Benghazi is not news at the Times; Michael Sam’s sexuality is

Michael SamI know this is a politically incorrect thing for me to say, but I couldn’t care less about Michael Sam’s sexuality.  If it were up to me, it wouldn’t be news at all, or it would be at the bottom of page three in the sports section. I’m not homophobic; I’m homo-disinterested.  Peculiarly enough (nowadays), I measure people by attributions other than their sexual orientation.

The New York Times, however, considers Sam’s announcement that he is gay to be major news, not non-news, and has given him lavish coverage (which I haven’t bothered to read, because I really don’t care).  As far as the Times is concerned, a gay college football player is front page news:

New York Times on Michael Sam

Think about this:  in the world of the New York Times, it’s minimally newsworthy that (a) the Secretary of State failed to provided necessary security for an Ambassador in a tremendously dangerous region, where he and three others subsequently died; (b) that the Secretary of State and the President both seem to have been AWOL while the Ambassador and three others were dying; (c) that the Secretary of State, the President, and the entire administration lied about events leading up to and including these four deaths; and (d) that the Secretary of State loudly proclaimed that none of this mattered.  The New York Times also thinks this same Secretary of State would make a stellar president.  (And maybe that’s true, if you like your presidents to be utterly unprincipled and un-accomplished.)

Considering that the New York Times styles itself the paper of record, wouldn’t you love to ask the petty, squabbling, arrogant staff there, “Just what record are you talking about there?”

Monday morning mash-up — and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesLots of laundry to fold, but that doesn’t mean I can’t highlight a few things that caught my eye.

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Until our relatives moved away from Los Angeles, twice a year we used to make the trek from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and then back up again.  In the early years, when we hit the central valley, we went through productive farmland as far as the eye could see.  In the last few years — including the Bush years — we often found ourselves driving through a barren Dust Bowl.  It wasn’t a natural drought (which we in California are suffering through this year).  Instead, it was a government-created drought, brought about by rabid environmentalists who have successfully insisted that saving a very small fish is more important than feeding a nation.  Charles C. W. Cooke has more.

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The Military must view troops by the content of their character and their commitment to the United States, instead of just looking at beards and turbans.  Standards are certainly necessary for military discipline and cohesion, but it’s a stupid military that turns away the best people because of minor deviations from the uniform.

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The New York Times has always been a Leftist mouthpiece, but it prided itself on being a dignified Leftist mouthpiece.  Back in the day, it was “the Gray Lady” rather than the “wide-eyed, stoned conspiracy theorist.”  At PowerLine, in one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject, John Hinderaker goes into full lawyer mode to analyze and destroy the Times over-the-top anti-Koch editorial — an editorial that seemed to have emerged without editing from the bowels of The Daily Kos.  I should add that, while Hinderaker’s demolition job is masterful, it’s going out to the choir.  The people who should be listening to him . . . won’t.

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While we’re on the subject of the far Left Times, P. David Hornik correctly identifies the Times’ Thomas Friedman as one of America’s worst purveyors of old-fashioned, “Elders of Zion” type antisemitism.

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From the Proving The Point Department comes an Atlantic blog comment elaborating on Rand Paul’s pointed remarks about Bill Clinton’s predatory behavior regarding women.  Adam Chandler starts by quoting Rand Paul’s comments, and then analyzes them briefly in the context of whether Hillary should be forced to pay for Bill’s sins.  He then quotes from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban, who vociferously defends Hillary.  Chandler wraps up with a paragraph meant to point out that Bill didn’t really get a pass for his sexual misconduct:

Other yet might contend that President Clinton is hardly the recipient of a free pass with regard to l’affaire Lewinsky, even all these years later. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press controversially incorporated the affair in a fact-check it conducted of Bill Clinton’s convention speech. And, as we mentioned, when Bill Clinton was named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council just a few weeks back, radio silence was hard to come by.

One has to wonder if Chandler read what he wrote.  If Bill really didn’t get a pass for his sexual misconduct, which ranged from affairs, to sexual harassment, to rape, to predatory behavior against young girls in the work place, then he wouldn’t be speaking at the 2012 Democrat National Convention or be named “Father of the Year.”  He wouldn’t be the dynamo who fronted much of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Democrats wouldn’t be excited about the fact that a Hillary presidency gives them a Bill Clinton repeat.  Of course he got a free pass.  The fact that a few articles rake up his significant misdemeanors means nothing when the Democrat establishment still embraces enthusiastically this old lech.  Bill Clinton — a Teddy Kennedy for the 21st Century.

The New York Times’ dirty history regarding the Holocaust

She’s a high school senior, but damn! if she doesn’t give a stunningly good talk about the way in which the New York Times, despite knowing about the Holocaust, not only downplayed it, but effectively kept American policy away from helping Europe’s besieged Jewish population:

There is no anti-Semite worse than a Jew.  (See als0 Liberty Spirit’s J’Accuse!)

Hat tip:  Richard Baehr

The Big Lie is already making the truth irrelevant; or, Republicans are once again waiting for the manure shower

Biff manureA friend sent me a very funny email.  I don’t know if the numbers are precisely accurate, but I do know that they’re accurate enough to serve a larger truth, namely America’s overwhelming turn in 1942 from a peacetime nation into a fully armed, fully operational wartime nation. In this way, the facts stated distinguish themselves from the Progressive concept of “truthiness,” which means “fake, but [God alone knows how] accurate”:

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.

To me, living in my  head as I do, a head filled with news and political commentary, the above is both funny and devastating.  It puts into perspective the pathetic disaster that was the Obamacare exchange launch and should remind everyone that a government this bad at one thing is almost certainly also a government incapable of performing the most basic functions . . . such as protecting us from our declared enemies.

Immediately after getting the above email, I read that the New York Times is working hard to re-write the Benghazi slaughter so as to clean up both Hillary’s and Barack’s reputations. And I know, and you know, that even though the New York Times is losing subscribers like mad, that fact is kind of irrelevant, because the Times still the news source for all sorts of other newspapers across America.  Go ahead.  Check out your morning local rag.  You’ll see that at least one story comes direct from the Times or from the Washington Post or from the Associated Press.  As Conan proved in a funny, fluffy video, no matter the outlet, the story’s always the same.

The Obama administration is now boasting that one million people signed up for Obamacare in December.  Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s not.  The two things we know with certainty are (1) that the media won’t press for the truth and (2) that the media will work as one in the coming months to shill for Obamacare.  The glitches are over; the wonders are on their way.

Yes, we who have not drunk the Kool Aid know that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t matter.  All that the media hustlers need to do is keep those plates spinning until the day after the November 2014 election.  After that, they’re home free no matter what happens.

And please don’t look to the Republican Party for help.  It’s so busy trying to take out the Tea Party (it’s bad for business, doncha’ know?) that it’s ignoring the most wondrous political opportunity handed to it since . . . well, since never before.  Rick Moran sounds the warning, but don’t expect the money guys in the GOP to hear that tocsin:

Are Republicans smart enough to counter this propaganda with nightmare stories about sky-high premiums, the cancellation of perfectly good insurance policies, website errors, and other tragic experiences that ordinary people have had with Obamacare? Democrats couldn’t accuse them of cherry picking bad news when they’re cherry picking good news.

This is a long-term war to be played out over the coming years. What I don’t see yet is a commitment from the national Republican Party to engage the resources necessary to counter the Democrats move for move. There doesn’t appear to be a plan in place which means they’ll be improvising on the fly. That just won’t cut it.

With the Obamacare website now largely operational, the first phase of the battle is over. But unless the GOP stays on its toes, they are likely to be buried by the administration PR machine.

The Leftist PR machine is gearing up hard.  Moreover, with this video as a graphic illustration, please remember that the agile Democrats are already on the move, while the Republicans are the ones sitting in the car:

Andrew Breitbart was right about the culture

My daughter went to our local library this weekend and brought home a bunch of the library’s recent acquisitions for teens.  The inside jacket blurb describes them as fantasy or high school relationship books.  My daughter said to me, “I don’t know why it is, Mom, but they all turn out to be about lesbians.”  Since she’s neither L or G or B or T or Q, I’m not concerned that these books will “turn” her.  Certainly, though, they’re creating an intellectual dynamic that tells teenage girls where to look for real romance.

I had that in mind when I looked at the New York Times’ movie review page today.  I don’t read reviews anymore, and I never go to movies, and I seldom watch movies, but I occasionally glance at the review page to see what’s going on.  I was much struck by the page’s content:

1 2 3 4 5

One gets the feeling that filmmakers and the New York Times are advancing an agenda.

Andrew Breitbart was right that, because of media’s far reach, culture and politics flow downhill from it, with downhill being the operative word.

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.

Barack Obama and the new world of the permanent campaign

I wasn’t paying attention, but it seems that the New York Times now has a dedicated Hillary reporter, even though the elections is more than three years away.  Does this mean that we can finally abandon the pretense of media impartiality?  This far in advance, having that kind of round-the-clock, individualized coverage from what many still consider (Gawd knows why) the premier paper in America, amounts to three years worth of non-cash campaign contributions.

Here’s one question for you, though:  Do you think that a dedicated reporter will be able, not just to cover, but to cover for Hillary for an entire three years?  It’s almost impossible to believe that, considering their own actions, their cronies’ actions, and their Foundation’s financial shenanigans, Hillary will be able to keep her nose clean.

And I haven’t forgotten that the National Enquirer, which doesn’t lie anymore about famous figures since the Carol Burnett lawsuit, claims that she’s working on a tell-all biography in which she finally admits that she’s been lying to Americans for decades by pretending she’s not a lesbian.  In that regard, it’s not the lesbianism that I mind, it’s the lying.  More than that, having her hold such a potentially embarrassing secret while she was First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, raises the distinct possibility that unfriendly world players, such as Russia, have been able to blackmail her, her husband, and her political allies, over the years.

By the way, Seth Mandel has a much deeper, and more thoughtful, post about the ramifications of the Times’ decision.

A bad day for Democrats

I mentioned that the only news I get here comes from the New York Times digest that’s handed out to interested passengers. I don’t have a copy at hand, but if my memory serves me, this is what I read:

1. House Republicans are standing firm against the President’s effort to spend his way out of the endless recession. The NYT thinks this is a bad thing. I think it’s great except that Senate Democrats will not agree to any of these cuts. Stalemate awaits us at summer’s end. The media will ensure that the public blames the Republicans for trying to stop a spendthrift president from bankrupting America.

2. Al Qaeda is resurgent in Iraq, the country that Obama abandoned after our troops spilled their blood there to achieve victory. Obama purports to love Lincoln so much, but I believe that Lincoln would have taken one look at Obama and understood immediately that Obama is the type of leader who snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. What Lincoln would not have understood is that this doesn’t come about because of incompetence. Instead, defeat is Obama’s ultimate goal.

3. The Democrats’ best minds are trying to overcome the fact that America’s young people, many of whom are under employed or unemployed have no intention of finding ObamaCare by buying overpriced health insurance that they don’t think they need (especially because a large percentage of them get to extend their adolescence through to 26, before they’re kicked off of Mom’s and Dad’s policies. Without them, of course, ObamaCare is a shell.

Incidentally, the NYT frames the problem as a risk to Obama’s “legacy” (the NYT’s word, not mine). Whether this situation creates a risk to America itself doesn’t seem to matter to the hyper-partisan Times.

4. Recent revelations about Anthony Weiner’s latest round of sexcapades have made him so toxic that even the NYT has been forced to disown him as a viable mayoral candidate. Weiner’s current stance is that he will not retire from the contest. I’m left wondering if this creates an opening for the Republican mayoral candidate in New York. Heh.

5. This isn’t about the NYT, but it occurred to me that, if Obama wants to emulate Norway’s virtually free health care and its absolutely free higher education, he should follow the Norwegian example and “drill, baby, drill.” Americans might be more amenable to the Norway’s “socialism” if we too were floating away on seas of black gold.

Reading the paper left me feeling that Democrats are not having a good time of it right now. I’d like to gloat, but because Democrats hold two of three levers of power (White House and Senate), with a Supreme Court resting in Roberts’ damaged hands and Kennedy’s unprincipled ones, the current situation means that, whether Democrats win or lose for the next couple of years, our nation still suffers.

Sigh. . . .

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.

The New York Times proudly lapses into pure Animal Farm

It may be one of the most famous quotations in the English language:  “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Orwell wrote Animal Farm as an allegory about the Soviet Union.  His point with that quotation was that all totalitarian states, no matter their original intentions, eventually start discriminating against disfavored groups, making a mockery of the whole notion of equality.  He could equally well have said (pun intended), although in a much less interesting way, that “favoritism-based equality is an oxymoron.”

Keep Orwell firmly in mind as you read the New York Times’ home page description for this article about the Supreme Court’s coming term:

Four blockbuster cases before the Supreme Court highlight the tension between formal equality and a more dynamic kind of equality that takes account of historical injustices.  (Emphasis added.)

The article itself is less crudely Orwellian, but also seeks to redefine equality:

The extraordinary run of blockbuster rulings due in the space of a single week will also reshape the meaning of legal equality and help define for decades to come one of the Constitution’s grandest commands: “the equal protection of the laws.”

If those words require only equal treatment from the government, the rulings are likely to be a mixed bag that will delight and disappoint liberals and conservatives in equal measure. Under that approach, same-sex couples who want to marry would be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics could find it harder to get into college and to vote.

But a tension runs through the cases, one based on different conceptions of equality. Some justices are committed to formal equality. Others say the Constitution requires a more dynamic kind of equality, one that takes account of the weight of history and of modern disparities.

The four major cases yet to be decided concern same-sex marriage, affirmative action in higher education and the fate of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which places special burdens on states with a history of racial discrimination.

Formal equality would require that gay couples be treated just like straight couples when it comes to marriage, white students just like black students when it comes to admissions decisions and Southern states just like Northern ones when it comes to federal oversight of voting. The effect would be to help gay couples, and hurt blacks and Latinos.

With regard to gay marriage, the article implies that all “couples” are equal, cheerfully lumping same-sex couples in with traditional heterosexual couples.  They’re not the same at all, because nature has designed the matched set to be AB, not AA or BB. Pretending that all three formulations are identical is sophistry.  This isn’t to say that one cannot make an argument to the effect that a couple equals any pair of human beings, regardless of biological gender reality.  It’s just to say that it’s strikingly dishonest to pretend that such pairings are the only possible “equal” pairings.

Orwell, was not just a former ardent communist “democratic socialist,” whose love of true equality and freedom turned him away from an ideology he realized was inherently corrupt.  He was also someone who loved the English language with passion and ferocity.  It was he who understand best that the truth can only set you free if there if the language is sufficiently uncorrupted to enable one to speak truth — and the first thing that totalitarians do is to corrupt language to destroy truth.

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….

The media’s approach to Rand Paul’s filibuster: pretend it never happened *UPDATED*

Yesterday, Rand Paul embarked upon a nearly 12-hour-long standing filibuster.  The filibuster’s ostensible purpose and practical effect was to delay a vote on John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA.  It’s real purpose, though, was to force Attorney General Eric Holder to answer a straightforward question:  “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?”

Paul posed this question because, on Monday, in a letter responding to questions Paul had about the drone program on American soil, Eric Holder had written that the President could order a drone strike on American citizens in America, if there was a 9/11 situation.  Thus, Holder confined his answer to the President’s power in the event of actual combat on American soil.  Eric refused to respond to Paul’s follow-up question about a non-combat scenario.

So Paul filibustered, and filibustered, and filibustered.

During his epic speech, in the course of which he even quoted Alice in Wonderland, Paul came up with some liberty-oriented bon mots that will forever enter the conservative playbook:

“They shouldn’t just drop a Hellfire missile on your cafe experience.”

“If you give up your rights now, don’t expect to get them back.”

[A hypothetical question to President Obama:]  “So you can murder anyone you want, anywhere, any time?”

Paul not only managed to derail the scheduled vote for John Brennan, he forced Eric Holder to answer his question.  Today, Eric Holder issued what is probably the world’s shortest letter ever written by a lawyer:

Rand Paul won -- Holder gave him his answer

During his filibuster odyssey, Paul demonstrated that he is a lucid speaker, who still managed to make sense after almost twelve hours on his feet.  No wonder the Young Gun Republicans in the Senate soon rallied to his cause.  (And no wonder the Old Gun Republicans went off to enjoy an expensive dinner with Barack Obama.)

In one staggering feat, Rand Paul demonstrated he is contender material for the 2016 presidential election.  Those who have been paying attention know that he has been angling in that direction for some months now, both by speaking up for Tea Party interests and by trying to convince both conservative and Progressive Jews alike that he does not share the disdain his father, Ron Paul, seems to feel for Israel.

These plays, however, were inside baseball stuff, with only political junkies paying attention to Paul’s Tea Party and Jewish outreach.  The general public, including the conservative-leaning general public, was not paying much attention.

That all changed yesterday, with Paul’s filibuster.  He really did channel Jimmy Stewart, in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington:  He was boyish look, deeply committed to the cause of truth and liberty, and still making sense after hours of talking.  Moreover, unlike Stewart, who was merely acting, Paul was really doing this.  The conservative side of the internet went wild.  This was Paul’s moment.  This was when he catapulted himself into being a national player.  Now the world — or, if not the world, America — will know that there is someone with political substance aiming to challenge Hillary’s almost inevitable 2016 run.

Except that’s not what happened.

Instead, of reporting honestly about one man’s impressive performance in the United States Senate, the mainstream, drive-by media did what it does best:  it pretended Paul’s epic filibuster never happened.  In some of the nation’s main newspapers, his dramatic stand for individual liberty didn’t even make the front page or, if it did, it was buried within another story about Senate business or was the subject of an attack about his being a dangerous loose cannon.

I hereby give you exhibits A, B, C, and D.  The print is small in all of these front page captures, but it’s still large enough for you to see what’s missing — any mention, especially approving mention, of Paul’s epic stand:

New York Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
Washington Post buries Rand Paul filibuster
Los Angeles Times buries Rand Paul filibuster
San Francisco Chronicle buries Rand Paul filibuster

The above front pages from some of the dominant newspapers in America provide a textbook example of mainstream media control over political dialogue in America. The media’s playbook is simple: For Democrats, elevate good stories and bury bad ones. For Republicans, elevate bad stories and bury good ones.

Because the drive-by media is no longer interested in reporting news, but only cares about obtaining outcomes, it is up to us — the Citizen Information Army, a CIA we hope John Brennan will never control — to offset the media hegemony.  We do this by elevating good stories about the Republicans and reporting on bad stories about the Democrats. We have our orders now. Let’s march!

UPDATE:  Don Quixote, who’s more aware of television than I am, told me that the Today Show this morning did do a fairly superficial segment on the filibuster.  Let’s hope it was better than CNN’s coverage.  Ed Driscoll caught the fact that, while CNN did provide some reporting the filibuster, including commentary from Reason’s Mike Rig, it still let its bias shine through.  Check out the chyron CNN applied to the tape of Paul talking:

Media Bias

Although subtle, Ed notes that these things matter: “[T]he Chyron is likely the only thing the now-proverbial low-information voter will take from Paul’s historic filibuster.”

NYT’s guest columnist Stanley Fish engages in Orwellian doublethink to justify BDS speakers at Brooklyn College *UPDATED*

[UPDATE: I should clarify here that, while Fish regularly writes opinion pieces for the Times, and while his beliefs and the Times' beliefs harmonize more often than not, Fish is not a salaried employee of the Times. I've changed the title of this post to add the phrase "guest columnist" in order to reflect that fact.]

BDS and terrorism

BDS is a movement perfectly aligned with genocidal anti-American and anti-Israel organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an appropriate uproar about the fact that Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department, along with the usual Leftist suspects in American academia, were sponsoring a much-publicized forum advocating in favor of BDS.  For those who do not closely follow Leftist political attacks on Israel, BDS stands for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.”

BDS is a political movement aimed at isolating, demonizing, and bankrupting Israel.  Please take the five or so minutes to watch this video, which explains what BDS is — and mentions its goal, which is to “wipe out Israel”:

In other words, then, the BDS crowd seeks Israel’s destruction. I am hard put to find a context in which it is appropriate to use a publicly funded college to serve as a forum for the destruction of a democratic nation that, at least for now, is an American ally? (There’s no saying what Commander-in-Chief Obama will decree in the coming years.)

In respect to Mayor Bloomberg’s formulaic “I hate what you say, but I’ll fight to the death to let you say it” stance, Jonathan Tobin explains why it is so heinous to support BDS conclaves:

But contrary to the mayor’s typically highhanded formulation, this is not a free speech issue. Using a public university to promote hate speech in which the one Jewish state in the world is hypocritically singled out for isolation and destruction is not a matter of tolerating a diversity of views. What is so frustrating about the debate about BDS is the willingness of even those who do not support it to treat as a merely one among many defensible views about the Middle East or, as the New York Times referred to it in an editorial on the subject yesterday, a question of academic freedom whose advocates do not deserve to be spoken of harshly. As I wrote last week about a related controversy at Harvard, the BDS movement is not motivated by disagreement with specific Israeli policies or the issue of West Bank settlements. It is an economic war waged to destroy the Jewish state and is morally indistinguishable from more traditional forms of anti-Semitism that do not disguise themselves in the fancy dress of academic discourse.

As Yair Rosenberg noted today in Tablet, the BDS movement has as its declared goal Israel’s destruction via implementation of the Palestinian “right of return.” This is consistent with their overall rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a separate Jewish state and their opposition to any means of self-defense against Palestinian terrorism.

It needs to be understood that those who take such a position are, in effect, denying the Jewish people the same right of self-determination that they support for every other nation on the planet. That is a textbook definition of bias and such bias when used against Jews is called anti-Semitism. That is why the various members of the City Council and New York State legislature who have spoken out on this issue are right to try to exert pressure on Brooklyn College to cancel the event and the Times and Bloomberg are wrong to defend the decision to uphold it.

I couldn’t have said it better myself (which is why I quoted Tobin at such length).

Despite these protests, the forum went ahead and Stanley Fish, at the New York Times is thrilled.  To him, using American taxpayer dollars to fund a convention aimed at destroying the world’s sole Jewish nation (which also happens to be the sole democracy in the otherwise Muslim, totalitarian Middle East) is the essence of free speech (emphasis mine):

Among the cultural institutions a boycott might target are those Israeli universities that are judged to be either actively in league with the government’s policies toward the Palestinians, or complicit with those policies by virtue of remaining silent while they are being implemented. To the charge that a boycott of academic institutions is a violation of academic freedom,  B.D.S. supporters reply that because the state of Israel abrogates the academic freedom of Palestinian professors and students (by denying them funding, access and mobility), it is an affirmation, not a derogation, of academic freedom to refrain from engaging in intellectual commerce with Israeli universities. You can’t invoke academic freedom, they say, when you’re denying it to others. So the lines of battle are set with both sides claiming to be academic freedom’s champion, and it is easy to see why a college might be thought to be an appropriate venue for a discussion of the matter.

Doesn’t Fish’s formulation remind you of such famous phrases as “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength,” or even “Arbeit macht frei“?

Nazis boycott Jewish stores

The original BDS movement — Nazis boycott Jewish goods

Fish is either a fool or a fellow traveler.  BDS has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with nation killing.  Do I need to mention here that, while Palestine is Judenrein, Israeli universities (see video, above), its government, its military, and even its sports associations have Arab and Palestinian members who, provided that they avoid advocating or agitating for Israel’s imminent destruction, have the same rights as Israel’s Jewish, Christian, atheist, and whatever else residents?

Only a perverse Orwellian doublespeak would pretend that BDS — which aims, as I said, to achieve Israel’s isolation, economic collapse, and her ultimate destruction — is simply a tit-for-tat about academic freedom.  If academic freedom was the real issue, this would be a cat fight about speaking gigs at various universities.  One doesn’t challenge economic malfeasance by targeting the only Jewish nation in the world for complete destruction.

I won’t deconstruct the rest of Fish’s endlessly long article.  Suffice to say that it is as rotten as the foundation on which it’s built.

The New York Times is an increasingly foul publication.  I don’t use that word — “foul” — lightly.  Even during the Duranty years, it aimed for some semblance of objectivity.  Those days are gone.  Its slobbering fervor for Barack Obama and the Democrats; its unrelenting hostility to Israel, George Bush, Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians; and its amoral and immoral attacks on all religions but for Islam, which PC dictates be shielded behind a Teflon coating despite its institutional misogyny, homophobia, and antisemitism, all make the Times too foul for fowls.  Birds, being smart, deserve something a little classier to line their cages.

New York Times public editor keeps straight face while saying she doesn’t know reporters’ political orientation

Hot Air caught the New York Times public editor stating — with a straight face yet! — that she really has no idea what political viewpoint informs their writing.  Maybe this screen shot, from today’s online edition, will help her:

New York Times screenshot

I’m sure both stories are true.  That is, I don’t doubt that a specific woman, in a crisis handled herself well or that money that well-meaning Evangelicals sent to Uganda got put to an evil use.

I’m equally sure, though, that these stories are propaganda for a specific world view.  This is a world view in which women — who are on average less strong than men and on average less big than men, making them less able to handle equipment and more likely to bleed out from wounds, and who also can’t pull it out to pee, have periods, and are vulnerable to an enemy’s deadly sexual assault — should be in the front lines at all times, even if that means lowering front line standards to the detriment of the troops and the military’s mission.  Likewise, the NYT world view always believes that Christian money never funds good causes in the Third World — educating and feeding children, fighting dictatorships, liberating women, etc. — but only pours money into “charities” that abuse victim classes around the world.

So maybe, just maybe, it would help if the public editor occasionally took a glance at her own paper.

When the combatants are morally unequal, it is immoral to treat them in the same way

One of the really icky things about the Left is that it lacks a moral compass.  There is no good or evil.  There are only evil haves and victimized have-nots.

In a sane moral universe, cultural arbiters would readily be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys in the Middle East.  The good guys are the ones that give equal rights to all religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, or Atheist.  The bad guys are the ones that impose horrific burdens on those who do not follow the bad guys’ faith, with those burdens ranging from increased taxes, exile from the land of their ancestors, beatings, and mass murder.

The good guys are the ones that do not torture or kill people because of their sexual orientation.  The bad guys are the ones who routinely torture and hang gay men.

The good guys are the ones who acknowledge that women are fully equal to men, and are therefore entitled to both respect and civil rights.  The bad guys are the ones who view women as inherently evil, lascivious, stupid, and dangerous and, to that end segregate them; dehumanize them through clothing; institutionalize pedophilia; mutilate them; deprive them of basic freedoms, liberties, and rights; and turn any of their infractions, whether criminal or social, into capital crimes.

The good guys are the ones who put into place a defense system that allows them to suffer through thousands of rocket attacks before making the decision to retaliate and who, when they retaliate, will abort solid attacks against known targets if they realize that children are in the line of fire.  The bad guys are the ones who take land for peace, only to break their bargain immediately and rain rockets down upon the opposite entity in the exchange.  And the bad guys are the one who view children as both targets and shields, because they care more about propaganda than lives.

In a sane world, if these two entities went to war because the good guys got tired of years of being the bad guys’ target practice, coverage would be much like the news was in the years leading up to and during WWII:  the good guys would be praised and supported, while the bad guys would be excoriated.  Back in those days, the media knew that the Allies had some bad individuals amongst them and that there were Axis soldiers who were forced to fight and hated what they did.  The media understoid the fundmentak difference, though, between the Axis powers and the Allies — the latter was a healthy society fighting against a sick one before the sick society’s cancer could spread.

Those days of sanity are over.  The media hasn’t gone quite so far as to pretend that the bad guys — the Palestinians, the Iranians, and the Islamists — are actually fighting a good fight.  They do something much more insidious, because only people who pay attention are aware — as Dennis Prager explains, they pretend that the two sides are the same:

[A]n evil entity made war on a peaceful, decent entity, and the latter responded.

How has the New York Times reported this?

On Friday, on its front page, the Times featured two three-column-wide photos. The top one was of Gaza Muslim mourners alongside the dead body of al-Jabari. The photo below was of Israeli Jews mourning alongside the dead body of Mira Scharf, a 27-year-old mother of three.

What possible reason could there be for the New York Times to give identical space to these two pictures? One of the dead, after all, was a murderer, and the other was one of his victims.

The most plausible reason is that the Times wanted to depict through pictures a sort of moral equivalence: Look, sophisticated Times readers! Virtually identical scenes of death and mourning on both sides of the conflict. How tragic.

If one had no idea what had triggered this war, one would read and see the Times coverage and conclude that two sides killing each other were both equally at fault.

The Times technique works only too well.  Just today, one of the women in my mother’s retirement community said that none of this would happen if the Israelis would just give Gaza back to the Palestinians.  She was surprised when my mother told her that Israel had already done this years ago, only to be rewarded with a barrage of rockets.  The MSM, which this lady watches assiduously, failed to make that point clear.

Prager’s conclusion, after giving more examples of the Times inability to understand moral absolutes, is the same as that with which I started this post:

As the flagship news source of the Left, the New York Times reveals the great moral failing inherent to leftism — its combination of moral relativism and the division of the world between strong and weak, Western and non-Western, and rich and poor rather than between good and evil.

Walking through danger untouched — a personal prayer for Israel

A friend of mine has a family member who has been called up for duty in Israel.  I know that, all over Israel, young men and young women are being mobilized.  Some sadly, may not come home, although I wish all of them would, just as I wish every one of our troops in Afghanistan could return home.

As always when I think about war, I think, not about those who die, but about the many who live.  My expectation that people will return home is shaped by my parents’ experiences.  My father was in the Mediterranean theater from 1939 through 1944 — and never got a scratch.  He then fought in the Israeli War of Independence — and never got a scratch.  During that same war, a sniper shot at my mother.  The bullet grazed the back of her neck, singeing off the fine hairs — but that was all it did. Both of them walked remarkably near the Valley of Shadows, without being physically touched.

I’ve had my own near misses.  When I was 17, I was riding shotgun in a car that flipped off of an overpass and landed, upside down, 25 feet below.  I walked away without a scratch.  When I was 20, my Mom and I were driving on the freeway when, from the cab in the pickup truck in front of us, a manhole cover came spinning off like a giant Frisbee, heading directly for our windshield.  She and I gazed in horror at imminent death by decapitation, only to have the wind grab that Frisbee within an inch of our windshield and send it rocketing to the side of the road.

My parents and I were, and are, not religious people, but we have tried to live righteously.  Whether because of faith or superstition, I believe that matters.  It has always mattered:

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

My prayers are for Israel, a righteous nation, and my prayers are for our own quite righteous troops in these dangerous times.

Incidentally, would it surprise you to know that the New York Times, while it acknowledges Israel’s right to defend herself, really wishes she wouldn’t:

No country should have to endure the rocket attacks that Israel has endured from militants in Gaza, most recently over the past four days. The question is how to stop them permanently.

On Wednesday, Israel launched one of the most ferocious assaults on Gaza since its invasion four years ago. At least 20 targets were struck and a Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, was killed. Israeli leaders also threatened another ground war.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since Israel withdrew in 2007. The group has mostly adhered to an informal cease-fire with Israel after the war there in the winter of 2008-09. But, in recent months, Hamas has claimed responsibility for participating in rocket firings, and last week it took credit for detonating a tunnel packed with explosives along the Israel-Gaza border while Israeli soldiers were working nearby.

Israel has a right to defend itself, but it’s hard to see how Wednesday’s operation could be the most effective way of advancing its long-term interests. It has provoked new waves of condemnation against Israel in Arab countries, including Egypt, whose cooperation is needed to enforce the 1979 peace treaty and support stability in Sinai.

It seems to be beyond the Times’ editors’ comprehension to understand that, for twenty years, Israel has done it the Times‘ way, by making nice with her enemies.  That hasn’t worked.  Israel’s enemies have perceived her as weak and, now that they believe the U.S. has abandoned her by re-electing Obama, they’re attacking with murderous ferocity.  Turning the other cheek, a la Gandhi, works only when your enemies are the moral British.  Otherwise, if you’re fighting the modern equivalent of Nazi Germany, there’s something to be said for a scorched earth policy.

New York Times celebrates a pro-Palestinian propaganda piece

When the Left talks about “the children,” they only mean certain children.  For example, the useful idiots working at the New York Times have never waxed lyrical about the Israeli children killed in pizza parlors, in their homes, or at bus stops.  They’ve never expressed concern about the thousands of missiles that periodically rain down upon Israel with ferocious regularity, nor about the fact that Jewish children are one of the Muslim terrorists’ prime targets.  They don’t even weep tears for the Palestinian children whom the terrorists use for shields or train to become human bombs.

However, woe betide the Jews if those same Palestinian children — the ones the terrorists use as shields — actually die.  Then the propaganda machine goes into action, the movies get made, and the New York Times movie reviewers get to show both their poetic souls and their Leftist chops (emphasis mine):

A brutally uncompromising blast of outrage, Vibeke Lokkeberg’s “Tears of Gaza” is less a documentary than a collage of suffering. Dropping us smack in the middle of the Israeli attacks on Gaza in the winter of 2008-9, the film tramples politics beneath the raw weight of civilian testimony. Woven together, these monologues of bereavement and confusion, illustrated with images so terrible they repel rational explanation, form a tapestry of human misery that’s impossible to shake off.

Using extraordinary footage shot by several Palestinian photographers, Ms. Lokkeberg (a Norwegian who was refused access to Gaza) spotlights the extreme deprivation of life under a blockade and the physical and psychological wounds of war. A sickeningly beautiful rain of nighttime missiles is followed by wrenching shots of suffocated infants being hauled from pulverized homes. Tiny, broken bodies — some seemingly fired on at point-blank range — blanket the film, often in excruciating close-up. Postcarnage interviews allow the stunned reactions of three surviving children to shape a quiet meditation on lives irretrievably altered.

Unwaveringly committed to a method that spits on context, “Tears of Gaza” forces us to ask a single, electric question: Amid this much horror, does context even matter?

And it’s that last question that tells you everything you need to know.  Context matters tremendously.  There are wars fought to subjugate people and wars fought to free people.  There are wars fought for principles and wars fought for wealth.  There are wars to impose cruelty and wars to destroy cruelty.  For example, contrary to Michael Moore’s stupid belief, Islamists are not “freedom fighters” for Islam.  They have no interest in freedom.  They cannot be analogized to Americans during the Revolutionary War, because the Americans were fighting to increase individual liberties, rather than to subjugate people to a tyrannical ideology.

When a New York Times review waxes lyrical about suffering children and then asks “does context even matter,” you know that this lyricism is being bent to the defense of an evil cause.

That’s all.

Better parenting through pot. Really?

The sentiments in the article claiming pot is a parenting panacea aren’t that surprising.  Pot users have always touted marijuana’s benefits in the alternative press.  What’s a little surprising about this article, which claims that one man became an infinitely better parent because of his pot use, is that the New York Times published it.

The one fallacy in the article, of course, is the author’s belief that everyone around him is as happy as he is.  One of the things pot does to its users is to give them an inflated sense of their own wisdom and wonderfulness.

I was 14 when a friend told me about the experience that put her off put forever — and that put me off too.  She and a friend had gotten together and smoked some joints.  With their minds expanded by drug use, they started to explore the wonderful mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life.  Soon, they had put together a comprehensive unified theory.  They were so excited by their brilliance (if you can be both lethargic and excited) that they decided to tape-record their conversation for posterity’s sake.

The next day my friend played back the tape recording and discovered this:  “So . . . it’s like . . . everything is real . . . you know?  Like . . . we’re all . . . one . . . with each other.  We’re . . . like . . . universal . . . uh, uh . . . friends.”  And so on, for almost thirty minutes.  Pot hadn’t expand their minds; it had just expanded their egos.

All I know as the parent of young ‘uns who are, sadly, at the age when all their peers are starting to use pot, is that pot use in young people has permanent negative effects on their brains.  After that, everything else about the stuff becomes irrelevant.

The New York Times’ Arthur Brisbane has an interesting observation about his employer

Arthur Brisbane has written a rumination about his two years’ as the New York Times’ public editor.  It is an interesting piece, as notes the way in which (a) the New York Times has slimmed its one massive corporate holdings so that they consist only of core news corporations and (b) it has encouraged its employees to embrace social media.  Most interesting to conservatives, of course, is that Brisbane admits that Progressivism is the name of the game at the Times:

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

From this, Brisbane concludes that the New York Times will cease to be a regional newspaper and became the paper of record for an ideological mindset.  I think he’s correct.

The other thing that struck me about Brisbane’s article — and this is a picayune observation on my part — is how awkward some of his writing is.  I don’t blame him.  I recognize that language is changing and that I, with my old-fashioned grammatical rules, occupy the rearguard, not the vanguard.  Nevertheless, this sentence grated:

Back then, I viewed The Times as a deeply resourced news organization that was challenged to recreate itself in an environment that was smashing old media and vaulting new forms to prominence.

“Deeply resourced news organization”?  That isn’t elegant.  And if you’re going to use that phrase, clarity dictates that it should be written “deeply-resourced.”  Either way — yuk.  The other thing I dislike about the sentence is Brisbane’s passive voice:  the Times “was challenged.”  Who challenged it?  Well, the second part of Brisbane’s sentence indicates that changes in the marketplace dictated changes in the Times’ business approach, but the passive voice also allows him to avoid addressing the fact that the Times abandoned the pretense of journalistic objectivity, something he only addresses at the end of the article, in the part I quoted above.  If you’re going to become a partisan paper, that’s also going to force you to change your business approach — not to mention see you losing vast sums of money so that you have to sell of peripheral holdings.

Is the New York Times trying to start a race war?

For the MSM, the George Zimmerman thing has turned out to be a bust.  With the exception of the fact that Trayvon Martin is still dead, everything the MSM first reported about the case has proven to be untrue.  Right about now, you’d think that the media would be engaged in some soul-searching and apologizing, but that assumes that MSM members have souls and consciences.  If you’ve made that assumption, you’ve proved, once again, that when you assume, you make an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

Because the media’s first effort at fomenting a race war seems to have failed, with only a few hapless white people suffering mob beat-downs, the MSM has gone back to the drawing board.  The first effort in the “if at first you don’t succeed” strategy is a New York Times article about a killing in Georgia.  Again, a white man shot a young black man.  I hope you appreciate how beautifully the Times uses passive voice in the first paragraph (emphasis mine):

LYONS, Ga. — Norman Neesmith was sleeping in his home on a rural farm road here in onion country when a noise woke him up.

He grabbed the .22-caliber pistol he kept next to his bed and went to investigate. He found two young brothers who had been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms. There was marijuana and sex.

Over the course of the next confusing minutes on a January morning in 2011, there would be a struggle. The young men would make a terrified run for the door. Mr. Neesmith, who is 62 and white, fired four shots. One of them hit Justin Patterson, who was 22 and black.

The bullet pierced his side, and he died in Mr. Neesmith’s yard. His younger brother, Sha’von, then 18, ran through the onion fields in the dark, frantically trying to call his mother.

The dead boy’s parents are wondering why they didn’t get the full Al Sharpton treatment. Reading through the article, you discover that there are two reasons.  First, a year ago, when this tragedy unfolded, Al Sharpton and his cadre hadn’t yet figured out that they could get substantial mileage out of a white on black killing.  Second, it’s too late now, because the actual facts are out there, and they don’t leave either the race hustlers or the MSM much with which to work.  Even the Times acknowledges that the known facts run counter to the “white people are murderous KKK/Nazi killers” meme:

Still, like so many other crimes where race might be a factor, this one is not so clear-cut. Mr. Neesmith says he felt threatened. He says he aches for the parents but believes none of this would have happened if the young men had not been in his house when they should not have been.

“I think about it every day. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” Mr. Neesmith said as he stood in the doorway of his home. “In two minutes it just went bad. If you ain’t never shot nobody, you don’t want to do it, I’m telling you.”

In the backyard, a pool was ready for neighborhood kids — both black and white — who he said loved to come over after school for a swim. Mr. Neesmith, a former school bus driver, and his late wife had been foster parents to dozens of children.

They took in a great-niece, who has a black parent, when she was a baby. She is now 19 and admitted to investigators that she invited Justin Patterson to their trailer home that night, timing it so Mr. Neesmith would be asleep. The two had been flirting on Facebook and in texts.

When Mr. Neesmith pulled the young men out of the bedrooms, he threatened to call the younger girl’s grandfather, according to court documents and interviews. He asked the two, who both have young daughters, why they were not home with their children. He ranted and waved the gun around.

So the brothers made a run for it. By all accounts, while the younger one struggled to unlock a side door, the older one shoved Mr. Neesmith.

Let me summarize those unclear facts:  Neesmith has raised a half-black child (or would she be white/black?) and his home was a meeting spot for both black and white youngsters.  He thought he had a break-in (explaining the gun), then he noticed that the child he was raising was doing sex and illegal drugs in his home (explaining the anger), and then one of the two young men (i.e., not one weeny little guy, but two young men) in his home started pushing him around.  Further investigation showed that the other girl was 14, adding statutory rape to the illegal conduct within his house.

Given these facts, why in the world does the Times say, “like so many other crimes where race might be a factor”?  (And equally importantly, why doesn’t the Times say, more correctly, “As with some many other crimes in which race might be a factor”?)  It turns out that the Times had to do some reaching:

That race played a significant part is not hard to imagine here in a county that was named after Robert Toombs, a general and one of the organizers of the Confederate government. A black woman has never been named Miss Vidalia Onion in the annual festival that begins Thursday. And until last year in neighboring Montgomery County, there were two proms — one for whites and one for blacks.

What!?  No black Miss Vidalia Onion?  My God!  The whole county should be sent to jail.  And separate proms?  Well, clearly a white person is going to kill a black person.  Especially a white person who is raising a black-white person.

With too much time having passed by, and too many facts instantly available in a small Georgia community, Al Sharpton and the MSM race hustlers never had a chance.  The bereaved parents will have to mourn their child’s passing without benefit of race riots on his behalf.

Incidentally, I’ve been paying attention over the past couple of weeks to the crime stories in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Sadly, they have included several reports tell about people of color who were shot,* one while he was pushing his child’s stroller.  Strangely, none of these stories have excited comment in the larger, national media, nor has Al Sharpton dropped by to offer his condolences.  I leave you to figure out why the telling silence.

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*Oceanview is a primarily minority neighborhood, so I’m making an educated guess that the man who was shot was a minority.

Debunking the New York Times’ usual hit job on the military

On a regular basis, the New York Times launches an attack against the military.  Or more accurately, against the men and women (especially the men) who serve in the military.  We get stories about their high drug abuse rates, high crime rates, high insanity rates, and high suicide rates.  Usually, when you start digging, you discover that the rates are never comparable to a similarly situated civilian population:  i.e., one made up primarily of men between 18 and 35.  Because these “studies” and “stories” compare apples to oranges, they are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

The New York Times was at it again last week, with an editorial based upon some questionable statistics that purport to show that the military is the scourge of women because it has an unusually high number of sexual assaults.  I say questionable because, as with all the other “bad” military stories, we have apples and oranges comparisons between a general population composed of adults and children, male and female, old and young, and a specific population composed mostly of young males.  In addition, because many sexual assaults in both the military and the general population can be known only if the women report them, the fact that the military recently made it easier to report assaults (as the editorial acknowledges) may skew the statistics.  By being good, the military ends up looking bad.

The worst part of the New York Times editorial, though, isn’t the editorial at all — it’s the comments from readers.  America’s First Sergeant looks at some of those comments and reveals the fallacies and biases that underlie them.

In Marin, people boast about being New York Times readers.  In their minds, stating that they read the NYT is a short-hand way to say that they’re smart and informed.  I have to confess that, when I hear that they read the Times, “smart” and “informed” are not the first words that spring to my mind.  If you read Am’s 1st Sgt, you might get some idea of the adjectives my brain generates when I hear the “I read the NYT” boast.

Dear Mr. Brooks: The program you are looking for is the draft

I want a job at the New York Times.  It is clearly a place that pays people to be stupid.  David Brooks gives Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 a very nice review.  Coming Apart claims that there is a big divide between rich Americans and poor Americans.  I like Charles Murray, and think he is frequently brilliant, but the heads up for him here is that there are always divides.  They’ve been by class, geography, politics, culture, etc.  To look at income and NASCAR in 2012, is awfully limited.

But I was talking about Brooks.  Brooks is horrified by the divide and has a rousing, and “NYT stupid,” conclusion:

I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

If we could jam the tribes together, we’d have a better elite and a better mass.

And there you have my post title.  In the years between WWI and WWII and Vietnam, the big mixer-upper was the draft.  No draft, no mixing up.  We don’t have a new cultural divide.  We have an old, 19th Century era cultural divide.

Some are thinking the draft might be a good thing, but I don’t think our military deserves to have foisted upon it a random sampling of the current younger generation.

By the way, if you’re thinking that this is an unusually sour and snarky post, even by my standards, you’re right.  Both Brooks’ column and Murray’s premise rubbed me the wrong way.

And I thought I just disliked him because his films are boring and pompous

I never liked Jean-Luc Godard movies.  I go to movies to be entertained, not bored.  He failed my simple test.

Aside from being (in my mind) a boring film maker, it turns out that he is, as well, a deep, blatant, vicious antisemite.  Of course, if you’re a New York Times consumer, you’d never know that.  And what’s really bad is that the New York Times doesn’t avoid Godard’s antisemitism because the Times is itself ignorant of Godard’s ugly side.  Nope, the Times is well aware of it.  It’s approach, therefore, is to gloss over, explain away, and excuse his depravity.

I doubt anyone, with a straight face, can disagree with me when I say that the Times would have responded differently if evidence ever emerged that Godard had said “I dislike gays/blacks/Asians/Hispanics/Muslims/other victim group that suits the Times’ criteria.”

WikiLeaks: Everything you always wanted to know about the New York Times, but thought might make you sick

If you haven’t already, please read Steve Schippert’s guest post on this blog about the animating anti-American forces driving WikiLeaks.  If you don’t have time to click on over, here’s the money quote:

Wikileaks is a small cabal of people who, in their own site description, “Publishes and comments on leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct.”

In reality, what they are is a like-minded gathering of hardcore Leftists who see their greatest enemies and threats as the American military and intelligence coupled with free market capitalism.

Then get a load of the New York Times front page.   I’ve captured most of the slide show screen shots that automatically rotate across the page (click on thumbnails to see full size):

For more on WikiLeaks, Greyhawk has some posts here, here, here and here.

Why Tom Friedman is an idiot

[Despite being about the pompous and boring Tom Friedman, this is not an appropriate post for the under-18 crowd.]

I don’t think that there’s any doubt BUT that Tom Friedman is an idiot.  His worship for Communist China — which in typical Friedman fashion routinely takes the form of acknowledging its failings, yet nevertheless lusting after the same power that creates those failings — is manifest evidence of his idiocy.  He’s coy, but he can’t disguise his unwholesome passion for totalitarianism.

It’s not just his totalitarian yearnings, though, that make Friedman stupid.  It’s also his blatant inability to align facts and conclusions.  Friedman made his reputation as a fact guy.  He’s written lots of ostensibly fact-based books.  Certainly, he impresses the self-styled intellectuals on the Left with his mastery of facts.  But the reality is that, in his columns, he frequently ignores painful facts, fakes real facts, and misuses actual facts, all of which adds up to stupid.  He is the living embodiment of 2+2=5 (except that he often functions in the realm of imaginary numbers).

If you’re wondering why I’m harshing on Friedman with such venom this morning, it’s because of a column he wrote yesterday about Israel and the Palestinians.  The whole column exists in a parallel reality universe.  Taking his usual irritating, condescending stance of wise father lecturing recalcitrant children, he essentially demands that Israel just get with the Obama program and make concessions that will inevitably lead to the lion and the lamb lying in peace together.  Evelyn Gordon neatly dissects the factual vacuum in which Friedman’s fatuous demand exists:

Thomas Friedman argues in today’s New York Times that Israel should extend its freeze on settlement construction because when a key ally like America “asks Israel to do something that in no way touches on its vital security … there is only one right answer: ‘Yes.’” Friedman is, of course, correct that countries should help allies anytime they can do so without great cost to themselves. Where he’s wrong is in saying that no vital Israeli security interest is at stake.

It’s true that Israel has no real security interest in a few more houses here or there. But it does have a vital security interest in ultimately securing defensible borders, which can’t be done without retaining some territory on the other side of the Green Line under any deal. And continuing the settlement freeze would undermine Israel’s negotiating position on this issue.

Not only does Friedman deeply misunderstand the actual facts on the ground, he ignores the ones that conflict with his overriding need to support Obama in pushing a course of action that is antithetical to reality.  Per Rick Richman:

Friedman writes that he has “no idea whether the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has the will and the guts to make peace with Israel” but thinks Abbas should be tested with another moratorium. No idea?

He knows that Abbas’s term of office expired nearly two years ago and that Abbas is “President Abbas” only in the sense that George Mitchell is “Senator Mitchell.” He knows Abbas declined an offer of a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) with a shared Jerusalem. He knows Abbas has stated he will “never” recognize Israel as a Jewish state nor negotiate any land swap. He knows Abbas cannot make peace even with Hamas, which controls half the putative Palestinian state. He knows Abbas has repeatedly canceled elections and that the idea of the Palestinian Authority as a stable democratic entity is a joke. He knows Abbas has declared he will never waive the “right of return,” which makes a peace agreement impossible even if every other issue could be resolved. He knows Abbas has taken no steps to prepare his public for any of the compromises that would be necessary for a peace agreement. How many tests does Abbas have to fail before Thomas Friedman has an idea?

So I’ve now provided proof that Friedman is an idiot.  He doesn’t understand the facts he has, and ignores the facts he doesn’t like.  From that foundation, he makes grossly (and gross) ideological arguments, assuming the preening, snide posture of a seasoned sage, condemned to deal in perpetuity with ill-educated louts.  The question is why is Friedman like this?

Friedman wasn’t always such an idiot.  He was always a pedantic, formulaic writer, but twenty years ago he actually used to make facts and theory mesh well together.  The problem is the bubble.  Friedman is encased in an ideological bubble, with no countervailing forces, that renders him the functional equivalent of an unpruned hedge:  he’s wild and ugly now, instead of neat and compact.

The heart of the problem is Friedman’s gig at the New York Times.  Week after week, year after year, Friedman has to churn out articles that suit the Times’ mentality.  If he doesn’t do that, he loses his job.  This won’t affect him financially, of course, but it will humiliate him.  He likes being one of the Times’ most widely read columnists.  He likes the fawning and the adulation.  He wants to keep these emotional strokes going.  No surprise there.

The problem for Friedman is repetition.  There are only so many issues to be had, especially because, unlike a blogger, he’s subject to topical limitations.  Much as he might want to, he can’t break free and write about weddings or recipes.  (A blogger, by the way, can refresh him or herself with occasional forays into irregular topics.)

The only thing Friedman can do to stay fresh is to push the envelope.  Since he can’t keep repeating himself, he has to come up with ever new and exciting ways to keep his audience’s attention.  The result is that, while Times’ subscribers may think that they’re reading a staid, serious news organ, they’re actually getting the intellectual equivalent of a sleazy strip tease.

Think about it:  When the audience gets bored with the 37th iteration of the glove being pulled off finger by finger, the next thing to do is to tease the buttons on the bodice.  And when that gets tiring, bit by bit, item by item, the stripper finds herself inevitably pushed towards nudity.  Once she reaches nudity, there’s nothing left, especially if that nudity reveals, not that she looks like some airbrushed Hollywood star but, instead, that her bra was stuffed and that the cellulite is wearing heavy on her thighs.  At that point, all she can do is holler really loudly, in the hope that she deflects people’s attention from the fact that she’s not only stale and boring, but ugly too.

Friedman’s columns are exactly the same.  When pedantic reasoning got boring, he resorted, still pedantically, to opinion.  And when that got stale, he moved into the realms of fact free opinion.  After that got old, there was totalitarian fantasy disguised as pedantic fact-free opinion.  Column by column, Friedman is not only getting more extreme in his writing, he’s stripping himself bare intellectually, and revealing the padding and ugliness.

What makes it even worse in the world of Tom Friedman is the high wall that the Times has built around him.  Because the Times decided to remove comments, Friedman doesn’t have the reality checks that, in the stripper world, tell that gal to go on a diet and keep her clothes on; and that in the political world, should tell Friedman that he’s got his facts wrong, that he’s missing facts, or that his conclusions don’t make sense.  To keep my sexual analogies going, Friedman is getting all the feedback of a good masturbater.  He knows how to make himself happy, something that does not require him to venture beyond the lining of his own brain, but woe betide anyone who has to share the experience with him.  He’s accustomed to an audience of one, and he will brook no criticism or changes.

And that’s why Friedman is an idiot.  And selfish.  And mentally ugly too.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News