Monday, March 30, 2009

A Brief Trip Into The Bizarro World

I get that the Right in general isn't particularly happy with the way things turned out this past election, and I don't expect them to pretend otherwise, but I must tell you that if this is how the conservatives hope to turn things around, I guess we can look forward to continued Democratic control for the foreseeable future. I mean, this is straight out of the bizzaro world:

A digital war has broken out, and the conservative movement is losing. Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.

As Althouse (thanks for the HT) points out, what's going on is a debate, and apparently righties like Breitbart cannot abide that the other sides would dare offer their points of view, even if they happen to be in favor of the party in power. Dissent in as legitimate now as it was then, Andrew, but you don't get to do it free of dissent from the dissent. That's not part of the deal.

It gets worse:

Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy - us. They want to ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency - and the humanity - of George W. Bush.

Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way - all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its "idealism" in a most cynical fashion.

The ends justify the means for them - now more than ever.

This gem:

So now that the right is vanquished and thoroughly out of power, why doesn't it learn from its conquerors and employ similar tactics?

The answer is obvious. The right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes. The current political and media environment crafted by supposedly idealistic Mr. Obama resembles Hugo Chavez's Venezuela more than John F. Kennedy's America.

You've got to be freakin' kidding me. Has he checked out any righty blogs at all? Does the right have any instinct for self-criticism at all, anymore? Never mind the blatant slandering and name-calling in his own article, a cursory review of the righty blogosphere will reveal the far-right as being just as susceptible to poisonous rhetoric, name-calling, and angry paranoia as the far-Left. Many on the Left have said mean things, just as the right has. The point is, both sides have their fringe elements, and both sides have taken things too far at times.

He closes out:

The American right is in a heap of trouble in a media age that doesn't shun the goons and liars that have poisoned the political process and won the American presidency by breaking the rules of fair play. It is time to fight back, but it won't be easy. The enemy is willing to do and say anything in order to win.

Sigh. I tell you, it's like he's operating from some sort of mirror universe, where up is down, black is white, and conseravtives have never said anything bad at all about liberals. Look, I'm biased, but maybe referring to those with whom you disagree as godless, communistic, lying hooligans isn't the best way of winning the battle of ideas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"This misreporting fed into the prevailing anti-Obama theme that he cannot speak without a teleprompter."

THoughts on Obama's press conference are forthcoming, but I had to weigh in on this. You know that story about Obama's supposed gaffe at the St. Patrick's Day event? It's bogus. Pure bullshit even:

In the recording, Cowen begins speaking by ad libbing, saying: "Good evening everybody and welcome to St Patrick's Day at the White House. And I think it's particularly fitting that we gather tonight at the house that was, after all, designed and built by an Irish architect."
Then he goes into Obama's speech, and realises his boob 18 words into it: "We have had a wonderful day that began by meeting with a strong friend of the United States...that's your speech."

After Cowen got his act together - amid uproarious laughter - and completed his speech, Obama returned to the microphone for his little joke, as per the pool report.
Somehow, somewhere this all got mixed up, inadvertently or otherwise. The Associated Press reported it
this way. Accurate enough - though very sparse and including the slightly ambiguous line: "In doing so, President Obama thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over."
This was transformed into Obama making a mistake, as in
this account, in the Times, written in London by an online reporter for their website.

"On this occasion, as a laughing Mr Obama returned to the podium, the script was belatedly switched over to the Taoiseach's text - leaving Mr Obama inadvertently thanking himself for inviting everyone, to further laughter," went the report. "'First, I'd like to say thank you to President Obama!' the President said."

This misreporting fed into the prevailing anti-Obama theme that he cannot speak without a teleprompter.

The right-wing anti-Obama train rolls on nonetheless, unimpeded by facts, or context. It's all quite amazing really, the way Obama's right-wing enemies behave. You almost have to laugh at the stuff they come up with.

ADDED: It is worth pointing out that the White House screwed up with the teleprompter for Cowen's speech, not to mention allowing this to go unanswered for so long, although I suspect the only ones making that big of a deal about this are unpersuadable righties. As to the larger issue of the teleprompter use, I think it's flatly absurd to suggest that he cannot go without it, and he's given plenty of off-the-cuff interviews to prove that. Perhpas his reliance is simply a style he's settled in to, although there are certain potential drawbacks.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"The useless and meaningless term Islamophobia, now widely used as a bludgeon of moral blackmail, is testimony to its success."

Hitch gives us the word on yet another insidious plan to stifle free expression, in the name of "not offending Islam":

Yes, I think we can see where we are going with that. (And I truly wish I had been able to attend that gathering and report more directly on its rich and varied and culturally diverse flavors, but I couldn't get a visa.) The stipulations that follow this turgid preamble are even more tendentious and become more so as the resolution unfolds. For example, Paragraph 5 "expresses its deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism," while Paragraph 6 "[n]otes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001."

No decent person wants to defend actual bigotry against Muslims, or ethnic profiling, but there is something subtle and wholly sinister at work here. He continues:

You see how the trick is pulled? In the same weeks that this resolution comes up for its annual renewal at the United Nations, its chief sponsor-government (Pakistan) makes an agreement with the local Taliban to close girls' schools in the Swat Valley region (a mere 100 miles or so from the capital in Islamabad) and subject the inhabitants to Sharia law. This capitulation comes in direct response to a campaign of horrific violence and intimidation, including public beheadings. Yet the religion of those who carry out this campaign is not to be mentioned, lest it "associate" the faith with human rights violations or terrorism. In Paragraph 6, an obvious attempt is being made to confuse ethnicity with confessional allegiance. Indeed this insinuation (incidentally dismissing the faith-based criminality of 9/11 as merely "tragic") is in fact essential to the entire scheme. If religion and race can be run together, then the condemnations that racism axiomatically attracts can be surreptitiously extended to religion, too. This is clumsy, but it works: The useless and meaningless term Islamophobia, now widely used as a bludgeon of moral blackmail, is testimony to its success.

First off, I find it morally absurd to be lectured, via the agency of the U.N, by theocrats who commit unspeakable acts such as these, on the virtues of tolerance. Secondly, 9/11 wasn't just tragic. When someone drowns in a lake, that's tragic. 9/11 was an abomination, and an act of war. A lot of decent, freedom-loving, non-terrorist-loving people have decsribed it as a tragedy, but in this context (tragic events), it comes off as an insult, much like the whole of the document.

Read the whole thing.