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Ed Driscoll

CNN Gets Mugged By Reality

September 15th, 2014 - 7:08 pm

The National Labor Relations Board, one of FDR’s alphabet soup programs designed to prolong the Depression by dramatically bloating the size of government* “has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers and compensate 200 others for a labor dispute that originated in 2003,” according to show-biz house organ Variety:

The 11-year dispute stems from CNN’s decision to replace a unionized subcontractor called Team Video Services, which provided the network with audio and video technicians, with an in-house nonunion work force in its Washington and New York bureaus.

The decision comes weeks after CNN’s top boss Jeff Zucker hinted at additional job cuts at the Turner-owned [ultimately Time-Warner-owned -- Ed] news channel, which employs over 2,000 people.

“We are going to have to do what we do with less,” he said in a memo to CNN employees. “As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made.”

It’s unclear how the NLRB’s ruling will impact the expected restructuring at the news operation.

The Labor Board found “overwhelming” evidence of anti-union animus in CNN’s failure to bargain with the union about the decision to terminate the subcontracts. The org also found CNN had implemented a hiring plan designed to limit the number of discharged TVS employees to avoid a successorship bargaining obligation.

A CNN spokesperson said, “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we are evaluating our options.”

Really? CNN admits that a Roosevelt-era federal government agency in the Obama era can make a mistake? CNN won’t be having its anchors bake cakes or fist-bump on-air in celebration of this decision? It won’t hire a children’s choir as human shields to sing its praises? Talk about burying the lede — this may be a first for the struggling, little-watched network.

I wonder if anyone at CNN has said, “What right does government have to do this to us?” Now if only we could get them to ask, “What is it that the American government shouldn’t be allowed to do?”

To paraphrase Irving Kristol, a conservative is a liberal that’s just gotten mugged by reality. Of course, it will take far more than this to awaken CNN from their decades of ideological torpor — but then, an angry bureaucracy in the waning days of the Obama era likely has far more to dish out, as well.

* Well, that’s how it ultimately worked out. As socialist Stuart Chase said when dreaming up Roosevelt’s New Deal, “Why should the Soviets have all the fun remaking a world?”

Everybody says so. Everybody. But with so much on the line, who are all those mystical sprites and gnomes who are constantly confounding the pathways between his brain and vocal cords, and forestalling the former president’s immense efforts to be clear?

Speaking of hoary old MSM cliches, it will be fun in 2016 to be constantly told by the MSM that “this is the most important election of our lifetime” — by so many people who got the last two most important elections in our lifetime so wrong.

No Doubt Running on Windows ’39

September 15th, 2014 - 1:52 pm

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

 


Of course, if you’d like to buy a tank or other armored surplus military vehicle for yourself, a payment plan can be worked out; they’re not just for heavily-armed school districts anymore.

Gray Lady Suffers Malaise

September 15th, 2014 - 1:25 pm

Elizabeth Scalia, aka “The Anchoress,” describes Roger Cohen’s piece in the New York Times titled “The Great Unraveling” as “an exquisitely-written dose of reality.” Regarding America in the age of Obama, Cohen describes it in Dickensian terms; “It was a time of weakness”:

The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.

Elizabeth responds, “It is, finally, perhaps a time of dawning realization that the centers are not holding; old orders are in extremis; new orders are in capricious adolescence”:

The troubles briefly enumerated in this sobering op-ed are only the most obvious issues. They are the pebble tossed into the pond, rippling outward in ever-widening circles — expanding to include a unique “time” of global crisis: governments failing at every level, everywhere; churches are divided, their freedoms challenged; citizens are distracted, dissatisfied and distrustful, their election mechanisms in doubt; schools are losing sight of the primary mission of education; families are deconstructed and the whole concept ripe for dissolution; respect for human dignity is doled out in qualified measures; there is a lack of privacy; a lack of time to think, to process and to incarnate; a lack of silence.

It sounds terribly, terribly depressing, yes. Who wants to read that? Who wants to think about that?

Sadly, this is essential reading; this is essential thinking.

Fair enough, but consider the source — over the past 12 years, the New York Times, when not going on benders on the evils of golf courses and air conditioning, and publishing outright fabulism, has, more recently, published pieces calling for the end of the US Constitution, and mocking the “fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity” of its presidential candidates — only, upon further review, to discover that these extreme worldviews are Catholicism, Lutheranism and Mormonism, bedrock religions of America’s history.  Its leading journalists have publicly called the citizens of the American midwest “The dance of the low-sloping foreheads” and filed William S. Burroughs-style stories of openly experimenting with drugs. And of course, in 2008, it went all-in to champion a man who was clearly not ready to be president, to the point of actively burying potentially damaging stories about him and refusing to run op-eds from his opponent.

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With headlines like “Obama’s Scariest ISIS Comment Yet: ‘I’m Not Going to Anticipate Failure’” — even the Obama fanboys at the New Republic are beginning to catch on to the SCOAMF-y-esque* nature of our recently retired former president:

Over the past month, President Obama has weathered frequent criticism for his comments about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Most notable was his “gaffe” on August 28 when he said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” Two weeks later, the president announced a plan to strike ISIS in Syria and provide military aid to moderate rebels. But those days in between were a devastating blow to our place in the world. Or, you know, maybe Washington pundits were overstating the significance of Obama’s comments.

In fact, though, Obama did make a serious error on ISIS recently. They weren’t public comments and they didn’t garner huge coverage, but they represent a dangerous mindset as the country embarks on another multi-year military engagement in the Middle East.

President Obama made the comment in a private, off-the-record meeting with a select group of journalists before his prime-time speech last week. On Sunday, Peter Baker, who was not at the meeting, reported in the New York Times about what was said there. Among other things, Obama was reportedly asked how he would adjust his strategy if his new plan proved unsuccessful. “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point,” Obama responded, according to Baker’s report.

We’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we? Why, yes we have:

When the tech geeks raised concerns about their ability to deliver the website on time, they are reported to have been told “Failure is not an option.” Unfortunately, this is what happens when you say “failure is not an option”: You don’t develop backup plans, which means that your failure may turn into a disaster.

That’s from former Obama supporter Megan McArdle’s piece at Bloomberg (unexpectedly!) View on Obamacare last year titled, “Hope Is All Obamacare Has Left.”

In the 1920s and 1930s, as the “Progressive” socialists who had followed Woodrow Wilson into transforming America into a socialist state blanched at America’s return to normalcy, “We planned in war” became the rallying cry that led to the New Deal, staffed with Wilson-era retreads, who saw the New Deal as “The Moral Equivalent of War,” albeit in peacetime.

Gee, that worked out swell for everyone, didn’t it? See also, the busted flush of the “Stimulus” program, aka Obama later discovering that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.” and the Obamacare meltdown, with the former president reduced to muttering, “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy,” and “One of the things the federal government does not do well is information technology procurement.”

But if you’re going to plan for a real battle, and not the moral equivalent thereof, having a contingency plan for what to do if things go completely pear-shaped is usually a good idea. Fortunately though, as past performance on the “Stimulus,” Iraq, and Obamacare each indicates, our current president is far too smart to let that ever happen:

* Sorry Ace.

‘Where Have You Gone, Michael Moore?’

September 14th, 2014 - 6:53 pm

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“We should be living in a new Michael Moore moment,” Christian Toto, veteran film critic at the Washington Times and later Breitbart.com’s Big Hollywood Website, writes at his new Website, Hollywood In Toto:

He made news this week by critiquing President Barack Obama from the left, saying Obama will be remembered as the first black president, not for any significant achievements.

Isn’t that fodder for a documentary, a profile of a president who promised to fundamentally transform the country and, in Moore’s eyes, ended up being a sign of racial progress and little else?

Meanwhile, wholesale changes in the film industry are making it easier than ever to be the next Michael Moore. Filmmakers can flex a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to raise money, tap streaming services like Netflix or iTunes to distribute content without needing theatrical access and use social media to spread the word. Moore could piggyback on all of these advances or simply flex his industry clout to make more film op-eds.

Yet Moore’s film voice is silent.

Could it be that his progressive bona fides are on the decline? He rallied on behalf of Occupy Wall Street, an archaic movement which quickly burned itself out. More recently, details of his divorce proceedings leaked, showing his Everyman image camouflaged a wealthy man who enjoyed the perks of capitalism.

Presumably aware of the fates of  Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and Dinesh D’Souza, perhaps Moore doesn’t wish to become yet another filmmaker risking jail time from the regime he once championed.

Earlier: Michael Moore Now Living Out Old SNL Nixon Sketches.

Our Source was the New York Times

September 14th, 2014 - 5:55 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners. Earlier on Wednesday, he called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to enlist his support for the plan to step up training of the Syrian rebels.

—Mark Landler, the New York Times, September 10th, 2014.

Really? That’s not how I remember history:

Why does the United States need a coalition?

From the start of its confrontation with Iraq, the Bush administration has tried to create the impression that its drive to topple Saddam has broad international support. Having allies–even some who do little more than lend their names to the war–is apparently meant to undercut widespread criticism that the world’s sole superpower is acting unilaterally.

Who are the coalition members?

According to the Bush administration and press reports, they are: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan. Noticeably absent are major powers–France, for example–that were members of the coalition that overturned Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1991.

Are all the members “willing?”

No. Officials in some of the countries have distanced themselves from participating in the war. For example, the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has sharply criticized the attacks on Iraq, and the government of the Netherlands has assured its citizens that Dutch forces won’t enter combat.

Other countries have not been named publicly but are likely members of the coalition. They include Israel, as well as several Arab states that are providing bases or other assistance to the war: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt.

“Q&A: What Is the ‘Coalition of the Willing?’”, the New York Times, March 28th 2003.

At the Daily Caller, Betsy Rothstein quips that one of her readers suggested that “Maybe the Times could have looked for some really hard-to-find information, like at – oh, I don’t know – Wikipedia?”

Or simply, the New York Times.

Of course, Timesmen aren’t the only Democrat operatives with bylines making this same “error.”

Question of the Day

September 14th, 2014 - 3:46 pm

Which bumper sticker will leftists need to remove from their Prius or Smart Car in the coming weeks? “For example, this typical car spotted yesterday in Berkeley, with 2008-era bumper stickers,” as photographed by Zombie. I don’t want to steal the photo, so click over to see it:

On one side: “No Blood for Oil“; on the other: “Obama ’08.”

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

One of those stickers simply has to be scraped off. Otherwise the cognitive dissonance would be too intense to tolerate.

But which sticker to remove?

The answer to that question may determine America’s political future in the near term.

Will anti-war liberals hold true to their unwavering belief that whenever America wages war in the Middle East, it is “for oil”? Or will they defend Obama politically as he once again sends American troops to Iraq?

Because when Obama invades Iraq, as he is about to do, you can’t have it both ways.

As former Democrat National Comittee chairman Howard Dean once claimed, “I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy.” Given the left’s utter obsession on the topic, it’s fun to call them out, but the cognitive dissonance that led to Obama’s coronation in 2008 could lead to far worse things as well.

“Obama’s Ship is Sinking,” Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post today. “I fear, we are on the cusp of tragedy,” he warns. It is reasonable to assume the worst-case scenarios about national security are growing increasingly likely to occur:”

Obama’s fecklessness is so unique that our adversaries and enemies surely realize they will never face a weaker president. They must assume the next commander in chief will take a more muscular approach to America’s interests and be more determined to forge alliances than the estranged man who occupies the Oval Office now.

So Vladimir Putin, Iran, China, Islamic State, al Qaeda and any other number of despots and terrorists know they have two years to make their moves and advance their interests, and that resistance will be token, if there is any at all.

Throw in the fact that Europe largely has scrapped its military might to pay for its welfare states, and the entire West is a diminished, confused opponent, ripe for the taking. Redrawn maps and expanded spheres of influence could last for generations.

Of course, there is a possibility that America could rally around the president in a crisis, and there would be many voices demanding just that. But a national consensus requires a president who is able to tap into a reservoir of good will and have his leadership trusted.

That’s not the president we have.

Long before the media tied their collective panties into knots over the Tea Party, Obama’s self-described “non-official campaign” staffers worked exceedingly hard in 2007 and 2008 at dividing America, dubbing anyone who was against him as racist, all the way to Bill and Hillary Clinton — and the workaday Democrat Americans who supported them in the primaries. Between alienating both sides of the aisle in Congress with his aloofness, pitting the rest of America from 2007 until today against itself and most recently angering his dove-ish BUSH SUX MAN! supporters by threatening ISIS, Obama’s has burned through an enormous amount of political capital and good will.

Perhaps with only a couple of years left in his administration, he didn’t think he’d need very much of it by now.

But in regards to Zombie’s statement that “when Obama invades Iraq, as he is about to do, you can’t have it both ways,” of course you can — if there’s a (D) after your name, you can flip-flop and contort your ideology — 360 degrees or more, as Maxine Waters might say — on every issue like you were John Kerry catching some really tasty waves on his windsurfing rig:

Busby Berkeley at Berchtesgaden

September 14th, 2014 - 2:09 pm

“Her directing career ended with the Third Reich,” Mark Steyn writes in an 80th anniversary essay on Leni Riefenstahl’s infamous agitpropumentary, Triumph of the Will. As Mark notes, had Riefenstahl “been worse at making the Nazis look good, her insistence that she was no more than a hired hand might have been accepted,” which would have resulted perhaps in a very different postwar life. (Riefenstahl lived to be 101, dying in 2003):

Did Leni get Adolf to do re-takes? Or maybe she made the entire population of Nuremberg re-take the scene; maybe they staged the procession twice. If Hitler was unusually agreeable about taking direction, it was because this was never a filmed record of an event so much as an event created for the film. Whatever Triumph Of The Will is, it’s not a documentary. Its language is that of feature films – not Warner Brothers gangster movies or John Ford westerns, but rather the supersized genres, the epics and musicals where huge columns of the great unwieldy messy mass of humanity get tidied and organized — and, if that isn’t the essence of totalitarianism, what is? Riefenstahl has the same superb command of the crowd as Busby Berkeley, the same flair for human geometry (though Berkeley would have drawn the line at giving the gentlemen of the chorus as swishy a parade step as Hitler’s personal SS bodyguard do).

The sets (that’s what they are) that were built for Hitler’s speeches blend Cecil B. de Mille with expressionist sci-fi: no party convention in Britain, Canada or even Obama’s America ever offered its leader a stage like this. It exists in the same relationship to reality as, say, Berkeley’s “Lullaby Of Broadway” sequence in Gold Diggers Of 1935: in that scene, the conceit is that the number’s taking place in a nightclub, but, as the song continues and the dancers multiply and the perspective extends ever further into the distance, you realise that no nightclub anywhere on earth has a stage that vast. Riefenstahl stretches reality in the same way, beginning in the streets of old Nuremberg with the band serenading Hitler below the balcony of his ivy-clad hotel, and steadily abandoning human scale until the Führer is standing alone atop a giant stone block as thousands of standard-bearing party members march in formation below: extras on a set. In the 21st century, you can see Riefenstahl’s influence in the work of George Lucas (Star Wars) and Paul Verhoeven (Starship Troopers), both filmmakers for whom the principal thrill of directing seems to be the opportunity it affords to subordinate the individual.

George Lucas’s Star Wars begins with its iconic logo, about which its designer later explained, “Suzy Rice, who had just been hired as an art director, remembers the job well. She recalls that the design directive given by Lucas was that the logo should look ‘very fascist.’”

The film ends with the Rebels, the film’s “good guys,” about whom Lucas told interviewers he had modeled after Communist North Vietnam, tromping through a giant hall to pick up their awards. As numerous critics have noted over the years, it’s a scene whose composition was straight out of Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. Given the similarities that exist back in the real world between national socialism and international socialism, perhaps his notion that his film’s beginning and end wound up looking “very fascist” is more appropriate than even Lucas knew at the time.

As for Paul Verhoeven’s silly but entertaining 1997 version of Starship Troopers, his film merged the propaganda techniques, the massed geometries of soldiers at attention, and the uniforms of all of the major World War II participants, down to Neil Patrick Harris’s infamous leather greatcoat worn in the film’s last scene. (“Doogie Himmler!”, as one wag exclaimed at the time in an early review.) Verhoeven’s Troopers crudely anticipates the argument made in Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism regarding the intertwined nature of the socialist ideologies the players in World War II all shared. Not surprisingly, that wasn’t an argument leftwing film critics wanted to hear while Bill Clinton was in office, which likely accounted for its many bad initial reviews. But oh, the hosannas Starship Troopers would have garnered from “liberal” critics had it been released in 2004

“That awkward moment when the President of the United States pretends he’s an ISIS terrorist:”

Moe Lane brilliantly juxtaposed that tweet with this reminder of Barry’s galaxy-sized hubris from Iowahawk:

Another Twitter user questions the timing:

As Moe writes, “:rubbing head in hands: Please make President Barack Obama stop talking, OK, Democrats?” Maybe Obama could simply write ISIS a nice letter. That worked so well for Lyndon Johnson

Update: Meanwhile, in what is perhaps a much more difficult role to game out, former President Obama is also pretending what it’s like to be former President Bush, Ann Althouse writes today:

Another way to put that is: Obama feels like George Bush, yet he must not be George Bush. Obama feels compelled to go to war in Iraq, but it must not be the same as what George Bush did. So he’s grasping at distinctions: 1. He’s taking it more slowly, being deliberate, and thoughtful. (Remember: Bush had no brain and was a cowboy.) 2. He doing it all from the air, so lofty and elevated. (Remember: Bush put boots on the ground. Ugh! Boots, so brutal! The ground, so lowly and filthy!)

“This will be a problem for the next president,” Mr. Obama said ruefully…

Ruefully…. see? Obama is not like Bush, he and his friends in the press are desperate to have you know. I’ve long seen “ruefully” an absurd adverbial boost to the good old verb “said.” (Ask my ex-husband, the novelist, who I don’t think ever used “ruefully” again after that one time I pointed it out, though I adopted “he said ruefully” to add punch to subsequent conversations. By the way, one of Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules for writers was: “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue.” I’d add: Especially not “ruefully.”)

Of course, some reporters are much more desperate than others to remind their readers — perhaps themselves — that Obama isn’t his evil, scary, warmongering Texas predecessor, even if takes Orwellian Ministry of Truth-level airbrushing of history to do so.

That’s a lie worthy of Jay Carney’s career as a journalist — somebody’s clearly angling to be the next press secretary for Mr. Obama.

‘Where Have All the Anti-War Protestors Gone?’

September 13th, 2014 - 10:51 pm

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“Gee — could it be that the anti-war movement is just another partisan creation of the Democratic party? Looks that way,” Rick Moran concludes at the American Thinker:

Apparently, the far left believes that as long as Obama’s heart is in the right place, all else can be forgiven.

The grand dame of liberal commentary magazines — The Nation — is opposing the expansion of the war in Iraq, but in the most mild terms you can imagine. No calls to bring the president up on war crimes. No calls for impeachment for going to war without authorization. The rhetoric is rueful and disappointed rather than righteous and indignant.

In fact, the protests held to date have not been against the administration, but rather “racism” or “police brutality.” You can bet if Ferguson occurred six years ago, there would have been loud and vociferous calls for the resignation of President Bush’s attorney general, among others.

With no lefty media calling for protests, there probably won’t be any. Even the anarchists and commies are silent. It’s a phenomenon that proves the shocking level of hypocrisy and partisanship inherent in any leftist protest movement, but especially the anti-war crowd.

Oh, I don’t know — the protests this weekend were rather dramatic in their size and scope:

Perhaps the protestors are going the John & Yoko bed-in route. But hey, to borrow from the rhetoric of John Winston Ono Lennon, War is Over, If You Want It.

Nahh, just kidding. The legendary San Francisco moonbat told Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokesman Bill Maher last night that “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate,” Chuck Ross writes at the Daily Caller:

On the one hand, California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims that Democrats are not “fear-mongers;” on the other hand, she believes civilization is doomed if Republicans take control of the Senate from Democrats in November.

The former speaker of the House made those dramatic, incongruous statements on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which aired live from Washington, D.C. Friday.

Maher asked Pelosi about recent polling which shows that the GOP is likely to take over the upper chamber and asked, given gridlock in Washingon, why it matters that Democrats keep control.

“It would be very important for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate,” Pelosi told Maher. “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.”

Democrats currently hold 53 seats in the Senate. Republicans have 45. Two independents caucus with Democrats.

Maher asked about voter turnout for Democrats, which he asserted was too low to carry the party in the mid-term.

“Nobody comes about to vote to say ‘thank you,’” Maher said. “The people who get health care now — they’re the people least likely to vote. The people who come out to vote are the angry people.”

“That’s true,” said Pelosi. “Fear is a motivator, and we are not fear-mongers. The Democrats are messengers of hope, and that’s what we will continue to be.”

So just to confirm: the left aren’t fear-mongers, they’re messengers of hope, but civilization is doomed if the Senate is controlled by those who wish your taxes were three or four percent lower. Gotcha.

And note Nancy’s incredible timing, given the recently retired president’s speech this week on the hash he’s made of Iraq:

Related: Steve Hayward at Power Line on “What’s Wrong With California in One Map.”

And at Twitchy, what else does Nancy Pelosi endanger?

Symmetrical Sophistry

September 12th, 2014 - 10:19 pm

“There Are Now 52 Explanations For The Pause In Global Warming,” Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller writes:

It’s been a busy year for climate scientists, who have been trying to explain why there has been no global warming for nearly two decades.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported in February there were eight mainstream explanations for the pause, but there are now a whopping 52 explanations for why there has been no warming trend for the last 215 months.

Which oddly makes sense: the savants of settled science are proffering almost as many explanations as to why there’s no global warming as the number of maladies supposedly caused by global warming.

I blame Leonard Nimoy.

“Michael Moore Tells Canadian News He Planted Stories About His Extreme Wealth,” at Brietbart TV:

This week at the Toronto Film Festival, Canada’s Sun News caught up with progressive director Michael Moore and asked him about reports from earlier in the summer that his divorce settlement records showed Mr. Moore’s net worth estimated at $50 million and he and his wife owned nine properties which included a Manhattan condo that once was three apartments.

The director of the documentary critical of capitalism, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” deflected those question by claiming that he has been planting false news stories of his exaggerated wealth with his writers for years.

Video at link. Shades of the old Saturday Night Live sketch where Dan Aykroyd played Nixon and Buck Henry played John Dean:

David Eisenhower: Uh.. you were telling us how they twisted the meaning of what you said.

Richard Nixon: That’s right, uh.. uh, yeah, yeah.. [ chuckles ] You see.. my administration.. had the greatest sense of humor that this country has ever seen. You see.. most of the time, we were.. making “party” tapes. Me, and Haldeman, and Ehrlichman, and Dean could joke for weeks on end. We actually.. played to the microphone..

[ slow dissolve to a flashback scene of Nixon's March 21st meeting with John Dean in the Oval Office ]

Richard Nixon V/O: ..We’d do anything to crack wach other up! And I remember, that day, Dean was on a roll, so I just followed his lead, and.. “played along” with the “joke”..

John Dean: [ standing over Nixon's desk; a microphone is unseen underneath a small lamp on the desk ] ..Plus.. there’s a real problem.. in raising money.

[ Dean holds up handwritten sign: "Let's Pretend There's A Cover Up"; Nixon laughs, removes lampshade to reveal hidden microphone ]

John Dean: Uh.. Mitchell.. Mitchell has been working on raising some money.. feeling he’s got, you know.. he’s one of the ones with the most.. to lose

President Richard Nixon: [ covers microphone with hand, tries not to laugh ] Martha!

John Dean: ..but.. there is no denying the fact that the White House – Ehrlichman, Haldeman.. [ points to himself ] ..Dean – are all involved in some of the.. early.. money decisions.

President Richard Nixon: [ stands slightly to speak directly into the microphone ] How much money do they need?

John Dean: Well.. I would say these people are going to cost, uh.. uh.. [ looks to Nixon for help, who sticks both thumbs in the air to silently cue Dean to pick a high number ] ..a million dollars! Over the next.. two years.

[ Nixon and Dean pound on the desk to subdue their laughter ]

President Richard Nixon: We could get that.

John Dean: [ stifling laughter ] Uh-huh.

[ Nixon scribbles on a pad, then, laughing silently, holds it up to reveal the message: "Let's Talk In Incomplete Sentences" ]

President Richard Nixon: Uh.. uh.. You, uh.. on the money.. if you, uh.. need the money, I mean, uh.. you could get the money. Let’s say, uh..

John Dean: Well, I think if we’re going to, uh..

President Richard Nixon: What I meant is, uh.. you could get, uh.. you could get a million dollars. And you could get it in cash.

[ Dean stick two pencils up his nose, resembling a walrus; Nixon practically falls out of his chair laughing at the sight ]

President Richard Nixon: I, uh.. I know where it could be gotten!

John Dean: Uh, huh! [ puts lampshade on his head and dances in a circle, to Nixon's amusement ]

President Richard Nixon: I mean it’s not easy.. but it could be done!

[ Dean drops his pants and continues to dance with lampshade on his head; Nixon falls to the floor laughing, as Dean pounds on the desk in a fit of laughter ]

[ slow dissolve back to the Nixon household, present day ]

Richard Nixon: You see, David? Things aren’t always as they seem.

David Eisenhower: Well, I.. guess people just hear what they want to hear.

Julie Eisenhower: I’ll say. You know, Dad’s only crime was having too good a sense of humor.

Richard Nixon: You’re damn right, Kitten!

With Robert Redford about to shoot a film about Dan Rather’s slow transformation into the second coming of Richard Nixon, it’s not all that surprising that Michael Moore would want to get in on the action as well.

Oh and by the way, if Moore is claiming he lied about his wealth, why should anyone believe what’s in his “documentaries,” as Pauline Kael noted in her perceptive New Yorker review of Roger & Me?

Update: On the other hand, perhaps Moore was simply trying to Voxsplain his wealth to the Sun News reporter:

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“On CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Twitchy notes that “former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden expanded on his comment to U.S. News and World Report that ‘The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex: It seems to offer gratification but with very little commitment:’”

While President Obama’s primetime address to the nation Wednesday night was intended for the American public, “there are other audiences – our allies and our enemies. They view that as limiting our commitment to this enterprise … (and) limited enthusiasm on the part of our allies to take up the role we said we would refuse to do,” said Hayden.

So, is “casual sex” a valid metaphor for airstrikes? Yes or no?

So just to review, we now have a real-life (former) Air Force general using a sex-related aviation metaphor that’s straight out of Dr. Strangelove. It took half a century, but at last, Muggeridge’s Law, which posits that no satirist can compete with reality for its pure absurdity, at long last catches up with Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern:

Well, the war as sexual metaphor part. The end of the world at (SPOILER ALERT!) the conclusion of Dr. Strangelove hasn’t happened yet, but former President Obama — who makes Peter Sellers’ President Merkin Muffley* seem like a font of Eisenhower-esque rationality and grace under pressure — still has a year and a half to go in office.

* To say nothing of how good Mr. Obama makes Peter Sellers’ Chance the Gardener look in comparison.

Quote of the Day

September 12th, 2014 - 5:01 pm

In previous posts I’ve introduced the metaphor of the attrition mill–a machine in which two steel disks, rotating at high speed in opposite directions, crush between them the grain or other substance to be milled. Our society is caught in a gigantic attrition mill, with one disk being the Islamic terrorist enemy and the other being the “progressive” Left within our own societies–some of whom are wishful thinkers who deny uncomfortable realities, an alarming number of whom forthrightly despise their own societies and the majority of their fellow citizens. Without the existence of the second disk, the terrorist threat would be serious, inconvenient, and dangerous, but would not be an existential threat to Western civilization. But it is the interaction of the two disks, despite the differences in their stated philosophies of life*, that increases the societal threat by orders of magnitude.

“9/11 Plus Thirteen Years,” David Foster, the Chicago Boyz Website, yesterday.

* The key word in that sentence being stated. The two ideologies actually have much in common.

Tom Maguire on a Pivot Too Far:

“The Times noted that our Arab allies seem a bit tentative. No kidding – Obama and Kerry were wrong about the surge in ’07, wrong about the Iraqi troop withdrawals in ’11, wrong to walk away from post-Qadaffi Libya in ’11, wrong not to arm the moderate Syrian rebels in ’11, wrong to draw a faux red line in 2013, and now no one will get behind him? The headless chickens have come home to roost.”

WELL, YES: “How do you ask a man to be the first man to die for a mistake?” – Kerry, any day now.

To paraphrase the quote on war invariably attributed to Trotsky, you may not be interested in reality, but eventually, reality is interested in you. Speaking of which, with the Obama fanboys at the New York Times now reduced to running a column this week titled, “The Grand Strategy Obama Needs,” as Steve Green notes, “keep in mind that in Year Six of this administration, people still feel the need to remind the President that a strategy might be a nice thing to have.”

From a Command Economy to a Command Reality

September 12th, 2014 - 1:24 pm

“Democratic thinking [typically unfolds] in three stages,” Jeff Bergner writes in “The Party of Reason?” at the Weekly Standard:

1) Policy is predicated on reality as one wishes it to be, not as it is. (2) That policy fails. And (3) its advocates explain the failure by demonizing their opponents. The demonization of political opponents to cover policy failures is an all too reliable indicator that the policies rest on unsound, anti-scientific, irrational foundations.

As Bergner concludes:

Because the left wishes to eliminate poverty by redistribution, it assumes reality can be made to conform. Because it judges fossil fuels bad, they must be allowed no future. Because it insists on human causation for global warming, dissenters must be hounded. Because the left favors unrestricted access to abortion, a woman’s right to choose must be enshrined.

The words of today’s political left are much like ancient incantations. They are magic. But there is one difference: Ancient incantations reflected an underlying belief in an external world that was difficult to control, a world in which humans had at best a modest measure of influence.

Liberals have long favored the notion of a command economy; today they operate in nothing less than a command reality. For the modern liberal, we humans have the power to deconstruct and reconstruct reality as we please. In this brave new world, words are all that is required for a new reality to leap into existence. To speak about an issue is to resolve it. Good intentions suffice. If the results of programs created with good intentions disappoint, it doesn’t matter. Disastrous policy results do not reflect a misunderstanding of reality, but the evil machinations of political opponents.

This of course is not reason; it is hubris. The great power of modern science arises from the understanding that we gain a degree of mastery over natural forces and ourselves only by conforming our thoughts and actions to the nature of reality itself. The incantations of the modern left notwithstanding, reality is not easily bent by words alone.

No, sometimes really devastating magical thinking requires the willing aid of a faux newscaster as well:

“I should’ve anticipated the optics,” the Washington Post quoted Obama saying on Meet the Press this past Sunday:

“Part of this job is also the theater of it,” Obama said, adding that “it’s not something that always comes naturally to me.  But it matters.”

Indeed it does; file this under Example 3,922,627 of What If Bush Had Done This? But fortunately Mr. Obama’s fellow Democrat operatives with bylines are eager to cover for him, Debra Heine wrote yesterday at Breitbart.com:

Not to state the obvious, but as KaBOOM! is a word used to represent loud explosions, wouldn’t they want to leave that logo at home on 9/11 — a day of horrifying loud explosions?

The Washington post kindly left the KaBOOM! logo out of its feelgood description of the Obamas’ visit the school.

As flags flew at half-staff Thursday morning to commemorate the 13th anniversary of 9/11, dozens of volunteers wearing bright purple T-shirts were doing jumping jacks at the Inspired Teaching charter school in the District’s Brookland neighborhood. With feel-good hits playing, the volunteers prepared to build a playground for the school to mark the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

In the early evening, hours after the playground had been built, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived at the school via motorcade to lend a hand.

The couple helped two students fill “playpacks” with books, chalk and other items, which will be given as birthday gifts to children in a nearby homeless shelter, according to a press pool report. They also helped volunteers put a piece of a climbing structure in place, with the president helping to lift the piece and Michelle Obama securing it with a wrench.

As Heine concludes:

I’m trying to imagine what the First Lady thought when she saw the KaBOOM! logos. I know if it were me, my cheeks would have flushed red, and I would have asked to speak to the person in charge, in private. And with the assembled media in mind, I would have asked who the brainiac was who thought 9/11 was a good day for the president and first lady to be seen stuffing backpacks with KaBOOM!

Which is worse: an administration that’s just trolling us all now, or one that’s so incompetent that its staffers can’t see the strange optics of the president and first lady at an organization named KaBoom! on the anniversary of 9/11?

Have You Seen Me?

September 12th, 2014 - 11:06 am

cindy_sheehan_missing_milk_carton_9-8-14-1

“Where exactly is the anti-war movement?”, Howie Carr asks in the Boston Herald:

Have you see a single “No Blood for Oil” sign in Cambridge?

To paraphrase the John Kerry of 2004: “Can I get me a candlelight vigil here?”

Whatever happened to Cindy Sheehan? Where is Code Pink? I haven’t seen an “EndLESS War” bumper sticker in years, since 2009 to be exact.

The anti-war movement is MIA as this war, er counter­terrorism operation, begins. Back when Bush was waging war, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Now it’s “racism.” If you speak truth to power in the Obama era, they call it hate speech. The IRS will audit you.

Obama’s media sycophants described his prime-time speech as “nuanced.” I’d call it ragtime.

I thought the moonbats didn’t want the U.S. “going it alone.” You hear that phrase on the networks now about as often as you hear the words “full employment.”

And why is the president so outraged about a couple of beheadings? When a Muslim terrorist yelling “Allahu akbar!” murdered 13 servicemen at Fort Hood, Obama shrugged it off as “workplace violence.”

Now Obama’s suddenly “all wee-wee’ed up” about non-Muslim Muslims murdering Americans.

Flag-draped coffins at Dover AFB are no longer a feature of the nightly news. Remember Wolf Blitzer’s nightly trumpeting of Bush’s plummeting approval ratings?

Now the polls are so bleak for the Kenyan Katastrophe, CNN doesn’t even mention them anymore. I’m surprised they ran the Kerry soundbite even once about how we’re not really at war against SIS, or is it SIL?

Last year, when Bruce Springsteen, Susan Sarandon, and other members of the Hollywood anti-war crowd of the first eight years of the naughts were silent as our jingoistic president and Secretary of State (who by the way, served in Vietnam) thumped the war drums against Syria, I put their faces on milk cartons in an effort to help find them. Earlier this week, someone on Twitter suggested the same for Cindy Sheehan, so I’ve added her above.

Yesterday, Allahpundit asked, “When exactly did President Obama decide that the Bush doctrine is awesome?”, by waging preemptive war in Iraq. What has cased the anti-war left to become nouveau neocons as well? Protestors were silent in early 1960s when Kennedy sent “advisors” to Vietnam, but as Jeffrey Lord noted in the American Spectator a while back, were quickly driven insane by LBJ’s southern drawl. Does that explain why the reverse has happened — GWB’s Texas twang drove them bonkers, but BHO’s poseur preppy baritone is far more soothing? But why were they silent when this Southern president was bombing Iraq?