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Ed Driscoll

The Memory Hole

Clinton Versus Clinton

March 30th, 2015 - 11:50 am

Shot:

Chaser:

  I just don’t understand how someone could support a presidential candidate whose husband signed such a monstrous law. Speaking of which:

And I look forward to ESPN weighing in this:

All of which is why:

Or as Glenn Reynolds Insta-writes, “Here’s the deal: (1) Indiana has gone from a swing state to a red state, so it’s fair game; and (2) Dems need something to agitate the base so it doesn’t pay attention to Iranian nukes, trashed email servers, and an overall culture of corruption. Those who join in are willing enablers.” Indeed. Read the whole thing.™

This has to be yet another troll by the Troller-in-Chief, right? In addition to paying back Teddy, who helped launch Obama’s presidential bid by declaring him 2008′s second coming of JFK*:

President Barack Obama paid tribute to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy at the dedication of his political institute in Boston on Monday, praising the Democratic lawmaker’s legacy and that of his brother as “alive as ever.”

“No one made the Senate come alive like Ted Kennedy,” Obama told a crowd of Massachusetts dignitaries. “It was one of the great pleasures of my life to hear Ted Kennedy deliver one of his stemwinders on the floor.”

“What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy? What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?” Obama asked.

“Carried ourselves” like Ted Kennedy? Say what you will about the man, but one of Obama’s virtues is that he doesn’t appear to make half-gallons of Chivas Regal disappear in a single gulp. But as far as Obama and working the senate, this is of course the man who typically voted “present” in the Illinois state legislature, and who made “less than a quarter of Senate votes” in 2007, as CNN reported, before perfecting the art of using Air Force One to commute to the links.

Since her name isn’t mentioned in the above Politico article, it’s always worth flashing back to the infamous 2003 passage from Charles Pierce, now with Esquire, on Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne:

“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

—Charles Pierce in a January 5, 2003 Boston Globe Magazine article. Kopechne drowned while trapped in Kennedy’s submerged car off Chappaquiddick Island in July 1969, an accident Kennedy did not report for several hours.

(Kennedy himself was said to enjoy Kopechne jokes in his dotage.) And speaking of Kennedy’s relationship with women after her:

* There’s one in every Democrat presidential crowd. This year’s nominee? Martin O’Malley. Funny  though, with the arguable exception of Bill Clinton (and only after he had a GOP Congress), they never govern like JFK if they actually win.

Peggy Noonan, Then and Now

March 27th, 2015 - 1:08 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Mr. Cruz knows his reputation as the angry, surly face of the dark side of conservatism. He’s the government-shutdown artist*, the living answer to the question “What if Joe McCarthy went to Harvard Law?” He says it’s a caricature.**

He once noted to me in conversation that when people on TV call him angry and snarling, they never show video to illustrate the point. He says there is no angry, snarling video because he isn’t angry and doesn’t snarl. He never throws mud, he says, and won’t. He sees himself as a happy warrior.

I don’t think the snarling image thing is his main problem. He has two others.

One is much remarked upon. He is 44 and a first-term senator. He entered the national stage less than three years ago, though it seems like longer because he made himself so famous so fast. He talks about Reagan, but Reagan in 1980 had been a union president, two-term governor of a huge state, candidate for the GOP nomination in 1976, and longtime leader of modern conservatism. He had been an executive; he had run things; his accomplishments could be measured.

Mr. Cruz here is not like Reagan. He’s like a first-term senator named Barack Obama, 45 when he announced.

This prompts a major 2016 question: Did Mr. Obama permanently lower the bar? Did his winning and holding the presidency with such limited experience, and his governing in many eyes so unsuccessfully, leave a whole generation of politicians thinking “I can do that!” and “Even I can do better than that!” Or, after Mr. Obama, will there be among Republicans voters a hunger for deeper biography? Is the country in the mood for more on-the-job presidential training?

I don’t know — some Washington insiders see first-term senators engaging in seemingly quixotic presidential bids as awfully inspirational, even in-spite of the on-the-job presidential training they might eventually require:

He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make. We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice.

“The case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes,” Peggy Noonan, October 31, 2008.

Oh and by the way, “Nearly two-thirds of Iowa Republican insiders believe Cruz can win the caucuses,” Politico’s James Hohmann writes, after first declaring Cruz “unelectable.” As NewsBusters’ P.J. Gladnick quips, “After you switch to a more highly caffeinated coffee to make you aware of what you later write, Hohmann, you might want to hit a highly fortified bottle of bourbon to make yourself forget how laughably you completely contradict yourself.”

*Yeah, that government shutdown sure worked out terribly for the GOP.

** But one that Noonan herself is willing to pander to. That’s really a cheap shot from someone who once held herself out as a conservative.

Shot:

 

Chaser:

nyt_hitler_1922_sml_2-10-15-1

Click to enlarge.

Hangover:

(H/T: Ed Morrissey.)

Shot:

It’s less clear that CNN is any less likely to make the same mistakes the next time a racially charged shooting takes place somewhere in America.  If there is any hope of CNN doing better next time, it comes from something Brian Stelter said midway through the discussion:

The eyewitnesses that didn’t speak to the press, the ones that were intimidated. According to the DOJ, witnesses that didn’t want to come forward, those are the voices we didn’t hear in the news coverage. And that’s a lesson for journalists, that we weren’t hearing every witness’ point of view.

This is an important point but Stelter doesn’t go nearly far enough with it. His statement makes the process of getting accurate information sound passive, as if the eyewitnesses who did and did not come forward did so independent of any outside concern or pressure. But the DOJ report makes clear there was an underlying connection between witness intimidation and bad reporting. Witnesses were already afraid to contradict those who were pushing “Hands up, don’t shoot,”  but the media, CNN included, raised the stakes by amplifying that narrative across the airwaves. In other words, CNN‘s own flawed reporting exacerbated the problem and played a role in suppressing the truth.

“CNN Misses: ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Narrative Suppressed the Truth,” John Sexton, Big Journalism, Saturday.

Chaser:

CNN reporter Sara Ganim agreed with one of Hostin’s conclusions centered on her fear that “Jackie’s” experience might lead other victims of sexual assault to stay quiet about their experiences. When too many women who are victims of sexual assault already refuse to come forward, her concerns are valid and should be shared by everyone. But if “Jackie’s” story makes some alleged assault victims refuse to come forward, who is to blame? The university that stripped fraternities of the right to operate on campus in the wake of this story, only to backtrack when the tale was proven inaccurate? The police, who diligently investigated this assault and found no evidence to back up Rolling Stone’s claims? The reporters and editors who shed their journalistic instincts and reported on this erroneous tale? Or the subject of this supposed assault that caused a lot of undue pain and hardship for some unknown gain?

The only victims in this story were the men who were falsely accused of assault and had their lives turned upside down over nothing. To refuse to acknowledge that “Jackie” caused a lot of people undue trauma is the only thing that remotely constitutes “victim blaming” here.

For most people, the response to today’s press conference by Charlottesville police is to react with sadness over the plight of those young men who had their names besmirched. They endured quite a bit of unnecessary suffering for the sake of a dubious victimization narrative favored by some grossly irresponsible voices in the media. The UVA rape fable reflects poorly on many in the press, and it would be wise of these and other commentators to bury their pride, acknowledge the mistakes, and stop the bleeding.

“Watch: CNN’ers having a hard time coming to terms with implosion of Rolling Stone’s rape story,” Noah Rothman, Hot Air, today.

Hangover:

You stay classy, CNN.

“The word ‘Obama’ is never once mentioned by the ever-diplomatic General Petraeus” during his interview yesterday with the Washington Post, Max Boot writes at Commentary. But, “reading between the lines this is a devastating criticism of the president’s policy from the man who was once his CIA director, Central Command commander, and Afghanistan commander:”

When Petraeus feels compelled to point out that Iran “is not our ally,” he is speaking directly to a White House that imagines otherwise. When he says that the U.S. pullout from Iraq in 2011 “complicated our ability to shape developments in the region,” he is indirectly criticizing Obama, in part, for failing to win a Status of Forces Agreement. And when he criticizes the “scale, scope, speed, and resourcing” of US efforts to support the moderate Syrian opposition, he is indicting the president for not backing the Free Syrian Army, as CIA Director Petraeus and much of the Obama security cabinet had proposed to do in 2012.

Obama wasn’t listening to Petraeus then. Let’s hope he—and the whole world–is listening now. Petraeus’s comments are entirely on the mark.

Hey, remember when the left and the MSM (but I repeat myself) screamed that the president needs to heed the advice of his former and current generals? Good times, good times.

It’s always fun watching modern-day “Progressives” wrestle and explain away, Ministry of Truth-style, their ideology’s dark race-obsessed past. PolitiFact, the left-wing opinion Website site set up by Tampa Bay Times notes that “NH Rep. Bill O’Brien says Margaret Sanger was active participant in KKK.” But hey, it’s OK, because she merely gave speeches to them:

Debates about Planned Parenthood often find their way back to Margaret Sanger, the outspoken birth control advocate who founded a forerunner to the group.

Opponents of Planned Parenthood, and of abortion more generally, have seized on Sanger’s sometimes controversial beliefs as a way to discredit the organization that she helped found. Such was the case on Feb. 8, 2015, when former New Hampshire speaker of the House William O’Brien posted a lengthy online comment about a previous fact check.

O’Brien writes, in his first paragraph: “In language that would only occur to one of the liberal elite, here is what Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and an active participant in the Klu Klux Klan and the eugenics movement, had to say about the immigrants, blacks and poor people for whom that organization’s services were targeted,” going on to quote Sanger as saying they were “human beings who never should have been born.”

That’s a lot to unpack.

There is little question that Sanger supported the eugenics movement (more on that later), but one statement really stuck out. Sanger was “an active participant in the Ku Klux Klan.”

PolitiFact NH decided to check it out.

It turns out, Sanger did speak to a group connected to the KKK and wrote about it openly. In Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, published in 1938, Sanger details her work advocating birth control across the United States and emphasizes her willingness to talk to virtually anyone.

“Always to me any aroused group was a good group,” Sanger writes, “and therefore I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan at Silver Lake, New Jersey, one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing.”

**********It’s important to note that the Women of the Ku Klux Klan was not the KKK itself. It was a parallel, official organization, with branches in all 48 states. It supported the goals of the men’s group, and was based in Little Rock, Ark.

And that’s a far cry from being an “active participant” in the Ku Klux Klan, as O’Brien claims.

As for Sanger, she indeed supported the eugenics movement.

While the notion that the human race could be perfected by better breeding led to a horrific outcome in the Holocaust, it had been widely accepted in progressive, reformist political circles. Supporters included Winston Churchill, H. G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, George Bernard Shaw and economist John Maynard Keynes. And while he disagreed with and worked to debunk eugenicists who insisted on black people’s inferiority, African-American activist W. E. B. Du Bois subscribed to a number of the movement’s principles.

In other words, supporting eugenics did not automatically equal racism. Jean H. Baker, who wrote the biography Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion and is the Bennett-Harwood professor of history at Goucher College in Maryland, says attempts to paint Sanger as a bigot are simply false.

This is positively Orwellian — the very definition of eugenics, an early 20th century movement embraced by self-styled “Progressives” on both sides of the Atlantic, implies breeding out races deemed “inferior” and strengthening those deemed acceptable. Or as Jonah Goldberg wrote in “A Dark Past: Contraception, abortion, and the eugenics movement:”

One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.

* * * * * * * * *

n 1939 Sanger created the above-mentioned “Negro Project,” which aimed to get blacks to adopt birth control. Through the Birth Control Federation, she hired black ministers (including the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Sr.), doctors, and other leaders to help pare down the supposedly surplus black population. The project’s racist intent is beyond doubt. “The mass of significant Negroes,” read the project’s report, “still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes…is [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” Sanger’s intent is shocking today, but she recognized its extreme radicalism even then. “We do not want word to go out,” she wrote to a colleague, “that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

And 75 years later, Politifact is still eager to play along, “Unexpectedly.”

Oh and by the way, Sanger was playing up her obsession with abortion and population control even after World War II, a battle that between eugenics and more conventional warfare, helped to reduce the population by 60 million. That”s her being interviewed by England’s Pathe News Agency in 1947, under her married name, Margaret Slee:

“O’Brien’s claim goes far beyond the evidence. We rate the statement False,” Polti-”fact” claims, happy to hide as much evidence as possible that the religion of “Progressivism” was built on the original sin of both Eugenics and the Klan.

Nora Ephron, writing at the Huffington Post in April of 2008 noted that she had the ever-so-mildest disagreement with the worldview of Hillary Clinton’s core Democrat voters during the Pennsylvania primary:

This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can’t even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder — after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn’t believe any of those articles.)

To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday’s primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain’s temper will be a problem, don’t bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what’s more, they think it’s normal.

If Hillary pulls it out in Pennsylvania, and she could, and if she follows it up in Indiana, she can make a credible case that she deserves to be the candidate; these last primaries will show which of the two Democratic candidates is better at overcoming the bias of a vast chunk of the population that has never in its history had to vote for anyone but a candidate who could have been their father or their brother or their son, and who has never had to think of the president of the United States as anyone other than someone they might have been had circumstances been just slightly different.

Hillary’s case is not an attractive one, because what she’ll essentially be saying (and has been saying, although very carefully) is that she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can. Nonetheless, and as I said, she has a case.

Hey, don’t ask me why Democrats wrote such vitriol about Hillary in 2008, but as with Obama’s own attacks on her back then, it’s worth remembering how badly they dumped on her for being such a flawed candidate.

Unfortunately, Ephron, a mult-italented novelist, screenwriter and director (at least before her racialist crackup in the above post) died in 2012, but I’m sure we’ll have lots more examples of Democrats who trashed Hillary and her supporters in 2008 as bitter clingers, and these days declare

“Obama blasted Hillary’s secrecy in 2007,” the Weekly Standard reminds readers this week:

As the White House claims that it was caught off-guard by the Clinton email scandal, or that President Obama didn’t realize that his emails to hdr22@clintonemail.com weren’t landing on State Department servers, it would be good to remind them: you told us so.

Because in 2007, then-Senator Obama loudly criticized then-Senator Clinton for her failure to turn over government documents — not State Department emails, but thousands of pages of White House documents held by the Clinton Presidential Library and National Archives, for which President Clinton had instructed archivists not to release to documents until 2012.

The Clintons released the documents eventually, but only after a protracted delay. In the meantime, Hillary’s responses to criticism then sounded all too much like her responses to criticism today: she blamed the delay on government bureaucracy; she disclaimed any ability to expedite the process; and she said that she really wanted those slow bureaucrats to disclose the documents soon.

Today, President Obama is doing all he can to avoid the issue. But in October 2007, he was practically jumping at the chance to shine a spotlight on it. So much so that when Tim Russert raised the issue at a Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, Obama raised his hand and eagerly criticized not just that specific controversy but also the broader problems that the controversy portended.

Hillary’s intense need for secrecy does sound pretty darn Orwellian, doesn’t it, Barry? A reminder that when it comes to Hillary, we should “vote different,” if given the chance:

Update: And speaking of fun flashbacks!

 

I wonder if Podesta had a vodka bottle or two thrown at him this week.

Mr. Obama really was the ultimate troll in 2008, wasn’t he?

Insert the Professor’s reminder that he doesn’t want to hear another g*dd*mn word about his carbon footprint here.

Still Not Ready for Her Closeup

March 13th, 2015 - 3:52 pm

Hillary Clinton as Norma Desmond in 2008, portrayed by actress Lisa Donovan (aka Lisa Nova) as part of the left’s goal, as Keith Olberman suggested back in May of that year on MSNBC, to find “Somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out.” That was a project in which the left invested a considerable amount of effort in both a coordinated and freelanced fashion right from the very beginning of the 2008 presidential cycle, and which is proving remarkably useful yet again.

As we saw earlier this week, Hillary’s still not ready for close-up, despite having six years to analyze what went wrong. But then, sometimes there’s no amount of self-improvement that can fix a badly flawed retail politician, no matter how badly she wants the job. The Sunset Boulevard analogy works here as well; had Hillary thought out her performance on Wednesday more carefully — and adopted the cornpone “awe shucks, y’all, whoops!” style that her husband so often employed in the 1990s, she might have either gotten away with it, or at least bought herself some time with a media that’s just dying to cut her some slack. Instead, as Ed Morrissey wrote today at Hot Air, “Gallup data shows Hillary favorability [ratings] plummeting”:

Clinton could have defused the issue, or at least mitigated it somewhat, by offering a self-deprecating apology for having imposed standards on others that she didn’t follow for herself, and a pledge to allow an independent authority to vet her e-mail system. Instead, Clinton offered a haughty and imperious sneer to legitimate questions about her actions as a public figure, along with a message that might be most politely translated as pound sand.

At least for the moment, though, the Clinton playbook from the 1990s isn’t working. Her performance in the presser has been widely panned in the media, even with the attack dogs baying.  The New York Daily News headline read “YOU’VE GOT FAIL,” while The New York Post’s read “DELETER OF THE FREE WORLD.” USA Today declared itself “troubled” over Clinton’s “penchant for secrecy.” The Washington Post quipped, “The circus is back in town.”

It’s not the circus. It’s a pretender to American royalty, demanding her coronation, and this is exactly what we can expect if Democrats are foolish enough to nominate her in 2016.

Norma Desmond meets Richard Nixon in a Mao-inspired pantsuit.

(By the way, I would suggest those on the right start archiving this stuff ASAP via Download Helper and similar applets, so that the left’s memory hole isn’t permanent. QED.)

Update: Perhaps Hillary’s pondering the fiery ending to Kiss Me Deadly right now:

More: Glenn Hillary is “badass” Thrush swings into action to defend Norma:

 

David Frum wonders why World War I doesn’t receive much play in the American overculture:

First, Americans prefer narratives in which they play a central heroic role. The Dwight Eisenhower of the First World War was French, Marshal Ferdinand Foch. Those Americans who cared most intensely about the war found themselves enlisting under other people’s banners. John Singer Sargent painted his great war canvases for Britain’s Imperial War Museum. Edith Wharton volunteered for French relief organizations. Raymond Chandler joined the Canadian army. Ernest Hemingway drove Red Cross ambulances on the Italian front. Henry James forswore his U.S. citizenship and naturalized as British. John Dos Passos, another Red Cross volunteer, later savagely satirized the war as “Mr. Wilson’s war”—somebody else’s war, not his. So it has remained. When the great American literary critic Paul Fussell wrote his marvelous “The Great War and Modern Memory,” he focused on English writers. Their American counterparts may have had a lot to say, but somehow Fussell decided it was not an American thing.

Second, while Americans did win victories in 1918, on the whole, the performance of U.S. forces in the war was not very impressive. Americans did not lack for courage: U.S. forces showed a fighting spirit that had long before been bled out of their allies and adversaries. But they did lack experienced officers, adequate equipment, built-out logistical systems, and almost everything else necessary to fight an industrial war effectively. Their commanders resented and rejected advice from their bloodied French and British counterparts. Lacking sufficient artillery, tanks, and aircraft, they denied that those things were necessary. They drove Americans against German trenches and bunkers in 1915-style human lines, suffering monstrous 1915 casualties for pitiful 1915 gains in ground. There were few First World War equivalents of D-Day or Midway out of which legends could be made.

Third, the war does not obviously or immediately relate to contemporary controversies. We can’t talk about race without talking about the Civil War. Any discussion of America’s role in the world will soon invoke World War II and Vietnam. The Revolution will forever transfix the Republic it created. The First World War, however, now excites interest mainly from isolationist libertarians looking for a war it’s less awkward to oppose than World War II. The war’s most tragic lessons about the need for United States leadership to secure world peace have been so thoroughly internalized by the American political elite that it has forgotten where and how it learned them.

It’s that last item that’s key — Wilson’s hardline stance against free speech was so virulent, it caused his fellow “Progressives” to quickly rebrand themselves, even before he had left office, as “liberals.” He’s the direct predecessor to much of Mr. Obama’s anti-free speech, anti-journalistic, anti-American, pro-racialist worldview.

No wonder Wilson been airbrushed out of the left’s collective memories — with much American domestic history during World War I along with it.

Noonan: Hillary Seems Tired, Not Hungry

March 13th, 2015 - 10:26 am

“This wasn’t high-class spin. These were not respectable dodges,” Noonan writes (begging the question, if Hillary’s spin was better, would Noonan be onboard with her, as she was with Obama in the fall of 2008?)

They didn’t make you grudgingly tip your hat at a gift for duplicity. I could almost feel an army of oppo people of both parties saying, “You can do better than that, Hillary!”

This wasn’t the work of a national, high-grade political response team, it was the thrown-together mess of someone who knew she was guilty of self-serving actions, who didn’t herself believe what she was saying, who didn’t think the press would swallow it, and who didn’t appear to care.

She didn’t look hungry for the battle, she looked tired of the battle.

Everyone knows what the scandal is. She didn’t want a paper trail of her decisions and actions as secretary of state. She didn’t want to be questioned about them, ever. So she didn’t join the government’s paper-trail system, in this case the State Department’s official email system, which retains and archives records. She built her own private system and got to keep complete control of everything she’d done or written. She no doubt assumed no one outside would ask and no one inside would insist—she’s Hillary, don’t mess with her.

She knew the story might blow but maybe it wouldn’t, worth the chance considering the payoff: secrecy. If what she did became public she’d deal with it then. When this week she was forced to, she stonewalled: “The server will remain private.”

Is it outrageous? Of course. Those are U.S. government documents she concealed and destroyed. The press is not covering for her and hard questions are being asked because everyone knows what the story is. It speaks of who she is and how she will govern. Everyone knows it.

She knows it too.

At the news conference she seemed like a 20th-century figure in a 21st-century world. Her critics complain it’s the 1990s returning but it isn’t, it’s only the dark side of the 90s without the era’s peace and prosperity.

Of course — if Hillary advocated the policies that Clinton governed with (at least after Hillarycare and gun control ushered in the GOP Congress in 1994), the far left Warren-Obama wing of the party would crucify her.

As for Hillary being “a 20th-century figure in a 21st-century world,” this brilliantly executed Photoshop from the I Own the World blog nails it, although even there, it’s difficult, based on her tenure at State, to see her playing geopolitics on the same level:

(more…)

Agents of Stalin, Allies of Hitler

March 11th, 2015 - 3:11 pm

In Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany, Jonathan Petropoulos quoted fellow historian Charles Maier to explain why so many German modernists were willing — in some cases eager — to accommodate Hitler:

In the 1930s the authoritarian party and regime seemed the wave of the future. Disciplined collective man was apparently on the march. Liberalism appeared the effete indulgence of a beleaguered Anglo-American elite or some aging West European philosophers. … In the 1930s the spokesmen for democracy were divided and apparently demoralized. The League of Nations seemed powerless before aggression.

And from the National Socialists’ perspective, “One can also see why the Nazi leaders would seek to cultivate these artists— or, at a minimum, retrain them,”
Petropoulos writes:

As Goebbels proclaimed in 1936, expressing some frustration with the younger generation, “One cannot manufacture artists.” His Nazi peer Göring observed, “It is always easier over time to make a decent National Socialist out of an artist than to make a great artist out of a minor Party member. Why was Hitler-the-artist not the first to recognize this?” The regime force-fed the population a diet of culture— far more than they had ever had before. The Nazis needed “cultural workers” of all kinds to realize their ambitions of indoctrination and the creation of a glamorous façade for the Third Reich. Or, in the words of David Schoenbaum, the Nazis shaped a “subjective social reality” that differed from its “objective” (or statistically measurable) counterpart. Germans perceived shifts in society— class divisions, income distribution, and gender roles, among others— that did not correspond to actual events. The state-directed culture and propaganda convinced many of the illusory transformations.

The same was true of International Socialism as well, as Ray Keating of Aleteia writes in his review of Allan Ryskind’s new book, Hollywood Traitors: Blacklisted Screenwriters, Agents of Stalin, Allies of Hitler:

Ryskind writes, “The Hollywood Ten, far from being ‘radical innocents,’ far from having just ‘flirted with Communist ideas,’ as their sympathizers so frequently insist, had all been committed to a Soviet America.” This is perhaps best illustrated by the flip-flopping by Hollywood’s communists in and around World War II as they followed Kremlin orders via the Communist Party in America. That is, being anti-Nazi initially; then working against the anti-Nazis, including Great Britain and the U.S., during the Hitler-Stalin pact; once again, turning passionately against Hitler when he attacked the Soviet Union; and finally, turning against U.S. foreign policy and ultimately advocating our nation’s violent demise. It was all about defending the U.S.S.R., not the U.S.A. [Oceania has always been at war with... -- Ed]

Ryskind makes clear that the Hollywood communists were working for Stalin, either unconcerned or supportive of “Stalin’s swallowing of Eastern Europe, his installation of Red regimes in Asia, his aggressive acts against Western Europe, and the deep penetration of his fifth column in virtually all areas of American society.” Oh yes, and there were the millions of Russians starved and murdered by Uncle Joe.

Which dovetails well with the Theodore Dalrymple quote Mark Steyn highlighted today:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better.

In contrast, in 1979, Vaclav Havel wrote:

Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.

No wonder when “the authoritarian party and regime seemed the wave of the future” once again, the socialists with bylines stomped so aggressively on those who refused to live within the lie:

2009_socialist_newsweek_cover_5-5-13-1

(Via Orrin Judd.)

Building a Bridge to the 1990s

March 10th, 2015 - 1:59 pm

 

Hillary’s Checkers Speech

March 10th, 2015 - 1:25 pm

“Hillary trainwreck: It was ‘inconvenient’ to carry two devices for two e-mail accounts. Also, I destroyed tons of e-mails,” as summarized by Hot Air’s Allahpundit, who also has a video of Hillary on a Silicon Valley panel two weeks ago noting that she carries around two devices:

You’ll have to trust her. Even though she’s one of the least trustworthy people in American political life and gave you zero reason today to adjust that opinion. In fact, the first question she took was from a Turkish reporter who asked her, surreally, whether a similar fuss would be made over her e-mails if she was a man. That may have been the honest moment at the presser: It was so nakedly a planted question, designed to reinforce her opening pander about celebrating women’s rights to the UN — code to progressives watching that they should cut the First! Woman! President! some slack on this — that it didn’t even qualify as subterfuge. It was just Hillary and her sympathizers playing cynical games to distract from the fact of her own corruption.

Meanwhile, Larry O’Connor at IJReview explores “How Hillary Turned In 55,000 Emails Has Some Wondering If She Violated Even More Federal Regulations:”

In an effort to highlight transparency and willingness to comply with government regulations, Hillary Clinton has been touting the fact that she turned over “55,00 pages of emails” to the State Department.

It turns out that instead of handing over a digital download of the emails from her private servers, Clinton directed her staff to physically print out every single page as a hardcopy.

The New York Times revealed the fact last Friday:

“In December, dozens of boxes filled with 50,000 pages of printed emails from Mrs. Clinton’s personal account were delivered to the State Department. Those documents were then examined by department lawyers, who found roughly 900 pages pertaining to the Benghazi attacks.”

Slow-walking an investigation is a key component of the Clinton playbook, as Jonah Goldberg wrote last night in the L.A. Times:

Perhaps because the first advice lawyers give their clients is to clam up, one of Clinton’s preferred tactics is to slow-walk her response to investigators. To pick just the most famous example, in 1994, special counsel Robert Fiske subpoenaed all papers related to an allegedly shady land deal, to be delivered within 30 days. The Clintons claimed the billing records from her law firm were lost. Almost two years later, they magically appeared in the White House residence.

Just because she’s served as her own lawyer doesn’t mean Clinton has a fool for a client. Her passive-aggressive approach to politics often serves her well. By waiting long stretches of time, she encourages her political enemies to get ever more shrill or conspiratorial, even as the mainstream media grow weary of the story, particularly if it lends aid and comfort to GOP critics.

When she finally talks to a congressional committee, special prosecutor or friendly interviewer, she deftly turns herself into the brave woman standing up to her (allegedly sexist) tormentors. When she blurted out to Sen. Ron Johnson, “What difference does it make?” during the Senate’s Benghazi hearings, her fans loved it on emotional grounds, even though on the merits it was a pretty ridiculous reply.

As Jonah asks, “Is this how she would run her presidency? Do we want a president whose first response to trouble is to retreat to her bunker?”

After her press conference today, Allah deadpans, “If Democrats can’t field a primary challenger to her after this disaster, they deserve her,” ; the legendary conservative Eeyore is “now moving the 2016 election from ‘likely Democratic’ to ‘toss-up.’ At least Bill is a good liar.”

Headline via:

Update: Good boy, Politico! Here’s your Liversnap!

More: Building a Bridge to the 1990s. A pair of astonishing video juxtapositions.

Don’t Ever Change, Newsweek

March 9th, 2015 - 2:08 pm

No matter who’s running the show, whether it’s the Washington Post, Tina Brown, or these days, the International Business Times, (quite an interesting venture in and of itself) Newsweek remains a bedrock of continual insanity in this ever-changing world in which we live in, to coin a phrase:

Gosh, what could go wrong?

mies_van_der_rohe_3-8-15-1

Mies van der Rohe in 1958 at the peak of his career, as his hugely influential Seagram Building on Park Ave. neared completion. (AP Photo.)

After World War II, and until the very end of the 1960s, European-inspired modernism as an architectural and design style flourished in America. It suited the times — a clean, forward look, not quite streamlined, but definitely, well, modern. As James Lileks wrote in 2013, “modern architecture is the break from the past that everyone experienced….A skyscraper of the past had fizzy Gothic tracery unraveling in the clouds; the [new] buildings ended with a fist. And it fit. The new world was corporate, technocratic, computerized, arranged on our behalf by minders and betters, and all this would take us to the moon and make us live for a hundred years. Science!”

It didn’t hurt modernism’s reputation that Hitler hated this stuff, and if Hitler didn’t like it, it had to have something going for it, right? And it also helped that Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, and Mies van der Rohe, its last director and the best of the German modernist architects, were living and teaching in America starting in the late 1930s, until their deaths in 1969. Gropius at Harvard, and Mies at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, whose campus he designed. And not just teaching — as Tom Wolfe memorably put it in From Bauhaus to Our House, both were viewed by American intellectuals of the time as “The White Gods! Come from the skies at last!”, despite the paucity of buildings they actually completed in Germany before emigrating, especially when compared to the literally hundreds built by Frank Lloyd Wright, who was immediately viewed as a dinosaur once the White Gods parachuted in, largely because he was American and familiar, and thus not European and exotic.

But both Weimar-era socialists also airbrushed much of their last years in Germany out of their backgrounds, in much the same way that, as Ann Coulter once joked, “The French Resistance acquired most of its members after 1945.” In the Weekly Standard, Andrew Nagorski reviews Artists Under Hitler: Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany by Jonathan Petropoulos. As Nagorski writes:

To be sure, there were artists, such as the composer Kurt Weill and the playwright Bertolt Brecht, who fled Germany as soon as Hitler took power, both for personal and political reasons (Weill was Jewish, Brecht was a Marxist). Marlene Dietrich, who had already launched her career in Hollywood, famously and contemptuously rebuffed efforts by the Nazis to lure her back. She chose, instead, to become an American citizen, and during the war she made anti-Nazi broadcasts and offered memorable performances for American troops in North Africa and Europe.

But Petropoulos, who has written extensively about the cultural scene in the Nazi era, focuses on the prominent artists who stayed behind—at least for as long as they could. Although a few tried to help Jews and others who were targets of the new regime, there are no profiles in courage here. Most of the artists desperately sought to continue their careers at any price, which meant serving the Nazis and constantly seeking to prove their loyalty. In the land of Faust, they eagerly followed a Faustian script.

Nagorski notes that composer Paul Hindemith was especially eager to work with the Nazis, “despite the fact that his wife was half-Jewish and he was friends with Jewish musicians.” As for Gropius:

Like the Bauhaus founder and famed architect Walter Gropius, who left Germany in 1934 for Great Britain and later ended up teaching at Harvard, Hindemith and other artists in this group were not driven into exile by opposition to Hitler. As Petropoulos repeatedly points out, it was not for a lack of trying that they were not accepted by the Nazis; far from it. And like Hindemith, Gropius held out the hope that he might return to Germany, in his case as late as 1939.

Similarly, as Elaine S. Hochman wrote in her 1989 book, Architects of Fortune: Mies Van Der Rohe and the Third Reich, Mies left Germany in 1937 with great reluctance. He had arrived in Berlin in 1905 an unknown 19-year-old apprentice draftsman. After World War I, he embraced modernism with a fervor, initially via a series of visionary skyscraper illustrations, and then his landmark Barcelona Pavilion, built as part of Germany’s role the 1929 International Exposition, and similarly designed residence for the wealthy Tugendhat family of Brno, Czechoslovakia. The following year, he was the last director of the Bauhaus, despite having an uneasy reputation with Gropius, who he considered to be an inferior architect. (I agree.)

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Not Anti-War, Just on the Other Side

March 7th, 2015 - 1:11 pm

The British Website Spiked gets a lot of things right, and is often a fun Website, but they really missed the mark here, describing Dalton Trumbo’s infamous 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun as “A triumph of anti-war literature”:

Any Metallica fan worth his or her salt will have heard of, if not read, Johnny Got His Gun. This pacifist novel by Dalton Trumbo was the inspiration behind their 1988 single ‘One’, a legendary song that shows the band at their best (aside from the rancid lack of bass in the mixing, but that’s a different story).

Published in 1938, Johnny Got His Gun is an under-appreciated gem of experimental American literature. Told in a narrative mixture of first, second, and third-person, Trumbo’s First World War-set novel is a dream and a nightmare. The protagonist, Joe, regains consciousness in a military hospital only to discover that he has lost his arms, legs, eyes, mouth, nose and hearing. The novel is a gripping but depressing journey, through which Joe remembers his rosy – and pointedly physical – life in America, and his attempts to communicate with the outside world and to come to terms with existing as a conscious piece of meat. In its own extreme way, it highlights the sensory struggles that all those wounded or disabled must endure. The huge efforts made for the tiniest of victories –  such as telling the time of day by feeling sunlight on his skin  –  are situated in an unremittingly bleak context: Joe is imprisoned within his wounded body forever.

But Trumbo was no intellectual waif writing a pacifist novel. Published “the very month that Hitler marched into Poland,” Ann Coulter recently wrote, Johnny Got His Gun was “a pure propaganda piece designed to squelch American ardor for helping Hitler’s victims.” Trumbo’s novel was written during the Hitler-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact; as City Journal’s Stefan Kanfer notes in the middle of his review of two recent books on the blacklist:

At first glance, Johnny could pass for the tract of a conscientious objector, ruing the results of Woodrow Wilson’s call to “make the world safe for democracy.” But the book had a hidden agenda: Trumbo had fallen under the spell of Communism and now marched in lockstep with the Party line: Germany and Britain, preparing for all-out war, should duke it out themselves. Never mind the reports of Nazi atrocities; America must not get involved in this European squabble.

The Communist Daily Worker was delighted to serialize Johnny in its pages, and with good reason: the U.S.S.R. had recently signed a nonaggression pact with the Third Reich. But in June 1941, Hitler’s armies invaded Russia. Overnight, Johnny was excised from the Worker’s pages. Now, combat was not only moral but mandatory. When Trumbo’s publishers chose not to keep his novel in print, he went along with their decision. Trumbo sees no inconsistency in the writer’s position. “By 1941,” the book straight-facedly reports, “Hitler had become a menace to the whole world, and when the United States entered the war against Germany in December of that year Trumbo saw ‘no other way than to support it.’”

Also crafted during this same period was Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, which had a message quite similar to Trumbo’s Johnny, Ron Rosenbaum, the author of the 1998 book, Explaining Hitler wrote in 2006:

And speaking of trivializing, there is no more trivializing, over-rated, treatment of Hitler than Chaplin’s dimwitted, laboriously unfunny Great Dictator. Yes Chaplin made some funny movies, but when he tried his hands at politics Chaplin made a movie that did nothing but help Hitler because he made him seem like an unthreatening clown just at a time, 1940, when the world needed to take Hitler’s threat seriously.Yet Chaplin’s film makes it seem like Hitler was nothing but a harmless fool (like Chaplin, same mustache and all). And he made it at a time, during the Nazi-Soviet pact, when the world most needed to mobilize against Hitler’s threat. And yet Chaplin, to his eternal shame ended the film not with a call to oppose fascism, and its murderous hatred, but rather—because he was following the shameful Hitler-friendly Soviet line at the time—ended his film with a call for all workers in the world to lay down their arms—in other words to refuse to join the fight against fascism and Hitler.

Pete Seeger was also making similar noises in his folk music during this period, as PJM’s own Ron Radosh — who in his younger days took banjo lessons from Seeger! — wrote in the New York Sun in 2007:

[In] August 1939 Hitler and Stalin signed a pact and became allies. Overnight the communists took a 180-degree turn and became advocates of peace, arguing that Nazi Germany, which the USSR had opposed before 1939, was a benign power, and that the only threat to the world came from imperial Britain and FDR’s America, which was on the verge of fascism. Those who wanted to intervene against Hitler were servants of Republic Steel and the oil cartels.

In the “John Doe” album, Mr. Seeger accused FDR of being a warmongering fascist working for J.P. Morgan. He sang, “I hate war, and so does Eleanor, and we won’t be safe till everybody’s dead.” Another song, to the tune of “Cripple Creek” and the sound of Mr. Seeger’s galloping banjo, said, “Franklin D., Franklin D., You ain’t a-gonna send us across the sea,” and “Wendell Willkie and Franklin D., both agree on killing me.”

The film does not tell us what happened in 1941, when — two months after “John Doe” was released — Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union. As good communists, Mr. Seeger and his Almanac comrades withdrew the album from circulation, and asked those who had bought copies to return them.

For almost 70 years now, “Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia/Eurasia” has been a catchphrase to describe breathtaking intellectual 180-degree pivots. (QED: Democrats and Iraq.) Orwell’s inspiration for the constantly shifting fronts in the futuristic dystopia of 1984 was based on how his fellow socialists reacted after Hitler violated his non-aggression pact with Stalin.

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We’ll get to the above 1972 video of Walter Cronkite in just a moment, but first, let’s set the stage. Return with us now to the end of the 1960s and the dawning of the craptacular ’70s. As Power Line’s Steve Hayward wrote in the first volume of The Age of Reagan, environmentalism — then simply called “ecology” — became an obsession of the left shortly after President Nixon took office, eclipsing both anti-Vietnam war and pro-civil rights protests:

Writing in Science magazine, Amitai Etzioni of Columbia University dismissed ecology as a “fad,” and thought that “the newly found environmental dangers are being vastly exaggerated.” Even if not exaggerated, Etzioni thought the environment was the wrong priority: “Fighting hunger, malnutrition, and rats should be given priority over saving wildlife, and improving our schools over constructing waste disposal systems.”

This criticism was mild compared to the blasts that came from black civil rights leaders. The most bitter attack came from Richard Hatcher, the black mayor of Gary, Indiana: “The nation’s concern for the environment has done what George Wallace was unable to do—distract the nation from the human problems of black and brown Americans.” Whitney Young of the National Urban League was equally distressed: “The war on pollution is one that should be waged after the war on poverty is won. Common sense calls for reasonable national priorities and not for inventing new causes whose main appeal seems to be in their potential for copping out and ignoring the most dangerous and pressing of our problems.”

And being a good doctrinaire liberal, CBS’s Walter Cronkite was quick to move with the times and ride the fad. As left-leaning historian Douglas Brinkley noted in his 2012 biography of Cronkite:

A CBS Reports segment in September 1962 had Eric Sevareid famously interviewing the literary biologist Rachel Carson about the perils of the insecticide DDT at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Cronkite, at the time, had been focused on the Earth-orbiting flight of the second Mercury launch. But now that Neil Armstrong had walked on the Moon, Cronkite sensed that ecology would soon replace space exploration as the national obsession. CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight. “ It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘God damn it, we’ve got to get on this environmental story,’ ” Bonn recalled. “When Walter said ‘God damn it,’ things happened.”

What could go wrong?

Cronkite pulled Bonn from nearly all other CBS duties for eight weeks so he could investigate environmental degradation. He wanted a whole new regular series on the CBS Evening News—inspired by Silent Spring, the philosophy of René Dubos, and those amazing photos of Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts. The CBS Evening News segments were to be called “Can the World Be Saved?” “We wanted to grapple first with air pollution, the unbreathable air,” Bonn recalled. “But then we wanted to deal with the primary underlying problem, which was overpopulation.”

So, eugenics, then. And then a quick detour into global cooling. As Julia Seymour writes today at NewsBusters, “And That’s the Way It Was: In 1972, Cronkite Warned of ‘New Ice Age:’”

The late Cronkite is considered a “legendary journalist” and a pioneer in the field, which is why Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, said this footage was so important. Morano is a former staff member of U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and producer of the upcoming global warming documentary Climate Hustle, set for release later in 2015.

“Global warming activists have claimed for years that the 1970s global cooling scare never existed. They have tried to erase the inconvenient history which ironically blamed extreme weather like tornadoes, droughts, record cold and blizzards on global cooling,” said Morano.

Morano told MRC Business, “But now — unearthed from bowels of media archives — comes none other than Walter Cronkite reporting on fears of a coming ice age in 1972. Having Cronkite’s image and face discussing global cooling fears reveals the fickleness of the climate change claims.”

“Climate fear promoters switched effortlessly from global cooling fears in the 1970s to global warming fears in the 1980s. In the present day, the phrase ‘global warming’ has lost favor in favor of ‘climate change’ or ‘global climate disruption’ or even ‘global weirding,’ Morano added. “’Settled science’ has never seemed so unsettled.”

By the way, let’s end with this inadvertently telling paragraph from Brinkley (his book, meant to celebrate Cronkite, raised many questions about the man who spent much of his career posing as Mr. Objective):

In January 1970, the promise of a new environmentalism brought about the end of [Cronkite’s future-themed series] The Twenty-First Century (which had succeeded The Twentieth Century in June 1967). No longer would Cronkite tolerate Union Carbide (a major polluter) as a sponsor. The Texas-based Fortune 500 company was the enemy of “Earthrise,” he told Bonn. At Cronkite’s insistence, CBS canceled The Twenty-First Century to coincide with the debut of the “Can the World Be Saved?” segments.

Yes, the crank science of the 1970s brought an end to the heroic phase of Kennedy and Johnson’s space program and its dalliance with embracing the 21st century a few decades early. And along with the collapse of the Great Society, which disillusioned the left when it tried to be all things to all voters, the optimism of the postwar 1950s and the first half of the 1960s would fade away, replaced by a grim nihilistic permanent malaise.

Exit question: Scott Pelley, the current incarnation of Cronkite on CBS has publicly likened those who question the “settled science” of global warming to Holocaust deniers, asking, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

What would he say if he ran into the 1972 iteration of Walter Cronkite?