and libertarian philosophy, the left’s undermining tactics and other topics, some of the most engaging material our sister video network is producing.

CNN, Where Time Stands Still

January 21st, 2015 - 12:29 pm

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

When Fox News started out, it got a generally skeptical and unfriendly reception from the journalistic establishment. Even reporters, who generally view any news media organization as a good thing (not to mention a potential source of employment), were largely disapproving. But no one greeted Fox News with more pure vitriol than CNN founder Ted Turner.

“I look forward to crushing Rupert Murdoch like a bug,” Turner told the press. He compared Murdoch to Hitler, which would make Roger Ailes a reincarnation of Goebbels, and followed up with an explanation, quoted by the Los Angeles Times [in October of 1996]: “The late Führer, the first thing he did, like all dictators, was take over the press and use it to further his agenda. Basically, that is what Rupert Murdoch does with his media.  .  .  .” The Nazi analogy was too much for the Anti-Defamation League, which rebuked Turner for trivializing the Holocaust. Turner apologized, but that didn’t prevent him from likening Murdoch to “the late Führer” a year later; or, in 2005, comparing the success of Fox News to the rise of Hitler.

— From Roger Ailes: Off Camera, by Zev Chafets.

Flash-forward to this week: “CNN’s Zakaria Takes Shot at Murdoch, ‘Quasi-Fascist’ Fox Hosts,” Mediaite’s Josh Feldman reports.

Both of which seem like pretty odd complaints, both from Turner, who after leaving the network he founded has gone on to praise North Korea, and from Zakaria, who in-between dodging plagiarism allegations, has complained on CNN that the American people have too much freedom and too little regulation.

Related: “Washington Post Catches CNN Red-Handed Reporting On Muslim ‘No-Go Zones.’”

And from Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, “Sure, Take Out Your Frustrations And Anxiety On Fox, They Won’t Behead You: Paris mayor threatens to sue Fox for insulting Paris and injuring its honor (with ‘no-go zones’).”

It was pretty much a given that it wouldn’t be very long at all before the French would revert to form and quickly begin to lose the goodwill of the American people after the horror of the Islamofascist attack on Charlie Hebdo. Or as Glenn adds, “Funny, I could have sworn that there were a lot of people marching for free speech in Paris recently.”

We’re quickly discovering how many of them were simply engaging in pantomime.

Update: “Je Suis Fox News?” asks Ricochet’s John Gabriel:

Fox News’ jealous critics and the Parisian mayor should re-read their week-old paroxysms of support for an unbridled press. Because free speech doesn’t work if you’re only allowed to offend religious figures but not secular ones.

Heh, indeed.™

Two Posts in One!

January 20th, 2015 - 3:39 pm

“The Washington Post Still Has No Idea If Dave Weigel Is Conservative,” Betsy Rothstein writes at the Daily Caller, linking to this quote from the Post’s Terrence McCoy on “How Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ stoked the American culture wars:”

The exchanges are just the latest eruption in a long culture war, analysts said, with lines clearly demarcated. “As screenings have sold out, conservative media has manned barricades against liberals who have attacked the movie or the idea of lionizing Kyle,” conservative David Weigel wrote for Bloomberg. He noted that much of the controversy involves the extended battle over guns — and gun control — and pits pro-Iraq war conservatives against anti-war liberals.

Conservative? After voting for Ralph Nader in 2000, John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, Weigel was hired by the Post in mid-2010 to cover conservatism allegedly from the inside, but not surprisingly given his background, Weigel famously imploded a short while later. When archives from the “Journolist” listserv of 400 or so leftwing journalists, who described themselves in 2008 as the “non-official campaign” to elect Obama began circulating publicly, Weigel was caught using the following language, as the Daily Caller noted in June of 2010:

Weigel was hired this spring by the Post to cover the conservative movement. Almost from the beginning there have been complaints that his coverage betrays a personal animus toward conservatives.  E-mails obtained by the Daily Caller suggest those complaints have merit.

“Honestly, it’s been tough to find fresh angles sometimes–how many times can I report that these [tea party] activists are joyfully signing up with the agenda of discredited right-winger X and discredited right-wing group Y?” Weigel lamented in one February email.

In other posts, Weigel describes conservatives as using the media to “violently, angrily divide America.” According to Weigel, their motives include “racism” and protecting “white privilege,” and for some of the top conservatives in D.C., a nihilistic thirst for power.

“There’s also the fact that neither the pundits, nor possibly the Republicans, will be punished for their crazy outbursts of racism. Newt Gingrich is an amoral blowhard who resigned in disgrace, and Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite who was drummed out of the movement by William F. Buckley. Both are now polluting my inbox and TV with their bellowing and minority-bashing. They’re never going to go away or be deprived of their soapboxes,” Weigel wrote.

Of Matt Drudge, Weigel remarked,  “It’s really a disgrace that an amoral shut-in like Drudge maintains the influence he does on the news cycle while gay-baiting, lying, and flubbing facts to this degree.”

In March, Weigel wrote that the problem with the mainstream media is “this need to give equal/extra time to ‘real American’ views, no matter how fucking moronic, which just so happen to be the views of the conglomerates that run the media and/or buy up ads.”

When Obama’s “green jobs czar” Van Jones resigned after it was revealed he signed a 9/11 “truther” petition, alleging the government may have conspired to allow terrorists to kill 3,000 civilians, Weigel highlighted the alleged racism of Glenn Beck – Jones’s top critic.

This forced Young Ezra Klein, founder of the “Journolist’ to offer a mea culpa of sorts a few days later titled “On Journolist, and Dave Weigel:”

At the beginning, I set two rules for the membership. The first was the easy one: No one who worked for the government in any capacity could join [so much for that idea -- Ed]. The second was the hard one: The membership would range from nonpartisan to liberal, center to left. I didn’t like that rule, but I thought it necessary: There would be no free conversation in a forum where people had clear incentives to embarrass each other. A bipartisan list would be a more formal debating society. Plus, as Liz Mair notes, there were plenty of conservative list servs, and I knew of military list servs, and health-care policy list servs, and feminist list servs. Most of these projects limited membership to facilitate a particular sort of conversation. It didn’t strike me as a big deal to follow their example.

And as as Moe Lane of Red State added at the time:

Nice of Ezra Klein to shaft his good buddy Dave Weigel on the way out by explicitly admitting that Klein wouldn’t let anybody on the Right onto JournoList in the first place, but that’s the Online Left for you.  You ain’t with them all the way, you ain’t worth nothing to them.

Klein’s response to Weigel’s meltdown appeared in…The Washington Post where he served as a regular columnist until Jeff Bezos purchased the paper in 2013. Terrence McCoy’s bio at the Post today describes him as “a foreign affairs reporter at the Washington Post. He served in the United States Peace Corps in Cambodia and got his masters’ degree at Columbia University.” Despite being a relatively young looking fellow in his bio photo, evidently, learning how to use a search engine wasn’t taught at Columbia during his tenure there. Or how to search a newspaper’s own archives.

Wiegel of course, landed on his feet; the Post was so alarmed by their hiring choice that upon being caught in mid-2010, they simply transferred Weigel a few months later down the hall to Slate, which the paper then-still owned. In 2014 Weigel eventually wound up at Bloomberg News, where today even he’s laughing at the paper’s latest gaffe. As Betsy Rothstein writes, “Weigel ran the excerpt [from McCoy] about himself, adding, ‘smdh,’ as defined by Urban Dictionary as “shaking my damn head.”


Heh. Good to see those layers and layers of fact checkers and editors at the Post still earning their keep. And Michael Crichton’s “Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” still very much in force there.

Hillary Clinton’s Charlie Hebdo Problem

January 17th, 2015 - 4:32 pm

“In the days since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the response from American politicians has ranged from pathetic to parodic,” John McCormack writes at the Weekly Standard:

Through his press secretary, President Obama expressed regret on Monday that neither he nor any other high-ranking American official joined 44 world leaders who marched alongside millions in Paris last weekend. Then on Friday, in an effort to make amends, Secretary of State John Kerry brought James Taylor to Paris to sing “You’ve Got a Friend.”

The response from Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, hasn’t been any better. Clinton has remained silent about the Charle Hebdo massacre since it occurred on January 7.

Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the former secretary of state has not publicly commented on the attack, but Merrill declined to give any particular reason for Clinton’s silence. (She did manage to find the time Friday afternoon, however, to condemn Republicans in Congress for “[a]ttacking financial reform.”)

What seems most likely is that Clinton has remained silent in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in order to avoid scrutiny of her own failure to defend free speech in the face of Islamist violence.

As McCormack notes, Hillary was one of numerous Obama operatives who blamed Benghazi on a hapless YouTube video maker, whom the administration promptly had jailed. Concurrently, Hillary pushed the “video did it” theme at Dover Air Force Base, as the remains of the Americans killed by al-Qeada were returned to US soil on September 14th of 2012:

But in addition to her role in the Benghazi cover-up, Hillary Clinton’s highlight reel is filled with anti-free speech moments, not the least of which was her show-stopping “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” soundbite in 1998. About which, Ann Coulter wrote in May of 2001:

The conservatives — primarily writers at The American Spectator — had a devilish plan to investigate Bill Clinton’s venality, corruption and crimes as governor of Arkansas. At the conclusion of their little scheme, the Spectator intended to publish the fruits of their conspiracy as widely as possible.

This is a highly unusual strategy for a criminal conspiracy. Typically, conspiracies are marked by hiding evidence, losing billing records and developing amnesia — pretty much everything the Clintons did. Rarely do criminal conspiracies plot to write magazine articles about their dirty business.

Though you wouldn’t know it from the behavior of the mainstream media, it is not, strictly speaking, against the law to publish articles critical of Democratic presidents. And it is not against the law to associate with individuals reputed to be conservatives engaged in journalism. (In fact, it’s not even against the law to consort with known felons, like Bill Clinton, or convicted felons, like Webb Hubbell.)

And of course, in the years since, Hillary has built quite an anti-free speech empire to advance her career:

In what was described as “a major power play,” Clinton minion and loyal Free Beacon reader David Brock is taking over as head of the allegedly nonpartisan (but actually left-wing) watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Brock was elected chairman of the group last week “after laying out a multifaceted expansion intended to turn the group into a more muscular—and likely partisan—attack dog,” Vogel writes.

CREW, which plans to add a more explicitly political arm in order to target Republican politicians, donors, and other enemies of David Brock, is the latest addition to Brock’s stable of aggressive political attack outfits, such as Media Matters, American Bridge, and the recently announced American Independent Institute and American Democracy Legal Fund. “CREW gives us some potentially powerful tools in the tool box,” Brock told Politico. “We have been in the accountability for 10 years very successfully. It is kind of a one-stop-shop now.”

By “us,” Brock is presumably referring to himself and Hillary Clinton, whom he has defended as vigorously as Zoolander fashion mogul/villain Mugatu defended child labor in Malaysia.

In other words, if an American equivalent of Charlie Hebdo attempted to mock Hillary in the same savage fashion that they mocked Mohammed,  Hillary’s vast left wing conspiracy would quickly swing into action. No overt terrorism would be involved, but as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, Dinesh D’Souza and now David Petraeus have each discovered the hard way, jail and/or lengthy and expensive court trials could result.

All of which are reasons why, just as Obama tried to downplay the massacre at Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris lest low-information voters become reminded that Islamic terrorism didn’t end in January of 2009, Hillary is similarly hoping that the fallout from the attack quickly diminishes. Any of her pronouncements on the topic would risk a certain amount of collateral damage to her presidential bid.

Oh and by the way, just as John Kerry delivered up James Taylor to a gaggle of bewildered French politicians, it’s worth noting that Hillary has her own collection of stars that occasionally follow her to exotic, war-torn locales.

Such as comedian Sinbad and pop star Sheryl Crow, who flew into Tuzla Air Force Base with Hillary in 1996 under a distinct lack of Bosnian sniper fire:

Update: There is one way that Hillary and her spouse have inadvertently helped to advance free speech. But I doubt either of them looks very favorably upon this landmark moment in journalism:

The Backlash That Never Arrives

January 15th, 2015 - 12:55 pm

Shot:

● “Andrea Mitchell Worries About ‘Far-Right’ Response to France.”

—Headline, NewsBusters, yesterday.

“CNN Editor Compares France to Ferguson.”*

—Headline, CNS News yesterday.

“Terrorism doesn’t justify insulting Islam.”

—Headline, CNN today. (Link safe, goes to Vodkapundit’s deconstruction of CNN’s “Bass-Ackwards” insanity.)

Chaser:

● “Belgian Counter-Terrorism Cops Kill Two Suspected Terrorists, Forestalling What They Call an ‘Imminent’ Attack.”

—Headline, Ace of Spades today.

To paraphrase Tom Wolfe, the dark night of fascism is forever descending in the addled minds of MSM journalists everywhere, and yet, it’s a very different type of socialism that is actually arriving in Europe these day, one that the overculture is simply to cowardly to discuss.

Or as Mark Steyn recently wrote, during World War II, “An occupying army marches in, you defeat them, they march out …and Paris is Paris again. But Paris – and Picardy, and France — have been profoundly changed, and likely permanently. The French capital is a city of no-go zones, and Jews hunched in a freezer to avoid death, and a government gibbering the Official Lies no matter how ridiculous they sound. And there’s no easy way to get this occupation force to march out.”

Or to put it another way, “We were part of France — until France ceased to be France.”

* What, was a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist shot after he robbed an art supply store and tried to shoot a French policeman with his own gun?

It’s Origin and Purpose, Still a Total Mystery

January 15th, 2015 - 11:56 am

“Six Years In, Left Still Doesn’t Understand Who They Elected,” David Steinberg writes at his PJM column:

Powerline’s Steven Hayward notes yesterday’s remarkable article at the Daily Beast by Leslie Gelb, a liberal blue-blood who pronounced Obama’s presidency dead and gone after being a no-show in Paris this week. Further, Gelb demonstrated the reappearance of JFK-style “muscular” liberalism, in which policy is governed by silly ideas about economic utopianism yet still connected to reality in terms of our enemies’ intentions. A national liberalism, instead of the international socialism favored by Obama.

Gelb made several recommendations for dismantling Obama’s foreign policy apparatus — he offers plenty of commentary and specifics, but Gelb’s recommendations boil down entirely to “fire the leftists and hire some adults,” many of whom are establishment Republicans.

Oh no, the cry for the wise old men! Mickey Kaus was wondering when they’d be arriving since the beginning of 2010. But Obama perceives no need for a David Gergen-esque centrist fixer, and who among them would want to work with Obama’s distaff Svengali, Valerie Jarrett?

More from David Steinberg’s post:

Gelb wouldn’t be making these recommendations if he understood that Obama does not see his presidency as a teetering failure, and never intended today’s foreign policy approach to be anything besides what it has become. This is a key distinction representing the right’s analytical achievement over the prior six years as compared to Gelb’s elitist commentariat left. We not only were right about liberalism, we were right about Obama’s character and intentions, both then and now. The past six years played out exactly as predicted, both by the 23-million-listener radio show and by the Tea Party shopowner in Iowa who went under, both of whom you mocked and continue to mock mercilessly.

Read the whole thing. As David notes, the White House believes its foreign policy is moving along quite nicely, thank you very much, no matter how awful it looks to the rest of us — and to Democrat operatives with bylines such as Gelb and the New York Times’ Robert Mackey, who have to defend the White House’s lunacy to the rest of the world:

As for the GOP, this might be the perfect time for someone to assume the sale and start acting, umm, presidential to fill America’s leadership vacuum, as Roger L. Simon wrote last night.

Update: “Jarrett on Paris ‘Parade’: ‘We Certainly Got the Substance Right.’”

As I think Jonah Goldberg said in the latest Goldberg, Long and Podhoretz “GLoP” podcast at Ricochet, this is an administration that believes just saying the right words is the equivalent of solving any problem. In other words, this is an administration heavily vested in magical thinking. But that can happen when your administration’s chief spokesman made his bones posing front of styrofoam columns.

Correction of the Day

January 14th, 2015 - 2:54 pm

Mr. Bennet, permit me to suggest that when the first ten paragraphs of an article in a respected publication like The Atlantic are in error, that alone should serve as sufficient grounds for the withdrawal and correction of the piece.

— A botched story in the Atlantic? This ever-so-rare anomaly positively begs scientific explanation!

(Via Small Dead Animals.)

Update: Correction of the Day, Part Deux: Far-left Alternet and Salon “originally wrote and published that Darrell Issa is richer than Hong Kong. To quote a physicist friend of mine: that’s not even wrong.”

Roles of a Lifetime

January 13th, 2015 - 9:38 pm

Neo-Neocon quotes from Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democrat convention, his first appearance on the national stage, and one in which he would return triumphantly four years later, backed by styrofoam columns almost as phony as the man in front of them. In 2004 though, his rhetoric sure sounded good, but as Neo writes:

I didn’t listen to Obama’s 2004 speech, or much of either convention that year; I’m not a big fan of speeches in general. But reading it now I could almost weep, because it is so deceptive, so unlike the Barack Obama we’ve come to know so well. If the guy portrayed in that speech had won an election, the result probably wouldn’t have been half bad. But that guy never existed; he was an actor reading his lines. 2004 was his first performance on the national stage, and he ought to have won an Oscar for it.

Reading Neo’s post, I was reminded of the other actor armed with stirring rhetoric at the other national political convention that summer, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed that in 1968 he was listening to Hubert Humphrey’s Great Society-style proposals shortly after arriving in the US:

Everything about America seemed so big to me, so open, so possible.I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.

The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

SCHWARZENEGGER: But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.

(APPLAUSE)

Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?”

My friend said, “He’s a Republican.”

I said, “Then I am a Republican.”

Well, it sounded good at the time. But in the coming months, faced with the opportunity of being Scott Walker before Scott Walker and reforming Sacramento’s union-dominated out of control spending and regulation, Arnold quickly revealed himself to be a political girlie man, and a pampered actor who’d rather have the perks of office than fighting for lasting accomplishments:

And then there was the man who was the focus of both conventions, the stiff and effete John Kerry, now Obama’s Orwellian sidekick posing as Secretary of State.

Just as a reminder though, as Mark Steyn wrote in early 2008, there was another politician who actually was a straight shooter in 2004:

Two months into the new regime, no less an authority than Anthony Lewis of the New York Times assured us that “George W. Bush and his people are driven by right-wing ideology to an extent not remotely touched by even the Reagan Administration.” In those heady days of spring 2001, it was easy to take Señor Compasión at the Left’s estimation of him. Do you remember some of the “controversies” around back then? Arsenic in the water supply? I didn’t even know I was in favor of that until Bush started doing it.

But it turned out the compassionate conservative did mean it — on immigration, education, and much else. And, whatever we feel about those policies, we cannot say that we were betrayed — for few candidates have ever been so admirably upfront. Indeed, it is a peculiar injustice that the 43rd presidency’s most obvious contender for a Bartlett’s entry should be “Bush lied, people died.” The activists who most assiduously promoted the line are now having to adjust to the news that their own beloved “anti-war” candidate’s commitment to bring home every last soldier within 16 months has been “revised” into a plan for some 30,000–70,000 troops to remain in Iraq after 2011. On Fox News the other night, I found myself talking to a nice lady from Code Pink who was trying to grapple with the fact that Henry Kissinger and Karl Rove are more enthusiastic about Obama’s national-security team than she is. Many other Obama policies now turn out to be inoperative, and we haven’t even had the coronation. I don’t know about my Code Pink friend, but I already miss Bush’s straightforwardness. He spoke a language all but extinct in the upper echelons of electoral politics. “Bush lied”? Here he is in Crawford, early in 2002, being interviewed by Trevor McDonald of Britain’s ITN:

“I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go,” said Bush.

“And, of course, if the logic of the War on Terror means anything,” Sir Trevor responded, relentlessly forensic in his determination not to let Bush get away with these shifty evasions, “then Saddam must go?”

“That’s what I just said,” said the president. “The policy of my government is that he goes.”

“So you’re going to go after him?” pressed Sir Trevor, reluctant to take yes for an answer.

“As I told you,” said the president, “the policy of my government is that Saddam Hussein not be in power.”

Etc. George W. Bush is who he is, and he never pretended to be anything but. Do you know how rare that is? If you don’t, you surely will after six months of Barack Obama’s enigmatic cool.

Will the American voters prefer a return to more honest president in 2016 after their eight year tour of Obama’s postmodern Fantasyland is concluded? We’ll find out soon enough.

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

Yet here’s my puzzlement. Let’s agree, for the sake of the discussion, that the 9/11 bombers did not speak for Islam. Ditto the London murders. Indeed, let’s say that neither the Boston marathon bombers nor the people who murdered a total of 16 people in Paris last week (the 12 at Charlie Hebdo and four at the kosher market), let’s say that they did not speak for Islam either. Like Major Hasan, who murdered 13 people at Ft Hood in 2009 while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” they were just “lone extremists” who carry out murder and mayhem while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” But that has nothing to do with Islam. OK. Got it.

But here’s my question: Who does speak for Islam? We are assured that it’s not the group that now calls itself Islamic State, but which, following Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, I am considering calling Daesh, a name they apparently dislike. Anyway, we know that they don’t speak for Islam because our political leaders and our media have told us so. It’s the same with Boko Haram, the Nigerian Muslim group.  This morning, quoting the Australian journalist Andrew Bolt, I noted that they had kidnapped and sold into sex slavery 300 Nigerian school girls. That was before I saw the story that Boko Haram had just invaded another town killing as many as 2000. Boko Haram appears to believe that they represent Islamic teaching, but no: our leaders have assured us that that is not the case. Ditto about Syria: this summer an adulteress or two were stoned to death, but that, of course, was the work not of Islam but of “extremists,” if not quite “lone extremists.”

So who, according to the establishment gospel, does speak for Islam? The Ayatollah Khomeni was the spiritual leader of Iran, a great Shia Muslim country. Did he speak for Islam?  He didn’t like a novel by Salman Rushdie and told his followers to kill him for insulting Islam. Did the ayatollah speak for Islam?

Two days ago, Raif Badawi, a 30-year-old Saudi blogger, was given 50 lashes by the Saudi authorities for the crime of “insulting Islam.” It was the first installment of 1000 lashes, scheduled to be administered with 50 lashes a session for 20 weeks. No one expects him to last that long, for the order specifies that he is to be “lashed very severely” and be denied medical care.

Saudi Arabia is a great Sunni Muslim nation, our “friend” and “ally.” Do they speak for Islam?

“Who Speaks for Islam?”, Roger Kimball at PJM yesterday. And speaking of magic get out of the MSM’s rhetorical jail free cards:

One intrepid CNN reporter offered her theory for why Obama declined to attend the rally in Paris when so many of heads of state around the globe did: Politics.

“President Obama, while he obviously does things to deal with terrorism, this isn’t the issue that he wants to be fully front and center out there with, I think is fair to say,” said CNN Senior Political Correspondent Brianna Keilar.

“CNN: Terrorism really isn’t Obama’s ‘issue,’” Noah Rothman at Hot Air, today. (Do other presidents get to use this get out of jail free card? “Let’s face it. Shrinking the size of the federal government just isn’t really LBJ’s issue.” “Let’s face it. Embassy security just isn’t Jimmy Carter’s issue.” “Let’s face it. Keeping students safe while protesting on campus just isn’t Richard Nixon’s issue.”)

To slightly modify one of John Nolte’s catch phrases at Big Journalism, let’s face it: Democrats — and their MSM-protected constituencies — sure got it good. And conversely:

Related: “Barack Obama’s Harriet Miers moment. Seriously.”

That’s the shot. Here’s the chaser:

As Moe Lane writes, “Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris today anyway. He apparently skipped the unity march.  …Look, if the Left can’t understand why this looks bad, can they at least black-box the whole thing and accept that it looks bad? I think that the last few years have demonstrated pretty clearly why the American people default to looking to the Republican party for their foreign policy cues.”

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

January 8th, 2015 - 2:24 pm

Hey, if that’s how you justify not reporting — or at least not illustrating — the news, well, we all have to find a way to sleep at night.

Of course, that conservative Catholic family in Brooklyn outraged over Piss Christ? The Times cares about their feeling so much, they hire the “artist” who created it to illustrate their anti-Bush stories.

Update:

Plus,  “7 Offensive Images The New York Times Wasn’t Afraid to Publish.”

Related: “Ezra Levant Slams Media’s #JeSuisCharlie Phonies.”

Flashback: In 1992, New York Magazine reported that Times publisher Pinch Sulzberger “told a crowd of people that alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.’”

Compare Baquet’s email above with Sulzberger’s quote, and you start to get a sense of how their newspaper defines the words “objective journalism.”

Update 1/9/15: Bacquet calls USC professor an “asshole” today on professor’s Facebook page after his criticism of Bacquet not publishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Confirmed: Gray Lady Regresses to Infantilism.

Hey MSM, Here’s a Moderate Muslim To Cover!

January 7th, 2015 - 7:21 pm

Jonah Goldberg uses his editorial space at USA Today to expose their readers to a potentially huge story that’s being embargoed by the MSM cocoon. “Egyptian president (and strongman) Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivered a possibly epochal speech at Al-Azhar University on New Year’s Day.” Al-Sisi, Jonah writes, “called for a ‘religious revolution’ in which Muslim clerics take the lead in rethinking the direction Islam has taken recently. Sisi is exploring potentially “uncharted territory” Goldberg adds. But, “What is clear, however, is that this is a big deal:”

Al-Sisi is doing exactly what Westerners have been crying out for since at least Sept. 11, 2001, if not before that. And yet his speech has been almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media. The commentators and analysts at PJ Media have been all over the story, but there’s been silence from The New York Times, Washington Post, the news networks and other major outlets.

Why? No doubt part of the explanation is that he gave his speech on New Year’s Day, when most outlets are hung-over, following football not the foreign press. But another part of the explanation probably has to do with the fact that al-Sisi isn’t the kind of authentic Muslim reformer many Westerners wanted.

Indeed, he’s too western for some and clearly too autocratic for many (his treatment of the press is outrageous). They wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to succeed in Egypt, not be brought to heel by an Arab Pinochet. Moreover, al-Sisi sees Israel as a de facto ally in their shared battle against Muslim extremism, and that muddies the narrative that Israel is the cause of Middle East extremism, not the victim of it.

Whatever your own view of the man, and whether you think he’s sincere, al-Sisi’s efforts to combat Muslim extremism — militarily and rhetorically — deserve closer attention, if not now then after the images from Paris fade.

Related: As Twitchy notes, CNN’s “Sally Kohn, who after the #CharlieHebdo killings in Paris compared the attack to ‘Christians or Jews killing in name of religion,’ doesn’t want an entire religion blamed for the actions of just a few:”


Ahh, the peaceful majority — they’re rather irrelevant whenever their more bloodthirsty totalitarian leaders have declared war on civilization, as Brigitte Gabriel brilliantly noted last year:


“OK, So What Really Happened to Harry Reid?”

Except When We Don’t

January 6th, 2015 - 12:25 am

Shot:

For the chaser, recall Halperin’s mea culpa in November of 2013 for he and the rest of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO being on the wrong side as cheerleaders for what ended up arguably being the biggest lie ever told by an American president:

In 2009 and 2010, when it mattered, during the run-up to Obamacare’s passing, HBO and CNN, both owned by the same conglomerate as Mark Halperin’s Time magazine were doing the DNC’s bidding by insulting any of its detractors as racists, and CNN was inviting high school kids into the studio to sing pro-Obamacare propaganda:

Because in reality they’re actually Democrat operatives with bylines, so many pundits got the biggest stories of 2008, 2010 and 2012 completely wrong, and trashed those such as Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney whose forecasts (Sarah Palin and death panels, as Halprin was forced to admit, Mitt Romney on Obama’s blinkered foreign policy) turned out to be spot-on. They’re going to “forget” their past utterances and their roles as cheerleaders and groupies for the World’s Biggest Celebrity, but we won’t.

“Someone Gave the World a Brutal Look at Comcast’s Inner Workings — but Their Identity Is Still in Question,” Zach Noble of The Blaze reports:

Comcast doesn’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to customer service, so when a man claiming to be a Comcast customer account executive went on Reddit Saturday to tell all about the company, loads of people eagerly participated in the back-and-forth.

The executive spilled plenty of juicy tidbits…but was he who he said he was?

Noble writes that “The executive proved his identity by posting a picture of his Comcast company T-shirts…and sending a picture of his company ID to a Reddit moderator:”

So, commenters quickly began asking, is Comcast as bad as people say?

The man said bad practices pervade the company, writing, “It’s not just the higher ups it’s the whole way we operate from s***ty schedules to overnight shifts, no transportation for employees, the health conditions of the office we work at.”

He had plenty of personal gripes, complaining that Comcast bosses “make your life miserable until you are basically forced to quit” and saying that he’d stopped caring about the job and would probably be fired soon.

“How does it feel to talk to people who resent you and your company every day?” a commenter asked, to which the man responded, “I stopped caring about 2 weeks into the job.”

Gee, if this guy actually does work for Comcast, the work conditions he’s describing don’t sound at all like the ideal happy fun time “socially-responsible” corporation and “Progressive” labor relations championed by its spokespeople on one of its subsidiary cable TV channels. And so far, it’s an extremely under-reported topic on that channel’s Website. So c’mon Al, Andrea, Rachel, Lawrence, Melissa and company — isn’t it time to flood the zone on this story, as former former Times editor Howell Raines would order his troops?

(Of course, MSNBC will jump on this story as soon as they convince Comcast and parent network NBC to drop NASCAR coverage due to “global warming.”)

2014: The Year of the Liberal Lie

January 2nd, 2015 - 9:53 am

“2014 was the year when truth was optional,” Kyle Smith writes at the New York Post. “2014 was the year when convenient fabrication was the weapon of choice for celebrities, activists, big business and politicians. 2014 was the Year of the Lie,” including, but not limited to:

Bowe Bergdahl. The IRS’s missing e-mails. Lena Dunham. “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Jonathan Gruber. GM and that faulty ignition switch. Andrew Cuomo and that anti-corruption commission. The Secret Service and that White House intruder. Rachel Noerdlinger and her “disabled” son. Rolling Stone and gang rape.

As Kyle notes:

“Even if you don’t find that it’s true, it’s a valid rallying cry,” Ferguson protester Taylor Gruenloh told The Associated Press. If a few black-owned businesses get destroyed, and others are forced out of business by rising insurance costs, who cares? At least the protesters feel righteous.

Similarly, we all know rape is a rampant problem in elite-college fraternities, even if the smoking gun turned out to be a toy pistol. After Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story led to protests, vandalism and cancelled donations, the magazine appended a shrug of a disclaimer to the story and continued to publish the 8,000 word opus on its website.

Feminists keep saying that there is a “larger truth” here — that we are suddenly living in a “rape culture” in which this hideous crime is widely condoned, even though the rate of forcible rate is at its lowest level in 40 years. When such data don’t bear out the narrative, activists rely heavily on anecdotal evidence like the Rolling Stone story — then say false anecdotes don’t matter either.

“We have a society where rapists are given the benefit of the doubt, often despite overwhelming evidence,” wrote Sally Kohn of CNN, adding that “[Feminists] cannot apologize for erring on the side of a fair, compassionate and credulous hearing of a woman’s account.”

Except being “credulous” with a liar means you aren’t being fair to those she is lying about.

The stage was set for 2014 over many years, as an increasing number of journalists decided that not only was lying OK, admitting in public that you’re a liar is perfectly fine as well. But then, those journalists are merely Democrat operatives bylines. As Smith writes, “Where on earth could all of these people have gotten the idea that lying is acceptable? Maybe they’re all just marching to the cadence of the Liar in Chief.”

Of course, as Jonah Goldberg wrote this week, “What seems like staggering hypocrisy is actually remarkably consistent from liberals’ perspective.” As Charles Krauthammer famously observed, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”  And base on their actions, the left clearly believes that about not just their fellow politicians and talking heads, but the American public as well.

Related: “Liberals Can’t Argue, They Can Only Bully,” John Hinderaker writes at Power Line. Well, it’s not like the first “Progressives” went around publicly stating such things as “I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti, for enlightened Nazis,” except when they did.

More: “When the Nazca lines fiasco broke, Greenpeace’s response was to assure the world it worked with an archaeologist, taking every possible precaution.”

Plus, “Gavin McInnes: 2014 – The year the liberal narrative exploded.”

The First Reagan Democrat

January 1st, 2015 - 7:29 pm

At the risk of a little Blogospheric name dropping, a couple of years ago, at a party in the backyard of Roger L. Simon’s L.A. spread, Rob Long, Bill Whittle and I discussed the two long-running network TV shows that presented Republicans originally as the bad guy, but whom the audience quickly grew to love, simply because they were the only openly GOP characters at the time they could identify with on TV: Michael J. Fox’s Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties, and Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker on Norman Lear’s All in the Family. As I think Bill noted, how many union loading dock foremen in Queens would actually have been Republicans?

In his new article at Commentary, both a review of Lear’s new autobiography, Even This I Get to Experience, and an explanation of why his career arc as a TV producer was effectively over the minute Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, Terry Teachout squares the circle:

“He was afraid of tomorrow,” he says of Archie in Even This I Get to Experience. “He was afraid of anything new, and that came through in the theme song: ‘Gee, our old LaSalle ran great/Those were the days.’” But he neglects to cite a more telling line from the lyrics to the All in the Family theme song: “Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.” The truth was that Archie Bunker would never have spoken nostalgically of Hoover. Rather, he would have been an FDR voter who had come at length to the reluctant conclusion that something had gone wrong with America—in other words, a Reagan Democrat.

Lear had already gotten out of the sitcom business before Ronald Reagan entered the White House. He ceased to function as what is now called the “show runner” of his sitcoms in 1978, and three years later he founded People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, thereafter spending the bulk of his time promoting political causes. But his shows had already lost altitude in the ratings and were headed for the scrapyard: Sanford and Son went off the air in 1977, Maude in 1978, and All in the Family and Good Times in 1979.

It is no coincidence that their decline occurred simultaneously with the emergence of Ronald Reagan as a national political figure. However sympathetically he was portrayed on the air, Archie was still a comic figure whose views were treated by Lear and his writers as benighted at best, dangerous at worst. Not so Reagan: His conservatism was the real thing, not a satirical burlesque, and he made the case for it unapologetically, presenting himself not as a Hoover Republican with a pretty face but as a New Deal Democrat who had changed his mind. Small wonder that blue-collar Democrats lost interest in All in the Family when Reagan came along. Instead of making fun of their inchoate conservatism, he took them seriously—and they responded in kind.

Read the whole thing. While many of the long-running CBS sitcoms of the 1970s, such as M*A*S*H (at least the early Larry Gelbart-produced years), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and WKRP hold up well as repeat viewing today, I find All in the Family to be almost unwatchable.  The crude smeary brightly-lit appearance of the Lear’s trademark 1970s-era videotaped production style and the ultra-topical themes are strikes against it, but unlike the other aforementioned sitcoms, there isn’t an appealing character in the bunch. Even Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden is a far more likable working class Noo Yawwwwk figure than Archie ever was. As James Lileks wrote a few years ago:

If I ever stumble across a rerun of “All in the Family” I watch it with an anthropologist’s eye; it’s like a cave painting, a medieval tapestry. All long ago and far away. There’s Rob Reiner pointing and shouting; Jean Stapleton wincing and cringing. There’s lots of Carroll O’Connor bitching in De Queen’s English: Oh jees dere Edith wit de menapaas and de hoormones and de rest of dat commie plot to make yer jugs dere sag wudja stifle awready — Noted. It was groundbreaking for its time, but the ground having been broken, let’s shovel it back on the coffin lid. The day is past when you could get a studio audience to laugh for seven minutes because the star of the show has reacted with slack-jawed outrage at the sight of a mixed-race couple. Good. The show reeks of stagflation and Times Square porno row and Wadergate dere wit de hippies in de newspaper aw jees. I watched every episode when I was growing up. I’ve done my part.

Indeed.