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Ed Driscoll

The Return of the Primitive

‘EBTs for IEDs’

November 26th, 2014 - 7:29 pm


St. Louis Today claims that the suspects wanted to bomb the Gateway Arch in addition to their human targets. So wanting to make the latest New Yorker cover a reality, in other words:

I’m sure Ezra Klein would be thrilled to Voxplain away their motives if the suspects had carried out their alleged plot.

Reading, Writing, and Rioting

November 26th, 2014 - 11:51 am

Oh, that higher education bubble:

Forward! “We are living in 1937, and our universities, I suggest, are not half-way out of the fifteenth century. We have made hardly any changes in our conception of university organization, education, graduation, for a century — for several centuries,” H. G. Wells is reported to have said.

I assume he’d approve of the “progress” universities have made in the decades since, right?

times_publishes_wilson_address_11-25-14-1

All the doxing that’s fit to print.

“The Times “had no qualms whatsoever about publishing almost all the information needed for Officer Darren Wilson’s enemies to track him and his wife down at home,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism, noting that “This malicious move by the New York Times has not gone unnoticed by Ferguson’s protesters,” as the International Business Times reports:

But printing his street name in the nation’s most influential newspaper on the day the grand jury is expected to hand up a decision on the indictment could reignite interest in — and awareness of — the location, and some critics worry that it could result in protesters descending on his home. Slate even went a step further than the Times, publishing an article featuring a photo of the modest, red-brick house on Monday.

A number of Twitter users — some of whom have identified themselves as planning to protest the grand jury decision — have tweeted the location of Wilson’s home as they gear up for rallies. The house number was not printed in the Times, but the street in the St. Louis suburb of Crestwood where it sits is only about two blocks long, and the house number can be easily located via online sources using only the street name and Wilson’s name.

As John adds, “The media is evil,” but Spike Lee certainly approves their methods. As does CNN, which aired George Zimmerman’s address, social security and phone numbers last year.

Nolte’s just getting started though. Read his whole post for a round-up on some of the MSM’s worst moments so far.

Yes, old media’s hit bottom, but they’ll keep digging — and it will get worse. And of course, as always, the MSM will accept no blame for its actions:

Update via Twitchy, which rounds up reaction to the Times publishing Wilson’s address:

Update: Again, no link, but Slate, formerly owned by the Washington Post, has published a photo of Wilson’s house to help make things as easy as possible for rioters and vandals.

More: Great observation by Iowahawk. Remember, this was the media — starting with the Times’ own Paul Krugman — that wet themselves in January of 2011 trying to make Sarah Palin’s clip art magically lead directly to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. But they think nothing of running Darren Wilson’s address.

All of which is why Roger L. Simon includes the Times on his list of the Ferguson Hall of Shame. It looks like you’re going to need a bigger blog, Roger, at the rate the MSM is going. (I won’t hold my breath waiting for Krugman to condemn his own paper’s eliminationist rhetoric tomorrow.)

Not the Onion, apparently. Actually, it’s from the Campus Reform education blog:

Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn’t upset. In fact he says he “can hardly blame [his muggers].”

“Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay,” wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university’s newspaper. “The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers.

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” asks Friedfeld. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Who are you? Well, you’re an inadvertent clone of Robert Fisk, the leftwing British journalist and namesake of the popular Blogosphere technique of fisking, who famously wrote after being attacked while covering the war in Afghanistan in late 2001, “My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War.” Fisk added, “In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.” Or shorter Fisk: “I totally had it coming.”

Not mention the second coming of a zillion effete doctrinaire Manhattan liberals from the bad old days of the 1970s. Or as Jonah Goldberg noted in his August G-File on “Ferguson Agonistes”:

I grew up in New York City in the 1970s, when race riots were a thing — though not as much of a thing as they were in the 1960s. And that’s part of the problem. In the 1960s, you could see the point of race riots (though less so in the North where they were quite common). But by the 1970s, liberals had incorporated race riots into their mythology as noble “happenings” even though the romance of rebellion had lost its plausibility. And by the 1980s, tragedy had been fully swamped by farce. It is an axiomatic truth going back to Socrates: Nothing can be wholly noble if Al Sharpton is involved. Nonetheless, it was amazing to watch New York liberals act like battered spouses as they tried to explain why blacks are right to loot while at the same time they shouldn’t do it.

To mash-up George Santayana and Irving Kristol, a leftist is someone who refuses to learn from history, and is thus doomed to get mugged by it, but refuses to press charges afterwards.

QED:

Related: MSNBC analyst finds the word “charging” to be — wait for it! — “‘racially-tinged’ and ‘offensive.’”

The Four Scariest Words in the English Language

November 24th, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Alec Baldwin’s Love Ride:

Where does Alec Baldwin find the time? Between his top-rated sitcom, his long-running MSNBC talk show, his string of blockbuster movies, and his sold-out speaking tour, the guy has got a lot on his plate.

Now we can add this to the list of his massive successes: his new web series, Alec Baldwin’s Love Ride.

Click over to Jim Treacher’s post for the actual video of Baldwin in his Lovemobile — if you dare!

It’s interesting to see Baldwin ripping off Jerry Seinfeld’s Internet video curiosity, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, because when Baldwin appeared there, it was one of the tensest videos to watch, at least for me. When Baldwin and Seinfeld chatted alone, the two men made quite wealthy by NBC’s largesse appeared to get on quite well. But whenever the waitress appeared to bring them coffee,  I kept wondering, what will this poor woman do to warrant the full Baldwin Parris Island-style humiliation treatment the Great Man reserves for stewardesses, journalists, photographers and children? Baldwin kept his cool — at least from what we saw in the finished clip — but the tension building up made for an inadvertently fascinating clip.

It’s too bad that we’ll likely never see the outtakes from Baldwin’s ripoff of Seinfeld’s concept, because they would be infinitely more interesting than the finished product.

“They might as well change its name from ‘The View’ to ‘The Feud,’” quips the New York Daily News:

A shrill, backstage brawl at “The View” Wednesday left co-host Rosie Perez in tears while panelists Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell battled over how to cover the latest allegations against Bill Cosby and the racially charged upheaval in Ferguson, Mo., sources said.

O’Donnell believed the show — now overseen by ABC News — needed to delve deeper into both controversial subjects, while Goldberg wanted to steer clear of the topics altogether.

Ultimately, both news stories were discussed at length on the air by the panel.

“There’s terrible frustration and there are problems,” a source close to the show told the Daily News. “Whoopi didn’t want to talk about Cosby and Ferguson, Rosie (O’Donnell) did — how could you not? These are topics that are uncomfortable for everyone, but it’s ‘The View’ and it’s their job to talk about topics that might make some people tense.”

If viewers are tense, it may due to the show’s increasingly uncomfortable format, now that Barbara Walters has finally retired.

The formula for a successful TV talk show isn’t that much different than the formula for a successful TV sitcom or drama, and has been the same since the medium took off in the 1950s. (That’s why they call it a formula.) A network talk show casts an appealing straight-shooting everyman and surrounds him with wacky, offbeat sidekicks for leavening. In the 1960s, the boyish Johnny Carson was flanked by big drinking heavyset Ed McMahon and the psychedelically-attired  Doc Severinsen. In the 1980s, long before he became churlish and partisan in his dotage, David Letterman was a fratboy variation on the same theme, another Midwestern everyman, this time with postmodern zaniness swirling around him. Fictional TV has long used the same formula, with Star Trek’s JFK-esque Captain Kirk surrounded by the pointy-eared Spock and Mencken-esque Dr. McCoy. Happy Days had clean-cut WASP Richie Cunningham, surrounded by Fonzie the Italian greaser and Ralph Malph the class cut-up. And M*A*S*H ran for a million years with Alan Alda’s Hawkeye character surrounded by oddball characters such as Radar, Klinger, Frank Burns, etc.

The View was a distaff variation on the same formula, with Barbara Walters the veteran journalist and everywoman surrounded by zany offbeat showbiz types such as the caustic Joy Behar, loony conspiracy theorist Rosie O’Donnell, and the far left Whoopi Goldberg. With Walters now retired, there’s no center of gravity to the show, no one to reign in the lunatics inside the asylum. No wonder the ratings have plummeted with the formula broken and the cast is feuding with each other.

When will ABC put this tired dysfunctional show out of its – and the remaining viewers — misery?

Pompeii with Mirrorballs

November 22nd, 2014 - 2:28 pm

The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman’s 1998 film, as reviewed, stream of consciousness style, by Eve Tushnet:

For the first half of this movie I was not totally sold on it–despite its setting in “The Very Early ’80s” and its discussions of group socializing vs. “ferocious pairing off” and the Robert Sean Leonard of it all. “It’s fun enough, but it’s no Damsels in Distress,” I thought.

By the end I was so fascinated and pleased that I wanted to rewatch it immediately. I listened to the commentary track, which I rarely do with Netflix dvds because I am greedy and want my next one as fast as possible. But The Last Days of Disco is an intelligent souffle. It’s light–if it were heavy it would be lugubrious, but it’s so light that it’s poignant instead–and endearing, and insightful.

It’s a great film, one that benefits from repeated viewings, as I wrote a year ago in a post titled “Turn the Beat Around: A Reformed Disco Hater Looks Back at Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco.”

And speaking of Pompeii with mirrorballs, at the start of the month, the Flashbak Website assembled an incredible collection of mostly black and white photos of the real Studio 54 from the late ’70s. Beyond the coke-fueled Weimar-esque decadence of the period, what’s fascinating is the intermingling of politics and cultures, where Italian socialist film director Lina Wertmuller meets Ed McMahon, Pat and Debbie Boone drop in, and Gerald Ford’s son Jack Ford chats with Alice Cooper. I’m not at all sure if the highly segregated puritanical left would sanction such a diverse intermingling of culture these days, in their all-consuming efforts to root out original sin.

“How it is that we once again find ourselves rooting out sin, shunning heretics, and heralding the end times,” asks Joseph Bottum in the Weekly Standard, exploring “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas:”

Just as, for Paul in Romans, “the law entered, that the offence might abound,” so our awareness of our own racism massively increases when we realize that we are utterly formed as racists in America. And just as, for Paul, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” so it is that only from this overwhelming awareness of racism can we hope to escape racism.

The doctrine of original sin is probably incoherent, and certainly gloomy, in the absence of its pairing with the concept of a divine savior—and so Paul concludes Romans 5 with a turn to the Redeemer and the possibility of hope: “As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Think of it as a car’s engine or transmission scattered in pieces around a junkyard: The individual bits of Christian theology don’t actually work all that well when they’re broken apart from one another.

Which is why it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an infinite sadness often haunts expressions of the white-privilege notion that we must become more aware of race in order to end the inherited sin of being aware of race. If we cannot escape it, then how can we escape it? When Prof. Jensen cries out in his chiliastic pain, “I will carry this privilege with me until the day white supremacy is erased,” he’s speaking in tones once reserved for the moral solution that only the Second Coming could provide. The strangeness of the isolated concept can be discerned in its unendingness, its never-satisfied ratchet. Discerned as well, I would suggest, in some of the disturbingly salvific terms with which President Obama’s campaign and election were first greeted.

Of course, however Christian the idea of white privilege may have been in origin, it emerged in contemporary America stripped of Christ and his church, making it available even for post- and non-Christians. For that matter, an explicit anti-Christianity is often heard alongside rejections of white privilege. At Radersma’s race conference, a fellow presenter named Paul Kivel defined white privilege as “the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites.”

But that, too, is typical of much post-mainline moral discussion in America: the Church of Christ Without Christ, as Flannery O’Connor might have called it (to use a phrase from her 1952 novel Wise Blood). The mainline congregations may be gone as significant factors in the nation’s public life, but their collapse released a religious logic and set of spiritual anxieties that are still with us—still demanding that we see our nation and ourselves in the patterns cast by their old theological lights.

As Umberto Eco wrote in 2005, “God Isn’t Big Enough For Some People:”

It is the role of religion to provide that justification. Religions are systems of belief that enable human beings to justify their existence and which reconcile us to death. We in Europe have faced a fading of organised religion in recent years. Faith in the Christian churches has been declining.

The ideologies such as communism that promised to supplant religion have failed in spectacular and very public fashion. So we’re all still looking for something that will reconcile each of us to the inevitability of our own death.

G K Chesterton is often credited* with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

And finally, as Kate quips today at Small Dead Animals, “You Clever Matchmaker, Gaia!”, spotting someone who really red-lines the phrase “outrageous credulity:”

Afton Burton left her parents’ home in Illinois at age 19 to move to California, where she could be closer to Manson, Burton said.

It was Manson’s work as an environmentalist that drew her daughter into him, according to Burton.

“He’s an environmentalist, and she’s involved in his environmentalist program,” Burton said.

Say what you will about Charles Manson, but he took the “warrior” aspect of the phrase “Social Justice Warrior,” not to mention the quasi-religious doomsday implications of that strange mindset, seriously.

* The Chesterton Society traced the complex history of this brilliant aphorism, and concluded, “we must point out the irony that critics have chastised Chesterton for misquoting other writers, while he is the most misquoted writer of all. No one would be more pleased than G.K. Chesterton.”

Related: “Professor says she can no longer give common-sense advice for fear of being accused of victim-blaming.”

More: “Funniest Paragraph of the Day, Courtesy of the NY Times:”

“Unitarian Universalism is not a theologically grounded religion,” Ms. Brock said. “If we mess up our principles and values, we don’t have a theology to fall back on. We’re not Catholic — we can’t just keep giving communion until we figure it out. If we don’t have our values figured out, our institutions become pointless bureaucracies.”

And finally, William Voegeli writes that “MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think:”

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

The evil sinners are out there, I can feel them! Don’t get too close or their demonic ideas and/or cooties will rub off on you, too!

Today’s edition of Ed Driscoll.com is brought to you by the word “Man-spreading.” Or as Rich Cromwell writes at the Federalist, “The Rabid Equality Crowd Finally Outright Admits They Hate Testicles:”

They’re not called the family jewels because they are ordinary. They’re not referred to as stones because they’re impervious to injury. No, they are both extraordinary and surprisingly fragile. So, sorry notsorry if we give them some breathing room when we sit, if we don’t smash them betwixt our legs on public transit. But as the horizon of “male privilege” is constantly expanding, giving the old wedding tackle ample space is now a crime against humanity.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced on Monday that a new campaign addressing courtesy on public transportation will come into effect by January. One of the targeted behaviors is ‘man-spreading’ — the act of spreading one’s legs so far apart that other passengers are forced to squish their own together.

Or, if you prefer a more nuanced description, one of the most infuriating and outright ridiculous display of male privilege and machismo in existence today. As Mic’s Derrick Clifton succinctly put it, ‘Hey, bro, you’re not that well-endowed.’

Maybe. You don’t know.

Granted, I don’t use public transit. I luxuriate in a nicely padded captain’s chair without panhandlers and formidable smells. If I lived in a dense urban area, I would likely take advantage of the added reading time that public transit offers. For now, though, I don’t have that option, so I crank the tunes and spread my legs far and wide. But as a member in good standing of the patriarchy, I have to stand up for my brethren who live in constant fear of oppression.

Not the least of which being this fellow, who’s rather well-known for capping off his eight years in office by man-spreading on the cover of a well-known men’s magazine:

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Stacy McCain describes the sort of person who’s a Socialist Justice Warrior obsessed with ending “man-spreading” as being one of the “Nowhere People:”

It’s important to remember that, although these people exist in real life — that is to say, there are actual human beings running those batshit crazy troll accounts — they are as altogether artificial in their politics as they are in their online personas. They themselves have never done a goddamned thing for “social justice.” They simply enjoy mouthing these slogans about “oppression” and “patriarchy,” etc., because posing as Our Moral Superiors is an emotional compensation for their own obscurity and worthlessness.

They are the Nowhere People — rootless, without loyalty to family, community or religious tradition, and thus “free” to create for themselves imagined identities and idiosyncratic belief systems. Although they usually think of themselves as unique individuals, they are really sheep in a herd, predictable and therefore ultimately boring. Any politics, as long as it’s not conservative politics; any religion as long as it’s not Christian religion; any sexuality as long as it’s not normal sexuality. One notices that the Nowhere People are seldom husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Idle narcissism is incompatible with the dutiful commitments of marriage and motherhood.

Related:


Hey, those six figure salaries that college professors earn for classes on lesbian deconstructionist poetry aren’t going to pay for themselves, you know.

Nihilism on the Edge of Town

November 21st, 2014 - 1:08 pm

“The temptation is to laugh at Bruce Springsteen and his admirers,” Ryan Cole writes in the Weekly Standard, in “Born to Rant:”

Springsteen embraced the imagery, iconography, and gestures of the genre. He threw on a leather jacket, sculpted his sideburns, and posed broodingly in Corvettes and Cadillacs. Then he name-checked John Steinbeck and Flannery O’Connor, sang of American decay and inequality, and rebuffed Ronald Reagan, whose reelection campaign had the nerve to assume that “Born in the USA”—a gloomy song about a homeless Vietnam veteran dolled up with a misleadingly anthemic chorus and sold with imagery of Springsteen draped in Old Glory—was actually a statement of patriotism. Which is not to say that Sprinssteen isn’t a patriot. It’s just that he articulates progressivism’s brand of national pride: America is noble in theory, nightmarish in reality; cool around the edges, but rotten to the core.

James Wolcott, writing in Vanity Fair, once quipped that it was almost as if Springsteen was “built to rock-critic specifications.” Others, such as Fred Goodman in Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, and Springsteen and the Head-on Collision of Rock and Commerce (1997), have suggested that his career since partnering with Landau has been one long and meticulously plotted public relations exercise to present the Boss as a rock ’n’ roll holy man.

If that’s the case, it has worked: Springsteen has sold and continues to sell millions of albums, and his shtick is catnip to baby boomers. In fact, a standard component of Springsteen hagiography is the breathless recollection of that moment, long ago, when the author, young and searching for truth, first stumbled across the Boss’s magic. For David Brooks, it was February 1975, when he caught a live performance on WMMR in Philadelphia. For David Remnick, it was November 1976, from his perch on the balcony of New York City’s late Palladium. It was heady stuff, no doubt—and it forged four decades of adoration, which often gives the impression that some writers view Bruce Springsteen the same way young boys do, say, Superman.

And yet, despite the comparisons to Elvis Presley, as well as to Chuck Berry, both of whom created music that was an amalgamation of prior American styles, Springsteen’s work is strikingly inorganic. With its fist-pumping chord changes, cluttered arrangements full of guitars, runaway xylophones, and honking saxophones, layered behind his maudlin, over-emoting voice, with its affected “heartland” accent, Springsteen’s music is meticulously processed and choreographed, akin to ersatz rock show tunes conceived by a committee of rock critics and Broadway producers.

Coming of age in the pre-Beatles era in which critics began to treat rock music as Serious High Art, Presley and Chuck Berry viewed themselves as performers. A very different role than the strange working class yet cult-like figure that Bruce proffers, more so to adoring critics, than his fans, the majority of whom simply want to boogie and luxuriate in the hits and those golden memories of seedy small town New Jersey, circa 1975. And as Cole writes, Springsteen offers up endless portraits of working class losers, but little opportunity for transcendence, despite Springsteen’s own staggering achievements:

Springsteen’s songs, in fact, often overlook how dynamic this land truly is: In his telling, untouchable corporations, cruel lawmen, and lawless leaders inevitably block the working folks’ access to the American Dream. You need not turn a blind eye to America’s deficiencies to see how incomplete this picture is, as summed up by “The River,” the title track from Springsteen’s 1980 album. Its young protagonist takes his love down to the aforementioned river and impregnates her. Then comes the shotgun wedding and the union card (I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company / But lately there ain’t been much work on the account of the economy). As Springsteen sings, Man, that was all she wrote. But isn’t the Boss’s success and fortune—he is, after all, the son of a working-class father, as his admirers never tire of pointing out—evidence against the inevitability of his own narrative?

But if Springsteen’s characters pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made something of their lives, they’d be (a) off the dole, (b) America wouldn’t be the 3000 mile-wide hellhole that Springsteen (and Landau’s) ideology demands that it to be and (c) they’d be less likely to vote for whichever Democrat political candidate Springsteen and Landau are plumping for that year. So instead, Bruce is born to run — on a golden treadmill to nowhere. Too bad; those albums from The Wild, The Innocent through Burn in the USA before Springsteen became as, Paul Shaffer’s Don Kirshner would say, “a viable commercial product,” were pretty awesome.

Related: “Despite highest poverty numbers in 50 years, Obama okays illegals to compete for jobs in US.” Sounds like the underpinnings of a great Springsteen song on the plight of the American working man, if only the Boss weren’t completely in the tank for Barry and whatever his political whims are this week.

“Influential gay rights advocate and top Obama donor, Terry Bean, and alleged former boyfriend arrested,” Brett Decker writes in USA Today:

This story was first reported by the local press, and there have been vague references to sexual trouble for Bean and Lawson since June, but the national media has not picked it up. That oversight is politically convenient for President Obama as he tries to pull off one of his riskiest political moves ever with his amnesty executive order.

If one of President George W. Bush’s bundlers would have been charged with child rape, make no mistake about it, the media feeding frenzy would have been uncontrollable – which would be legitimate given the severity of the allegation. The silence surrounding Terrence Bean exposes the national media’s partisan double standard in obscene detail.

In 2003, after it was obvious that CNN had been in the tank for Saddam Hussein, Eason Jordon, the network’s then-president, wrote a mea culpa in the New York Times titled “The News We Kept To Ourselves.”

The MSM sure has been keep a lot of news to itself since 2008, haven’t they? Two guesses as to why.

‘The wide-eyed idealist turned out to be an emperor,” Charles C.W. Cooke writes at NRO. But then, it’s only a matter of time before all men of the left reveal their inner liberal fascist:

Modest Republican efforts to limit the tool in judicial nominations, Obama claimed in 2005, were illustrative of an “ends justify the means mentality” that would see the “right of free and open debate . . . taken away from the minority party” in the name of short-term expedience. “We’re here to answer to the people, all of the people, not just the ones that are wearing our particular party label,” he said. “What [voters] don’t expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.” Even more important: The “nuclear option” — whereby the filibuster is abolished by a simple majority — “doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests and it certainly isn’t what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind.”

Senator Obama was joined in this judgment by leading Democrats, who together made a stirring case in favor of retention. The judicial filibuster, Harry Reid exclaimed, is “part of the fabric of this institution we call the Senate” and an “integral part of our country’s 214 year history.” Chuck Schumer described the device as “an important check and balance, to be preserved not vaporized.” Dianne Feinstein warned that, “blinded by political passions, some are willing to unravel our government’s fundamental principle of checks and balances.” Patty Murray agreed, accusing Republicans of “attempting to dismantle the checks and balances that our founding fathers created.” Without the mechanism, Murray contended, the Senate might become a “rubber stamp for the president.” And, as so often, Joe Biden put it best, proposing that to do away with the filibuster without the approval of a supermajority was “an example of the arrogance of power” and a “fundamental power grab.”

Those “patriots who founded this democracy” must have changed their minds since 2005, for, when the system proved too destructive to Obama’s agenda, he not only happily endorsed its abolition but got on board with the “nuclear option” that he had once so vehemently denounced. The filibuster was “not what our Founders envisioned,” Obama told the press in November of 2013. And then he chastised those who would defend the mechanism for their reliance upon “arcane procedural tactics.”

Today, the transformation of Barack Obama from wide-eyed idealist to bitter imperator will finally be completed. Amid the glitz and the artifice of Las Vegas, the last vestiges of the one we were waiting for will be swept ignominiously away, leaving only power, cynicism, and partisanship in their stead. There was a time when our 44th president claimed to stand for transparency, modesty, moderation, tolerance, humility, reason, and calm. Today, just feet from Caesars Palace, he will don the robes of the emperor and spin minor discretion into gargantuan usurpation, all norms and touchstones be damned. However convincing are the promises of the ambitious, Lord Acton always has the last laugh.

Was Mr. Obama lying then or is he lying now? Obama stooges such as Jonathan Gruber, Matt Yglesias, Dan Rather and Toure say: yes.

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

On the other hand, it’s not like lying isn’t a bipartisan sport at times: “Republicans Can Defund Obama’s Executive Order, They Just Don’t Want To,” Sean Davis writes at the Federalist.

The Gray Lady is not happy about a lawless, out of control White House, and demands checks and balances be put in place after November’s stunning election results:

Ask a long-serving member of the United States Senate — like, say, Patrick Leahy of Vermont — to reflect on the Senate’s role in our constitutional government, and he will almost invariably tell you a story from our nation’s founding that may or may not be apocryphal. It concerns an exchange that supposedly took place between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in 1787, the year of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia. Jefferson, who had been serving as America’s ambassador to France during the convention, asked Washington over breakfast upon his return why he and the other framers created a Senate — in addition to the previously planned House of Representatives and presidency — in his absence.

“Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?” Washington reportedly replied.

“To cool it,” Jefferson answered.

“Even so,” Washington said, “we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

The United States Senate has been called the world’s greatest deliberative body. By serving six-year terms — as opposed to the two-year terms in the more populist and considerably larger House of Representatives — senators are supposed to be able to stand above the ideological fray and engage in thoughtful and serious debate. What’s more, the filibuster rule allows a single senator to halt the creep of political passions into the decision-making process by blocking a given vote.

Perhaps nowhere is the ethos of the Senate, this commitment to principle over politics, more memorably captured than in the classic 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” when Jimmy Stewart, who plays an idealistic freshman senator wrongfully accused of graft, refuses to yield the floor until he has cleared his name. (After almost 24 hours, he winds up passing out from exhaustion but is ultimately exonerated.)

“We’re supposed to be the conscience of the nation,” Senator Leahy told me recently in his Washington office, which is decorated with New England folk art, including a print of a dog and cat cuddling on a throw rug that looks as if it could be on loan from a bed-and-breakfast in his home state.

Leahy is one of Congress’s so-called Watergate babies. He was elected to the Senate following Nixon’s resignation in 1974, and his arrival on Capitol Hill coincided with the sweeping bipartisan effort to investigate the Nixon administration’s abuses of executive power. “There was a sense inside the Senate among both Republicans and Democrats that the government had gotten off course and that we had a responsibility to find out what happened,” Leahy recalled.

Strong stuff. Of course, it was published on November 7th 2008, and the Times would go on to quickly forget its own words — if they even believed them in the first place. Since then, the paper has reveled in the glory of one-party government (as long as it’s as far to the left as possible) and nuking the Constitution.

No doubt, the only reservations the Carlos Slim-backed newspaper has on Obama’s amnesty is what a President Cruz or President Walker might do with such a precedent established. In the meantime, as Roger Kimball writes today, “It’s not every day that you get to have a ringside seat at the birth of tyranny.  Tune in tonight and you might have that dubious privilege.” The Times in particular should love their front row seats.

Related: “Watch Obama Admit That Obama’s Immigration Executive Order Is Illegal.”

Well, it’s not like the man held himself out as a professor who used to teach the Constitution while running for the presidency or anything.

Exit quote:

GruberGate’s Insider Problem

November 19th, 2014 - 5:49 pm

“So when I see journalists saying that Gruber’s revelations don’t matter because he’s just kind of awkwardly saying something that everyone knew, I get a little jittery,” former(?) Obama supporter Megan McArdle writes at the house organ for crony socialism, Bloomberg.com:

That politicians should try to exploit the accounting rules was inevitable; that is what people do with accounting rules. I’m not saying that’s what the rules are for, or that they do no good; I’m just saying that about eight seconds after your rules are made, some bright Johnny will start figuring out a way to game them.

What is not inevitable is that journalists should effectively sanction this by saying it’s no big deal. We don’t have to get elected, after all. And those politicians and policy makers aren’t our bosses; the reading public is.

Now who’s being naive, Kay?

Quote of the Day

November 19th, 2014 - 11:52 am

“Send this police chief to Ferguson because this is the TRUTH they need to hear!” The Right Scoop blog notes:

Man oh man this is awesome. Police Chief Edward Flynn spoke to reporters on November 6 after a Fire and Police Commission meeting concerning the shooting of Dontre Hamilton. And he doesn’t hold back with the brazen truth about people who care more about a black teen shot by a cop than they do about all the violent crimes against blacks in Milwaukee, something he says is the true threat to the racial disparity.

Spot on. Watch the whole thing.

 

Earth in the Grubering

November 18th, 2014 - 1:40 pm

“New term: ‘Grubering’ and how it applies to Climate Alarmism,” as spotted by the Watts Up With That climate Blog:

I think that no other word describes what we have seen in the climate debate quite as well as Grubering.  The Climategate emails are full of discussions about how to “sell” the public on CAGW through a campaign of lies and exaggerations.  There are many discussion about how the public could not possibly understand such a complex subject.

The late Stephen Schneider puts it succinctly:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

You can see Schneider in full Grubering action by comparing his doomsday rhetoric over a three decade period in this clip:

As the Watts Up With That blog notes:

Our critics sometimes dismiss skeptics as “conspiracy theorists” noting how unlikely it would be that thousands of  scientists would collude.   They miss the point.  We now know that Grubering takes place — we see it laid bare in the Obamacare campaign.  It was not strictly a “conspiracy”.  Rather it was an arrogant belief that lying was necessary to persuade a “stupid” public to adopt the policy preferences of the politicians and the academics in their employ.  Its Noble Cause Corruption, not conspiracy, that is at the root of this behavior.

Grubering also helps to define the relatively recent trend on the left not just to lie — that’s always been a component of the left — but to openly admit to lying as an unalloyed good to advance the Noble Cause.

All of #GruberGate in Two Minutes

November 18th, 2014 - 12:42 pm

Exit quote via Iowahawk: “Dear Tea Party people: say what you want about Gruber, but it wasn’t you he was calling stupid.”

Update: “New White House Spin: Those Gruber Videos About How We Were Lying To You In 2009? They’re From Way Back In 2009!”

See, if it’s from 2009, that’s really old, because Obama had just taken power. But if the opportunity exists to blame Bush or Reagan? Timeless.

The New York Times Drops the Mask, Yet Again

November 17th, 2014 - 1:57 pm

The Gray Lady opposes Cuban doctors becoming US citizens. No really:

In Africa, Cuban doctors are working in American-built facilities. The [Ebola] epidemic has had the unexpected effect of injecting common sense into an unnecessarily poisonous relationship.

And yet, Cuban doctors serving in West Africa today could easily abandon their posts, take a taxi to the nearest American Embassy and apply for a little-known immigration program that has allowed thousands of them to defect. Those who are accepted can be on American soil within weeks, on track to becoming United States citizens.

There is much to criticize about Washington’s failed policies toward Cuba and the embargo it has imposed on the island for decades. But the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, which in the last fiscal year enabled 1,278 Cubans to defect while on overseas assignments, a record number, is particularly hard to justify.

It is incongruous for the United States to value the contributions of Cuban doctors who are sent by their government to assist in international crises like the 2010 Haiti earthquake while working to subvert that government by making defection so easy.

American immigration policy should give priority to the world’s neediest refugees and persecuted people. It should not be used to exacerbate the brain drain of an adversarial nation at a time when improved relations between the two countries are a worthwhile, realistic goal.

“Unexpectedly” though, the Times is perfectly fine with expatriation working in the other direction:

Yup, I gotta confess, that now-famous picture of a U.S. marshal in Miami pointing an automatic weapon toward Donato Dalrymple and ordering him in the name of the U.S. government to turn over Elian Gonzalez warmed my heart. They should put that picture up in every visa line in every U.S. consulate around the world, with a caption that reads: ”America is a country where the rule of law rules. This picture illustrates what happens to those who defy the rule of law and how far our government and people will go to preserve it. Come all ye who understand that.”

And I was also warmed by the picture of Elian back in his father’s arms. Some things you can fake — like a 6-year-old wagging his finger on a homemade video and telling his father to go back to Cuba without him — and some things you can’t fake. That picture of Elian and his father illustrated the very parent-child bond that our law was written to preserve.

“Foreign Affairs; Reno for President,” Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, April 25, 2000.

And don’t get Friedman started on the joys of dictatorship, or other voices at the Times on the horrors of the American Constitution.

I missed the memo — when did the Times turn into the real-life version of the Onion?

H/T:

Related: Nicholas Kristof channels his inner Margaret Sanger: “‘Should be stopped’ was code for sterilization, and now we’re seeing its return in a new form. Nicholas Kristof’s column today in the New York Times is right out of the old progressive songbook.”

Has there ever been a new progressive songbook?

More: “New York Times Wants Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants, None for Cuban Doctors Trying to Come Here Legally.”  As someone noted on Twitter, perhaps they Gray Lady is afraid that most Cuban doctors will vote (R) upon arrival.

In addition to getting the vapors over scientist Matt Taylor’s shirt(!) last week, “the social media outrage machine,” went on quite a virulent wilding spree last week, as Mollie Hemingway writes at the Federalist:

A review of [Atlantic reporter Rose] Eveleth’s outrage-tweets over a shirt someone wore might make you embarrassed to be human.

When University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds simply wrote an op-ed for USA Today criticizing the feminist bullying, he was accused by feminists of egregious behavior, including “doxxing” — the practice of revealing a person’s private information for the purpose of intimidation. When people pointed out that there was literally not one shred of evidence to support the claim that Reynolds had done any such thing, claims were revised to (falsely) say he’d encouraged “his flying monkeys” to misbehave. Feminists tried to suggest that Reynolds’ employer should be upset about what he wrote.

And when Nancy Pelosi was asked by Nancy Cordes of CBS News if she’d given any thought to stepping down on account of how she’d just overseen yet another drubbing of Democrats in the House, she accused the assembled press corps of misogyny, claiming they’d never asked male leaders such questions. Even the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank — I repeat, even Dana Milbank — couldn’t take the idiocy, since of course male leaders are asked such questions all the time.

That’s it. Enough already. Enough. Enough. Enough. Whether we want to or not, we have to deal with our feminist bullying problem.

Indeed; read the whole thing.™ The apology from Time magazine is a curious moment as well, Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner:

Congratulations, feminists, you just reminded everyone why you have a stigma attached to your movement.

On Saturday, Time Magazine Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs added an apology to the news website’s poll asking readers what word they want to ban. At the time, the word “feminist” was winning the poll with over 50 percent of the vote.

“Editor’s Note: TIME apologizes for the execution of this poll; the word ‘feminist’ should not have been included in a list of words to ban,” Gibbs wrote. “While we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost, and we regret that its inclusion has become a distraction from the important debate over equality and justice.”

* * * * * * * *

After Time’s banishment poll was released, feminists went apoplectic. Feminist Majority called on Time to remove the word from the list and encouraged supporters to e-mail Gibbs directly with their outrage.

The bullying campaign worked.

This could have been a moment for radical feminists to rethink their tactics, but no, they confirmed everyone’s worst conceptions about the movement and thus set women back yet again.

But why was Time trying to get words removed from the English language? I thought the left didn’t believe…

….Wait, what am I saying? Last week was yet another reminder that George Orwell’s 1984 continues to remain the classic unconscious how-to guide for the left.

Related: “Shorter version: ‘If I scream and act like Rosie O’Donnell, will I look like Rosie O’Donnell?’ Why take that chance?”

Update: It’s Orwell all the way down:

Architects of Fortune

November 17th, 2014 - 12:06 pm

How badly did Gruber screw the pooch? So badly that even CBS’s dinosaur arch-liberal Bob Schieffer has noticed, Jack Coleman notes at NewsBusters, along with a minor fisking of some of Schieffer’s loopier statements:

SCHIEFFER: I’ll be honest — while I favor health insurance (a show of hands for all those opposed to health insurance, and auto insurance, and homeowners’ …?) I am not wild about the new plan and how it became law either. (Welcome to the club, Bob, mere half-decade late). But here is my question for Mr. Gruber — if all this was as bad as you say, why did you take the money you earned as an adviser? Nor is it too late to give it back. What we have here is another example of the sorry state of American politics where people take money for things in which they don’t believe and whether it’s good for the American people is not even a question. As for the president, he may want to consider that old politician’s prayer — Lord, I can take care of my enemies, just protect me from my friends.

Why would Gruber return his taxpayer-provided “consulting” fees? As Coleman adds, “Gruber was instrumental in getting this monstrosity enacted into law. Return money for a job well done? Yeah, right. His only fault, at least to liberals, is in the man’s apparently manic, post-legislative compulsion to spill all about ‘dirty secrets.’”

Gruber is certainly useful to the left right now as a scapegoat. He allows them to say, “look how badly we were duped!” during the early years of the Obama regime when they went all-in to push his programs, not the least of which, Obamacare.

CBS, along with the rest of the Democrat operatives with bylines might want to take advantage of that opportunity.

Consider it a Christmas miracle