America’s lousy media and lousy sense of proportion

A couple of days ago, I wrote a lengthy post in which I argued that, during Democrat presidencies, the media constantly elevates non-essential information to top status, thereby keeping America’s attention away from the fact that things are going badly wrong.  During Republican administrations, the press focuses exclusively on hard news, always reported to the administration’s detriment.

Today’s Drudge Report perfectly exemplifies what’s roiling the world (Putin) and what’s roiling the media and the Left (a proposed Arizona law that would allow people who practice traditional religions to refuse to provide their services to gay weddings, which they see as a direct affront to their faith):

Drudge 2-26-14

The bizarre juxtaposition is even more apparent if you look at the Drudge Report on a smart phone:
photo

They’re rattling sabres in a way that presages another Cold War or, worse, a hot war, while our chattering class is incensed that traditional religionists don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy because, while they do not want to be active participants in what is to them a deeply offensive event.

The American media has found its fiddle, even as the world burns down around our ears.

To achieve partisan political goals, the American media destroys the precious right and moral mandate given to it by the Constitution

paparazzi-440x240When our Founders (rightly) insisted upon a free press, they could never have envisioned the wounds the modern American media inflicted upon itself and, by extension, upon the American body politic.  The Founders’ goal was a press that zealously kept watch on politicians, keeping them honest and reminding them that they were the people’s servants, not their masters.  Instead, we have a media that selectively watches some politicians, while following a “don’t ask, don’t tell” standard as to others.  And during those eras when the press’s preferred political party is in power, it turns its energies to attacking and destroying people, both private citizens and celebrities, who have the misfortune to catch the media’s eye.

As I hope to demonstrate below, some of the worst media scandals ever took place during the Clinton presidency.  While the mainstream media (as opposed to the paparazzi/tabloid media) carefully averted its eyes from the Clintons, it savaged Tonya Harding, Richard Jewell, and Princess Diana.  Please remind me if any such “assault by media” events happened during the Bush years.  I can’t think of any, and am not surprised at that memory lapse, since the mainstream media’s entire energies were directed towards discrediting George Bush.

Beginning with 2008 election cycle, the media once again reversed course:  it kept up the attacks on Bush, as well as targeting any Republicans who looked too close to winning the prize (can we say “Sarah Palin”?), and began once again focusing its energies on non-political inessentials — a pattern that it has kept to through the present-day.

My whole theory about the ebb and flow of tabloid and political reporting depending upon which party is in power began when I watched ESPN’s The Price of Gold, a documentary that examines Nancy Kerrigan’s infamous knee capping back in 1994, six weeks before the Lillehammer Olympics (and a few months before triumphant Republicans were able to seize Congress because of America’s horror at Clinton’s far-Left agenda.)  Within a few weeks of the attack, the FBI had figured out that Kerrigan’s main on-ice rival, Tonya Harding, a powerful, scrappy poor kid was somehow involved.  There was no question but that her husband and three conspirators actively carried out the attack.  Harding subsequently pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by failing to give the FBI information after the attack, but she’s never admitted to being complicit in the attack herself.

If you get the chance to watch The Price of Gold, you should.  Kerrigan refused to participate (although her husband appears twice), but Harding finally got the chance to tell her story.  The documentary intertwines interviews with people who knew Harding and Kerrigan, fellow Olympic figure skaters, media people involved at the time, and Harding herself, as well as contemporaneous footage showing Harding from a little girl on ice right up until her demeaning post-Olympics career as a boxer.  Separate from whether she was involved in the assault, Harding emerges as a very sympathetic figure.  Unlike most American skaters, she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps, training in a shopping mall, suffering hunger and parental abuse, and eventually ending up in an abusive marriage.  Despite this, she turned herself into one of the world’s top skaters.

KERRIGAN AND HARDINGOnce Harding had hauled herself into the upper ranks, she discovered blatant class discrimination from two sources:  the skating powers-that-be and the media.  The skating world, still in thrall to Sonja Henie, demanded that, in addition to being powerful athletes, women skaters had to look like fairytale princesses.  Nancy Kerrigan conformed nicely to these demands.  Not only was she exceptionally pretty, she was also a powerful athlete.  Thanks to her looks, she got lucrative endorsements, which enabled her to pay thousands of dollars for a classy princess costume, and to have the best training money could buy.  Harding, on the other hand, was attacked for her homemade costumes and energetic rock music routines.

As for the media, they could have championed the working class heroine, but they didn’t.  With the Olympics nearing, the narrative was set:  beautiful princess facing challenge from ugly stepsister.  Yes, Harding was scrappy and self-made, which even the media recognized was admirable, but she simply wasn’t photogenic.  The press besieged her, but not in a respectful way.

After the attack, all Hell broke loose when it came to the media.  Keep in mind that, when the media went after Harding, never leaving her alone for a single second, no one knew whether she was innocent or guilty.  Indeed, we still don’t, although people close to Harding have their guesses.  The absence of proof or knowledge didn’t stop the media from making it impossible for Harding to train or to do anything else.  It was clear when Harding made her disastrous appearance at the Lillehammer Olympics that she was destroyed, not by a guilty-conscience (and, again, we don’t know if she had a guilty conscience), but by being hunted relentlessly for six weeks.  It probably wasn’t a coincidence that this debacle took place as Clinton was plummeting in the polls thanks in large part to his healthcare initiative.

There was another media frenzy in 1994 as well, which was also a distraction from actual news about Clinton’s myriad policy failures:  The OJ Simpson trial.  For nine months, the media provided wall-to-wall coverage of the trial, allowing it to keep to a limit any meaningful political coverage.

Richard JewellTwo years later, the media engaged in even more shameful behavior in the case of Richard Jewell, the hero who saved so many lives at the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics.  After first lauding him, the media then tried and convicted him, at the same time stalking and harassing him unmercifully.  When he was definitively cleared, the media hounds just slunk away into the night; their work was done.  That was the same year, as you recall, was that Clinton caved on gay rights, enacting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military.

And then there were the Bush years.  Please remind me of any famous media scandals during the Bush years that did not involve attacks on George Bush or his policies.  I can’t think of any.

With the lead-up to the 2008 election, the media once again took its eye off politics and started the scandal watch again.  It continued to savage Bush, and added Sarah Palin to its list of people it had to destroy.  Headlines became pure fluff.  Hard news — about the attempted Iranian Green Revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Syrian Civil War, the economy, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, etc. — was quickly and inaccurately summarized to make room for the really important stuff.  The MSM primarily devoted itself to attacking Republicans, lauding Democrats, worshipping Obama, supporting gay rights, demanding massive changes to the military, climate change, closed bridges, and Miley Cyrus and her ilk.  Whitney Houston, who killed herself directly or indirectly through years of drug abuse got more coverage than Chris Kyle, a true American hero who got murdered.

A good example of the media’s bizarre focus is Alec Baldwin.  Baldwin has always had a famously combative relationship with the media, especially the paparazzi.  He’s now taken to the pages of The Vulture to reveal that he’s not a gay-bashing monster but is, instead, a compassionate fellow who is a victim of media and gay attacks.  It makes for an enlightening read, although not in the way Baldwin intends.

I should say here that I hold no brief for Baldwin.  As 30 Rock showed, he’s an extremely talented comic actor — and that’s the only nice thing I can say about him.  He’s an angry, combative, whiny, hate-filled man who  believes himself to be an intellectual.  (Which reminds me of the response the Jewish mother gave to her son when he proudly showed up wearing his “captain” outfit for his new yacht: “Sammy, by me you’re a captain and by you you’re a captain.  But tell me — by captains are you a captain?”  With regard to Baldwin, one is tempted to say, “Alec, by you you’re an intellectual, and by Leftists you’re an intellectual.  But tell me — by actual smart people, are you an intellectual?”)

172144-alec-baldwinNevertheless, despite all that is really unpleasant about him, Baldwin makes some good points in his extended, almost maudlin rant.  First, he’s right about the attacks gays are making on free speech.  It doesn’t excuse his obscene, abusive language, but Baldwin has vaguely figured out that the speech police are out there.  Indeed, he rises to a certain level of sardonic wit when he calls Anderson Cooper (who I always think looks as if he’s lived his life in a deep sea cave) “the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture,” for demanding that the media “vilify” Baldwin.  Baldwin doesn’t see or doesn’t care about the way gay issues suck up all the media’s air time to the exclusion of coverage about Benghazi, the IRS, North Korea, Fast & Furious, etc.

Baldwin also makes a couple of good points when he talks about the paparazzi and MSNBC.  Of the press, he accurately — indeed, in an almost low-key way — describes its behavior:

And this isn’t the days of Rona Barrett and Ron Galella, who were viewed as outcasts or peripheral at best. Paparazzi today are part of a network that includes the Huffington Post and, much to my dismay, even NBC News, in their reliance on tabloid reporting.

Photographers today get right up in your face, my wife’s, my baby’s. They are baiting you. You can tell they want to get into it with you. Some bump into me or block the entrance to my apartment, frustrating my neighbors (some of whom may regret that I live in their building).

The other point Baldwin makes that is worth noting is his attack on MSNBC.  Putting aside the obvious sour grapes, he confirms what all of us have always suspected — MSNBC is run by Leftist businessmen who employ minimally intelligent talking heads to operate as an attack machine, rather than a news agency.  (Baldwin concedes that Rachel Maddow isn’t stupid, but thinks she’s a “phony,” whatever he means by that conclusory word.):

Phil Griffin is the head of MSNBC, and when I saw that Griffin didn’t have a single piece of paper on his desk, meeting after meeting after meeting, that should have been my first indication there was going to be a problem. Phil is a veteran programmer who knows well the corridors and chambers of television programming—and couldn’t give a flying fuck about content.

Three wise monkeysEven as the media has spent the Obama years obsessed by Alec Baldwin, gays, and Miley Cyrus, what about the way in which it’s performed its core function under the First Amendment, which is to ensure open and honest political discourse in America?  I don’t think I need to start preaching to the choir here.  You can amuse yourself by comparing coverage of Bridgegate to the media’s announcement that Hillary Clinton’s entire past, up to and including Benghazi, is off limits.  After all, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Or you might want to compare the microscope placed on Sarah Palin (including reporters going through her garbage or Andrew Sullivan’s increasingly insane theories about her son Trig’s parentage) versus the three monkeys approach the media took to every facet of Barack Obama’s history (“hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”).

The profound damage the media is inflicting on America with its slavish devotion to the Democrat Party came to mind when I read an article about the Ukrainian media’s role in the current uprising.  The article shows two things:  (1) that a media complicit with the government is terribly damaging to the rights of the people and (2) that a media that backs away from that same government can then destroy it (and that’s true whether or not it’s a government that deserves to be destroyed).  Both of these are useful lessons for America.

Lidia Pankiv, a Ukrainian journalist, was invited to speak on a talk show on Inter, the most popular news station in Ukraine.  Andriy Danylevych, the show’s host, wanted to do a human interest story with her about how important it is for reconciliation to occur instantly between, on the one hand, a government that governed against the will of the people and then tried to kill them and, on the other hand, the people themselves.  Pankiv was expected to tell a heartwarming story about how she calmed down riot police attacking civilians and how she ended up engaged to one of those riot police.  Pankiv, however, wasn’t going to talk about reconciliation.  Instead, she had a message for her compatriots about the media’s complicity in tyranny (emphasis mine):

Lidia PankivYou probably want to hear a story from me about how with my bare hands I restrained a whole Berkut unit, and how one of the Berkut officers fell in love with me and I fell in love with him. But I’m going to tell you another story. About how with my bare hands I dragged the bodies of those killed the day before yesterday. And about how two of my friends died yesterday. . . . I hate Zakharchenko, Klyuev, Lukash, Medvedchuk, Azarov. I hate Yanukovych and all those who carry out their criminal orders. I came here today only because I found out that this is a live broadcast. I want to say that I also despise Inter because for three months it deceived viewers and spread enmity among citizens of this country. And now you are calling for peace and unity. Yes, you have the right to try to clear your conscience, but I think you should run this program on your knees. I’ve brought these photos here for you, so that you see my dead friends in your dreams and understand that you also took part in that. And now, I’m sorry, I don’t have time. I’m going to Maidan. Glory to Ukraine.

When the show’s host tried to derail this conversation, the other guest instead agreed with what Pankiv had to say (emphasis mine):

Danylevych immediately tried to return to the night’s topic of reconciliation. But he was stopped by guest Konstantin Reutsky, a human-rights activist from Luhansk. Reutsky agreed with Pankiv, saying that Inter journalists had “lied and distorted information about Maidan over the last three months.” Danylevych tried to interrupt Reutsky, who went on to say that the protestors had tried for months to avoid bloodshed. “But what happened yesterday is a point of no return,” Reutsky continued. “After that you can no longer say, ‘Sorry, we got carried away, let’s turn the page and start afresh without offense.’ What happened yesterday is impossible to forget.” Danylevych, after shouting down Reutsky’s further attempt to discuss the crimes committed by the government, changed the topic. But a chief media mouthpiece of the regime, owned by the president’s oligarch backers, had been exposed. Hours later, the president fled his palace.

John Fund, whom I quoted immediately above, draws one conclusion:

As someone who reported from Eastern Europe during the fall of Communist regimes there, I recognized a recurring pattern in the collapse a quarter century later of the regime in Kiev. Regimes can stay in power in an age of mass media only if they have enough murderers willing to gun down people in the street.

Ukraine uprisingThere’s more to add than that, though.  Certainly it’s true that, when the blood really starts to flow, the media can no longer hide what’s going on, and the government can hold out only if there are enough people willing to stomach the bloodshed of their fellow citizens to fight them to the death (e.g., Syria).  What struck me most strongly about what happened in Ukraine, though, is the way in which a corrupt, complicit media propped up an administration that was governing against the will of the people.  The Ukrainian government hadn’t resorted to physically attacking its people in the months leading up to last week’s uprising.  Instead, it simply lied to the people and it was able to do so because the media covered for it.  (I wrote those words before Putin stepped up his game against Ukraine.  Putin understands that when a once great power is governed by a paper rat — Obama doesn’t rise even to the level of a paper tiger — the bad actors of the world no longer have anything to fear.)

If you’re now thinking about Obamacare and other events in the Obama administration, you and I are two minds with but a single thought.  The media has turned on its head the Founders’ belief that a healthy democracy can survive only with a media that rigorously keeps politicians honest by accurately reporting what’s happening in the political world.  Our media has utterly failed in its constitutional responsibility.  When Obama ran for president, it covered for him, telling the world that no one had any right even to ask Obama about his personal history, political record, and peculiar group of friends.  When Obama pushed for Obamacare, the media relayed his lies without comment and avoided covering anything negative.  In Benghazi, the media carefully didn’t ask any questions that might have exposed Hillary’s and Obama’s lies.  With the IRS scandal, the media simply buried the whole matter as quickly as possible.

The American media is Ukraine’s Inter.  No, I take that back.  The American media is worse than Inter.  Ukraine doesn’t have a First Amendment.  Its press has no constitutional right to be free nor does it have the moral mandate that flows from that extraordinary right to be the people’s watchdog.  In most of the world, it’s always been a given that the press is the government’s mouthpiece — and, as Putin’s Russia shows, it can be deadly to try to break free from that relationship.  In America, however, the media had something unique in world history:  a signed, written contract granting it freedom from the government.  The American media did something extraordinary, though:  it shredded that contract, threw the pieces to the wind, and willingly put its neck in the government’s yoke — provided that the government was run by a Democrat.

In the past thirty years, the American media has managed to turn itself upside down.  Instead of being a government watchdog and the people’s protector, it has become the government’s lapdog and the people’s persecutor.  Moreover, it has done this to achieve blatant partisan outcomes:  it uses its power to install and maintain Democrat Party governments and it deflects attention from its misbehavior by attacking a select few in order to divert and deceive the masses.

 

 

I prefer clarity to agreement, and Obama’s second term is getting increasingly more clear

I trace back to Dennis Prager one of my favorite expressions:  “I prefer clarity to agreement.”  Too often, agreement can be like Tacitus’s definition of a Roman peace (“they make a desert and call it peace”).  In the years since Obama’s election, I’ve frequently argued that, with a weak American president, the world might get some necessary clarity.  (For example, in January 2011, I said apropos Obama’s retreat from the world stage, “The clarity that emerges when the strong man is gone might be helpful.”)

Looking at the headlines, it occurs to me that Americans are getting a lot of clarity about what today’s Democrats really stand for, while the world is getting a lot of clarity about what a post-American world looks like.  The following links all tie into this post’s theme about the clarity that Obama has wrought.

The end of the filibuster,* although weakening minority power in the Senate, may bring about a very useful clarity, both because it forces the two parties to own the legislation they pass, and because it enables Republicans to have an easier time getting their judicial picks confirmed.  History shows that, with the exception of the past year or two, while Democrat judicial picks got confirmed easily, Republican judicial picks did not.  Republicans will now be able to get judges on the bench with a simple majority.

Obamacare reveals Obama for what he is:  not a glorious tyrant, in the mold of Louis XIV or Henry VIII, but a petty bureaucratic Leftist.  You and I knew that early on, of course, but the rest of America is catching on to this reality . . . so there’s clarity for you.

The young and the poor just got a dose of clarity today:  Even the wealth transfer that is Obama’s core (but don’t call it redistribution) was done incompetently, with low-income, especially young low-income people finding that they’re in the increasingly expensive Obamacare market without a subsidy net.

I hope John Fund is correct when he says it can still be repealed — but that will happen only if the American people have learned their lesson and vote Republican in 2014, and if the Republicans don’t prove that they’re as complicit in Big Government as we currently suspect.  (And in that regard, the end of the filibuster may also bring some welcome clarity for conservative voters.)

Peter Wehner comes right out and says it:  Obamacare is finally causing people to see the President and the Democrats for at least some of what they are — failed technocrats.  But again, the question remains whether we’ll get intelligent action in clarity’s wake.

Angelo Codevilla thinks the same is true with Obama’s appalling agreement to allow Iran to continue building its nuclear program; namely, that it forces clarity (or, as he phrases it “reality’) on the world:  “But let us look on the bright side: There is value in leaving no doubt about reality.”

Certainly the Israelis now know where they stand.  Keith Koffler’s faux quote passes the Homer Simpson test.

And finally, even the media is getting a little tired of being pushed around.  This tiny rebellion won’t stop the media’s slavish devotion because, even if media members have had it with the man, they still support the cause.  However, to the extent the media consuming public watches this little tiff, it might produce enough clarity in some that they start backing away from the cognitive dissonance that enslaves them.

Clarity . . . it’s a good thing.

_________________________

*Thanks to Earl for pointing out that I’d forgotten those three very important words.

Krauthammer on Obama’s next campaign — when rhetoric meets reality

I think Charles Krauthammer may have written one of his best articles ever.  I’m quoting a few select phrases, but you’re cheating yourself if you don’t read the whole thing:

“Obama to campaign to ensure health law’s success”

– The New York Times, November 4

The Obamacare website doesn’t work. Hundreds of thousands of insured Americans are seeing their plans summarily terminated. Millions more face the same prospect next year. Confronted with a crisis of governance, how does President Obama respond?

He campaigns.

[snip]

Campaigning to make something work? How does that work? Presidential sweet talk persuades the nonfunctional web portal to function?

[snip]

Last Wednesday, he simply denied reality and said he really hasn’t changed his message from when he promised in June 2009: “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”

Instead of simply admitting he was wrong, he goes Clintonian, explaining that the pledge applied only to certain specified plans — which he now says he meant all along. Alas, this is one case of death by punctuation. “Period” means without caveats, modifications, loopholes, or escape hatches.

[snip]

Obamacare proponents who live in the real world might admit that they intended to cancel people’s individual plans all along because kicking people off individual policies is at the heart of populating the health exchanges. You must cancel the good, less frilly plans because forcing these people into more expensive plans (that they don’t need) produces the inflated rates that subsidize the health care of others.

The more honest Obamacare advocates are in effect admitting that to make this omelet you have to break 8 million eggs — roughly the number of people with individual plans who are expected to lose them. Obama, however, goes on as if he can conjure omelets out of thin air.

This rather bizarre belief in the unlimited power of the speech arises from Obama’s biography. Isn’t that how he rose? Words. It’s not as if he built a company, an enterprise, an institution. He built one thing — his own persona. By persuasion. One great speech in 2004 propels him to the presidential level. More great speeches and he wins the White House.

The media is still trying to convince us that Emperor Obama is nattily attired in pants with pressed creases. It’s then surrounding him by a phalanx of courtiers with such awkward names as “The War on Women” and “You’re Racist” and “Republicans want to kill old and poor people.” It remains to be seen whether the Obamacare debacle will finally strip away these illusory protections and reveal Obama, standing naked before us.

(Immediately after I wrote those words, I thought, “Well, it works as a metaphor, but I have to admit to some revulsion at the thought of seeing Obama actually standing naked before me. Ick.”)

I may have to revisit my opinion about Banksy, since he’s challenged the craven New York Times

My post title is somewhat misleading, because I actually don’t have an opinion about the artist Banksy.  You can’t revisit what never existed.  Up until about ten minutes ago, I didn’t care about him one way or the other, neither to like nor to dislike; nor to respect nor to revile.  For me, his name is familiar; everything else about him has, in the past, fallen into the “whatever” category.

However, Banksy’s opinion about the building rising at Ground Zero in New York suggests that he’s more than a “whatever.”  It’s not just that the piece demands that the City itself not cry craven at Ground Zero but, instead, bravely assert itself in the wake of 9/11 (never mind that it’s taken 12 years even to start building something).  What really makes Banksy’s latest move unusual is that he calls out The New York Times for its own craven behavior when it comes to an opinion piece demanding better for New York.

Banksky printed at his personal blog an editorial that the NYT refused to run.  Why?  One can guess.  Banksy just states the facts. “Today’s piece was going to be an op-ed column in the New York Times. But they declined to publish what I supplied. Which was this…”

Banksy's banned New York Times opinion piece

In the same post, Banksy includes some new art work illustrating censorship:

Banksy censorship illustration

Our suspicion is that the Times wants desperately to pretend that 9/11 never happened because it is an invitation to cognitive dissonance.  Islam is not a religion of piece, al Qaeda is not gone, and Barack Obama hasn’t made America more safe.  An op-ed demanding that the new tower trumpet America’s triumph over a foul ideology is simply unacceptable to a media institution drowning in dhimmitude.

So, when it comes to Banksy, there’s definitely more there than has met my eye. I I’m prepared to respect any society darling who has the decency to attack The New York Times.  Most people in society desperately crave the Times’ approval, so it’s very rare indeed for an insider to speak out.

Don’t mess with vets-es!!

The vets descended on Washington.  While there weren’t a million, there were a lot and they made their point.  It’s another day where I’m not in control of my own time, so I can’t write about it, but others have.  There’s a little overlap, but I think that link deserves to be viewed:

Power Line (a comprehensive photo essay)

Gateway Pundit Part 1

Gateway Pundit Part 2 (and  hurrah for the police who proved that they are still Americans)

Gateway Pundit Part 3

PJ Media

Breitbart (Americans in Washington today)-

Breitbart (Republican politicians in Washington today)

Breitbart (Mainstream media in Washington today — and ask yourself if CNN is doing a smart thing or a dumb thing by making vets, from WWII to the present, look like crazies)

Michelle Malkin (Doug Powers)

And from the Washington Post, the hometown of this turnout . . . nothing, at least not on the front page of its online edition at 6:30 p.m. EST:

Homepage WaPo 1Homepage WaPo 2

Media Rule No. 1: Never ever abandon Democrat spin — but Charles Martel shows we can spin too

Earl Aagaard caught something in the very first line of an AP report about the fact that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is about to be freed from prison.  If Nakoula’s name doesn’t ring a bell, let me refresh your recollection.

Nakoula posted on YouTube a short video that purported to be a trailer about Muhammad’s life.  It was as inconsequential as any bit of fluff ever put onto YouTube.  For the Obama administration, however, it was a life saver.

In the immediate aftermath of riots at the Egyptian embassy and the al Qaeda-related slaughter of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, the administration discounted both its own responsibility and resurgent anti-American Islamist terrorism by saying that Nakoula’s video triggered events in both Egypt and Benghazi.  To the extent that his ten-minute nothing of a video trailer for a non-existent movie was seen as an insult to “the Prophet,” the administration implied, Muslims got righteously upset and, pretty much by accident, attacked a US embassy, a consular office, and a CIA outpost, killing an American ambassador, a consular aide, and two former SEALS.

Nakoula poster

(You can see other cleverly-captioned Nakoula arrest posters here.)

Well, put that way, what else could our government do but arrest someone who had so much blood on his hands?  Within just a day or two, administration flunkies discovered that Nakoula had violated his parole (nobody says Nakoula is the most savory character in the world), had him arrested, and kept him hidden away in the bowels of the American prison system.  Now, over a year later, he is finally to be free.

In that intervening year, of course, we’ve learned that everything the administration said about Nakoula’s little video was a lie.  The rioting in Egypt took place because of the September 11 anniversary, while the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a carefully planned attack by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  To the extent the jihadists talked about the video, it was an ex post facto cover for their terrorist activities — and the Obama administration knew this from the minute the riots in Egypt and the attack in Benghazi came into being.  After all, Ambassador Christopher Stevens had seen the attack coming for some time and had begged for increased security in Benghazi.  Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, turned a deaf ear to his pleas.

When the attack finally came, barring Hillary’s single phone call and Obama’s quick visit to the situation room, both Hillary and Obama were AWOL.  We don’t know what Hillary was doing, but we know that Obama was getting some rest before campaigning in Las Vegas.

With those facts in mind, how does the Associated Press report on the fact that Nakoula, the Obama administration’s designated scapegoat, is finally being set free?  This way:

A California man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in parts of the Middle East is due to be released from federal custody this week.

Wow!  That the AP can say that when we know with certainty that Nakoula’s film did not lead to violence is a breathtaking example of pro-administration spin.  In the year since the attack, AP, which is supposed to track actual news, must have known that Al Qaeda used the film as a cover for a coordinated, planned attack against American outposts in the Middle East, and a sleazy, dishonest, incompetent administration seized on that cover in an effort to hide its own gross culpability.  Pravda couldn’t have done a better job of covering its government master than AP did in that single, dishonest sentence.

Fear not, though, because two can spin at that game.  The brilliant and inimitable Charles Martel, whom I count as one of my dear friends in both the real and the cyber world, has put forth his own idea for spin supporting a pro-American effort in the Middle East:

President Charles Martel’s address to the nation, September 24, 2013:

“My fellow Americans, as you know by now, two U.S. cruise missiles were accidentally launched earlier today and fell inadvertently upon two of the holiest shrines in Islam.

“One careened into the sacred well at Iran’s holy city of Qom, where, according to Shi’ite belief, the 12th Mahdi awaits his return to lead mankind from Daar al Habib—the world at war with Allah—into Daar al Islam, the world in submission to Allah.

“Fortunately, our concern that the misdirected missile may have prematurely awakened the Mahdi remains unfulfilled. U.S. satellite images show that the well is a shambles and apparently whatever lifeforms existed at the bottom of it now lie crushed beneath tens of thousands of tons of rock.

“Nevertheless, we send the Iranian people our deepest apologies and sincere wishes that the Mahdi gets out from under.

“The other missile ended its totally erratic course at the Kaaba in Mecca, the sacred black rock at the very center of Islam’s earthly manifestation. It, like the Mahdi’s well, is a complete wreck. Luckily, the accidental launch took place when only the janitors were buffing the Kaaba, so there was little—although regrettable—loss of life.

“We know that in Muslim belief Allah wills all that happens, and that man himself is predestined to carry out that will. Somehow Allah willed the launch of those two missiles—and believe you me, we are hunting down the man or woman and ship that launched them—and He can will the Kaaba’s  instant restoration. If not, the United States stands ready to deliver building supplies to the good people of Mecca, although given the harsh terrain and conditions there, we would probably have to use M-1 tanks to make those deliveries.

“Again, we apologize for the bad lobs. We trust that Allah, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, will rebuild the Kaaba in the wink of an eye and dust off the Mahdi, thereby restoring His people’s faith in His ability to do anything He wants—including launch missiles against them.

“Good night and God bless the United States of America.”

Plucked from the Twittter feed

The lede says it all: “90% of Top Newspaper Headlines Censor Islam in Nairobi, Pakistan Attacks : Generic ‘terrorists’ and ‘militants’ appear in nine of 10 headlines.”  Doesn’t anybody read their Harry Potter anymore?  I’m quite sure it was the sensible, intelligent, brave Hermione who said that the refusal to name your enemy leaves you incapable of defending against him (or words to that effect).

Obama promised that, under Obamacare, health insurance premiums would drop by $2,500 for a family of four.  He was off by about $10,000.  In fact, premiums for a middle class family of four will increase by almost $7,500.  I do believe that all of us here saw that coming.  Insurance is no longer a question of statistical risk (i.e., the insurance company assesses the likelihood at any given time that it will have to pay out on a specific policy, and adjusts to price accordingly) but is simply wealth redistribution.  The moment the law mandated that people can wait to get insurance until they’re actually sick, it was all over.  The insurance companies are just conduits now, that funnel money from the middle class to the poor.

Obamacare wasn’t a principled (albeit stupid, communist) committed to improving America’s medical care.  Instead, it was a campaign slogan:

The most important red line of Barack Obama’s presidency was scrawled hastily in January 2007, a few weeks before he even announced he was running for president.

Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA, when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.

Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?

[snip]

“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”

And that, my children, is how Obamacare was born.

Glenn Reynolds takes a look at why Obama is pushing something that Americans have hated from the beginning and, now that they’re learning what’s in it, are hating even more.

Please consider this an Open Thread.

Ted Cruz understands how to spin a possible government shut down

I have to admit that, with all the ferocity that an anonymous armchair warrior can muster, I like the idea of a House budget defunding ObamaCare while keeping everything else in the government funded.  The Senate, of course, won’t go along with that, and then there’ll be a stalemate.  The easy money is that the House Republicans will blink before the Democrat Senators do.  But if House Republicans don’t blink, then Obama has promised to veto any spending bill defunding ObamaCare, effectively “shutting down” the government.  (It won’t really be shut down, of course.  Essential things will continue to operate, but inessential things will stop.)

Conservatives who oppose the defunding tactic have two concerns:  (a) that the economy will collapse; and (b) that the Republicans will take the blame.

Regarding (a), that was the same concerned voiced about the sequester.  For the most part, Americans didn’t even notice — although I am desperately sorry that the Blue Angels no longer fly and that Fleet Week has been canceled.  For many years, thanks to the Navy League, an organization I cannot recommend highly enough, Fleet Week has been my favorite time of the year.  I know that our military got screwed when it came to pay raises, and I’m also very sorry about that, but at least a “shut down” this time around won’t shut down the military.  It’s also entirely possible that, if the government shuts down, Americans may discover that those who have been saying that we don’t need bloated government were right all along.  (Or of course, we may find that we were wrong all along!)

As for (b), yes, the media will spin any shut down so that Republicans take all the blame if it goes badly.  That’s why Republicans need to strike preemptively.  Ted Cruz, smart lawyer that he is, figured out that Republican spin has to start early and go out often.  I like this:

What do you think?  Is the Tea Party crowd riding for a disastrous fall if it pushes the House to defund ObamaCare?  Or is this the kind of action that Republicans need to take if they actually want to distinguish themselves from Progressives?

One could argue that, now that ObamaCare has Supreme Court clearance, the law is the law, and the House must fund it.  But the constitutionally granted power of the purse is always going to trump everything else.  In addition, while the law may be the law, ObamaCare was passed using chicanery of the worst kind, meaning that it was corrupted from the beginning.  Add to that the fact that the majority of Americans have consistently opposed it, and the House’s refusal to fund it really can be see as vox populi.

Is the mainstream media the spiritual descendent of Charles Manson?

Charles Manson

This post poses a very provocative, even inflammatory, question:  “Is the mainstream media the spiritual heir of Charles Manson?”  Will you be too surprised if I answer “yes”?

Let’s start with Charles Manson.  Manson had a goal:  he envisioned a new world order, with himself and his followers as the leaders.  To bring about this new world order, he first had to destroy the existing one.  He came up with an idea that he called “Helter-Skelter“:  he was going to incite race warfare because he was pretty sure that would bring America down, leaving room for him and his followers to take over.  He figured that the best way to start an apocalyptic race war was through violent murder.  He wasn’t going to do the murder himself, of course, but he did incite his dumb, sexually-opiated, often drugged followers to commit the deeds on his behalf.

Now, let’s think about the mainstream media.  The MSM has a goal:  a completely Democrat-dominated political machine, with the MSM and the politicians it’s created in total control.  Because this will be a statist new world, the MSM must first destroy completely America’s current, still vaguely capitalist market and individualist ideology.  To that end, the media has decided that it will incite race warfare, because it’s pretty sure that race warfare will destroy existing institutions and allow it and its political class to take over.  Media members figure that the best way to start this societal breakdown is to sow so much division between blacks and whites in America that the country becomes dysfunctional and, if necessary, bloodied.  The media elite are not going to sully their own hands, of course, but they will work hard to incite their followers to commit the deeds on their behalf.  (And sadly, to the extent they have followers in black inner cities, these are young people who are minimally educated, inundated with unhealthy sexual messages from movies and rap songs, and too often on drugs.  Just think of Trayvon….)

I can’t prove the MSM’s goal, but I can prove its tactics.

Exhibit A is the way the MSM has used Obama’s presidency to paint every single American who opposes his politics as “racist” — so much so that the MSM dictionary defines “racist” as “someone who expresses any disagreement with Obama’s policies or conduct while in office.”  Since roughly 50% of the country doesn’t like what he’s doing at any given time, 50% of the country is therefore by definition racist. (Here’s just one example, but it’s remarkably easy to cull dozens or even hundreds.)

This “opposing Obama” message is pounded home through relentlessly repeated and embroidered stories about rodeo clowns; Obama’s fellowship with murdered black teens; and even the obscenity of referring to Obama as “Obama,” rather than as President Obama.  By the way, this last one is a dilly, because Chris Matthews, rather than admitting that other presidents have been called “Carter,” “Reagan,” “Bush,” “Dubya,” or “Clinton,” compares the casual approach to Obama’s name to the way non-believers refer to Jesus Christ as “Jesus” or “Christ.”  Wow.  Just . . . wow.

Exhibit B is the racial incitement that permeated every bit of the MSM’s coverage of George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting.  It began when NBC doctored Zimmerman’s 911 call to make it sound as if he was a racist; picked up steam when the media coined the phrase “white-Hispanic” to cover-up their problem when they discovered that Zimmerman identified as Hispanic; entered the world of farce when the media only reluctantly revealed, when trial court motions made it impossible to ignore, that Martin wasn’t a 12-year-old choirboy but was, instead a husky, drug-using, gun- and violence-obsessed, thug; and just kept rolling with homages to hoodies and Skittles.  Bill Whittle does the best summary I’ve seen of the media’s “hi-tech” lynching of a non-black man:

Exhibit C: Oh, I don’t know. Take your pick. How about the new movie “The Butler,” which takes a real man’s quite distinguished and interesting life, and turns a star-powered movie into a parable about white and Republican racism?  The director, incidentally, makes it clear that these racial accusations are no accident.  Or maybe look at the way Oprah, the PETA-admiring “woman of the people,” makes a national incident out of her claim that a Swiss salesclerk was “racist” for suggesting that Oprah might like something cheaper than a $35,000 animal-skin purse.

Or maybe, as Rush pointed out, you just want to notice how the media completely ignores any violence that doesn’t fit in the narrative.  Rush pointed to the recent murder of Chris Lane, a (white) baseball player from Australia who was shot dead by thug-addicted three teenagers because they were bored.  Rush points out that the media assiduously refrained from commenting on the killers’ race (two were black and one is white, or white-Hispanic, or white-black, or whatever).

The media did exactly the same thing, incidentally, with the even more heinous 2007 murder of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian in Knoxville, Tenn.  That young (white) couple was so brutally murdered by five (black) people that it’s nauseating even to think about what was done to them.  The killers outdid animals in their savagery, since they added a fiendish human imagination to their feral brutality.  The national media said as little as possible about the murder and nothing about its racial implications.

Nothing restrained the media, however, when it went out of its way to destroy the lives of the (white) Duke lacrosse players after a (black) prostitute falsely accused them of rape.  The media played that every day, every way, on every air or piece of paper over which it had control.  When the players were vindicated, the media was remarkably silent, failing even to issue an apology for yet another “hi-tech” lynching.

The fall-out from the media’s relentless racial harangues is more racial tension in this country than at any time since the peak of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.  Despite the fact that there are no racially discriminatory federal laws in America; that there are no overtly racially discriminatory state laws in America; that there is a black man in the White House who got reelected (although Gawd alone knows why); and that compared to other nations in the world (including the Europe the Left so loves) America is a remarkably inclusive nation, blacks feel deeply that whites are bad people.  By this I mean that blacks don’t simply note note that, occasionally and unfortunately, they have the misfortune to run into some idiot who spouts stone age nonsense.  Instead, with relentless prompting from the mainstream media, they feel very strongly that whites view them negatively and are their enemy.  As such, too many of them believe that whites, at most, destroyed and, at least, humiliated.

The MSM has worked its hard to convince blacks and many other minorities, including the LGBT crowd, Hispanics, and, increasingly, Asians that the status quo is bad for them, that there needs to be a new world order, and that the evil white people (excluding, of course, all the white people on MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc.), must be done away with.

And that is why I say that the MSM is the spiritual heir of Charles Manson.  It’s “helter-skelter” all over again.

Is Chelsea Clinton really an accomplished woman or is she just a degree jockey?

At National Review, Katrina Trinko has a nice post about the media’s palpitating desire to see Chelsea Clinton run for office, despite the fact that Chelsea, so far, hasn’t seemed that interested.  Trinko focuses on the media, not on Chelsea, and Trinko clearly has no intention of attacking Chelsea.  Indeed, she makes the point that Chelsea is “accomplished”:

Clinton is no doubt an accomplished woman: She graduated from Stanford and has since obtained master’s degrees from both Oxford and Columbia; she is currently working on a Ph.D. in international relations. She is the co-founder and co-chair of the Of Many Institute for MultiFaith Leadership at New York University.

Reading that laundry list of degrees, it occurred to me that Trinko is either being generous or sarcastic when she calls Clinton “accomplished.”  In fact, Clinton has done exactly nothing with her life if the only thing that she can put on her resume is one academic degree after another.  (We’ll be polite enough to ignore Chelsea’s laughable stint as an occasional feature reporter for NBC.  After all, not everyone is blessed with media charisma.)

The only thing Chelsea’s little resume shows is that she has the money to remain a perpetual student.  She was raised in a rich liberal bubble, and she’s been content to live her entire life in precisely that same rich little bubble.  Academia is not real life and, in the old days, before Hollywood gave up any pretense of being nothing more than an elite socialist shill, the movies could still make some fun of that fact:

Just saying….

The New York Times touts a flawed study on ageism

I may have mentioned that just about the only news I have access to on this trip is the New York Times. I have Internet, but it’s so expensive that I write things offline (such as emails to family or posts to the blog) and then sign on just long enough to email or post. No leisurely online reading for me.

What the cruise ship does provide though is a six page leaflet that can be described as “the best of the day’s New York Times.” (Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the “moron” part?).

In today’s “best of,” the New York Times reported on a Princeton sociology study that purported to show age discrimination. The deal was that three different actors representing three different age sets (young adult, middle aged, and old) were each given two identical scripts and videotaped performing those scripts. In half the scripts, the men compliantly said they’d share their wealth with relatives; in the other scripts, the three actors assertively said that they would not share their wealth.

The researchers than showed the various videos to 137 undergraduates (that is, there were six different videos of three different actors that were shown to 137 people under 22). At the end, the researchers proved to themselves that most of the people were neutral about the young and middle-aged men whether they were compliant or assertive, but didn’t like the old guy being assertive. The researchers’ conclusion, which they’ve bravely announced to the world is that ageism means nobody likes a mouthy old guy. Age discrimination is REAL.

My conclusion is that this research once again shows that there’s nothing scientific about either “social science” or university level psychology. Can you spot what’s wrong with the study? I can count a bunch of problems.

First, the study has too many variables. The study thinks that because the three actors spoke off of identical scripts, the only variable is age. In fact, the researchers completely discounted the fact that different people are more likable than others. The mere fact that they relied upon three actors, rather than putting aging makeup on one actor, means that the study doesn’t just have age variables. It also has personality variables. You only have to watch Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet and Kenneth Branaugh’s (spelling?) to realize that the same words make a very different impression depending on who speaks them.

Second, the sample is too small. As best I can tell without either a calculator or scratch paper (and based upon the NYT’s slightly muddled description of the study) an average of slightly more than 21 people saw each of the six videos. That means that the study reached its ageism conclusion based upon only twenty people’s opinions of the assertive old guy.

Finally, the study didn’t get the reactions of hundreds of people of varying ages. Instead, it was looking at UNDERGRADUATES. These are the same kids who, in the 1960 chanted “Never trust anybody over 30.” In other words, in a culture that a general matter doesn’t explicitly value age (unlike, say, traditional Asian cultures), this is a population that is very specifically predisposed to view old people somewhat negatively.

Ultimately, this study proves nothing about ageism in the workplace. All it proves is that, if you’re a 70 something guy in a roomful of 20-somethings, they’re probably not going to be your best buds. I could have told you that for free, without the need for an expensive Ivy League study.

I’m not claiming ageism doesn’t exist. For example, in a heavily computerized environment, it’s reasonable to believe that the old guy or gal who just can’t master the computer is going to be viewed negatively. I’m just saying that this stupid little study, boldly touted in a newspaper always looking for fresh victims in need of newly created government “rights,” is a testament to foolishness, credulity, and institutional bias, not to mention lousy science.

Drudge editor says that there’s another major scandal lurking

In an earlier post, I put forth my theory that most scandals affect only political players, so people get excited only if the media stirs up excitement.  The IRS scandal is different, because it affects all of us but, like Pavlov’s dogs, we’re still trained only to get excited if the media tells us to.  So, even though Americans should care, they don’t.

According to Joseph Curl, a Drudge editor, there’s another scandal in the wings, and it’s a biggie:

Big Obama scandal in the wings

Which leads me to wonder whether what kind of scandal it is:  Is it a biggie to insider players, so it will matter only if the media makes it matter?  Is it a biggie to the public, but they won’t appreciate it if the media tells them to ignore it?  Or is it so big that the media will be helpless to stop it?

Is Obama’s puppet master to blame for all the scandals?

Barack Obama -- small and helpless

Scandals, scandals, and more scandals.  My list so far includes:

1.  Benghazi:  politics before, politics and apathy during, and politics and a wall of lies and cover-ups afterwards.

2.  Fast & Furious:  a completely bungled effort to track cartels in Mexico or a deliberate attempt to gin up gun crime as a way to feed anti-gun fervor.

3.  IRS:  Deliberate targeting of conservative groups and individuals in order to disable them in the lead-up to a tight election.

4.  AP:  Justice Department eavesdrops on media, with recent news indicating that this wasn’t about national security but was a tit-for-tat step taken because the AP mis-timed releasing a story about a thwarted terrorism plot.

I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. I’m sure there’s something else, but I’ve reached the outer limits of my brain’s capacity for the scary, sordid, disgusting, and illegal.

Anyway, the above is a starter list, which shows a distinct trend-line:  the Obama government is about politics before country, revenge before law and morality, and cover-ups above and beyond everything.  That’s why the New York Times’ desperate attempt to blame Republicans for all these things makes for amusing reading.  Although the Times was absolutely outraged by the AP scandal (and I agree with their outrage), everything else is just business as usual.  Nothing to see here.  Just move along:

The Internal Revenue Service, according to an inspector general’s report, was not reacting to political pressure or ideology when it singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny in evaluating requests for tax exemptions. It acted inappropriately because employees couldn’t understand inadequate guidelines. The tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, never a scandal to begin with, has devolved into a turf-protection spat between government agencies, and the e-mail messages Republicans long demanded made clear that there was no White House cover-up.

The only example of true government overreach was the seizure of The Associated Press’s telephone records, the latest episode in the Obama administration’s Javert-like obsession with leakers in its midst.

(A total aside here.  The myth is that reporters are, at heart, curious people who want to know what’s going on.  Although they’ve been temporarily blinded by ideology, once they catch the scent, they’ll be like the crazed reporters in His Girl Friday.  That’s just wrong.  Today’s reporters signed on, not because they like sniffing out information, but because they’re ideologues who want to pursue an agenda.  The Times perfectly exemplifies this.  It does not report on all the news fit to print.  It doesn’t report at all.  It simply works like a Leftist propaganda arm, reporting all the spin necessary to advance an agenda.  It’s utterly incurious and cares only when it, personally, gets poked.  And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.)

Wow.  Just wow.  For one thing, it’s clear that the New York Times wrote this editorial before the head of the IRS went before Congress and confessed that the IRS denied what was going on before the election (a lie) and that it timed the release of information to bury it in the news cycle.  And then there’s all that other fascinating stuff that’s been oozing out from the single most powerful coercive entity in the federal government.

In every single statement she made, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who every so casually broke the story, lied.  Just some examples are the fact that the IRS didn’t target, maybe, 75 groups.  It targeted at least 470 groups.  And it wasn’t just wacky Tea Party groups that got caught it the cross hairs, it was any group that appeared even vaguely to oppose Obama’s policies.  The targeting wasn’t just confined to a rogue Ohio office, it went to the top.  And, indeed, the very top person got over $100,000 in bonuses and was promoted to head the — ahem — nonpartisan branch of the IRS in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

We also know that the IRS illegally leaked information about Obama’s political opponents — which definitely has a kind of mirror-like Watergate quality to it.  Nixon’s henchmen stole data directly from his political opponents; Obama’s henchmen release data about Obama’s political opponents to Obama’s supporters.  And of course, speaking of stealing things, it appears that the IRS stole tens of thousands of medical records — this would be, of course, the same IRS that’s in charge of enforcing ObamaCare.

Worried yet?  I know I am.

Despite all this, Obama remains perched precariously atop ignorance mountain.  His line is consistent:

Either Obama’s lying, which is entirely possible, because he’s a compulsive liar, or he was as ignorant as he seems.  Those Leftist media figures who are not in total denial have latched on this as the excuse to protect their idol, now that they know there’s a lot of clay mixed in with his feet.  He’s a little too disengaged, he’s not a micro-manager, he’s too pure to know what evil lurks in the heart of men, etc.

John Fund, however, has a very different idea, and I think he may be on the right track.  His version of events posits that Obama has never actually been president.  We’ve been operating, instead, under the shadow presidency of consigliere Valerie Jarrett:

So if Obama is not fully engaged, who does wield influence in the White House? A lot of Democrats know firsthand that Jarrett, a Chicago mentor to both Barack and Michelle Obama and now officially a senior White House adviser, has enormous influence. She is the only White House staffer in anyone’s memory, other than the chief of staff or national security adviser, to have an around-the-clock Secret Service detail of up to six agents. According to terrorism expert Richard Miniter’s recent book, Leading from Behind: “At the urging of Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions before finally approving” the mission for May 2, 2011. She was instrumental in overriding then–chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when he opposed the Obamacare push, and she was key in steamrolling the bill to passage in 2010. Obama may rue the day, as its chaotic implementation could become the biggest political liability Democrats will face in next year’s midterm elections.

A senior Republican congressional leader tells me that he had come to trust that he could detect the real lines of authority in any White House, since he’s worked for five presidents. “But this one baffles me,” he says. “I do know that when I ask Obama for something, there is often no answer. But when I ask Valerie Jarrett, there’s always an answer or something happens.”

You really should read the whole thing.  That theory explains so much….

Muslims? Really!? I’m so surprised — NOT.

White cap

Note “white cap’s” Chechen nose.

As of this morning, the Washington Post earnestly tells us that, with one bomber in custody and one dead, we still have no idea why they did it.  We know that they’re brothers and that they come from Chechnya, a region that’s been having unnamed troubles leading to terrorism.  One was a martial artist.  And yada, yada, yada.  Go in several paragraphs and you still don’t get the words “Islam” or “Muslim.”  However, the WaPo finally concedes that one of the brothers wrote a tweet that mentioned “Allah.”

Hmmm.  Haven’t I heard that word before in connection with mass murder?  Was it a word the Americans on United flight 63 invoked before they saved our nation’s capital from a terrorist attack?  No.  I seem to recall “Let’s roll,” not “Allahhu akbar.”  Is it what Ambassador Stevens went around saying before he was murdered on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11?  I don’t think we so.  We don’t know his last words, but he wasn’t known for talking about Allah.  As I go through the roll call of mass bombings and murders in my mind, I just seem to associate that word with one group.  Yeah.  I’m sure it’ll come to me.

Seriously, though, this is serious.  Once again, we’re facing a situation where Muslims murdered masses and the media is mystified.  After Jared Lochner shot Gabby Gifford, they weren’t mystified at all — “It was a right-wing, Tea Party extremist,” they cried in one voice.  “Inspired, no doubt, by a Sarah Palin ad that placed a surveyor’s cross hairs over Giffords Senate seat.”  When he was revealed as a delusional schizophrenic obsessed with Gifford, the media fell silent.

Even after the Boston bombing, when there was no evidence whatsoever, beyond the peculiar Muslim habit of blowing up large crowds of people, the media knew what to say:  A right winger.  A Tea Partier.  A crazed anti-government killer.  Well, they got that last one right.  They just left out a few words:  “A crazed Muslim anti-non-sharia government killer.”

And moi?  Well, you know that I’ve been leaning Muslim all along, my snide post about anti-running people notwithstanding.  Yesterday, in email correspondence with my “group,” when one of them commented (a little jokingly) that “white cap’s” nose looked like his own, which was a genetic gift from his Assyrian and Georgian grandparents, I knew the answer.  I just knew it.  “Chechen?” I asked.

As for the WaPo, a newspaper that thinks it’s reputable, finally, reluctantly, after yet another person died at the bomber’s hands (a police officer responding to a call at MIT), the WaPo admitted, practically in code, reveals a Muslim connection.  After two lede paragraphs, they get down to the business of describing the killers (emphasis mine in the 5th WaPo paragraph):

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect still on the loose as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was identified as the man killed during an encounter with police after an armed carjacking of a Mercedes SUV in Cambridge. Tsarnaev was believed to be in his mid-20s.

The brothers’ alleged motive in Monday’s bombings remains unclear, but they appear to be originally from the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, and two law enforcement officials said there is a “Chechen connection” to the bombings. Chechnya has been racked by years of war between local separatists and Russian forces and extensive organized crime since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. The extent of the possible connection remained unclear.

According to a database search, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a boxer who worked out at a martial arts facility in the Cambridge area. In an Internet posting dated Nov. 2, 2011, and attributed to him by name, he wrote: “The more you know about hell, the more you want stay away from sins and keep asking Allah(s.w.t.) for forgiveness.’’

Eleven paragraphs in, the word Muslim finally appears:

The Chechen conflict dates to the early 1990s. In the summer of 1999, fighters in the predominantly Muslim republic rose up in an attempt to throw off Russian domination. Vladimir Putin, then the Russian prime minister, responded quickly, firmly and brutally to put down the rebellion.

Drudge more usefully leads us to the terrorists’ Russian language Facebook page, using the hyperlink “Wordview:  Islam.“  You don’t say?  Seeing as I don’t read Russian (or Chechen, as the case may be), I actually don’t say.  The page is a mystery to me, but you all should feel happy to check it out.  [UPDATE:  TheBlaze has a translated version.]

Will the public let the media get away with this dance, the one where they first accuse the right and then refuse to admit that it’s the Islamic faith, taken to its literal extreme, that’s killing people?  Will the American people excuse the media for publishing stories, not about Muslim madness, but about worried women and children who just happen to be Muslim, all of whom are terrified that the US will terrorize them?

In the first go-round, of Muslim terrorism, I respected their fears.  In the second go-round, I appreciated their concern.  In the third go-round, I began to think, “If you’re so worried, do something.  And that something isn’t to whine to the media that you’re afraid, that something is to address the cancer in your faith.”

But there’s your answer, isn’t it?  They’re not afraid of the media or Americans.  Non-bombing Muslims know about the cancer in their own faith — they’re either as afraid of it as we are or they’re part of a package deal to give it a glossy smiley face to hide the moral rot.  I’m losing sympathy for your man-in-the-street Muslim.  I don’t wish them ill, but I’m beginning to believe that they don’t wish the rest of us well.

We — the sensible conservatives — suspected right away what happened in Boston.  Is that because we’re anti-Muslim, paranoid racists?  No, that’s because we’ve learned from experience, the same way you learn that if you touch a pot on the stove you’ll probably get burned.  Not certainly — the pot might have been placed there before the heat went on or been sitting there long after it went off — but probably.  The Islamists themselves have trained us to have this knowledge.  They’ve trained us in New York, in Kenya, in Tanzania, in Bali, in Spain, in London, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Somalia, in Beirut, in Chechnya, and in all the places in between.

A conspiracy is when you take nonexistent dots, connect them with invisible lines, and then announce that the absence of evidence is proof.  A theory is when you take known factors and analyze them to reach a logical conclusion.  And a wise person is one who spits in the media’s eye for its delusional refusal to recognize that a significant sector of Islam (not all of it, but enough) is at war with us and wants to use powerful weapons to take us down.

Thursday morning open thread

I just don’t have a lot to say right now.  Here are some posts I enjoyed today, though:

The Republican House’s passive-aggressive approach to Obama.

Core issues of evil regarding bombings, abortion, and the media.

And a question for you:  Have you noticed that Obama and fellow Dems have been “shaming” people with the gun debate?  Here are links to a bunch of speeches and hollers Dems use shaming as a form of bullying.  I haven’t quite decided what to make of this, but I’d certainly be introduced in your thoughts and theories.

Obama’s says yesterday’s Senate gun control vote is “shameful”.

Obama says “shame on us” if Newtown tragedy doesn’t result in gun control vote.

Feinstein telling colleagues to “show some guts.”

Gabby Giffords says “shame” on the Senate.

Mother shouts “Shame on you” to Congress after gun control fails.

I could find more examples, but it seems to me that Progressives have been trying for decades to deconstruct away shame.  Suddenly, though, when its an issue that impacts their “morals”, shame makes a big comeback.  In that regard, this Victor Davis Hanson post about post-modern prudes seems very appropriate.

Lastly, of course, my thoughts and prayers are with the people in West, Texas, a town that, long ago, I drove through more times than I can count.

Yesterday, I blamed Obama for causing a problem; today, I echo Pamela Geller’s complaint that federal agencies are useless

My head is spinning.   I just wrote a post for Mr. Conservative based upon the most current news stories saying that an arrest had been made.  From the time of those stories to the time I published the post, it was about 10 minutes.  Within one minute after the post went up, all of the major news sites were recanting the story, saying a suspect had been identified, but not arrested.  (See here for an example of the swift turnaround in news reports.)  Breitbart has given up on specific headlines and just says “Chaos in Boston,” which is about as accurate as anything I’ve seen today.  CNN still has its stand-by fallback position, which is that it’s the Tea Party’s fault, while Fox reminds everyone that pressure cooker bombers are commonly used in such Islamic war places as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

That last point — about the differing CNN and Fox News stories — highlights one of the two truths we know with certainty amidst this swirl of rumors.  The first is that Obama lied through his teeth when he promised in 2008 that his election would heal divisions within America and that his presidency would further smooth the rift, once again creating a truly United States of America.  Instead, using his bully pulpit to demonize half of America (something no president has ever done before), Obama has deepened the rift between Blue and Red America to a point probably not seen since 1860.  Obama, therefore, is easy to blame for the bombing, because a truly united America would not be a good target for this type of attack, no matter who launched it.

The other thing we know with certainty is something that Pamela Geller highlights — we’re not getting any bang for the buck from the alphabet soup of federal law enforcement agencies we taxpayers support.  After commenting derisively on reports that law enforcement describes the terrorism attack investigation as “wide open,” and is begging media outlets to help, Geller points out how embarrassing this is:

This is where the status of the investigation is.  In Europe, and in Israel, whenever there is a terrorist attack, they have someone or some group in their sights or in custody every time.  Take 3/11 in Madrid, 7/7 in London, the Glasgow jihad plot — every jihad attack and jihad plot in Europe, European authorities are right on it, identifying and apprehending the perpetrators.  They know exactly who the bad guys are.  They know exactly where to go.  This is a historical first: that America is not dramatically ahead of the curve, but dramatically behind the curve.  So American citizens are now considered expendable, just the way our soldiers are in Afghanistan.

It should bother every American that Europe and Israel are so far ahead of us in intel that we’re begging CNN and Fox for clues — and apparently detaining people who have nothing to do with the bombing, raiding their homes, taking bagfuls of evidence out, and then saying, “Never mind.”

Really?  The billions that Americans spend for the CIA, FBI, DHS, NSA, JTTF, and all the other various counterterrorism agencies, and they don’t have a clue?  All they have for us is 1-800-CALL-FBI?  This is unconscionable.  If that’s where we are, disband these incompetent, inane agencies that call jihad “workplace violence” and name Atlas Shrugs as a “domestic hate group,” when in fact Atlas Shrugs is battling violence and mass murder across the world.  How did this happen eleven years after 9/11?

In 1995 (Oklahoma City) and 1998 (Atlanta), we didn’t have a multi-armed federal law enforcement infrastructure that, in return for tax dollars and vast, often unconstitutional powers, promised to keep us safe.  Just as Obama broke his promise to heal the rifts in American society, the federal alphabet soup has broken its promise to keep us safe and/or to bring wrongdoers quickly before the law.  Indeed, I seem to remember that it’s been more than half a year since the FBI jetted out to investigate what happened in Benghazi.  So far . . . nothing (although with Hillary screaming “what difference does it make,” investigators may have lost their momentum).

I guess we should all resign ourselves that for at least the next three years, the best we can hope for from our administration is “What difference does it make?”  Unless, of course, the difference is about emasculating our once robust Constitution.  But that’s another story for another post….

Mr. Colion Noir — How to Stop Mass Shootings

Mr. Colion Noir says in less than five minutes what it would take me five really long posts, spread out over five days, to say. I’m really impressed and couldn’t agree with him more. He packs a lot into the five minutes, but my takeaway — and something I couldn’t agree with more — is that it’s the media that encourages the exhibitionism we see in so many mass shootings. We should be lionizing the heroes, not the killers.  As for the killers, nothing would deter them, as he says, than a few bullets headed their way.

Colion Noir has a whole channel and I urge you to check it out.

The one reason Obama is not now, and probably will never be, the Progressive Reagan

The Leftists in the media were orgasmic yesterday as they again anointed Barack Obama “the next Reagan.”  Ace explains why this is a dream, not a reality:

Obama has always considered himself the Anti-Reagan — he would not only undo the Reagan coalition and the Reagan era, but do what Reagan did but for the left, create a semi-permanent liberal majority.

Obama is on the way to accomplishing that, but for one thing: Reagan’s presidency was a great success. Obama’s is not. Success tends to attract fans; that’s why people ask celebrities for autographs and read biographies of superstar athletes and innovators like Steve Jobs.

Obama has had many political successes, but he’s had no non-political successes except for the assassination of Osama bin Ladin (and that of course was built on the earlier efforts of Bush, and was a longstanding bipartisan goal).

There is nothing he’s done yet that a non-political person, or someone opposed to his politics, can point at and say “That’s a good thing.”

He won’t seal any kind of deal until he manages that, and I don’t think he will. The trajectory of socialism is failure. And yes, Obama is a socialist. And so history says he will fail.

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith Thinks Obama Can Be Reagan Absent Any Actual Accomplishments… For liberals, Obama’s unabashed liberalism is enough.

Not so for non-liberals — and by non-liberals, I don’t just mean conservatives. I mean the great swathe of less political voters who aren’t ideological enough to have strong opinions one way or the other, but who can tell the difference between a recession and an expansion.

So, contra the liberals, no, Obama’s not Reagan yet.

Yeah.  What he said.

Of course, if Obama’s Progressive policies turn the economy around in the next few years, he may be able to don Reagan’s hat.  It’s just that I kind of doubt that spending without cutting is going to accomplish that.

Demolishing one of the more ridiculous arguments regarding the Second Amendment

My fellow Watcher’s Council member, Greg, who blogs at Rhymes with Right, has put together the ultimate smack-down for those (especially those journalists) who argue that the Second Amendment extends only to muskets and other weapons in use when Congress enacted the Bill of Rights:

The First and Second amendments in context

Carrying this irrefutable logic over to the First Amendment means that the modern media has utterly forfeited its Freedom of Press protections. Unless those Democrat cheerleaders are willing to go back to hand-operated printing presses, they are fair game for government censorship and journalist imprisonment.

Please spread this poster around to those who need a few more weapons in their rhetorical arsenal supporting the Second Amendment.

Gawker “outs” all New York City gun owners

Gawker, an internet gossip site, has now published a 446-page document identifying every licensed gun owner in New York City.  Judging by the comments left at Gawker’s site (which I will not dignify with a link), people are not happy.  And they have reason to be unhappy:

Referring to the earlier piece in the Journal News, one commenter wrote: ‘The journal posted my address and name for my gun ownership. My past stalker saw this. I haven’t heard from him in two years, because I disappeared.

‘Now he is back and calling me……thanks to people like you bunch of a*******, looks like I will have to protect myself from becoming a murder victim. Gracias.’

I think it’s seriously time to start outing these journalists for anything and everything. After all, they’ve made it clear that they think publicly available information should be aggregated and put in a form readily available to anyone who wants it — for good or ill.

Robber

Incidentally, it’s the aggregation that’s the issue.  The average criminal isn’t going to go to the effort to pour over publicly available files to determine which people in a given neighborhood are unarmed, and therefore sitting ducks, or which people in the same neighborhood have a weapon that would be valuable in the black market for arms.  However, the average criminal is equally unlikely to turn up his (or her) nose if a media outlet is kind enough to assemble the information and even to provide helpful interactive maps.

Stories such as this one really make me want to hang a nice, new sign in my front window, with additional text stating “This could be you” appended.

Bookworm's target
(By the way, I achieved that nice spread you see on only my second outing ever with a pistol.)

Was the tax increase a major Republican loss?

Today’s big story the new tax bill that Obama jetted off to Hawaii before signing, but that will soon (and inevitably) become the law of the land.  I don’t see any surprises.  I knew that we’d get hit hard and so we have.

I gather that sequestration has now been averted, so that Obama gets to continue spending.  As the headlines say, $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in tax increases.

Obama laughing

The media and the blogs are playing this as a major Republican loss.  Although I’m not sure it is, I actually rejoice in these headlines.  They sting, but they may have a benefit in the long term.

In my simplistic financial view of the world, there is one given that transcends any fancy economic talk from Ivory Towers and Leftist back rooms:  you cannot indefinitely spend more than you take in.  This is true whether you’re a person or a nation.  You can certainly spend more than you have for a while.  Indeed, if you’re rich (as America once was) you can keep spending money you don’t have for a long time.  You can borrow from friends who haven’t quite figured out yet that you’re broke.  And you can check kite — that is, you can use one empty account to pay off another empty account.  Essentially, you keep the same money floating around between accounts for a while until one of the banks or creditors figures out that you’re simply juggling a few dollars around and hoping that no one catches on that your accounts are usually empty.  And that’s all you can do.

Obama ran for, and won, re-election on a promise that he could fix our problems by taxing “rich” people more, while continuing to spend as before.  The voters bought it.

Another way to think of Obama’s promise, and the voter’s credulity, is to imagine that America is a corporation, with shareholders and various officers.  Obama is the CEO.  Because the CEO and his fellow officers have been spending corporate money like crazy without realizing a profit, the corporation is broke.  It’s worth noting that some of that spending involved distributions to select shareholders — those holding the fewest corporate stocks.

When the shareholders were considering making a push to fire the CEO, the CEO kept his job by telling the shareholders that he’d hire some armed robbers (i.e., the IRS) to force some of the richest shareholders to buy more shares in this essentially bankrupt company.  He made no promises about reducing corporate spending or trying different approaches to dealing with corporate debt.  The shareholders, none of whom could imagine himself (or herself) as being “the richest,” thought it was a great idea to have the “other shareholders” forced to subsidize the corporate spending binge. Those most enthusiastic were the ones who, despite holding the fewest shares, had been getting stock distributions on a regular basis.

Robber

Once his job was assured, the CEO used his renewed power to do exactly what he promised:  he brought in armed robbers to forcibly remove money from the “rich” shareholders without changing his management style, including his spending habits.  The only thing that surprised some of the shareholders was to discover that the CEO numbered them amongst the rich.

In other words, Americans — the shareholders in this nation — just got exactly what Obama promised and they voted for:  more taxing, more spending.

The question, then, is whether yesterday’s vote to increase taxes is a major Republican loss.  Certainly, the Republican party is in chaos — but it was anyway.  After the election, the Republican party was a demoralized, writhing, screaming, finger-pointing mass of loser-dom.

Pathetic loser

Given the Republicans’ already pathetic posture, is what happened yesterday even worse for the Republicans?  I don’t think so.  I think that, with the mid-term elections coming, this clarifies things for voters.  It doesn’t just clarify Republican and/or conservative principles, it also clarifies just who holds those principles.

White House Money Machine

More than that, the new taxes and spending clarify responsibility for America’s economy.  Obama got exactly what he wanted and he thinks that he’s laughing all the way to the bank.  Except when he gets to the bank, he’ll discover it’s still empty.  Within a few months, he’ll be thinking of that adage “be careful what you wish for; you might get it.”

Things are certainly going to be bad, very bad, for America in the short term.  But with a true compromise, of the type Boehner was trying to craft (proving either his good faith or his stupidity), things would have been very bad for America in the slightly longer term.  Short of a revolutionary change to America’s spending habits, which wasn’t going to happen with a compromise, America was always screwed.  Now, at least the Republicans can say “we tried to stop this, but Obama had a stronger political hand in the wake of the elections, so we were forced to give him what he wanted.  This is now, for real and for true, the Obama economy.”

Obama frowning

The one thing to remember is that Republicans had better start selling this Obama-economy message hard and fast now, while Obama and his media minions are still gloating about his victory over the GOP.  Once things go sour, as they inevitably will, Obama and the media will start blaming the Republicans.  We know that, where the media leads, the masses follow.  The only way to stop the sheeple is to drill home now the message that this is Obama’s victory, that Obama got what he’d promised and what he wanted, and that Obama joyfully accepts the responsibility for whatever flows from his glorious battle defeating the Republicans.

Remember:  Nothing, absolutely nothing, that came out of Congress today could have been good for America.  However, if Republicans willingly hand Obama this victory, the greatest likelihood is that it proves to be a Pyrrhic victory for Obama, with long-term benefits for conservative thinking and, therefore, for America.

(Alternatively, Obama could have been right all along, which will be good for America, and I’ll have to revert to my original Democrat allegiance.  Possible, but not probable.  Facts are stubborn things and so are numbers, and I’m betting that Leftist political ideology will not trump either facts or numbers.)

Glenn Reynolds is right: conservatives should buy glossy women’s magazines

Vogue cover

One of the books that saw me traverse from Left to Right was Myrna Blyth’s Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness — and Liberalism — to the Women of America, which exposed the profound Leftist tilt of decidedly non-political magazines. Until reading that, I’d never thought about the politics being slipped in between doses of fashion, make-up, and dating advice.  These magazines, probably more than any other type of publication in America, shape women’s political and social attitudes.  They’re pro-unlimited abortion, pro-union, pro-Big Government, pro-promiscuity, sympathetic to illegal, rather than legal, aliens, and generally pro a whole bunch of other things that don’t align well with conservative values, national security, American economic health, etc.

I’ve talked before at this blog about the way that conservatives cannot win the political debate until they first turn the culture around.  Consistent with Andrew Breitbart’s teachings, I’ve thought in terms of television, movie, and news shows.  But Glenn Reynolds says that we ought to be looking at the even softer underbelly of women’s magazines:

Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.

[snip]

My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.

One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.

Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like.

The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans.

Please read the rest here.  It’s eye-opening.  Then, write to any billionaires you know and tell them it’s time to get into the fashion and publishing business.

In a sane world, the editor of Vogue Magazine, a publication ostensibly devoted to women’s clothing, wouldn’t be such a political figure that she is being bandied about as the probable U.S. Ambassador to England.   Anna Wintour turned her magazine and her cachet into a Democrat get-out-the-vote machine.  She probably deserves the reward Obama is sending her way, but that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and accept the status quo.

A little of this and a little of that (and an Open Thread)

I’ve spent today being very productive in a non-blogging way, but there are still a few things I’d like to share with you.

If you’re feeling in a giving mood, the National Review needs help in its fight against the lawsuit Michael Mann (yes, climate change Michael Mann) filed against National Review and Mark Steyn.  It’s a laughable suit, but even laughable suits cost money.  I’ve seen a lot of laughable suits drive defendants to very costly settlements, simply because the plaintiff had free counsel and the defendant didn’t.

And while you’re at the National Review, check out Victor Davis Hanson’s look at Obama’s America — it’s not pretty.

Will there ever come a time when the same press that got Obama elected starts to take umbrage at the Obama administration’s manifest disrespect for the Fourth Estate?  I doubt it.  True believers can always rationalize away even the worst things.

Speaking of the media, when does a newspaper stop being a purveyor of something even remotely resembling news, and start being a sordid party rag, with every utterance suspect?  I can’t answer that question precisely, but I’m pretty sure that the New York Times (the self-proclaimed paper of record) has already reached the point of no return.  Whether because of institutional ignorance or dishonesty, its articles are so replete with falsehoods that they don’t deserve serious consideration.

I love it when someone takes something I wrote and makes it better.  At Villainous Company, Cassandra expands greatly on my post about gingerbread racism in Sweden.

Unions have long had a reputation for violence.  Today’s unions are no different.  The really big question, of course, is whether our union-supporting POTUS is going to call them on it.

Also, if you have already subscribed to the Bookworm Room newsletter, please give it a try (you can always and easily unsubscribe).  In addition to linking to post in the blog, the Newsletter contains original content that you won’t find on the blog.

Do you guys have anything to add?  I can only survey a small fraction of the rich blogosphere, so I always appreciate your open thread contributions.