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Ed Driscoll

The Memory Hole

Jonah Goldberg, in his latest G-File, has a brief rundown on “Scandalclipse” (in-between details of sharing a pantless drive through Cleveland with Samir the taxi driver and some thoughts on why Elizabeth Warren should throw her faux-Indian war bonnet into the ring):

Have you noticed that basically the only way this White House can get out from under one scandal or controversy is by getting crushed by another? The White House was reeling from the VA scandal, which is why they rolled out the Bergdahl news. They didn’t expect that the Bergdahl story would become so controversial; fortunately they were rescued by the June 6 news of thousands of immigrant children showing up at the border. Hey, quick question: I can’t get my kid out of an airport without her getting messy. Isn’t it strange that all of these kids seem to show up, after a 1,000-mile journey looking so spiffy? Anyway, the immigrant-kid story was pretty brutal for the White House; fortunately they were rescued three days later by the news that ISIS had taken Mosul. The “Who Lost Iraq?” narrative isn’t great for the White House either, which is why it might have been a relief when the IRS announced on June 13 that they lost Lois Lerner’s e-mails.

In an article a year ago in the New York Post, Glenn Reynolds added up the IRS scandal alongside the Obama administration’s other debacles, including Benghazi, its journalist-snooping scandal, and Kathleen Sebelius’ shakedown of the healthcare industry before asking, “Tired already?”

I don’t blame you, and I haven’t even mentioned the Pigford scandal, involving payments out of the Treasury’s “Judgment Fund” as part of a settlement scheme that seems rather iffy, even to The New York Times.

I’m reminded of the old “dense pack” missile-basing idea from the 1980s: The idea was to put missile silos close enough together that if one was hit by an atomic bomb, the mushroom cloud would protect the other silos from incoming attacks.

Likewise, it’s argued, by bringing all these scandals out at once — the IRS scandal actually first hit the news thanks to a question planted by IRS official Lois Lerner — the Obama administration may have a few bad weeks, but ensures by the sheer proliferation of scandal that no one of these will get the attention it deserves.

That might work, if you think of scandals as things that, like Watergate, knock out a presidency. But most don’t. The proliferation of scandal in most administrations — think George W. Bush or Bill Clinton — is more like acid rain. There’s no knockout, just an erosion of popularity and clout.

It’s sort of like the old 1980s video game, “Missile Command,” where the number of warheads raining down from the skies starts off slowly and, by the end, increase exponentially, to where even the Flash couldn’t move fast enough to fend them all off, and the player’s cities are eventually all leveled in a hail of radioactive mushroom clouds.* Similarly, the Obama administration long ago cynically calculated that the media will be happy to cover for their party leader, which they fought so tirelessly to elect and re-elect, and if not, well, more scandals, corruption and foreign policy disasters work better to overwhelm the news cycle than fewer.

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

“NYT Admits: ‘Somewhat Late’ on IRS Story, But Editor Swears ‘We’ve Paid Copious Attention.’”

—Headline, NewsBusters, yesterday.

“New York Times Maintains Blackout on Philadelphia Abortionist Gosnell’s Trial on Infanticide.”

—Headline, NewsBusters, April 15, 2013.

“Nothing Funny about New York Times Coverage of the Catholic Church.”

—Headline at NRO’s Corner blog, September 4, 2013.

Kate Zernike of the New York Times describes how tea-party activists explore “dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas” and study “once-obscure texts” by “long-dead authors.” She is of course referring to Friedrich Hayek, whose book The Road to Serfdom was excerpted in Reader’s Digest and never has been out of print, whose Nobel Prize for economics in 1974 celebrated the importance and mainstream acceptance of his thinking, and whose death in 1992 isn’t exactly ancient history. The article fails to illuminate tea-party philosophy and some of what it tries to say is bizarre. (Check out Zernike’s jaw-dropping attempt to define “the rule of law,” which is apparently a term she hadn’t heard until recently.) But it does serve the useful purpose of highlighting the biases and blinders of certain journalists.

“Obscurantism,” a post by John J. Miller at the Corner, October 3, 2010.

Or as Neo-Neocon wrote earlier this week on the NYT blackout of the IRS scandal, “what the Times is doing is ass-covering:”

They can’t think of a way to spin Obama’s abysmal failures any more (they do have certain standards, although those standards are pretty low), so they are silent.

They’re also very accustomed to setting the news agenda, and think they can get away with ignoring news they don’t like. That Times slogan “All the news that’s fit to print” takes on new meaning, doesn’t it? Up till now I’d always assumed they were conveying the idea that they cover the news thoroughly (they’d like us to think they cover it objectively, too, but that’s an absurdity). But did you ever wonder what sort of news isn’t “fit to print”? Why, it’s news that would hurt liberals and help conservatives, that’s what news. And it doesn’t matter if that news constitutes the biggest scandal since Watergate—potentially even bigger than Watergate.

The Gray Lady fancies itself a world-class newspaper, and a paper capable of covering all of America, but its output is as remarkably provincial as the worldview depicted in Saul Steinberg’s classic “View of the World from 9th Avenue” New Yorker cover from 1976. Which is exactly how Timesmen view middle America — just ask them.

But of course, all of this presumes that the Times, in classic Orwellian doublethink mode, still primarily considers itself a newspaper, and not a house organ for a political party.

Or to  put it another way, “Rush Limbaugh Was Right: For Liberals In And Out Of Media, It’s The Ideology, Stupid.”

Shame and Loathing on the Media Trail

June 27th, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Roger L. Simon on the media’s silence on the IRS scandal:

Obama is beside the point. They don’t even like Obama anymore.  Nothing could be more obvious. Almost nobody does.  But they won’t say so in public because that would mean that they would be revealed as fools who believed the most banal tripe imaginable. It would also mean admitting Barack Obama never really existed, that they invented him. He was their projection. Barack Obama is the creation of the New York Times, et al.  Without them he would never have happened and they know it.

So the media are left in an untenable position. If you say Barack Obama is a mistake, then you yourself are a mistake. Who wants that?

No wonder they won’t investigate the scandals. No wonder they won’t report any of this. They are too ashamed of themselves to speak.

The heroes of Watergate are no more, if they ever were.  (That was always basically a chimera.)  The myth of the crusading investigative reporter is not only dead, it’s decomposed. In the disintegration of the Obama administration, the end of the mainstream media is not  collateral damage, it is the core damage.

That is already evident in the response to the IRS scandal.  It is metastasizing rapidly despite the near blackout by the MSM. In one recent poll 63 percent of Democrats think the IRS intentionally destroyed the emails.  Democrats.  How’d they find that out?  Not from the New York Times.

Get ready for endless tantrums of many sorts.  When moral narcissism of the level we have been experiencing breaks down, anything can happen.  The media will do almost anything to preserve their fragile selves. Evasion, distraction and outright lies will be continuous and may reach unprecedented levels.

Roger’s article was referenced on the air by Rush Limbaugh in the first half-hour of his show yesterday; Rush added:

Roger Simon, writing at PJ Media, has a piece today called: “IRS: Shame and Loathing on the Media Trail.”  His point is that with the failures that Obama is racking up here, the worldview of leftists and Democrats and their lifestyle is under threat because of the debacle that is the Obama presidency.  And to face the reality of the Obama presidency would mean to see everything they stand for falling apart.  Everything they stand for dissolving in a puddle.

Everything the left wanted when they supported Obama, every utopian dream they had, represented by his election, the country’s falling apart, everything is a disaster. Obama is clearly — I mean, in a charitable sense, in their view, by the way — this is crucial — in their view, it may be he’s incompetent.  They will never assign ideological intent to Obama.  They’ll always chalk it up, his buds in the media will, to incompetence.  But Simon’s viewpoint here is that Obama’s now beside the point they don’t even like him anymore and that nothing could be more obvious, but that they’re not gonna call him on any of this because it would basically acknowledge that they and the things they believe in are failures, and the things they believe in don’t work.

So they’re not gonna do that. They’re not gonna hit Obama.

Longtime friend of PJM Neo-Neocon concurs that the establishment media will never en masse change their punitive socialist worldview. Instead, as Neo writes, “I’m afraid what the Times is doing is ass-covering:”

They can’t think of a way to spin Obama’s abysmal failures any more (they do have certain standards, although those standards are pretty low), so they are silent.

They’re also very accustomed to setting the news agenda, and think they can get away with ignoring news they don’t like. That Times slogan “All the news that’s fit to print” takes on new meaning, doesn’t it? Up till now I’d always assumed they were conveying the idea that they cover the news thoroughly (they’d like us to think they cover it objectively, too, but that’s an absurdity). But did you ever wonder what sort of news isn’t “fit to print”? Why, it’s news that would hurt liberals and help conservatives, that’s what news. And it doesn’t matter if that news constitutes the biggest scandal since Watergate—potentially even bigger than Watergate.

At the time of Watergate, I never for a moment stopped to wonder what would have happened had Nixon been a Democrat and done exactly the same thing. Well, now I don’t have to wonder.

Actually, if you’re curious to what would have happened had Nixon been a Democrat, just pick up a copy of Victor Lasky’s 1977 book, It Didn’t Start With Watergate, which places that scandal into context alongside numerous prior and equally massive abuses of power by Democrat presidents of the 20th century and how the media reacted — or didn’t react — to them. (Please whoever currently holds the copyright on this title — republish this book in Kindle format.)

But in any case, as Ed Morrissey writes, noting that the IRS has spent over four billion taxpayer dollars on IT over the past five years, “Democrats like having the IRS act as the speech police, but cheering for the IRS is a lot less prevalent among Americans outside the Beltway.”

By ignoring or severely downplaying this story, the Times and network nightly news broadcasts are positioning themselves as de facto IRS cheerleaders — and evidently, they’re perfectly happy with that.

(And why yes, it was fun Photoshopping an update of Hunter S. Thompson’s 1973 book for the 21st century to fit Roger’s title. As with the duality of the rest of the MSM’s coverage of Nixon’s crimes and given his Mencken-esque loathing of most everyday Americans, I wonder though, what Thompson himself would have thought about the IRS scandal?)

Related: Instapundit spots the “FRIDAY AFTERNOON NEWS DUMP: IRS failed to tell federal court of lost Lois Lerner emails.”

The Palace Guard MSM Drops the Mask

June 25th, 2014 - 3:54 pm

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Since its birth in the 1920s with the first national radio networks, the modern MSM has always had a cozy relationship with power, and until the creation of Fox News, one channel on your TV dial or satellite guide, that power has almost exclusively meant their fellow Democrats. The media have long voted overwhelmingly Democrat in presidential elections; as Walter Cronkite once said at a Radio & TV Correspondents Dinner in the mid-1990s, in-between feting the Clintons on his yacht in Martha’s Vineyard,  “Everybody knows that there’s a liberal, that there’s a heavy liberal persuasion among correspondents.” But in the past, those correspondents at least paid lip service to being out for the little guy, and holding politicians’ feet to the fire. Al Roker of NBC has had enough of that pretention – and as we’ll see, he’s far from the only one. But first up, here’s Roker this morning, trashing a fellow NBC “journalist”:

At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday’s NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker suggested in jest that his colleague David Gregory deserved to be punched in the face by former President Bill Clinton after the Meet the Press moderator asked Clinton in a recent interview about wife Hillary being “out of touch.” Roker joked: “You know, I’d give anything if after David finished the question, Bill just kind of hauled off and popped him. Just see what happens.” [Audio and video at NewsBusters – Ed]

What a fascinating development – of course, the fact that millions of potential viewers would also like to (hopefully only in the metaphoric sense) “haul off and pop” David Gregory helps to explain why Gregory’s ratings at Meet the Press are much more anemic compared to Tim Russert, his late predecessor, to the point where NBC has tried to stage an intervention to save Gregory from himself. But remember when journalists at least posed at asking tough questions to politicians? Here’s an NBC newsreader insulting another NBC newsreader for one of his very few questions asked to a fellow Democrat that caused him just a jot of discomfort, and yet Roker is mad at the interviewer for asking it.

And then there’s the IRS scandal.

“The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate; it’s worse than Watergate,” Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal perceptively noted earlier this month. “The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable”:

Here’s a partial list of the American place names where the “tea party” groups audited by the IRS were organized: Franklin, Tenn.; Livonia, Mich.; Lucas, Texas; Middletown, Del.; Fishersville, Va.; Jackson, N.J.; Redding, Calif.; Chandler, Ariz.; Laurens, S.C.; Woodstown, N.J.; Wetumpka, Ala.; Kahului, Hawaii; Sidney, Ohio; Newalla, Okla.

He’s right, these people do live most of their lives in the shadow of daily American life, out of the public eye. Still, they considered themselves to be very much inside “our democracy.” Then the IRS asked them for the names of their donors, what they talked about, political affiliations.

The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate; it’s worse than Watergate.

The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable.

They didn’t need to do this. The Obama campaign machine was a wonder, perfecting the uses of social media in 2008 and 2012. But the Democrats were so crazed in 2010 by Citizens United, so convinced that anyone’s new political money might bust their hold on power, that they sicced the most feared agency in government on people who disagreed with them.

It’s so crazed that Chuck Todd, former political operative to fellow Democrat Tom Harkin turned “NBC political director,” today lived up to both current and former titles when he asked regarding the IRS scandal, “Are there any actual real victims?”

So while the IRS is certainly not a good guy here they have been terrible about being forthcoming. Are there any actual real victims? Folks, this scandal is not black and white since frankly two wrongs don’t make a right. We know what really is working here for Republicans. Beating up the IRS, good for the base. Good politics there makes for great fundraising e-mails. But let’s remember what the controversy itself is about.

Also today, when it was announced that the EPA “unexpectedly” had a hard drive failure of its own (no word yet if a Roberto Clemente baseball bat was the proximate cause) when they were subpoenaed by a Congressional oversight committee, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post astonishingly tweeted:

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Somewhere, H.L. Mencken, who in the 1920s wrote, “It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics,” is roaring with cynical laughter at the pitiful 21st century state of his profession.

Meanwhile back in reality — as opposed to the media fiction created by the Democrats and their operatives with bylines — the news gets worse regarding IRS malfeasance, as we’ll explore right after the page break.

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First Quarter GDP Collapses: Negative 2.9%

June 25th, 2014 - 12:08 pm

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Heckuvajob, Barry. Or as Ace writes:

It was cold in January, you see. Unexpectedly. It just snuck up on us.

Kratatoa noted in the sidebar that “even Reuters can’t spin this.” Well, they do give it a go, trotting out the “but the economy has grown like gangbusters since then!” spin they’ve offered since the first estimate of the first quarter GDP, back in April.

Every news outlet bought into the report’s spin, even Fox:

Economists say most of the factors that held back growth in the first quarter have already begun to reverse. Most expect a strong rebound in growth in the April-June quarter.

Apparently this nonsense is based upon other findings in the report (which has since been revised way down, twice). So, consumer spending increased by 6% in March. So, in March, people spent more after not spending as much in the cold winter.

From these data they derive the prediction: The economy is going to be doing great in the second quarter!

No matter how many times they revise down the January to March headline figures, these guys continue claiming that the first-draft estimates for a single month (March) are where the real story is.

Read on for some great MSM spin and self-delusion, along with a link to Sean Davis at the Federalist on the economy’s “unexpected” contraction, beginning with the infamous photo of glassy-eyed teenage Obama chooming it up under a Panama hat, and then concludes:

For those keeping score at home, when health care spending increases and props up GDP, it’s a good thing. When health care spending falls and subtracts from GDP, it’s a good thing. And when the economy significantly shrinks when it’s supposed to be rapidly growing, it’s a good thing. Sure, your car got totaled by an idiot who didn’t know what he was doing. The important thing to remember is that as a result, you’ll be able to save money on gas for the next few weeks. Make sense?

The best rationalization of all, though, came from Sarah Kliff, the local crime reporter for Vox, which is Latin for “error-ridden summaries of Wikipedia entries“:


That’s a great point, Sarah. It’s like that time Mary Todd Lincoln was treated to a really delightful little rendition of “Our American Cousin” but for some reason wouldn’t shut up about that man who made a mess of things in the balcony. What a drama queen.

Heh. Meanwhile, Tom Blumer adds at Bizzy Blog:

UPDATE 3, 11:45 a.m.: Zero Hedge — “… as a reminder, US GDP has never fallen more than 1.5% except during or just before an NBER-defined recession since quarterly GDP records began in 1947.”

UPDATE 4, 12:30 p.m.: Note well that the reported reduction in health care spending in today’s GDP report is about 0.4%. That COULD indicate that the BEA still hasn’t captured the full extent of the health care spending reduction, which could lead to a further downward revision in next month’s comprehensive 5-year restatement.

I created the above Photoshop earlier this week for Tom’s article at PJM, titled “Cloward-Piven Everywhere,” in which he wrote (before today’s numbers were released):

* The IRS scandal. Cloward-Piven is now being used by those in power to destroy the opposition. The IRS scandal is best understood as a scheme to bulldoze opponents with time-consuming, burdensome bureaucratic barriers and harassment at the hands of an agency with apparently unlimited resources — at least for this priority.

* Regulation. Along those same lines, in recent years the federal government’s regulatory apparatus, whose employees were originally more interested in job preservation, now appear to have taken to rolling over their targets with costly, voluminous and virtually indecipherable rules restrictions, harassing litigation, and aggressive demonization. Post-recession start-up activity and new employment arising from those efforts are both at record lows. Who wants to get big enough to get noticed by the administration’s regulatory thugs?

* Scandal exhaustion. The sheer volume of serious Obama administration scandals seems to comprise a Cloward-Piven attempt to overwhelm opponents. With so many scandals out there, no single outrage can generate concerted, sufficiently visible opposition. Those who contend that this situation is not deliberate apparently expect us to believe that the original volunteered appearances on the same day in May 2013 of the IRS scandal and the Department of Justice’s admission that it monitored phone records at the Associated Press represented some kind of odd coincidence.

Regulatory uncertainty and a punitive approach to an administration’s political enemies dragging the economy unnecessarily down for years? I’ve seen this movie before.

Update: Twitchy — unexpectedly borrowing my “Unexpectedly” Photoshop without permission for their homepage — asks, “‘1937 all over again?’; GDP numbers revised, Obama’s wreckovery worsens.”

Thirty Seconds Over Foggy Bottom

June 24th, 2014 - 1:26 pm

“‘Yes, Prime Minister’ Clip Explains Obama’s Foreign Policy in Less Than a Minute,” as spotted by the Washington Free Beacon. Phase Four of the above clip also applies to John Koskinen’s obfuscating IRS strategy:

“I said I would provide all the emails. We are providing all the emails. The fact that three years ago, some of them — not all of them, but some of them — were not available, I never said I would provide you emails we didn’t have,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a Monday evening hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

And naturally, the MSM — AKA, Democrat operatives with bylines and microphones — are more than happy not to report on a scandal larger than Watergate, as even Joe Scarborough can see:

“This is why conservatives don’t trust the national newspapers,” Scarborough exclaimed. “It’s not the news they do run, it’s the stories they don’t run.” NewsBusters has documented the MSNBC host’s frustration over the IRS scandal in general.

* * * * * * *

MSNBC’s token conservative noted that the media’s ignoring of the IRS Scandal is a prime example of why “conservatives don’t trust national news outlets because they are so biased and so slanted. It’s the acts of omission when Democrats are in power. It’s stunning.”

Stunning, Joe — even at this late date, and considering where you work? The MSM have long been the gatekeepers for their party — why is Scarborough acting like Claude Rains in Casablanca?

Related:

 

America’s Foreign Policy Mobius Loop

June 23rd, 2014 - 2:57 pm

“Change: Obama sending Special Ops troops back to Iraq — without legal immunity,” Allahpundit writes at Hot Air:

In other words, it’s not so much that Special Ops won’t have immunity as that both sides are now ignoring Iraq’s joke of a parliament and handling things through executive agreement. So much for Iraqi democracy. The White House’s thinking, I guess, is that there’s no need to worry about American troops being tried in Iraqi courts anymore since there’s really no Iraq anymore. The Shiites will have their hands full with Sunni maniacs for years to come; if they put a single U.S. soldier on trial, they’re forfeiting America’s help forever in that war and they know it. Not even a strong interventionist like Rubio in the White House would dare put more servicemen in harm’s way if one of them ends up having to endure a show trial now. Iraq could afford to play hardball on immunity in 2011 when its biggest problem was public upset at the thought of an ongoing occupation. Now their biggest problem is ethnic cleansing. Immunity’s not so important these days.

Also, how likely is it that any of the 300 Special Ops soldiers headed over will end up in a situation where the Shiite government might want to try them? There are three reasons why they’re there. One is to gather intelligence on ISIS positions in case O decides he wants to start bombing. Two is to signal nominal U.S. support for the Iraqi state we helped build and to remind Iran that we’re still capable of projecting force just in case they get too ambitious about pushing the Sunnis back. And three, it seems, is to “advise” the Iraqi military, although after reading the stories in the NYT and WaPo this morning, it seems like there’s not much of a military left to advise.

Perhaps one reason why the Rand Paul-inspired “To Hell with Them” Middle East doctrine has grown popular in America post-2009 is that we’ve all seen this movie before:

Meanwhile, John Kerry gets to live out the sitcom version of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence. Recall the pushback from the US military after the infamous moment from 2006, when then-Senator Kerry once again smeared American troops by saying, “If you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq:”

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Guess who’s in Baghdad today? And like Kerry, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf and her Smart Glasses™ continue the snark, as Harf takes a grave situation, and uses it to score snark and points against former Romney advisor Richard Grenell, who last week asked when Kerry would be going to Iraq. Harf’s response today:


As the Middle East and America’s reputation simultaneously melt down, you stay classy, Obama administration.

Update: “In an assassination with a great deal of psychological importance, ISIS kidnapped, and then executed, the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death after a trial in 2006,” Ace writes. “With the Kurds’ president Barzani now openly announcing that it’s time for the Kurdish state to split off and be formally a separate nation from Iraq, and the Sunnis ethnically cleansing Shiites, and, coming soon I’m sure, the Shiites ethnically cleansing Sunnis, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that a state resembling Iraq survives the year.”

As Glenn Reynolds noted, “Ideology required that the Iraq War be a failure, even if it needed a nunc pro tunc effort to make it so.”

Trend Detected

June 23rd, 2014 - 1:56 pm

Another controversial critique emerged on May 22, when the Financial Times’s Chris Giles reported that his exhaustive examination of Piketty’s data revealed a host of errors or misjudgments—some minor, some potentially damning. According to Giles, Piketty’s data do not support his conclusions, and Piketty may have tweaked the numbers to make his trend lines go the way he wanted them to. The “combined result of all the problems,” Giles writes, “is to make wealth concentration among the richest in the past 50 years rise artificially.”

As of this writing, Piketty and Giles, as well as their various champions, were trying to adjudicate all the charges and defenses. The debates are extremely difficult to follow, to say the least. But it does seem that Giles overstated the lethality of his critique and that, some sloppiness or misjudgments notwithstanding, there’s little evidence that Piketty operated in anything like bad faith. Piketty has recanted nothing.

Still, if one takes all these critiques into account, one must conclude that what its supporters have hailed as an irrefutable mathematical prophecy might have to be downgraded by everyone else into the well-informed hunch from a left-leaning French economist—a significant drop in confidence level, as the statisticians might say.

And this is hugely inconvenient for those holding aloft Capital in the Twenty-First Century as though it were the Statistical Abstract of the United States—because that would mean all of Piketty’s policy proposals and dire predictions for the future are based on a guess about the future, a guess he has falsely portrayed as an immutable law.

—A brief excerpt from Jonah Goldberg’s magnum opus 9451 word(!) article in the latest issue of Commentary, “Mr. Piketty’s Big Book of Marxiness.”

When future generations try to understand how the world got carried away around the end of the 20th century by the panic over global warming, few things will amaze them more than the part played in stoking up the scare by the fiddling of official temperature data. There was already much evidence of this seven years ago, when I was writing my history of the scare, The Real Global Warming Disaster. But now another damning example has been uncovered by Steven Goddard’s US blog Real Science, showing how shamelessly manipulated has been one of the world’s most influential climate records, the graph of US surface temperature records published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Goddard shows how, in recent years, NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been “adjusting” its record by replacing real temperatures with data “fabricated” by computer models. The effect of this has been to downgrade earlier temperatures and to exaggerate those from recent decades, to give the impression that the Earth has been warming up much more than is justified by the actual data. In several posts headed “Data tampering at USHCN/GISS”, Goddard compares the currently published temperature graphs with those based only on temperatures measured at the time. These show that the US has actually been cooling since the Thirties, the hottest decade on record; whereas the latest graph, nearly half of it based on “fabricated” data, shows it to have been warming at a rate equivalent to more than 3 degrees centigrade per century.

—The opening paragraphs from Christopher Booker’s article in the Saturday London Telegraph, “The scandal of fiddled global warming data: The US has actually been cooling since the Thirties, the hottest decade on record.”

Conservatives and Second Amendment activists quickly discovered that the probate records Bellesiles cited had been grossly misrepresented— or didn’t exist at all. For an inexcusably long time, liberals in the media and elsewhere resisted these findings, but the evidence against Bellesiles was overwhelming, and in the end he was discredited. In October 2002, after an Emory University panel of independent scholars accused him of “unprofessional and misleading work” that “does move into the realm of falsification,” he resigned in disgrace from Emory, calling the university’s findings against him “just plain unfair.” Two months later, the Bancroft Prize was rescinded.

The real question is, why was he so readily believed in the first place? His claim that few early Americans owned guns should have seemed ludicrous on the face of it. There were all those letters and diaries of the era that had so many gun references; there was the art and literature of the time; there was work by other scholars about guns in colonial America. But none of that sounded the alarm. Because, as in all the other issues involving core liberal beliefs, the eagerness to believe overcame all skepticism and reason— with journalists leading the way.

—Bernard Goldberg, in his 2003 book Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite, on Michael Bellesiles’ 2000 book, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture.

Does any of this matter? Let’s ask Matt Yglesias:

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Related: Streams crossed, destruction of the universe imminent:

 

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“Republican Rep. Paul Ryan tore into IRS commissioner John Koskinen in a tense exchange at Friday morning’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the IRS’s lost emails,” Patrick Howley writes at the Daily Caller:

“I am sitting here listening to this testimony. I just – I don’t believe it,” Ryan said, turning to Koskinen. “That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”

Ryan accused the IRS of misleading Congress by previously claiming that no targeting occurred and then that progressive groups were also targeted by the IRS. “All of those things have been proven untrue,” Ryan said.

“You bury in a 27-page letter to the Senate asking for them to conclude the investigation that you’ve lost Lois Lerner’s emails…Monday, our investigators ask your agency if any other hard drives crashed” and Koskinen finally admitted that six other IRS officials under investigation also had their hard drives crash.

Watch the video at the Daily Caller, which features Koskinen delivering the same imperious nose-upward gaze as Lois Lerner and the other two proponents of corporatism and socialism in the Photoshop atop this post. One reason why Koskinen’s testimony strains credulity is that, as Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air, “Koskinen offered up his opening statement in writing, in part to suggest that e-mail should not be considered an ‘official record’ anyway”:

In discussing document retention at the IRS, it is important to point out that our email system is not being used as an electronic record keeping system. Furthermore, it should be remembered that not all emails on IRS servers or backup tapes qualify as an “official record,” which is defined (in 44 U.S.C. 3301) as any documentary material made or received by an agency under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation. Accordingly, our agency’s email system is not designed to preserve email. Rather, email that qualifies as “records” are printed and retained in compliance with relevant records control schedules. Individual employees are responsible for ensuring that any email in their possession that qualifies as a “record” is retained in accordance with the requirements in the Internal Revenue Manual and Document 12990 (Record Control Schedules).

“Thanks to one reader on Twitter, we can judge Koskinen’s argument as categorically false,” Ed adds, quoting passages from the IRS manual online at everybody’s favorite URL — IRS.gov — with phrases such as “Email messages are official documents and should reflect this perspective,” and:

The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media. Emails are records when they are:

  • Created or received in the transaction of agency business
  • Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities,

And:

Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record. Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.

Much more after the page break.

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Another Expiration Date Bests Obama

June 19th, 2014 - 3:28 pm

“Obama admits today what was true all along: he didn’t end the Iraq War, Iraq just refused to let the troops stay,” Trevor Timm, UK Guardian contributor tweets, linking to this article in the Washington Post, which notes that “President Obama took credit in 2012 for withdrawing all troops from Iraq. Today he said something different:”

“With regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should be a status of forces agreement,” Romney told Obama as the two convened on the Lynn University campus in Boca Raton, Fla., that October evening. ”That’s not true,” Obama interjected. “Oh, you didn’t want a status of forces agreement?” Romney asked as an argument ensued. “No,” Obama said. “What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East.”

On Thursday, Obama addressed reporters in the White House Briefing Room about Iraq’s latest crisis. “Do you wish you had left a residual force in Iraq? Any regrets about that decision in 2011?” a reporter asked. “Well, keep in mind that wasn’t a decision made by me,” Obama said. “That was a decision made by the Iraqi government.”

In that same foreign policy debate, Obama scolded Romney — for failing to state his position in a way voters could understand. “Here’s one thing … I’ve learned as commander in chief,” Obama said. “You’ve got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean.”

Huh. His pre-postmodern predecessor knew that before he became commander in chief. As Mark Steyn warned when Dubya bid the world vaya con dios, “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.”

And speaking of postmodernism, with the London Telegraph reporting, “Isis jihadists ‘seize Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons stockpile,’” now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

● “Where Are Saddam’s WMD?”

— Headline, Time magazine, September 26, 2003.

● “Iraq Militants Seize Old Chemical Weapons Facility.”

— Headline, Time magazine, today.

As one Ricochet contributor asks today, “What the heck is a WMD?”

I thought it was a weapon that killed a bunch of people at once.

Like a chemical weapon or a nuclear bomb .

If Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical weapons, how does  everybody justify the “they lied about WMD” trope?

Don’t worry, “The weapons that remain are probably useless,” Time assures us today. These aren’t the WMDs you were looking for; they can go about their business, no matter who has control over them — or wherever they ultimately end up.

Update: Speaking of headlines from 2002 and 2003 getting a fresh new spin, is the president seeking regime change in Iraq? Everything old is new again!

(Yes, the headline was written in the passive tense, which journalists are increasingly using to describe a president being overcome by events occurring on his watch.)

Roger Simon Censored By Editor!

June 17th, 2014 - 11:41 am

No, not our Roger Simon, our beneficent Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus, his eponymous doppelganger at the Politico. As Daniel Halper notes at the Weekly Standard, inside “the print edition of Politico, columnist Roger Simon asks, ‘Will the Real Hillary Clinton Please Stop Talking?’”

It’s a provocative title for a piece on someone who might be the first female president of the United States. So provocative, in fact, that Politico changed the title for the online edition of the column. “Can Hillary Clinton be herself and still win?” the title now reads.

Yes, the original headline was changed because it might have too much of an impact. Which is what another Politico journalist complained was the excuse when his Hillary-related work was buried in 2008, albeit when he was still with Newsday, another left-leaning publication. (Its publisher, Mort Zuckerman, would go on to claim he helped write a speech for the other liberal in the 2008 race. OK, the other, other liberal, Barack Obama.) Glenn Thrush, since revealed to be a fairly dedicated O-Bot based on his lackadaisical coverage of the Obamacare rollout debacle and his more angered take on pushback to his global warming scare stories, witnessed his 2008 flashback to Hillary defending a child rapist in 1975 buried by an editor, “Because ‘It Might Have an Impact,’” as Tony Lee writes at Big Journalism:

On Sunday evening, mainstream media reporter Glenn Thrush revealed that a former editor of his at Newsday in 2008 delayed and buried his story on Hillary Clinton’s defense of a child rapist because “it might have an impact.”

When Thrush wrote the story on February 24, 2008, Clinton was battling Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This past Sunday, Thrush tweeted “the only link I can find to my original 2008 Newsday story on Hillary’s 1975 defense of child rapist,” which was archived by the conservative Sweetness & Light blog, a location that the perilously liberal Thrush presumably views with mixed blessings.

As the Washington Free Beacon noted:

A lengthy yet largely overlooked 2008 Newsday story focused on Clinton’s legal strategy of attacking the credibility of the 12-year-old victim.

The girl had joined Taylor and two male acquaintances, including one 15-year-old boy she had a crush on, on a late-night trip to the bowling alley, according to Newsday.

Taylor drove the group around in his truck, pouring the girl whisky and coke on the way.

The group later drove to a “weedy ravine” near the highway where Taylor raped the 12-year-old.

Around 4 a.m., the girl and her mother went to the hospital, where she was given medical tests and reported that she had been assaulted.

Taylor was arrested on May 13, 1975. The court initially appointed public defender John Barry Baker to serve as his attorney. But Taylor insisted he wanted a female lawyer.

The lawyer he would end up with: Hillary Rodham.

By the way, the MSM is not happy to be covering this story — because it might have an impact, to coin a phrase. As some have noted on Twitter, coverage of Mitt Romney’s dog in 1980s, fine. Coverage of Hillary’s career as a lawyer. Verboten! And the leftwing MSM is particularly unhappy about the ideology of its source. Ladies and gentlemen, the Washington Free Beetlejuice. Say its name

….You’re goddamn right.

The MSM, largely Democrat operatives with bylines, have always been terrified of any story that might have an impact against its fellow leftists in office. But ever since Matt Drudge circumvented Newsweek’s spiking of the original Monica Lewinsky story, readers have been able to detour around their roundblocks. No wonder the media bias-related themes at Kate McMillan’s popular Small Dead Animals blog are “Not Waiting for the Asteroid”

…and “Deep Impact.”

Two Gray Ladies in One!

June 16th, 2014 - 1:44 pm

Eric Cantor’s primary defeat last week came as quite a shock to many in the MSM, though not at all to David Steinberg here at PJM. in the New York Times, David Carr explores the insular mindset that caused so many in old media to miss the signs that it was building:

There are a number of dynamics — political, cultural and economic — at work. Congressional races are a mess to cover because there are so many of them, and this year, the House of Representatives is not in play while the Senate most definitely is. The math of covering someone who may become one of only 100 senators is far easier.

The same forces that keep politicians penned up within a few blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue work on journalists as well. No one wants to stray from the white-hot center of power for fear of being stuck in some forsaken locale when something big happens in Washington — which is why it has become one of the most overcovered places on earth.

That Beltway provincialism is now multiplied by the diminution of nonnational newspapers. The industry as a whole is about half as big as it was in 2007, with regional newspapers suffering acute cutbacks. In just the last year, five reporters with decades of experience have left the Richmond statehouse.

Plenty of reporters are imprisoned in cubes in Washington, but stretched news organizations aren’t eager to spend money on planes, rental cars and hotel rooms so that employees can bring back reports from the hustings. While the Internet has been a boon to modern reporting — All Known Thought One Click Away — it tends to pin journalists at their desks. I was on a panel with Gay Talese some time ago, and he said, “We are outside people,” meaning that we are supposed to leave our offices and hit the streets. But the always-on data stream is hypnotic, giving us the illusion of omniscience.

The media love to feign promises that they’ll do better next time after they blow a big political horserace, as Howard Fineman did in early 2005, when it was embarrassingly clear that the MSM had propped up the hapless Kerry campaign, and as the late former Washington Post ombudswoman Deborah Howell did in November of 2008 after it was obvious to everyone that her paper was deeply in the tank for Obama.

But perhaps if the New York Times was going to publish an article this week on how the smugness and insularity of the Beltway Media caused them to miss Eric Cantor’s looming defeat, perhaps it shouldn’t have assigned it to someone who infamously referred to voters in middle America — who share many of the same values as those in Cantor and Brat’s district as “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads” on national TV, as I wrote right around this time in 2011:

“If it’s Kansas, Missouri, no big deal. You know, that’s the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right? …Did I just say that aloud?”

Yes, yes you did — and it’s not the first time you’ve used that riff, either. If a quote falls on Friday night at 10:00 PM on HBO, no one will hear it, but fortunately, this one has been captured in handy embeddable video form.

new_yorker_flyover_cover_6-26-11_smThe New York Times’ David Carr drops the mask, and lives out artist Saul Steinberg’s classic 1976 “View of the World from 9th Avenue” New Yorker cover. But the view from the Times’ editorial bullpen is a curious paradox, isn’t it? On an episode of Mad Men, I believe it was John Slattery’s Roger Sterling character who quipped something like, “If only we didn’t have to deal with clients, advertising would be a great business, eh?” Similarly, the New York Times wants to hold itself out as The Paper of Record — yet absolutely loathes the people who consume their product — and especially hates its potential readers, who have been driven away by such elitism.

I’d say “MSM, heal thyselves,” to conclude this post, but that assumes that the MSM are actually in the business of  performing journalism, as opposed to being Democrat political operatives with bylines, who view America and its people accordingly.

“Hillary Complains U.S. Politics Most ‘Brutal’ In The World.” No, really:

“Who is the viable woman of either party who could win a primary nomination in 2016, if who not you?” CBS Sunday host Jane Pauley asked Clinton in yet another interview the former First Lady has given during the week of the release of her latest memoir, “Hard Choices.”

“Politics is so unpredictable,” Clinton responded. “Whoever runs has to recognize that the American political system is probably the most difficult, even brutal, in the world.”

As the America Rising PAC pointed out, the Washington Post’s congressional reporter Ed O’Keefe identified at least two other female politicians who have suffered under seemingly more brutal political systems.

As Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller writes, paraphrasing O’Keefe’s tweet, “Benazir Bhutto, who served twice as prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in 2007 following a political rally. Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 while serving as prime minister of India.”

To be fair though, the American political system can be rather brutal on its ambassadors serving abroad — and anyone, past or present, who dares question the president.

Oh, and speaking of truly brutal political systems

The Missing 30 Minutes

June 14th, 2014 - 1:35 pm

Adam Carolla calls out an NPR interviewer for attempting to ambush him during a taped segment, NPR buries interview:

Carolla talks about a taped appearance on Brian Lehrer’s show on New York City’s public radio station WNYC where the host ambushed him and attempted to paint him as a racist. Lehrer played an audio clip of comedian Jo Koy cracking jokes about Asians. Carolla noted that it wasn’t he himself making the jokes, it was Koy, who at the time was making a guest appearance on Carolla’s popular podcast. At this point, Carolla said, he knew it was an ambush interview.

Carolla shares how he responded to Lehrer and made him look like the racist because the WYNC host was okay with the jokes after it was explained to him that Jo Koy is himself an Asian. Carolla said the concept that Lehrer thought he was speaking for a race he didn’t belong to is the ultimate racism.

Carolla explains how this is a great example of how the media has an agenda and tried to humiliate him for his views. For example, Carolla said during the interview Lehrer did not appreciate his opinion that in order to vote you must bring a recent pay stub. Carolla took this as an opportunity to lambaste media personalities for having a bias and wanting free speech for everyone until you disagree with them.

“There is alternative view points on everything as long as you agree with them. And if you disagree with them, then you won’t get played.” It’s a half-hour segment, but not surprisingly, great audio if you want to give it a listen.

Related: “James O’Keefe Endures Death Threats and Filthy Hipsters.”

The Missing 1.8 Gigabytes

June 13th, 2014 - 4:05 pm

obama_nixon_beach_10-8-11-2

For a fun summer change-up, the Obama administration and its minions do their usual Friday document dump to circumvent the news cycle in reverse: “The IRS has told Congress that it has lost some of former employee Lois G. Lerner’s emails from 2009 through 2011, including those she sent to other federal agencies, the House’s top tax-law writer said Friday,” the Washington Times reports:

The agency blamed a computer crash for the mishap.

Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he was stunned that it took more than a year into the investigation for the IRS to inform Congress that it didn’t have those emails.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to congressional inquiries,” Mr. Camp said. “There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.”

As Glenn Reynolds suggests, “So this means the contents were devastating for the White House, I guess.” At Commentary, John Steele Gordon adds:

So it would seem that not only does the Obama administration exhibit the worst attributes of the Carter administration, it also exhibits the worst attributes of the Nixon administration. No one believed Nixon’s explanation for the infamous missing 18 1/2 minutes of oval office tapes. I doubt many will believe that this is an accident too.

Recovering the missing 18 1/12 minutes may have been have been difficult or impossible in 1972, but as numerous commenters at Hot Air observe, there should be duplicates of the emails on the servers containing the emails. Beyond that, hard drive recovery techniques are remarkably sophisticated:

How much damage can your data take before it’s gone forever? We wanted to find out what could be salvaged from a computer that had been through a natural disaster, so we simulated a really bad one. We decided upon an earthquake/flood doomsday scenario. First, we took two laptop drives, loaded them with test movie and music files, then beat the heck out of them until we heard the signature clicking of mechanical hard-drive failure. Then we submerged one of the drives in custom- made storm-surge floodwaters (salt water, construction debris, oil) and let it soak for four days.

We sent both hard drives to Kroll Ontrack Data Recovery, which sells data-rescue services to both corporate clients and consumers. Ontrack’s Jeff Pederson analyzed the drives in the company’s clean room and found that the read/write heads in our dry drive were bent from our abuse and that we had scratched the platters. Our flooded drive was wet, but the platters were undamaged. Pederson replaced the heads and performed a recovery.

To borrow a Nixon-era phrase, how badly does Congress want to pursue this latest modified limited hangout by the IRS?

Related:  Col. Ken Allard at Big Peace on “Baghdad as Saigon?: The Obama Nixon Nexus.” I don’t know if Allard wrote that headline, as its comparison is a shot at Nixon, who had effectively won the war with his devastating Linebacker II B-52 bombing campaign against Hanoi, before the post-Watergate Democrat Congress cut the funding for a defense of South Vietnam under Gerald Ford.

Airbrush Alert

June 10th, 2014 - 11:31 pm

The question in this race is how large Cantor’s margin of victory will be. If he wins by more than 20 points, it will likely quell rumblings about his popularity back home. If Brat falls within 10 points of the seven-term congressman, it could stoke them.

—The Washington Post, 11:10 AM before being tossed down the Memory Hole sometime tonight.

Likely, very early tonight.

But then, as John Podhoretz writes at Commentary, “Interesting things can happen in politics. Very interesting things. Right now the only sure thing, supposedly, is that Hillary Clinton will sail through the Democratic primaries unopposed. The would-be candidate we all saw last night embarrassing herself in an interview with Diane Sawyer should not be considered an inevitability. Eric Cantor’s reelection was an inevitability too.”

moon-landing-actually-1969-barry_6-10-14

Well, you remember man landing on the moon in 1963 at least, don’t you? Obama’s ghost-tweeter apparently does. As Moe Lane writes, “If Barack Obama wants to do something about wage inequality, he should start with… the White House itself.” And then regarding when we actually landed on the moon, “Here, let me show the President how to check things like this.”

There’s a strange and recurring symptom with this administration that on the one hand keeps making these gaffes, and on the other, thinks of itself as being chockablock full with, much more so than Enron, “The Smartest Guys in the Room” — including Barry himself.

Especially, Barry himself:

“I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

But these weird lapses in what should be easily understood American and world history keep occurring. Joe Biden — who definitely thinks of himself as the Smartest Guy in the Room — just ask him — had one of the first big whoppers. During the fall of 2008, his mouth once again failed to sync with the gearworks of his brain, and he praised Franklin Roosevelt’s TV performance in 1929 when the stock market crashed. Never mind that in 1929, Herbert Hoover was president, and the handful of Jurassic American TVs then in existence were running Felix the Cat test patterns — that’s how Joe remembers it. And apparently so does Obama booster Katie Couric, since she didn’t bother to correct him:

During a 2011 interview, Obama declared, “Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, you know, for historic reasons,” which would certainly be news to Lyndon Johnson, John Connally, and Ann Richards.

Perhaps one of Obama’s worst gaffes occurred during his second inauguration speech, when he mindlessly parroted the words of speechwriter (and War on Women posterboy) Jon Favreau, who inserted the phrase “peace in our time” into his boss’s Teleprompter. Nothing like getting your second term off to a flying start by inadvertently declaring yourself the successor to Neville Chamberlain at Munich.

This past March, Obama declared during a Democrat fundraiser, “In midterms, we get clobbered, either because we don’t think it’s important or because we get so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while.” So much for the 2006 midterms, in which Rahm Emanuel, then chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, assembled what Kevin McCullough of Townhall dubbed Nancy Pelosi’s Crash Test Dummies, a group of seemingly non-threatening centrist-appearing Democrats who would go on to deliver up massive bailouts to banks and GM, and ultimately would become crash test dummies in November of 2010 after passing Obamacare.

Like Ron Burgandy, anything you put into Barry’s teleprompter or on the page in front of him, he’ll read. (Including how he ate a dog, with no reaction or remorse in his voice.) But it’s particularly amusing to watch someone once declared “the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar” at the apex of hopenchange by one his toadies to apparently have very little conception of basic American history.

…There really was a fair amount of it before Obama arrived in his manger, you know.

“How Obama’s media strategy unraveled with recovered POW,” is explored by John Podhoretz in the New York Post, who asks, “What happens when the world’s greatest spin doctor commits malpractice — on himself?”

That is the question that now bedevils Barack Obama after what have been, without a doubt, the worst weeks of his presidency.

From the Veterans Administration scandal to the jaw-dropping events surrounding the swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the man with the most remarkable intuitive grasp of how to preserve and enhance his own image the world has ever seen has now tarnished it almost beyond recognition.

Who would have expected such a development? From the speech in 2004 that made him a rising star through the campaign in 2008 that made him president, Obama was the most formidable political propagandist of all time.

Read the whole thing. As long as he was selling himself as Savior To Be, and could point to others — George Bush, Hillary and Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin, and eventually, a GOP Congress — as lesser politicians and strawmen to be knocked down and insulted, Obama was fine. But sooner or later, all elected politicians must govern. And the Bergdahl debacle was entirely of his own administration’s making.

Speaking of spin control unraveling, the man who was compared by his abetters in the MSM overculture in 2008 and 2009 to not just FDR, JFK and Lincoln, but to Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, James Bond, and God Himself, was revealed this past week to actually be a scrawny middle-aged man using tiny beginners’ weights in a Marriott hotel gym in Warsaw. As Ace wrote on Wednesday:

A normal person doing normal things usually wouldn’t be that funny.

But Obama has worked hard at only two things during his presidency: Image Control, and Not Working.

It’s amusing to see the sad little man behind the giant face of Oz.

Image control combined with what our Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus described as “Moral Narcissism” personified. On Thursday, Roger L. Simon wrote:

Moral Narcissism is an evocative term for the almost schizophrenic divide between intentions and results now common in our culture.  It doesn’t matter how anything turns out as long as your intentions are good.  And, just as importantly, the only determinant of those intentions, the only one who defines them, is you.

In other words, if you propose or do something, it only matters that you feel good or righteous about what you did or are proposing, that it makes you feel better personally.  The results are irrelevant, as are how the actual activity affects others.

Also, although it pretends (especially to the self) to altruism, moral narcissism is in essence passive aggressive, asserting superiority over the ignorant or “selfish” other. It is elitist,  anti-democratic and quote often, consciously or unconsciously, sadistic.

The Obama administration is loaded with moral narcissists, including, obviously, the president himself — Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton etc.  The media and Hollywood are also clearly stuffed to the gills with moral narcissists.

And so many of the quotes Obama has uttered over the years fit that definition perfectly. In 2012, a Red State diarist rounded up “Barack Obama’s 20 Most Impossibly Self-Absorbed Moments.” In 2004, Obama infamously told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter that his definition of sin was “Being out of alignment with my values.” In 2012, the man who holds the position that in less enlightened times was referred to as “the leader of the free world” showered praise on “those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf.”

And the hits just keep on coming. This past week, Barry told NBC’s Brian Williams, long a gushing fan of Obama, that when it comes to the Bergdahl meltdown:

I make no apologies for it. It was a unanimous decision among my principals in my government, and a view that was shared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is something I would do again and will continue to do whenever I have an opportunity.

Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw writes in response:

Just for the record, it’s hard to be sure whether the President was saying “principals” as I transcribed above (as in, the key players in his administration) or if he was attempting to say “principles” in a more vague fashion. But given the context, the former seems far more likely. In either event, what was even more striking was the use of my government which caught my eye. It seems to reinforce the idea that – laws be damned – this is his show and he’ll run it as he sees fit.

“Having won two elections, I guess it’s Obama’s world now. We’re just living in it,” Jazz quips — but actually, between the disastrous Obamacare rollout, the IRS scandal, the V.A. scandal, and Vladimir Putin simultaneously blowing raspberries at Obama and devouring Crimean real estate, the past several weeks have demonstrated that this is what happens when world events overtake a man wholly unsuited to be president. Or as Podhoretz concludes his article, “You can only spin for so long before you start spinning yourself. Spin and spin and spin and soon you have a whirlwind to reap.”

Two CNNs In One!

June 4th, 2014 - 11:04 am

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

“The American Dream is out of reach,” screams a headline at CNN-Money, a Website whose content since 2009 has frequently leaned left:

The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country. [Can the American dream be achieved in other countries? Ed]

So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach.

Young adults, age 18 to 34, are most likely to feel the dream is unattainable, with 63% saying it’s impossible. This age group has suffered in the wake of the Great Recession, finding it hard to get good jobs.

Younger Americans are a cause of great concern. Many respondents said they are worried about the next generation’s ability to prosper.

Huh, go figure. It was only six days ago that CNN-Money informed us that “US Economy Shrinks, But It’s Not a Big Deal,” in a headline.

If “The American Dream is out of reach,” isn’t that good news — and no big deal? After all, as CNN’s Fareed Zakaria told the American people in December of 2010, you are “the big problem:” 

Parker asked Zakaria if he had faith the American people could handle the fiscal discipline he advocated. Zakaria used the platform as an opportunity to attack Americans and refute the notion “the American people are wonderful.” His solution: Less consumption by the American people.

“No, I think the people are the big problem,” Zakaria said. “I mean, Americans — everybody wants to say the American people are so wonderful. You know, I think that when they come to recognize that they have to make sacrifices too that it’s not just wasteful — they need to have — they need to recognize that some of what’s going to happen here is fewer. They have to consume fewer things. They have to accept slightly higher taxes. And in the long run, you will have a much better economy.”

That was nearly four years ago, how long is the “long run?” Zakaria’s line about accepting “slightly higher taxes” was apparently a reference to his then-recent cover story in Time, CNN’s dead-tree sister publication, in which Zakaria called for more taxes and government spending as part of his plan to “Restore the American Dream.”

The more government spending presumably was covered by the busted “Stimulus” program, for which then CNN anchor Ali Velshi presented a cake on the air to celebrate its one year anniversary. (Ahh, that vaunted CNN journalistic objectivity:

CNN_stimulus_cake_2-10

As for the American people consuming less, Zakaria was simply parroting the words of his preferred candidate in 2008:

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said.

“That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” he added.

And as president, Mr. Obama has certainly demonstrated the same frugal austerity in his own lifestyle that he wishes upon the rest of us. Except on wintery nights in the White House and when it’s time to fire-up the mile-long motorcade of presidential SUVs to visit his fellow elites after jetting up to Martha’s Vineyard, of course.

So is more government spending and more taxes needed to achieve CNN’s goal? How much more?

Well let’s just say we probably don’t want to take the Strangelovian advice of the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman on the topic to find out. But perhaps there’s a better way. Or as Glenn Reynolds noted last month, “ The truth is, we don’t have a recovery, because we’ve had the systematic imposition of policies — tax increases, redistribution, and especially regulatory uncertainty — that undermine economic growth. But a lot of insiders have gotten rich.”

By the way, it’s fascinating that we’re now in year six of the Obama presidency but typing CTL-F on a CNN article titled “The American Dream is out of reach” and typing “Obama” produces no results.

Unexpectedly.

 

barackalypse_now_poster_10-5-13-1

Why was the Bergdahl backlash worse than the Obama administration expected? At the Breitbart Conversation group blog, John Hayward, the source of our headline above, writes:

I think what surprised them is how quickly the American public has turned skeptical about this deal, because Obama wanted some backlash – he wanted Republicans to make over-the-top criticisms of the deal, so the Pajama Boy platoon could jump on them and start hammering out those “GOP overreach” stories, painting Republicans as political hacks and hypocrites for daring to say a bad word about the rescue of a captive American.

The element that I think blindsided Obama was the negative feedback from military people, who have the credibility to make the public think about both sides of this trade in a skeptical way.  That wouldn’t be surprising, since I doubt very many people in this White House know, or care, very much about what the U.S. military community thinks.  They assumed the troops would zip it while Obama took his victory lap for rescuing the last POW in Afghanistan.

It’s also not surprising that the White House overplayed its hand, sending Benghazi fabulist Susan Rice – who snotty Beltway insiders don’t realize is one of the least credible people in America to informed members of the public – to falsely claim Bergdahl was captured in battlefield action.  They’ve even be forced to portray the Taliban as something other than a terrorist organization, to justify cutting a deal with them.

Hayward’s post was written yesterday. Today we learn — from the New York Times — that, as Allahpundit summarizes at Hot Air, “Bergdahl left a note saying that he was deserting.” As Allah asks, “Which would be worse: If Obama didn’t know about the note before making the swap, or if he did know and went ahead with it anyway?”

Want worse? Here’s worse, if this report from Fox News’ Jen Griffin pans out:

Jim Treacher rounds up the response from the professional left on the administration’s Berghdal debacle, which basically boils down to, “Republicans SUCK, MAAAAAAN!!!!1!!!” But as Jim writes in response: “As Sonny Bunch points out, a lot of the information these lefties are trying to deny — being the Bergdahl deniers they are — is coming from left-leaning sources like Rolling Stone and Time Magazine. The ol’ ‘Blame the Republicans’ game is all they’ve got, though, so let them play.”

Update: Don’t miss this Photoshop by Mad Magazine: “Trading Private Bergdahl.”

More: “Taliban claim captured U.S. solider has converted to Islam and is teaching its fighters bomb-making skills,” a London Daily Mail headline read in August of 2010. Two guesses as to who the captured U.S. solider was.

And Jim Geraghty would like an apology from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT):

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Read the whole thing.