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Ed Driscoll

Tweet of the Day

July 19th, 2014 - 3:24 pm

I hope they’re both put out of their misery, the latter merely rhetorically, of course.

CNN Reporter: Israelis Are ‘Scum’

July 18th, 2014 - 12:17 pm

diana_magnay_cnn_israelis_scum_7-17-14-1

This is CNN:

CNN International correspondent Diana Magnay referred to a group of Israelis as “scum” after she claimed that they were standing on a hill near the town of Sderot cheering as bombs landed in Gaza, according to a screen-shot of the comment captured by National Review.

“Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on #Gaza; threaten to ‘destroy our car if I say a word wrong’. Scum,” Magnay tweeted and then quickly deleted, though it was retweeted nearly 250 times before being taken down.

Magnay has been removed from covering the conflict and CNN issued an apology for her tweet.

Which they do on a regular basis when their correspondents express their true feelings regarding the Middle East. Right around this time in 2010, I wrote:

I must confess that as one of the vast majority of Americans who no longer watches CNN unless trapped in an airport, I hadn’t heard of Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior editor of Mideast affairs, until I stumbled over a YouTube clip of her discussing the Gaza flotilla for today’s “Cold Civil War” video.  But, she’s now the latest CNN journalist to let the mask slip on her biases via Twitter. Or as as the URL of Daniel Helper’s post at the Weekly Standard describes succinctly, “cnn-editor-mourns-loss-terrorist:”

How did CNN senior editor of Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr celebrate July 4? By mourning the passing of Hezbollah’s Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. Here’s what the CNN editor posted on her Twitter account:

Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot..#Lebanon

I grabbed a screen shot of Nasr’s Twitter, both to illustrate this post, and because Tweets from leftwing old media figures occasionally seem to disappear from time to time.* “Oddly enough,” as Reuters, a news agency with a similar worldview as CNN, might say.

After Nasr was pushed out of CNN, I wrote:

Hey, Nasr was just carrying on where former CNN propagandist reporter Peter Arnett, soon-to-be departed Christiane Amanpour, and former head honcho Eason Jordan all left off. (Not to mention founder Ted Turner.) Unfortunately, much like Jordan himself when he preposterously declared at Davos in 2005 that US troops in Iraq were deliberately targeting journalists (after admitting that he was perfectly cool working for a former Iraqi dictator who was busy targeting US troops), Nasr also dropped the mask, and eliminated any shred of “objectivity.”

She eventually wound-up at MBC — the Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Center. Perhaps MBC considers CNN their farm team.

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Jim Geraghty on our asleep-at-the-wheel administration:

Russian president Vladimir Putin didn’t order the separatists to shoot down the airliner. But his intelligence agencies and military have provided all kinds of support to these separatists. To borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s metaphor, Putin gave whiskey and car keys – and powerful explosives – to teenage boys. The disastrous consequences were not hard to foresee. You can see it in the absurd, nonsensical, instant justification by one of the speakers that if the plane is labeled, ‘Malaysia Airlines,’ it must be a disguise for a spy plane. Putin didn’t commit murder; just reckless endangerment.

There will be a lot of debates and discussions about what the United States can or should do in response to this reckless, deadly decision. But let’s begin by asking, if we had the opportunity to reach out and strike 23 Russian separatists involved in the decision to launch this missile, would we do it? I’d like to think so. Fighting a war is not inherently evil, nor is stupidity, but the combination of the two is a fertile ground for evil. These guys need to be taught a lesson, and it’s not clear who can teach them.

Commercial airliners fly – usually quite highly – over dangerous or not-so-friendly parts of the world all the time. Right now commercial jets are avoiding Eastern Ukraine. Should they avoid Syria, too? Iran? Iraq? Afghanistan? If so, you’ve just cut off India and a big chunk of Asia from Europe.

These guys need to pay – and Putin needs to see consequences of his reckless support of these dumb, brutal goons.

Moe Lane: “I never thought that I’d see the day that the US government would just shrug off a no-fooling war crime committed against our citizens.”

Well, we know that the State Department has far more important things to do — such as tweeting out fashion tips.

And the president has far more important things to do — such as expressing his love of guacamole.

Perhaps they’re simply waiting for one of the FLOTUS’ talking shopping carts to provide instructions, HAL 9000-style.

Fortunately though, Mr. Obama’s would-be successor is pouncing at the opportunity to set a much more focused example of what she would do if in office. Nahh, just kidding:

No, Obama’s caution is another example of the president refusing to address crises in a timely fashion due to what he probably believes is an attachment to the doctrinal fantasy that the United States is overextended in the world. Hillary Clinton confirmed that when she told Charlie Rose on Thursday night that this whole plane mess is really Europe’s problem.

“As you know, the Europeans have tried to figure out the best way forward,” she said when asked how the United States should respond to clear evidence that pro-Russian separatists using Russian hardware killed nearly 300 foreign civilians. “From my perspective — and I have the benefit of not being in the government — if there is evidence linking Russia to this, that should inspire the Europeans to do much more.”

After noting that the world should put “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin on notice” and not “stand idly by,” Clinton reassured Rose that the United States would stand idly by.

“So Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this,” said the former secretary. “It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.”

That sucking sound you hear is the rapid formation of a power vacuum in Europe as the United States signals its noninterest in matters of regional and global security.

Hey, after World War II, Europe was happy to hand over their defense to America, so that they could spend all of their taxpayers’ money on expanding their socialist welfare states. And they loathed America’s past “Cowboy Presidents” and their lack of nuance and politesse.

I guess European leaders never counted on their defense winding up in the hands of wannabe Europeans. But then, to be fair, neither did most Americans.

The Cut and Paste President

July 17th, 2014 - 1:59 pm

“Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. by casually devoting mere moments to the deaths of 295 people aboard a Malaysian airliner on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, and then launching into jokes and his prepared remarks on the need to expand America’s transportation infrastructure,” the London Daily Mail reports:

Twenty-three Americans are feared dead after the jetliner crashed in eastern Ukraine.

Obama declared that ‘it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy, but not before enthusiastically declaring that ‘it is wonderful to be back in Delaware.’

‘Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.’

‘And I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian governemnt. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and passengers, wherever they call home.

Obama quickly returned to his prepared remarks.

‘I want to thank Jeremie for that introduction’ he said. ‘Give Jeremie a big round of applause.’

‘It is great to be in the state that gave us Joe Biden. We’ve got actually some better-looking Bidens with us here today. We’ve got Beau and his wife, Hallie, are here. Give them a big round of applause. We love them.’

Obama also acknowledged the presence of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with a joke.

‘Jack Lew’s signature is actually on your money,’ he said, ‘although it’s kind of illegible. We teased him when he first became treasury secretary that he was going to have to fix his signature a little bit because it looked just like a caterpillar running along the bottom.’

From there he launched into a 16-minute speech about transportation projects he wants Republicans to fund, complaining bitterly about their objections to his end-runs around the federal legislature.

See, that’s the problem when the president is utterly dependent on his speech writers and teleprompter programmer that he’ll relentlessly stick to the script on such a grim news day, one in which 23 Americans were reported killed.

Meanwhile, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also ignoring the disaster in the Ukraine while “briefing” the press today, Allahpundit speculates that goal by Mr. Obama and Psaki is to make the White House appear as if “They’re in control of the narrative, not the media — or at least they want to be. In reality, [Fox's Sheppard Smith] and Jennifer Griffin are laughing at them and going back to covering the crash. Baffling, but this is where we are with two and a half years to go.”

How bad was Mr. Obama’s performance today? So awful that even Obama groupie Piers Morgan can figure it out:

Update: Jim Geraghty adds, “Some Days, It Feels Like We Don’t Have a President:”

This is the president who didn’t address the country for three days after the attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, who gave a “shout-out” to an audience member moments before his first comments on the Fort Hood shooting, and who attended a campaign rally on September 12, 2012, when most Americans awoke to the news of the murder of four Americans in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

I understand the Obama White House never wants to look like they’re overreacting. They behave as if it’s impossible to underreact.

Note the empty chair in the photo at the bottom of Jim’s post.

Flashback: In sharp contrast to all of the above, “This is how an American president should address Russian aggression.”

With grim news out of Ukraine, Israel on edge, and an American president asleep at the fundraiser, today is shaping up to be a tense day of difficult, painful news. But fortunately, knowing when it’s time to lighten the mood, MSNBC provides us all with a little much-needed comic relief.

Or perhaps a far-too-close-to-the-mark CNN parody.

Israel Starts Ground Invasion

July 17th, 2014 - 1:03 pm

“IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the prime minister’s office confirmed,”  The Jerusalem Post reports, as today’s news cycle accelerates into overdrive:

The purpose of the operation was  to destroy the Gazan terror tunnels leading to Israel, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

“Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

Prior to the commencement of the ground invasion, the IDF launched a massive wave of combined air and artillery strikes on Thursday night.

The IDF said that the operation will involve infantry, engineering corps, and tank units combined with air force and naval support and intelligence.

Palestinian sources said strikes occurred up and down the Strip, adding that one strike targeted a motorcycle apparently carrying members of a rocket launching cell on their way to an attack on
Israel.

At around 10:00 p.m. rocket sirens sounded in the Tel Aviv area, and in the Shfela. Iron Dome made a number of interceptions in the Tel Aviv area.

I’m reserving judgement on this story until Ezra Klein’s GE-sponsored JuiceVox Mafia tells me what to think about it:

vox_anti_israel_7-17-14

When America Fell Apart

July 17th, 2014 - 12:28 pm

“The summer of 2014 will go down in history as the season when America fell apart. Let’s take a tour of the disasters,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. After going through Obama’s alienation of Germany, Japan, terrorists running rampant over the Middle East, looming war between the Palestinians and Israel, Putin’s efforts to swallow up Crimea and Ukraine, Snowden’s leaks, the shrinking American economy, the stillborn “Stimulus” program, the disaster at the American border, the IRS scandal, Obama, Susan Rice and Hillary lying about a video causing Benghazi, and the Bowe Berghdal debacle, VDH writes, “The scandals now come so fast and furiously that we no sooner hear of one than yet another new mess makes us forget it:”

What keeps the country afloat this terrible summer?

Some American companies produce more gas and oil than ever despite, not because of, the Obama administration. Most Americans still get up every day, work hard, and pay more taxes than they receive in subsidies. American soldiers remain the most formidable in the world despite the confusion of their superiors. The law, regardless of the administration, is still followed by most. And most do not duck out on their daily responsibilities to golf, play pool, or go on junkets.

It is still a hard thing to derail America in a summer — but then again, we have a long way to go until fall.

Yes, Obama’s “dense-pack” assault of endless recurring scandals and disasters actually works in his favor by numbing voters — and the media, both of whom are overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the debacle. Just imagine how the MSM would be reporting the endlessly horrible news if there was a Republican in the White House, or in the case of LBJ in 1968, a fellow Democrat they actually loathed:

To amend my Dr. Strangelove reference in the previous post on the Malaysian Airlines flight crashing — quite possibly due to a SAM — in Ukraine, say what you will about Peter Sellers’ effete President Muffley, but Kubrick and Terry Southern didn’t depict him heading out for a fundraiser at the Charcoal Pit burger joint after hanging up the phone with Premier Kissoff:

Gee, did he clear that healthy meal with Michelle? And note that fist bumps were also involved on a day when a plane may have been shot down:

But hey, as Twitchy (source of the above headline) notes, it’s all par for the course, to use a metaphor referencing another favorite Obama pastime:

Exit quote from my friend Steve Green:

I should ask Steve if I could borrow a cup or twenty of vodka right now.

drudge_plane_shot_down_headline_7-17-14

Well, here’s a headline you never, ever want to see. Matt Drudge links to a report from Sky News (grimly named in this case), which is putting the “shot down” in quotes in its headline, and preceding it with the word “reportedly” in its lede, implying that while there’s been a crash of Malaysian Airlines jet with 295 people onboard, its demise hasn’t been 100 percent confirmed:

The Malaysia Airlines plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was travelling at an altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) when it was shot down, Russia’s Interfax reported.

An adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry told the news agency the Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk ground-to-air missile.

All 280 passengers and 15 crew members who were on the plane are believed to have died, he added.

A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines, still reeling from the loss of flight MH370 in March, confirmed it had lost contact with flight MH17, which took off from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport at 12.15pm local time.

The flight disappeared from radar as it flew over Ukrainian airspace, the spokesman said.

Ed Morrissey adds that “If this plane was shot down, this would mean an enormous escalation in the Ukraine-Russia crisis:”

It’s difficult to believe that either Ukraine or Russia would mistake a commercial flight at 10,000 meters, as Reuters reports it, as a hostile military flight — although that was the explanation offered for the KAL 007 shootdown and the US Navy’s shootdown of an Iranian commercial flight in the 1980s as well.  CNN’s expert wonders whether Malaysia Air’s communications got screwed up again and ended up flashing something other than its proper ID, but it seems a little more likely that if it got shot down — still not yet established — it would have been from forces not used to dealing with the distinction between the various kinds of flights.

Read the whole thing, including this grim-sounding tweet:

And Ace of Spades c0-blogger Drew M. adds this: “Via Noah Rothman…civilian jets are scrambling to get the hell out of dodge right now. Amazing:”

Speaking of flashbacks to earlier “man-caused disasters,” as Mr. Obama’s associates would likely describe today’s incident, “Cross your fingers there was no Archduke aboard,” Kate adds at Small Dead Animals, along with this:

 

Update: Glen Thrush of the Politico retweets this item from Strobe Talbert of the Brookings Institute and Clinton-era Deputy Secretary of State:

And at the Washington Examiner, “Obama, Vladimir Putin talk by phone, discuss reports of downed passenger jet.”

Considering Obama likely fancies himself the second coming of Adlai Stevenson, no wonder I’m getting President Muffley calling Premier Kissoff on the hotline flashbacks from Dr. Strangelove from that headline.

“Developing,” as Matt Drudge would say; more as it comes in.

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Free Salondotcom!

July 16th, 2014 - 7:46 pm

“Twitter Shuts Down Hilarious Salon Parody Account,” Robby Soave writes at Reason’s “Hit & Run” blog:

At approximately 5:50 P.M. EST, it became known that Twitter had shut down @Salondotcom, a hilarious parody of Salon run by The Daily Caller’s opinion editor, Jordan Bloom, and his roommate, Rob Mariani. @Salondotcom constantly tweeted fake headlines that perfectly aped Salon‘s everyone-is-racist-and-Republicans-are-worse-than-Hitler shtick.

Found via Glenn Reynolds — who had his own run-in with the Kafka-esque labyrinthine nature of the Twitter gulag a couple of years ago, and who, despite having over 31,000 Twitter followers and arguably inventing micro-blogging 13 years ago, still doesn’t have a Twitter-verified account.

“It’s not pretty, even if your credentials are impeccable,” Neo-Neocon writes:

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Neo adds, “It’s fortunate for Dr. Christy that burning at the stake has gone out of style.” But paradoxically amongst carbon-obsessed warmists, book-burning is making a rapid comeback, at least at San Jose State:

At speaking of the academic left believing that books have evil talismanic powers, Aaron Clarey spots a hilariously overblown reaction from a librarian who came across my February interview with Aaron on his then-new book Bachelor Pad Economics.

A hundred years ago, a central tenet of the left was “epater la bourgeoisie” — or shock the middle class. Apparently, they didn’t consider that their ideology would become so sclerotic and brittle that it would eventually transform them into a remarkably vapour-prone class of the bourgeois in constant search of the fainting couch. But then, as original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts once said, you can only be avant-garde for so long before you come garde.

Besides being a terrific read, Rosenbaum’s book is sort of like Hell’s production of Citizen Kane — recording the attempts by American and German intellectuals to boil Hitler — and the causes of World War II — down to a single Rosebud-like explanation: Hitler had syphilis, he was unloved by his parents, had malformed genitalia, etc. Ultimately such efforts, as Rosenbaum writes, do little to explain the epoch-shattering events of the 1930s and ’40s, but like the cast of Citizen Kane, tell us far more about the people who conjure them up — and in many cases, their reasons why. (See also: Rosenbaum’s brilliant critique of German novel and subsequent big-budget film adaptation of The Reader, which attempted to explain away German complicity in the Holocaust through the metaphor of illiteracy.)

As Kathy Shaidle writes, Explaining Hitler is finally out on Kindle, along with a new interview with Rosenbaum on its updated version.

Oh and by the way, “California Eighth Graders Denied Holocaust In Essays After Reading Required Bizarro Screeds,” the Daily Caller reports.

I shudder to think how we’ll collectively look back in World War II ten years from now. Or maybe even right now:

William A. Jacobson, writing in the Washington Examiner notes that “For years, critics of President Obama and his administration have complained about a rising disregard for the rule of law,” an a “unexpected” development for an administration led by a man who boasted repeatedly on the campaign circuit in 2007 and 2008 of being such an astute Constitutional scholar:

Overall, the Obama administration is having a miserable term at the Supreme Court, even aside from these unanimous rejections of its positions.

While the government typically wins 70 percent of the cases at the Supreme Court, this term its win percentage is only 39 percent of the cases in which it was a party.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, finding that the Obamacare contraception mandate was invalid in some circumstances, was a fitting end to a term in which the high court handed the administration one high profile loss after another.

There always is an uneasy balance between the executive branch and the Congress. That balance is upset when the executive branch treats legislation as a mere enabler and not as binding law, and when the executive branch engages in power grabs at the expense of the Congress and citizens.

It is that disregard for the rule of law that has become the central narrative of the Obama administration.

Which is taking “phoning it in” to new heights. As Patrick Howley notes at the Daily Caller today, “Former Obama administration Labor Secretary Hilda Solis illegally solicited funds for Obama’s re-election campaign:”

Solis pressured a Labor Department employee who worked under her to contribute to an Obama campaign fundraiser that she was headlining at the La Fonda Supper Club in Los Angeles, according to bombshell new audio released by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa Wednesday. Solis was prohibited from fundraising by the federal Hatch Act, which pertains to all Cabinet members.

“Hi—this is Hilda Solis calling, um, just calling you off-the-record here—Wanted to ask you if you could, um, help us get folks organized to come to a fundraiser that we’re doing for Organizing for America for Obama campaign on Friday at La Fonda at 6 p.m.,” Solis said in a voicemail recording.

Howley adds that “Solis was on official duty in her capacity as Labor Secretary when she traveled to Los Angeles to headline the fundraiser in March 2012.”

But as with Fast & Furious, the IRS scandal, Benghazi, Obamacare, and all of the other Cook County-style scandalsm which overwhelm the Obama administration’s critics in “dense pack” style, will there be any repercussions for Solis?

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

What explains Obama’s robust showing with white liberals?

Some elements of the answer are obvious: his high-toned oratory, his promises of reconciliation in a divisive time, a background in community organizing that suggests both idealism and a talent for problem-solving. But another clue may lie in the presidential bid of a figure Obama’s devotees love to invoke: John F. Kennedy.

When answering the charge that the Illinois senator lacks the record of achievement befitting a White House aspirant, Obama’s backers often stack him next to JFK. Obama is 44, they note, older than JFK was when he ran. Skeptics derided JFK, as they now do Obama, as callow and ill-versed in substantive issues. And yet Obama, similar to JFK, manages to inspire people with sex appeal, cerebral cool, and a message of generational change.

—”Playing the Tolerance Card: How Obama is like JFK,” Slate, then owned by the Washington Post, April 20, 2007.

Six months after becoming president, JFK had his calamitous meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna — a meeting The New York Times described as “one of the more self-destructive American actions of the Cold War, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.” (The Times admitted that a half-century later. At the time, the Newspaper of Record lied about the meeting.)

For two days, Khrushchev batted Kennedy around, leaving the president’s own advisers white-faced and shaken. Kennedy’s Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze called the meeting “just a disaster.”

Khrushchev was delighted to discover that the U.S. president was so “weak.” A Russian aide said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.”

Seeing he was dealing with a naif, Khrushchev promptly sent missiles to Cuba. The Kennedy Myth Machine has somehow turned JFK’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis into a brilliant foreign policy coup. The truth is: (1) Russia would never have dared move missiles to Cuba had Khrushchev not realized that JFK was a nincompoop; and (2) it wasn’t a victory.

In exchange for Russia’s laughably empty threats about Cuba, JFK removed our missiles from Turkey — a major retreat. As Khrushchev put it in his memoirs: “It would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba — for a country 12,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable. We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along, security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from Turkey.”

* * * * * * * * * *

So now, another Russian leader is playing cat-and-mouse with an American president — and guess who’s the mouse? Putin has taunted Obama in Iran, in Syria and with Edward Snowden. By now, Obama has become such an object for Putin’s amusement that the fastest way to get the Russians out of Crimea would be for Obama to call on Putin to invade Ukraine.

—”Column: From JFK to Obama, Democratic Presidents Have Shown Weakness in Face of Aggression,” Ann Coulter, NewsBusters, March 5th, 2014.

Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba and relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.

The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis to spy on the United States.

Just 155 miles from the U.S. coast, it was the Soviet Union’s largest covert military outpost abroad with up to 3,000 staff.

It was used to listen in to radio signals including those from submarines and ships and satellite communications.

‘All I can say is – finally!’ one Russian source told Kommersant of the reported reopening.

—”Russia ‘to reopen Cold War Cuban listening post used to spy on America,’” the London Daily Mail, today.

A Modest Plan for San Fran Nan

July 16th, 2014 - 10:34 am

“Pelosi says she wishes she could take the children she saw in the detention center home with her,” Brett Crandall of Texas-based KGBT news tweeted after her press conference late last month after her clueless walk-through of a porous Texas border facility.  As Iowahawk quips, she clearly has the space for them.

How Not to Promote Immigration Reform

July 15th, 2014 - 3:15 pm

“This CNN story makes it sound like Jose Antonio Vargas worked very hard to get arrested. Which I guess makes sense,” Mollie Hemingway tweeted earlier today. Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary adds that Vargas isn’t helping his cause:

Today, America’s most prominent illegal immigrant arrived at the border between Mexico and the United States to demonstrate his solidarity with the tens of thousands of people streaming into the country without permission. But the stunt by which former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas got himself arrested did more to undermine support for immigration reform than to foster sympathy for the illegals.

Vargas became a national figure three years ago when the former Washington Post reporter outed himself in the New York Times as an illegal immigrant. Vargas came to the United States at 12 from the Philippines to live with his grandparents who were naturalized citizens. But he was brought here by a “coyote” without a legal visa and spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents. After graduating college he consulted an immigration lawyer who told him his only path to citizenship was to return to his home country, wait ten years and then apply to come back with permission. On the cusp of a successful career he refused and continued lying even as he was part of a Post team that won a Pulitzer. Eventually, he tired of the deceit as he continued to rise in mainstream journalism and decided to put himself forward as a symbol of the plight of the so-called “dreamers”—people who were brought to the country illegally as kids and who went on to make a contribution to society.

“Spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents.” Vargas will never make it as a leftwing journalist with those sorts of tactics.

Oh wait — let me check with Dan Rather, Matt Yglesias, and Touré on that last supposition and get back to you.

And I better run it past the president, and academia, just to make certain.

“Good news. There’s no need to watch any more speeches made by President Obama,” David Rutz of the Washington Free Beacon writes:

When he starts to speak, you know in advance he’ll tell you it’s great to be back in whatever town he’s in.

He’ll advise you to have a seat (twice) and appreciate the introduction from his fellow Democrat.

He’ll certainly love you back.

Even the most formulaic rock stars and comedians know that they need to shake up the act every now and then and change the set list for their live gigs. As Mark Steyn wrote in Bob Hope’s 2003 obit, Hope was the first comedian to brag about using outside writers to keep his routines fresh and topical:

If Hope started out as the first modern comic, he quickly became the first post-modern one. Other comedians had writers, but they didn’t talk about them. Radio gobbled up your material so you needed fellows on hand to provide more. But Hope not only used writers, he made his dependence on them part of the act: “I have an earthquake emergency kit at my house. It’s got food, water and half-a-dozen writers.”

As the World’s Biggest Celebrity, Mr. Obama has access to even more show-biz writers than even Bob Hope could have dreamed of — and he dines with his fellow celebrities with increasing frequency. The New York Times, mining territory that Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon first explored a month and a half ago, breathlessly declared yesterday that “At Dinner Tables, a Restless Obama Finds an Intellectual Escape:”

Previous dinners at the White House have drawn varied celebrities, including Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Morgan Freeman and Bono. Many of the guests — including the Smiths and Mr. Freeman, as well as Anne Wojcicki — have been financial supporters of Mr. Obama’s campaigns.

Perhaps the acting president could ask Morgan Freeman or Will Smith who the hot writers in Hollywood are these days. Or Bono how to shake up a set list and reboot a dissipated live act that’s seen far too many encores and is now phoning it in:

Dispatches from Tranquility Base

July 15th, 2014 - 11:48 am

Which of these dueling headlines is real? You make the call!

“Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Not Seen Since ‘70s.”

—The Wall Street Journal, July 13th.

“WH: We’ve ‘Substantially Improved the Tranquility of the Global Community’”

CNS News, quoting the paradoxically named White House press secretary Josh Earnest, yesterday.

Which one is real? Well, to paraphrase Alvy Singer in 1977, I have to go now Josh, because I’m due back on Planet Earth. And speaking of the 1970s, as Steve Hayward writes at Power Line, linking to the above Wall Street Journal article, “Can the killer rabbit be very long in coming?”

As we noted here the other day, Obama has fully matched Jimmy Carter’s fecklessness, reviving Henry Kissinger’s summation, which is worth repeating:

“The Carter administration has managed the extraordinary feat of having, at one and the same time, the worst relations with our allies, the worst relations with our adversaries, and the most serious upheavals in the developing world since the end of the Second World War.”

I think it was Glenn Reynolds who first remarked that a rerun of Carter might be a best-case scenario for the Obama presidency, and it appears he has understated the depth of the problem.  This is what happens when you have a president who decides the U.S. can simply check out of world leadership.

Not to mention a president who has personally checked out as well from leadership of the federal government.

Privilege Checked

July 15th, 2014 - 10:34 am

America’s most visible illegal alien detained, Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air, sadly using an exquisitely PC term in his first sentence:

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and activist who favors of immigration reform, is also a proud undocumented immigrant. Born in the Philippines but raised in the United States from the age of 12, Vargas worked and lived in America for years where he advocated through his reporting the reformation of American immigration laws.

Last week, Vargas penned a report from Texas for Politico Magazine chronicling the plight of a person in his position – a man without documentation on the frontlines of an immigration crisis. He recently produced a pro-reform documentary entitled Documented, which is set to air on CNN. It is not unfair to say that Vargas may be the most successful and well-known illegal immigrant in the United States. Indeed, that is a status and a reputation that Vargas has cultivated through his prolific and exemplary work after he revealed his illegal status in 2011.

On Monday, armed with only his Filipino passport and a copy of the United States Constitution, he was detained by immigration authorities in a Texas airport and taken to a border patrol station for processing.

The enforcement of American immigration law immediately sent the left into fits of rage.

Of course — what doesn’t send the left into fits of rage these days? Particularly when, as Noah writes, Vargas’ privilege was finally checked.

Vargas is employing a variation on a tactic that put Michael Moore on the map with his first film, Roger & Me. Just as Moore had an on-camera interview in the can with then-GM CEO Roger Smith, but couldn’t show it, lest it ruin the theme of his documentary, there’s little doubt that working through channels, Vargas could easily obtain legal American citizenship — but chooses not to do so, in order to flaunt his victim status, so desirable amongst his fellow leftists these days. (QED.)

Rothman writes that “It is true that Vargas is far more American than he is Filipino.” It will be interesting to see if he’ll decide to now make the former status official, or continue to wallow in self-imposed victimhood as the world’s most documented “undocumented” immigrant.

Chris Cabrea, Border Patrol Union vice president, tells Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that, as Breitbart TV reports, “‘a lot of our guys’ are coming down with diseases:”

“Coming off the long journey they have been subjected to and then diseases some agents are contracting. We had one get bacterial pneumonia a couple days ago,” Cabrea said. “A lot of our guys are coming down with scabies or lice.”

Cabrea added: “The border patrol is trying to play catch up and we’re having a lot of diseases coming in and some we haven’t seen in decades and we are worried they’ll spread throughout the United States especially if they are being released and have the disease.”

Shades of the opening of Tom Wolfe’s classic “Great Relearning” essay originally from 1987, updated in his 2000 non-fiction anthology, Hooking Up:

In 1968, in San Francisco, I came across a curious footnote to the hippie movement. At the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, there were doctors treating diseases no living doctor had ever encountered before, diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot. And how was it that they now returned? It had to do with the fact that thousands of young men and women had migrated to San Francisco to live communally in what I think history will record as one of the most extraordinary religious fevers of all time.

The hippies sought nothing less than to sweep aside all codes and restraints of the past and start from zero.

Among the codes and restraints that people in the communes swept aside–quite purposely–were those that said you shouldn’t use other people’s toothbrushes or sleep on other people’s mattresses without changing the sheets, or as was more likely, without using any sheets at all, or that you and five other people shouldn’t drink from the same bottle of Shasta or take tokes from the same cigarette. And now, in 1968, they were relearning…the laws of hygiene…by getting the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot.

This process, namely the relearning — following a Promethean and unprecedented start from zero — seems to me to be the leitmotif of the twenty-first century in America.

The notion of “Start From Zero” has echoes of the terrifying phrase “Year Zero,” which socialist regimes invariably impose on their blighted captive subjects. As Wikipedia notes — and they’re actually right on this one — “The term Year Zero applied to the takeover of Cambodia in April 1975 by the Khmer Rouge, is an analogy to the Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar:”

During the French Revolution, after the abolition of the French monarchy (September 20, 1792), the National Convention instituted a new calendar and declared the beginning of the Year I. The Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh was rapidly followed by a series of drastic revolutionary de-industrialization policies resulting in a death toll that vastly exceeded that of the French Reign of Terror.

The idea behind Year Zero is that all culture and traditions within a society must be completely destroyed or discarded and a new revolutionary culture must replace it, starting from scratch. All history of a nation or people before Year Zero is deemed largely irrelevant, as it will (as an ideal) be purged and replaced from the ground up.

In Cambodia, teachers, artists, and intellectuals were especially singled out and executed during the purges accompanying Year Zero.

Fortunately, American politics don’t quite play for those stakes — at least not yet — but there was plenty of Year Zero and Start From Zero-style talk amongst the fever swamps of Mr. Obama’s zanier supporters in 2008 and early 2009. Obama himself promised a “fundamental transformation” of America, as New Republic pundits openly called for Marxism, formerly staid Newsweek ran pro-socialism cover stories, and Spike Lee blurted out in late October of 2008 on Democrat house organ MSNBC his prediction that 2009 would usher in a BC/AD-rivaling millennial shift. “You have B.B.: Before Barack and A.B.: After Barack,” Lee promised:

What he’s done is historic. This coalition which he’s gotten: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, whatever. It’s come together, and this has never been done before. And I think this thing is, predeortained [sic!] or whatever you want to call it. I’m not gonna say that it’s God. But this is not a mistake this is happening now. I don’t think it’s a mistake it’s happening, that he’s here when this country is at its lowest in many, many years.

Whenever I’ve quoted Wolfe’s “Great Relearning” essay, I’ve usually asked, “So when exactly does the Great Relearning begin?” But perhaps, things have gotten bad enough during the A.B. era to start the slow process rolling. Last fall, Roger L. Simon dubbed the president a “Libertarian Manufacturing Machine.” Perhaps the distinct lack of “prededeortainment” of illegal immigrants, the collapse of American foreign policy in the Middle East, the flat-lined economy, and a president who’d much rather party with rock stars and engage in late-night dorm room BS sessions than actually do the drudgework of managing the federal government has shaken some Americans out of their slumber in time for 2016, as Victor Davis Hanson writes in his latest article.

…If there still is an America in 2016, that is.

Related: Oh, and speaking of the Return of the Primitive and The Great Relearning