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Ed Driscoll

The Return of the Primitive

“Post media reporter Erik Wemple called on CNN’s Carol Costello to apologize to the Palin family in the same venue where she mocked audio of Bristol Palin reporting a physical assault: on-air,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:

Although Costello herself called for an ESPN anchor to be suspended for comments he made about a assault on a woman (after he had apologized on-air), thus far Costello has only issued a short written apology through CNN.

The Washington Post:

Costello apologized quickly and in airtight fashion: “Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize.” That statement was sent to Politico, but not said on-air.

The Erik Wemple Blog catches Costello’s CNN show daily — and thinks sky-highly of her anchoring work — but didn’t catch any moment of regret mirroring what she told Politico. A CNN spokeswoman confirms no such event has taken place. It must. CNN surely has more regard for its audience than to pass along such an important message through a bunch of media blogs.

I’m not at all sure why “The Erik Wemple Blog” would make such an assumption about the left-leaning network, particularly since “The Erik Wemple Blog” works for an organization whose previous management employed an editor who boasted on C-SPAN of wearing a “Yeah, I’m With the Media. Screw You” button, an attitude that seems equally well-ensconced at the beleaguered news and opinion division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO.

Quote of the Day

October 24th, 2014 - 4:59 pm

And it’s especially welcome after this gonzo week: Monica Lewinsky surfaces on Monday, Ben Bradlee dies on Tuesday, Islamic terrorism in Ottawa on Wednesday, and Ebola (and Islamic terrorism) in Manhattan on Thursday, and a school shooting in Washington State today.

I missed the memo: Who gave the OK for all four horsemen of the apocalypse to simultaneously go out galloping this week?

Somewhere, Sid Vicious Weeps

October 24th, 2014 - 3:40 pm

But who will bring the heroin, social diseases and the infections from DIY piercings?

Ultimate hell: a Martha Stewart-planned Microsoft Windows Installation Party, unless careful editing is applied:

New York’s Other Big Story Yesterday

October 24th, 2014 - 12:21 pm

“Islam convert shot dead after ax attack on NYPD cops,” the New York Post reported yesterday, in a story that got lost in the wild, the innocent, and the Ebola shuffle last night:

A hatchet-swinging psycho with Islamic militant leanings turned a busy Queens street corner into a scene of bloody chaos Thursday, chopping a rookie cop in the back of the head and slicing a second officer on the arm before two other officers shot him dead.

In opening fire on the madman, cops accidentally wounded a bystander, ­authorities said.

Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, had just four months on the job when Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens — a “scholarly” but “weird” ­recent convert to Islam — fractured the back of the cop’s skull with one swing of a blue-handled hatchet at about 2 p.m. in Jamaica.

As Mark Steyn has written, they all seem like weird losers — right before the bomb goes off, the AK-47 starts spraying bullets, or the hatchet starts swinging:

That’s certainly true of the Fort Dix jihadists who took their terrorist training DVD to the local audio store to be copied. It was also true of the Islamists arrested in Toronto last year for plotting to behead the Prime Minister, one of whose cell members had a bride who wanted him to sign a pre-nup committing him to jihad. The Heathrow plotters arrested while planning to blow up U.S.-bound airliners included a Muslim convert who’d started out as the son of a British Conservative Party official with a PG Wodehouse double-barreled name and a sister who was a Victoria’s Secret model and ex-wife of tennis champ Yanick Noah.

But then Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 gang would have seemed pretty funny if you’d run into them in that lapdance club they went to before the big day where the girls remembered them only as very small tippers. Most terrorists are jokes until the bomb goes off.

I quoted that passage by Mark in my post in late August concerning the fellow named “Douglas McAuthur McCain,” who was born in Illinois, raised in Minneapolis, moved to San Diego — and given a name by his parents that honors (phonetically at least) two prominent American fighting men, of course eventually joined the military.

Not ours, but ISIS in Syria, where he was killed on the battlefield.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Ottawa terrorist, had a similarly strange background. As Glenn Reynolds noted, he was the “son of a jihadist and a Social Justice Warrior:”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999.

“That’s a toxic blend,” Glenn drolly quipped.

Then there was the woman beheaded in a food distribution warehouse in Oklahoma by her coworker last month the proverbial “recent convert to Islam,” a town where another beheading was near-simultaneously threatened by another apparent convert to, well, two guesses.

 

Speaking of toxic, is it just me, or does it seem like freelance one-off Islamofascist terrorists are slowly increasing in number in North America? A favorite cliche of the left is addressing a problem’s “root causes” — are we doing anything to address any of the root causes of this issue?

Quote of the Day, Part Deux

October 23rd, 2014 - 8:00 pm

The problem isn’t Barack Obama, or his performance in office, or even where the country stands today. The problem is in the expectations — the expectation that government can cure our ills, the expectation that the Right Great Man can make the giant government do all the things we have come to expect it to do.

There is of course room for good government and even the occasional great man to head it up. But a government as large and as intrusive as ours will find it nearly impossible to be great, or even merely good, when its mission is to force its once-sovereign citizens to fit other people’s notion of “good.”

—Steve Green, “The End of Greatness?

Well, I Feel Safer

October 23rd, 2014 - 6:20 pm

Shot:

Chaser:


Hangover:

By the way, oh the fun-filled conversations that Klain and John Holdren, Obama’s Dr. Strangelove-esque “Science” “Czar” must have.

CNN: Bullying is Totally Awesome!

October 23rd, 2014 - 12:16 pm

At least if it’s the daughter of Emmanuel Goldstein being bullied:

Enter CNN anchor Carol Costello.

“I never wanted to become the poster child for anything, let alone domestic violence. But my blood is boiling, so when I say shut up, I’m venting at all those people out there who insist on blaming the victim,” Costello wrote with righteous fury directed at the National Football League (and the morning show Fox & Friends) over what she considered an insufficient level of concern for an incident involving Ray Rice striking his fiancé.

Costello goes on to reveal that she, too, was the victim of what sounds like a horrible assault by her college boyfriend. It was a brave thing for her to admit, and it made her commentary on the lax treatment Rice received from the NFL that much more powerful. But this admission also branded her take on the Palin assault as one which is inexplicably hypocritical.

“Sit back and enjoy!” Costello exclaimed as she introduced her audience recently to the audio in which Bristol Palin recounts how she was attacked. “You’ll want to hear what she told cops about how it all started.”

Costello also confided in her audience that she had a “favorite part” of the audio which could later become courtroom evidence. Ghoulish.

Just as a reminder, in early 2011, when the left couldn’t directly pin the shooting of Democrat Senator Gabrielle Giffords directly on Sarah Palin and her clip art, they instead focused on language in general, to the point where CNN’s John King apologized on the air for a guest committing thoughtcrime via his utterly innocuous language:

On Tuesday’s John King USA, CNN’s John King issued a prompt on-air apology minutes after a guest on his program used the term “crosshairs” during a segment: “We’re trying to get away from using that kind of language” (audio available here). This action stands in stark contrast to an incident over a year earlier where former anchor Rick Sanchez took four days to apologize for using a unconfirmed quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh.

This, despite the fact that for decades, CNN featured a show called Crossfire, and resumed the venerable brandname last year until the show was recently cancelled.

Later in 2011, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper would obsess on the topic of “bullying” as a theme, producing show after show on the topic — this despite Cooper himself has no problem bullying those whose ideology he disagrees with.

Now we know — as if we needed any further confirmation — that those were all lies by CNN. If the wrong words can cause viewers to commit the most vile acts, and if bullying is a social evil, the’s no reason for this segment to have aired.

Saul Alinsky advised his fellow Democrats, including those with bylines, to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” But other than noting that “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag,” he apparently never advised his acolytes when to let a target go. Which is why, six years after the election of 2008, Sarah Palin still lives rent free in the heads of the entire MSM as the alien other, who can be demonized at will. And despite the media’s boss declaring, in Goldfather-esque language that the family members of politicians are “civilians,” that hands-off policy apparently doesn’t apply to the MSM’s coverage of the Palin family.

Glenn Reynolds has a modest proposal for viewers to punch back twice as hard:

Obviously Costello should be fired for her misogyny and approval of violence against women. Perhaps if people are angry about this, they might call their local airport authority and demand that it take off the nonstop CNN monitors. Nobody likes it, and it’s probably CNN’s main viewership these days. . .

In the meantime, to put it another way, “To hell with you people” in the MSM.

Update: Cheat and retreat — Costello issues a statement apologizing for her actions, but won’t issue an apology on the air. Which is a reminder that no one at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, including CNN president Jeff Zucker thinks she did anything wrong in the first place.

And now back to discussing how totally and cool groovy abortions are.

And the Albert Speer Award Goes To…

October 23rd, 2014 - 12:21 am

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“Is Architecture ‘Racist’?“, John Hinderaker asks at Power Line, linking to an article in Wednesday’s Denver Post on that city’s railroad station. As John notes, “Denver’s main train depot, Union Station, has been renovated and restored to its former glory (more or less), which is what troubles the arts critic. The restored building is, he thinks, racist…”

Of course it is, the Denver Post critic argues, perhaps sampling from Maureen Dowd’s hallucinogenic confectionery stash:

Let’s start with the building itself, the actual architecture. Union Station is a neo-classical mix of styles — European styles. The symmetry, arched windows, ornate cornice and stacked, stone walls have their roots in the glory days of France, England, Greece and Rome, in empires that were nearly absent of ethnic minorities and who felt fully at ease invading, exploiting and actually enslaving the people of Africa, subcontinent Asia and South America.

In response, Hinderaker writes:

This is mind-bendingly dumb. It is evident that the Post’s Fine Arts Critic didn’t major in history. France, England, Greece and Rome–four peas in a pod! But let’s not pause to consider the ancient Greeks’ conquest of Brazil, or what on God’s green Earth any of this has to do with Denver’s train station. The stupidity continues:

Yes, that’s all in the past; things have changed. But the $54 million renovation of Union Station doesn’t take that into account. It restores the symbols of an old world with no updates. The gilded chandeliers have been rewired, the marble polished, but there’s no nod to the present, no interior walls in the bright colors of Mexico, no Asian simplicity is in the remix. There are no giant sculptures by African-American artists bonused into the lobby, no murals on the basement walls.

Have you noticed that Asian-Americans don’t like to go anywhere that doesn’t exhibit “Asian simplicity,” and African-Americans won’t set foot in a public place unless it features “giant sculptures”? Sure. Just as I, a loyal Norwegian-American, refuse to patronize any restaurant that doesn’t feature a replica Viking ship in the lobby and whose walls are not lined with horned helmets. Stereotypes rule!

Does each individual ethnicity demand its own architecture to feel racially pure? Conversely, does architecture reflect the tribal prejudices of the culture that built it? Do the stereotypes of the day manifest themselves in the designs of public spaces? Well, that’s one way to look at the semiotics of architecture. I thought such opinions had been rather dramatically discredited by about May of 1945, but perhaps I was simply being naive.

But somewhere, the modern architects of the 1920s, who promoted what they called a universal “International Style” of design must be rolling over in their row upon Mies van der row of graves, to borrow a line from Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House.

Related: In other news regarding “Progressives” and their curiously idiosyncratic opinions on Rocky Mountain architecture, the JuiceVoxers have a rather interesting take on bathroom design in the Boulder area

Two CNNs in One!

October 22nd, 2014 - 6:25 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

● A panel on Tuesday’s “CNN Newsroom” wondered “why are people so darn mean?” to Monica Lewinsky.

“CNN: ‘Why Are People so Darn Mean’ to Lewinsky?”, headline, Breitbart TV, yesterday.

● “Shame on Monica Lewinsky.”

Headline, CNN.com, yesterday.

Related: Stacy McCain on “The Externalization of Responsibility: Monica Lewinsky’s Personal Shame,” in which he reminds readers that in his estimation, “Here’s the thing: Monica Lewinsky committed perjury,” and manages to work in the phrase “mendacious fellatio performers” to boot.

Meanwhile, as Stacy’s title implies, Lewinsky seems to blame the Internet as a medium, and Matt Drudge as a publisher, for her pariah status, as Allahpundit notes:

Per Matt Bai’s new book, it was the Gary Hart affair 10 years before Monicagate that marked a sea change in the media’s willingness to report on politicians’ sexual indiscretions. Michael Isikoff, who was famously scooped by Drudge on the Lewinsky story, said later that his Newsweek editors had merely demanded that more work be done on it before it ran, not that they had spiked it altogether. It would have come out, Internet or not.

To invert Marshall McLuhan’s legendary aphorism, sometimes it really is the message, and not the medium in which it’s initially disseminated.

‘The Arkansas Senate Election is Now Over’

October 21st, 2014 - 2:51 pm

“And let’s not even bring up the fact that this thesis of Pryor’s argues mightily that the Democratic party’s single most favorite piece of political mythology – the so-called ‘Southern Strategy’ – was and is a lie told to the credulous, given that in Arkansas the Democratic party continued to dominate the state for decades,” Moe Lane writes, responding to the Washington Free Beacon unearthing Democrat Mark Pryor’s neoconfederate 1985(!) college thesis. “Oh, wait, I just did bring that up.  My bad.  Guess we’ll see just how poorly the Democratic party thinks of its own base…”

As Moe adds, “OK, OK, it’s been over for a while now and Tom Cotton is going to win.  But this event counts as a moment of clarity.”

Elsewhere in the south, “New flier from Georgia Democrats: You must vote in November to … prevent another Ferguson,” as spotted by Allahpundit who writes, “Note that this comes from the Georgia Democratic Party itself, not some no-name outside outfit that’s looking to boost its profile by tossing racial grenades:”

Time for predictions. Which red-state Democrat will be next to use an over-the-top racial pander to goose black turnout? I’m tempted to say Pryor, just because he’s seemed like a dead duck for so long now, but I’m going to go with Grimes. She’s within a single point in one new poll and can’t rely on DSCC TV ads to help her going forward. She needs a cheap, dependable way to get Democratic base voters excited to vote. Time to pull the pin on another racial grenade.

Allahpundit-esque exit quotes:

Indeed.™

The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

October 21st, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Shot:

 

 

Chaser:

Update: Don’t ever change, MSNBC.

“In thesis, Pryor argued Democratic dominance in Arkansas caused by reaction to federal desegregation efforts,” Alana Goodman writes at the Washington Free Beacon:

The paper is housed at the University of Arkansas special collections library, which suspended the Washington Free Beacon‘s library privileges earlier this year. Pryor, who graduated from the university in 1985, wrote that the thesis was influenced by his work on his father David Pryor’s 1984 senatorial campaign.

In the essay, Pryor argued that the Democratic Party’s dominance in the state stemmed from public’s need for protection against external threats, comparing this to the Russian people backing Tsarist and Communist governments.

“Arkansas has been invaded unwillingly twice. Once in reality and once figuratively,” wrote Pryor.

“The Civil War provided the real invasion. The figurative invasion took place in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School. That event took a local problem out of the local authorities’ hands. The federal government had again forced its will on the people of Arkansas.”

Read the whole thing. And remember, if Pryor had an (R) after his name, the Beacon’s crosstown rival the Washington Post would be running this story in a continuous loop from now until election day, as they did in the fall of 2006 with over 100 stories on “macaca,” George Allen’s gaffed verbal attack on his ubiquitous mohawk wearing leftwing video tracker, and the numerous stories they published in 2009 to  attack Bob McDonnell, the ultimately successful Virginia gubernatorial candidate over his college thesis. Or the 50+ stories that the Politico ran on Todd Akin in 2012.

Related:A Low-Tech Lynching,” courtesy of Democrat Kay Hagan.

Is Mark Steyn’s PR Firm Accepting New Clients?

October 20th, 2014 - 10:02 pm

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Because seriously, I don’t know how they do it. The week that After America came out in 2011, the Dow Jones dropped 512 points on Thursday, and S&P shorted America’s credit rating on Friday. When After America was released in paperback the following year, riots across the Middle East broke out, a feckless “Quantitative Easing” program by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve began, and the POTUS ran roughshod over the First Amendment.

Today, The Undocumented Mark Steyn, an anthology of his columns, hits the streets; its introduction is titled “Me and My Little Black Dress.” It begins with Mark flashing back wistfully to the 1990s, America’s holiday from history, having just won the Cold War (we thought) and the Gulf War (we thought) and seemingly without a care in the world, when we could laugh at a hapless randy president and his extramarital affairs. Since Miss Lewinsky wasn’t taking many interviews at the time, Mark hopped into the Clinton White House’s Hot Tub Time Machine and flash-forwarded to 2018 to interview her older and wiser dress instead:

She is older now, her once dazzling looks undeniably faded, her famous beauty worn and creased.

“Sorry about that,” she says. “I was supposed to get ironed yesterday.”

Yes, it’s “that dress”— the dress that, 20 years ago this month, held the fate of a presidency in her lap. It has been two decades since the day she gave her dramatic testimony to the grand jury and then promptly disappeared into the federal witness protection program. Even as she recalls her brief moment in the spotlight , she looks drawn. But that’s because, following extensive reconstructive surgery, she’s been living quietly as a pair of curtains in Idaho.

“What do you think?” she says, saucily brushing her hem against the sill as her pleats ripple across the mullions. “It cost less than Paula Jones’ nose job.”

To be honest, I was lucky to get the interview. The dress was supposed to be doing the BBC— the full sob-sister treatment, Martin Bashir, the works— but, to protect her identity, they wanted to do that undercover secret-location protect-your-identity trick with the camera that makes part of the screen go all fuzzy and blurry. “Are you crazy?” she yelled at them. “It’ll look like I’ve still got the stain.”

Apparently to tie in with his book’s launch, somehow Mark’s PR people managed to convince Lewinsky to join Twitter on the very same day The Undocumented Mark Steyn debuts. “Monica Lewinsky Joins Twitter—To Fight Cyberbullying,” Fast Company.com reports today; since the Hillary Clinton campaign and its operatives at Media Matters and CNN are experts on the topic, I can’t wait to see Monica’s incredible lack of response when the cyberbullying really starts to fly — which it likely will starting sometime in mid-November, or perhaps early next year.

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What, Coolidge, Hoover or Reagan weren’t available as candidates to live rent-free in Pierce’s mind years after they left office?

CHRIS HAYES, host: There’s some scary stuff out there. ISIS, monstrous and scary. Ebola, scary, doing horrible things to people in West Africa. Killed someone here. It’s understandable. These are genuinely scary things, but the magnitude with which they are interpreted makes me think there is something about the American political consciousness that’s looking for something to fear at all times.

CHARLES PIERCE, Esquire: I think that that’s part of the conditioned reflex that was placed into the American public and into our political culture by the last administration. In which, you know, you had 9/11, then you had anthrax, then you had the snipers, then you had every bit of the government dedicated to scaring you about nuclear bombs from Iraq. You had three years of being blindsided by enormously terrible events, and then when that was done, you had a hurricane in New Orleans that the government’s response to was awful, and the entire economic system collapsed what seemed like overnight.

So the ground had already been prepared by fake threats and then you got real catastrophes for which we weren’t prepared, and all of that adds up to the kind of thing you’re seeing now.

HAYES: Charlie Pierce, thank you.

But as DNC co-chairwoman Donna Brazile finally admitted last year at CNN, “Bush came through on Katrina.” Besides, I’m not at all sure why Pierce is that suddenly now concerned with people drowning in waterborne disasters:

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

Charles Pierce writing the Boston Globe MagazineJanuary 5, 2003, on his way to an easy win as the Media Research Center’s “Quote of the Year,” capping off their annual DisHonors Awards, “Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2003.”

Our Source was the New York Times

October 20th, 2014 - 4:50 pm

“You do not have to talk to a statist very long before he will profess an intense dislike, distrust and even fear of ordinary people,” Andrew Klavan writes today:

Ordinary people spend money on what they want (TV’s restaurants and cars) rather than what the elite know they ought to want (aluminum foil climate change reversers). Ordinary people teach their children that God created the world rather than a random pattern of mathematic realities that came into being through another random pattern that came…  well, the elite know: it’s random patterns all the way down! Ordinary people will give jobs and business to those who earn them rather than those the elite, in their greater understanding, know are historically deserving because of past oppression. And so on.

Now, of course, with the very elite of the elite running the country, we find that — what do you know? — this statism dodge doesn’t really work all that well. And there are two reasons for this. The first is that the statist premise is wrong. In fact, ordinary people left at liberty to do as they will are actually better at running their lives and businesses and country than the geniuses in Washington. Central planning works great in the imaginations of the elite, but in the real world…  not so much.

And the second problem is that the elite are stupid. No, really. They’re educated and sophisticated and they dress well and speak well. They may even have high IQs. But in the immortal words of Forrest Gump’s mother: “Stupid is as stupid does.” And the elite are stupid.

Take the columnists at the New York Times. Or as I call them: Knucklehead Row. These guys look like smart people, they talk like smart people, they’ve got the trappings of smart people. But they are not smart. They are the opposite of smart. What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah. They’re stupid.

And as Matthew Continetti noted in the Washington Free Beacon a few months ago, “Gossipy, catty, insular, cliquey, stressful, immature, cowardly, moody, underhanded, spiteful—the New York Times gives new meaning to the term ‘hostile workplace:’”

What has been said of the press—that it wields power without any sense of responsibility—is also a fair enough description of the young adult. And it is to high school, I think, that the New York Times is most aptly compared. The coverage of the Abramson firing reads at times like the plot of an episode of Saved By the Bell minus the sex: Someone always has a crazy idea, everyone’s feelings are always hurt, apologies and reconciliations are made and quickly sundered, confrontations are the subject of intense planning and preparation, and authority figures are youth-oriented, well-intentioned, bumbling, and inept.

Indeed. Or to put it another way:

There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.

“What You Learn in Your 40s,” Pamela Druckerman, writing in the New York Times earlier this year, and linked to by Maggie’s Farm today.

Actually there are lots of grownups, who actually know what they’re doing in life, wisdom they’ve acquired through its hardscrabble lessons — but Druckerman will have to expand her social circle beyond the offices of Sulzberger & Company if she hopes to find some.

Gee, wait’ll they discover how Obamacare was passed against the will of the American people…

* Not to mention the “It’s Different When We Do It” card.

Update: “Turns out history for the left didn’t begin on January 20, 2009 but rather in April 2010 or thereabouts,” Allahpundit writes:

In fact, the ObamaCare omission here is so egregious, it reminds me in an odd way of those creepy liberal revisionist histories in which JFK somehow ends up dead at the hands of the right-wing city of Dallas while his left-wing assassin is conveniently airbrushed into oblivion. They used reconciliation to pass what’s arguably the most momentous piece of domestic policy of the past 50 years, and now, the instant Republicans use it for anything, the tactic will be deemed de facto cheating — despite endless leftist screeching since 2009 that we should probably go ahead and jettison the archaic 60-vote threshold for cloture entirely. You keep smiling, guys.

Which dovetails nicely with Sonny Bunch’s observation today in the Washington Free Beacon that “#GamerGate Makes the Left Uncomfortable Because Gamer Gaters Have Adopted the Left’s Tactics:”

Because when I look at #GamerGate, I don’t really see the Tea Party (just as I’m sure Jessica Hunter—a gay, liberal, female Canadian #GamerGater—doesn’t really see the Tea Party). No, I see the tactics of the modern reactionary left. Consider: The movement’s biggest accomplishment thus far has been to get Intel to pull advertising from video game blog Polygon Gamasutra after they flooded the company with complaints. We’ve seen this a ton over the last few years, but not from the Tea Party.

No, we’ve seen it from the anti-Prop 8 campaigners, who used their combined efforts to get Scott Eckern, the artistic director of the California Musical Theater, fired for donating to the anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative. We’ve seen it from astroturfed anti-gun groups trying to pressure Kroger into banning people from carrying guns. We’ve seen it in Black Twitter’s efforts to get Paula Deen dropped after she admitted to using racist language following an armed robbery. I could go on and on: the freakout over Grantland’s Dr. V. story; the effort to #CancelColbert; Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars; etc.

At the risk of engaging in some questionable psychoanalysis, allow me to suggest that one of the reasons the left is so disturbed by the rise of #GamerGate is that this is the first time in many years that these self-proclaimed Social Justice Warriors have met any sort of organized pushback. And they find it doubly infuriating to see the tools they have used so successfully—the Twitter mob, the email campaign, the claims of grievance—turned against them.

In their frequent use of brutal scorched earth Alinksy-style tactics to advance their goals and silence their enemies, the far left have increasingly opened up Pandora’s Box — did they think they’d get to keep all of its secrets to themselves?

Backward Ran the Progress, Until Reeled the Mind

October 20th, 2014 - 10:52 am

High art, circa 1622:

High art, circa 2014:


As someone joked in response on Twitter, “You misspelled that last word.”

Heh. Naturally, if you’re offended, the artist says it’s your fault:

“At first, I found the anal plug had a similar form to Brancusi’s sculptures,” he explained. “Afterwards, I realized it resembled a Christmas tree, but it is an abstract work. People can be offended if they want to think of it as a plug, but for me it is more of an abstraction.”

How retrogressive and reactionary.

Is Our Children Learning?

October 19th, 2014 - 3:56 pm

Two observations: Assuming this fellow is a man of the left, why does he hate President Goldman-Sachs so? And just as a refresher, as Theodore Dalrymple recently noted, your dad is still not Hitler.

The Banality of Justifying Evil

October 19th, 2014 - 3:13 pm

In “Stalin, Sane,” National Review Online’s Andrew Stuttaford links to Anne Applebaum’s review of a new biography of Joseph Stalin:

Writing in The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum reviews the first volume of what looks like an interesting new biography of Stalin (it takes the story up until 1928). Critically, its author, Stephen Kotkin, appears to dispense with glib ‘psychological’ alibi (tough childhood and so on) for what Stalin became, replacing it with the more sinister explanation that his actions were, in one sense, perfectly rational:

 His violence was not the product of his subconscious but of the Bolshevik engagement with Marxist-Leninist ideology. This ideology offered Stalin a deep sense of certainty in the face of political and economic setbacks. If policies designed to produce prosperity created poverty instead, an explanation could always be found: the theory had been incorrectly interpreted, the forces were not correctly aligned, the officials had blundered. If Soviet policies were unpopular, even among workers, that too could be explained: antagonism was rising because the class struggle was intensifying.

And if you think that that sounds a lot like a true believer trying to square the teachings of his faith with perennially inconvenient reality you would be right. The frontier between avowedly atheistic communism, a “political religion” (as it has often been described) and more conventional religious belief is not as clearly defined as is so often imagined. Trying to understand why Stalin was attracted to such a creed thus raises unsettling questions—over what we want to believe, and why— that go far beyond the motivation of a series of communist fanatics.

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, “Communists are just Nazis with better PR”; those engaging in PR spin to defend Stalin and his crimes go far beyond the Russians themselves to include numerous academics in both the US and England (including venerated British historian Eric Eric Hobsbawm, a true believer to the very end), crazed filmmakers such as Oliver Stone, and more than a few journalists in places such as the New York Times. But note how similar the “Stalin was a hideously deformed monster” theories dovetail with those who wish to whitewash their nation of the crimes of another murderous tyrant. Or as Ron Rosenbaum, the author of Explaining Hitler wrote in 2006:

As I tried to point out in Explaining Hitler, so called “psycho-historical” theories of Hitler have long been justly discredited, but still attract those who find some kitschy thrill in contemplating the sexual and personal perversities of Nazis.

Psycho-historical theories have been discredited both for lack of credible evidence and for flawed notions of causation. Here, for instance, it sounds like the director has blindly accepted the dubious, contradicted hearsay that Hitler’s father beat him, promoted strenuously without corroboration by psychoanalyst Alice Miller (who, again without corroboration “explains” Hitler’s anti-semitism by claiming Hitler’s father beat him because the father was upset that he, the father, might have “Jewish blood”–a concatenation of unproven, unprovable old wives tales). Even if it were true that Hitler’s father beat him this does not support the notion that therefore Hitler became a mass murderer because he resented Daddy. All too many children are beaten by their fathers, true, but only Hitler became Hitler because his exterminationist impulses had the enthusiastic support of hundreds of thousands of “ordinary” Germans and other Europeans.

Second, the focus on Hitler’s alleged personal peculiarities, de-historicizes the causes of the Holocaust; making it some kind of outgrowth of personal revenge and perversion rather the culmination of centuries of murderous anti-semitic hatred in Europe carried out by hundreds of thousands of non bed-wetting accomplices to Hitler. It de-politicizes the genocidal hatred in an utterly trivializing way. The Holocaust was not the product of one man’s personal peccadilloes, but of a powerful historical, theological and racial ideology that a juvenile comic focus on “bed-wetting” utterly obscures and in effect denies.

In his recent article “Arendt, Banality, and Benhabib: A Final Rejoinder,” Richard Wolin of the Jewish Review of Books writes:

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt viewed Nazism as a manifestation of “radical evil,” insofar as, as she explains in her preface, its crimes could “no longer be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives.”

Actually, the motives of Nazism and Bolshevism, those twin “heresies of socialism,” as Richard Pipes has dubbed them, flow logically and inexorably from the rhetoric of those whom Martin Marty dubbed “The Bearded God Killers” of the 19th century, and the “Progressives” such as H.G. Wells and Margaret Sanger who followed them in the early 20th century.  And they certainly can be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives.

At least by those who wish to make the effort.

As reported in the New York Observer this past Wednesday, heretofore rarely a hotbed of anti-Obama sentiment:

In perhaps the most stunning documentation yet of abuses by Eric Holder’s Justice Department, two former Assistant United States Attorneys spoke to defense attorneys and revealed appalling deceit and corruption of justice. This latest litigation time bomb has exploded from multi-million dollar litigation originally brought by the Department of Justice against Sierra Pacific based on allegations that the lumber company and related defendants were responsible for a wildfire that destroyed 65,000 acres in California.

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Sierra Pacific Industries and other defendants were compelled to pay $55 million to the United States over a period of five years and transfer 22,500 acres of land to settle massive litigation brought against them by the United States alleging that they caused a 2007 fire that destroyed 65,000 acres in California. Sierra Pacific has always maintained that the fire started elsewhere and that the state and federal investigators and Department attorneys lied. Now that settlement may go up in smoke because of the new evidence of outrageous misconduct by the federal prosecutors and the investigators from state and federal offices, as well as findings earlier this year by a state judge.

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The Sacramento Bee reported on the Defendant’s filing. Indeed, the Defendants’ motion informs us that a former Assistant United States Attorney came forward and disclosed that he believes that he was removed from the original prosecution by “his boss, David Shelledy, chief of the civil division in the United States Attorney’s office,” because he “rebuffed” pressure to “engage in unethical conduct as a lawyer.” Of course, like other former prosecutors who were unethical, Mr. Shelledy is to receive Attorney General Holder’s highest award for excellence—this week.The defendants also reveal that another former federal prosecutor, Eric Overby, left the Moonlight Fire prosecution team also, stating: “It’s called the Department of Justice. It’s not called the Department of Revenue.” According to the motion, Mr. Overby told defense counsel that in his entire career, “I’ve never seen anything like this. Never.”

Well, sadly we have, and we’ve been reporting on it as fast as we can. This is part of a disturbing and rapidly increasing pattern of abuses by this Department of Justice to line government coffers or redistribute the wealth to its political allies—using its overwhelming litigation might and federal agencies as a tool of extortion and wealth redistribution.

The entire original prosecution against Sierra Pacific appears to have been driven by the Department of Justice’s interest in hitting a “deep pocket” for millions of dollars of revenue. The Defendants’ motion to set aside the settlement reveals a series of fraudulent acts by federal and state authorities that defiles our system of justice.

The news about the shakedown of Sierra Pacific comes on the heels of this report from a year ago on Lumber Liquidators being raided:

Although details were initially sketchy, Lumber Liquidators’ (LL) stock price plunged as much as 10% early Friday after a reported raid by federal investigators on its headquarters related to a probe of illegal imports.

In a statement, the top flooring retailer with more than 300 stores nationwide, said it would provide to investigators information and documents related to the import of certain products.

The Department of Homeland Security, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Justice conducted the raid, acting under a sealed court-issued warrant.

Lumber Liquidators said it gets products from more than 110 U.S. and international mills globally, and has more than 60 people who monitor imports.

“The company takes its sourcing very seriously, and is cooperating with authorities to provide them with requested information,” the company said in a statement.

Specific details on what the Department of Homeland Security agents were searching for were not immediately available, and the company and government officials declined to comment beyond the initial statements.

Federal agents conducted the search of Lumber Liquidators headquarters in Toano, Va., and at one of its stores in Richmond, Va.

The unannounced search was reminiscent of earlier raids on Gibson Guitar facilities.

Indeed. What is it with the Obama administration and lumber-based businesses?

(I know: as opposed to coal-based businesses, oil-based businesses, businesses with GOP or Christian CEOs, small business in general, and pretty much every other business except Comcast, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO and Goldman-Sachs, apparently.)