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Ed Driscoll

The Memory Hole

So yesterday, the spin from team Hillary is that hey, she’s getting up there; she hasn’t driven a car since the mid-1990s, she doesn’t do new technology all that well. Email accounts? They’re so complex to set up. Today? AP reports that Hillary had her own private email server while Secretary of State, as Seth Mandel writes at Commentary:

First, the latest: not only did Hillary Clinton exclusively use private email addresses to avoid transparency and record keeping. She, as the AP reveals today, operated her own server at her home:

The computer server that transmitted and received Hillary Clinton’s emails — on a private account she used exclusively for official business when she was secretary of state — traced back to an Internet service registered to her family’s home in Chappaqua, New York, according to Internet records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Later, the AP explains why she did it, and how great of a security risk it was:

Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails. And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.

But homebrew email servers are generally not as reliable, secure from hackers or protected from fires or floods as those in commercial data centers. Those professional facilities provide monitoring for viruses or hacking attempts, regulated temperatures, off-site backups, generators in case of power outages, fire-suppression systems and redundant communications lines.

As Mandel writes, “with latest revelations that for purposes of digital communication Hillary essentially ran her own parallel government, it’s clear that Clinton’s ethical lapses should also be a scandal for President Obama:”

Obama didn’t think much of Clinton’s experience abroad*. HRC notes Obama’s belief that Hillary’s sense of worldliness amounted to “what world leader I went and talked to in the ambassador’s house, who I had tea with.” In Obama’s estimation, Hillary was not up to the task of being a top figure on the world stage.

But Obama wasn’t looking necessarily for competence or experience. His view in piecing together his team has always been about sidelining critics and rivals. So, fully aware that Hillary was unqualified, he asked her to be secretary of state. Allen and Parnes write:

Obama wanted Hillary on his team, and in making the case to his own aides, he knocked down the argument he had made on the trail that her experience was limited to tea parties. As important, having Hillary on the inside would let Obama keep control over perhaps the nation’s most potent political force other than himself.

Except it wouldn’t. Sometimes the Clintons’ parallel government works in Obama’s favor, such as Clinton’s Benghazi disaster. Her independent email server and private addresses enabled her to hide her correspondence on the attack, which also shielded the rest of the administration from that scrutiny. Obama is infamously secretive about his own records and his administration’s unprecedented lack of transparency was a good match for the Clintons.

And this latest development should be fun: “House committee to subpoena e-mails from Clinton’s personal account,” the Washington Post reports:

A House investigative committee is preparing to send out subpoenas later Wednesday to gather a deeper look into former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nearly exclusive use of personal e-mails to do her official business as the government’s top diplomat, according to people familiar with the probe.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi, which first discovered Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail based on a home server in its inquiry into a fatal 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, is asking for all e-mails related to the attack from all Clintonemail.com accounts and any other staff members’ personal accounts.

The subpoenas are expected to go out to the State Department later Wednesday. The move escalates the panel’s conflict with Clinton and could complicate her expected run for president.

Beyond playing the expected wounded victim card, how will the Clintons not comply? Will they go the Lois Lerner “the dog ate my email server” route? Will they simply flat out refuse? Will lots of emails be deleted or redacted somehow? I’m sure they’ll find a way to checkmate this, or at the least employ some sort of modified limited hangout.

Because from Team Hillary’s point of view, really, what difference at this point, does it make? As Allahpundit writes:

The point about how early it is in the campaign and consequently how little people will remember about this by election day 2016 is right on. A few righties on Twitter yesterday were kicking around the theory that Team Hillary exposed the private e-mail account themselves, just so that they could get this out there now, take their beating for a week, and then let the media forget about it. I doubt that’s right — if they wanted to leak this, they wouldn’t have handed the credit for it to Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi committee — but they would have leaked it eventually, likely sooner than later, knowing that voters have short memories about most scandals. That’s especially true for Bill and Hillary, whose brand already has plenty of scandal built in. If you vote for Her Majesty in 2016, you do so with absolute assurance that her administration will be one ethical clusterfark after another because that’s who the Clintons are and that’s how they roll. If you’re okay with that then by definition you’re okay with her conducting America’s diplomacy off the books. If you’re not okay with that, and you shouldn’t be, then you probably gave up on the Clintons sometime around 1995. The only reason there’s a bipartisan flavor to the current outrage over her e-mail corruption rather than unified wagon-circling on the left is because there’s still hope among progressives that Elizabeth Warren can be convinced to run. They’ll add some blood in the water if they think it might attract Warren. Once she’s definitely out, though, they’re out of the Clinton ethics-watching business too.

Vox, the Politico and Bloomberg are all certainly “Ready for Hillary,” to coin a phrase; perhaps this defense of the Queen Bee is coalescing on the JournoList:

 

Meanwhile, David Brock spins into action in a bumbling attempt to defend Hillary on MSNBC, pondering many questions about his strange appearance, and one answer: Now we know which Democrat inherited the late Jim Traficant’s sky-high hair

* And in 2008, he was such a great judge on these matters himself…

‘Chappaqua, We Have a Problem’

March 3rd, 2015 - 1:27 pm

Brilliant headline from PJM alumnus Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post:

It is unfathomable why Democrats feel as though they have no choice. Surely, there are fans of Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who would recognize that the Democratic Party badly needs not merely a sparring partner in the primaries but an alternative to Clinton who is not perceived as personally corrupt or secretive and is not burdened by an increasingly problematic Obama foreign policy record. Surely, even a candidate who will have to work harder to raise money and create name identification but who is capable and not burdened by scandal would be preferable to a 67-year old woman of immense wealth, low ethical standards and nonexistent candor. Or perhaps the Democratic Party is so devoid of talent that it simply has no choice but to take Clinton with all her obvious and serious defects.

That’s a question that the Democrats chose to answer in 2008, when it picked tyro rookie senator Barack Obama over tyro (almost) rookie senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton in 2008. Might have had a lot more options open today if Obama had been Hillary’s veep for eight years. And if Hillary didn’t have that new president smell in 2007, her brand’s freshness date has long since expired, no matter what sort of new packaging her marketing department mocks up in Photoshop.

Meanwhile, to keep the Apollo 13 metaphors going — to paraphrase Kevin D. Williamson at NRO, with Hillary, failure is always an option:

Here’s my theory: She was preparing for failure.

Mrs. Clinton knows—she must know, at some level—that she has been grossly unprepared for every position she has held in public life other than that of first lady. She was a New York senator who knew the parts of the state more than 40 miles from a park-view room at the Plaza about as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. knows Muleshoe, Texas. She was a presidential candidate whose only recommendations were ovaries and a surname beloved—but not quite enough—by Democratic primary voters. And then she became a secretary of state appointed to the position mainly to appease the bruised feelings of Clintonites and to keep her from making mischief in case of a first-term Obama administration meltdown.

But she was a grossly incompetent secretary of state who knew that she was going to run for president again, and thus took positive steps in advance to put in place protocols that would help her to mask her inadequacy. It is difficult even for her admirers to make a credible argument that her time in that office was anything other than disastrous. She knows this.

The news media and the Democrats know this, too. Mrs. Clinton’s career in public office has been nothing more than a tribute to her husband, a fact that you would think would rankle the feminists who are so enthused about the former first lady’s presidential ambitions. Maybe it’s time to take off the presidential kneepads and admit what everybody knows: She isn’t very good at this sort of thing, and promoting her to her next level of incompetence is an invitation to disaster.

Though to be fair, Mr. Obama has set that bar so low that Hillary’s administration would be seen as an improvement by both parties.

Shot:

—As collated by Twitchy, in a post titled “‘Like poo-flinging monkeys’: Journos high-five over ‘hilarious’ Benghazi report; Four Americans still dead,” November 21st, 2014.

Chaser:

Two weeks ago, we learned that the Clinton Foundation accepted contributions from foreign countries. Assurances from the Obama administration and Clinton aides that no donations were made during her tenure as secretary of State were proven false.

I called the actions sleazy and stupid. Sleazy because any fair-minded person would suspect the foreign countries of trying to buy Clinton’s influence. Stupid because the affair plays into a decades-old knock on the Clintons: They’ll cut any corner for campaign cash. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton and his top aides used the White House as a tool to court and reward big donors.

Now The New York Times is reporting that Clinton used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of State, an apparent violation of federal requirements that her records be retained.

Exposed by a House committee investigating the Benghazi Consulate attack, Clinton brazenly dug in her heels. Advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal email and decided which ones to release: Just 55,000 emails were given to the State Department.

Those are our emails, not hers. What is she hiding?

“Maybe Hillary Clinton Should Retire Her White House Dreams: Maybe she doesn’t want to run in 2016, top Democrats wonder. Maybe she shouldn’t,” former AP journalist Ron Fournier, National Journal, today.

Related: “Michelle Malkin compiles history of administration’s ‘unorthodox’ email methods,” today at Twitchy.

Update: At the risk of serving Vodkapundit-worthy levels of shots and chasers, have another round:

 

hillary_blackberry_3-2-15-2

In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton works from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo / Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File)

“Ever wonder why multiple investigations of the Benghazi attack failed to turn up much from Hillary Clinton’s e-mails?” Ed Morrissey asks at Hot Air:

So did the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the facility and the failures that led to it. To their surprise, the Secretary of State had conducted all of her e-mail on a private account rather than an official State Department account — and her aides had carefully culled only the e-mails they wanted investigators to see. The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt dropped that bombshell earlier this evening:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act. …

The existence of Mrs. Clinton’s personal email account was discovered as a House committee investigating the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi sought correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and her aides about the attack.

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Clinton provided the committee with about 300 emails — amounting to roughly 900 pages — about the Benghazi attacks that Mrs. Clinton’s aides had found among her personal emails.

Why, it’s not like Hillary is some sort of paranoid secretive character out of 1984, is she?

As Moe Line asked, shortly before news of Hillary’s private emails broke, “Hillary Clinton STARTED OFF as the villain. How does she plan to become the hero?”

But… that’s the problem, isn’t it? In 2007 the Democratic electorate was told, point-blank, You do not have to ‘settle’ for Hillary Clinton. You can have something that’s better. Different. Not more of the same.  And the Democratic electorate arguably responded* to that. And their reward? …Hillary Clinton has come back in 2016.  Only now she’s almost a decade older, and probably considerably more bitter about life.  Not to mention, really inevitable this time.

Thus the paradox. Hillary Clinton was used to establish, fix, and personalize everything that the Obama campaign wanted primary voters to think was wrong with the current system. Then they brought her into the administration, which means that she’s inextricably linked to it.  So Hillary Clinton can’t run on being opposed to Obama’s policies, because she helped implement them**.  But if she runs on being on-board with the Obama agenda, she’s left with two problems, the second*** one being that a large part of the Obama agenda was that he supposedly represented a break of the politics of the past, which were in no small part exemplified by… Hillary Clinton.

Of course, even before this latest Clinton scandal erupted* there was a simple solution for Democrats who pay lip service to transparency:

*You saw what I did there, right?

Update: And upon sighting a big juicy scandal to sink their shark-like teeth into, the Establishment Left MSM swings into action — to attack a conservative!

 

As Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet after being singled out by the Over-the-Hillary Gang for ritual shaming, “The D.C. press corps is so unsettled by offering even the mildest concern about Democrats that they must quickly return to their comfort zone mocking proles. There is little interest in questioning the rich and powerful, it’s all about defending their tribe. The Clintons certainly don’t view Gray, Confessore, et al., as fellow elites, but this only makes these reporters more desperate to flaunt the tribal markers.”

Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past

March 2nd, 2015 - 10:37 am


Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Good Morning America anchors and reporters effusively lauded Al Gore on Friday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Diane Sawyer opened the program by breathlessly declaring, “Former Vice President Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping awaken the world to global warming. Now is it time to run for president again?” In her introduction to a piece on the subject, Sawyer gushed that the ex-VP is receiving the award for “for educating the world.”

“ABC Gushes Over Al Gore Nobel Win; He’s ‘Educating the World,’” the Media Research Center, October 15, 2007.

Good Morning America news reader Amy Robach on Friday mocked Republican James Inhofe as “bizarre” for a global warming speech he gave on the Senate floor. Robach described, “And a bizarre scene in Washington. One senator used the recent snow to bolster his argument about climate change.”

Inhofe held up a snowball to note the unusually cold February that the east cost has suffered through. Tossing the snowball, he joked, “Here, Mr. President. Catch this.” ABC has a history with condescending coverage on this issue. On April 23, 2012, reporter Bill Blakemore derided climate change skeptics as “denialists” and called for more alarmist advocacy.

“ABC Hits Senator Inhofe’s Climate Speech as ‘Bizarre,’” NewsBusters, February 27, 2015.

(Headline via the London Independent in 2000. The New York Times was running similar headlines as recently as last year; anti-vaccine crank Bobby Kennedy Jr. was specifically warning of no more snow in DC in 2008.)

Update: “Continue to Remind the Alarmists that It’s Cold Out. They Deserve It,” Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon writes, in-between digging his car out from seven degree weather. We’re doing our part!

Another day, another hit piece on Walker, this time from Philip Rucker of the Washington Post. (Link safe; goes to Hot Air; I’m not rewarding attack articles with extra traffic):

Walker responded by ticking through his recent itinerary of face time with foreign policy luminaries: a breakfast with Henry Kissinger, a huddle with George P. Shultz and tutorials at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution.

But then Walker suggested that didn’t much matter.

“I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhD’s,” he said. “It’s about leadership.”

Walker contended that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to bust a 1981 strike of air traffic controllers, firing some 11,000 of them.

“It sent a message not only across America, it sent a message around the world,” Walker said. America’s allies and foes alike became convinced that Reagan was serious enough to take action and that “we weren’t to be messed with,” he said.

According to Politico, Rucker was the guy who whined, “What about your gaaaaaaaffffffes!!!!!!” to Mitt Romney in 2012; but what about Rucker’s gaffes, specifically, his lack of knowledge of history? Specifically, history that happened likely before the young Democrat operative with a byline was even born. Rucker’s article is headlined “Scott Walker calls Reagan’s bust of air traffic controller strike ‘most significant foreign policy decision,’” but that’s not a bad summation of how those events played out.

Return with us now to the early 1980s. In his 2009 book The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989, Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote:

Smashing the air traffic controllers union has loomed large in populist lore ever since as a “signal” to private sector management that it was now okay to squeeze unions, but this is too simple. (If Reagan had really wanted to send an anti-union message, he would have proposed privatizing air traffic control.) Generally polls showed that public esteem for organized labor was at an all-time low by the time of PATCO’s ill-considered gambit. Labor was getting the message. A Wall Street Journal headline a month later told the story: “Economic Gloom Cuts Labor Union Demands for Big 1982 Contracts.” Fed chairman Paul Volcker later said that Reagan’s firing of the PATCO strikers was the single most important anti-inflationary step Reagan took.

There was one unanticipated audience that paid close attention to Reagan’s manhandling of the strike: the Soviet Politburo. Since taking office the administration had been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate in some concrete ways its toughness toward the Soviet Union. As is often the case, the most effective opportunity came in an unexpected way and from an unlooked-for place. The White House realized it had gotten Moscow’s attention when the Soviet news agency TASS decried Reagan’s “brutal repression” of the air traffic controllers.

For the American news media, Reagan’s handling of the strike became the opening for a new line of criticism. During the budget fight, the dominant line of criticism was that while Reagan’s policies might be cruel and uncaring, he himself was a kindly man. Having wondered whether Reagan was too “nice,” Haynes Johnson now wrote: “A glimmer of a harsher Reagan emerges…. For the first time as president, he has displayed another, less attractive side. Firmness is fine in a president; indeed, it is desirable. But something else came through last week—a harsh, unyielding, almost vengeful and mean-spirited air of crushing opponents. It makes you wonder how he will respond if faced with a direct, and dangerous, foreign challenge, one requiring the most delicate and skillful combination of strength and diplomacy.”

Gee, ask Secretary Gorbachev how that worked out.

In her 2003 book about Reagan,  Peggy Noonan quoted the Gipper’s Secretary of State George Schultz, who called it:

“One of the most fortuitous foreign relations moves he ever made”. It was in no way a popular move with the American public but it showed European heads of state and diplomatic personnel that he was tough and meant what he said.

Yesterday, Noonan added at the Wall Street Journal:

What Reagan did not speak about was an aspect of the story that had big foreign-policy implications.

Air traffic controllers in effect controlled the skies, and American AWACS planes were patrolling those skies every day. Drew Lewis: “The issue was not only that it was an illegal strike. . . . It was also that a strike had real national-security implications—the AWACS couldn’t have gone up.” It is likely that even though the public and the press didn’t fully know of this aspect of the strike’s effects, the heads of the union did. That’s why they thought Reagan would back down. “This hasn’t come up,” said Lewis, “but the Soviets and others in the world understood the implications of the strike.”

Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.

However, I’m not at all surprised that the newspaper whose then-subsidiary magazine declared “We Are Socialists Now” upon Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009 would not be all that familiar with the history of the final years of the Cold War.

And speaking of Reagan:

Exit quote:


The pile continues to grow.

Update: “Arrogant Media Elites Mock Middle America,”  Salena Zito writes today at Real Clear Politics:

As consumers of news, most Americans want an honest look at the potential presidential candidates and where they stand on serious issues.

Reporters mock those news-consumers when they mock candidates who aren’t like the reporters themselves — but who are very much like normal Americans.

It is unforgivably arrogant for anyone in the media to think that the rest of the country thinks like they do.

“A reporter’s job is to report the news, not to drive it or to create it. A reporter’s audience is not just an echo chamber, not just D.C. friends, rivals, partisans and followers on social media. (Remember: Only 8 percent of Americans get their news through Twitter.),” Zito writes.

Don’t think of the DC media as reporters, as Glenn Reynolds recently noted:

The press sees itself first and foremost as political allies of Democrat-dominated institutions, which most emphatically includes universities, a major source of funding, foot-soldiers, and ideological suport for Democrats. When outsiders want information that might hurt Democrat-dominated institutions — see, e.g., ClimateGate — they are always portrayed by the press as partisans, malcontents, and evil. That is because the press today functions largely as a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines.

And the successful pushback against government unions by Walker — like Reagan before him — explains much of the subtext driving Rucker’s ahistoric ruckus.

Big Dave, come on up here. Stay right here. Here’s Big Dave. He is doing a great job.

They love you, Big Dave. They love you.

He is doing a great job.

Now, in the last day here, Dave only has one thing on his mind. He wakes up with this thought, he goes to sleep with this thought, he eats and lives and breathes and dreams about getting you to the polls tomorrow. That’s all he is thinking about.

More specifically, getting you to the polls to vote for me. That’s what he’s thinking about.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s his job, get you to the polls, vote for Obama. My job is to help him do his job. So I am going to try to be so persuasive in the 20 minutes or so that I speak that by the time this is over, a light will shine down from somewhere.

It will light upon you. You will experience an epiphany. And you will say to yourself, I have to vote for Barack. I have to do it.

And if you make that decision, if that moment happens, then it would be great — even though it’s just one day to go — for you to fill out one of these supporter cards before you leave, because that way we’ll know, you know, who, in fact, is going to be voting. Make sure that you are getting to the right precinct. It will be very heful to Dave in doing his job.

CNN Transcript of Obama during the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, January 7th, 2008.

Related: To be fair, Obama was able to convince one class of particularly gullible followers that they experienced an epiphany and a light upon them.

Howard Dean, Scott Walker Truther

February 23rd, 2015 - 7:26 pm

“How unhinged has Howard Dean become?”

So bad that an MSNBC host had to gently walk him back off the ledge.

On Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show tonight, Dean claimed that Scott Walker says Barack Obama was “born in Kenya.”  It took Hayes two attempts to break through Dean’s blather, but eventually he was able to politely point out: “I should note, you mention the Kenya thing, he has not been asked that.”

I realize that the left has been quite unhinged about Walker since 2011 — and Dean has been quite unhinged since, well, “Yeaaaargh!!!” But attempting to smear Walker as a Birther seems a particularly loopy tactic. But then, as Wisconsinite Ann Althouse notes, “Those of you who think that he’s a neophyte, that he hasn’t yet learned how to step up to answering a question. You don’t get it. You are a neophyte. You haven’t yet learned how to step up to understanding Scott Walker. . . . Implicit in that is: That’s not Wisconsin style. Get used to it, coasties.”

“Scott Walker Is a Threat to the Existing Social Order,” Robert Tracinski writes at the Federalist, as reactionary leftists with and without bylines are becoming well aware.

On the other hand, while I’m not sure if Walker would go on the record and agree, I’m fully prepared to say that in my heart of hearts, I do believe that Obama is a Keynesian. And I know I’m not alone in my knowledge of the president’s shocking secret:

 

“Giuliani, Walker, and the Media’s Pro-Obama McCarthyism,” as charted by John Nolte of Big Journalism:

Because Walker didn’t vouch for Obama’s Christianity and patriotism, the coordinated and effective media attacks are coming from all sides: 1) He’s not ready for primetime. 2) He’s racist. 3) He’s extreme 4) He’s a bumbler.

Sorry, but “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to both questions.

If you had asked me 5 years ago if Obama was a patriotic Christian, I would have answered in the affirmative on both accounts. A lot has happened since. Obama’s deeds — apologizing for America, the dishonest and unnecessary example of the Crusades, using his Christian faith to lie about and hide his support for same sex marriage, etc. — have given me doubts.

Under oath, if asked today if Obama is a patriotic Christian, I would have to answer, “I don’t know.”

But “I don’t know” isn’t the answer the media wants. The media wants a “yes,” and if members of the GOP refuse to vouch for Obama’s faith and patriotism, the media is determined to see them destroyed.

If Walker were running around attacking Obama’s patriotism and faith, that would be reprehensible. He is not doing that, though. He’s not doing anything. He’s not saying anything. He’s not volunteering anything. He wishes to remain silent on the meaningless subject of Obama’s faith and patriotism.

Nevertheless, silence is not good enough for the media.

“To grasp just how farcical this game is, one needs only to run an eye across the list of those who are now feigning high dudgeon,” Charles C.W. Cooke adds at NRO:

 Yesterday, on CBS’s Face the Nation, Obama’s former adviser David Axelrod pretended to be surprised at Walker’s remarks: “I don’t know why there is confusion,” Axelrod proclaimed, indignantly. Really? At present, Axelrod is running around the country promoting a book in which he confesses bluntly that Obama’s well-documented objections to gay marriage were nothing more than opportunistic lies. In 2008, Axelrod recalls in one chapter, “opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church.” In consequence, he adds, Obama “accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union.’” Elsewhere, Obama would tell audiences that, being “a Christian, . . . my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman”; and that, “as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian . . . God’s in the mix.” Axelrod’s admission that this was baloney will sell him a lot of books.

Such suspicions are routinely expressed on the Left. At various points during Obama’s tenure, public figures such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Maher have openly suggested that President Obama is either an atheist or an agnostic, and that he is merely pretending to be a Christian to placate the rubes in the middle of the country. “You know who’s a liar about [his faith],” Maher suggested last year, “is Obama. He’s a drop-dead atheist, absolutely.” “Our new president,” Christopher Hitchens told France 24 in 2009, “I’m practically sure he is not a believer.” Richard Dawkins, meanwhile, has noted correctly that this theory is popular among progressives. “Like many people,” he averred in 2014, “I’m sure that Obama is an atheist.” These statements lacked the modesty of Scott Walker’s effective “dunno.” In fact, they were far, far harsher. And yet they were met with relative indifference. Are we to conclude that the bien pensant class considers it to be more honorable for a person to suggest that the president of the United States is lying than to say that he does not know and does not care?

Evidently, the media never thought the bill would come due for its sophistry, which has been going for almost a decade now.

Oh and while, as Nolte writes, the MSM is busy “blackmailing Walker with threat of harsh coverage if he doesn’t vouch for Obama’s patriotic Christianity,” crickets in the MSM over the chairwoman of the Democratic Party allegedly prepared to blackmail Obama as “being sexist, anti-semitic if she lost her DNC job,” as Allahpundit writes today.

The DNC’s operatives with bylines will report no bad news concerning the home office, ever.

On the other hand, check this out:

But it was the Democrats who weaponized Hillary Clinton — and her supporters — in 2008 by throwing every smear at her imaginable to pave the way for Obama’s coronation. Just wait ’til all of that source material is repurposed in the run-up to 2016.

Update: “Thank The Left For Presidential Candidate Scott Walker,”  Brandon Finnigan adds at the Federalist, with a look back at how Walker won what were in essence near annual re-election bids in Wisconsin thanks to the crazed leftists and government unions there:

Had the Democrats not targeted Walker with a recall, that massive fundraiser network, the national profile, the party unity, and his highly developed get-out-the-vote team almost certainly wouldn’t exist. He may have still won re-election, but he would be just another Midwestern Republican governor who enacted reforms and faced push-back, not the conservative folk hero of a party longing for a win. He would most likely resemble Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a reformer but hardly a man with a cult following. There would still be plenty of new problems with the governor his opposition could cite, instead of leaving him mostly vetted for 2016.

They shot the king and missed, making a balding, sleepy-eyed executive into a god among a growing horde of followers. That’s bad enough for the Progressive set. In the unlikely event he wins the Republican nomination and the presidency? They struck the match that ignited their own national hell.

And we’ve seen over the past week, the leftwing media still can’t put an end to their own pyromania.


Yes, you never know when a once-trusted financial advisor can turn a investment or insurance plan you thought was running on autopilot into dust, all the while promising you repeatedly…

Much more at Twitchy; presumably, this is a set-up for further shakedowns from the trial lawyers, one of the semi-retired president’s favorite constituencies, or for additional regulations. Or both.

Obama is Most Certainly Made of the Wright Stuff

February 22nd, 2015 - 5:54 pm

“Are the views of Obama really so different from those of Rev. Wright?”, asks Tim Groseclose at Ricochet:

This video shows the main parts of Wright’s sermon. One aspect of the video is very remarkable, yet almost no one seems to have noticed it. This is the reaction of the parishioners. As you can see in the video, the parishioners agree with Wright. Indeed, they agree enthusiastically. Several cheer when he reaches his climax—that God should damn America. Approximately half clap or stand up during the crescendo. As best I can tell, none of the parishioners are bothered by Wright’s words.

As any reasonable person would conclude, those parishioners do not love America. Even if Obama did not attend the sermon, and even if he never became aware of it, he had to know about the anti-American attitudes of his fellow parishioners. Yet he still chose to attend the church for some two decades.

I believe Obama’s love for America is about the same as any other progressive’s—which means at best tepid, if he’s principled.

Meanwhile, at the Washington Examiner, Byron York asks, “Why are Americans confused about Obama’s religion?”

Whenever the issue pops up, Obama’s most ardent supporters are quick to blame conservative media for misperceptions about Obama’s religion. But it’s possible something in Obama’s public presentation of himself has also created confusion among a significant number of Americans about his religion. The fact is, Obama’s religious roots and development have always been a complicated story.

Made more complicated by the way some in the MSM built up Wright as if he was some sort of misunderstood but beloved cleric — and then universally embargoed Wright once they received updated talking points from the Obama campaign:

In response to Kevin D. Williamson asking, “Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question,” Glenn Reynolds wrote: “it’s one that our media folks might have done a better job exploring in 2008:”

But here’s why Democrats, and their media protectors, are so unhappy with this question with regard to Obama in particular: It turns 2008 on its head. Obama’s appeal in 2008 lay in no small part in xenophilia: We’re so open-minded, we’re not just electing a President with a Muslim-sounding name, we’re electing a President with the same name as our most recent wartime foe! It let people feel enlightened, and progressive.

But all those differences that seemed so appealing can quickly flip into grounds for suspicion, especially when the object is behaving suspiciously. After all, if — like me — you believe in evolution, you might think that xenophobia, as such a well-established human trait, must have had beneficial functions: Maybe the xenos couldn’t be trusted, or even expected, to have the polity’s best interests at heart. Maybe, when people start getting worried about the polity’s future, those novel characteristics that once seemed so appealing now seem threatening. So while there’s a general reason the establishment wants to take the patriotism question off the table — patriotism is unsophisticated, and so limiting — there’s also a specific reason, which is that it’s something Obama’s vulnerable on right now, and it’s something the establishment can’t afford to cast Obama loose on, for reasons internal to its coalition.

And finally at NBC, shorter Chuck Todd: How dare Rudy Giuliani treat Obama the same way everyone at MSNBC treated George W. Bush for eight years!

Related:

 

This Is CNN

February 20th, 2015 - 1:08 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

To be fair to Mr. Obama, it is possible that he loves America more than CNN does, but that’s not saying all that much, as Roger Ailes told Brian Lamb a decade ago:

Does Barack Obama Love His Country?

February 20th, 2015 - 12:01 pm

“Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question,” Kevin D. Williamson writes at the newly revamped NRO and goes on to answer it:

To ask the question is not the same as venting the familiar swamp gasses: that he’s a foreigner, at heart if not in fact; that he’s a Manchurian candidate sent to undermine the republic; that he’s a secret Marxist or secret jihadist sympathizer; etc. Put it this way: Why would anybody who sees the world the way Barack Obama does love America?

For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons.

There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans, and it has a name: Holden Caulfield.

As Glenn Reynolds writes, “judging by the foaming-at-the-mouth response from Democrats, Giuliani’s remarks hit a nerve:”

They did so because Obama has given people plenty of reason to doubt how he feels about America — at least, America as it actually is — and because Giuliani’s remarks represent the end of people treating Obama with kid gloves. In this, Giuliani’s remarks are comparable to Jonathan Chait’s It’s Okay To Hate George W. Bush piece, a signal that opened up the floodgates of liberal negativity toward Bush.

And on Twitter today, Frank Fleming squares the circle:

Related: “Patriotism, Giuliani and Ron Fournier’s Credibility Problem,” from John Nolte at Big Journalism. Plumping for Obamacare in 2013, Fournier certainly had no qualms about calling over half the country unpatriotic.

And Noah Rothman of Hot Air spots the allegedly “objective” MSM (no really, some of them still hold themselves out as that) “unexpectedly” moving in JournoList-style lock step “to defend Obama’s honor from Rudy Giuliani.” Which is likely playing well inside of Manhattan, the Beltway, Berkeley and the networks’ green rooms. Out in the real world in-between, not so much.

Weapons of Meme Destruction

February 16th, 2015 - 11:58 am

“The topic of WMD in Iraq has been a hot potato for more than two decades, ever since the end of the first Gulf War and the procession of 17 UN Security Council resolutions demanding that Saddam Hussein verifiably destroy them,” Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air:

If the WMD existed in Iraq, what happened to it? Many suspected that it got transferred to Syria prior to the 2003 invasion, but the New York Times reports today that the CIA actually did find at least some of the suspected and undeclared caches of chemical weapons — and destroyed them:

The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.

Read the whole thing. And then if you need a refresher course on the topic, check out Gabriel Malor, who wrote at Ace of Spades in October 2014, “Despite What You May Have Read In The Papers, The Iraq War Was Not About An Active Weapons Program.” As Malor notes, Nowhere in Bush’s speech to the UN in September of 2002 “will you find a claim that Hussein had an ‘active weapons program,’ as the NYTimes writers would now have you believe. Rather Bush talked about finding Hussein’s old weapons and deterring his hope to once again restart his weapons programs.” Early in the following year, Malor adds in his post, “Bush gave one of the speeches he will no doubt be long remembered for, the ‘Axis of Evil’ State of the Union speech, in which he again noted Iraq’s old weapons. Note well: He didn’t accuse Iraq of having an active weapons program.”

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Laurence H. Silberman, the former co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction wrote “In recent weeks, I have heard former Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush ‘lied us into war in Iraq:’”

I found this shocking. I took a leave of absence from the bench in 2004-05 to serve as co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction—a bipartisan body, sometimes referred to as the Robb-Silberman Commission. It was directed in 2004 to evaluate the intelligence community’s determination that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD—I am, therefore, keenly aware of both the intelligence provided to President Bush and his reliance on that intelligence as his primary casus belli. It is astonishing to see the “Bush lied” allegation evolve from antiwar slogan to journalistic fact.

The intelligence community’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated, in a formal presentation to President Bush and to Congress, its view that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction—a belief in which the NIE said it held a 90% level of confidence. That is about as certain as the intelligence community gets on any subject.

Recall that the head of the intelligence community, Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet, famously told the president that the proposition that Iraq possessed WMD was “a slam dunk.” Our WMD commission carefully examined the interrelationships between the Bush administration and the intelligence community and found no indication that anyone in the administration sought to pressure the intelligence community into its findings. As our commission reported, presidential daily briefs from the CIA dating back to the Clinton administration were, if anything, more alarmist about Iraq’s WMD than the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.

The Clinton administration you say? Will Hillary and the former president/potential “First Gentleman” be asked about this period of their lives?

(Headline inspired by the Bard of Des Moines/Austin.)

“Our generation will be treated far more brutally by history because these guys are all standing up there at the big ‘Never Again’ ceremony slapping each other on the back and saying what marvelous fellows they are, that’s on page 1, and on page 37 there’s the story of this weeks’ Kosher grocery bombing. It’s disgusting,” Mark Steyn tells Laura Rosen Cohen during his lengthy interview, adding:

“I think they drew the wrong conclusion from “Never Again”. The Jews were sort of peripheral to the meaning of that. I think what ‘Never Again’’ means to a continental European is never again, as they saw it, nationalism led to war. So their response to 1939-1945 was to undermine their own nationalism. At the time of the European Constitution, so-called, a decade ago, you had these apparatchiks from the European Commission standing up and warning the Dutch and the French that if they didn’t sign on to this Euro Superstate that they would be on the path to Belsen and Auschwitz.”“In other words, it’s one or the other. You’ve the European union or you’ve got ovens. That was the lesson they drew, that nationalism was bad that nation states were bad, that national identity was bad. And, as part of that, they imported the next generation of anti semites to Europe.”

Q: And that’s worked out really well for Europe?

“I think I said this to Ezra the other day on his telly show, it’s one of the blackest jokes of history, that the Holocaust enabled the Islamization of Europe and the Islamization of Europe has enabled the destruction of what remains, post-Holocaust, of Jewish life in Europe.”

Q: And this makes you wonder if the animus towards the Jews can be characterized as anything but a completely pathological, self-destructive phenomenon? 

“Somebody said, I forget where it was, I think it was the Daily Mail the other day the story about all these Jews saying there’s no future for the Jews and they’re preparing to leave and Maureen Lipman, who we mentioned earlier, I think Maureen is among them, actually she’s now saying she’s trying to figure out where you go next, which is extraordinary to me because I think about her as British as anybody and the idea that she feels driven out of her country by the malevolence and hatred.”

“And somebody responded to that, commented in that piece, said ‘oh Britain without Jews wouldn’t be Britain’, a nobody, just some nobody just in the comment section, comment 807, says ‘yeah they always say that don’t they’. That’s what they say in Poland, that’s what they say in Germany, but in the end they somehow manage either killing them or driving them out.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post prints a map of the globe titled “Where the Holocaust is taught – and not taught – around the world.” But just because it’s being taught doesn’t mean that the knowledge is being absorbed by students:

Or as Steyn adds later in his interview, “when countries transform…you not only lose you future, you lose your past too.” A remark which dovetails well with one “random” student of history in particular, which is why “We Have to Talk About Obama’s Ignorance,” Seth Mandel writes at Commentary. And hopefully before, as Cohen quips sardonically in a follow up post at her blog, another attack of what the president and his enablers would call “Randomsemitism” occurs.

(Via 5′F.)

Long Knives Come Out at NBC for Brian Williams

February 11th, 2015 - 12:43 pm

One of these things is not like the others:

[Saturday Night Live creator/producer Lorne Michaels’ style during the early days of SNL] was epitomized to the crew by his habit of strolling around the set with a glass of white wine in his hand. The wine had been the cause of a heated row with unit-manager boss Steve Weston. Lorne felt NBC ought to pay for it since it was there to be shared with staff and guests, but Weston refused, citing as his reason an RCA policy prohibiting liquor in the building (a policy that was violated with impunity in the offices of the company’s executives). Lorne eventually got his wine, a nice Chablis Grand Cru at about $144 the case [in 1975], according to the unit manager who approved the invoices. The cost was hidden in the show’s prop budget. Members of the crew would watch Lorne walk by, holding his chilled glass properly, by the stem to avoid warming the wine, and say that this must be his way of letting people know who the producer was.

—Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad, Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, 1986. (After an early 1980s leave of absence, Michaels of course returned to produce SNL in the mid-1980s, and is now also executive producer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Named by Business Insider as one of the “11 exclusive clubs Wall Streeters are dying to get into,” the Grand Havana Room is where power brokers and celebrities hobnob with captains of industry in one of the last places where it’s still legal to smoke in the Big Apple.

Immune as I am to the seductions of class resentment and Jacobin envy, I will admit it: I love the place. If invited, and if I could afford it, I’d join.

The one question I have is: Who’s paying for Al Sharpton’s membership?

“The Rev” is an omnipresent member of the club. After his MSNBC show, he’ll swing by for dinner and cigars amid the other Masters of the Universe. I couldn’t confirm that he repaired there after he broadcast his radio show, Keeping It Real, from Zuccotti Park to show his solidarity with the 99-percenters.

The reason I ask who’s paying for his membership is that Sharpton’s relationship with money has always been complicated. When he claimed he didn’t have the resources to pay damages in a defamation suit he lost, Sharpton was asked in a deposition how he could afford his suits. He didn’t own them, he replied, someone else did. He was merely granted “access” to the garments as needed. The same went for his TV, silverware, etc.

— “Al Sharpton, Posh Populist,” Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online, July 19, 2013. (As the Smoking Gun asks today, “So, What About Rev. Al Sharpton’s Suspension?”

The trouble doesn’t stop there for Williams, who also allegedly vied for the desk of The Tonight Show: a source told New York that NBC was also investigating his expense accounts for reasons unknown.

“NBC Reportedly Has ‘Dossier’ of Brian Williams Lies; Investigating His Expense Accounts,” Mediaite, today.

Exit quote:

Gray Lady Down, The Early Years

February 10th, 2015 - 3:38 pm

It’s not fair to condemn the New York Times of the first three quarters of the 20th century based on serial lies and errors of the current regime led by Pinch Sulzberger. But still, in retrospect, talk about getting one of the most important stories of the 20th century completely wrong right at the start:

This feature looks at the first time famous names or terms appeared in The Times. Have an idea for someone or something you would like to read about? Send a suggestion in the comments section.

It was all there in the headline and first sentence — the anti-Semitism, the swastika wavers (or Hakenkreuzlers), the demagogue with a seemingly mystical sway over crowds. Everything was there except his first name: Adolf.

On Nov. 21, 1922, The New York Times gave its readers their first glimpse of Hitler, in a profile that got a lot of things right — its description of his ability to work a crowd into a fever pitch, ready then and there to stage a coup, presaged his unsuccessful beer hall putsch less than a year later. But the article also got one crucial point very wrong — despite what “several reliable, well-informed sources” told The Times in the third paragraph from the bottom, his anti-Semitism was every bit as genuine and violent as it sounded:

Gee, ya think?

nyt_hitler_1922_sml_2-10-15-1

Click to enlarge.

But — to tie the early days of Times under the Sulzberger family into the current misshapen leftwing propaganda mill the paper has now become, why should FDR have invaded such a murderous socialistic regime when, as Pinch himself would say, “It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there”?

(And to learn how the Times fell so quickly from its mid-20th century glory, don’t miss veteran journalist William McGowan’s 2010 book, Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America.)

Oceania Has Always Been At War With Randomness

February 10th, 2015 - 11:40 am

The Obama administration’s ongoing war against reality rolls on, as illustrated by these three tweets today:

 

Breitbart Is Here

February 9th, 2015 - 6:46 pm

breitbart_is_here_3-18-12
Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Somewhere, Andrew is loving the role the Blogosphere has taken in exposing Williams’ Walter Mitty-meets Apocalypse Now helicopter flashbacks and Bush Derangement Syndrome-derived Katrina craziness, particularly given Williams’ own thoughts on new media, which dovetail rather well with Rosen’s massive case of Breitbart Derangement Syndrome:

 

…Is about as big as the storm cloud on Jupiter. At Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin writes:

His Vox comments are, in fact, far worse than his initial reaction which was more a matter of omission than a conscious twisting of events. Here’s what the president said in response to a question about whether the media is blowing terrorist incidents out of proportion:

It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.

Let’s first note that his characterization of the assailants again omits their Islamist loyalties and the fact that religion was the motivating factor for their crime. This is consistent with administration policy that seeks to cleanse ISIS, al-Qaeda, or other Islamists of any connection with the Muslim faith. This is absurd not just because it is wrong. It also puts Obama in the position of trying to play the pope of Islam who can decide who is or is not a real Muslim, a responsibility that no American president should try to usurp.

But it is also significant that once again the president chooses to treat a deliberate targeting of a Jewish business filled with Jewish customers as something that is random rather than an overt act of anti-Semitism. Doing so once might be excused as an oversight. The second time makes it a pattern that can’t be ignored.

This is a peculiar talking point especially since the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe with violent incidents going up every year is something that even the Obama State Department has dubbed a “rising tide” of hate.

Why does the president have such a blind spot when it comes to anti-Semitism? His critics will jump to conclusions that will tell us more about their views of Obama than about his thinking. But suffice it to say that this is a president who finds it hard to focus on the siege of Jews in Europe or of the State of Israel in the Middle East. Nor can it be entirely coincidental that a president who treats Israeli self-defense and concerns for its security as a bothersome irritant to his foreign policy or seeks to blame the Jewish state’s leaders for obstructing a peace process that was actually blown up by the Palestinians would have a blind spot about anti-Semitism.

To address the spread of violent anti-Semitism in Europe would require the administration to connect the dots between slaughters such as the ones that took place at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher and the hate spread by the Islamists of Iran with whom Obama is so keen on negotiating a new détente. To put these awful events in a context that properly labels them an outbreak of violent Muslim Jew-hatred would require the administration to rethink its policies toward Israel as well as Iran. And that is something this president has no intention of doing.

As Jonah Goldberg writes at the Corner, “Obama’s a Fool For Randomness:”

There was nothing random about it, at all. There are about 310,000 Jews in the greater Paris area. Out of close to 12 million inhabitants. The odds of killing four Jews randomly are pretty daunting. But, thankfully,  you don’t have to do the math because Amedy Coulibaly said openly and proudly that he was targeting Jews. No one disputes this, except for Barack Obama. He would never describe the targeting of a black church by the Klan as simple random violence — nor should he. And we know he’s perfectly comfortable denouncing crimes committed in “in the name of Christ” no matter how ancient they may be. But crimes in the name of Allah must not be named as such — or at all.

Elsewhere in other random crime-related Parisian headlines, “Coexist graffiti artist badly beaten by Muslim ‘youths.’”  But hey, remember the Inquisition and the Crusades.

(Via Ace.)