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Ed Driscoll

The Late Paddy Chayefsky on Last Night’s Oscars

February 23rd, 2015 - 1:17 pm

“The first two minutes of this should be played at the beginning of every Oscars ever,” Tom Nichols tweets. And the stone-faced glare of Shirley MacLaine to Chayefsky’s response to Vanessa Redgrave’s infamous “Zionist Hoodlums” Oscars rant seems fascinating in retrospect.

But then, I doubt Chayefsky realized that when he wrote the screenplay for Network, he was basically crafting a how-to guide for the 21st century legacy media and its myriad grievance obsessions.

But then, as John Nolte writes at Big Hollywood, “Unpopular titles mixed with no stars to stargaze at is a recipe for low ratings and irrelevance,” especially when combined with the toxic blend of leftwing grievance politics. “Bottom line: 34.6 million for Hollywood’s biggest night; 115 million for the NFL’s biggest night. One institution speaks to the people and celebrates greatness, the other  celebrates its elite, provincial, narcissistic self.”

Bill Nye, the Nihilism Guy

February 23rd, 2015 - 10:38 am

As Ace writes, paraphrasing Nye’s bizarre statements on Time-Warner-CNN-HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, “Man Those Jews Might Not Have to Flee From One Country to Another If They Would Just Get To Actually Know Their ‘Neighbors:’”

I’m not exactly certain that’s the right way to take his statement. But I have trouble seeing any other interpretation.

Bill Nye doesn’t think the Jews of Europe should flee to Israel.

So what’s his proposed alternative?

Well they should just start getting to know their neighbors instead of, I suppose, being all clannish and Jew-y.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has the transcript of Nye’s nihilism:

MAHER: Yeah, I mean, Netanyahu is asking European Jews to come to Israel and …

NYE (wryly): Come home to Israel — that’s what he said, right?

MAHER: Well, I mean, he is the …

NYE (interrupting again): But you never, the people have never been there. They live, grew up in whatever, in Germany or France.

MAHER: It’s a shame that they should have to move, uh …

NYE: Well, they probably won’t either, ’cause it’s not their home, you know.

REINER: But you can understand it. There were German Jews that lived in Germany during the Second World War and that was their home. And, you know, at a certain point, you know, if your live is in danger, you want to go to someplace where you’re going to be protected.

NYE: So, what do you do about it? I think you get to know your neighbors. And it’s gonna take, what, does it take a century, something like that?

“There are multiple layers of irony in this conversation,” Ed Morrissey adds:

Is Nye’s response anti-Semitic, blaming the victim? Your mileage may vary, but at the very least it’s a Summer of Love cliché that ignores centuries of attempted integration by Jews in Europe, with sometimes disastrous results. In one breath Nye says that Europe is the only home they know, and in the next suggests that they aren’t really part of Europe at all. Furthermore, the problem of insularity isn’t so much a Jewish problem as it is with the Muslims who only recently began emigrating in large numbers to Europe — perhaps especially so in France and Germany. Oh, if only those silly Jews would be more friendly with their neighbors, Nye’s argument goes, then no one would have an irrational hatred for them — which suggests that anti-Semitism is the Jews’ fault, and that it’s their responsibility to crack the insularity of whatever communities are generating it.

There’s another level of irony: Like Al Gore, Andrea Mitchell, Tom Steyer, and CBS anchorman Scott Pelley, Nye is one of those persons of the left who casually flings the expression “climate denier” at those who disagree with him. (As Climate Depot reported a few years ago, when asked why he didn’t have someone on to argue against his global warming riffs, Pelley responded, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”) Perhaps Nye should cease using such a loaded phrase, which if not outright Holocaust denial itself, is rhetoric that certainly cheapens that unique historical bloodbath, if this is his inch-deep knowledge of postwar European Judaism.

Don’t Hold Your Breath, Rudy

February 22nd, 2015 - 11:01 pm

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

Barack Obama’s victory should once and for all finally break the notion that race is a barrier to any goal in the United States. And those who’ve built their power from anger and racial divisiveness, like Ayers, the Panthers, and Reverend Wright should now be mocked like the small men they are. It will be up to Obama as president to transcend the figures of his past–and it’s up to the rest of us as a nation to finally put them into the rearview mirror.

“Congratulations, President Elect Obama,” Ed Driscoll.com, November 4th, 2008.

I hope and pray that President Obama can rise to the occasion and underscore America’s greatness as our history and values merit. If he does so, I will be the first to applaud him. But I can only be disheartened when I hear him claim, as he did last August, that our response to 9/11 betrayed the ideals of this country. When he interjected that “we tortured some folks,” he undermined those who managed successfully to protect us from further attack.

And to say, as the president has, that American exceptionalism is no more exceptional than the exceptionalism of any other country in the world, does not suggest a becoming and endearing modesty, but rather a stark lack of moral clarity.

Over my years as mayor of New York City and as a federal prosecutor, I earned a certain reputation for being blunt. The thoughts I express, whether clearly or ambiguously, are my own and they are my individual responsibility. But whether you agree or not with what I said last week, I hope the intention behind those words can be the basis for a real conversation about national leadership and the importance of confidence and optimism in framing America’s way forward. I hope also that our president will start acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life.

—”Rudy Giuliani: My Bluntness Overshadowed My Message. Whether you agreed with me or not, I hope this can be the basis of a real conversation about national leadership,” Rudy Giuliani in the Wall Street Journal, today.

Given that our semi-retired president is clearly in the You’re Only President Once back nine phase of his time in office, I doubt anyone, least of all America’s Mayor Emeritus, is waiting for Mr. Obama to “start acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life” anytime soon.

On the other hand, “Marie Harf has Turned all Democrats into Neocons,” Leon Wolf quips at Red State, as Harf, Media Matters and other leftists were all frantically quoting GWB to justify Harf’s loopy “jobs for ISIS” dissembling:

Of course, the Democrats don’t really believe this, inasmuch as they don’t believe anything of conviction with respect to foreign policy. They are merely saying it aloud because they are reflexively incapable of refusing to defend anything the Obama administration does, even though Obama is term limited and the statement in question fell out of the mouth of the Lucy and Ethel duo that have been systematically (and probably purposefully) embarrassing the State Department since their arrival. It does not matter – if Obama (or even one of Obama’s low-level flunkies) wants them to be neocons, then neocons they shall be.

And if you wanted people who were capable of a coherent view of foreign policy, you shouldn’t have voted to put Democrats in charge.

Well, yes. But then, as Glenn Reynolds writes at USA Today, “Unpatriotic voters elect unpatriotic leaders,” though I think the fault lies much more in the pundit class, who built a failed community organizer turned tyro senator with excellent trousers into the second coming of JFK, FDR and Lincoln than the voters who blindly accepted their rhetoric.

Obama is Most Certainly Made of the Wright Stuff

February 22nd, 2015 - 5:54 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related:

 

The ‘Bam in the High Castle

February 22nd, 2015 - 3:27 pm

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What if Obama had been president in 1939? To understand the measure of just how temperamentally unsuited Barack Obama is to the job of president, just imagine him in the role of FDR on the eve of World War II, and the language he would use to describe the Axis, which is what VDH does in his latest column at PJM, “President Franklin Delano Obama Addresses the Threat of 1930s Violent Extremism:”

“As for acts of violence in Germany itself, we must express our worry to the German government over apparent extremism, but at the same time we must not overreact. As far as these sporadic attacks on random civilians, as, for example, during the recent Kristallnacht violence, we must keep things in perspective, when, for example, some terrorists randomly targeted some folks in a store. My job is sort of like a big-city mayor, to monitor these terrorist acts that are said to be done in the name of the German people. Let us not overreact and begin to listen to radio commentators who whip us up into a frenzy as if we were on the verge of war. We must not overestimate the SS, a sort of jayvee organization that remains a manageable problem.

“Here let me just say that we must never fall into the trap of blaming the German people abroad, but especially our German community here at home. National Socialism by no means has anything to do with socialism. These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy, and all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like the SS somehow represent socialism because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorist narrative. It is true that America and Germany have a complicated history, but there is no clash of civilizations. The notion that the America would be at war with Germany is an ugly lie.

“So make no mistake about it: National Socialism has nothing to do with Germany or the German people but is rather a violent extremist organization that has perverted the culture of Germany. It is an extremist ideology that thrives on the joblessness of Germany and can be best opposed by the international community going to the root of German unemployment and economic hard times. Let us not confuse Nazism with legitimate expressions of German nationalism. Stiff-arm saluting and jack boots are legitimate tenets of Germanism, and the German Brotherhood, for example, is a largely peaceful organization.

“So we Americans must not get on our own high horse. We, too, have bullied our neighbors and invaded them. We, too, have struggled with racism and anti-Semitism, slavery and Jim Crow. And our own culture has at times treated American citizens in the same callous way as the National Socialist do Germans. Before we castigate the Nazis, let us remember the Inquisition and the Crusades.

It’s brilliant stuff; a reminder that Obama will make a great host on MSNBC in 2017, or a great Ivy League lecturer on Ferguson or income inequality or whatever the hot lefty fad du jour is, but was a disastrous choice by the left and the pundit class (but I repeat myself) to lead the nation in 2008. Get off your high horse and read the whole thing. Because the Crusades, maaaan.

Since this seems to the weekend for both revisionist history and exploring Obama’s own fantasyland worldview, also check out Kyle Smith in the New York Post, who notes that “Sure, Obama loves America — just not the America we live in:”

Even when Obama claims to support American exceptionalism, he can’t do so without a “but.”

At West Point last year he said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it’s our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”

That’s a strangely twisted definition: We’re only special if we stop acting as if we think we’re special?

Americans are, of course, far more skeptical of the idea that our actions must receive the blessing of international bodies. In a 2011 Pew Survey, only 45 percent of Americans said we should get UN approval before using military force. In France, Britain, Germany and Spain that number was 66 percent to 76 percent.

The reality of American exceptionalism is that it tells a story of a country very much at odds with the fantasy version preferred by Obama and other liberals, a sort of continental campus where “hate speech” is carefully controlled, everyone thinks income inequality is a big deal, government is respected or even beloved, the churches are empty and no one owns a gun.

Much to Obama’s chagrin, Americans overwhelmingly reject the idea that we’re all enrolled at the United States of Oberlin. They love America as it is.

Or to put it in graphic terms:

“Quite possibly the single worst thing I have seen a manufacturer do to its customer base. … I cannot overstate how evil this is,” Slate notes:

To recap: Since at least September, Lenovo has been shipping OEM Windows laptops preloaded with Superfish “adware,” which would rudely inject its own shopping results into your browser when you searched on Google, Amazon, and other websites. This sort of behavior is associated more with spyware than with factory-shipped operating-system installs, and by itself would be a new low for Lenovo. But Superfish is more than just pesky. It’s the most virulent, evil adware you could find.

By installing a single self-signed root certificate (trust me: That’s really bad) across all of Lenovo’s affected machines, Superfish intentionally pokes a gigantic hole into your browser security and allows anyone on your Wi-Fi network to hijack your browser silently and collect your bank credentials, passwords, and anything else you might conceivably type there. As Errata Security’s Robert Graham put it, “I can intercept the encrypted communications of SuperFish’s victims (people with Lenovo laptops) while hanging out near them at a cafe wifi hotspot.” If you have a Lenovo laptop that has Superfish on it (try Filippo Valsorda’s Superfish test to see), I would advise nothing short of wiping the entire machine and installing vanilla Windows—not Lenovo’s Windows. Then change all of your passwords.

So ghastly a perversion is Superfish’ self-signed root certificate that many of us have practically been walking around with our jaws on the floor since the news broke Wednesday night. My Facebook wall is filled with outraged profanity from software engineers. Installing Superfish is one of the most irresponsible mistakes an established tech company has ever made. Reckless, careless, and appalling don’t even come close to covering it.

And as Small Dead Animals adds, “Holy crap this is bad. Really bad. As in, next time you’re in a bank take a note of how many of the pieces of hardware are labeled ‘Lenovo’ bad.”

As Mark Halperin noted on the Today Show in 2012, “the media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants.”

And how! Just ask Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin, as seen in the above tweet.

Just as a refresher, Halperin, in the midst of his earlier stint at Time magazine*, during a rare moment of clarity in November of 2013 when asked by an interviewer about “Death Panels” in Obamacare, responded unhesitatingly, “It’s built into the plan. It’s not like a guess or like a judgment. That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled.”

He’s now back to using schoolyard epithets against one possible GOP successor in the White House. Or as Mark Steyn writes in “O Beautiful, For Specious Guys…”

The US media have had a fit of the vapors over Rudy Giuliani’s suggestion that Barack Obama does not love America. As the Instapundit says, their reaction suggests that Giuliani hit a nerve. For my own part, I am way beyond that. By the way, I’m growing rather weary of the cheap comparisons of Obama with Neville Chamberlain. The British Prime Minister got the biggest issue of the day wrong. But no one ever doubted that he loved his country. That’s why, after his eviction from Downing Street, Churchill kept him on in his ministry as Lord President of the Council, and indeed made Chamberlain part of the five-man war cabinet and had him chair it during his frequent absences. When he died of cancer in October 1940, Churchill wept over his coffin.

So please don’t insult Neville Chamberlain by comparing him to Obama. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, because conspiracies are generally a comforting illusion: the real problem with Obama is that the citizens of the global superpower twice elected him to office. Yet one way to look at the current “leader of the free world” is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

That’s a question that everyone in the MSM should be asked.

After watching the brain of Dana Milbank of the Washington Post similarly explode like a character in Scanners, Jazz Shaw of Hot Air writes, “Milbank should at least be honest enough to wear a ‘Ready for Hillary’ t-shirt when he goes to work every day if this is how the upcoming election analysis is going to be handled.”

Well yes, hence the rather skewed ratio of stories lambasting a retired mayor’s remarks about a lame duck president versus the tiny amount of coverage of a front-running candidate’s funding “from questionable foreign governments and shady billionaires—something even Clinton’s defenders admit is a problem,” as Andrew Stiles writes at Hillary’s bête noire, the Washington Free Beacon.

At the start of the week, John Steele Gordon of Commentary wrote, “Republicans Should Declare War on the Mainstream Media:”

What should Boehner do? I think he, and every Republican, should do what George H.W. Bush did to Dan Rather as the 1988 presidential race was heating up: eat the mainstream media alive. They are the enemies of the Republican Party and should be treated as such. Stop trying to curry favor because you won’t get it. Bush laid a trap for Rather, insisting on the interview being live so it couldn’t end up on the cutting room floor. It totally flustered Rather, greatly energized Bush’s campaign, put the kibosh on his too-much-a-nice-guy image, and helped mightily to propel him to the White House. Make mainstream media bias the issue. Throw loaded questions and those premised on liberal assumptions back in their faces. Accuse them of bias when they are biased. Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy.

Why have the Republicans been such wimps when dealing with the media? The reason, I think, is that the Republicans were the minority party in this country from 1932 to 1994. The Democrats held the House for all but four of those 62 years and the Senate for all but ten of those years. In far too many ways, the Republicans still act as the minority party, begging for crumbs from the media. But they now hold more political offices, at both the federal and state levels, than at any time since the glory days of Calvin Coolidge. Instead they should, in dealing with the media, emulate Joan Crawford, at least as depicted by Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest, dealing with the board of Pepsi Cola (warning, she doesn’t use ladylike language).

After driving Halperin, Milbank, Ron Fournier and countless other Hillary apparatchiks into apoplexy, Rudy may have just hit on the poison pill to neutralize much of the MSM from within. Or at least have a “Hillary, Coordinate! Hillary, Coordinate!” pause while waiting for new programming from the Borg Queen, to mangle Star Trek metaphors.

Update: At the Pocket Full of Liberty Website, Jay Caruso sums it up: “In Obama [the media sees] themselves. What he wants to carry out is what they want and they are going to do what they can to make sure these last two years he gets to do just that, the consequences be damned.” Or to paraphrase Caruso’s headline, from the MSM’s perspective, when you attack Obama (or Hillary), you’re attacking us.

This was self-evident in 2008…

…But I’m honestly surprised to see the MSM not distance themselves a bit seven years later.

* Mea culpa: When I wrote the first draft of this post, I had forgotten that last year, Halperin jumped from Time to Bloomberg. Of course, we shouldn’t forget that a decade ago during his salad days at ABC, Halperin was more than a little susceptible himself to doing what the Kerry campaign wanted.

So, About The Man in the High Castle

February 21st, 2015 - 12:16 pm

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After reading James Lileks discussing its production design, late last night, I watched Amazon.com’s pilot episode for The Man in the High Castle, based on an early novel by Philip K. Dick. Here’s a quick description of the episode from Entertainment Weekly:

Creator: Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files)
Premise: An alt-history saga adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel of the same title imagines America in a world where the Axis powers won World War II—by beating everyone else to the bomb and nuking Washington D.C. The year is 1962, and the United States is split in two, à la Berlin. The Nazis control the East, the Japanese control the West, and the cold war between the former confederates threatens to explode, pending the outcome of political instability in Germany: Hitler, it seems, has Parkinson’s, and not long to live. Against this backdrop, we meet a variety of characters suffering or surviving each oppressive culture. Two of them in particular—Julianna (Mob City’s Alexa Davalos), investigating the murder of her sister, and Joe (Luke Kleintank of Pretty Little Liars and Bones), a newcomer to the resistance—are on a collision course, drawn to each other by the mystery of illicit newsreels depicting a different, better history, one where the Allies carried the day. The films are rebel art, producing an Anonymous-like subversive known only as “The Man in the High Castle.”
Prospects: Depends. If you’re tired of high-concept dystopian fantasy and Nazi bad guys, this is a pass. If you’re a fan of high-concept dystopian fantasy done right and are at least agnostic about Nazi bad guys, this is for you. Directed by veteran helmer David Semel, this well-cast, well-acted, swell-looking pilot is by far the most polished of the group. It’s engrossing despite its stately pace, and a triumph of world building. The Man in the High Castle could be Amazon’s first successful attempt at big saga TV.

If you’ve ever seen the mid-1990s HBO adaption of Robert Harris’ seminal novel, at first glance The Man in the High Castle appears very much to be Fatherland: The TV Series, albeit set in an alternative America rather than Berlin of 1962. (And as the sci-fi Website IO9 notes in their review of the pilot, nothing has ever made a simple shot of ash falling on the ground in the middle of Arkansas or Alabama seem so chilling.)

But reading the descriptions of the Dick’s novel, and pondering the implications of the pilot’s Emmanuel Goldstein-ish film within-within-a-film is a reminder that we’re firmly in Dick’s patented “what is reality” territory. Just watching the pilot, I was having the response that everyone had to the finale of Patrick McGoohan’s equally allegorical 1967 TV series The Prisoner: What Does It All Mean, Maaaan?

In short, despite a few slightly clunky CGI shots (we are talking made-for-TV after all): Mind. Blown.

And really looking forward to the TV series, which multiple sources report has received the green light from Amazon. I just hope they don’t screw up the writing in the process of trying to meet weekly TV’s crushing deadlines.

Have you seen the pilot for The Man in the High Castle? If so, let me what you think in the comments below.

“The best thing Obama can seem to say about the country is that it elected him into office,” Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File:

Look, it was like a week ago that we were talking about Obama’s inability to criticize the Islamic State without first going out of his way to flagellate the West and America over the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, and Jim Crow. Is it really so crazy to think a guy who feels compelled to warn his own countrymen not to get on their “high horse” about child rapists and slavers (who are also beheading and/or immolating and/or burying alive Americans, Christians, Yazidis, and fellow Muslims) might subscribe to an, um, unconventional form of patriotism?

* * * * * * *

More than any other president, Obama was raised with a detachedly critical view of America. He grew up abroad and in Hawaii, which is as close as you can get to growing-up abroad and still be in the United States. (Sorry, I love Hawaii, but it’s true.) At school he hung out mostly with the foreign-exchange students from Pakistan. “For years when Barack was around them, he seemed to share their attitudes as sophisticated outsiders who looked at politics from an international perspective,” David Maraniss writes in his biography of Obama. “He was one of them, in that sense.”

Byron York writes in his piece on the Maraniss book:

But Obama was ambitious. Appalled by the “dirty deeds” of “Reagan and his minions”* (as he wrote in “Dreams from My Father”), Obama became increasingly interested in, as Maraniss writes, “gaining power in order to change things.” He couldn’t do that as an international guy hanging around with his Pakistani friends; he needed to become an American.

So he did. One of those Pakistani friends, Beenu Mahmood, saw a major change in Obama. Mahmood calls Obama “the most deliberate person I ever met in terms of constructing his own identity,” according to Maraniss. The time after college, Mahmood says, “was an important period for him, first the shift from not international but American, number one, and then not white, but black.”

Mahmood, Maraniss writes, “could see Obama slowly but carefully distancing himself as a necessary step in establishing his political identity as an American.”

His early political years involved similar strategic positioning, from joining Jeremiah Wright’s Church to (according to David Axelrod) lying about his opposition to gay marriage. And it paid off. And when he finally burst on the national scene, he could use his detachment to his advantage. Indeed, his whole approach to politics has been, “People of Earth, stop your bickering. I’m Barack Obama and I’m here to help.” The slogan “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” implies the building-up of a seething desire to make this country different than it is and throw off the dead weight of the past. Whenever he talks unapologetically about patriotism, it is invariably in the context of trying to get the country to rally around some new government endeavor (and, more importantly, himself).

Read the whole thing, which condenses a century of “Progressive” history down to a handful of easily-digestible paragraphs, and notes along the way, “culturally and psychologically, what endures is the pious progressive conviction that the government is better than the people it serves, at least when the right people are running it — and that the job of progressives is to bring the bitter clingers up to the government’s ideals, as best they can.”

Which, along with Mr. Obama’s own hatred of Reagan, makes this Reagan-Obama comparison by former AP man Ron Fournier such a non sequitur.  But then, as a obedient Democrat operative with a byline, Ron’s not above questioning the patriotism of those on the other side of the aisle himself.

On the other hand, we can say this about Mr. Obama:

And this response from the left is fun…

…When you consider the improbable career arc of the source. But then, as Moe Lane writes, “the Left isn’t screaming about this because they think that the charge is unfair. They’re screaming about this because they agree with the charge, but were unpleasantly surprised to see that we picked up on it, too. …Oops?” Oh and incidentally, note this little poke at Mr. Obama’s predecessor from the Obama White House:


You stay classy, young White House turks!

* Paging Ron Fournier to the red phone, please.

Nobody Buries the Lede Like the Politico

February 20th, 2015 - 8:39 pm

“[Debbie] Wasserman Schultz has a different sense of herself. According to people who spoke with her, when she sensed Obama was considering replacing her as chair in 2013, she began to line up supporters to suggest the move was both anti-woman and anti-Semitic.”

So the Politico reports that the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee was prepared to blackmail the President of the United States by declaring him being “both anti-woman and anti-Semitic.” If my math is right, this little nugget is buried 21 paragraphs into Politico’s article on her with the equally boring headline, “Senate bid could be solution for Wasserman Schultz,” to avoid it becoming as big a story as the long-retired mayor of New York calling Obama anti-American.

I realize that this is the Democrat party, where calling your intraparty opponent — and his or her voters — racist and/or sexist is a daily bloodsport. But it seems pretty astonishing when it comes from the party chairwoman. But then, as Moe Lane writes, also linking to the story of how DWS was willing to “change her position on medical marijuana if a major Florida donor recanted his withering criticism of her,” Debbie Wasserman Schultz “Taught the Left To Be Utter Cynics.”

Which is why, speaking of cynical, as a party service, the Politico helpfully BenSmiths the detail deep into its article on DWS.

Fox Butterfield, Is That You?

February 20th, 2015 - 3:59 pm

“Getting a gun legally in Europe may be hard, but terrorists have little trouble,” insists a Washington Post headline.

Fox Butterfield could not be reached to comment. As for the first half of that headline’s equation, Europe has pretty much forgotten everything from 1933 through 1945, haven’t they?

Oh MSNBC, don’t ever change:

● “MSNBC Guest Stephanie Miller: Rudy’s Obama Comments Like Using the ‘N-Word,’ and ‘C-Word.’”

NewsBusters, today.

● “National Journal’s Hirsh [appearing on Chris Matthews' Hardball]: Time for a moral sanction against gun metaphors similar to the ‘N’ word.”

The Daily Caller, January 21st, 2011.

● “Can’t Make This Up: Now Joking About Obama’s Love for Golf is ‘Racist’ to MSNBC.”

NewsBusters, August 29th, 2012.

“Chris Matthews and MSNBC Now Claim the Word ‘Chicago’ Is Racist.”

NewsBusters, August 30th, 2012.

Just another day at the office for Comcast’s Jim Crow TV. Which is why, as Ace writes today, “Enough of the game. Your entire politics is based upon resentment towards the existing American order and a hatred of current American mores. Get the f*** out of here with your insistence that I credit you as ‘loving America.’”

Update: As Charles C.W. Cooke writes today at NRO in “The Fall of MSNBC,” unlike right-leaning Fox News, MSNBC, “by unlovely contrast, does not aim at a broad swath of the United States at all, but is instead focused on a fascinating alternative universe to which few would-be viewers have ever been. Its handful of rather ordinary news anchors to one side, MSNBC’s hosts do not so much exist to represent a popular viewpoint as they are put on air to play a set of dramatic roles in what has become a vast and monomaniacal piece of conspiratorial performance art, of the sort that one might see composed by the theater department at Oberlin.”

Hence the kabuki theater above, just a microscopic sampling from MSNBC’s daily offerings.

When Truthers Collide!

February 20th, 2015 - 1:28 pm

NBC: “Some Seattle players believe decision to throw was made to get Russell Wilson Super Bowl MVP:”

Former Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu joined Brian Abker of Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Wednesday and said he’s heard from current players on the team that believe the decision to throw on second-and-goal at the 1-yard line was rooted in a desire by the coaching staff to make Russell Wilson the MVP instead of running back Marshawn Lynch.

“I’ve heard a couple people express that sentiment,” said Obomanu, who played for Seattle from 2008-12. “A couple players, current players, have expressed that sentiment and I can give them some leeway because I know it’s hard to process and when you take a step back and you take a couple weeks post-game, post the emotions running, you start trying to find questions to ask yourself and when you get back with your parents, your friends, your buddies, all these kind of ideas creeping in. I think though some guys have expressed that same concept of actually believing that the organization in some kind of way was trying to allow Russell Wilson to be the star.

“With the whole thing with Marshawn and interviews and not giving interviews and the MVP conversation and cars and all those things that happen on the field, the guys have expressed ideas of it being easier to handle Russell Wilson accepting those kind of things and having that kind of thrust upon him as opposed to the possibilities that are unknown with Marshawn. I don’t know if guys actually believe it. I don’t know if they’re hearing it from family and friends but that’s one, I don’t know if you guys have heard it, but that’s one of the craziest kind of things that I’ve heard in my conversations with guys trying to process this whole thing.”

As NBC notes, “the thought the coaches were trying to do anything outside of winning the game seems pretty ridiculous for many reasons,” but, “no matter how silly they may sound, there is something about believing in nefarious circumstances in an otherwise simple situation that captures the imagination.”

Just ask Pete Carroll, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, who now has to deal with conspiracy theories undermining his team’s moral. Couldn’t happen to a nicer truther.

This Is CNN

February 20th, 2015 - 1:08 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

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

Does Barack Obama Love His Country?

February 20th, 2015 - 12:01 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

And on Twitter today, Frank Fleming squares the circle:

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

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

Oh, That Return of the Primitive

February 20th, 2015 - 11:06 am

“They sought paradise in a Scottish field — and found hunger, boredom and mosquitoes,” Roger Lewis writes in the London Spectator, in a review of a book titled The Utopia Experiment by Dylan Evans:

Evans, the author of this book, was one of those oddballs who rather looked forward to the apocalypse, because it promised ‘challenging times ahead’. If, in the not too distant future, famines and droughts more or less wipe us out, that will be our own fault for allowing population levels to reach an unsustainable nine billion — the predicted figure for 2050. How much better the planet will be with a select handful living in their villages of yurts, log cabins, teepees and straw-bale huts, the children gambolling happily ‘amidst the bracken and the trees’. The air will be cleaner. Wildlife ‘will make a comeback’. Neighbours will help each other out. People will be fitter as a result of their manual labour.

Evans couldn’t wait to create his retrograde society, where waif-like girls ‘with long, tawny dreadlocks’ would be doling out ‘bowls of bean stew from a steaming cauldron’. He sold his house, gave up his academic career and moved to a field near Inverness. He looked at an adjacent waterfall and thought it could ‘generate electricity’. He gazed at an acre of scrubland and believed he could ‘keep a few pigs and chickens’. He spotted a deer and, though he had no butchery or tanning training, imagined turning its hide into shoes and gloves.

Fair play to Evans: by the time he came to write this book he realised he was delusional.

Why do people believe the world is coming to an end? Steve Hayward of Power Line had a simple and concise answer to that question, during the period when the late Harold Camping, the Al Gore of evangelism, was a media sensation in 2011 after his apocalyptic vision didn’t pan out:

At least the religious versions of the end of the world come with a promise of redemption for man and nature. The secular apocalypse is usually without hope. Yet they share one larger thing in common: the deep, passionate commitment that the end is near. And when the end doesn’t come, instead of relief, there is disappointment. Fundamentalist preachers and environmental prophets-of-doom react the same way every time: they d go back over their math, and offer new predictions for the end. The preachers end up with dwindling congregations and radio audiences; the green prophets get appointed science adviser to the president.

People often ask me why environmentalists tend always to incline to apocalyptic conclusions about the state of the planet. “Because it makes them happy,” is my standard response. This is not tongue-in-cheek. There is something about certain kinds of personality types that derives a frisson of delight from contemplating the end of the world. And if you point out that the end of the world is not at hand, it makes environmentalists very unhappy, in part because it deprives them of the opportunity to play savior to the world.

Which also sounds a lot like another group that seeks doomsday, as Peggy Noonan writes in her latest column, drawing heavily from Graeme Wood’s recent blockbuster Atlantic article, “What ISIS Really Wants:”

ISIS has allure: Tens of thousands of foreign Muslims are believed to have joined. The organization is clear in its objectives: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. . . . The Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.”

The scale of the savagery is difficult to comprehend and not precisely known. Regional social media posts “suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks.” Most, not all, of the victims are Muslims.

The West, Mr. Wood argues, has been misled “by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. . . . The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers,” drawn largely from the disaffected. “But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.” Its actions reflect “a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bring about the apocalypse.”

Mr. Wood acknowledges that ISIS reflects only one, minority strain within Islam. “Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

* * * * * * * *

Mr. Wood’s piece is bracing because it is fearless—he is apparently not afraid of being called a bigot or an Islamophobe. It is important because it gives people, especially political leaders, information they need to understand a phenomenon that may urgently shape U.S. foreign policy for the next 10 years.

In sorry contrast, of course, are the Obama administration’s willful delusions and dodges. They reached their height this week when State Department spokesman Marie Harf talked on MSNBC of the “root causes” that drive jihadists, such as “lack of opportunity for jobs.” She later went on CNN to explain: “Where there’s a lack of governance, you’ve had young men attracted to this terrorist cause where there aren’t other opportunities. . . . So how do you get at that root causes?” She admitted her view “might be too nuanced of an argument for some.”

Yes, it might.

It isn’t about getting a job. They have a job: waging jihad.

Do Islamic terrorists and the doomsday fringe of the global warming cult have something in common? It’s not a coincidence that a few months before he died of a massive case of lead poisoning, the Washington Post ran the headline, “Osama bin Laden embraces his inner Al Gore.”

But to get back to The Utopia Experiment by Dylan Evans, who “sold his house, gave up his academic career and moved to a field near Inverness,” didn’t the London School of Economics-educated author realize that he was living out a 45 year old Monty Python sketch?

(Via Tim Blair.)

Television journalist so brilliant he received the Cronkite Award after only three days on the air is now out of a job:

It was hardly a surprise Thursday when ratings-challenged MSNBC announced the cancellation of the poor-performing afternoon programs hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid after less than a year, with veteran news anchor Thomas Roberts stepping in to preside over the two-hour block from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Until a permanent replacement is named for Roberts’s 5:30 a.m. program Way Too Early, the 6 a.m. Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will temporarily take up the slack by starting a half-hour earlier.

* * * * * * * *

In an interview with The Daily Beast, [Phil Griffin, MSNBC president] was clearly smitten with Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen (or Frank Sinatra, depending), then a precocious 26-year-old who was largely untested on camera.

“Within 20 minutes, it was ‘Holy Cow!’ I knew,” Griffin said, describing their first meeting. “I’d wondered, is this guy for real? Is he a freak? And he walked in and we had the greatest conversation about where media is going—and that is critical. We’ve got to be at the forefront of it, and if we’re not, we’re going to lose.”

Yes, it’s true, America as a nation has failed to grok the sagacity of the second coming of Mencken, Edward R. Murrow and Fielding Mellish all rolled into one staggering talent, who like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane in the 1950s, was laying down riffs so brilliant, they were simply far beyond what our meager intellects could grasp.

Either that, or, the vast majorities of lefties already get their news from the CBSNBSABC evening news, NPR, the Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and aren’t looking for Air America with pictures. Nahhh, can’t be.

Say, About Creepy Uncle Joe Biden

February 19th, 2015 - 1:35 pm

“Top Democratic 2016 contenders are poor generals in the ‘war on women,’” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner: 

Now that the opening shots have been fired in the “war on women” 2016 narrative, a ploy used by Democrats in 2012 to paint Republicans as anti-woman, it’s time to retaliate. The current top two contenders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination – Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden – are really, really lousy figures in the pro-woman department.

Vice President Biden, who currently appears to skate away from controversy as “Creepy Uncle Joe,” has a weird habit of treating women like Richard Dawson, the former “Family Feud” host known for kissing female contestants. As my colleague Byron York pointed out on Tuesday, it’s time to ask why it’s okay for Biden to act like a 1960s corporate manager (without the extramarital affairs) but not okay for the coworker or friend to do so.

Especially given the fact that this is the same Biden who has for decades championed the Violence Against Women Act and more recently, the Obama administration’s efforts to combat campus sexual assault. In 2000, as York also noted, Biden said “There is no circumstance under which a man has a right to touch a woman without her consent other than self-defense.” This would be at odds with the inappropriate touching of women by Biden during White House events. As far as I can tell, he has not been defending himself from constant physical attacks by politicians, wives or daughters. But I guess that would be the ultimate twist.

But with Democrats and their activists giving so much attention to the issue of campus sexual assault, could they really nominate someone who at nearly every event he attends does something that college activists would label as assault? Or will the old Richard Nixon defense be used: “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

The “1960s corporate manager” reference is key — barring a disastrous gaffe by Hillary (let me rephrase that, given her propensity at making them — barring a disastrous gaffe by Hillary which somehow gains traction among the American people despite the best efforts of DNC operatives with bylines to tamp down the fire), Biden is at this point the longest of longshots at getting the Democrat nomination. Instead, the Hollywood that religiously watches Mad Men every week and tut-tuts the lecherous behavior of Don Draper and Roger Sterling (while looking the other way at the lecherous behavior of Woody & Roman and dozens of others in their own industry), will cheerfully give their pocket change to the wife of Bill Clinton.

To be fair to Biden though, as Jim Treacher writes, “He should maybe stop contributing to rape culture by feeling up anything in a skirt, but I hope he never stops telling us how much Obama stinks.”

As the Politico reports, smelling salts in firmly in hand:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

* * * * * * *

In an interview after the dinner — Walker aides insisted all of the governor’s comments were off the record — Giuliani said he would “eventually” back a Republican presidential candidate. He also elaborated on his criticism of Obama by arguing the president “sees our weaknesses as footnotes to the great things we’ve done.”

As Ace adds:

That is Guiliani garbling his thoughts; our weaknesses are footnotes (and footnotes worth reading, as footnotes usually are) to our accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t see our failings as footnotes. He sees them as the main text. He sees America doing a few good things here and there (most importantly: electing him) as the footnotes.

Click over to read the rest. And then check out Jim Treacher, who offers an illustrated drive down memory road for anyone in the DNC-MSM who has forgotten some of Mr. Obama’s more infamous moments. “Obama loves you, America. Now stop clinging so bitterly to your old life and change,” Treach adds.

Back in 2007, Ace once referred to “the Ike Turner school of patriotism,” practiced by those “who love America show it by denigrating and beating the shit out of her at every opportunity.” Mr. Obama fits that mindset perfectly. And the MSM knows it, because in their heart of hearts, they also support such a punitive worldview, which is at the reactionary heart of the Progressive mindset, but one that they’ve spent eight years working so diligently covering up in Mr. Obama.

Which is why they’re so angry with Giuliani for openly stating the obvious. And hey, two more years to go of Obama in full You’re Only President Once mode. As Obama continues to go Bullworth, the media will continue to attack Republicans ever more viciously as they point out his failings — a dangerous negative feedback loop for all concerned.

Finally, an exit question for the MSM:

 

To paraphrase Mr. Obama, apparently the non-Islamic ISIS has serious legitimate Islamic grievances with the Slingerland company:

ISIS in Libya have released pictures of armed fighters burning musical instruments as the extremist group continues its propaganda assault in the north African country.

Pictures of the heavily armed masked militants watching while a pile of drums burnt in the Libyan desert were released earlier today – purportedly by the ‘media wing’ of the local group.

It is understood the brightly coloured instruments had been confiscated by the religious police, and were destroyed near the port city of Derna, in eastern Libya.

* * * * * * * * *

Earlier this year, religious police were filmed beating musicians and destroying their instruments as punishment for playing an ‘un-Islamic’ keyboard.

The men were pictured being hit across the back and legs with a wooden stick in a public square in Syria after ISIS’s fanatical Islamic enforcers ruled the electric keyboard was ‘offensive to Muslims’.

Another picture shows two keyboards and what appears to be a lute smashed to pieces after raids thought to have taken place in Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria.

Serious question: Given ISIS’ love of propaganda photos and videos, what is it that makes Sony digital cameras, Adobe editing software and the American-created Internet as a distribution system as not being “un-Islamic?” What about the Soviet-designed AK-47 and the Toyota Hilux SUV?