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Ed Driscoll

The New Puritans

quadruple-facepalm_4-7-14

ATTENTION INTERNET: THIS IS A QUADRUPLE FACEPALM ALERT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL — assuming Mother Jones’ story is accurate, of course:

Last week, the online dating site OkCupid switched up its homepage for Mozilla Firefox users. Upon opening the site, a message appeared encouraging members to curb their use of Firefox because the company’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, allegedly opposes equality for gay couples—specifically, he donated $1000 to the campaign for the anti-gay Proposition 8 in 2008. “We’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together,” the message read. “If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal.” The company’s action went viral, and within a few days, Eich had resigned as CEO of Mozilla only weeks after taking up the post. On Thursday, OkCupid released a statement saying “We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships.”

But there’s a hitch: OkCupid’s co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of Match.com.) Specifically, Yagan donated $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) in 2004, reports Uncrunched. During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.

William A. Jacobson of the popular Legal Insurrection blog notes that Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller was the first to report on Yagan’s donations (Ross’s article is date-stamped last Thursday), and that Mother Jones failed to credit Ross for his detective work. In any case, as Jacobson adds, “So when does the boycott of OKCupid start?  After all, the people who took down Eich did so based on the, ahem, purest of principled judgments.”

See, that’s problem with breaking out the torches and attempting to imitate the crowd in a 1930s Universal horror film: you can very easily get scarred yourself by the blowback. It will quite interesting to see where both Firefox and OKCupid go from here, having both jumped off the cliff in short succession.

Exit quote:

Although the source of the quote is pretty rich, as that great philosopher Murray Slaughter once said of another journalist who frequently descended into madness, when an elephant flies, you don’t complain about how short the flight is.

Oh, and heh.

Related: The Rise of the Anti-Tech California Left.

As Always, Life Imitates Mark Steyn

April 3rd, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Mark Steyn, yesterday afternoon:

When I launched my legal offense fund for my big-picture free-speech pushback against an extremist Big Climate coterie that has bullied too many people for too long, a lot of people wrote to me and said, “I don’t want your crappy books and lousy CDs, Steyn. Why don’t you crowdsource this campaign? It’d be a lot easier.” And the reason I didn’t go to one of the big crowdsourcing sites is precisely because of what befell Mr and Mrs McAleer. Kathy Shaidle has been saying this about “the landlords of social media” for years — and years: “We don’t need another conservative website …with a faux-ballsy name like TakeThat!”; we need versions of YouTube and Blogger and now, apparently, Kickstarter. The Internet is built by people who are smart and savvy and “think outside the box” in technological terms – and on everything else are as conformist as the dreary obsolescent hacks at the dullest Gannett monodaily. And at some point or another, on abortion or “climate change” or Islamic imperialism, they’ll yank the rug out from under you to “enforce a culture of respect and consideration”. That’s why I’d rather go my own way. It’s hard work, and it’s certainly tough on my rather small staff. But it’s less frustrating than being told by CrowdSourcer.com that they’d like you to tone down your remarks on Michael Mann’s false claim to have been exonerated because the League of Climate Conformists is threatening to damn them as deniers.

~THE CONFORMISM OF COOL: As an example of the groupthink of the cutting edge of new media, consider an exception that proves the rule:

Mozilla CEO Resists Calls to Resign Amid Furor Over Anti-Gay Marriage Donation

The “anti-gay marriage donation” was $1,000 that Brendan Eich gave to California’s Proposition 8, which in November 2008 was approved by the same electorate that voted for President Obama and which banned same-sex marriage in the state – until the Supreme Court ruled that the voice of the people on this matter was “unconstitutional”. A five-year-old one-grand donation to a losing cause is apparently enough to render Mr Eich unfit for office at an American technology company. Because what matters in this brave new world is that everybody think alike – or at least pretend to. Invited to eat gay crow, Mozilla’s CEO is for the moment holding his own:

24 hours later, we now know how that played out: “Liberal Fascists Win Again: Firefox CEO Steps Down,” as spotted by Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler.

Ace of Spades links to the sort of Stalinesque hate speech that caused all the trouble for Eich:

Moe Lane lists “Why I just dumped Firefox as a browser, and so should you. #uninstallfirefox.” And I can’t say I blame him at all; my first thought in response to Mozilla tossing Eich for doubleplusungood thoughtcrime was also to dump Firefox, but I’ve been using that browser for nearly a decade now, and several of its (now ironically named) open-source plugins make blogging and its ancillary functions easier — or in a few cases, doable at all.

But where to go? Internet Explorer? Bill Gates can sound like a cross between Margaret Sanger and Paul Ehrlich. Google Chrome? Google is, if anything, more politically correct in the Frankfurt School sense of the phrase than either company. As Mark noted, “The Internet is built by people who are smart and savvy and ‘think outside the box’ in technological terms — and on everything else are as conformist as the dreary obsolescent hacks at the dullest Gannett monodaily.”

Or toughest Soviet zampolit. But hey, these days, it’s the left that has the Juche; and they’re not afraid to use it.

Update: “Eich Is Out. So Is Tolerance,” Ryan T. Anderson writes at the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog:

Sure, the employees of Mozilla—which makes Firefox, the popular Internet browser— have the right to protest a CEO they dislike, for whatever reason. But are they treating their fellow citizens with whom they disagree civilly? Must every political disagreement be a capital case regarding the right to stand in civil society?

When Obama “evolved” on the issue just over a year ago, he insisted that the debate about marriage was legitimate. He said there are people of goodwill on both sides.

Supporters of marriage as we’ve always understood it (a male-female union) “are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective,” Obama explained. “They’re coming at it because they care about families.”

And “a bunch of ‘em are friends of mine,” the president added. “… you know, people who I deeply respect.”

Yet disrespect and intolerance seem increasingly to be the norm. For the forces that have worked for 20 years to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions, a principal strategy has been cultural intimidation—bullying others by threatening the stigma of being “haters” and “bigots.”

Exit quote from an otherwise rather PC guy:

The mob demands fresh scalps.

More: Binks at the Free Canuckistan blog assembles a list of alternative browsers, though I have one quick question: which one handles Java the best?

(Via 5F’F)

Two Weinsteins In One!

March 8th, 2014 - 3:44 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“There’s no reason for us not to shoot here, except when you do the numbers here and when you do the numbers in New Orleans, it is much more attractive financially,” Weinstein said in the Q&A on Saturday.

He cited the example of “Southpaw,” directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, as project that could have shot in Los Angeles were it not for the generous tax incentives in the Big Easy.

But Weinstein said that Los Angeles and California “doesn’t even have to give the same discount” to remain competitive, noting the cost and hassle of having to locate actors and other talent in New Orleans is an added expense despite their generous tax incentives.

“Please, whatever you can go with the governor,” Weinstein said to Ziffren, a friend of California Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown has not said whether he would sign proposed legislation to expand the state’s incentive program.

—”Harvey Weinstein to California: Expand Production Tax Incentives, ‘Please,’” Variety.com, Saturday.

While we are on the subject of Piers Morgan, Harvey Weinstein was on his show last night, talking about his support for President Obama and the fund-raiser he held for him at his home last week. Weinstein echoed Warren Buffett’s call for the wealthy in the country to be taxed more — and said that he considers it an investment in the country, not an unfair burden.

—”Harvey Weinstein: I’ll Gladly Pay More Taxes,” Variety.com, August 7th, 2011.

Huh — I wonder what changed his mind on the topic. In order to keep Harvey’s standing amongst his fellow limousine leftists in Hollywood, we need to help him keep his original word and ask him to simultaneously fight against tax incentives for Hollywood studios, and additionally, to help campaign to repeal the Hollywood tax cuts. Not to mention help him to keep this promise as well.

Our Source was the New York Times

March 4th, 2014 - 12:33 am

What a difference a couple of decades make. Appearing in Sunday’s New York Times was the headline, “Democrats Try Wooing Ones Who Got Away: White Men”:

Frank Houston knows something about the longtime estrangement of white men from the Democratic Party. His family roots are in nearby Macomb County, the symbolic home of working-class Reagan Democrats who, distressed by economic and social tumult, decided a liberal Democratic Party had left them, not the other way around.

Mr. Houston grew up in the 1980s liking Ronald Reagan but idolizing Alex P. Keaton, the fictional Republican teenage son of former hippies who, played by Michael J. Fox on the television series “Family Ties,” comically captured the nation’s conservative shift. But over time, Mr. Houston left the Republican Party because “I started to realize that the party doesn’t represent the people I grew up with.”

Now, as chairman of the Democratic Party in Oakland County, Michigan’s second largest, Mr. Houston is finding out how difficult it can be to persuade other white men here to support Democrats, even among the 20 or so, mostly construction workers, who join him in a rotating poker game.

Mr. Houston is part of an internal debate at all levels of his party over how hard it should work to win over white men, especially working-class men without college degrees, at a time when Democrats are gaining support from growing numbers of female and minority voters.

It is a challenge that runs throughout the nation’s industrial heartland, in farm states and across the South, after a half-century of economic, demographic and cultural shifts that have reshaped the electorate. Even in places like Michigan, where it has been decades since union membership lists readily predicted Democratic votes, many in the party pay so little attention to white working-class men that it suggests they have effectively given up on converting them.

Starting of course with the man who publishes the Times himself. In 1992, New York Magazine reported:

Not long ago, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the 41-year old publisher of the New York Times, was greeting people at a party in the Metropolitan Museum when a dignified older man confronted him. He told Sulzberger that he was unhappy about the jazzy, irreverent new “Styles of the Times” Sunday section. “It’s very”—the man—paused—“un-Times-ian”

“Thank you,” New York Magazine quoted Sulzberger as replying, adding that the Times’ publisher “later told a crowd of people that alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.’”

At least until the bill came due for such racialist thinking, which has since become near universal amongst Pinch’s fellow “liberals,” including elite Obama voters such as late screenwriter-director Nora Ephron, who wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on the 2008 election misanthropically titled “White Men,” in 2008, and the wall-to-wall racialism of today’s MSNBC. Or Timesman David Carr’s rant on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher in 2011, in which he vilified midwesterners as “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads” — all the more ironic given that Carr grew up in Minnesota.

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Our Long National Nightmare Will Soon Be Over

February 23rd, 2014 - 6:26 pm

“Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show,” David Carr reports at the New York Times:

There have been times when the CNN host Piers Morgan didn’t seem to like America very much — and American audiences have been more than willing to return the favor. Three years after taking over for Larry King, Mr. Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.

It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial.* After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.

Pro tip: When Timesman David Carr**, who sneers at midwesterners as “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads” calls you “rife with contempt,” you know you’ve overdone it. And now, fortunately, Morgan is done, at least as a regular CNN host:

CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Mr. Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Mr. Morgan said last week that he and Mr. Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.

Crossing an ocean for a replacement for Larry King, who had ratings problems of his own near the end, was probably not a great idea to begin with. For a cable news station like CNN, major stories are like oxygen. When something important or scary happens in America, many of us have an immediate reflex to turn on CNN. When I find Mr. Morgan telling me what it all means, I have a similar reflex to dismiss what he is saying. It is difficult for him to speak credibly on significant American events because, after all, he just got here.

Americans will accept a talk show host who’s a blowhard (there’s a seven-letter word I’d rather use to describe Morgan, but I’d prefer to keep the language here family-friendly) if they think he’s one of them, or he’s looking out for them. Bill O’Reilly is a blowhard, but when his show debuted in the mid-to-late-1990s, there was nobody else on TV each night pushing back against leftwing sacred cows such as Charlie Rangel. Rush is a blowhard, but it’s done with a wink and a smile and a lot of humor, and he was the first national conservative radio host, who single-handedly revolutionized the industry. Olbermann and Colbert are blowhards, but their leftwing audiences knowingly accept them as satiric parodies of Rush and O’Reilly. Howard Stern is a blowhard, but his audience consists of horny 17 year old males, and men of all ages who wish to reconnect with that adolescent period of their lives. In all cases, the audience identifies on some level with these hosts as one of them.

But Morgan overtly went to war on a seemingly nightly basis with his potential audience (not to mention the American Constitution), and that’s a formula that’s doomed to fail. Particularly since Morgan was sold as the successor to a Larry King, a classic all-American regular guy everyman.

So where does Morgan go next? Hey, Martin Bashir is out of a job, too. Tag-team Brits sneering at middle-America? Some leftwing cable network has to give it a shot. What say you, Al Jazeera?

Exit tweet:

morgan_kelley_bring_it_2-23-14

Update: Harry Shearer tweets, “Piers Morgan ‘said his show, along with much of the rest of CNN, had been imprisoned by the news cycle’ Like ESPN is imprisoned by sports.” I remember the old days when CNN shaped and controlled the news cycle, they didn’t whine about being imprisoned by it. Now, that’s real progress, which I’ll happily accept.

* As Moe Lane notes, “The @nytimes has a somewhat provincial audience itself, methinks.” Which brings us to the worldview of the author of that particular phrase:

** As Christopher Caldwell wrote in the Weekly Standard in 2002, “At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns.” Carr, who grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, could be the poster child for his thesis.

For a look at Morgan’s rather unsavory Fleet Street backstory, and how his decisions there could potentially impact his future endeavors, check out this post at a blog with a name that Morgan must truly loathe, WeaponsMan.com.

‘The Show That Got Away From Them’

December 19th, 2013 - 10:01 pm

Pat Archbold of the National Catholic Register has perhaps the best take on Duck Dynasty and the asymmetric blowback that A&E has created for itself:

This is what happened.  The whole idea of the show was to parade these nouveau riche Christian hillbillies around so that we could laugh at them. “Look at them,” we were supposed to say.  “Look how backward they are!  Look what they believe!  Can you believe they really live this way and believe this stuff?  See how they don’t fit in? HAHAHA”

When the producers saw the way the show was shaping up, different than they envisioned it, they tried to change course.  They tried to get the Robertson’s to tone down their Christianity, but to their eternal credit they refused.  They tried to add fake cussin’ to the show by inserting bleeps where no cussword was uttered.  At best, they wanted to make the Robertson’s look like crass buffoons. At worst they wanted them to look like hypocrites.

They desperately wanted us to laugh at the Robertsons.  Instead, we loved them.

A&E wanted us to point fingers at them and laugh at them.  But something else happened entirely.  Millions upon millions of people tuned in, not to laugh at them, but to laugh with them.

“It will be interesting to see whether A&E likes the money more than they hate the Christianity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the hate wins,” Archbold concludes. If so, it will be the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory for A&E, an increasingly Ancient and Extraneous network if it’s without the number one show it was lucky enough to stumble into in the first place.

Related thoughts from Roger L. Simon on “The PC Lynching of Phil Robertson.”

The Obligatory Duck Dynasty Post

December 19th, 2013 - 6:02 pm

First, the obligatory disclaimer: I don’t watch much in the way of reality TV. (Actually, these days, compared with my misspent OCD-meets-CRT youth, I don’t watch much TV at all.) Perhaps the most reality TV I’ve ever seen is Top Shot, because my wife used to occasionally watch it at night, and more recently, Car Chasers, which I’ve literally only seen — there’s a TV set in the gym that seems to be always be tuned to CNBC, and that show seems to always be on when I’m there at night on the treadmill that’s underneath that particular TV, so I’ve watched it with subtitles, but no sound. As I’ve mentioned before, increasingly I feel like my big band, Crosby and Sinatra-obsessed father after the Beatles arrived; for him mid-century pop culture sort cross-dissolved into nothingness during the period between 1963 through 1967. For me, with a few exceptions, increasingly, 9/11 seems to be the dividing line between tolerable and “What the…?” when it comes to popular entertainment.

But I do know that the A&E network, which began in the 1980s airing shows such as Biography, and assorted WWII-themed documentaries, ended up becoming far too dissipated by the end of the following decade, when it shuffled first their war-themed material off to the History channel, and then spun-off a separate Biography channel. They were extremely lucky to stumble onto a hit with the Duck Dynasty series.

If you need the back story on what the mess that the A&E created for themselves by placing series star Phil Robertson on “indefinite hiatus,” click over to Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air, but right now, to paraphrase Pyrrhus of Epirus, one more victory like this, and A&E is doomed. Or actually, if A&E is victorious in permanently banishing Robertson to Siberia, the network could well be doomed.

But in sharp contradistinction, for Robertson, unlike in earlier decades, when television celebrities committed crimethink, there really is no Siberia. I think John Nolte is very much spot-on at Big Hollywood, when he writes that “For Duck Dynasty, Many Options Exist Outside Anti-Christian Hollywood:”

If the show survives, it will only grow in popularity with mainstream Americans. This shrill non-troversy is already upping the show’s profile and tens of millions of Christian conservatives in America are likely to now see “Duck Dynasty” as something even bigger than it was before. We all know in our hearts that, in the wolf’s clothing of tolerance, this attack on “Duck Dynasty” is in reality nothing less than an attack on us, our Christian faith, and who we are. So we now have a personal stake in the success of “Duck Dynasty” we did not have just 48 hours ago.

If, however, the show is cancelled and therefore driven out of Hollywood (no established Big Entertainment companies will dare pick it up), only Hollywood loses — and more than just millions of dollars.

To begin with, like James Bond, Harry Potter and Jack Ryan, “Duck Dynasty” is its own brand and franchise; a bona fide cultural phenomenon that doesn’t need A&E to survive. Moreover, Phil Robertson and his clan do not even need Hollywood to survive. Left-wing Hollywood no longer owns and can bottleneck distribution of content.

There is online streaming, the Internet, and a number of upstart cable networks that are not beholden to the New McCarthyism. Fox News, for instance.

Last week, millions upon millions of Americans would have followed “Duck Dynasty” anywhere the show decide to go, including online.

This week, that fact has only intensified.

Furthermore, any smart burgeoning Hollywood player looking to break out of the pack would be insane to not make “Duck Dynasty” the foundation of a new network.

Like Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” anti-Christian Hollywood has two options: it can either put its prejudices aside and get on board, or launch their own worst nightmare: Upstart competition.

Think Glenn Beck wouldn’t mind having Duck Dynasty as part of The Blaze subscription package? Or Roger Ailes have the show under the Fox News rubric to shore up an otherwise low-rated block in the Saturday or Sunday night schedule?

As for PC A&E, Ace writes that yes, the cable network “has the right to suspend Phil Robinson. A&E also has the right to stand up for a broad and generous principle of Freedom of Thought and Expression:”

Why does no one speak of that right? Sure, they have the right to act hostilely towards the spirit of the First Amendment and use coercive power to hammer people into only speaking the Officially Approved Institutional Corporate Slogans.

They also have the right to stick up for people’s right to dissent, to be “weird,” to have unpopular thoughts and heterodox beliefs. And as a media company, they really ought to have an interest in doing so.

Why does no one ever mention this? Why does no one ever push companies to recognize that right, rather than the other one?

It is well-conceded that an employer has the right to fire you for some heterodox belief or some oddball sexual habit, but an employer similarly has the right to foster an environment of self-expression and freedom, and yet no one seems to talk about a company’s capacity to be a Good Actor in the realm of free expression.

There should be pushback against this idea that of course the people with direct authority over us — our employers — can and should fire us or otherwise inflict serious economic consequences of it for daring to live as Free Americans.

This is obvious, but apparently it’s not obvious enough: We do not need a freedom to express popular or polite thought. Thoughts which are popular and polite (and approved by the state and its supporting institutions) have never been in jeopardy.

Not even in Nazi Germany. The popular, state-approved thought — that Hitler would bring “Greater Germany” (i.e., Nazi-dominated Europe) back to greatness — was never forbidden by the Nazis.

Unpopular thoughts were threatened– such as anti-Naziism.

See also, definition of the gleichschaltung, which brings new meaning to the old Saturday Night Live joke from the early 1990s, when the original A&E network still showed loads of World War II documentaries, and Mike Myers’ character on “Wayne’s World” dubbed the channel the Aryan Entertainment network.

When even USA Today has a column titled “A&E fowls up ‘Duck’ flap: The ‘tolerance’ society demands from Christians really is silent compliance,” you know the network has likely gone too far.

So what happens next?

Update: At Twitchy, “‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Korie Robertson announces family’s statement on suspension; ‘We cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch.’” Or as one person tweets, “Your move, A&E.”

Plus: “Camille Paglia: Our PC nation has become ‘utterly fascist and utterly Stalinist.’”

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Except when it is:

“FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate.”

— Headline, UCLA Newsroom, August 10, 2004.

time_obama_fdr_12-24-2008-3

— All hail the second coming of FDR and his “New New Deal,” Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, November 24, 2008.

Flash-forward to today. Speaking with former Bill Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos, “Former Obama senior adviser and ABC News contributor David Plouffe said on ‘This Week’ Sunday that the Affordable Care Act will ‘work really well’ when all states run their own health care exchanges and fully expand Medicaid – actions that may not be seen until President Obama is out of office in 2017.”

“David Plouffe: Obamacare Will ‘Work Really Well’ By 2017,” ABC News, today. (Warning, annoying auto-play video of Plouffe and Stephanopoulos at link. Prepare your speakers and sanity appropriately.)

Is it too late to call Obamacare its namesake’s protracted and insoluble quagmire? Not by the MSM’s rulebook it isn’t.

And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the Obamacare pain.

Two Bezos in One!

November 13th, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Shot:

In what reads like something a satirist would compose to mock the hypocritical killjoys who infect the gaping wound that is the environmental movement, the Washington Post’s Brian Palmer devotes nearly a thousand words (and who knows how much carbon-based energy exhaust) to hector Americans for celebrating a holiday that he claims is akin to a toxic waste dump.

“As you prepare to gather your family together for Thanksgiving,” WaPo lectures. “It’s worth taking a moment to consider the impact your meal will have on the Earth and the climate.”

The Post’s entire argument is based on the premise that the turkey, dressing, potatoes, and vegetables you consume, are all derived from the evils of energy consumption.

“WaPo Lectures: Thanksgiving Kills Mother Earth,” John Nolte at Big Journalism today.

Chaser:

amazon_thanksgiving_landing_page_11-13-13

— Amazon.com’s Thanksgiving-themed splash page for their grocery Website.

Always the Last to Know

November 10th, 2013 - 12:04 pm

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

The ObamaCare debacle is the exception that proves the rule. Wall-to-wall complaints are forcing the media to report that the law’s Web site is a lemon and that its rules are causing millions of people to lose insurance plans they liked.

The mainstream media is acting only because the story is too big to ignore. Had it been mildly skeptical sooner, it could have exposed the law’s destructive rules and prevented the disaster.

Yet the Times, especially its editorial page, remains his most devoted cheerleader. The latest example is embarrassing enough to make a Gray Lady blush.

After the president’s repeated promise that “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it” was proven false, the editorial page tried to clean up his mess. On Nov. 2, it charged that Republicans were stoking “consumer fears and confusion” by highlighting reports of people losing insurance.

Then came the coverup: “Mr. Obama clearly misspoke” when he made those promises, the editorial said, before dismissing the problems as an “overblown controversy.”

The “misspoke” defense set off a firestorm, and even the paper’s gentle public editor suggested it was too kind. Naturally, the editors defended their decision not to accuse the president of an outright lie.

Yet even Obama concluded he had to apologize. His recognition of the uproar will result in changes, if only because Senate Democrats are running for their lives.

The episode graphically illustrates how the Times has harmed the nation by reflexively protecting Obama, facts be damned.

“New York Times’ Obama cheerleading harms the nation,” Michael Goodwin, the New York Post, today.

It is highly unlikely that Barack Obama will ever be impeached. It is certain that he will never again be trusted. Republicans and sensible Democrats take heed: The nation may not have the stomach to remove a charlatan, but the nation knows he is a charlatan. The American people will not think twice about taking out their frustration and mounting anger on those who collaborate in his schemes.

— “Obama’s Massive Fraud: If he were a CEO in the private sector, he’d be prosecuted for such deception,” Andrew McCarthy, NRO, yesterday.

“Con Men Prey on Confusion Over Health Care Act.”

— Headline, the New York Times, yesterday.

(Plus, why the sexism in the obsessively gender-neutral — and gender obsessed — Gray Lady?)

The Louisiana Heist

October 15th, 2013 - 8:11 pm

At NRO, Charles C. W. Cooke writes that the “Food-stamp fraudsters should be punished to the full extent of the law:”

On Saturday, Louisiana’s “EBT” system malfunctioned, causing spending limits on users’ food-stamp cards temporarily to be lifted. In two counties at least, recipients noticed the error, spread the word, and set about trying to check out as much as they could fit into shopping carts. At Walmarts in the towns of Springhill and Mansfield, employees called corporate headquarters to ask what they should do. They were instructed to “keep the registers ringing.” This they did — and with a vengeance.

By the time that proper limits on the cards had been restored a couple of hours later, the shelves had been all but stripped bare. “Just about everything is gone, I’ve never seen it in that condition,” Anthony Fuller, a customer in Mansfield, told the press. Will Lyn, the chief of police in nearby Springhill, agreed, telling the Daily Mail that “it was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town. There was no food left on any of the shelves, and no meat left. The grocery part of Walmart was totally decimated.” One man even managed to spend $700.

“I saw people drag out eight to ten grocery carts,” Lynd reported. Those who did not manage to take advantage in time simply abandoned their hauls in the middle of the aisles.

* * * * * * * *

Presumably, the people most annoyed at this behavior will be progressives who do not consider this latest incident to be symptomatic of a wider ill. In addition to sticking their fingers into the eyes of taxpayers, what shoppers who spent beyond their allowances did in Louisiana was take aid away from other users who did not. Conservatives who suggest that the food-stamp budget has ranged wildly out of control and needs trimming back are immediately accused by their ideological foes of “stealing food from the mouths of children,” to borrow a favorite phrase of Nancy Pelosi’s. What, then, are individual citizens doing who diminish the available food-stamp budget? What responsibility do they carry?

Conservatives are fond of repeating the old line that the republic “can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.”* In Louisiana this weekend, many citizens got the opportunity to do this without even having to bother to vote — and they took it. Whatever legitimate disagreements there are about the role of democracy in a free society, there should be none here. This was theft, pure and simple, and its perpetrators should be treated as any other thief would be.

Oh sure — let’s see Arkansas-based Walmart, already so loathed by the left, and so self-loathing that it hired a “Progressive” former senior aide to Al Gore in an abortive effort in the mid-naughts to transform its product line into something that was more “green,” “organic” and PC, and/or local officials in the southern state of Louisiana arrest food stamp recipients en masse.

Instead, as spotted by Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler, “The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, which oversees the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, said Walmart will have to foot the bill for store losses in Springhill and Mansfield, La., during a food shopping frenzy.”

It’s probably cheaper for Walmart than the mountains of bad PR they would face if they prosecuted those who committed the thievery.

* See also: the city governments of Detroit, Chicago, and in California, Bell, Stockton, and San Bernardino, among other big blue bankrupt or near-bankrupt regions.

Quote of the Day

October 14th, 2013 - 5:01 pm

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1959).

Oh That Fundamental Transformation

October 11th, 2013 - 11:51 pm

JustMove-Forever-pane15-v3

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

If pre-1965 Americans hesitated to seem sensitive to comfort, they positively disdained safety. They lit rockets in their backyards on the Fourth of July. They bought their steak marbled with fat. They smoked. They bought cars without seatbelts. They gave boys .22-caliber rifles for their eleventh birthdays. How they would gape and stare at a contemporary playground, with its rubber matting underneath the swings, safety belts on the teetertotters, and three-year-olds strapped into crash helmets before they can mount their tricycles. How they would snicker at grown men gird­ing themselves like test pilots to pedal through the park, at a Post Office that airbrushes the cigarette out of Humphrey Bogart’s hand lest some im­pressionable stamp-collector get the wrong idea about smoking, at the massive Range Rovers we buy so that we can commute to the office with­out fear. Back then, one did not show so much concern for one’s carcass.

— David Frum, in How We Got Here, his (excellent) 2000 book on the 1970s.

“Three of the stamps in the fifteen stamp series raised safety concerns among sports figures on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The stamps in question depicted children performing a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet. The unsafe depictions came to light after USPS Marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. That was apparently the first time the stamps had been reviewed by the Sports Council.”

“When Postage Stamps Are Too Dangerous for Children’s Eyes,” Scott Shackford, Reason, yesterday. “Other questionable stamps included a batter without a batting helmet, a girl balancing on a slippery rock, and a soccer player without kneepads or shin pads,” the Blaze adds.

Of course, “if you’re learning proper skateboarding technique off a postage stamp, you’re doing it wrong,” Walter Olson of Overlawyered.com quips, but common sense left the building somewhere around November 4th, 2008.

A much larger version of the above image is available here.

Vanity Fair and the New Feudalism

October 11th, 2013 - 12:47 pm

While Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon specifically references Vanity Fair in the subhead of his read-the-whole-thing column titled “Medieval Times,” the passage quoted below applies equally well to Time magazine (or any Time-Warner-CNN-HBO property), Business Week (now owned by the company that bears Michael Bloomberg’s name), and the Daily Beast as well. All publications that followed the disastrous model that Newsweek attempted in 2007-2008, when it transformed itself into a supermarket checkout edition of the New Republic, only to wonder where its readership went:

One of the more remarkable things about this collection of do-gooders, overachievers, and symbolic analysts is their consistent inability to apply to themselves the skepticism and criticism they shower so heavily on Republicans and conservatives, on the rich who make their fortunes from resource extraction, manufacture, and investment. Not long ago a social critic such as C. Wright Mills could write pitilessly and accurately about The Power Elite, about the WASP establishment he saw lurking behind militarism and inequity. Few were exempt from his gaze. Our social critics today, however, prefer only to focus on a minority of a minority: the wealthy and influential whose policy and ideological objectives happen to be the very opposite of their own.

Put a banker or an industrialist or—dare I say it—a Republican in front of the men and women who edit Vanity Fair, and they will approach their subject with the utmost incredulity and commitment to ferreting out the worst possible facts. But the Hollywood tycoon or Internet billionaire or green-energy hawker or “engaged” actor whose politics exist in the temperate zone of bourgeois liberalism, whose public pronouncements are reliably “down the middle” and “moderate,” whose bold stands on the issues include such courageous positions as support for abortion-on-demand, affirmative action, amnesty, gun control, free trade, diversity, globalization, alternative energy, public transit, and government “investments” in education and infrastructure—his place in the establishment is not only noted but celebrated, applauded, held as an example to the people.

The news that a group associated with Charles and David Koch had contributed to another group that advocates for shutting down parts of the government to protest Obamacare has seized the political press and its allies in the Democratic Party as earth-shattering, revelatory. Meanwhile the imperious outgoing mayor of New York City can flood Colorado with outside money to support gun control, can cut a million dollar check to help his Democratic pal Cory Booker in New Jersey, can announce his intention to spend some $400 million in 2013 to make the world conform to his prejudices, and Time magazine slaps him on its cover, writes the headline “Bloomberg Unbound,” and writes in bold type: “He’s remade New York. Next up, the world.”

Does the world get a vote? Remaking the world into one giant New York City may sound swell to the editors of Time magazine, to the editors of Vanity Fair, and to the wide-eyed, Millennial bookers and producers toiling away in the Rockefeller and Time Warner centers, but it is not a cost-free proposition. New York is nice if you can afford it: If you are a wealthy liberal, or a recent college graduate rooming with three friends, if you are at the top of the world or setting out in the world, if you are Carrie Bradshaw or doing your best to impersonate her, the city cannot be beat. But it is hard to raise a family there.* It is no place for the middle class.

“Does the world get a vote?” As Jonah Goldberg wrote in a recent edition of his emailed G-File column:

It’s worth noting again that there is something fundamentally unpatriotic in the yearning to fundamentally transform your country. I love my wife. Inherent to loving her is loving her for who she is. Gentlemen, turn to your wife and say, “Honey, I love you completely. It’s just that I want to fundamentally transform you into someone else.” See how that plays out. If you want to fundamentally transform the object of your affection so that it conforms to your fantasies, that is not love, it is lust.

Or it’s an attempt to play Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo. And speaking of which, as Bryan Preston writes at the PJ Tatler, “So There’s a GOP Proposal to End the Budget Standoff? It’s Vertigo at the Alamo.” And sadly, Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne left the saloon a long time ago.

* That topic is explored by Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres at City Journal: “The Childless City: It’s hip, it’s entertaining — but where are the families?”

They’re in the suburbs, the next target for Mr. Obama’s “fundamental transformation.”

The Decline of Misbehavior

October 10th, 2013 - 4:05 pm

At the risk of infringing upon the territory most often mined by Stephen Green, my esteemed fellow PJ Media.com columnist, self-proclaimed Vodkapundit, and on far too rare occasions drinking partner, at Ricochet, Andrew Stuttaford looks at “The Decline of Misbehavior” in England.

It’s a short post, and if I cut and paste here, I’d likely end up quoting the whole thing. But it compares and contrasts two newspaper quotes, one from the 1960s or ’70s featuring the late British soccer star and man of prodigious vices of all sorts, George Best, and a tut-tutting London Standard report from last week, on one of Best’s would-be successors, who committed the Ultimate Crime Against the State:

He smoked a cigarette outside a London nightclub in the wee hours of the morning, while celebrating a win.

The Horror. The Horror.

A pair of Stuttaford’s commenters explore how times have changed:

Mom blurted out, after hearing that my 18 year old son would not be allowed into a sports bar (“because it is a smoking bar – state law”, said the bartender), “In my day sodomy was bad and smoking was ok”.

* * * * * *

So now there is no such thing as a sexual sin, and we have replaced real sins with other infractions.   There is a rational basis for the opprobrium for smoking, but the depth of feeling surely indicates that there is a social craving for rules and bounds, so that we elevate minor infractions to the level formerly reserved for real serious sin.

But of course there is no longer any such thing as sexual sin.   To the modern cultural mavens, the only sins remaining are hypocrisy and intolerance.   And transgressions against the planet, such as failing to recycle.

Which is why, Dennis Prager wrote in 2003, “health has become our morality:”

Decades of lecturing around America and of speaking with parents on my radio show have led me to an incredible conclusion: More American parents would be upset with their teenage children if they smoked a cigarette than if they cheated on a test.

How has this come about? This is, after all, an entirely new phenomenon. Almost no member of my generation (those who became teenagers in the 1960s), let alone a member of any previous generation, could ever have imagined that parents would be angrier with their teenage child for smoking than for cheating.

There has been a profound change in American values. In a nutshell, health has overtaken morality. Or, if you prefer, health has become our morality.

As I wrote in April when I previously linked to Prager’s observation, it can be boiled down to two quotes: “Government should not tell you what to do unless there’s a compelling public purpose,” as Mike Bloomberg said last year. Or more briefly, “gemeinnutz geht vor eigennutz.”

Does Anybody Remember Laughter?

September 14th, 2013 - 10:10 am

“Remember ‘The End of Irony’?”, asks Kathy Shaidle:

Mainstream liberal pundits. What are they good for…?

No one will ever forget the first time that saw The Onion’s “Holy Fucking Shit!” graphic. They achieved the impossible that week. This piece in US News & World Report remembers who else said what when after 9/11.

However irony deprived comedians felt during the brief interregnum in the culture war immediately after 9/11, they certainly more than made up for it in 2008, nominating the second coming of Chauncey Gardiner, his Styrofoam columns, and eschaton-immantizing psychobabble.

As Richard Fernandez writes, Styrofoam Olympus has now fallen. Though it took the left hearing its own rhetoric fed back to them by Vladimir Putin, in the op-ed pages of Obama house organ the New York Times no less, to begin to realize it.

Profiles in Psychobabble

September 8th, 2013 - 7:24 pm

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

First up, here’s an excerpt from what the New York Post today claims are quotes from “RFK’s sex diary: His secret journal of affairs:”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. grappled with what he called his biggest defect — “my lust demons” — while keeping a scorecard of more than two dozen conquests, according to his secret diary.

The thick, red journal was found in their home by his wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, who, distraught over their impending divorce and Kennedy’s serial philandering, committed suicide last year.

A copy of the 398 pages, reviewed by The Post, details RFK Jr.’s daily activities, speeches, political activism and the lives of his six children in the year 2001. But they also record the names of women — with numbers from 1 to 10 next to each entry.

The codes corresponded to sexual acts, with 10 meaning intercourse, Mary told a confidant. There are 37 women named in the ledger, 16 of whom get 10s.

On Nov. 13, 2001, RFK Jr. records a triple play. The separate encounters — coded 10, 3 and 2 — occur the same day he attended a black-tie fund-raiser at the Waldorf-Astoria for Christopher Reeve’s charity, where he sat next to the paralyzed “Superman” star, magician David Blaine and comic Richard Belzer.

It was a hectic month for Kennedy, who traveled to ­Toronto, Louisiana and Washington, DC — and listed at least one woman’s name on 22 different dates, including 13 consecutive days.

Most women are identified only by first name in the ledger. They include a lawyer, an environmental activist, a doctor and at least one woman married to a famous actor.

* * * * * *

He also found time to muse on his own weakness.

“After daddy died I struggled to be a grown-up . . . I felt he was watching me from heaven. Every time I was afflicted with sexual thoughts, I felt a failure. I hated myself. I began to lie — to make up a character who was the hero and leader that I wished I was,” he writes on July 25.

The London Daily Mail adds that “Kennedy has denied that the diary belongs to him.” But that last quote, if true, dovetails remarkably well with David Freddoso’s article in the San Francisco Examiner, from February 7th, 2010, titled, “RFK, Jr. 15 months ago: Global warming means no snow or cold in DC:”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who flies around on private planes so as to tell larger numbers of people how they must live their lives in order to save the planet, wrote a column last year on the lack of winter weather in Washington, D.C.

In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today’s anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

In those days, I recall my uncle, President Kennedy, standing erect as he rode a toboggan in his top coat, never faltering until he slid into the boxwood at the bottom of the hill. Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home from the Justice Department for lunch at our house. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow in our backyard. My brothers and sisters played in the structure for several weeks before it began to melt. On weekend afternoons, we commonly joined hundreds of Georgetown residents for ice skating on Washington’s C&O Canal, which these days rarely freezes enough to safely skate.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy.

Having shoveled my walk five times in the midst of this past weekend’s extreme cold and blizzard, I think perhaps RFK, Jr. should leave weather analysis to the meteorologists instead of trying to attribute every global phenomenon to anthropogenic climate change.

Not to mention RFK, Jr.’s coverage of the darkest moment in his family’s history and its historic Cold War implications, as well.

Related: “He is also, as it happens, a full-blown anti-vaccination conspiracy theorist,” the Washington Post-owned Slate noted back in June.

It’s official: “Alec Baldwin to host MSNBC Friday night talk show,” MSNBC itself reports — and for once, a story coming out of NBC might be accurate:

Alec Baldwin will join MSNBC as the host of a current events and culture talk show beginning Fridays in October.

The award-winning actor has hosted the podcast “Here’s the Thing” on WNYC since 2011 where he has interviewed an array of politicians, policy-makers, and performers, ranging from David Letterman and Dick Cavett to Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins.

“After two seasons of my WNYC podcast, I’ve developed a fondness for hosting a show that involved talking with smart, talented, and engaging people in every imaginable field,” Baldwin said. “I’m grateful to MSNBC for helping me bring a similar show to television.”

Up Late w/ Alec Baldwin will air Fridays from 10-11 p.m. ET.

I’ve seen the new ad campaign that MSNBC has assembled for the upcoming show, and I must say, it’s everything that Baldwin himself is.

Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC couldn’t be more pleased to have Baldwin aboard. When speaking with NPR in 2011 about that year’s addition to the MSNBC lineup, the NBC executive gushed, “I’m a big fan of the Reverend Sharpton. I’ve known him quite a bit. he’s smart. He’s entertaining. He’s experienced. He’s thoughtful. He’s provocative, all the things I think that MSNBC is.” Griffin is similarly effusive about the equally pugilistic Baldwin:

“I’ve been talking with Alec for a while and can’t wait to bring his personality and eclectic interests to MSNBC,” said Griffin in a statement. “He’s got such passion for ideas and what’s going on in the world — he’s going to be a great addition to our lineup.”

Or perhaps a police lineup.

alec_baldwin_msnbc_parody_9-5-13-2

No doubt, gay rights, diversity and tolerance will be an early topic of the Baldwin show:

alec_baldwin_msnbc_parody_9-5-13-1

(more…)

The Wild, The Innocent, and the O Street Shuffle

September 5th, 2013 - 3:04 pm

Bruce Springsteen in 1985: “Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.”

Bruce Springsteen today? Blind faith in Mr. Obama is totally awesome.

Ann Althouse and her husband wonder why the Boss is Silent on Syria. “Where’s Bruce Springsteen? He helped Obama get elected. Shouldn’t he weigh in on the Syria question?”

Asks Meade, after he sings along awhile with the song I’m playing on my iTunes as a consequence of that “Oh” discussion in the previous post.

I say: “Yeah, what are all the celebrities saying about Syria? Are any of them talking now?” They loved to love Obama on the issues they loved to love him about. They helped America love him, and they looked so lovable loving him like that. But they won’t look so pretty talking up a war, so I think they’re off somewhere else. La la.

What was the song Meade sang? It wasn’t Bruce Springsteen. I’ve got zero Springsteen in my iTunes. In that earlier post, we were listing our songs that begin with “Oh,” and American Liberal Elite, tweaking the rules, said “Ohio.” So here at Meadhouse, it was tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we’re finally on our own….

And what does Neil Young think about Syria? Neil did have an Obama-era song about war. Guess what? War became complex and nuanced. He sang: “When I sing about love and war/I don’t really know what I’m saying.” He explained that love and war are “very deep subjects.”

Well, that pretty much leaves rock out of the equation, alas.

Last year, while Springsteen was endorsing Obama once again, Leon Wieseltier, his fellow leftist, writing in the New Republic, dubbed Springsteen, “the least dangerous man in America.” Here’s Springsteen’s chance to stand up and show he’s his own man; he’s not a bought and paid-for tool of the DNC. Will he seize the moment?

Of course not. As Althouse writes, “There’s always Obama good, Bush bad. Love Obama. Hate Bush. Everything becomes so deep and complex when you’re contemplating the one you love.”

I’d insert the obligatory link to “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” but today’s left cheerfully allow themselves to get fooled every time.

The Democrats’ ‘Smart Power’ Lies in Ruins

September 3rd, 2013 - 3:15 pm

“Democrats Suddenly Realize What They Miscalculated About the World: Everything.” When you see a headline like that, you know that Jim Geraghty’s latest “Morning Jolt” column is a must-read:

As we await Congress’s decision on authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Syria, Democrats are suddenly realizing that their foreign-policy brain-trust completely misjudged the world.

Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no “international community” ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be.

You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess. We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, “smart power.” (These people can’t even label a foreign-policy approach without reminding us of how highly they think of themselves.) They looked out at the world at the end of the Bush years, and didn’t see tough decisions, unsolvable problems, unstable institutions, restless populations, technology enabling the impulse to destabilize existing institutions, evil men hungry for more power, and difficult trade-offs. No, our problems and challengers were just a matter of the previous hands running U.S. foreign policy not being smart enough.

Well, here we are, five years later.

Although, as Glenn Reynolds writes in his latest column at USA Today, to anyone paying attention, the gap between reality and those who were convinced they were delivering “smart power” was rather dramatic, right from the start:

Things got off on the wrong foot right away with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s botched “reset” with Russia — even the “reset button” was improperly labeled, owing to a translation error that substituted the Russian word for “overcharge.” The whole reset attempt was, at any rate, the product of wishful thinking. And it soon became clear to most observers that Russia under Vladimir Putin viewed itself as a rival, not an ally, of the United States. Russia even announced its withdrawal from a major arms-control agreement. In fact, although Mitt Romney was mocked for calling Russia our greatest “geopolitical foe” last year, that’s looking pretty spot-on today as Putin lines up behind Syrian President Bashar Assad and frustrates the United States in numerous settings across the globe. Not much of a reset here.

Then there’s our relationship with the British. Under previous administrations going back to World War II it was a “special relationship.” Now it’s … not so special. Even back in 2009, Obama treated the British rudely, leading one British pundit to ask: “Does Obama have it in for Britain?” More recently — even as British troops were dying alongside Americans in Afghanistan — Obama snubbed the British by remaining neutral on the Falkland Islands. Well, not quite neutral: In another bout of “smart diplomacy,” Obama tried to call the Falklands by their Argentine name — Las Malvinas — but blew it, calling them instead the Maldives, an entirely different set of islands located half a world away. Can someone buy this guy a globe?

Now Obama wants to do something about Syria, and — while the Russians do their best to interfere — the British have decided that they’re not going along this time, thank you. It’s the first time a British prime minister has lost a war vote since 1782. Now Obama — having boxed himself in with his off-the-cuff “red line” remarks from last year — has changed tack and decided that he, too, will consult Congress after all.

Perhaps he’s hoping to lose that vote, as well, so that at least he can blame Congress for whatever happens next. But the real question is how we got in this situation to begin with. And the answer is, through a series of unfortunate decisions ranging from Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech, which ignited the Arab Spring uprisings, through the mishandling of Libya and Benghazi, to his unscripted, and unthought-out, “red line” remarks.

Veteran warblogger Michael Yon quotes British MP Adam Holloway, who writes that “Outrage is not a strategy.  I thought military action always had to have a purpose behind it – so what is the endstate here?  Hit, and then hope?”

“I am not sure in what way even limited strikes help the people living in my constituency: how does this further Britain’s or America’s national security?

“There cannot be a sane person in Britain who would not think it a good thing for us to get involved in the war in Syria if by doing so it would ease the horrors faced by the Syrian people – and dire risks to people in neighbouring countries.

“We must be guided not by our alliance to America, but by our duty to understand that military force should only be used in support of a clear purpose and with a clear objective in mind – in support of our national interest. I am yet to be convinced that there is a strong and clear-cut case that military action will deter the Syrian government from using chemical weapons – nor am I convinced that in 20 years time some other tyrant thinking of using chemical weapons will turn around and say to his or herself “Whoops, better not do that:  remember what Obama, Cameron and Hollande did back in the summer of 2013”.

“The use of chemical weapons was indeed a crime against all of humanity.  But by firing one missile we are involving ourselves in a civil war on the side of a fractured opposition which includes people with proud links to Al Qaeda. By striking now, without clear cause and purpose, we risk consequences that we have not even thought of: this is a case of hit – and then hope.”

But to someone like Mr. Obama, who marinated for years under Saul Alinsky’s acolytes, Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright, and Pentagon-bombing former Weatherman Bill Ayers, outrage and hate has always been an end in and of itself. It just makes for an even worse foreign policy than a domestic one.

Oh and what’s the endgame here, as Holloway asks? John Kerry inadvertently dropped the mask today:

Testifying before the Senate foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry refused to rule out putting boots on the ground in Syria: “In the event Syria imploded, for instance, or in the event there was a threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra or someone else and it was clearly in the interest of our allies — all of us, the British, the French, and others — to prevent those weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of the worst elements, I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to the President of the United States to secure our country.”

Later, attempting to walk back those comments, Kerry said he was merely “thinking out loud” in an attempt to answer a “hypothetical question.” He added, “The president has no intention and will not and we do not want to put American troops on the ground to fight this or be involved in the fighting of the civil war.”

The actions of the left — and their jingoistic superhawk supporters at MSNBC — are enough to make you believe that their dovish posture from 9/12/01 through November of 2008 was merely anti-GOP partisanship.

Err, because it was:

left_not_antiwar_anti_gop_2007-2009

That chart certainly helps to connect the dots — and the left’s huge 180° pivot — between 1998 and today.