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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

J Street: Liberal Bloggers Need To Study History, Not Memory

"J Street" is a new web-based group which promises to promote "peace" in the Middle East. J Street has garnered much attention, and a Memeorandum thread, based on an article in Jewish Week which asks "What is [it] about J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee, that has the leaders of major Jewish groups in such a snit?" The theme of the article is that a "pro-peace" liberal American Jewish group is a threat to the presumably "anti-peace" conservative American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and other mainstream pro-Israel groups.

Liberal bloggers think J Street is all that. In a post titled "Why is AIPAC So Afraid of J Street," Ezra Klein writes (emphasis mine):

J Street emerged at a moment when the political activity of major Jewish groups was receiving sustained scrutiny for the first time in memory. And that scrutiny kickstarted an overdue process of polarizing Jewish opinion over the generally right wing political approach favored by AIPAC. J Street, in other words, emerged as an alternative to AIPAC at the exact moment that a certain number of center-left and liberal Jews began wondering whether AIPAC remained a suitable representative for their beliefs.
In a post titled "What’s Driving the Jihad Against J Street," Matthew Yglesias follows Klein's lead in supposing that J Street represents a reaction to the new Israeli administration:

It’s a period of real risk in which many Jews, and many politicians who are interested in what Jews think, might see their allegiances shift away from an establishment that’s come to be dominated by neocon-type views that relatively few American Jews actually hold. Under the circumstances, I can see why there’s a real effort to preemptively discredit a group that stands for fairly conventional things—support of a two-state solution, opposition to settlements, belief that preemptive war has not been a boon to American or Israeli interests in the region, etc.—at a time when Israeli politics is lurching in a weird and disturbing direction.
J Street obviously loves the attention generated by being viewed as something truly new, an Obama-like yearning for hope amid a sea of despair. But liberal bloggers need to study history, not their memories. J Street is neither new in its collection of "peace" advocates nor innovative in it's policy positions. J Street represents fairly traditional (but unpopular) policy positions which focus on Israel as the problem and Israeli concessions as the answer.

The J Street phenomenon is picked apart very persuasively in Noah Pollak's post "They’re Doing the J Street Jive" (h/t Soccer Dad). First, Pollark points out that J Street is a collection of already existing groups under a new brand name modeled on left-wing organizations such as MoveOn:

Groups allied with J Street, such as Americans for Peace Now, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, and even the well-funded Israel Policy Forum, have all previously jousted with the pro-Israel establishment. But they merely fashioned themselves as openly dovish in policy. J Street’s goals are even more ambitious. It seeks to make its advocacy mainstream by re-branding policies that had been thought to be discredited by the demise of the Oslo Accords as moderate, thus effectively labeling the Jewish mainstream as right-wing and self-destructive.

The first step in this re-branding process is the fastidious attachment of the phrase “pro-Israel” to describe almost every statement that J Street makes. Professions of deep concern for Israeli security can be found in virtually all the group’s statements, despite J Street’s rejection of the security consensus of the Israeli government on most matters.... J Street models itself on a Moveon.org-style of activism, cultivating notoriety and, it hopes, political power from the involvement of a cast of bloggers, journalists, and activists who frequently promote and defend J Street on popular liberal websites.

But at its core, J Street is simply a re-branded version of policies espoused by old-time politicos such as William Fulbright, Chas Freeman, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. These policies stress the need for "balance" in U.S. foreign policy, which is a code word for pressuring Israel to take security risks in the hope that Arabs will give up their multi-generational goal of destroying Israel:

In order to transform relations between the U.S. and Israel, J Street intends to provide political cover for an American campaign to pressure the Israeli government into making more concessions for the sake of what it believes will be peace.... And what J Street hopes the President of the United States will tell Israel to do is immediately commence peace talks with Syria and Hamas, and support the inclusion of Hamas in a Palestinian unity government.
J Street has come under criticism, Pollak points out, not because it rehashes old policies, but because if employs the worst forms of moral equivalency in equating people who strap bombs on teenagers to blow up pizza parlors full of civilians, with Israel's attempts to defend itself against such terrorism. Pollak notes that this "was too much for even Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism and a self-proclaimed American dove." Read the rest of the Pollak article for an informative examination of J Streets other policy pronouncements.

What is important, however, is that the liberal bloggers -- on whose beneficence J Street depends -- have it all wrong. J Street's blame Israel first focus is as old as Israel itself. Study history, not just your own memories, and you will see that pressuring Israel to put itself in a strategically weak position in the hope of garnering Arab goodwill has been advocated for generations. Peace may come to the region, but only when Israel is accepted as a legitimate and permanent Jewish state, not a "cancerous growth" which needs to be exterminated; and when moves towards peace and conciliation are not merely strategic ploys to push back the borders.

I do think Klein makes one good point. Jews of his generation lack historical perspective:
The experience of Jewishness for older Jews -- the generation of Jews that endured the Holocaust, or was directly descended from that generation -- is substantially different from my generation's experience of Jewishness. The sense of continued threat and acute vulnerability that is the abiding companion of older Jews is increasingly absent from younger Jews.
Lack of historical perspective, however, can lead to the wrong conclusions about the Middle East peace process. The reason the "balanced" policy has not caught on is not because of a vast neo-con right-wing Jewish conspiracy. To the contrary, the vast majority of Americans understand the history of the region and do not rely on their own short memories.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Althouse Commits Blogcest

Ann Althouse is marrying one of the commenters on her blog. But she vehemently denies that her blog serves as one big dating service, not that there would be anything wrong with that.

So what does the Blogospheric Neologian call this?


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Trolls Really Do Exist

Andrew Breitbart's post, Online activists on the right, unite!, has called attention to a problem almost every conservative blogger experiences: Trolls who plant inflammatory comments to make the blog appear racist or sexist or some other "ist" or who post such long comments that they try to take over the blog and make it their own. Robert Stacy McCain has a good post on this as well, with plenty of links documenting how these trolls tried to set up Sarah Palin's blog and others. Ann Althouse experienced this phenomenon when popular liberal blogger Ezra Klein smeared her based on a handful of supposedly anti-semitic comments on her blog

This is not surprising, since stifling open debate was the hallmark of the Obama campaign and is the hallmark of the Obama administration.

After several of my posts critical of Obama gained widespread attention on the blogosphere, a commenter appeared who posted lengthy Media Matters and MoveOn-style talking points within minutes of every one of my new posts. This commenter also would post hostile comments directed at other commenters. The commenter began to refer to his or her prior comments as "posts" indicating a clear attempt to usurp this blog. When I switched to a moderated comment policy, the comments stopped, although I never rejected any of the comments.

The internet trolling phenomenon is not entirely surprising, since liberals in general view freedom of speech as meaning the freedom to agree with liberals. I still do not reject comments based on political viewpoint, and use hostile comments as an opportunity to confront issues.

But I am very cognizant that even small conservative blogs are targeted, and there are people out there just waiting to jump at the first mistake I make.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

NY Times New Business Strategy: DEATH

The difficulties facing The New York Times are well documented. Falling circulation, revenues and credibility; rising costs, incredulity, and debt. But it looks like the Times has hit upon a strategy for survival: DEATH.

The death strategy has not been announced, but is evident on the Times' website. On the day the Times rolled out its new Global Edition online content, both the U.S. and Global editions featured, front page and center, DEATH. The screen shots (taken at the same time) below feature DEATH in the U.S. in the form of a shooting at a nursing home ("8 are Killed in Shooting at a Nursing Home") with a photo of the police gingerly holding the rifle used; the World edition features DEATH at a soccer match in The Ivory Coast ("22 Killed in Stampede in Ivory Coast") with a photo of men carrying the limp body of a victim.

Has Nancy Grace taken over the Times' web page? Is Geraldo on a plane to the Ivory Coast for an exclusive Times interview with the person who started the soccer riot? Will the Times get the worldwide web rights to a previously unseen Jerry Springer episode where grandpa choked grandma until her hair turned a natural shade of blue?

DEATH sells, and if that's the case, the Times needs DEATH now more than ever.

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Another Day, Another Obama Punking

During the primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama attempted to prove intentions to keep us safe by insisting that he, unlike the Bush administration, would send troops into Pakistan without Pakistani approval:

In a strikingly bold speech about terrorism Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama called not only for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but a redeployment of troops into Afghanistan and even Pakistan — with or without the permission of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf....

The speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., seems an attempt by Obama to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where he hopes to seem not only a youthful idealist, but a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the United States from terrorist attack.

This theme was continued during the general election, when Obama lit into John McCain, accusing McCain of being unwilling to go to the cave in which Osama was hiding, and insisted that the goals of killing bin Laden was paramount even if done without Pakistani consent.

Obama already has backtracked on killing Osama, and now has rescinded his willingness to send troops into Pakistan if necessary:

As he carries out a retooled strategy in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama says he will consult with Pakistan's leaders before pursuing terrorist hideouts in that country.

Obama said U.S. ally Pakistan needs to be more accountable, but ruled out deploying U.S. troops there. "Our plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government," the president told CBS' "Face the Nation" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

As noted at Hot Air, this reversal came just days after the administration had indicated a willingness to follow the campaign promise of unilateral action.

So once again, America, you've been punked.
UPDATE: Add the No Tax Increase On People Making Under $250,000 to the dustbin as well.
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Unnamed Source Says MSM Still Hoping for Defeat

The Washington Post story, titled “Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots,” about how the interrogation of Abu Zubaida did not prevent a single terrorist attack, is old news. The story ran this morning, which is like so last century in the blogosphere. But the Post story still bears mention because the story highlights how the mainstream media still is hoping for defeat in the war against terror (I'll still use the phrase, even if it is forbotten by Obama).

The story itself is self-contradictory. On the one hand, the story claims that not a single attack was stopped, but the story also relates how the capture of Jose Padilla, the determined dirty bomber, was in fact prevented. The story, which is based entirely on unnamed sources, also quotes equally unnamed sources saying that the interrogation was a success and did result in critical information.

When weighing unnamed sources with contradictory accounts, the Post chose to focus the article by crediting the critics. The story equally could have been titled "Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled Plots," and the unnamed critics of the interrogation could have been presented as the contrary viewpoint. Or how about this title, "We Are Unsure If Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled Plots." Or how about, "We Don't Have A Clue, But We Still Hate Bush."

The Post made a choice as to how to balance the conflicting sources and frame the article, and that choice reveals that the mainstream media still wants us to lose the war on terror (there, I said it again).

By lose, I don't mean that the Post wants another 9/11 style attack. The Post, and those on the American Left who have been shopping for European judges to go after Bush administration officials, are so obsessed with denying the Bush administration any semblance of success that they are willing to damage our future anti-terrorist operations for political gain.

Marc Thiessen makes this point at the National Review. After recounting specific important intelligence information revealed by Zubaida which the Post deliberately ignores, Thiessen notes the lasting damage of attacks such as those in the Post:

The Left is desperate to discredit the efficacy of this program, and they have launched a desperate campaign to destroy it. Last week it was the leak of an ICRC document describing some of the techiques allegedly used in the program – one of the most damaging leaks of classified information since the war on terror began because it allows al Qaeda to train against the techniques. And now we have this highly uninformed front-page story in the Washington Post. All of this is incredibly damaging to the security of the United States. And if America is attacked again, those responsible for the disclosure of this information will bear much of the blame.
Well said. When the next attack comes, and everyone asks how this could have happened, you have your answer.

UPDATE: Powerline has a good post pointing out that the failure of other mainstream media to pick up the Washington Post story and run with it, as normally happens with Bush-bashing articles, is a reflection of the factual weakness of the story.

Related Posts: Liberal Ugliness Revealed On The JournoList, The American Left Outsources The Spanish Inquisition, Yet Another Cheap Attack On Michele Bachmann

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The American Left Outsources The Spanish Inquisition

UPDATE 4-16-2009: The Spanish Attorney General has rejected the attempt to open an investigation of the six Americans accused of, well it's not clear what, but the Spanish Judge at issue wanted to bring them up on charges related to Gitmo. See background below. Further Update: The Spanish AG called the complaint fraudulent and refused to let his country be used as a toy.

Oh, and Brendan, don't spend the money yet, you still may need it for Obama.

A Spanish judge has taken the first steps towards opening an investigation into the alleged culpability of six Bush administration officials, including legal counsel, for "torture" of al-Qaeda members. Needless to say, the American left is ecstatic. Obama won't let them persecute Bush administration officials (sets really bad precedent for a President currently in office), so the prosecution has been outsourced to whatever European country steps to the plate to claim "universal jurisdiction." According to a New York Times report:

The move was not entirely unexpected, as several human rights groups have been asking judges in different countries to indict Bush administration officials. One group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, had asked a German prosecutor for such an indictment, but the prosecutor declined.

Judge Garzón, however, has built an international reputation by bringing high-profile cases against human rights violators as well as international terrorist networks like al-Qaeda. The arrest warrant for General Pinochet led to his detention in Britain, although he never faced a trial. The judge has also been outspoken about the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay.

Brendan, a commenter on this blog and blogger in his own right, offered to buy Professor John Yoo, one of the targets, a plane ticket. Brendan referred a cheering post on the subject by Andrew Sullivan apparently took the night off from spreading Sarah Palin baby hoax hoaxes.

The American left shouldn't count its Yoos before they are convicted. As I have posted before, Yoo and others will be vindicated, regardless of which court hears the case. Regardless of whether you agree with the conclusion, Yoo articulates a cogent and legally reasonable analysis of how this country should have dealt -- for the first time -- with non-enemy combatants who wear no uniform and obey no country.

For the left, in American and elsewhere, European universal jurisdiction has become the weapon of choice to resolve political disputes. Israeli officials are the primary target of such Spanish Inquisitions, but Americans have been targeted in the past. European universal jurisdiction has become a tool to attack democracies, while the leaders of countries where real torture is practiced go free.

Brendan, don't cheer too loudly for the Spanish Inquisition. When you lower the bar for the claim of European universal jurisdiction, you are putting your own heroes at risk. Obama has ordered the bombing of Taliban and al-Qaeda hideouts in Pakistan, knowing that innocent civilians would be killed in the process; and there surely will be similar Obama administration actions which, when judged from an anti-American perspective and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, may be deemed "illegal" in some European country.

So don't send the airfare money for Yoo, you may need it for Obama.

UPDATE: Doug Feith effectively takes apart the Spanish case both factually and legally in an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal.

Obama Attempts to Rewrite The First Amendment

When we think of the First Amendment to the Constitution, we think of the freedoms of religion, speech and the press. Occasionally, someone will mention the right to peaceably assemble. But for most people, the discussion ends there. Can you name which right guaranteed by the First Amendment I have not mentioned?

Okay, quiz over. The right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances," a concept that has its origins in the Magna Carta. In modern day English, the right to lobby.

Hint. That's why we have lobbyists who try to influence government. The government cannot ban lobbyists.

But Obama is pushing the limits, as noted in an article today at Politico:

Free speech advocates from across the political spectrum are accusing President Barack Obama of impinging on First Amendment rights and are gearing up to taketheir case public.

At issue is an unprecedented directive that Obama — who has long railed against lobbyists as the personification of a corrupt Washington culture — issued last week barring officials charged with doling out stimulus funds from talking to registered lobbyists about specific projects or applicants for stimulus cash.

Under the directive, which began going into effect this week, agency officials are required to begin meetings about stimulus funding for projects by asking whether any party to the conversation is a lobbyist.

There is good reason why the Framers of the Constitution protected the right to petition government. Societies which do not protect the right to petition government almost inevitably turn into cults of personality, autocracies, or totalitarian regimes:

Next week, the left-leaning ACLU will join with the nonprofit watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the trade group the American League of Lobbyists in sending a letter to the White House protesting the policy, said League President Dave Wenhold....

“This is a slippery slope,” he said, asserting the practical effect is to bar lobbyists from most — if not all — discussions about the stimulus.

“And that is unconstitutional, because it takes a class of people and says that they are not worthy to petition the government,” Wenhold said, adding that his group will hold a Tuesday news conference to highlight the First Amendment impact of the rule. “It just goes too far,” he said, asserting “if anybody is paying attention, they should be wondering ‘is my group next?’ If they take the right to petition the government away from one class of people, who is going to be next?”

I can't say I'm surprised. Obama has had a troubling tendency towards intolerance of dissent, about which I have blogged since my first post in October 2008.

Obama's campaign enlisted a group of prosecutors in Missouri to threaten criminal prosecution of those who "lied" about Obama; Obama used the "race card" repeatedly to shut down opposing voices; Obama urged his supporters to "get in the face" of those who disagreed; the attempts to shut down conservative voices such as Rush Limbaugh are being run from the White House; Obama supporters used intimidation in the open-vote caucuses to intimidate Clinton supporters; from the earliest days of his political career Obama gained victory by having opponents knocked off the ballot and having supporters dig up personal dirt on opponents; the success of Obama legislative agenda depends upon demonizing a small portion of the population; and strictly from a personality viewpoint, Obama seems to have a need to make fun of others.

I don't agree with the ACLU on everything, but they are onto something here. Quinn Hillyer warned in Saul Alinsky Takes the White House that once in power Obama would attempt to change the rules of how we interact with government to preserve political power. And so it is.

The imperial tendencies of this administration need to be nipped in the bud.

Liberal Ugliness Revealed On The JournoList

The JournoList has evoked much commentary. But a bigger question is being missed. What lurks beneath the outward gentility and civility of the most enlightened liberal bloggers and columnists?

Apparently it is not pretty. Some people expressed surprise at the ugly tone of the thread released by Mickey Kaus, in which the JournoListas lashed out at Marty Peretz. But the trash talking on the JournoList itself was a ruse for some deeper level of cat-fighting that goes on off-list.

Note this comment by Eric Alterman directed at Jonathan Chait, who had questioned whether "the point of this [is] to create a forum where certain people can be criticized (or, more precisely, called names) without the criticizer having to fear a response?" Alterman responded, in part, as follows (emphasis mine):
Quit lying about my record, Jonathan Chait.... As you well know, there are plenty of attacks going on between yourself, Matt, Ezra, Spencer, and myself that do not make it onto this list because we respect the importance of civility here. Or at least we did.... I expect Ezra will want to intervene here, but please do feel free to forward our exchange to Marty. I can only imagine how proud he'd be....
So the trash talk on-list pales in comparison to the fighting off-list, according to Alterman. What does that say about these oh-so-smart people who devote so much of their lives to attacking Bush (still), Republicans, conservatives, plumbers, moose-hunting moms, and everyone else who does not fit their paradigm of a compassionate and intelligent American?

What the JournoList reveals is that so much of liberalism as perpetuated by liberal bloggers and columnists is a facade, a veritable Potemkin Village of humane emotions hiding an ugly truth of egotistical anger and an obsessive need to attack others to prove to their own self-worth. And all this is gleaned from a single JournoListic thread.

See these related posts: The JournoList Should Be Called The PlagiarList, Release ALL The E-Mails, Ezra, My First Tweet: The JournoList Sure Has A Lot Of Anti-Semitic Commenters, Ezra Klein Smears Ann Althouse.

Has Obamamania Reached Its Limit? Noooooo

Has Obamamania reached its limit, asks this Yahoo blog entry:
This week alone, the president was on "60 Minutes," held a prime-time press conference (networks reluctantly bumped "American Idol" and "The Biggest Loser" to make room for it), and answered viewer questions at his first-ever online town hall meeting. And all this is in addition to ESPN’s sporadic updates on how his NCAA bracket is doing.
The piece asks some good questions, and has a good Gail Collins (of NY Times, and who is as responsible for Obamamania as anyone) quote:
[T]here appear to be only two constants in our ever-changing world. One is that Barack Obama is going to be on television every day forever. No venue is too strange. Soon, he’ll be on “Dancing With the Stars” (“And now, doing the Health Care, Energy and Education tango ...”) or delivering the weather report. (“Here we see a wave of systemic change, moving across the nation ...”)
But the fact remains, the media still is in love, and it's holding on even though it knows it made a bad choice, just like Rihanna.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The JournoList Should Be Called The PlagiarList

The JournoList started by Ezra Klein as a place where liberal media elites could share ideas (i.e., make sure they had their stories straight) has been exposed as a repository of liberal elite media trash talk. But it gets worse. Klein took credit for designating the gathering the JournoList:

For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.

Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy? Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. “Basically,” he says, “it’s just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely.”

There is a British blog called JournoList, which describes itself as "an annotated list of sites chosen to help reporters, writers and editors make good use of the Internet."

OMG, did Klein plagiarize the original JournoList? If so, the JournoListas are not even real JournoListas, they are PlagiarListas writing on the PlagiarList.

See these related posts: Liberal Ugliness Revealed On The JournoList; Release ALL The E-Mails, Ezra, My First Tweet: The JournoList Sure Has A Lot Of Anti-Semitic Commenters, Ezra Klein Smears Ann Althouse.

Brooks Hearts Obama On Afghanistan

David Brooks is back on the Obama ranch, having been lassoed by White House officials when he briefly strayed. Brook's latest puff piece is The Winnable War. You don't need to read it. I'll give you the punch line, which is a shocka:
As in, almost everything we have done in the past eight years was wrong, but the Afghans have hope and like us despite it all. We will win because Obama is surging troops in Afghanistan.

Of course, and as usual, Brooks ignores some important elements of history. As in, we defeated the Taliban as an organized fighting force, drove al-Qaeda into the mountains of Pakistan, have instituted numerous reforms supporting women, and have done so without creating huge enemies among the population. You can disagree with the long-term strategy, which was not to put in so many troops that we were viewed as occupiers, but you cannot legitimately disagree with the enormous progress comparing Afghanistan today with Afghanistan on September 10, 2001.

Brooks credits the upcoming troop surge for his optimism, but does not credit the correct President in laying the goodwill at Obama's doorstep. The surge was a change in strategy approved during the Bush administration. This from early August 2008:
President Bush promised NATO allies at a summit that ended in Bucharest, Romania, on Friday that the United States will increase forces in Afghanistan next year no matter what happens in Iraq, aides said.
So yes, there may be hope for a change in Afghanistan. And maybe the troop surge will make the difference in Afghanistan as it did in Iraq. Now if only David Brooks would give credit where credit is due: To our troops and President Bush.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Release ALL The E-Mails, Ezra

The JournoList was revealed by Politico. The founder of the JournoList, Ezra Klein, explained the purpose as follows (emphasis mine):

Journolist is meant to serve a very specific purpose that's actually related to my experience building this blog. The work of this site has always been to illuminate standard political reporting with expert policy commentary. In that, I've been helped by the many experts who have adopted the medium as their own: Mark Thoma, Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman, Matthew Holt, Peter Orszag, Andrew Gelman, Larry Bartels, Dani Rodrik, John Sides, among others. As a journalist, it's hard to always know who to call or which questions to ask. The joy of those blogs is that I don't have to guess what experts think is important: They simply explain what they think is important and I can use, or follow-up on, the information.
Oh really. That explanation worked only when the e-mails were secret. Now one of the e-mail chains has been revealed by Mickey Kaus at Slate, and it is not pretty. Not much policy wonking, and lot of name called directed at Marty Peretz (see related post). Here are a selection of the exhanges posted at Slate (the term "[snip]" was inserted by Kauss to remove defamatory portions of the e-mails):
From: Chris Hayes Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 10:43:51 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 1:43 pm Subject: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist Yglesias
points out on his Twitter feed that Peretz "has ethnic dislikes beyond arabs" I know this is a tiresome, but this kind of explicit racism is really, really, really fucked.

From: Matthew Yglesias ...@gmail.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:00:31 -0400 Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:00 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist I also read on TNR.com today that Jonah Goldberg, who believes that everyone on this list is a fascist, is "good-humored," while Keith Olbermann's work is best analogized to Glenn Beck or Michael Savage.

From: Michael Cohen ...@yahoo.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:51:25 -0700 PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:51 pm Subject: Re: [JournoList] Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist Personally, I find Olbermann insufferable, but I'm not sure I buy the comparison. Michael Savage is a complete nut job and if he wasn't on radio he would probably be standing on a street corner with a bullhorn bitching about socialism.

From: Eric Alterman ...@aol.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:56:38 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 2:56 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a crazy-Ass Racist Quit lying about my record, Jonathan Chait. Or at least check the archives before descinding into Kirchickism. What I posted about Eve was an article I PUBLISHED. It could hardly have been going behind her back to PUBLISH an article, could it? What I explained when you last leveled this false accusation ... [SNIP] ... was the fact that had I known Eve was on the list, I would not have posted it here, even though it was relevant to the discussion at hand, because a) I had no wish to hurt the feelings of someone I had never met, and b) this is no less important, I respect the value of civility on this list. As you well know, there are plenty of attacks going on between yourself, Matt, Ezra, Spencer, and myself that do not make it onto this list because we respect the importance of civility here. Or at least we did.... I expect Ezra will want to intervene here, but please do feel free to forward our exchange to Marty. I can only imagine how proud he'd be....

From: Eric Alterman ...@aol.com> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 13:13:39 -0700 (PDT) Local: Tues, Mar 24 2009 4:13 pm Subject: Re: BREAKING: Marty Peretz is a Crazy-Ass Racist For the record boss man, I'm done. I merely responded to a series of false accusations made about me by Mr. Chait. You'll note that I manfully (and womanfully) resisted the urge to join in the Marty bashing until lied about above...

Not much policy exchange here. This is how the liberal journalist elites talk when they think no one is listening. Like Barack Obama in San Francisco.

And Ezra Klein's explanation is at best misleading, at worst an outright lie. So Ezra, release ALL the e-mails.

See these related posts: Liberal Ugliness Revealed On The JournoList; The JournoList Should Be Called The PlagiarList, My First Tweet: The JournoList Sure Has A Lot Of Anti-Semitic Commenters, Ezra Klein Smears Ann Althouse.

My First Tweet: The JournoList Sure Has A Lot Of Anti-Semitic Commenters

Here is my first Tweet, based on the disclosure at Slate (via Instapundit) of the liberal JournoList's vicious and repeated attacks on the Jew Marty Peretz, which means (using the logic of the Ezra Klein in his vicious smear of Ann Althouse):

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UPDATE: Here is Ezra Klein's e-mail revealed in Slate trying to make sure all the JournoList communications were kept secret:

See these related posts: Liberal Ugliness Revealed On The JournoList; The JournoList Should Be Called The PlagiarList, Release ALL The E-Mails, Ezra, Ezra Klein Smears Ann Althouse.

Obama's Teleprompter Tells A Joke And Starts A Fight

Obama's teleprompter has instigated a fight between Mr. Nasty and President O'Nasty. It started with a scripted dig by Obama at Simon Cowell on the Jay Leno show, to which Cowell responded in kind:

When the historians of tomorrow take out their quill pens and attempt to trace the rise and fall of Barack Hussein Obama, they may very well decide that the first truly significant PR blunder of his reign came two months after taking office, when he carelessly told a scripted joke about Mr Simon Cowell.

Last week, on Jay Leno's late-night chat-show, the 44th President of the United States followed his ill-judged remark about the Special Olympics by comparing the White House to his country's most popular TV show. "Washington," he observed, "is a little bit like American Idol, except everyone is like Simon Cowell."

So far, so hilarious. But TV's famous Mr Nasty didn't get where he is by taking a joke lying down. Cowell used Leno's well-worn sofa on Monday to hit back, suggesting that Obama's remark represented payback – for a diary clash during the President's recent tour of California.

"I was invited to have dinner with him last week, but wasn't available," the music mogul announced. "He wanted to have dinner, but our diaries didn't quite match. He wanted to do eight, I wasn't free until nine. We just didn't quite connect. But I said, 'Any time I'm in Washington...'"

This was the same show in which Obama made his now-famous unscripted Special Olympics joke. But the attack on Cowell was scripted. Did Obama's teleprompter tell a joke, or does the teleprompter hold grudges?

Obama's teleprompter is like a high school girl who talks trash to get other girls to fight. What an evil machine.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Will Someone Please Tell Tim Geithner To Read The Document

It is amazing how this administration creates controversies because it expresses opinions without reading the documents on which the opinions are based. First, there was the AIG bonus controversy. The bonuses were authorized by the stimulus plan, which neither the administration nor Congress actually read before signing.

Now it is Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner's opinion that he might be open to a Chinese proposal to create a new international reserve currency. In a post titled Geithner 'open' to China proposal, Ben Smith at Politico reports as follows (emphasis in quotation mine):

Geithner, at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. is "open" to a headline-grabbing proposal by the governor of the China's central bank, which was widely reported as being a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar, but which Geithner described as more modest and "evolutionary."

"I haven’t read the governor’s proposal. He’s a very thoughtful, very careful distinguished central banker. I generally find him sensible on every issue," Geithner said, saying that however his interpretation of the proposal was to increase the use of International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights -- shares in the body held by its members -- not creating a new currency in the literal sense."We’re actually quite open to that suggestion – you should see it as rather evolutionary rather building on the current architecture rather than moving us to global monetary union," he said.

The reason there is a controversy, is that the actual statement by the Chinese, which Geithner did not read, did call for the creation of a new currency, which would be an amalgam of numerous national currencies, to be used as a reserve:
The desirable goal of reforming the international monetary system, therefore, is to create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.
The Chinese made clear that they were calling for a new currency, a so-called "super-sovereign" currency, to replace the dollar at the world's reserve currency:
Though the super-sovereign reserve currency has long since been proposed, yet no substantive progress has been achieved to date.
The effect of having a super-sovereign currency would be that all nations, including the United States, would have to use this currency for international transactions. As the The Financial Times explained:
China’s proposal would expand the basket of currencies forming the basis of SDR valuation to all major economies and set up a settlement system between SDRs and other currencies so they could be used in international trade and financial transactions.
Similarly, the Wall Street Journal explained the implications:
China called for the creation of a new currency to eventually replace the dollar as the world's standard, proposing a sweeping overhaul of global finance that reflects developing nations' growing unhappiness with the U.S. role in the world economy.
So yes, there would be a new currency used for international transactions, contrary to Geithner's uninformed opinion which downplayed the implications, which is why the stock and currency markets are in flux as we speak. Geithner now has clarified his comments in an attempt to ease market concern.

Will someone please tell Tim Geithner to read the document, before he picks up the phone.

UPDATE: This article in the March 26. 2009 Wall Street Journal sums up the problem of Geitner embracing what the WSJ calls a new international reserve currency:

The dollar's status as a reserve currency gives the U.S. enormous advantages, and it should be protected ferociously by our public officials. It means we don't have to repay our debts in foreign currency and that our borrowing costs are cheaper. To the extent that the rest of the world follows a dollar standard, it also gives us far greater global sway.

It is this influence that Russia, China and others sometimes resent and would like to see displaced. The problem is that there really isn't an obvious successor to the dollar. No other economy is large enough, with deep enough capital markets. The euro might become an alternative down the road, but it remains too new and lacks the necessary underpinning of political cohesion.

Yet Mr. Zhou's demarche is also a warning that reserve currency status carries special obligations. It means the U.S. isn't conducting monetary policy only for itself but for much of the world. And it means that when the U.S. falls for the temptation to debase its currency, it sends shocks through the entire global trading system.

Yet Another Cheap Attack On Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann, the conservative Republican Congressman from Minnesota, has gotten into the heads of the left-wing blogosphere. Yesterday was the completely phony attack on Bachmann's "armed and dangerous" comment, in which her metaphor for outrage was twisted into a supposed call to arms.

Today brings another twisted attack. Numerous blogs, including Swampland, Washington Monthly, and others, are claiming that Bachmann misconstrued (a) whether the Treasury Department has the constitutional authority to engage in the TARP program, and (b) the Chinese call for a new "reserve currency" with a call for a new currency. Typical of the comments to these posts was this classic left-wing smear:
I never thought I'd see someone more stupid than Sarah Palin, but I think Michele Bachmann has captured that crown.

The TARP program constitutionality issue is not new, having been raised at the time of the original TARP bailout, and was not invented by Bachmann. Numerous legal commentators have raised the issue. One of the key issues is whether Congress, in effect, has given the Treasury Department legislative power beyond that permitted under the Constitution. While the weight of opinion seems to be that the program is constitutional, this is not a frivolous (or "stupid") concern. The blogs attacking Bachmann on this issue have illustrated their own lack of understanding of the issue.

The "new currency" versus "new reserve currency" issue reflects that it is the blogs and their commenters who don't understand, and who obviously haven't read the actual statement by the Chinese. In fact, the Chinese did call for the creation of a new currency, which would be an amalgam of numerous national currencies, to be used as a reserve:

The desirable goal of reforming the international monetary system, therefore, is to create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run, thus removing the inherent deficiencies caused by using credit-based national currencies.
The Chinese made clear that they were calling for a new currency, a so-called "super-sovereign" currency, to replace the dollar at the world's reserve currency:
Though the super-sovereign reserve currency has long since been proposed, yet no substantive progress has been achieved to date.
The effect of having a super-sovereign currency would be that all nations, including the United States, would have to use this currency for international transactions. This would have been clear to the bloggers if they had consulted readily available explanations of what a reserve currency is. The Financial Times got it right:

China’s proposal would expand the basket of currencies forming the basis of SDR valuation to all major economies and set up a settlement system between SDRs and other currencies so they could be used in international trade and financial transactions.
The Wall Street Journal also go it right:

China called for the creation of a new currency to eventually replace the dollar as the world's standard, proposing a sweeping overhaul of global finance that reflects developing nations' growing unhappiness with the U.S. role in the world economy.
So yes, there would be a new currency used for international transactions. It would not replace the dollar completely, but it would represent a new method of conducting international transactions.

By attacking Michele Bachmann as stupid, the left-wing bloggers and commenters proved their own stupidity.
UPDATE: In a post titled Geithner 'open' to China proposal, Ben Smith points out some comments by Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geitner which expressed interest in the Chinese proposal, which Geitner viewed as creating an evolution in the international banking system rather than a new currency. Like the bloggers quoted above, Geitner apparently had not read the Chinese proposal prior to commenting (emphasis in quotation mine):

Geithner, at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the U.S. is "open" to a headline-grabbing proposal by the governor of the China's central bank, which was widely reported as being a call for a new global currency to replace the dollar, but which Geithner described as more modest and "evolutionary."

"I haven’t read the governor’s proposal. He’s a very thoughtful, very careful distinguished central banker. I generally find him sensible on every issue," Geithner said, saying that however his interpretation of the proposal was to increase the use of International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights -- shares in the body held by its members -- not creating a new currency in the literal sense."We’re actually quite open to that suggestion – you should see it as rather evolutionary rather building on the current architecture rather than moving us to global monetary union," he said.

UPDATE No. 2: Talking Points Memo has a roundup of bad things Bachmann supposedly did, the worst of which was a repeated facial expression. Sorry, but can you say "hellooo"?

The neutral and dispassionate Dump Michele Bachmann website joins in the Michele Bachmann Derangement Syndrome.

UPDATE No. 3: Now I get it. It's all a vast right-wing echo chamber conspiracy, according to Matthew Yglesias: Right-Wing Echo Chamber Fomenting Panic About Fake Sino-Russian Global Currency Plan. Sorry Matt, it's not. Read the Chinese statement. The goal is to replace the dollar with a new reserve currency, because the Chinese are worried that Obama is destroying the viability of the dollar as a common currency for international transactions. Don't blame the messenger.

More Michele bashing over at Fire Dog Lake, while American Power takes down the dog attack on Michele.
UPDATE No. 4: The issue keeps going and going, with this Bachmann proposed legislation prohibiting the use of any new international currency, which of course has caused much teeth gnashing by the usual suspects, like Matthew Yglesias. See my post, Will Someone Please Tell Tim Geithner To Read The Document, for an explanation of why Bachmann correctly sees the danger of a new international reserve currency.
UPDATE No. 5: George Will articulates the argument that TARP is unconstitutional:

It is high time Americans heard an argument that might turn a vague national uneasiness into a vivid awareness of something going very wrong. The argument is that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) is unconstitutional.

By enacting it, Congress did not in any meaningful sense make a law. Rather, it made executive branch officials into legislators. Congress said to the executive branch, in effect: "Here is $700 billion. You say you will use some of it to buy up banks' "troubled assets.' But if you prefer to do anything else with the money -- even, say, subsidize automobile companies -- well, whatever."

Finally, Someone Says "Take This Job And Shove It"

I have been waiting for this day, when one of the demonized executives at a bank or insurance company would tell Congress to "take this job and shove it." The person singing this song today is Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, in a letter published in the New York Times:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage....

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down....

Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”

On February 15, 2009, in the face of the despicable Barney Frank ripping into bank executives, I suggested that the Bank Execs Should Tell Barney Frank To Take This Job And Shove It:

Bank executives are easy targets given the current economic climate. But don't think Frank and others like him will stop with the executives. You want government health insurance or other government handouts? Be prepared for regulations which govern how you live, what you earn, what you spend, and eventually, what you say.

The bank executives are setting a bad example by staying put. They have alternatives. They would do this country a great favor by telling Frank: Take This Job And Shove It.

Frank wants to help the banking sector. Great. Do it. But don't use it as an excuse to dictate how much people earn while your buddy Chris Dodd gets sweetheart mortgage deals, and you just passed a "stimulus" package which steals hundreds of billions from future generations. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and right now Barney Frank thinks he has absolute power.

The government -- with Messrs. Frank and Dodd in the lead -- caused the banking crisis by forcing banks to make bad loans for social engineering purposes, then forced the banks to take federal money, and now use the acceptance of federal money as a means for further social engineering.

Taking federal money to help your company solve problems caused by the federal government does not make you an indentured servant. Leave. Now....

You go banking guys and gals. Please.

Some may call this "Going Galt" or, in my verbiage, a Revolt of the Kulaks. Regardless, I hope we see more of this, until Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are run out of office on a rail, and have done to them what they are doing to others.

In honor of this day, and by popular demand, the song of the same name:


UPDATE: Little Miss Attila has a roundup of blogosphere commentary on the issue, under a nicely titled post: Finally! Someone with Balls/Ovaries at AIG!

And The Sundries Shack brings the sources all together as well.

Non-Profit Solution for Newspapers Predicted Here Two Months Ago

The internet and media are abuzz with the prospect of changes in the law which would permit newspapers to operate as non-profits. Michelle Malkin comments that And so, it has come to pass… after the well documented decline of newspaper revenues and profits.

If you were a reader of this blog, you would have seen this coming. On January 18, 2009, I posted Should Newspapers Become Charitable Organizations? In that post, I argued that converting to charitable status might allow newspapers to survive:
As newspapers around the country edge towards going out of business because of the internet (many local papers) and the loss of credibility (the NY Times), doesn't it make sense for newspapers to reorganize, or reincorporate, as charitable organizations? They don't make any money anyway, so why preserve the pretense of profit motive?
I also noted the problem that charities cannot endorse political candidates. The proposed laws would ban such political endorsements, as I predicted must be the case (and which would create problems for the New York Times:

There is one problem I do foresee. According to the IRS brochure, charitable organizations "must absolutely refrain from participating in the political campaigns of candidates for local, state, or federal office." I guess that rules out the NY Times.Maybe we can have the best of all worlds.

A wide range of newspapers acting for the public benefit, tax deductible subscriptions, and no NY Times. You can't take away my dreams!

So there are two morals to this story. Easing taxation can help businesses survive. And read this blog!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama Press Conference In A Nutshell: A Thirst For Power That Will Not Be Quenched

I was going to live blog the Obama press conference. But as it started, I changed course because there is a bigger issue here which became obvious with Obama's lecturing opening statement.

With each passing day, each television appearance, each mass e-mail, each door-to-door solicitation, and each news conference, it becomes more and more clear that this President has a thirst for power that will not be quenched.

The budget proposals are about expanding government power. The regulatory proposals are about expanding government power. The tax proposals are about expanding government power. There is no problem for which the solution is anything other than expanding government power.

Even those aspects of Obama's policies which are not overtly government power grabs are government power grabs. The limitations on charitable deductions, which was the subject of a question at the press conference, typifies the shift to government running the economy.

While couched in language of equality, what the administration is saying is that upper income tax payers will pay taxes at a higher rate than they can deduct charitable donations. If your last dollar of income is taxed at 36%, traditionally you could deduct that dollar completely if you donated it to charity. No more. No matter how high the highest marginal rate goes, there will be a 28% limit on deductions. This is a hidden tax increase, which Obama admitted was his goal.

But there will be less incentive to make charitable donations, which charitable groups recognize will be devastating to their fundraising. With the drop in charitable services, government will step in to provide those services, thereby folding the charitable sector into the government. Again, a subversive power grab couched in the language of "fairness."

That's all you need to know about the press conference. The questions and answers are just details, which we will have time to analyze.

Phony Outrage Over "Armed And Dangerous"

Conservative Republican Congressman Michele Bachmann has come under fire for stating that voters should be "armed and dangerous" over the administration's engery tax plans. While the leftwing media tried to twist this statement into a literal call to arms, in fact Bachmann was using a metaphor for public outrage.

Bachmann is not the first to use such a metaphor. In an article at Bloomberg.com which has been widely reprinted, titled "Obama Needs To Find His Inner Dirty Harry, columnist Margaret Carlson used the phrase:

It’s up to the new sheriff in town to put things right. President Barack Obama has replaced the laissez-faire Bush administration officials, like Wall Street sympathizer Henry Paulson, with armed and dangerous regulators who would bring reckless Masters of the Universe to justice.
Does anyone think Carlson literally called for regulators to be armed and dangerous? Simlarly, a post at Fox News used the phrase in describing Sarah Palin's looks. And there's even an "armed and dangerous" Obama action figure.

A post at Politico refers to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell as "armed and dangerous" in his support of Hilary Clinton during the primaries against Barack Obama. Was Politico actually suggesting that Rendell carried weapons and was a physical threat to Obama?

Anderson Cooper posted a blog entry titled "Michelle Obama: Armed and dangerous" regarding the New Yorker Magazine cover showing Michelle Obama carrying a weapon. "Armed and Dangerous also is the title of a 1985 John Candy comedy movie.

Bill O'Reilly, in a column at Time Magazine on September 11, 2008 (just a week after he interviewed Barack Obama), described himself as "armed and dangerous" when he enters an interview. Obama himself was quoted as saying that one of the reasons he ran for President was to have "armed and dangerous" secret service agents escort his daughters on dates.

A post on March 9, 2009 by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, aptly titled Armed and Dangerous, opined over the Michelle Obama sleeveless dress talk. Another blogger suffering from Bush-Palin derangement syndrome referred to them as "armed and dangerous." Another Slate columnist referred to Alan Greenspan as "ARMed and Dangerous" in a play on the acronym for Adujstible Rate Mortgage.

"Armed and Dangerous" was the topic of a conference in Berkeley, CA, of the California First Amendment Coalition:

ARMED AND DANGEROUS - Americans enjoy among the best free speech and 0pen-government laws in the world. But such freedoms mean nothing if journalists
and citizens don't know how to use them. Get the weapons you need to make your work more competitive, compelling and controversial.
So it's all about context, and not pulling phrases out of their natural and intended meaning. Clearly, Bachmann was not calling for armed insurrection, just as Politico was not calling Ed Rendell a criminal threat to Obama, and Margaret Carlson was not calling for regulators to open fire.
But in today's gotcha media environment, where left-wing blogs and media organizations scour transcripts for a phrase which can be twisted, context and truth have no place.

Double Standard On Americans Hurt In Israel

Tristan Anderson was seriously injured earlier this month while participating in violent protests against the security barrier built by Israel in response to a wave of suicide bombers from the West Bank:

Every Friday for the past seven months, the villagers of Nilin, bolstered by foreign volunteers from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement and some Israeli far-leftists and anarchists, have protested against the expansion of Israel’s separation barrier here. Now under construction, it is one of the final sections to be completed in this area west of Ramallah in the West Bank.

The protests inevitably end in violent clashes. The Friday before, an American activist, Tristan Anderson, 38, from Oakland, Calif., was struck in the forehead by a heavy, rubber-coated tear-gas canister fired from at least 300 yards away. He was standing in another picturesque orchard dotted with gravestones next to the village mosque at the time. He remains in serious condition in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv.

Anderson is a long-time internationalist who has participated in the types of aggressive, sometimes violent, protests that put him in harms way, including spending the better part of two years sitting in a tree, other violent protests, and putting his body under a bus. I hope Anderson recovers, so that he can go on protesting, even though I disagree with him politically.

Just weeks before Anderson's injury, an unnamed American student who was studying in Jerusalem was the victim of a knife attack by several Jerusalem-area Arabs:

[T]he four men attacked the American student as he was walking through the forest and tried to drag him to a secluded area. The student resisted, and [one of the men] then tried to slit his throat. The attackers proceeded to push the student to the ground and beat him.

[One of the men], the indictment said, tried once again to slit the student's throat, but instead cut him across the right check. The men then fled the scene.

The bleeding student managed to make his way to Silwan, and then walked another 40 minutes to the Old City's Dung Gate, from which he was rushed to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

In one incident, the American (Anderson) is injured while knowingly putting himself in harm's way; in the other, the American (student) is injured just because he is American. Which incident gets attention?

Not surprisingly, the injury to Anderson is reported all over the left-wing media and blogs because Anderson has the anti-Israel coalition behind him. While some people in that coalition actually care about Anderson (as do his parents, undoubtedly), for many in the anti-Israel coalition Anderson merely is one more arrow in their anti-Israel propaganda quiver.

The American student, by contrast, suffered mostly in silence, with only a few reports in the Israeli press. While the student's injuries were less serious than Anderson's, that is not the reason for the relative silence. The student served no one's propaganda purposes, so no one has an interest in hyping the attack.

So the American who put himself in harms way is trumpeted, while the American who merely was walking through the woods is forgotten.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Confused Blogger Hates Tea Parties (Title Changed to "Instalanche Loving Blog Hates Instapundit")

Alex Knapp, who blogs for Outside The Beltway, is a self confessed Iraq war supporter, but of course, it's not his fault. He was misled, tricked and fooled:

At the time, I did support the Iraq invasion, which in hindsight was stupid.
Knapp also doesn't support Obama's "stimulus" plan, except when he does:
I am also skeptical about the stimulus package as passed. But I wasn’t opposed to a stimulus package per se.
Yet Knapp is sure of something. He hates the Tea Parties:

I’ve been following the growing “Tea Party” and “Going Galt” movements with no small amount of amusement, in part because there is really just too much sweet, delicious irony surrounding both of these groups of people
The "people" supporting the Tea Parties and "Going Galt" are, well, so unhip that they supported the Iraq war. Ooopsie Knapp supported the war, hence, Knapp's mea culpa quoted above, to distinguish his mere support of the war from those who really supported the war:
The folks in the blogosphere largely cheerleading the Tea Parties are the same folks in the blogosphere who cheerleaded the war in Iraq.
Actually, the difference between those who were "cheerleaders" for the war versus those who merely "supported" the war is the difference between people who have the courage to stand behind their convictions, and those who go with the political flow without conviction.

But Knapp does not stop there. He attacks the Tea Party participants as acting contrary to their own economic self-interest (under the false premise that Obama really will deliver "tax cuts" to 95% of Americans):
The “Tea Parties”, of course, started springing up in response to Obama’s stimulus package, a package whose largest fiscal component is a tax cut that will largely benefit the people in the income brackets who make up the Tea Party movement. That I find funny.
What I find funny is that someone who decries economic greed finds funny that people would do something that isn't greedy. Yet Knapp saves his best (or worst, depending on your perspective) for attacking the "Going Galt" movement (which I refer to as the Revolt of the Kulaks):
Some of the biggest proponents of the “Going Galt” bandwagon in the blogosphere and at Pajamas Media are Glenn Reynolds and his wife, both of whom have jobs (Professor of Law at a public university; forensic psychiatrist) that are dependent on public, taxpayer-funded institutions.
Having a job is bad, having a job at a state university is worse, and the "worst person in the world" is a forensic psychiatrist because a forensic psychiatrist can diagnose Sitemeter Envy from a mile away. And the attack on Reynolds smacks not only of Sitemeter Envy, but also of a cheap Rule 4 "make some enemies" ploy to generate traffic (which may actually work).

Whatever it is, Knapp's attack on people who are taking a stand is not principled. When the movement grows, when the folly of Obamanomics is further revealed, when a year from now everyone is saying I told you so, where will Knapp be? Here's my prediction of Knapp's next mea culpa:

(Disclaimer: I was against the Tea Parties and Going Galt, but that was stupid. I didn't actually support the stimulus plan, but was against it kind of, but not really, you see, I'm confused. I just wanted to be popular. And Professor Reynolds, please send me an Instalanche, because no one is listening to me anymore.)
UPDATE: Talk about funny. Knapp's blog parents love Glenn Reynolds and credit him with helping them get noticed. They sing an ode to Reynold's help in the "about" section of the website:

Early notice by ScrappleFace’s Scott Ott of and VodkaPundit’s Stephen Green led to OTB’s first InstaLanche on March 13, 2003.

In honor of this irony, I am officially changing the title of this post to "Instalanche Loving Blog Hates Instapundit."
UPDATE No. 2: Bush derangement syndrome meets the confused Tea-Party-Hating Instapundit-loving-hating blog post. Citing Knapp, Andrew ("Palin Baby Hoax") Sullivan writes:
My sense is that it is a delayed reaction in some ways to Bush, and his betrayal of conservatism. For all sorts of reasons, most of the current tea-partiers backed the GOP under Bush and Cheney, although some, to be fair, did complain about some of it. The pent-up frustrations behind conservatism's collapse under Republicans were trumped, however, by the fruits of power, partisan hatred of "the left", defensiveness over the Iraq war and torture, and, above all religious devotion to the Leader. Now that Bush has been removed, the massive damage done, and a pragmatic liberal is trying to sort out the mess in a sane, orderly fashion, they've gone nuts.
But at least Sullivan does link to this great example of a Cheerleader.


UPDATE No. 3: More on this at American Power Blog: Cases in False Equivalence: Tea Parties and Iraq