September 16, 2012
HOW’S THAT DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Romney +6 In North Carolina.
HOW’S THAT DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Romney +6 In North Carolina.
REMEMBER WHEN OBAMA SAID WE WERE JUST “air-raiding villages and killing civilians” in Afghanistan and promised change?
UPDATE: For those too lazy to look, I never used the words “Nazi paramilitary-type” officers, despite the apparent quote at the inaptly-named “Moderate Voice.” Hackalicious.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF ONE MINE ON A COUNTRY: “The mine will help turn Mongolia into the world’s fastest-growing economy with staggering economic growth of over 30%, up from an already robust 17% last year. Oyu Tolgoi is forecast to contribute close to third of the country’s GDP when it goes into full operation. If you go beyond these rather dry statistics (and NYT doesn’t) you get a better idea of the impact of Oyu Tolgoi on the country of fewer than 3 million inhabitants. The mine will increase the average earnings of Mongolians by 60% – today the country ranks 130th in the world based on GDP per capita at $3,000 and 22% of the population live below the poverty line.”
JIM TREACHER: “If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. And if it does, your own government might just lie about it and then stonewall you for… Oh, let’s see… Two years, seven months, eleven days, and eighteen hours. And counting. And hell, I didn’t even work for them. God rest your soul, Christopher Stevens. You tried to make the world a better place, the people you trusted let you down, and now they care about nothing but saving their own asses. You deserved better. We all do.”
RICK MORAN ON THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S DOUBLE STANDARD: Free Speech for Pussy Riot, but not for Innocence of Muslims. Well, Pussy Riot threatened Putin’s power. Innocence of Muslims threatens Obama’s. Totally different situations. Totally.
“SMART DIPLOMACY” (CONT’D): Lying Ambassador Rice: Blames video, ‘embassy attacks not premeditated’; Libyan president disagrees.
What a clown show this has become.
WHAT GETS YOU CLEANER? Body Wash, Or Soap? There’s a clear price advantage: “The proof is in the numbers: Old-fashioned soap is just plain cheaper. A 10-ounce bottle of body wash will cost you approximately $0.17 per wash, while a single bar of soap will cost you just $0.012 per wash.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: 10 Public Colleges with Insanely Luxurious Dorms.
AT AMAZON, featured science fiction books.
TALKING WITH WILLIAM GIBSON:
If punk emerged today — instead of in 1977 — how would it take hold on the popular consciousness?
“You’d pull it up on YouTube, as soon as it was played,” hypothesized William Gibson in a recent phone interview with Wired. “It would go up on YouTube among the kazillion other things that went up on YouTube that day. And then how would you find it?”
In the third and final installment of the Wired interview with William Gibson, the noted science fiction author discusses punk rock, internet memes, the dawn of recorded sound, and the now-infamous “Gangnam Style” video by Korean pop star Psy. The video, which has nearly 170 million views on YouTube and counting, has captured Gibson’s imagination.
“That’s something from a subculture we would have no way of knowing anything about, and suddenly it’s on YouTube and it’s got millions and millions of hits, and people all over the world are saying, ‘Wow, will you check this out?’” Gibson said.
I think early punk on YouTube would look something like this.
ARGENTINA’S MIDDLE CLASS IS FED UP:
Thousands of people took to the streets across Argentina on September 13 to protest generalized insecurity, heavy handed state intervention and a looming threat of constitutional reform that could pave the way for the re-election of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2015. Temperatures have hit a boiling point after a very long simmer heated by years of government-denied inflation, nationalizations, import restrictions, and now talks of constitutional reform. . . . Adding insult to injury, the Kirchner government denies the over 25 percent inflation affecting the country since about 2004. Consumers are dizzy and concerned. Their potential for savings has been eroded by run-away prices and a drastically weakened peso. One older woman said to me recently that it reminds her of the 1980s under President Raúl Alfonsín when prices were changing constantly, in some cases before you made it to the check-out counter.
Moreover, the government has flashed back to another draconian measure reminiscent of the 2001 bank restrictions. Argentines can no longer access dollars. The government claims that they can so long as they justify their tax-paying income, but the reality is much more complicated. Argentines can now only access $100 a day for international travel at the official exchange rate of nearly 4.5 pesos per U.S. dollar. These restrictions, of course, do not apply to government officials. Considering that Argentina’s real-estate market is largely dollar-based, these restrictions don’t just impact on well-heeled travellers but have broad sweeping implications for the domestic economy.
Related: “Indec’s economic data have been suspect ever since a staff shakeup at the agency in early 2007 resulted in long- serving civil servants being replaced by political appointees. Last year, President Cristina Kirchner’s government levied heavy fines, and in some cases criminal charges, against numerous economists for publishing inflation estimates that were higher than what Indec reported. Since then, opposition members of congress have released a monthly survey of inflation provided by anonymous private- sector research firms to protect them from prosecution by the government.”
Happily, such things are unimaginable here.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: How your cell phone wrecks your relationships — even when you’re not using it. “It’s understandably tempting to play with your shiny new iPhone when you’re out for dinner. But new research suggests that you don’t even have to shower attention on your smartphone to sour your relationship with your dinner mate; in fact, just leaving your phone on the table — untouched — can do interpersonal damage.”
HOW TO BOIL WATER WITHOUT BUBBLES.
WAR ON MEN: WHO WANTS A BOY? “The conventional wisdom has always been this: Given a choice, couples would prefer sons. That has certainly been the case in places like China and India, where couples have used pregnancy screening to abort female fetuses. But in the United States, a different kind of sex selection is taking place: Mothers like Simpson are using expensive reproductive procedures so they can select girls.”
This will be lauded as progressive, at least until people can select to ensure their child is heterosexual.
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NATHAN MYHRVOLD: The Wealthy Should Fund Innovation. “Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin, a company that builds spaceships. Elon Musk has Tesla, an electric-car company, and SpaceX, another rocket-ship company. Bill Gates took on big challenges in the developing world—combating malaria, HIV, and poverty. He is also funding inventive new companies at the cutting edge of technology. I’m involved in some of them, including TerraPower, which we formed to commercialize a promising new kind of nuclear reactor.”
THIS WEEK IN THE FUTURE.
READER JAY VAIL ASKS THAT I PLUG HIS BOOK, Lone Star Rising: The Voyage Of The Wasp. Here’s the cover blurb:
George Washington is dead. The American rebellion has failed. Imperial tyranny not only grips the newly pacified colonies, but reaches across the Appalachians to the refugees who cluster there in a fledgling free state they call The Tennessee. So they are not safe even in that wilderness. Led by Andrew Jackson, the refugees flee further westward into the Spanish Empire to a desolate place called Texas. But Jackson is not content to be a Spanish subject. He dreams large. Texas must be free and independent from the corrupt old empires of Europe. But with no army other than the few in the Texas Rangers, and no navy, Texas has no hope of opposing the forces of Spain, which crush one rebellion after another in the New World, until there is no more resistance except that posed by the refugees from British America.
No hope, that is, until David Crockett meets an unemployed naval officer named John Paul Jones II on the wharves at Baltimore.
Together they buy and refit a broken down warship and name her the TS Wasp, the first ship of the Texas Navy. And sail away to seize Spanish treasure and remake history.
Sounds like fun!
21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Would You Date A Guy Without A Smartphone?
ILYA SOMIN: Just Say No To Terrorism. “Giving in to the terrorists incentivizes further terrorism, while refusing to do so reduces the risk of future violence. This principle applies to terrorism more broadly: An excellent way to reduce the risk of attacks is to refuse to give in to the terrorists’ demands. Over time, a government that develops a reputation for saying no to terrorists is likely to suffer fewer attacks in the first place. . . . Saying no has many advantages over alternative antiterrorism policies. Unlike defensive security measures, it doesn’t require much in the way of extra government spending or violations of civil liberties. It is also less costly than offensive military action against the terrorists and creates fewer collateral risks.”
This does not seem to be our current approach.
AMAZIN’ BLAZE WELDING SERVICE: “Welding anything from the crack of dawn to a broken heart.”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: GOP Dropping the Ball on Energy Debate? “Surprisingly, the energy revolution has been something of a no show in the presidential race so far. This is too bad. As the Economist‘s Lexington columnist notes, neither candidate has yet shown that he has a clear grasp of what U.S. energy policy should look like. Obama’s policies, in particular leave much to be desired.”
A reader emailed me the other day to suggest that Romney should open every appearance by asking the crowd how they like those ___ gas prices, with the blank being filled in by whatever the local number is. It would be a good approach, I think.
THE ASH HEAP OF HISTORY: The Forgotten Opposition To The Apollo Program.
IN MY SUNDAY WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMN, I ARGUE THAT EVA LONGORIA WAS RIGHT! Time For Hollywood To Pay Its Fair Share.
At the Democratic National Convention, Eva Longoria said that she should be paying higher taxes. I agree.
Actually, what she said was: “The Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s flipping burgers — she needed a tax break. But the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not.”
I’d actually go further than that. It’s not just Eva Longoria who doesn’t need a tax break — it’s her entire industry, which has enjoyed favorable tax treatment in all sorts of ways, at both the federal and state levels, for years. And now, with the federal government and the states in parlous financial condition, it’s time for those fat cats to shoulder more of the burden. Why should burger flippers at Wendy’s have to cover the national debt while Hollywood moguls enjoy yachts, swimming pools and private jets?
A READER EMAILS:
What do Barack Obama and Al Bundy have in Common?
Yes Obama killed Bin Laden and Al Bundy scored four tds in a single game at Polk High.
Two losers who shuffle throughout the rest of their lives reminding you of their ONE singular achievement!
I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison. Al Bundy actually carried the ball himself.
And do you think that all the “I killed Bin Laden!” chest-thumping, amusingly lampooned above, just might have offended Al Qaeda types more than some obscure YouTube video no one had heard of before last week? Just asking!
ROGER KIMBALL: The Picture That Should Cost Obama His Job.
SAYING GOODBYE TO THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY TO SUPPORT MITT ROMNEY: An Exit Interview With Wayne Allyn Root. Excerpt:
I believe in economic and personal freedom. I want government out of my life- out of both the boardroom and the bedroom. I believe in the limited government promised by the U.S. Constitution. I want government to get out of the way of small business owners like me- put fewer rules & regulations in our way, and allow us to keep more of our own money.
Under the Obama administration we have seen businessmen be denigrated, demonized, punished, smothered by 60,000 new rules and regulations, and attacked by the IRS. However, far too often the GOP has given only lip service to smaller government, individual rights, and the Constitution. Once elected, they ignore those ideas and grow government just like Democrats. Look at the spending under George W. Bush. Look at the 25,000 new rules and regulations under Bush (far better than Obama, but still terrible). Look at the growth of government and the rising debt under Bush. Look at the increase in compensation, pensions, and number of government employees under all GOP Presidents. This was precisely why I left the GOP.
But I believe with the birth and growth of the Tea Party, this is now changing. I was born to be part of the Tea Party.
Read the whole thing.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Pay No Attention to the Burning Flags, Stormed Consulates, and Dead Americans . . . “One of the ways of understanding the strange nonchalant response of the administration to prior warnings of trouble in the Arab Spring countries, and its contextualization of the violence on the anniversary of 9/11, is its belief that it is somehow separated from the object of the violence. Raging crowds and Islamic wrath could not possibly be connected to the enlightened Obama administration or, more generally to a U.S. that has been ‘reset’ on his watch — given the three years of laborious Muslim outreach and the long-ago departure of George Bush.”
Yeah, well, none of those “resets” have gone very well. . . .
INTERVIEW: Rahm Emanuel: Rahmbo at the School Barricades. “What Mr. Emanuel doesn’t note is the bankrupt status quo: 99.7% of Chicago teachers are rated satisfactory while the graduation rate is just 60%, only 20% of eighth-graders are proficient in reading and less than 8% of 11th-graders are college-ready on state tests. Fixing such a system is a moral imperative, and Chicago’s mayor might have encouraged parents and taxpayers to see it that way. But then it would have been harder for him to celebrate Friday’s reported compromise on an evaluation framework far weaker than, for example, the one Michelle Rhee designed when she ran the schools in Washington, D.C.”
WELL, IT WORKED FOR HENRY VIII: Europe Considers Taxing Catholic Church to Raise Revenue.
JOE SCARBOROUGH’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN off to a “shaky start.” Plus: “#Reynolds2016? Now, that’s a presidential campaign we can support!” Feel the momentum building! And I’m already getting attacks from other potential 2016 candidates, which must prove that I’m starting to get traction! After all, you never “punch down.” . . .
Shorter John Heilemann: We the media are saying Romney is panicking, which is bad. So he better do something quick or we’ll say it again! …
P.S.: I suspect Romney’s criticism of Obama right after the embassy attacks hurt Romney, on balance. But isn’t the “OMG-this-is-a-’Lehman Moment’/turning point” frenzy already looking a little old and comically, wishfully overdone? … Heilemann has a tough job. He writes his column late Thursday, thinking he’s nailed tomorrow’s wave of CW. By the time it comes out, it’s yesterday’s wave of CW. Feiler Faster’s a bitch. …
ROGER SIMON: I Demand To Be Arrested!
TAXPAYER-FUNDED ELECTIONEERING: Propaganda Update: TV Networks Will Be Asked to Boost ObamaCare In Plots of Their Top Shows. Somebody should organize a campaign to complain to / boycott the sponsors of shows that do this.
MARK STEYN: Obama’s Ham-Fisted Response To The Attacks On The U.S. “Ham-fisted?” I’m sure that’s anti-Muslim hate speech.
ANTI-ISLAM FILMMAKER MAY FACE JAIL TIME. Not even a hint in this ABC story that there might be a free speech issue somewhere. Do you really believe this is just an ordinary probation case?
Related: Supermassive Blackhole of Obama Incompetence Sucks in First Amendment. I’m sure that characterization is somehow racist. “Hey Obama! The Libyans have actually offered a helpful hint that you may just want to follow-up on, in terms of the true origin of these festivities: al Qaeda. Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials formally state something that has become transparently clear: The U.S. ignored Arab radicalization: We knew what was happening, but the Americans preferred to find excuses.”
Meanwhile, folks have been busy with the Quickmemes:
Lots more at the link. Make and share your own!
JIM BENNETT WRITES:
Compare Margaret Thatcher and Rushdie to Obama and Nakoula.
When Salman Rushdie had a death fatwa pronounced on him for a novel considered insulting to Islam, Margaret Thatcher immediately ordered a protective detail to be sent to Rushdie, who took him to an undisclosed secure location. They have been protecting him ever since. Bear in mind that Rushdie had been a severe and vocal critic and political opponent of Thatcher.
Compare and contrast to Obama and Holder’s treatment of Nakoula.
I will also note that the reaction to Britain in the Middle East was not noticeably worse than the reaction the USA is getting despite Obama’s apologies.
Weakness seldom draws a good reaction.
IRA STOLL ON CREEPING ANTISEMITISM IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. “It’s quite a New York Times column for the eve of Rosh Hashana.”
Take a look at just the first minute or so of this report. Look at all of the media trucks in this sleepy little neighborhood, and not just KTLA’s. If anyone interested in taking revenge on Nakoula Besseley Nakoula wanted to know where to find him, it wouldn’t take long in this small city, especially with some media reports noting Nakoula’s distinctive front door. And while some people wouldn’t care about Nakoula’s fate, the kind of people looking to take revenge on him aren’t really known for their precision attacks and avoidance of collateral damage. This media swarm puts that entire neighborhood at risk, now and probably for a very long time.
And for what? Is Nakoula a serial killer? A child molester? No, he’s a man with poor taste who made a video that insulted some people who can’t deal with criticism, even the laughably inane and inept criticism of this 14-minute cheesefest that makes Plan 9 From Outer Space look like Citizen Kane. However, in the US, making really bad movies and engaging in even inept theological and historical commentary isn’t a crime at all. The media are undermining the same guarantees of free speech that allow them to operate without government interference, and they’re putting people’s lives at risk while doing so. They’re not going to be happy until there’s another crater in Cerritos.
Meanwhile, while the media provides moment-to-moment coverage of Thoughtcrime Enemy #1 this week, the feds are interrogating him as to whether his filmmaking might violate his probation on unrelated matters. . . . Here’s the question: would any of these people care about Nakoula’s probation status had the video not purportedly caused riots? If so, isn’t this pursuit more about the kind of speech in which Nakoula engaged than in what kind of activity he may have conducted with computers and the Internet? This is dangerous ground for free speech, and the media is making Cerritos into dangerous ground in a much more literal sense.
The media used to call themselves preventers of tyranny. They seem more like enablers, these days.
JOE SCARBOROUGH IS BASHING ME ON TWITTER, but that’s just because he’s afraid I’ll kill his campaign plans. #Reynolds2016
ED DRISCOLL: How To Explain Away Minor Impulse-Control Issues.
NO, BECAUSE SHE’S A FRIEND OF THE REGIME: If Kathryn Bigelow’s Movie About the Killing of Bin Laden Inflames Muslims Will the Brownshirts Be Sent to Her Home?
OBAMA AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT: THE QUICKMEME. I like this one:
Make your own here. Share liberally.
“SMART DIPLOMACY:” US closes embassy amid reports Sudan rejected request to send Marines.
TONY WOODLIEF CRUNCHES THE NUMBERS:
The thing is, I didn’t know we’d all gotten together and decided to officially call this guy “the Prophet Muhammad.” I know that’s what he is to 2 billion or so Muslims, but that leaves around 5 billion of us who are undecided on the matter.
It seems to be the case, however, that major news outlets have begun using the honorific title far more frequently. I don’t think that’s very good journalistic practice. I mean, to 2.2 billion Christians, Jesus Christ is “Lord Jesus Christ”—but we don’t expect The Washington Post to call him that.
History demonstrates that violence is an effective tool, especially when directed toward people without strong beliefs of their own.
ANN ALTHOUSE QUOTES TED STURGEON AND OPINES: “If there’s a crud exception to freedom, we are only 10% free.”
In support of the administration’s attempt to deflect attention from the defects of its policy, our Department of Justice, which is by now little more than an arm of the President’s re-election campaign, has responded by having its subordinates track down and identify the film-maker, release his name and that of at least one of his associates to the press, and haul him in after midnight to check whether he has violated the terms of probation imposed on him two years ago in a bank fraud case. And, of course, the mainstream press – which constitutes this year, as it did four years ago, what one Journolist member in 2008 accurately termed Barack Obama’s “unofficial campaign” – has loyally fallen in line, reporting that the video “sparked” the disturbance in Benghazi and intimating thereby that the attack was a spontaneous outburst.
All of this is meant to obscure the obvious – that the attack was planned well in advance. To begin with, it is not fortuitous that it took place – months after the video was posted – on 11 September. Nor can it have been the case that the perpetrators simply picked up in a fit of righteous anger the rocket launchers in their closets. Equipment of this sort is rarely ready to hand. Moreover, if the attackers bagged an American ambassador, it was surely because they had advance warning of his visit, and this means in turn that they had excellent intelligence of the sort that presupposes the cooperation of someone inside the consulate or the inside the embassy in Tripoli. . . . For the most part, the press’s contribution to the administration’s disinformation campaign is deliberate and calculated. But one must not underestimate the role played by stupidity.
Read the whole thing. And as a reminder that it wasn’t about that dumb video: Al-Qaeda Says Attack On U.S. Consulate In Benghazi “Revenge” For Recent Drone Killing Of Abu Yahya Al-Libi.
BRITAIN: 42% of Drivers Use Mobiles While Driving. “Around 20% admitted using a mobile to send a text, 4% checked emails and 2% even sent emails while behind the wheel. Some 2% read Twitter or Facebook updates while at the wheel and 1% even tweeted while driving.”
I see this all the time — and on more than one occasion have seen law-enforcement officers texting while driving. In fact, it’s so common that it’s hard for me to believe that it’s as dangerous as they say, or there would be no one left alive on the roads . . .
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WHY BARACK OBAMA SHOULD RESIGN. Just for the record, this is what it looked like for a man who made a film that made the Obama Administration uncomfortable:
Here’s the key bit: “Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.”
When taking office, the President does not swear to create jobs. He does not swear to “grow the economy.” He does not swear to institute “fairness.” The only oath the President takes is this one:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.
He won’t resign, of course. First, the President has the appreciation of free speech that one would expect from a Chicago Machine politician, which is to say, none. Second, he’s not getting any pressure. Indeed, the very press that went crazy over Ari Fleischer’s misrepresented remarks seems far less interested in the actions of an administration that I repeat, literally sent brown-shirted enforcers to launch a midnight knock on a filmmaker’s door.
But Obama’s behavior — and that of his enablers in the press — has laid down a marker for those who are paying attention. By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office. I hope and expect that the voters will agree in November.
Related thoughts from Ann Althouse:
That’s a scarf wrapped around his face, not a “towel.” Is the L.A. Times nudging us to think of this man as a “towelhead”? And look at this headline in the Daily Mail: “The man who set the Middle East ablaze hides his face in shame….” Shame? If I were imputing a motivation to this man, I’d say he has a fully justified fear of becoming a recognizable face.
But I think our government is delusional if it thinks the people who are rioting in Africa and killing our diplomats would — if they knew the facts — see individuals like Nakoula as the proper focus of their rage. They don’t believe the necessary premise: freedom as the superior value. As long as they favor a system in which blasphemy is outlawed and severely punished, they will continue to blame the American government for standing back and allowing blasphemy to flourish and flow everywhere. What good does it do to ask them to please understand our system? They hate this system.
Meanwhile, our government would scapegoat a
freecitizen. It’s not even effectual scapegoating.
Note Althouse’s strikethrough. You are not “free” when police can come to your door after midnight and demand that you “come downtown and answer a few questions” over a film you’ve made. Voluntarily, of course. . . .
It’s the deputies who should be covering their faces out of shame, but the real shame is on the man at the top of the hierarchy.
UPDATE: Reader J.M. Hanes writes: “I went berserk over the L.A.T. Nakoula photo too, but on top of the brownshirted Constitutional debacle, one incredibly consequential point has gotten lost in the shuffle: Could any visual more effectively reinforce the Arab street’s belief that the U.S. government can, in fact, punish blasphemers if it so chooses?”
Good point, and it ties in well to these comments by Eugene Volokh.
Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated. (Relatedly, “once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane.”) Say that the murders in Libya lead us to pass a law banning some kinds of speech that Muslims find offensive or blasphemous, or reinterpreting our First Amendment rules to make it possible to punish such speech under some existing law.
What then will extremist Muslims see? They killed several Americans (maybe itself a plus from their view). In exchange, they’ve gotten America to submit to their will. And on top of that, they’ve gotten back at blasphemers, and deter future blasphemy. A triple victory.
Would this (a) satisfy them that now America is trying to prevent blasphemy, so there’s no reason to kill over the next offensive incident, or (b) make them want more such victories? My money would be on (b).
And this is especially so since there’ll be plenty of other excuses for such killings in the future. It’s not like Muslim extremists have a clearly defined, unvarying, and limited range of speech they are willing to kill over (e.g., desecrating Korans and nothing but). Past history has already proved that; consider the bombings and murders triggered by the publication of the Satanic Verses.
What’s more, there are lots of people in the Muslim world who are happy to stoke hostility. . . . That’s why it seems to me to actually be safer — not just better for First Amendment principles, but actually safer for Americans — to hold the line now, and make clear that American speech is protected even if foreigners choose to respond to it with murder. That would send the message, “murder won’t get you what you want.” Not a perfectly effective message to be sure, but a better one than “murder will get you what you want.”
Read the whole thing. Especially if you work in the White House or the Justice Department.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More from Donald Sensing. “There is no possible justification for voting for this man in November. None, period.”
And reader Joel Mackey writes: “For the people that think that man had it coming due to prior run ins with the law, they should realize that they commit 3 felonies a day, the feds have all the reason they need to knock on your door at midnight, if you cause problems for them.” Yes, given that the laws are so complex that pretty much everyone is a felon, prosecutorial discretion rules. And that discretion needs to be bounded by political norms that you don’t abuse it just to go after people who express ideas you don’t want expressed. Those norms come from the First Amendment, but if there’s no cost to violating them, they won’t last.
MORE: Reader Richard Eastland writes:
Those who think he had it coming because of probation are sticking their heads in the sand.
He wasn’t hounded because he violated probation. He was persecuted because he made a video that the federal government is upset with.
Regardless of the “how” they are justifying their actions, the “why” is completely clear.
If you use his, please use my name. I refuse to be bullied by those who would use force to silence, be they terrorists or my own government.
Good for you. And reader Paul Crabtree writes: “Although the midnight raid to punish free speech is beyond deplorable, I guess we should be relieved that the Nobel Prize winner didn’t order a drone strike on his house.” Heh. We probably don’t have to worry about those . . . in the first term.
MORE STILL: Reader Jack Moody writes:
Prosecuting someone because they broke the law is one thing.
Only prosecuting someone who broke the law, after they embarrassed the administration, is gangster government, extortion, and the road to totalitarianism.
And that’s pretty clearly what’s happened here. Though to be fair, they didn’t actually prosecute him. Just took him downtown to answer a few questions. Voluntarily. After midnight. With a lot of TV cameras there, somehow.
And sorry, claims that this was just a routine probation matter don’t pass the laugh test. They’re just pure hackery.
And reader Rob Beile paraphrases Dean Wormer: “Incompetent, Thuggish and Cowardly is no way to lead The Free World, Mr. President.”
MORE STILL: Reader Jack Moss writes: “Probation is not a law enforcement function, it’s under the court. If his probation officer wanted to question him about the use of a computer, that broke his probation fine. But that wouldn’t include questions about making an anti-Islamic movie. It’s irrelevant. That means that the FBI showed up outside their jurisdiction for a reason given by their superiors. The question then is who ordered them there.”
MORE ON THOSE UNDERFUNDED/OVERGENEROUS PUBLIC PENSIONS: Pension system is a bankrupt promise. “The Kentucky Public Employee Pension System is a bankrupt promise that the state legislature cannot keep. Taxpayers should be furious that lawmakers – through greed, mismanagement and inaction – have allowed this system to deteriorate. State employees should be equally as angry at the prospect that they may never collect the pensions they have been promised.”
That’s the pattern around the country, alas. Meanwhile, private corporations have more flexibility: New York Times Cuts Pensions In New Offer To Former Staffers.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Money Mismanagement Storm at the National Weather Service. “When whistleblowers sounded the alarm, the inspector general let the potential wrongdoers investigate the alleged wrongdoings.” Kinda like letting Chris Dodd oversee Wall Street — oh, wait . . . .
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Fewer modern farmers rely on almanacs for insights. “Many farmers like Freitas say farmer’s almanacs, known for their catchy weather predictions, are no longer a go-to source in the Information Age. Some, however, still turn to the centuries-old booklets for long-range weather predictions. The 2013 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac hit shelves Wednesday.”
A “POP DOWN” RESTAURANT in an underground mine.
ANN ALTHOUSE: “You start disputing my God, and you’ve got a problem.” “Says a man the filmmaker mocks as crazy. Are the federal authorities calling on the L.A. Sheriff to drag this filmmaker out of his mansion in the middle of the night?”
UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “Has Maher shredded the DOJ and, by extension, Obama over the ham-handed attempts to intimidate the video maker and to suppress the You Tube video?” Not as far as I know. Maybe he’s afraid he’ll get a midnight knock on the door. Welcome to Obama’s America.
SECURITY: Don’t Blame the Marines: Here’s Who is Supposed to Protect U.S. Diplomats. Evidence suggests we need more marines. Also, flamethrowers. #Reynolds2016
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Worst College Majors for Your Career.
READER BOOK PLUG: From Reader Stephen Sopko, Confidence Call: Success In Telephone Job Interviews.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Sex Can Make You Smarter.
THIS SEEMS LIKE A SMART IDEA: Parents offered childcare to make time for sex.
Danish nursery workers are offering free childcare – so busy parents can find the time to make more babies.
They have promised two hours’ free childcare on Thursday evening, so parents can go to bed, reports the BBC.
Dorte Nyman, of the Grasshoppers kindergarten in North Fyn, said the country’s low birthrate was threatening the future of local nurseries.
She expected nearly half of the nursery’s families to accept the offer.
I would expect more than that.
IN THE MAIL: From Andre Norton, Ice and Shadow.
CHAOS AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT? “I spoke with a well-placed journalist last night whose sources describe the situation at the State Department in one word: ‘Chaos.’ The working assumption is that several American embassies may have been penetrated, or are vulnerable to attack, because so many of them rely on local residents for staff needs at the embassy, and as such may be in a position to breach security if they have been recruited by Al Qaida. Moreover, the full story of the attack on the Benghazi consulate is much worse than we have been told.”
KIRSTEN POWERS: President Obama, stop blaming the victim for Mideast violence.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): On This Week In History, Gas Prices Have Never Been Higher.
Yet strangely, there’s little press attention to this fact.
ELIOT COHEN: Are You Safer Now Than You Were Four Years Ago? “Why is this the Obama administration’s record? Perhaps the president and his aides are declinists, who think of the United States as too weak to act; perhaps they are indifferent; perhaps they are merely incompetent. In any event, this president will leave his successor a country that is considerably less secure than it was when he took the oath of office.”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Middle East Mess Part One: Over There.
Coming in the middle of the American campaign season and timed to coincide with eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the violence now shaking the Middle East has inevitably turned into a US domestic issue. I’ll write about that as the situation unfolds, but at the moment it seems most important to think about what is happening over there — and then to think about what this might mean for US policy or politics. . . .
If Americans are going to understand what’s going on and process it effectively, the first thing we’ve got to realize is that this isn’t all about us. The riots in Cairo are basically part of a local power struggle. Radical Salafists are in a power struggle with the Muslim Brotherhood; attacking the US embassy forces President Morsi (as the radical strategists presumably expected) to side with the US, however slowly or reluctantly. That’s a win for the radicals, who want to tar the Muslim Brotherhood as soft appeasers who side with the Americans against their own outraged people.
Striking at the embassy pushes Egyptian politics in a more radical direction short term, and over the medium term it weakens the Muslim Brotherhood and strengthens the more radical groups. After these last attacks, you are not going to see many tourists or foreign investors traipsing to Egypt anytime soon. The already struggling Egyptian economy has taken a hit that will cut employment. That’s going to hurt, and it’s going to reduce the popularity of the government, much to the benefit of the radicals who hope to replace it.
In many other places, from the West Bank and Gaza to Yemen and Tunisia, the protest movements are also more important for what they mean in local politics than about global policy.
Read the whole thing.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: State Department: Stop asking us about the Benghazi attack. “The State Department told reporters Friday afternoon that it won’t answer any more questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans until the investigation into the incident is complete.”
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THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, POLITICALLY TROUBLESOME INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS WOULD BE HARASSED BY THE AUTHORITIES — AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Alleged ‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker taken in for interviewing by deputies.
This running gag isn’t as funny as it used to be. Imagine the uproar if we had a Republican in the White House — but it’s the absence of uproar over these tactics that is really revealing. It’s going to be really hard for the press and pundits who should be raising a stink about this, but aren’t, to play their “have you no decency?” games during a Republican Administration. They’ll try, of course, but they should be treated with the contempt they deserve. And that should start now, actually.
SHIRKER-IN-CHIEF: White House shirks Ways and Means deadline to provide Delphi documents.
President Barack Obama’s White House failed to meet the deadline to provide documents related to the Delphi pension scandal to the House Ways and Means Committee, The Daily Caller has learned.
On Aug, 15, Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp sent official document requests to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation director Josh Gotbaum and White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. Camp asked for documents relating to Treasury and the White House’s involvement in the decision during the 2009 bailout to terminate the pension plans for 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried workers while topping off the pension plans for union workers.
Each government entity was to provide these documents to the committee by Sept. 7.
A committee spokesperson told TheDC that the Treasury Department and PBGC each provided some documents, but the White House failed to provide anything by the deadline.
Remember all those promises to be the most transparent administration in history? Well, they are. You can see right through them.
THE HILL: House Approves “No More Solyndras” Act. “The House passed legislation Friday afternoon that would curtail a Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee program that backed a $535 million federal loan to Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar-panel maker. Members approved the No More Solyndras Act, H.R. 6213, in a 245-161 vote. Republicans have held the failed green-energy company as proof that the Obama administration has funneled billions of dollars to undeserving firms.”
My favorite bit: “Passage sends the bill to a Senate that is expected to ignore it completely.” Hey, it interferes with graft.
DAVID SOLWAY: The End of Obamerica. “Events in the Middle East cast into sharp relief the choice facing Americans this fall.”
Now that the White House has released its massive sequestration report detailing the $1.2 trillion in possible cuts to future spending over the next 10 years, expect to read more headlines like the following from Buzzfeed:
Mandatory Defense Cuts Would Slash Funding To Security At Embassies, Report Says
You got that implication, kemo sabe?
Possible future trims in spending have something to do with what’s going in the Middle East right now. Not that embassies are under attack now because of American foreign policy or world events or rotten security or whatever. Or that we can’t defend our citizens and diplomatic corps right now despite record-high levels of spending on defense and military operations for most of the 21st century.
No, the real bad news is coming if and when the United States stops its 12-year long spending spree that has all but killed any chance of recovery and piled on the debt like Dagwood Bumstead loading cold cuts onto a sandwich roll.
I would make fun of Buzzfeed, but it’s not like the others are really any better or more honest. Meanwhile, if we had had competent management we could have secured our embassies pretty easily. And that’s without even adopting my flamethrower-based embassy-defense strategy.
Plus Nick’s bottom line: “In fact, the cuts for 2013 amount to maybe a whopping $120 billion in an annual budget that is likely to run about $3.8 trillion. Out of the $120 billion, about $50 billion will come out of military budget that will be well north of $650 billion, including war funding. Let’s leave aside the mad rush by every part of the government to link its current failures to a future spending cut and instead point out the obvious: Sequestration in no way threatens any basic governmental function. Period.”
The first thing we should be sequestering are Congressional salaries. If we did that, we wouldn’t have to worry about any of the rest . . . .
MISSING THE FOREST for the YouTube video.
IF TRUE, WE MIGHT AS WELL SWEAR ROMNEY IN NOW: 72% in poll say Obama economic record to be key factor in their vote.
ZOMBIE ON THE NARRATIVE WARS: Slap the Honey Boo Boos with Truthaganda. “Memo to non-leftist bloggers, reporters and culture-shapers: TAKE THE GODDAMN GLOVES OFF. This campaign just got real. From right now until election day, no holds are barred. . . . The MSM knows full well it manipulates The Narrative, and invariably does so to the benefit of Obama, the Democrats, and “progressivism” in general. And people like you and me know this full well too. But until now the media has at least feigned impartiality, not to trick us but in order to maintain credibility and influence over the Honey Boo Boos.”
Call them out by name. Make it personal. Do it every single time.
STANDING UP TO THE CENSORS: YouTube tells White House it will not remove video blamed for sparking riots.
Well, it’s not like Chicago Machine politicians were ever big fans of free speech. Only a dolt would think otherwise.
TIME FOR HILLARY TO RESIGN? Colonel: Hillary Made Decision Not to Post Marines at Benghazi.
I’d have marines. With flamethrowers. #Reynolds2016
WHOA, DUDE: Are We Inside A Computer Right Now?
According to Moore’s Law, which states that computing power doubles roughly every two years, all of this will be theoretically possible in the future. Sooner or later, we’ll get to a place where simulating a few billion people—and making them believe they are sentient beings with the ability to control their own destinies—will be as easy as sending a stranger a picture of your genitals on your phone.
This hypothesis—versions of which have been kicked around for centuries—is becoming the trippy notion of the moment for philosophers, with people like Nick Bostrom, the director of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, seriously considering the premise.
Until recently, the simulation argument hadn’t really attracted traditional researchers. That’s not to say he is the first scientist to predict our ability to run realistic simulations (among others, Ray Kurzweil did that in his 1999 book The Age of Spiritual Machines), but he is one of the first to argue we might already be living inside one. Rich has even gone one step further by attempting to prove his theories through physics, citing things like the observable pixelation of the tiniest matter and the eerie similarities between quantum mechanics, the mathematical rules that govern our universe, and the creation of video game environments.
Just think: Whenever you fuck up there could be the intergalactic version of an overweight 13-year-old Korean boy controlling you and screaming “Shit!” into an Xbox headset. It sort of takes the edge off things.
REPORTING FROM EGYPT: Sandmonkey from Cairo — Exclusive PJM Audio Interview.
I’ve bolded a few inconvenient words. Observe: the HuffPo reports “$200-$250″; the AP story elsewhere says $200K-$250K and less. Add the “and less” and suddenly Romney is saying the same limits as Obama — and the other bolded words make clear.
By the way, this is first in a series of Romney Rumors; it’s become clear that we need to capture these things just as we did with Palin. If you see anything you think needs to be debunked, pass it along.
Indeed. You can’t trust the press — as many are now observing, they’re just Democratic operatives with bylines.
UPDATE: Andrew Kaczynski tweets: “Not really reported by HuffPost, they posted the AP story, who got it wrong. HuffPost had no way of knowing.” Okay, so it’s AP who are the Dem operatives with bylines.
ALAN BOYLE: The Lighter Side of Neil Armstrong.
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ED DRISCOLL: Obama: The First Amendment? Never Heard Of It.