The Bookworm Beat — 8/26/14 mid-day edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYears ago, during the Bush administration, James Taranto read a despairing AP article in which the Progressive author opined that “everything is seemingly spinning out of control.” Taranto loved that phrase and used it to preface any link to crazy things, or things that made Progressive’s crazy.

That phrase keeps wandering into my mind in this, the sixth year of the reign of the Emperor Obama. With our border having as many holes as a fish net, Obama threatening to grant amnesty to five or six million illegal immigrants, the artificially inflated stock market soaring (thank you QE2) as ordinary Americans face increasing financial hardships, race relations set back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, virulent anti-Semitism on the rise around the world, barbaric Islamism also on the rise around the world, Israel besieged, Egypt slowly running out of food (and won’t the world get really interesting when that happens?), and Russia poised on Ukraine’s border — well, I really do feel as if everything is indeed seemingly spinning out of control. I guess the silver lining is that there’s lots to blog about, so blog I will.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Patting myself on the back here, I’ve long predicted that Sunni Saudi Arabia, afraid of Shia Iran, would make common cause with Israel. That’s finally happening, as the most radical Islamists — both Sunni and Shia — pick up steam everywhere in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia may have funded radicalism, but it did so primarily to keep that radicalism outside of its own borders.  Now, it sees little Jewish Israel as the only bulwark against a radical takeover within those borders.

Hamas Rules of War:  Use Civilians

Hamas supporters are claiming it’s a fraud, but to the extent that the IDF claims to have found a handbook in Gaza telling Hamas fighters to hide explosives in civilian houses, advice that jives perfectly with what Hamas actually did, I’m inclined to believe the handbook is real.  Also, while there’s plenty of evidence that Hamas uses disinformation (often carried out with threats) to advance its cause, I don’t know of any credible charges that Israel or the IDF routinely lie.

You can tell a lot about an administration by its funeral attendance

I often tell my children that you’re known by the friends you keep.  When it comes to presidential administrations, you’re also known by the funerals and memorials you attend.  Ben Shapiro has therefore performed a useful function.  After reading reports about the three White House representatives at Michael Brown’s funeral, he decided to take a look back at the funerals the White House didn’t think were worth its time.  It’s illuminating reading.

Just a reminder, though, that it’s not always a good thing when the White House goes to a memorial service.  Indeed, sometimes it’s downright embarrassing:

No selfie respect

A beleaguered Israel offers a useful comparison in presidential styles

This summer’s war is not, of course, the first time Israel’s been under attack. For example, she was attacked in 1947, right after the UN voted her into existence.  In 1967, on the eve of what would have been a devastating attack by the militaries of surrounding Arab nations, Israel preemptively struck those militaries to protect her own civilians.

And then there was 1973 — the Yom Kippur War. Israel was on the receiving end of a surprise attack and, horrifyingly, lacked the military equipment to counter it in a long war. Scarily, in the American White House was a Republican president who hated Jews. That Jew-hating Republican president saved Israel.

At To Put It Bluntly, you will find an excellent analysis of the way in which Nixon and Obama have approached surprise attacks on Israel. One president showed leadership, the other wishy-washy follow-ship. The contrast is striking.

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VDH looks at the perfect political storm, not to mention the unending series of lies, that got Obama into the White House in 2008

Yet another sterling VDH article, this one analysis the culmination of eight years of Bush hatred, war fatigue, lies and obfuscation, hysteria, and the delusions of crowds, all of which led to an Obama presidency.

As part of this analysis, Hanson points out that the truth about Obama was readily available, but the drive-by media deliberately ignored it, and too many Americans refused to look for it. You didn’t have to look far to find the truth, though, as is revealed in this Spring 2008 post of mine, in which I linked to a variety of articles detailing problems with candidate Obama. It was all there for everyone to see, but the three monkeys were the order of the day:

Three wise monkeys

Obama’s lying administration

One of the themes I’ve pounded since Obama first appeared on the political scene is that he’s a liar. (Examples of that are here, here, and here.) Since we all know that corporate culture flows down from the top, is it any surprise to find that everyone in his administration is equally infected with dishonesty?

Peter Wehner offers only the latest example of the administration’s provable dishonesty.  The subject this time is the administration’s ridiculous contortions as it tries to “prove” that Obama never said that ISIS was a “JV squad.” (The link may be behind a pay wall, but a Commentary online subscription is one of the best bargains around.) The administration is so used to a media both credulous and complicit accepting all of its lies at face that it cannot seem to accept that lies are a bad idea when hard facts exist countering those lies.

The lies America tells blacks

A couple of days ago, I published a long, convoluted post explaining how dreadfully the American Left (with the rest of America tagging along behind) has lied to American blacks, convincing them that they are hapless, hopeless, and helpless victims of a white discrimination so broadly and deeply entrenched that it cannot be overcome.

Today, Andrew Klavan published a short, powerful piece making exactly the same point. His writing is so much better than mine that, if you haven’t yet read my post, ignore it and just head straight for Klavan’s.

Watcher’s Council forum predicting the future in Ferguson

Over at the Watcher’s Council, in this week’s forum council members and honored guests offered their best guesses about whether the grand jury will indict the officer accused of shooting Michael Brown. As always, it’s great reading, offering a variety of viewpoints.

Part of the South’s abandonment of the Democrat Party included its abandonment of racism

If I had to nominate a “must-read” article for today, it would be Mona Charen’s column refuting Charlie Rangel’s libelous claim that, when the South turned Republican, it took its racism along with it, an exodus that disinfected the Democrat party of any residual racism, while infecting the Republican party with America’s original sin (never mind that the Republican party, from its inception before the Civil War, opposed institutional racism). Here are just a few snippets to whet your appetite for this must-read analysis:

It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright.

[snip]

Okay, but didn’t all the old segregationist senators leave the Democratic party and become Republicans after 1964? No, just one did: Strom Thurmond. The rest remained in the Democratic party — including former Klansman Robert Byrd, who became president pro tempore of the Senate.

[snip]

The “solid south” Democratic voting pattern began to break down not in the 1960s in response to civil rights but in the 1950s in response to economic development and the Cold War. (Black voters in the north, who had been reliable Republicans, began to abandon the GOP in response to the New Deal, encouraged by activists like Robert Vann to “turn Lincoln’s picture to the wall. That debt has been paid in full.”)

[snip]

These Republican gains came not from the most rural and “deep south” regions, but rather from the newer cities and suburbs. [snip] It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, young, non-native southern, and concentrated in the growth points that were the least ‘Southern’ parts of the south.”

Read more here.

IRS deliberately destroyed evidence

Back in June, I offered a short commentary about spoliation (i.e., destroying relevant evidence after a lawsuit has been filed), which is a serious no-no in court: “Spoliation is a species of fraud that’s especially disfavored because its purpose is to destroy the integrity of a judicial or investigative process.” If you’re paying any attention to the IRS scandal, which saw a politicized IRS deliberately use its extraordinary powers to stifle pro-conservative and pro-Israel political speech, you’re going to be hearing the word “spoliation” a lot:

The IRS filing in federal Judge Emmet Sullivan’s court reveals shocking new information. The IRS destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry AFTER it knew her computer had crashed and after a Congressional inquiry was well underway. As an IRS official declared under the penalty of perjury, the destroyed Blackberry would have contained the same emails (both sent and received) as Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

This most recent revelation follows closely on the heels of the IRS’s admission that all those lost IRS emails from Lois Lerner and six IRS cohorts weren’t actually lost at all, they were just hard to find. Keep in mind that this admission comes after the IRS, including its director, swore (literally swore, under oath), that the emails were irretrievably gone, since the hard drives had first spontaneously crashed and then, contrary to federal law, been destroyed.

The rule in litigation is that, if you possess documents responsive to a request but they are hard to locate, you have to explain that fact to the court. Moreover, you can also explain why they’re not worth the effort of recovering. What you can’t do is lie, and then lie some more.

I’ve worked in litigation for more than 25 years, and I’ve seen some pretty hard-fought and even dirty lawsuits, but I have never seen this level of dishonesty. Never.

What you also won’t see, ever, is mainstream media coverage about the IRS’s behavior before the lawsuit, when it used its vast, almost untouchable power to silence the administration’s political opponents, or during the lawsuit, when it committed truly heinous frauds against the court.

Time Magazines goes full “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

My parents, as part of their commitment to being good, informed Americans, subscribed to Time Magazine throughout my childhood (so we’re talking at least the mid-1960s here). I know now that, even back then, Time was beginning to show the Leftist bias that today permeates almost all of the American media.  Still, back in the day, Time was a dignified publication. It may have been “news for the masses,” but it was still news, with actual facts, although these facts were certainly spun in a specific political direction.

Time Magazine in its modern incarnation, however, is worse than garbage. Garbage can still be honest, although the topics are trashy. National Enquirer tells the truth, although there’s nothing particularly elevating about knowing the identity of Hollywood’s fattest stars, who’s having a secret affair on the side, or what crazy demands a given celebrity makes before checking into a hotel.

What’s worse than garbage is repeating as true utterly scurrilous blood libels against Jews. Yet that’s precisely what Time Magazine, a once reputable media outlet, did.  It published as true the ancient blood libel that Israel was harvesting organs from Palestinians, a claim so false that even its original maker, a Swedish “news” outlet, admitted that it had no proof and, moreover, couldn’t care less that the accusation was a lie.

Even worse, Time backtracked on this libel, not because it realized that some low-level staffer had done something egregiously wrong, which would have required a full retraction and apology, but, instead, only when people started criticizing the libel. Seth Mandel explains just how disgraceful Times‘ conduct was:

Here’s the lede: “Time Magazine retracted a report on Sunday which claimed the Israeli army harvested dead Palestinians’ internal organs after a watchdog group accused the publication of propagating a ‘blood libel.’”

That’s putting it kindly. The watchdog group–HonestReporting–did not so much “accuse” Time of propagating a blood libel as point out that Time was obviously propagating a blood libel. Is there another term for Time’s medieval delusions?

[snip]

There isn’t nearly enough thoughtful analysis in the media or reporters willing to examine and question the assumptions and propaganda they’re fed by Hamas and its NGO allies, instead using reporters on the ground who worship Yasser Arafat. This is often the case when Israel is at war; in 2006, the Reuters practice of using photoshoppers masquerading as photographers led to the application of the term “fauxtography” to Reuters’ work in the Middle East.

But this lack of reporting appears to have spread to Time, and in a particularly offensive way. As hard as it is to believe, media coverage of Israel is actually deteriorating. The race to the bottom hasn’t stopped; it’s just gotten more crowded.

Read the rest here.

HuffPo takes the lead in the “humor” category of the media’s race to the bottom

Time is racing to the bottom in a disgusting fashion.  Other outlets are doing so in more humorous fashion, even if that humor is unwitting.  Take HuffPo, for example, which has published a series of photographs showing scientists suffering the anguish of knowing that only 97% of their colleagues are willing to support predictions about climate change that have consistently, and without exception, been proven false once they played out in real-time.

Each of the scientists is shown trying to look sad, although some just look peculiarly constipated, with a few being reduced to squinching their faces into blank idiocy.  The humor behind these efforts at existential anguish is exquisite.

Even funnier is HuffPo‘s hysterical, apocalyptic language which, when combined with the usual pedantic assurances that, if we just follow the “science,” all will be well, creates a delicious mix that has all the artistic weight of a poem by William McGonagall. McGonagall, as you may already know, is widely acknowledged to be the worst poet in the English language, in no small part because he combined awful prose with a penchant for tragedy and pedantry.  I’ll share with you, first, a bit of HuffPo free verse, followed by a little McGonagall for comparison.

Here’s the HuffPo song of its Progressive people:

“[T]here’s something uniquely frightening about this artist’s attempt to transform global warming data into visceral, human responses.”

“The photos are minimalist but intense, each wrinkle and crease pointing to a human unease we can all connect with.”

“Although their powerful words provide an interesting context for their expressions, we think the faces alone say more than enough.”

And then there’s McGonagall’s famous work about the Tay Bridge disaster, with this masterful closing stanza:

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Really, other than McGonagall’s more antiquated syntax, it’s hard to tell the two apart.

Scratch a Progressive; find a fascist

With David Gregory out at Meet the Press and Chuck Todd in, Democrat/Progressive strategist and (ahem) thinker Ed Kilgore has some practical advice for the best way in which to make the show edgier and more interesting.  The following gem come in response to the plan by Deborah Turness, NBC’s president, to have a panel of journalists conversing, instead of a one-on-one format, in order to make the show edgy and more interesting:

If Turness is serious about this, we need to organize a grassroots campaign to ask that certain journalists be permanently banned from the panel of Meet the Press, or we’ll boycott the damn thing ab initio. I’d start with Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, David Gergen, David Brooks and George Will. Even at their best, they’ve all gotten more airtime than their shaky talents merit. But I’m sure you have dozens more who deserve the Meet Ban. Fire away in the comment thread.

Yes, because nothing says hip, edgy, and open-minded like excluding all opposing views and, instead, having party drones agree with each other. Using this rubric, Pravda was also hip, edgy, and open-minded.

Looking at Kilgore’s dream of a real news show, I was reminded of a post I wrote discussing the differences between conservative and Progressive media:

Members of the conservative media are also more generous with presenting the underlying source material on which they rely or with which they disagree, something that is especially apparent on the radio. For example, on NPR, Robert Siegel will do an eight minute report that begins with his opining magisterially on a subject, and then continues with his editing in carefully selected snippets of interviews with witnesses, actors and experts. Given the limited time format, it’s inevitable of course that the greater part of any given interview is left on the cutting room floor, with Siegel and his staff picking whatever money lines suit the story they wish to present.

On conservative talk radio, however, the hosts will frequently play half hour long clips, not just of people they support, but of people with whose opinion they differ. Likewise, when these hosts have guests on, the guests are not only people with whom the hosts agree, but people with whom they disagree. And in the latter case, you can comfortably settle in and listen to a free-wheeling, although never mean-spirited, discussion with both host and guest called upon to defend their positions vigorously.

A sad end to a sad story

In 2012, the drive-by media was incredibly excited when a video emerged showing Marines urinating on dead Taliban corpses. This proved — proved!! — that Americans were every bit as bad as the Islamists. After all, urinating on a dead body (which is a crude, demeaning act that I don’t support) is exactly the same as torturing and beheading people; cutting off the genitals of ones enemy, whether he’s dead or alive; or dragging bodies through the streets before cheering crowds.  (It’s clear, I hope, that I’m being sarcastic.) At the center of this media storm was Cpl. Robert Richards, a highly respected Marine:

Richards was a scout sniper with multiple deployments to Afghanistan, including one in 2010 during which he sustained severe injuries. Peers and superiors alike praised him for his combat prowess and leadership skills, evidenced by his being hand-selected to serve as the scout sniper platoon team leader for 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, during its 2011 tour.

Although only 28, Richards is dead. The coroner has not announced the cause of death, but Guy Womack, Richards’ attorney and friend, told reporters that the coroner would be examining the medicines Richards was taking, something that hints at an overdose, accidental or intentional.

To the extent Richards did something unworthy of an American fighter, it was nevertheless something that should have been taken care of within the context of the Marines, rather than something that saw him tried and convicted by the American media. Richards didn’t deserve such a pathetic ending to his career. May be rest in peace now.

American universities harm Leftist students too

A Prager University video makes the compelling argument that, insofar as American universities have overwhelmingly Leftist faculties, students who hew Left (or don’t hew in any direction at all) suffer more than conservative students do:

Pictures

I think henceforth I’ll call this “The Caped Crusader Picture Gallery,” because the Caped Crusader has done it again, providing me with powerful and often funny images:

Impossible to boycott Palestinians

Catholics and the bucket challenge

Proper border response

Woman converting to Islam

Liberal blindness re Islam

Nobody owes you anything

Obama golfs while Foleys grieve

And yet we’re still surprised when Time Magazine gets it wrong

A lot of people have had a good laugh over the fact that Time Magazine, romanticizing the OWS crowd and the Muslim Brotherhood, named “The Protester” as its person of the year.  A friend of mine, however, has noted something that a lot of people passed over, which is one of Times‘ runner-ups, Admiral McRaven, the man who led the Special Ops team that took bin Laden down (thanks to Obama’s superior leadership, of course).  Says my friend:

Evidence that the editors at TIME magazine have all of their heads implanted firmly in their collective ASSES: their PERSON OF THE YEAR is “The Protester”…and yet somehow Admiral McRaven came in as a “runner up”. Are they out of their damned minds? Do they have any idea what this man has accomplished?? How much he has done for this country?

“The Protestor”? Really? Get off the meta kick you blubbering MORONS (anyone remember when “you” were TIME’s person of the year- with the reflective cover? Or “the American Soldier”). This has really descended into stupidity (they might still be stinging from naming “Hitler” man of the year back in ’38).

Admiral McRaven represents everything that we can be proud of in our military heroes (especially our Navy- had to get that plug in there :-))

“The Protestor” is a meaningless, amorphous, nonsensical piece of meta garbage developed by a room full of people that are more interested in being clever than in actually saying anything of substance.

Well, yes, the protester is indeed “a meaningless, amorphous, nonsensical piece of meta garbage.”  And the choice to give these pooping protesters the crown, while making Admiral McRaven follow behind perfectly illustrates the peculiar inversion of values that governs in the liberal media.

Times’ choice here illustrates what I call a “Eurotrash mindset.”  Eurotrash people are dazzled by fame, and are too dumb to have values.  My grandmother, although she came from a rather stodgy upper class European background, was Eurotrash.  Why?  Because when she sat out WWII in Istanbul, she hung with Nuri Pasha, a member of Turkey’s rich and famous class.  If the name doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t be surprised.  You might not even know Nuri’s more famous brother, Enver.  The historical reality, though, is that Nuri was Enver’s foot soldier, and between the two them, they slaughtered about 1.5 million Armenians.  Enver got the fame and the infamy.  Nuri became a wealthy industrialist.  And my grandmother called him friend.

My grandmother was not an evil woman who rejoiced in Armenian genocide.  What was perhaps worse was that she just didn’t care.  Nuri was rich, well-connected and charming, and that was good enough for her. And for Time Magazine, substance and decency is always going to take second place to razzle dazzle and cheap anti-Western sentiment.

TIME Magazine — not your parents magazine anymore

Almost thirty years ago, just after college, I got a summer job in a hospital administrative office, filling in for a gal who was on maternity leave.  One of the guys in charge of that office looked, to my fevered young eyes, just like Tom Selleck.  He wasn’t very nice, he wasn’t very educated, and he wasn’t very bright, but he sure looked good.  Naturally, I was always delighted when he joined in a conversation to which I was a party.  I remember that about him.

And I remember one other thing.  I was talking to an office mate, and I mentioned an article in TIME Magazine, a copy of which was always lying around my parents’ house.  (My dad got discount subscriptions through the teacher’s union.)  The Tom Selleck look alike turned to me with something approximating a sneer twisting under that big 80s style mustache, and said “TIME Magazine?  That conservative rag?  You need to read Newsweek.”

Looking back, the first thing that makes me laugh is that someone would think he was showing his intellectual chops by boasting that he read Newsweek, not time.  Such is life, I guess, when you’re the male equivalent of a dumb blond. The other thing that’s laughable is that he considered TIME “conservative.”  Of course, this was San Francisco in the 1980s so, even for guys pretending to be Tom Selleck (a true conservative, bless his heart), TIME was untenable.

The thing that’s really weird, though, when I resurrect that memory, is to realize how completely things have changed.  Back in those days, every middle and working class family I knew (except for the Chinese ones, because of the language barrier) had TIME or Newsweek, or both.  Those magazines shaped the middle class view of the political scene in ways its almost impossible to comprehend nowadays.  Every week, those magazines told us what to think, complete with great pictures.  TIME had occupied that role for roughly 50 years, and Newsweek for almost that long.

Today, Newsweek, after being sold for $1, is a small little opinion magazine that no one reads.  And TIME is still struggling on as a regular sized opinion magazine that (a) tries to pretend it’s actual journalism and (b) that no one reads.  Fine.  That’s business.  You ignore your market, you die.

But what makes TIME’s decline truly execrable is that, as it sinks into the bottom tier of the media muck, it’s garbed itself in the one garment to all Left wing bottom feeders:  antisemitism.  This antisemitism, typically, is masked as anti-Israel sentiment, but we all know the difference.  When you relentlessly demonize a state that is functionally equal to or much better than most other nations, you have to look at what makes that state stand out from the nations being given a pass.  And if the one unique feature is that state’s Jewishness — well, bingo!  There’s your answer.  TIME is working on replacing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as profitable reading material.