Monday, October 25, 2010

What Happens When Burned Out Leftists at Berkeley Meet To Discuss The Tea Party?

It gets weird real quick:

"There is that U.S. DNA that goes all the way back and does provide the conceptual source for this lynch mob mentality," says Steve Martinot, who teaches at San Francisco State University. "And that is white supremacy. Shouldn't we be looking at the Tea Party through that?"

Perlstein moves around the question. "The thing that makes America different, and this is a very dialectical, paradoxical concept, is that we have a lot of democracy," he says. "The idea that everyone has an opinion of about what they're hearing is both the glory and the tragedy of American democracy."

And this one:

"I wonder if we're likely to see a Timothy McVeigh situation," says Nicholas Robert, an attendee originally from Australia, who basically wonders if any Tea Partiers can be arrested. "It seems to be that we're being very polite. I wonder if there are any legal mechanisms—one that comes to mind are the provisions used to crush the Wobblies."

He gets no sympathy from the academics. "I think that's a dangerous road to go down," says Berlet.

Abramowitz finds me and whispers into my ear. "In Berkeley," he says, "you're seeing the other side of polarization."

Yeah. Sheesh. I mean, I said this before, but sometimes people just bring heat on themselves. This reads like an Onion article, I swear.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Toast..

Andrew Sullivan is celebrating ten years of blogging on his site the Daily Dish, and has offered bloggers a schance the toast or roast his blog. Consider this a toast. Now, I'm no where near as influential (or consistent in terms of output) as him, or most of the others who've praised him, but I just wanted to take the opportunity and heap much deserved praise on a solid blogger (not to mention keep up with my own blog). Congrats for ten years.

Now, I've been following Andrew and the Dish for about the last six years, and I won't pretend I've agreed with everything that was said, although I found myself agreeing with him more in say 2005-2006, than say 2000. Of course, the thing about good blogs is not that agree with everything--I find myself disagreeing often with a lot of bloggers I check out, but it's about whether they're serious, and having interesting things to say. Sullivan has beeen that.

I've had, and still have issues with some of things he's written: The bulk of his Palin coverage is neccessary and proper, but often borders on personal obsession. He has routinely been accused of being a Obama worshipper. As one who is still a fan of this President, I think there are times when his praise has reached hero-worship levels, yet at other times his criticisms have been harsh and unrealistic. As for the last part, say what you want--he's been quite consistent, holding Obama to the same standards of his predecessor. His critique of Israel is I think, misinformed, but I reject out of hand the assertions of his critics of sinister motives. I've said some impolite things elsewhere about his work that I mostly regret now, but if anyone can understand that, I'm sure he can.

At the end of the day, I feel good work deserves proper praise, so I offer it up. His coverage of the revolution in Iran was indispensable. I like the awards, those are good. The mental health breaks, and all the funny stuff is exactly that. As much as his anti-Clinton sentiment, or some of his foreign policy views, or other things he may write may induce eye-rolling, and frustration, there is a reason his blog remains one of the first ones I read daily. He does good work, and deep down he seems a decent person. That's really all I'm looking for in reading good blogs--solid people, who despite disagreements on issues, are generally decent people, and have thoughtful things to say.

Congrats against for ten years, Andrew Sullivan and crew. Keep doing what you're doing.

BTW, besides my own blog, I often (and honestly, mostly in the last couple of years) blog at my second home Stubborn Facts. This is blatant self-promotion, but if you want an example of how thoughtful blogging is done with people whom you often disagree on policy, this is it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"And yet there is an infected scar running across his politics that is hard to ignore."

"I am first of all a white man, and only then a socialist," he said, and he meant it. His socialism followed a strict apartheid: It was for his pigmentary group alone. Every other ethnic group, he said, should be subjugated—or exterminated. "The history of civilization is a history of wandering—a wandering, sword in hand, of strong breeds, clearing away and hewing down the weak and less fit," he said coolly. "The dominant races are robbing and slaying in every corner of the globe." This was a good thing, because "they were unable to stand the concentration and sustained effort which pre-eminently mark the races best fitted to live in this world."

The blood-curdling words, of Jack London. Read the whole thing.

HT: Althouse

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Only Thing She Destroys Is Her Credibility

This clip is old by now, but I had to chime in on this. I plan to post on the mass hysteria over this New Black Panther Party case, and the allegations of racial preference in prosecution at the DOJ, but first a wanted to post this clip, in which Megyn Kelly, who is supposed to be a hard news journalist, and a lawyer, makes a spectacular fool of herself on live television:

Now, the original poster of the clip, based on the title that was chose, apparently thought Kirsten Powers was destroyed by Kelly. I say again, the only thing Megyn Kelly destroyed was her credibility.

HT: Dave Weigel, at the Dish

"From Nazi Germany to the modern Middle East, societies that persecute Jews will get to homosexuals eventually..."

"... if they haven't been dispensed with already. This is a lesson that gays ignore at their peril."

Jamie Kirchick sounds off on the banning of the Tel Aviv float in Madrid's big gay pride parade. Apparently, hating on Israel just seems to take precedence over everything these days:

Like so many other democratic values, when it comes to gay rights Israel is an oasis in a sea of state-sanctioned repression, a "little patch," to use Mr. Poveda's words, that he and his comrades ought to defend. Gays serve openly in the Israeli military. While gay marriages can't be legally performed in Israel, the government grants gay couples many of the same rights as heterosexual ones and recognizes same-sex unions performed abroad. Many Palestinian gays seek asylum in Israel.

You know, this reminds of, I think it was a comedy bit, that mocked a real life group that was called "Gays for Palestine." The thing is, anyone who supported such a groups would neccessarily be oblivious of what actually happens to gays in Palestine, and Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and, well you get the idea.

HT: Frum, at the Dish

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Now, I Don't Agree With Everything Barry Rubin Writes In This Piece,

but one salient point stands out. There is increasing concern amongst Israelis, and non-Obama hating supporters of Israel, about the direction of a number of Obama's policies concerning Israel. A regrettable portion of criticism of Obama's Israel policy has been hysterical and off the wall, but a great deal of it, especially from actual Israelis, is real, and valid, and to basically paint them all as Tom Tancredos is beneath you, Mr. President.

First, let's remember that Obama's first name is Barack, which is as much of Semitic language derivation as Hussein. Of course, that first name is found in Hebrew as well as Arabic. After all, Israel's defense minister is Ehud Barak and my Hebrew name sound the same though there are two different roots involved, while Hussein is more distinctively Arabic. But still, Obama's lack of awareness about the implications of his own name doesn't indicate a great depth of knowledge about the Middle East.

Second, Obama was initially--when he had the same name as he does now--quite popular in Israel as polls show. Only when he evinced hostility did the attitude of Israelis change sharply.

Third, that same name belies the impliction that Israelis are biased against him because of his middle name. Israelis, after all, have dealt with two famous Husseins: King Hussein of Jordan and Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The former was a good friend, the most popular Arab leader in Israeli history. (Note 1)

So one can be a good Hussein or a bad Hussein. Of course the issue with this third Hussein is his policies. And that's why I find his saying this thing far more upsetting.

I say again that the rift's degree has been exaggarated by some, but it is real, and this sort of thing isn't helping.

HT: Frum, at the Dish

ADDED: Looking over the actual video in context, his comments seem less harsh, but he still seem to be avoiding the reality that many of his actual policies have generated some real concern. I think Obama is going to have to take real steps to smooth things over, and actually address these concerns. This sort of rhetoric doesn't help.

Michael Totten spells it out clearly:

I was in Jerusalem the day he was inaugurated. Everyone knew his middle name then, and the Israelis I met on that trip swooned over him as much as my bohemian neighbors in Portland did. Whether for good reasons or bad, his plummeting poll numbers are based entirely on what has occurred between then and now.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"The president acts sometimes like he’s running the country from his dorm room, and it looks increasingly likely..."

"...that he will not stop until something explodes."

Michael Totten, on the fairy-tale, pipe dream thinking that apparently underlies the Obama Adminstration's decision to sign on to a new UN resolution, that purports to oppose nuclear weapons, yet sees Israel as the roadblock, not Iran--that is to say, the country that has been threatened is the problem, not the threatener.

Now, there are an increasing number of people beginning to cast real doubt about President Obama's commitment to Israel. I don't have those doubts, and I don't think this decision is based on any malice towards the Jewish state, but the sort of delusional thinking underlying this decision is not ehat I expected for a mature President. Many have accused Obama of operating out of a need to please world opinion, national security risks notwithstanding. I've never had any doubt that that idea was false--until now.

Rethink this one, Mr. President. You ought to know better.

Nipping A Blood Libel In The Bud

Chances are you may have heard a story about Israelis firing on an aid vessel bound for Gaza. You may have heard about how innocent aid workers were attacked by Israeli commandos. You'd have heard about how the international community is up in arms. Here's the thing:

It's a lie. A filthy lie. Don't get me wrong, the international community is in fact up in arms, but that's because they believed the lie. What else is new? In this clip, you can clearly see and hear IDF warning the vessel about proper protocol:

The full story is here, and here.

HT: Michael Totten

Monday, May 31, 2010

"They are apocalyptic pessimists about public life and childlike optimists swaddled in self-esteem when it comes to their own powers. "

Via this excellent BHTV diavlog comes a link to this must-read piece on the underlying mindset of the Tea Parties, and the modern conservative movement, by Mark Lilla:

Now an angry group of Americans wants to be freer still—free from government agencies that protect their health, wealth, and well-being; free from problems and policies too difficult to understand; free from parties and coalitions; free from experts who think they know better than they do; free from politicians who don’t talk or look like they do (and Barack Obama certainly doesn’t). They want to say what they have to say without fear of contradiction, and then hear someone on television tell them they’re right. They don’t want the rule of the people, though that’s what they say. They want to be people without rules—and, who knows, they may succeed. This is America, where wishes come true. And where no one remembers the adage “Beware what you wish for.”

Read the whole thing. The way I see it, it's as if they want freedom, for free. Freedom to criticize, free of criticism. Freedom from hard choices. Freedom from expertise. Freedom from the real world. It's as if they say, "give my liberty, and as for the rest of you..."

The anger is real, and a lot of it has to do with real frustration over real crises. Blaming the government, the media, Obama, the Democrats, etc, is easy. Trying to maintain coherence by railing against government, and cuts in Medicare at the same time, is hard. Coming up with solutions is hard. It's one thing to want to be free, but freedom is hard.

Happy Memorial Day, and in which we honor our bravest men and women, who've paid the ultimate price for freedom, and continue to pay it every day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Madness of Andy McCarthy

Conor Friedersdorf soundly exposes the manifold, insidious deception in Andy McCarthy's new book:

Mr. McCarthy would have us believe that President Obama refuses to acknowledge the September 11 attacks, the appropriateness of the word war, or the fact that our current military efforts abroad are directed at real enemies. Yet here is a speech where the president does all those things in the space of one brief passage. The degree of misrepresentation that Mr. McCarthy permits himself is staggering.

He goes on:

It is so easily shown to be false that it ought to exist only in the author’s mind. Unfortunately, this misinformation is being touted by Rush Limbaugh as piercing, Michelle Malkin is recommending it to her readers, and Mark Levin is calling it “thorough” and “cutting edge, and few of their listeners will question the facts the book presents because they foolishly if understandably underestimate the capacity for intellectual negligence perpetrated by these hosts everyday.

They rave about a book.

I’ve read a single excerpt, and already the mistakes demonstrated by simple Google searches are multitude.

Read the whole thing. It's quite amazing to me how people like McCarthy continually get serious treatment from allegedly serious people. It's one thing to have serious, substantive disagreements with Obama on policy, but it is a viler and more destructive thing, to willfully distort and invent facts, in order to advance a case that the President, and the Left are guilty will willful treason--a case that could only be true in the fairy-tale universe of his own brain. Assuming McCarthy has any intention of the book achieving mainstream success, the excerpts he presents ought to show that this whole unhinged partisan enterprise is rotten from top to bottom, and not worth the paper it's printed on.

Just sayin.'

HT: Sully

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"George W. Bush is missed by activists in Cairo and elsewhere who—despite possible misgivings about his policies..."

"...benefited from his firm stance on democratic progress. During the time he kept up pressure on dictators, there were openings for a democratic opposition to flourish. The current Obama policy seems weak and inconsistent by contrast."

Ouch. Now, I think he's being a bit harsh, but it's hard to argue, and this is something I've wrestled with for a while (and was touched on here), that maybe President Obama might be more of a cold-eyed realist than we liberal hawks who supported him realized. I still hope I'm wrong, and there's reason to--but this sort of thing ought to be embarassing--on a purely personal legacy level.

HT: Jennifer Rubin, via Totten

cross posted at Stubborn Facts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Has Passed, 219-212.

Let the celebrations (or commiserations) begin.


I’ll have more complete thoughts later.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Five Years!!

Praise God, I've been running this blog for five whole years, and fourteen days. Huzzah, for me!

"If only Israel could fight all its battles this way."

"It would be the cleanest and least-deadly war in the history of warfare. Even some of Israel’s harshest critics should understand that."

Michael Totten, on the successful op against Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh:

Hamas and Hezbollah use civilians as human shields. Hezbollah uses an entire country as a vast human shield. Some critics, for various reasons, are more interested in lambasting Israel than the terrorist organizations it’s fighting. That’s easy when you live in New York or Brussels. People in the Middle East have to live with (or die because of) what happens. How Middle Easterners fight wars isn’t political or academic to me. I’ve never been inside Gaza, but I once lived in Lebanon, I travel there regularly, and there’s a real chance I’ll be there when the next war pops off. I’d rather not be used as a human shield if that’s OK with those who give Hamas and Hezbollah a pass. And I’d much rather read about Hezbollah leaders getting whacked by mysterious assassins with forged passports than dive into a Beirut bomb shelter during Israeli air raids.

Me too. Read the rest. I get the certain people are vexed that the Israelis didn't follow some sort of protocol, and used forged passports when they decided to successfully take out, without any collateral damage at all, a man whose organization of unrepentant war criminals who deliberately target civilians, among other things, but I fail to see what rules were really broken here, except the rule that seems to be increasingly the norm, in certain circles, per the Goldstone Report, that it is a war crime for sovereign nations to defend their territory, but not a war crime to attack said territory.

I mean, maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't think so...

ADDED: I understand that Australians are not pleased that forged Aussie passports were used, but my argument still stands.

AND: Alan Dershowitz wrestles with the question, and comes to pretty much the same place as Totten does.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pray For Haiti. Give What You Can

I've early posted initial thoughts here (my friend and co-blogger Simon has added more). More to come later. Prayer for Haiti, and donate.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"My fear of Islamic terrorism is not irrational. It's quite well-founded. "

From Christopher Hitchens, part of a must-read interview with Michael Totten.

And Around Again We Go...

In light of the latest media-circus scandal fueled by hysteria and fake outrage, over Harry Reid's inartful, inelegant, and sloppy comments, I just wanted to add some quick thoughts, and this, from the indispensable John McWhorter:

First of all, we need not pretend that by “Negro dialect” Reid meant the cartoon minstrel talk of Amos n Andy. After all, why would Reid, a rational human being under any analysis, be under the impression that any black person talks like Uncle Remus, much less be surprised that one of them does not? My guess is that he said “negro” in a passing attempt to name Black English in a detached, professional way, randomly choosing a slightly arcane and outdated term. Or, consider that Negro English was what scholars called “Ebonics” until the early seventies. Reid likely caught wind of that terminology -- he's been around a while, after all.

and this:

Indeed Reid implied that black dialect is less prestigious than standard, such that not speaking it made Obama more likely to become President. That is, he implied what we all think too: Black English is, to the typical American ear, warm, honest -- and mistaken. If that’s wrong, okay – but since when are most Americans, including black ones, at all shy about dissing Black English? And who among us -- including black people -- thinks someone with what I call a "black-cent" who occasionally popped up with double negatives and things like aks could be elected President, whether it's fair or not? Reid, again, deserves no censure for what he said unless we're ready to censure ourselves too.

and he closes out:

Reid implied that Black English is lesser than standard English and that it’s therefore good that Obama doesn’t use it in public. This is not about whether black people have to sweat to speak standard English; it’s about whether Black English is as good as standard English. Most of America black as well as white is at the exact same point in understanding vernacular speech and its proper evaluation as Reid is.

For which reason most of America should leave him alone about this and move on.

Indeed. Read the whole thing. Now for my money, Reid's comments were a messy, inartful, and off-putting way of touching on a debate that Americans of all colors are having to this day. It would be great if that debate could be furthered somehow, yet as usual, that debate has been replaced by the usual sideshow.

Two things: First off, the GOP equation of this with the Trent Lott incident is spectacularly, mind-numbingly off-base. Can smeone explain to me, even if you shine Reid's comments in tht e worst possible light, how acknowledging the fact that Obama is light-skinned, and doesn't speak Black English, compares to waxing poetically about voting for a segregationist in 1948? It's not even close, and what makes this worse, is that I think the GOP leadership knows this.

Secondly, one could ignore all this, and simply do as Liz Cheney does, and simply see this as liberals excusing other liberals. Or one could be sensible, and acknowledge context, much like unhinged left-winger George Will.

Now, make no mistake, politics is surely involved on the Democratic side as well, as I suspect a substantial factor in the rally behind Reid has to do with needing him in the Senate. That being said, the Dems have the benefit of being right on the merits, while the GOP's political cynicism is so obvious as not need pointing out. Michael Steele's own past efforts are proof of that.